Square Fayre

8 Aug

My favourite pub in the world is now a bracing 90 minute clifftop walk (or 10 minute cab ride) away.

The Square and Compass is an eccentric old smugglers inn at the end of a hamlet called Worth Matravers in Dorset. It’s one of those pubs that you find by chance, and yet everybody seems to have stumbled across it at some point.

Hand reared chickens and geese wander about between the rambler clientele and their dogs – in the winter a big oak fire keeps the warmth in and in the summer people bask outside on a mad assortment of stone carved tables and tree stump chairs (the pub claims to be home to some sort of stone carving convention, although I have yet to see anyone actually carving any stones).

The Square does not do food (go to the website, click the menu tab and what you get is a giant picture of a Cornish pasty. That is all they serve). It does not do credit cards and there are 2 items on its wine list – red and white.

It’s up to you to come prepared. But if you are, it’s the kind of place where half an hour suddenly becomes three. It really is another world and it’s incredibly enchanting (especially after a couple of pints of the local brew).

There’s even a “museum” of things the owners have found on the beach over the years. Namely plenty of big fossils and almost as many clay pipes, the fag butts of our ancestors. Oh – and an absolutely enormous crab (stuffed with whatever it is that crab taxidermy requires).

If the Brontes had lived around here instead of in Haworth Emily would probably still have written Wuthering Heights but it might have had a happier ending.

Last night we ended up there with two London friends. Unknown to us yesterday was a highlight in the pub events calendar – the charmingly named Square Fair. This seemed to involve a folk band, an African steel drum type group and copious amounts of moonshine cider. The place was packed out with people and their dogs. One guy was proudly sporting a little terrier sitting on his shoulder like a parrot. The chickens were not impressed by this  interloper. The bar staff were in fancy dress but I never  figured out the theme.

The only two costumes that have stuck in my mind are the flamingo man and the teenager dressed in a pack of cards. Maybe it was the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. It was certainly mad.

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2 Responses to “Square Fayre”

  1. Frau Dietz August 11, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I WANT TO SPORT A LITTLE TERRIER ON MY SHOULDER.

  2. zskdorset August 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    It would definitely suit you, Frau D! so cute.

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