Posts Tagged ‘beers’

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You will remember I wrote about The Hungry Horse/Farmhouse Inn in Portsmouth, well I’m back there, and what a difference. The last time I was here they were closing the restaurant/pub side for refurbishment, well its completed.  This pub has an affiliation with Portsmouth City and now displays its history with pride. So let me tell you about our stay.

We arrived around 7pm tired and not having eaten since early morning starving, so went to book in.  Small problem, a room! We had not booked over the internet and the place was basically full. The only room available was a ‘executive suite’ so we are now in a spacious suite with work space and ideal for that cosy supper (yep even at our age) and impressed with the whole thing. It is clean, warm and just what we wanted.

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The bed is in a wooden scroll style with a comfortable mattress, there is a pine wardrobe and dressing table/desk where I can write, bedside tables and adequate lighting.

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In the front part of the room is a comfortable leather settee with a coffee table facing a wall mounted television and a table with two chairs where I sit to use my laptop on the free WiFi. This room on the ground floor at the rear of the hotel is quiet except for the owl, his hooting made me feel quite at home but no pictures yet!!

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So now to the refurbished bit and WOW!  As we walked along the corridors to the Hungry Horse I noticed the walls were hung with new art work interspersed with pictures/paintings of  ships, sail boats and scenes of Portsmouth in times gone by.  Then there in the midst was a ‘hand bill’, looking for 3 men to crew a ship, the other was a Naval announcement of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar with lists of those lost. It made the walk a wander as we stopped several times to look at the photographs and study the hand bill, then we passed through the doors into the new dining area.  What a difference. It was nice to find the ‘crew’ back on station plus a few new faces all with big smiles and very very busy.  This is the one thing I have noticed here they ALL smile, have time to talk and joke whilst getting on with the job of looking after everyone.

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I will start with the sports bar.  Here in the back part of the bar I found the pool tables centre stage with new seating at both ends. The television’s are still dotted around but somehow there seems to be more light and space.

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In the main part of this bar I found my only concern.  This bar is still light and airy with a large television showing the sport. Add the new carpet, different upholstered chairs and you have a cheerful place to sit, eat and watch your sport. However, I have one slight comment to make.  There are two booths in front of the bar that face a television set behind it.  This does not sound so bad except that when you go to get a drink or order food you cannot get to the bar as people are blocking it.  A group of 4 is ok they fit into the booth, but any mates have to gather round the end hence a jam. That is my one and only down comment everything else is perfect, perhaps turning these booths to face into the room and the large television would free up the walkway and bar area.

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In the dining area there have been big changes.  Firstly the main part has been opened up, circular seating installed, small booths with  televisions dotted here and there, making for spacious areas. Chairs are upholstered in a variety of fabrics give life and colour to the area. Here and there are wall dividers which allow views of other parts of the dining area, these are dressed with coloured glass vases, giving an ambiance to your dining.

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But it is the murals that give the ambiance to the dining areas, Portsmouth in all its Naval glory.  This establishment is frequented by Naval personnel and considering Portsmouths history it is very fitting.  There are no pretensions here just a cheerful welcome and good food. Mind you it did seem to be busier than ever.

The Pony Club is going strong with a new look. There is a bar and seating area for the grown ups and play area for the children.  This includes an area with a television where they can try out various Wii style activities, and the soft ball area is there but bigger – memories of Sheldon….

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I have been talking about the Hungry Horse and the Farmhouse but lets face it without the girls on reception it would all be lost.  They are the first people you see when you arrive and greet you with a friendly attitude and smile.

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They are helpful and full of information about up coming events, one of which is a wedding show on the 24th of March.   They – along with the house-ladies who make sure your room is comfortable – are people of local knowledge. Again all of this is done with a smile that is genuine and you feel as if you had just returned home.

Also in reception is a map of the Portsmouth area so you can see where you would like to visit.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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Last weekend was the Mora Morisco.  This is a medieval fair which is held every year to celebrate the links between the Moors and Spanish which lasted around 750 years.  As we walked into the square we were greeted with the smell of rosemary which was used to sweeten the air in those bygone days.  There were ovens baking delicious breads, cheese stalls selling goats and sheep’s cheeses, others were selling hand-made soaps, wilst up the long side street were other stalls displaying toys, wine, herbs, jewelry.  In the square it self were bars serving food and beers, whilst in one corner round a table sat a family singing traditional songs accompanied by a guitar.  Up in the castle were the falconry and snake charmer (and no we did not go there..)

Up another small side street we found a candle maker and just past him was the paper maker with his paper strung out across the street like flags, here we watched as a friend tried his hand at making paper.  Then I wandered over to a house that was open and full of tools and implements.  On our walk round we met the stilt man, the leper (the look on some children’s faces when they saw him) and a traveling medieval band, the music was well-played and they even had their little cart of beer with them….

But the best thing – I think – was the display of belly dancing. These two young women danced with big smiles on their faces whirling and twirling to the music.  We spent a pleasant few hours wandering round, before we returned to the square for a well-earned drink.  Then we walked back to the car and home, our daughter thought it was wonderful and to prove it she had bought cheese and bread.

So I have placed the photos in a collage hope you enjoy them.

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