So. What’s a Blue Raddle when it’s at home?
The pub’s web site is as good a place as any to answer this. Decent little website too. The presence of sheepabilia all around the pub also gave a bit of a clue. To be fair, beyond the sheep connection, you’d never work it out in a million years. Sat in the pub, I’d got it down in my mind as a rare variety of Dorset sheep, but I was wrong.
Apparently Blue Raddle is a thick dye that is rubbed on the underside of a male sheep when he is put out to service a flock of ewes. Any resulting presence of blue dye on the ewes back denoting that the job has been done. Obviously the colour of the dye is ‘Blue’, now whether the process of insemination relates to the ‘Raddle’ part is unclear. It would however form a very descriptive verb for the act?
First impressions? Smells of polish and general cleanliness. Everything is absolutely spotless. Anything wooden is glossy shiny. Traditional, but beautiful, loved and cared for. I like it. If I lived around here I would use it. But why is there only four blokes inside and one sat outside having a smoke? It’s half past twelve on a Thursday afternoon? Dorchester’s not a large town, but there’s close on 20,000 inhabitants, surely it can muster a better day time trade than this?
Beer? Same as the pub. Very traditional and in superb condition. Nothing wrong with that though, in fact it should be encouraged. I had a half of Lyme Regis Town Mill, £1.90 for a half, I rated it 3.5, rising to 4.0, on NBSS, that’s probably 3.75, if it existed. I expect nothing else in a GBG 2017 pub though. I particularly liked the professional branding on the supplementary pump clip proclaiming, ‘Dorset Ales at the Raddle’
I could have had Otter Bitter, Castle Rock Harvest Pale or St Austell Tribute. There was also a selection of real and keg ciders, they do home cooked food too, but I didn’t see any ordered or served.
As the youngest chap in the pub, it was quite interesting to listen to the lively conversation. A phone call heralding the completion of ‘the crossword’ precipitated a prompt visit from a well spoken older gent, and much discussion with regards the merits of the various clues. I couldn’t see which paper they had, but there were no red bits, and the very cryptic clues suggested a high degree of difficulty. With the arrival of the well spoken gent, there were now six punters in the pub, including the one who had returned from his smoko.
Although it’s actually one large room, there are distinct areas, and whilst the crossword was the focus of attention in the front part, the tripartite conversation in the middle part between an ex Matelot, ex Pongo and an occasional visitor revolved around the lack of aircraft on super carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
On my visit to the gents I discovered a nice line in recent ‘Private Eye’ sketches in glazed frames around the walls and a ‘piss the ball into the football net game’ in the urinal. I kid you not.
On my way back to my seat, an examination of the many photographs around the walls told me that this was clearly a community pub with many active clubs and societies. It clearly appeals to all sorts of people, and I can understand why.
I was going to have another, but on hearing that the Freemasons had been spying for some considerable time around Portland harbour on behalf of the KGB, I decided that it was unsafe to remain within this hotbed of outdated radicalisation and have a look elsewhere.
Verdict? A wacky name, a wonderfully well run pub with decent beer, but where were all the customers (a theme to be continued …)?