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Taking the Pis out of Happisburgh

What finer way to spend a weekend in February than to take your wife, father-in-law and oversized poodle for a weekend’s drinking to a remote part of the North Norfolk coast, under the guise of a wedding anniversary celebration.

The truth however, is that this particular part of the world is, to say the least, beer rich. Let me explain. Having spent a week last June in Norfolk, where every pub yielded a minimum of three hand-pulled beers, only a bloody idiot would not be tempted to go back for a spot of ‘intensive’. Especially as the weather can be reasonably guaranteed to prevent any activity other than the consumption of copious amounts of ale, sitting in front of a log fire in a cosy snug room!

Happisburgh itself, from what I can remember, consists of a pub, the Hill House, a church and a few peasant’s cottages. Now, quite frankly, I couldn’t give a damm about the peasants, nor for that matter the church, (although as I recall it does have a very impressive memorial), but the pub is a different matter. It offers the choice of five hand-pulled beers, gastronomy and luxury accommodation.

Well, the gastronomy consists of generously portioned home-cooked meals and the luxury accommodation, a family room in the pub, (for the father-in-law) and a converted disused signal box in the garden (for loving couple and psychopathic poodle). The beer however, is as described. At the time of going to press - Buffy’s High House, Batemans Rosie Nosie, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, Wadworth 6X and Woodforde’s Wherry Best Bitter.

A bit more about the poodle - Connor is six and half stone of canine assassin. Any dog (note dog not bitch) is an enemy to be killed at the earliest opportunity. Any bitch, well I’m sure you can imagine. He is in fact the Genghis Khan of the poodle world. On the plus side, he loves people, cats and presumably his mother. Although not a hardened drinker, (a bit of a lager lout actually), he does enjoy a good romp on the beach looking for bitches!

A bit more about the father-in-law - imagine if you can, a Londoner transported in his dotage to Gods Own County, a picture of ‘Norf Lundon’ confusion. Every weekend he has been dragged off to various hostelries around Rotherham under the pretext of tasting for the Good Beer Guide 2002 and eating copious amounts of roast dinners under the guise of trying the food. (Fortunately for the aforementioned Connor, father-in law doesn’t have a Northern appetite so there’s usually a doggy bag). His main redeeming feature, (father-in-law, not dog) is that he really likes the ale, obviously a taste acquired since moving North. Like the dog, he also enjoys a romp on the beach, but in his case looking for birds!
Having set the scene, we will be departing for the Promised Land on Friday morning and promise to give a full report on our return. In case you are wondering about the title of this article, there is no pis in Happisburgh, it’s pronounced Haze-borough!!!!! [The Hill Hotel, Happisburgh, Norfolk. Winter price en-suite bedroom, £15 per person per night B & B 01692 650004]

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