Not much had changed in the Pickerel. 5 beers on handpump as advertised. Old Mill Halloween was distinctly average; the Coach House Blueberry was better. Also on were Old Peculier, Wherry and Dizzy Blonde. A "coming soon" board encouraged a return visit. I didnít notice a price list, although the prices were reasonable. Pub food is served all day. The staff attend promptly and politely, as though they are in a shop. Any pause in the action and they are off talking to their friends. One of the factors in a successful pub is presence behind the bar, somewhat lacking here.

The Baron of Beef had changed, and how. It reminded me of an old Joe Lyons tea house. Much more like a cafe than a pub. The GK IPA was typically bland.

Next door, The Mitre was full of diners too. But this is unmistakably a pub. Handpumps featured 8 different beers, each with a little card above the pump-clip summarising the type and qualities of the beer. Just to make sure you get a drink to your liking, there is a Sip before you Sup feature. Black Sheep and London Pride are regulars; guest beers included Cairngorm Autumn Nuts (particularly good), Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, Badger etc. Even with all the diners, and those waiting for a table, there is still plenty of drinking space. Promotional material is plentiful, including precisely which beer is in the beer batter. Details of a Meet the Brewers evening looked interesting.

Not much has changed at The Maypole. The beer is no longer cold but served at the right temperature. Prices are as ever a little on the high side. Beer selection included Wherry, Black Sheep, Deuchars, Adnams Explorer, particularly good Hobgoblin and Beartown Kodiak Gold. TV offered a difficult choice with soccer in one bar, rugby in the other.

Down King Street at The Champ was a different atmosphere entirely. Perhaps it isn't a Saturday afternoon pub, but it was dead. Overpoweringly stuffy, no sport, very little conversation and a barmaid reluctant to stop reading her book. Looking round, as you do in these circumstances, there is not one lampshade left in the place. However, alongside the IPA, Abbot and Tribute was Witchfinder, the best beer of the day.

The afternoon finished at The Radegund; unchanged, always interesting. No Terry, this being a Saturday. The beer selection was normal, although not engrained on the memory. The Milton beer was good, endorsed by the Milton brewer who was at the bar drinking it.

Not a bad little tour - it beats shopping doesn't it?

Carl Woolf