Tag: Gloucestershire

Soup with a lid on

Soup with a lidAt the weekend, whilst travelling, I stopped for my midday meal at the Fountain Inn at Parkend in the Forest of Dean. The meal was very enjoyable and tasty, but didn’t quite live up to its billing on the menu. I went had the steak and ale pie, ‘A rich, old-fashioned pie, topped with puff-pastry.’ Well, rich, yes, though a little runny — it would have benefited from the gravy within being a little thicker. It’s also true to say that it was topped with puff-pastry, but that’s the problem, it was only topped, no sides nor base. For me, ‘old-fashioned’ when applied to pie construction implies that the pastry encases the filling, not just tops it off in modern mass-catering style. It was very tasty, freshly prepared stuff, but more like chunky steak-and-carrot soup with a puff-pastry lid on than a real pie.

Fountain Inn, ParkendThe inn clearly does plenty of business from the local railway and the welcome was friendly and the beer good. It’s well worth a visit, just don’t expect the food to be as authentically traditional as the website menu suggests.

Which way are they going?

Whilst I can see the advantages of doubling the rail line from Swindon to Gloucester (the ‘Stroud Valley Line’ according to locals, or the ‘Golden Valley Line’ according to the operators), I suspect that Ms Girling (a councillor on more councils than is reasonable) may be rather disappointed with the outcome if Gloucestershire County Council’s campaign is successful. She seems to overestimate the area’s commercial attractions.

Without the extra track there is a real danger that the growth in new housing will far outstrip new jobs leading to a slowdown in the local economy, more people commuting out of the area and the inevitable knock-on effect of more congestion.

Err… commuting is a two-way thing, and improving the rail service will make it just as easy to commute out of the area as it will to commute into the area. I suspect that Swindon’s employment might benefit more than the Stroud Valley.

Ms Girling’s comments remind me of those of Sheffield City Council during the 1990s. They were adamant that the opening of the tram line from the city centre to the Meadowhall Centre would revitalise the city, encouraging the thousands that went to Meadowhall for shopping to make the journey to the city centre’s run-down shopping areas. It didn’t. What it did was enable city centre workers to make the trip to Meadowhall within their lunch break, further depleting trade for city centre stores. It took another ten years for the city centre to recover. I suspect this is not the effect that Ms Girling has in mind.