A New Year, new departures. Once that dead zone between Christmas and the end of the month was safely and agreeably negotiated, the first UE outing of 2013 swung into action. I sat with a chum in a cafe in Stamford, and we both had the same idea simultaneously. Let's drive out onto the fens and find a really dodgy pub where we'll be made most unwelcome and have to leave. Turning off the A47 at Guyhirne we travelled north east from the bank of the tidal Nene and very soon found exactly what we were looking for. Excellently kept Elgood's Cambridge beer, a taciturn landlord and a pair of 1950's photographs on the wall that showed two aspects of another fenland pub with a burnt-out annex and a hump-backed Standard Vanguard parked up against it. We sank the Elgoods, nodded at each other and made our way into the back-end of Wisbech, and onto the North Brink (above). This must be the one of the finest runs of Georgian buildings in England, if you ignore that tall gabled gothic extrusion halfway down. At the west end is Elgood's Brewery, outside of which we stood in silent appreciation for a few minutes, and then a walk down past the perfect Peckover House where as a child I was taken out onto the roof and shown a stork's nest next to a chimney pot. A little further and the low winter sun highlighted the front room of the Hare & Hounds Hotel, wherein we found more Elgoods and beef stew with dumplings. And an obliging and pretty girl to serve us. Happy New Year from Unmitigated England!
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)