Twenty Five: The White Hart, Abingdon, OX13 5LW

The venue: The White Hart, Main Road, Fyfield, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 5LW

The website:

The Sunday dinner: Beef

The price: £26 for two courses

With just one more sleep before work, it’s time, once again, for the Sunday Dinner Diaries. Now in its 25th week, it recently saw a surge in interest, thanks to Garry Bushell With The Thin Legs.

Bouyed by my success, I attempted to simultaneously groom Spike from Hi-De-Hi, Paul Chuckle and Joe Pasquale by asking polite gravy-based questions over the medium of Twitter. I want to introduce a monthly Celebrity Sunday Dinner Diary, you see. It clearly boosts readership figures, for starters, and I’d like to undertake additional field research into what people off the telly’s limbs look like in real life. Maybe I could get a grant. 

All three of the miserable shits ignored me, of course. But Bushell continued to provide unwavering support from the wings. So much so, that he wrote a blog about me right back. Here’s a snippet:

I won’t lie to you. I’m a bit sad that his physical description of me amounts to “quite tall”. Nothing about my thick hair, full eyelashes and youthful complexion. I’ve cut out a couple of passages to post here, because he also writes about how funny Jim Davidson is in the post, which I don’t want you to see. I’m concerned you’ll think his opinion counts for shit because of that. And it doesn’t – I am actually quite tall. Later on, he describes me as “certainly not grotesque” – a further resounding endorsement of my attributes, if not a fact. He hasn’t seen me puking, shitting and crying at the same time. Yet. I liked that he thought I was full of life. What more could I want? This:

I copied both snapshots to my Facebook timeline. Turns out some of my disciples have an issue with Coren, just like they did with my BFF Bushell. I don’t have a well-informed opinion of Giles, but I’ve seen him on TV a couple of times. Would. I decided to approach him:

Giles didn’t respond again. I suppose he realised I was “infinitely more entertaining” than him and felt understandably threatened. 

Aside from trying, and failing, to secure my next Celebrity Sunday Dinner Diary guest, there have been other disappointments this week.

I found out I had the same dress as Toyah Battersby, for example. That didn’t make me feel very good. 

I’ve been in a foul mood most of the week, to be honest. One evening, I called a candle a ‘FUCKING CUNT’, which was completely over the top, I know. I just got really angry. At an inanimate object. 

It kept going out while I was trying to use it to light another candle. Imagine me as a sexy monk in that scene if you like. What made my outburst worse is that I pulled the candle really close to my face and hissed and spat the two swear words in a really nasty, threatening, menacing way. I was trying to intimidate a stick of wax, basically. And boy, did it work. It was SHITTING itself after I’d finished with it. Lit the other candle a treat following that. No messing.

As well as being aggressive this week, I also had an idea. In short, it’s an alternative church, hosted by the Vicar of Grimsby (that’s me). It’s held at 3.33pm every third Sunday at a suitable venue. This is what happens: 

  • You sing rousing pop songs instead of hymns. 
  • You drink wine.
  • You do a bit of mindfulness/meditation.
  • You hear some short stories of inspiration and motivation.
  • You sing more songs and drink more wine.
  • You go home feeling a sense of community spirit, ready to face the week ahead, and a bit hammered, but not too hammered. 

As an example, someone would give a short presentation on how to get through the working week. Hints, tips and the like. You’d sip your wine during it. After the speech, the pianist would play the opening bars of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’. The congregation would rise and belt it out. 

Here are some potential names for the venture:

  1. Charlatan Church – because it’s also a bit like Charlotte Church. 
  2. Unorthodox Rocks.
  3. The Happy Chapel.
  4. The Social Services.
  5. Hymn’ll Fix It. 

I thought it was a great idea and told my colleagues about it the following day. 
“It sounds shit,” said Skeletor, looking very much like a talking corpse, but sadly devoid of the engaging personality of a talking corpse. 

With my dreams well and truly pissed on, I developed whooping cough and the flu as a direct result, and have been gravely ill all week. 

Mr Jus’ contract ended on Friday and he’s now officially unemployed. I’m worried that he’s going to start asking for money for tampons and so on. I’m joking,  if anyone looks like they’re going through an early menopause, it’s him. 

I’m more worried that he still won’t tidy that fucking desk, even with all this time on his tiny hands. 

Let’s get on with the review and not think about how I’ll go all candle on him if he doesn’t pull his weight (about 3.5 stones) around the house while I’m at the coalface. 

We went to Oxfordshire today to see his parents. It’s a term of Mr Jus’ visiting order that we must meet in a safe, public place, equidistant between their home and his. He’s sometimes like a petulant teenager with them and I often tell him to stop acting like a cock and be nicer. 

He chose today’s venue – The White Hart – which won some food award or other in 2015 and has oak beams. You can find out more on the website if you decide to go, even after I reveal that it was expensive for what it was and was served on the cusp of being tepid enough to complain. Bit of a spoiler there. But it wasn’t all bad. Let’s have a look at it as it arrived, and then when I lobbed veg and horseradish sauce on it. 

I don’t know how I feel about the Yorkshire pudding being a life raft for spuds. I want them to drown in gravy, not be led to safety by the batter equivalent of the RNLI’s finest. 

This is better. Here we find green beans, cauliflower cheese, root vegetable mash, roasted parsnips and leeks. A fine selection. The chunky horseradish cleared my blocked nostrils, allowing me to enjoy the many tastes and textures. It was good to have a wide and well-cooked selection, before The Plague took hold of me once more. 

The gravy was wet. That’s unfair. It had some depth. But think paddling pool rather than hot tub. I know Paul Benbow can’t do that. He’s obsessed by the latter. I’m name-checking him as I’m sure he has moaned about not being included in the past. He’s also moving to Vienna soon, like fucking Midge Ure or something. The potatoes, cooked in goose fat, were good guys, and the beef was a lot more tender than Spike from Hi De Hi has bothered to be. 

Mr Jus coughed throughout the meal, which was slightly off-putting. His age means he’s a lot more succeptible to infection than me, while his gender forces him to exaggerate and dramatise the severity of his illness.

I asked for his quote. As he continued to fight for his life, he managed to splutter: 

“I thought it was pretty average. It was a nice place. Mum and dad enjoyed it. Thank you for coming and for forcing me to make an effort with my parents.”

I bet he asks me for a tenner tomorrow so he can buy a computer game from CEX to play in his underpants, while I continue to be a high-flying business leader and entrepreneur. As well as quite tall. 

You can read Garry Bushell calling me that here.
Final score: 21/33


2 thoughts on “Twenty Five: The White Hart, Abingdon, OX13 5LW

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