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Bewdley Undercover Part One

I rarely leave Bewdley, and I am happy with that state of affairs. After travelling the world in my youth, I feel displacement just going past Catchems End. This is my home and this is the first instalment of my Bewdley blog – Bewdley Undercover.

It’s a blog about my little adventures in this wonderful town. I will endeavour to hold in check my acerbic rhetoric. This blog is about people and places; about moments in time; about capturing the character of the town and its denizens.

To kick off I will recount the events of a recent Saturday night. I had a good friend down for the weekend from Puklechurch near Bristol. He is a sterling chap who jumped in his car at my request for emergency babysitting. I am part of the gig economy for whom traditional ‘wrap-around’ child care is of no use. It’s either very early or very late that I need assistance.

Luck would have it that a mother I knew offered a sleep over for my little angel so my friend and I had an unexpected night out. We headed out for a few scoops of beer in Bewdley. My friend is a keen walker so we struck out for the Rising Sun on the Kidderminster Road. It’s a pub I last visited over 20 years ago. I remembered it as a typical old man’s pub complete with darts board and sawdust.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover a comfy and friendly watering hole. Wooden beams, cosy snugs, a real fire and a bar tender who called me ‘babs’. The beer was good: I was chuffed to find Banks’s on draught, unspoilt by progress – one of the tastes of my youth.

A sign over the fire place instructed customers not to throw cling film in the fire. I puzzled over this notice while my mate got our second pint. Where does the cling film come from that might contaminate the fire? Is it the cob wrappings? Is it a quirky penchant of some of the locals? My ruminations were cut short by the arrival of my second pint and the sudden crackle of a microphone being turned on. Before I could toast my mate and take a gulp the vocal styling of the ‘entertainment’ penetrated my eardrums. It was a bald man singing over a backing track. If it had been Susan Boyle we might have stayed; as it wasn’t we drank up and left pacing past the war hero in the entrance and out into the temperate night.

Next up was the Wagon and Horses. A pub I usually only visit with my daughter to use the bouncy castle. To give the place its due the atmosphere and beer were perfectly acceptable. What wasn’t was the double whammy of yet another bullet headed pub singer and a young man vomiting on the floor next to our table. Again we necked our beers and exited, gingerly stepping over the malodorous puddle.

Last port of call was the Great Western. Thankfully a pub that entirely shuns music. The leather sofa in the corner and a pint of Bewdley Beer made an enjoyable combination. We lingered over our final beers and chatted about Glastonbury adventures from our long lost youth.

A noteworthy night. I love this town.