Work Christmas lunch today at the Red Lion. Haven’t been in there since it was done up. Its pretty nice and the food was good but the beer selection is poor and expensive. Was pleased with the secret santa present I got for the Canary – an adult-size Elvis baby-grow. It got a good reception and, as hoped, he wore it throughout the meal but I was disappointed he took it off when we moved on to another pub.
We went on to Far From the Madding Crowd which this week was crowned Oxford CAMRA’s pub of the year. It is tucked away in an alley behind Tesco and despite its reputation among real ale fans, I had never actually been before. It was pretty dead in there when we arrived – just a few old boys at the bar and a couple getting it on in the far corner. Being a freehouse, they had a nice varied selections of beers on tap and being in a festive mood, I went for a Cornish ale called Christmas Fairy which was rather nice.
My big disappointment with Far for the Madding Crowd was the sorry state for their Jenga set. Actually it wasn’t even proper Jenga but a poor imitation called “Tumbledown”. Not only that, but there were 7 pieces missing, which limited the height of the tower and severely limited our fun potential frm below average to poor. Thankfully, by some miracle, all the missing pieces were from the top of the stack, meaning that we could still actually play (albeit with a reduced height). Had the missing pieces been from the bottom, or somewhere in the middle of the stack, I would have stormed out of there in disgust.