Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Cars and Girls

(Prefab Sprout) – The Jolly Farmer, Dronfield Woodhouse

Once upon a time, many years ago and in a previous life, I lived with my parents on Gosforth Drive, overlooking the Gosforth Valley in Dronfield Woodhouse; midway between Sheffield and Chesterfield.

I was single, in those days, and the ‘Gorsey Brigg’ was the (then) newly opened neighbourhood pub, situated in the middle of the valley, the estate and adjacent to a small shopping centre.

Back in the day the ‘Gorsey Brigg’ was operated by Shipstones, a Nottingham brewery and it stocked – if I recall correctly -Greenall Whitley brews.

In all honesty it had the ambience of a bus station canteen and its beers were not well kept.

But it was my local, I didn’t know much better, and John Finch and I would meet up on Sunday evenings to drink, feed the jukebox and discuss the usual teenage subjects…

Fast forward thirty seven years John’s been married for nearly twenty four of those years, while Val and I – well, you knw that story.

The ‘Gorsey Brigg’ has become the ‘Jolly Farmer’, operated by ‘The Pub People Company’. It’s been ‘rethought’ and refurbished to within an inch of its life, now featuring low ceilings, ‘antique’ woodwork, flagstone floors and it’s been subdivided into multiple small rooms.

It also does food, and after a busy day visiting the Hemswell Antique Centre in Lincolnshire, we called in to the Jolly Farmer for a bite to eat.

It was busy, but we found a table and I ordered drinks. There’ a good selection of ‘real ales’, lagers and the inevitable list of exotic gins. It was St Patrick’s Day weekend so there was a promotion on Guinness and plenty of pseudo Irish decorations up… the sort of stuff they don’t do in Dublin.

In all honesty, it’s a bit cluttered and gloomy, but it was busy (and we’d driven past at least five closed pubs on our day out), and a great Improvement on the old Gorsey Brigg.

John recommended the ‘Woodhouse’ burger – the burgers are named for local ‘landmarks’ and, despite the extensive menu, I followed his recommendation. John ordered the same, while his wife, Joanne, ordered the Lasagne.

At £6.99 for a main course, the prices are close to astonishing, excellent value.

The burger, a full 6oz, was well cooked, served on a brioche bun, with chips, salad, beer battered onion rings, cheese and beef chilli. It was very tasty and the chilli was flavourful and mellow.

Joanne described the lasagne as better than she’d had in many Italian restaurants.