The Rifleman’s Arms in Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, is a proper pub. It’s the pub I measure all other pubs against, if there’s a Platonic Ideal of Pubs then the Rifle’s, as it is affectionately known, is it. I first drank in there when I came to the town for the 8.8.88 Free Festival on the Tor, and when I moved to Glastonbury in 1993 it became my ‘local’. The pub has buckets of atmosphere with its dimly lit, low ceilinged 16th Century front bar, stone mullioned window frames, old wooden tables and roaring log fires in Winter.
While rummaging in Daisy May’s secondhand shop I was very excited to find a dusty old vellum scroll secreted under some old mattresses, upon unrolling it I discovered it to be an ancient map of Glastonbury, which bore an uncommon resemblance to my own ‘Glastonbury Town Tourist Map’. It’s remarkable to see how little the … Read more
The Sheppey Inn is a far funkier pub than you might expect to find on the Somerset Levels I wish the Sheppey Inn was in Glastonbury. It’s one of the best pubs ever. It looks like a slightly twisted junk shop run by an acid head. Actually, I’m pleased it isn’t in Glastonbury, because its only … Read more
One of the wonderful things about living in Glastonbury is going to visit somewhere else, especially when that somewhere else is a complete contrast to the Town, and is only a 10 minute cycle away. It does sometimes amaze me that people spend a small fortune going on a workshop to find peace and serenity … Read more
It’s an oft heard complaint that you can’t buy anything useful in Glastonbury. This is of course nonsense. What could be more functional than a mirror ball Ganesha? Who needs underwear when you can simply don a very long cloak? As Kim said to me earlier “I don’t actually want a cauldron, but it’s nice to know I could just pop into the High St and buy one if I did”.
I love Glastonbury, I’ve been visiting since the 8th of August 1988 (8/8/88 of course) and have lived here since July 1993. I’ve tried moving away, even emigrating, but I’ve been pulled back repeatedly – by the Glastonbury rubber band effect as it’s locally known. Glastonbury is an endlessly fascinating parade of engaging characters, mythology and history, interesting shops, and great musicians. Except on my less positive days when it’s shabby, shambolic and full of nutters trying to blag a quid.
Surely there aren’t two Glastonbury towns in England?
The local Tourist Information office likes to pretend that Glastonbury is a small market town with an historic abbey in it. They don’t like to acknowledge that most of Glastonbury’s tourists come here for the weirdness, Glastonbury Tor, crystal and magic shops, vegetarian cafes, etc. In fact they avoid mentioning any of this wherever possible. They don’t like putting posters up for local events that are at all alternative. Or advertising local B&Bs that might cater to anyone looking for anything quirky and original.