THE only previous time I had been to the Railway Inn at Culham was due to an unfortunate incident which saw me get off a train at the wrong station.

My exact recollections of that visit some 15 years ago or so are somewhat hazy, but last week’s trip was far more memorable, for a variety of reasons.

This traditional pub, which offers three-star bed and breakfast facilities, has two bar areas as well as an extensive garden.

Buoyed by the World Cup, which was being shown in the smaller bar, we were pleasantly surprised at the vibrant atmosphere – and numbers further increased in an hour or so when a band arrived.

We were shown to the restaurant side, but warned seats were at a premium because they had to clear an area for that evening’s music.

We were offered the only vacant table, but instead chose to perch on the end of another that had been moved aside to free space for the band.

While waiting to order, it was impossible not to notice (and smell) the antiquated feel of the room and the clutter – mostly train-related – which adorned walls and shelves.

It was like sitting in an elderly person’s front room with outdated ornaments at every turn.

A flickering light in the hallway leading to the guest rooms was particularly annoying, and I was also intrigued by a separate area next to my seat hidden behind a

three-panelled wicker screen – presumably formerly used in a 1970s boudoir.

On closer inspection, it was merely a junk room – but available for everyone to see.

The menu was unsurprisingly in keeping with the feel of the pub, with all your traditional fare.

After a shared starter, I went for the ‘Moo Dog’ pie off the special’s board, which comprised beef steak, smoked bacon and craft ale (£8.50) – the latter particularly flavoursome.

The other main course we ordered was gammon (£12.50), but with vegetables rather than chips, happily accommodated by the helpful member of staff.

Thankfully we had finished our food in time to watch the influx of people turning up to dance the night away.

I cannot remember the last time so many different hairstyles were in such a small area.

Mohicans, mullets, perms and bobs – it was simply incredible. A people-watcher’s dream.

The volume of people in attendance shows they are clearly doing plenty of things right – and indeed they had given us plenty to talk about after our visit.

But maybe not always for the right reasons.

l Railway Inn, Culham, OX14 3BT. 01235 528046 or