AS you relax in the traditional setting of the Fox Inn’s bar you might be forgiven for keeping one nervous eye on the door, looking out for the notorious-sounding ‘Blandford Bob’.

This individual, a fish hawker from Poole, is outed loud and proud as an ‘habitual drunkard’ on one of the many fascinating documents that adorn the Fox’s walls.

Thankfully the hapless Bob was convicted 100 years ago and is no longer around to bother us.

This is a proper country pub in every sense – it has the dark wood panelling, red carpet and middle-of-nowhere location, which make it the ideal escape from the whirlwind of modern life, even for just a couple of hours.

Already well-known for its fantastic Sunday carvery, the Fox also boasts an excellent evening menu prepared by talented chefs.

The service from the young waiting staff is extremely solicitous and you feel instantly at home in a place which is quite clearly a gathering point for the local village communities.

I was extremely pleased with the breaded whitebait I chose as a starter – supremely crispy and accompanied by a tangy tartar sauce. My partner enjoyed a cold meat platter with a tasty pot of olives.

But it was the main course which really sorted the men from the boys.

Unfortunately it was the man in the party who made the manageable choice of succulent duck breast with a spicy chilli sauce and lovely golden chips.

It at least meant he could try and help me deal with the enormous glazed ham hock I’d chosen. Despite the daunting size of it, sitting majestically atop a swede and carrot mash and smothered in gravy, it was most expertly cooked, falling off the bone in all its glazed glory.

After a gargantuan effort, the hock defeated both of us and left no room for pudding, though there were some tempting choices.

The Sunday carvery, which we sampled the next day, is equally good with four choices of meat, fantastic roast potatoes and a bewildering array of nicely cooked veg choices.

If Blandford Bob had sat down to that kind of meal following a night on the tiles he wouldn’t have suffered a hangover!

The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7PN Tel: 01258 880328