Two journalists walk into a pub... and they don’t order an alcoholic drink.

Sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? But it’s true. At least it was, for a little while.

I’ll explain.

Elections are quite a lot of work on local newspapers, but they are also quite a lot of fun: You’re speaking to candidates and activists, visiting bigwigs appear in town to try and bring some glamour to the local scene (as much glamour as a politician can bring, anyway) there’ll be a row about what this candidate said on social media or what that one said when confronted with an angry resident whose drain has been broken for months,

And then you get to election day: And they are strange, because there’s not much to do. Go to a polling station or two and ask about turnout. But the rest is speculation; what if it rains? Will two hours of hammering down affect the vote this way or that? There was football on last night, did the reds or blues win? Is that an omen?

Not least for the election team; what do you do between putting one paper to bed at 6pm and the count opening at 10pm?

There’s dinner of course; so the Adver election squad decided, if we were going to have to eat together, we might as well go and do a review.

Where? If only there was some link to the election... wait, hang about... there’s a pub in north Swindon being used as a polling station for the very first time, today.

So, The Jovial Monk it was.

At around 6.30pm on a very wet Thursday there was plenty of space in the pub which is on one of those ‘hubs’ newish housing estates have, with a pub, a post office, a small supermarket and all that.

And, in this case, a polling station, which, from what I could see through the window, had a steady stream of people popping in to do their civic duty.

And indeed, we didn’t order a proper drink, to start. The barman didn’t look over-impressed at two grown adults ordering lime and soda and orange and soda.

After playing with an extremely cute puppy (called Bailey) we settled down with the menus.

The Jovial Monk has a pretty extensive menu of fairly standard pub food: there’s nachos and sharing plates, burgers and steaks, fish and chips and lasagne and all that, except there’s also a range of pizzas, which was very tempting. (But, you know, carbs).

One of us went for the cheeseburger (causing the other confusion: “It just says burger here”, “Yes, but can I have it with cheese on?” “I don’t know, you want me to ask for something off the menu?” “No, it says underneath, you can have it with cheese or bacon and stuff” “Where?” “There, right under where it says burger” “Oh, yeah”).

The confused one went for the curry of the day; the choice was vegetable or chicken and spinach, and he went for chicken and spinach. And a side salad. It’s a long night, an election count. Vitamins are needed.

And some mozzarella sticks. So is grease.

The mozzarella sticks were the first thing to arrive. The chooser of the curry had never had them before and wasn’t sure what they’d be – slabs of mozzarella cut into rectangles? No. They’re cylindrical, fried in a crunchy breadcrumb coating. Very crispy and then soft and melting in the middle, but not gone so far as to tip over into rubber.

The salad was fine, fresh and colourful – we had a good search of the sachets in the little cruet but could only find mayonnaise: “What are you after, vinaigrette?” “Umm, yes.” (That would have been fine, but really, it was some good, old fashioned, guilty pleasure salad cream which was wanted).

The cheeseburger got a bit of a thumbs down, I’m afraid – the bun was dry and the patty itself a bit thick and solid. The skinny chips disappeared in pretty sharp time, while there was a discussion of whether there was a difference between a beefburger and a hamburger.

The curry fared rather better. It comes with either chips or rice (no half and half, I’m afraid, transplanted south Walians) and there was plenty of fluffy white rice. The curry was pitched in the middle of the heat range, was packed with chicken and spinach chopped very small and was very enjoyable. Two poppadoms and a little bowl of mango chutney came with it.

As we were eating, the football came on to two large screens, both Arsenal and Chelsea were playing, and there were plenty of people coming in and pulling up seats to watch the games; and the place was welcoming and jolly.

We didn’t have desserts or coffee – the meals we’d had were pretty substantial, and at this point, that nagging worry about whether the wifi would be working meant we were both pretty antsy and wanted to get into the Oasis leisure centre to get set up.

We wouldn’t make a recommendation to make a special trip to The Jovial Monk for dinner – but then, that’s not what it’s offering.

It does decent, well-prepared, nothing you haven’t seen before (apart from mozzarella sticks) pub food.

If I was in the area and wanted dinner, then it would be more than acceptable.

If I fancied an evening in a pleasant pub, or in front of the football, and didn’t want to cook, then I’d be very happy here.

I’d aim for the dishes that have to be made fresh – curry of the day, is presumably made from scratch daily, pizzas, of course, are made to order – I think those are more likely to be winners.

Oh, and we couldn’t hold out entirely, we also ordered a half each of 3B bitter.

Two meals, with sides and a half of bitter each, all told, just under £24.

Good enough, in the right circumstances, to get my vote.