Sunday, 30 July 2017

In which I fail at pub, but win at shopping

The interior of the White Bear pub, Devizes
Inside the White Bear, Devizes
Yesterday Mr Robot and I decided to go on an Awfully Big Pubventure. Since our butcher closed its Trowbridge branch, we've been driving over to Devizes most Saturdays. Devizes is home to Wadworth's brewery, and there are some really nice looking pubs there. Instead of driving, yesterday we got the bus, with the aim of also sampling a few beers.

The bus took longer to arrive than expected, so I popped into the charity shop opposite the stop. What do you know? Not only did I find a modern summer dress I liked (for a fiver, it'll stop me fretting about being fed up of all my clothes), I also took a rummage through the scarf display. I don't wear scarves much, but I've been wondering if that's because I haven't found the right sort. Anyway, I found a lovely silk one, 1960s St Michael label, in colours that will go with lots of other things I own. If that's not a message from the vintage gods, I don't know what is. It's got a navy and red border around a neutral printed prince-of-wales check (I think Americans call it glen plaid).

So, hit Devizes, went to the butcher, then popped into our first pub. The Three Crowns is seventeenth century, but the interior was pretty modern - it felt like an upmarket cafe or bistro more than a pub. Nice enough, and the beer garden in the old coach yard was nice, but not really us. From there we went to the White Bear, the oldest pub in Devizes, and that was lovely. Wadworth does a beer called 6X which is usually pretty reliable, but the White Bear does the BEST 6X I have ever had. It was lovely inside, all wood panelling, and smelling of smoke from the wood burner. We were a little reluctant to leave, but as we were on a pubventure felt obliged to.
An octagonal brass tray table with a red, blue and brown 1960s silk scarf draped over it
On the way to pub number three we saw an antiques shop, and dropped in. Most of it was lovely furniture, far too grand for our house. I spotted an Asian-looking brass thing leaning against the wall. Octagonal, and about two feet wide.  The chap said he thought it was 19th century European. I liked it, and Mr Robot bought it for me simply for that reason. We lugged it round two more pubs, neither of which we liked so I won't name them, then got the last bus back to Trow. At 6:15. Honestly, what sort of town has its last bus out before 9?!

I've had a chance to look at my big brass octagon some more, and I'm pretty sure it's the top of a folding tray table - lord knows what happened to its legs, maybe I should check to see if the antique shop has them! - and I suspect it's actually Sri Lankan or Indian. You see a lot of Moroccan tray tables, but they're usually round, engraved rather than repousse, and geometric because representations of living things are forbidden in Islamic art. Mine's plastered with animals, and the lions have the look of ones you see in Indian art. It's a mystery, really. We're planning to hang it on the wall at the bottom of the stairs, but I might dig out some woodwork tools and have a go at making legs for it. I won't be able to make a proper folding set, but I can manage a dismantlable set of four or eight.
Centre detail from an octagonal brass tray table

I hope your weekend has been fun too.

12 comments :

  1. Glad to hear the charity shops were still with you, Mim. I quite like the look of that big brass octagon. I guess it would look quite nice - and certainly unusual - as a table. Good to see The White Bear (I took a photo of its pub sign when I was there in 1996) looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. It seems like quite a few nice looking pubs get ruined by incongruous modern interiors. Hope we get to see the £ 5 frock? xxx

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    1. I will try to get a shot of the £5 frock, though it's quite light in weight and the weather is so awful it might have to stay in the wardrobe till next summer.

      The White Bear is fantastic. I'd definitely recommend it.

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  2. I grew up in a home with a large brass table-top hanging on the wall, so naturally I'm all excited by your find. Yours is much nicer, by the way.

    Last bus out by 9 sounds like Omaha...but we roll up the sidewalks and draw the shutters as well.

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    1. It's a very nice tabletop, isn't it? I've looked at others online, but this one seems particularly ornate and nicely done.

      I do wonder if half the reason Devizes is still so nice and has lots of little shops is because the buses stop early and there's no train station. They have to supply all their own needs in the town.

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  3. Wow! gorgeous scarf & gorgeous tabletop!
    The Sheikh fancies himself an Asian fine arts specialist so I'll ask him what he thinks about that brass tabletop.

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    1. Oooh, would be good to have the perspective of someone who knows Asian arts. I am really pleased with the tabletop. I quite like the fact I don't know much about it for certain - I can spin as many stories around it as I like.

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  4. Great finds! The pub looks rather splendid, too!
    I've always been rather partial to Benares tables but Jon gave our last one away 'cos he kept tripping over it. xxx

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    1. I've never heard them called Benares tables. Interesting...

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  5. Lovely scarf, I'd like to see you in your new frock too! You must be clever to be able to make table legs - I've never done any wood work. Good luck! X

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    1. I did woodwork at high school. I'm rubbish at it, but making legs and joining them with dowels shouldn't be too difficult - it's not as though I'm making dovetail joints or anything. I've just got to cut a thick cylinder into 4 or 8 lengths, drill two holes at 135 degrees in each, and ram dowel into the holes.

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  6. Fab scarf, you cannot go wrong with a good scarf ;-)

    I have never got the 6X thing, back in the day all my beer drinking buddies LOVED it but 6X and me we just never did see eye to eye.

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  7. The White Bear looks fantastic and it is always a bonus if they do great beer. Too many places nowadays just don't know how to keep beer well, and to be honest probably have too many so that they lie in the lines too long. I have never had 6X so will keep and eye out for it. Your scarf is lovely and that brass tray/tabletop is gorgeous. What a lovely design. The charity shops gods were indeed with you. Sounds like a lovely day out. Xx

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