- Bridge 9 -
Arrival at Coventry is just after 11:30 with the 8A bus obediently waiting outside ready to take us towards Potters Green with Walsgrave providing the scenery along the way. By this stage Nick's attire has already earned our admiration, dressed as he is in full Bears regalia including baseball cap and members sweater. Alighting on Ringwood Highway, we have a little wander along Woodway Lane where the Jolly Colliers pub has been demolished since I was last in the area although the M6 motorway is still very much a presence. A footbridge briefly connects us to the Oxford Canal towpath where Stone Bridge is a handsome structure.
- All aboard The Boat -
Initial refreshment comes courtesy of the Boat on Shilton Lane, a cottage pub that feels very much on the fringes of the urban area. Church End's Fallen Angel is an enjoyable ale for starters as we muse over pictures of morris dancing. The soft settee does its best to swallow Stephen but he manages to extract himself, propelled on by thoughts of lunch.
- Moat House Leisure Centre -
Wood End is our next destination, Deedmore Road passing St Patrick's Catholic Church in bringing us out by the Moat House Leisure and Neighbourhood Centre, an impressive facility symbolic of efforts to improve the local area. Our quest for chips was still empty-handed though as we caught the 10 on Winston Avenue, riding through Wyken and along Blackberry Lane towards Stoke Heath.
- Darts Determination -
Tucked away on North Street, the Rose & Woodbine is a community pub I finally sampled at the third time of asking with D9 last year. I considered it worth a swift return visit and was happily rewarded with a nice half of Black Sheep - sadly my efforts on the dartboard were less triumphant, Stephen vying successfully for victory while Nick seemed intent on using tongue warfare as a distraction technique.
- The Whitefriars Debating Society -
Back in Coventry City Centre, lunch belatedly is taken care of by the Earl of Mercia Wetherspoons, the Thursday Curry Club deal proving good value although Mr B felt short-changed in the chip department when receiving his ham and eggs. We then relocate to Whitefriars Olde Ale House, where the crackling open fire accompanies Holden's Hogmanay Porter and a detailed discussion about religion and politics. The timbered interior has a monastic heritage and certainly adds atmosphere to our deliberations.
- Herbert Museum and Art Gallery -
With the sun beginning to set, we make our way past the Herbert Museum to Coventry Cathedral. The gates were closed but we could still pause a moment to reflect, the fading light adding to the poignancy of the ruins. Just across the way, the former County Hall is home to the Establishment, a rather upmarket bar where Nick falls foul of the 'no baseball caps' policy. With HRH's uncouth apparel removed we are clear to sit upstairs where chandeliers and courtroom coats of arms make for quite a spectacle.
- The Wonders of the Old Windmill -
Our final stop involves more medieval architecture in Spon Street where the Old Windmill offers characterful crannies just waiting to be investigated. We are particularly enticed by the back brewhouse room where HRH can avail himself of a luxurious seat next to barrels and brickwork. A half of Beijing Black is a Potbelly potion on which to conclude matters and a speedy scurry gets us safely on our 18:27 train home. Cheers!