Bat and ball, pen and paper, hammer and chisel, pub and dartboard. Can you spot the odd one out?
It’s the last one. Well, in my world it is anyway.
They all make sense apart from ales and arrows. Letting people loose with booze and dartsseems like a ludicrous idea.
However, thank crikey they were paired together because they’ve provided me with many hours of fun over the years, as well as a fair dose of frustation. After all, I am still waiting to get that elusive first 180.
During my game of darts at the Leathern Bottle my performance followed a familiar pattern; I start well then get steadily worse as the ale takes a hold of my throwing arm.
Early scores of 93, 89 and 88 were soon replaced with 15, 9 and 7 before my friend sensibly called a halt to the game as my wayward aim endangered the lives of those gathered at the bar.
It would have been a shame if I’d hit an unsuspecting punter with a dart. After all, I literally got a warm welcome when I walked into this boozer on a cold winter’s evening.
The fire was roaring, and within a minute of buying myself a pint of Hogs Back Brewery’s TEA (Traditional English Ale, 4.2%), I was in conversation with a friendly chap who was trying to put a positive spin on nearby Godalming Town’s latest defeat.
There were two televisions showing live sport, so my new pal turned his attentions to that, while I strode forth confidently to the oche and prepared to show-off all the skills I’d learnt over the years from watching legends of the sport such as Cliff Lazarenko, Jocky Wilson and Keith Deller.
The pub has lots of canal and barge regalia on its walls and a map of the Wey and Arun canal which runs between Godalming and Farncombe takes pride of place above the fireplace.
Sandwiched between the fireplace and the bar are some steps leading to a raised area which offers a quieter place to sit, sup ale and generally keep out of harm’s way.
The freezing cold didn’t stop dedicated smokers from popping outside for a crafty puff in the generous smoking area which leads onto a decent-sized beer garden.
History buffs may be interested to know that by the door to the beer garden is a brief history of the land on which the pub stands. Booze buffs, meanwhile, may just be interested in getting leathered with the locals at the bar.
The Leathern Bottle is one of those rare pubs where you feel at home even though you may be visiting the place for the first time. If I were you I’d head down there for a session of ales and arrows.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE LEATHERN BOTTLE, 77 Meadrow, Farncombe, Surrey, GU7 3JG.
ATMOSPHERE: *** Welcoming and cosy.
SERVICE: **** A very lovely lady with a colourful skirt served me with a smile. You can’t get much better than that.
SELECTION: *** There was TEA from the Tongham-based Hogs Back Brewery, London Pride (4.1%) and Courage Best (4%) for ale lovers, along with Stowford Press Cider.
PRICE: *** £3.15 is pretty good, I guess.
HIGHLIGHT: Surviving three near-death experiences when my darts rebounded back off the board.