I am moored at Bridge 41 on the Coventry Canal. For those of you that don't know that's in Atherstone at the top of the locks. Alongside the canal is an old mill/factory (hats) alongside that is the Maid of the Mill. Maid of the Mill is a well known piece of music by Schubert, the connection might be a bit tentative, I don’t know for sure but there is a framed copy of the sheet music up in the bar.
The Maid is a hatters pub, no no a proper hatters pub. It is a pleasant Olde Worlde pub but not the sort of thatched roof and cottage garden type pub, but a typical working class pub. Probably been there as long as the mill. It is a warm friendly pub and I quite like it. The pub has a pool table, dartboard, skittles and a book/video library. The furniture is maybe getting a bit worn but the place feels comfortable. The floor has a mix of carpet and quarry tiles, and the windows hung with red velvet curtains. There is an enclosed garden at the back.
I am most impressed the Guinness is £2.90 a pint which is the cheapest I have seen so far. Even the pork scratchings came in proper sizes bags and at a proper price of 65p. OK the head on the beer is a bit on the large side but I did already have a slurp off this one.
Other delights from the brewery, John Smiths Extra Smooth
Green King IPA, Abbots, Brew XI Best Bitter from the Mitchell and Butler brewery, Stella, Carling and Strongbow.
One chap in the bar, a Ronnie Corbett look a like, says he has been drinking all his life and if beer goes over three pound a pint he will give it up. (I remember saying that about ciggies as they approached 50p.) I said that £2.90 was the cheapest I had paid and that I had paid £4 down in Oxford. “Well,” said Ronnie, “your an arsehole then.” On that score I am inclined to agree with him. One customer called the local Taxi firm to get him some cigarettes. He was quite impressed that the delivery fee was only £3.70 on top of the price of the fags, but but that one packet of ciggies still cost him £10. Yes I know what you are thinking, as did the others in the bar . EDIT: Funny thing was they had cigarettes in the bar.
A conversation set up in the bar about the Mill next door after I asked about how long it had been closed (15 years). Various people said their relatives worked there. One chaps uncle and grandfather worked there. The girl behind the bar had a relative that worked there, well he robbed it, I suppose you could call that work. What did he steal? Why hats of course.
Atherstone has a ship named after it HMS ATHERSTON what else. There is a picture up in the bar.
The present HMS Atherstone is the third to bear the name. The first was an 810 ton paddle minesweeper built in 1916. The second HMS Atherstone was the first Type I "Hunt" Class Destroyer of 1000 tons displacement to be built in 1939. The current HMS Atherstone, launched in 1986 is one of the most expensive ships (per cubic metre) ever built. And is one of the largest warships to be built with a GRP hull.