Driving towards our destination towards Devises last December to take up
our overnight accommodation at 'The Bear' - we passed the village of
'Wadworth' brews it's beers in Devises and delivers beers in Oak
Barrels to a wonderful little pub called The Raven at Poulshot. The
Raven is within the two mile maximum radius of deliveries by the
Wadworth Shire horses. These wonderful dray horses are still actively
delivering draught beers to pubs within local surroundings. It is a
sight for sore eyes to watch the carts pulled by well groomed giant
Shires with brasses polished and hooves shone - clitter - clatter
along the cobbled stone sets, with cars in tidy line behind them - not
a horn in anger is sounded at this picture long past.
'The Raven' is also a special visit in August where people gather to
watch the great Shires turned loose to take their months holiday in
the lush meadows surrounding this mystical little pub. A pint jug of
Wadworth Ale is offered to the horses,who with happy grins and twisted
tongs, take a restful drink. It is fun to see them stripped of their
leather tethers, skip and dance in the butter cupped field.
No one; who has ever witnessed this event, has any doubt that the
horses know what is before them - a months rest from toil.
We pushed open 'The Ravens' Saloon door to be greeted with a hello and
a great big crackling log wood and bitumas coal fire - this mixture
provided our second warm greeting. We moved towards the fire to find a
seat - then we called upon the menu. I stood against the bar; five
barrels were lined - truly levelled - against the wall - supported by
a stout row of crossed oak staves.
What is your fancy Sir! - I pointed towards Henry's Original - with a
pull on the pump, up came a jug of beer with a a great head. As I was
taking the head off the pint with my lips. A crowd of twelve men began
to sit along a row of tables which had been reserved for the occasion.
I soon found that they were all shooting colleagues. Dressed in tweed
Shooting Breeks with long warm green socks - their boots previously
discarded in the pub's wet porch - directed by the publican---- " Get
yer muddy boots off lads before you join the others"!.
I smiled as I watched this gaggle of men take their places - all had
ruddy faces and happy expressions, so I guessed the day's shoot had
been successful. --- I expect that among them were professionals -
perhaps a doctor or a lawyer or two I'll wager.
My mind turned again towards the fire, watching the flames lick around
the coals; I was now in deep thought. What if I could be eighteen
again; what different path would I have trodden. Yes , I thought; I
would like my key turned back, but I would insist on my maturity also
going back in time - for without it, I would make all the same stupid
mistakes again. I pondered further - what would I have liked to have
become - a farmer perhaps, or a lawyer. I decided this needed far
more consideration ---- if I were to go back then I needed to deeply
think this further. I was shaken out of this stupor by a voice " your
meal is ready sir". Delightful it was too!
The shooters were now onto their cheese course - the barmaid came to
the table with a large farm cheese, as round as a dinner plate it
were, with a fine mould, perfect as it should be. I giant bottle came
next full of home made Sloe gin! The cheese was cut in thin slices,
off the top like - not wedges as I do. Was this the Wiltshire way to
More logs were piled upon the fire - however bellies were now replete
- so off the men swerved towards the door. We spoke about the Sloe gin
to the barmaid - it seemed that one of the farmers present had
provided both the cheese and the pink Gin from his own larder - the
remains to be kept in the pub for a later second visit . After the
last customer had left; she stole over to our table with a smile and
thimble of a free taste of home made Sloe gin - down the hatch it
went; to the delight of the tongue. Yes, must come again to 'The
Raven' on a cold frosty day!
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