Blog Surfer

Monday, 20 January 2020

#274 The Crossroads, Weedon, Northamptonshire : 2005 to 2019

Considering how many times we've visited Weedon over the years, I'm surprised to find that our first (recorded) visit to The Crossroads was on the evening of Sunday 29th May 2005.
I actually have no recollection of this visit...only this photo. Obviously, back in 2005 it was part of the Chef & Brewer chain of pubs.

Fast forward to 2019 when we made THREE separate visits to The Crossroads!
First time on the evening of Friday 19th April 2019, where I had as near perfect pub Fish & Chips as I've ever had! (I'm almost always tempted by pub Fish & Chips and, almost every time I succumb, I'm disappointed...this time not!)

After leaving Weedon we went to Northampton, but retuned on Sunday 21st April 2019.
Having explored the other half of Weedon (and found no food service - it was, after all, Easter Sunday) we managed to get to The Crossroads in time for a bite to eat.

Our third (and final) visit of the year was on the evening of Thursday 8th August 2019.
This was towards the end of our epic trip to Oxford, down the River Thames to Brentford and back home up the Grand Union Canal - sadly, the Fish & Chips wasn't as good as before (when will I learn!).

It is interesting to note the change of livery for the Chef & Brewer chain, but as I also discovered via Wikipedia, the Chef & Brewer chain itself has undergone quite a few changes over the years.

To summarise - "Grand Metropolitan, which later formed part of Diageo, sold the estate that became Chef & Brewer pubs to Scottish & Newcastle in 1993 in a part cash, part debentures deal of £708 million. 
 In 2003, Scottish & Newcastle auctioned off the Chef & Brewer chain, which was acquired by the Spirit Group. 
In 2005 the Spirit Group was acquired by Punch Taverns. 
 In 2011 the Chef & Brewer chain became part of Spirit Pub Company plc following its demerger from Punch Taverns. 
The Spirit Pub Company plc was acquired by Greene King in June 2015"

Monday, 6 January 2020

Kings Langley, Hertfordshire : 1993 to 2019

As it has been a while since my last post, I thought that I'd treat you to a two-for-one offer to start the New Year.

Kings Langley was never one of our regular stopping places back when Emma Jane was moored down south on the Grand Union, but on each occasion that we visited, we've been to the same two pubs!

#272 Rose & Crown

Our first visit was on the lunchtime of Saturday 26th June 1993 (the day after our first visit to #271 The White Bear) and, as you can see from the picture it was a sunny day and the Rose & Crown was quite busy!
I remember very little about the pub itself, but I have a feeling that this was the day of the village/town's summer festival, so everywhere was busy.

We returned for an evening visit on Saturday 3rd June 1995 at the start of a week long trip that took us all the way to Limehouse Basin in London.
The pub was little changed from two years previously, but it was much less busy!

We hadn't been back that way until the evening of Sunday 4th August 2019.
On a structural level it is remarkably unchanged, but it was decorated very much in the modern pastel shades style. Also, despite the signage declaring it to be a Freehouse it is in fact one of Mitchells and Butlers Premium Country Pubs (I've since discovered) which are a bit more upmarket from their Vintage Inns in the style of food. We did have a pleasant meal, but the pub was a bit quiet so we moved on (as we had on all previous visits!) to the nearest pub.

#273 The Saracen's Head

This pub is smaller and much more of a local and has remained so throughout the years - firstly in 1993.

Then again in 1995.

And finally in 2019.
Again, another pub that is structurally unchanged and inside it still felt more like a proper pub than the Rose & Crown which is as it should be, The Saracen's Head being independently run.

One final thing to note - the two 'gentlemen' crossing the road in 1993 were still lurking outside the pub in 2019 and I'd have to suggest that they may not be 'structurally unchanged' by the passing years! (But they bought me a beer, so all's well with the world!)