Jan was not over keen to attend an estate coffee morning meeting the other day, so I suggested that I would take her to lunch somewhere. To my pleasant surprise, she readily agreed. By eleven thirty that morning we had our coats on and got in the car. It was a cold crisp day, with weak sunshine playing in between the clouds.
I had known of several nice old country pubs that I had taken my Mother to before she died. She lived in my brother’s house in rural Essex for a number of years and as neither my brother, his wife nor my mother drove it was a weekly obligation that I would take all three of them out (usually to a pub). In those days Jan was working, so she was not able to be with us.
So I said to Jan, “I know a nice old Pub in the general area of Billericay – shall I see if we can find it again?” I had in mind The Olde Dog Inn, near Herongate Tye. So we set of from our flat in Hornchurch heading north to the A127 where we turned east toward Southend. Just at another old pub along the A127, I had known since childhood, called The Halfway House, I told Jan to turn onto the A128 and just a little way along that road I asked Jan to take a road on the right called Billericay Road and in just a few minutes there was the pub I was looking for. The car had been nicely cosy with its heater on and when we got out it was freezing cold.
As we entered I was thinking although it has been more than ten years since I last came here, it does not seemed to have change at all. Both the open fireplaces in the bar area were blazing away, and the whole pub was nice and warm. I ordered a pint and Jan had an orange juice, the woman asked Jan if she wanted ice in her orange juice and when Jan said “no thank you, it’s far too cold for ice today”. The very nice woman behind the bar asked if we would be eating there and when we said yes she led us into the dining room and seated near another open fire.
When we were sat down she gave us each a large menu that had a huge selection of choices to choose from; the woman went on to say please feel free to choose from the menu but we also have all the special you can see written on the black-board on the wall by the fireplace. I was impressed, it had all the usual pub-grub such as sausages and onions with mashed potatoes and rich beef gravy, or steak and kidney individual pie again with mashed potatoes and a choice of vegetables. In the end I settled for ham, egg and chips while Jan had scampi. Both of the meals were so large in their portions that neither Jan nor I could finish our lunch, but it was a very nice place to be and I was pleased that Jan was impressed with the place I had suggested.
It wasn’t until we had got home that I “googled” The Olde Dog Inn and discovered that the place dated back to the early sixteenth century. We will both happily go back there for another lunch someday.