SURELY one of the best things about those heady days of summer is pub beer gardens and the opportunity they give you to sit for literally days on end smiling contentedly at the cloudless skies on rickety picnic benches.

Of course in reality even the idyllic realms of the beer garden can have their pitfalls: pesky mosquitoes, exhaust fumes from passing cars, screaming kids dive bombing your legs and the odd deceptively strong pup dragging one of the aforementioned benches round the garden by its lead.

But generally we are willing to overlook some of these minor technicalities and will happily plonk ourselves down for a good four hours of liquid refreshment while we turn a lurid shade of pink.

The Rose and Crown in Sandridge is the perfect place for these kind of beer garden-dwelling


Plenty of picnic tables on a good-sized lawn may be pretty basic but it beats many pubs which use a couple of chairs stuck on a few slabs of concrete as a poor excuse for a garden hands down.

However, it has not escaped my attention that the silly season is drawing to a close and despite enthusiastic weather readers assuring us of an Indian summer there is about as much chance now of a heatwave descending upon Sandridge as there is of Woolies deciding not to stock advent calendars until late November.

However, inside the pub although not quite enthusing me in the same way as the outside is convivial enough.

It is the kind of Toby jug-adorned place that villagers flock to for its homely atmosphere, know-where-you-stand oak beams and dim lighting. With slightly more rough and ready charm than the nearby Queen's Head it could be the perfect place to find a cosy nook and settle for a drink or two. Who knows I might even start enjoying the inside as much as the outside.