Apologies for my second post of the day, but I’ve always been a big fan of Last of the Summer Wine and in particular the OAP adventures of Foggy, Compo and Clegg filmed in Holmfirth in Yorkshire. So I wanted to write this ditty about today’s experience before I forget.
Today Debbie and I went shopping at Tesco in Pontypool so I could use my £9 off if you spend £60 voucher, well I am a Yorkshireman after all! Now one of the best freedoms of being retired is that you are no longer in a rush to do anything and so in the back of my mind I’d been meaning to visit a pub called the Goose and Cuckoo I’d seen signposted from the A4042 near Llanover.
Unfortunately the “unofficial” sign pointing the way to the pub had been taken down by order of officialdom it transpired later, but fortunately I remembered that the turning was opposite a van parked opposite advertising Lyn Morgan Furnishings where we bought the snug sofa bed.
So turning left I fully expected any moment to come across the pub and park up but was rather unnerved after driving through single track roads with high hedges winding up and along the mountainside. In fact I was convinced I’d gone wrong but as there was nowhere to turn around I kept going…
Much to my surprise we finally came upon our destination that seemed to spring from nowhere and we parked up and went inside to be greeted by a young barman. He was serving apparently on his own and the only customers were three old gents that were obviously enjoying themselves at a table next to the entrance.
Our plan originally was to take our drinks outside in the sun before making our way back home, but as you do in this neck of the woods, on the way out we struck up a conversation with the three in the doorway.
After a lot of laughter & banter together I suggested to Debbie that we join Pip, Malc and Russ who were all originally from Blaenavon. Two were still living there while Russ who had moved to a cottage in Sebastopol about 7 miles away in 2000.
Now one thing becomes clear quite quickly to someone moving to Wales is that everyone seems to know each other and this was no exception. Our friends and neighbours Helen and Andy lived previously in Blaenavon and it transpired that Pip had sold Helen’s father the land on which he’d built his house and that he was known to all three gentlemen.
In fact he told us the story that Helen’s father often used to come round to Pip’s house whenever he would have visitors and ask “what are you doing here then” as an opening gambit. Pip had an early warning system by having a squeaky gate to alert him to any incomers and often used to bang the dividing wall to accomplish the task vice versa.
It also became apparent that our three new friends appeared to have a circuit of local (but largely out of the way) pubs that they regularly frequented together starting with every Wednesday the Goose and Cuckoo, then the Bridge in Llanfoist on Mondays and Fridays (in the day) and weekends at the Lamb & Fox at the top of Blorenge in Llanwenarth.
IMHO these chaps seemed to have perfected their socialising and both Debbie & I would like to have their company again!
Alas we had to leave all too quickly, but as we said our initial goodbyes two walkers came in (& given the roads I believe a lot of the pub’s custom must stem from ramblers) with the taller chap being well known to the “three amigos” called John Perkins (or Perky).
It transpired he had played rugby for Wales and was a member of the infamous Pontypool pack made famous by Max Boyce! He was very funny and told lots of stories and Debbie and I were sad to leave their company, but we shall definitely be back!
UPDATE 26th April 2017
Well one week later we decided to treat our friends George and Thelma by taking them to the Goose & Cuckoo to meet up again with the LOTSW three which we did about 11.45am. The log fire was burning which really warmed us all up and we got to know the landlady Rhiannon and her barman son Morgan far better. It was Morgan that took the following photograph of us all enjoying a drink.
Before we left I discovered that next Sunday 30th April the pub was hosting the 2017 Goosefest beer and music festival. The prospect of a real ale to aid consumption of a hog roast looks very inviting!