THE day was hot and Pub Spy was out and about in the St John’s area of Worcester, looking for respite and decent grub.

At last, the Brunswick Arms was chosen for a crafty visit.

Swifts were screeching like demons overhead, and the plane trees on the Malvern Road were weighed down with relentless sunshine; but I settled into my window seat with pleasure and relief, to peruse a modest menu.

I was looking for a good square pub meal at a reasonable price. I did not seek artisanal vegetables which had been exposed to the moon once a fortnight, to make them sweeter. I did not require a steak which would come with a certificate of quality, signed by the farmer and the bull itself. In fact, I rather fancied a steak, but I was out of luck. Steaks were not on the menu, whether endorsed by the hapless bull or not. I settled instead for a locally-themed dish of Gloucester sausages and mash, with garden peas and onion gravy.

For further refreshment, I ordered a pint of Stowford Cider: a brew as local as the sausages, being pressed just over the border, in Herefordshire.

So it was, I began my afternoon meal and reflected on the glories of the three counties: a glory which extends to food and drink.

Service is good at The Brunswick Arms and the Stowford’s came on draft, with a smile. The glass was ice cold and nicely beaded with condensation, and while it is true that I quaffed more Stowford’s in the past, before it became a nationally celebrated cider, the reason for its success, of course, is in the taste. Stowford’s may not be as sharp as a mouse trap, nor as sweet as mountain honey; but it is a bit of both, and there lies its powerful appeal. Like a fine wine, Stowford Cider has notes and themes. In short, it is delicious, especially when nicely chilled, which it was.

The Gloucester sausages were delightful too: with hymns of herbs contesting with the pork, and always most pleasantly. The sausages were cooked to perfection, for undercooked sausages deserve but a frown and a shudder. The mash was a triumph of texture and taste, inviting to my fork, with not a lump in sight.

As for the onion gravy, it had clearly been prepared with care, and the correct balance was achieved between the sharp and the savoury. The slices of onion were nicely chopped and delicate. In short, a very fine gravy.

The garden peas, however, which came - it must be said - at no extra cost, had clearly seen the ice in recent times. Frozen vegetables can be fine, however, and these came warm and ready in their pot. In this sense, they were not a disappointment: but perhaps a maidenly scoop of butter might have served them well?

So it was I concluded my meal and decided to study in more depth the decor and atmosphere of “The Brunny”, to use a name employed by the regulars.

The atmosphere speaks of decades of hospitality while the decor is more contemporary, but not in a cold way. I was made to feel welcome by the the staff who did not, of course, know there was a spy in their midst.

And the final tally?

Incredibly, under a tenner.