I am blessed that my job takes me to some wonderful locations and the Black Swan in Ockham, Surrey is one of my favourites!
A pub that I frequented in my early 20s (back then it was affectionately known as “The Mucky Duck”) has changed beyond recognition since those dim and distant days.
Nestled in idyllic Surrey countryside, whilst being only minutes from the A3 and the M25, it is hugely popular with local walkers and cyclists but also attracts patrons from all over the country (and the world!). When chatting with the parents of the children I’m painting I find that many use it as a central meeting point for family get-togethers and celebrations as it’s so easily accessible.
You can often find us set up just inside the entrance of the pub, especially on bank holiday weekends. We have great fun keeping the children occupied whilst the parents enjoy the mouth-watering food on offer; and sometimes they brave my chair too and enjoy a good dousing of glitter themselves!
This Sunday we were invited to set up in the fabulous beer garden alongside several local food and wine producers at their popular Farmers’ Market.
It was great to see Mary again with her melt in the mouth cakes and biscuits and I had another opportunity to paint her beautiful daughter, Emma.
The Black Swan’s premium wine supplier, La Caves de Pyrene was on hand offering wine tasting. I avoided the temptation to partake but couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle to take away and enjoy later!
I did sneak a nibble of the cheese on offer from Turner’s Fine Food followed by another purchase! I can highly recommend the Baromar (similar to cheddar) and the Plumptondown Lynchetts Soft (similar to camembert).
Whilst overcast, the weather was kind and the Garden Menu was just as popular as the main Lunch Menu served in the restaurant. My mouth was watering all afternoon as the pungent, aromatic smells wafted over to me from the delicious barbecue! The two Rivitas that I had wolfed down whilst I set up my kit earlier just didn’t cut the mustard!
After a quiet start, the children came at me thick and fast!! Dalmatians seemed to be the order of the day for many but of course there were your guaranteed array of tigers and butterflies wandering around the children’s play area by the end of the afternoon!
A couple of wolf requests sneaked in too … a little spooky … I am reliably informed that back in the early 80s the pub was used as the set for “The Slaughtered Lamb” bar scene in An American Werewolf in London! Strangely I do get asked for more than the average amount of wolf paints when I’m working there!
You can find more information about the Black Swan here.
Liam and his fantastic team will be delighted to welcome you. (Please do book if you want to eat in the restaurant – I have never known it not to be packed!)