Market Gardener, Heathrow Terminal 3   Leave a comment

 

With Jackie’s flight arriving early, I thought I should get to the Arrivals lounge early, too.  But, I didn’t reckon on the early arrival coinciding with so many other international flights.  She’d be in Passport Control for ages.  I had time for a pint, at least.

I was a little amused that the pub was called the Market Gardener.  Operation Market Garden was the name given to the Allied assault on Nazi occupied Holland following the D-Day landings, àpropos of the D-Day stuff spotted on LOOP Sections 22-24 just the day before this visit to Heathrow.  I knew it would be lost on her (what with the jet lag) but I considered making Hiroshima Okonomiyaki for dinner (but, instead we ordered pizza — a bit out of chronological order, but still within the WW2 theme).

 

 

Posted May 28, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Moon Under Water, Hounslow, London   1 comment

 

Jackie’s plane from the Republic of Vulgaria (aka, Trumpministan) was due at 11 so I headed to Heathrow early enough to swing through Hounslow for breakfast at the Moon Under Water.

When we first moved to England, I noticed that many of the pubs in Cambridgeshire (and, later, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and the eastern bits of Oxfordshire) claimed some association with the highwayman Dick Turpin.  I’d forgotten this until, during the LOOP runs these past few weeks, he reappeared in pubs in Hertfordshire and Essex.  And, today this poster faced me as I sipped my dark beer whilst awaiting my meal.  Crikey.  The dude didn’t half get around:

 

 

I checked the flight tracker and her plane was due 45 minutes early.  Wolfing down the breakfast, I was soon in Terminal 3 Arrivals.  Hooray!

 

Posted May 28, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Beer (Memorial Day Weekend)   Leave a comment

We don’t have Memorial Day in England, but the last Monday of May is a Bank Holiday so we consider it the equivalent at the house.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 moved Memorial Day from May 30 (regardless the day of the week) to the last Monday in May.  I still find this a travesty and something implemented for the sake of industrial convenience over tradition.  By the time we returned to the States from Australia in 1974, Georgia had adopted this as well so the holiday no longer fell on my birthday but on the 27th of May that year.

 

 

It was 2 months to the day until the House Judiciary Committee passed the first of three articles of impeachment.  The White House had been stonewalling the independent prosecutor and the Congressional investigations and trying hard to rewrite the narrative of its high crimes and misdemeanours.  I had been reading the transcripts of the White House secret recordings since they had been published in April and would most likely have had my copy open next to the pond to read between dips.  Does any of this sound familiar?

 

 

I don’t know specifically how I spent that Memorial Day but I know I didn’t start smoking pot until the 4th of July that year so I probably just sneaked a few beers from the folks’ bottomless stash and listened to some baseball on the radio (WSB, Home of the Braves with your host Skip Carey, and the Braves, uncharacteristically, won 9-1 over the Phillies).  Inevitably there would be a cookout with ribs, burgers, and of course hot dogs.

We don’t have proper hot dogs here, either, but at least I found some that aren’t in a can (yes, Americans, tinned wieners!).  We set up our network speaker to stream the previous night’s Cubs/Dodgers game which the Cubs, uncharacteristically, lost 4-0.  Everything, as far as we could do it, was like it was in 1974.

Come on Judiciary Committee.  You can do it!

 

Royal Hotel, Purfleet, Essex   Leave a comment

 

The dress code at the Royal Hotel concerned me.  I was dirty and sweaty and wearing sweatpants with paint on them and a tear in one leg.  I removed my cricket cap and hoped for the best.  I realised that I  needn’t have worried when I reached the garden:

 

 

The view of the Thames was obstructed, just after this photo, when a young man brought his beer out and stood on the far side of the wall to crush up a bud of skunk (trust me, you could smell the loveliness back in the City).  Three of his buddies showed up and one started doing the same while another went in for drinks.  They snorted something off the fourth one’s nails.  The bartender came down to help deliver the drinks as the first spliff was lit.  I remembered that the line, “drug use will not be tolerated,” was missing from the dress code sign.  Anyway, they were technically off the property, and they seemed like good boys.

 

 

I nodded to one of the lads as I left.  Various forms of ‘have a good day,’ and ‘see you around,’ were offered.  Like I said, good boys.  There is hope for the youf of today.

Posted May 27, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Drugs, Pubs

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Phoenix, Rainham, Essex   Leave a comment

 

I got an ale in the Phoenix and sat at the end of the bar near the middle-age couple.  From the door to the garden a great clap sounded.  Just the one and with it emerged a somewhat older gent rubbing his hands together.  He came to the bar and ordered an ale then went back to a seat not far from the door he came in and started to read a newspaper.  Two minutes passed and he went out for another cigarette.  When he finished, he re-entered with the same single, very loud clap.  A friend of his came in with him and they chatted a moment until the friend went on his way and the smoker went back out for yet another.

The couple were banging on about how their first jobs, about 1980, paid 90p per hour and they worked 59 hours per week.  They detailed their expenses: £25 per week for room, board, and laundry.  Then Him Of This Pair actually said, “and you tell the kids of today that, they won’t believe you.”  I don’t think he knew the Monty Python sketch that I was grinning about at the time.

CLAP! The single applause (is that an applaw?) signaled the return of Nicotine Ned.  I was almost done with my beer and started to extricate myself from the absurdist improv at the bar.  It took a couple of gulps to finish my beer, quickly, but the Clapping Carcinoma was already out for another fag.

 

Posted May 27, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Bell, Rainham, Essex   Leave a comment

 

 

The Bell was abandoned save for the bartender — a young woman who couldn’t have reached 25 years of age, yet — and a latter day Teddy boy slumped at the end of the bar. There was Elvis music on the jukebox, those Vegas era ballads that usually end with a soaring long-held final note and a karate kick. I reckoned I knew who had put these on and was proven wrong when she was the one to reload the jukebox this time with earlier stuff from the King.

“Elvis fan?”
She nodded. The song on was “All Shook Up.” I kept this story to myself at the time, but you might appreciate it:

New Year’s Eve is our anniversary and in 1988, while I was still driving a Taxi, we went out for some dinner and were heading home to Knight Park for an early night of hallucinogens. On the way, I decided to stop in at the Northside Tavern which at the time was as big a dive as existed in Atlanta…not Dive trademark like hipsters and yuppies would have it, but the sort of place I would pour a customer into the back of the taxi from at 3am and then drop them back off at when it opened at 10.

 

 

 

It was as festive as it could get in those days. There were three guys half asleep at the bar and a two women sharing a table, smoking and staring at the floor. Some History Channel program on fighter jets was on and every once in a while one of the barflies would look up and grunt some approval or disapproval of whatever was currently featured.

We took our cocktails to the other room where the billiards table was. The bartender yelled over, “Donnie, yer gonna have to get up. These people want to shoot pool.” We gestured for Donnie to stay put, fearing he might hurt himself climbing down from the felt top.

I went to the jukebox and played a few things and the first to come up was “All Shook Up.” It was loud but no one seemed to notice it was even on EXCEPT that every time it got to the pause between these two lines:

I’m in love…
I’m all shook up

Everyone in the bar except us loudly grunted a “HUNHHHNHHH!” Try it yourself. It is the only way you’ll ever hear it again.

 

Posted May 26, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Optimist, Upminster, Essex   Leave a comment

 

Why is this pub called the Optimist? I hoped the fish and chips would be edible but I didn’t expect them to be good (which, it turned out, they were). By the time my food arrived my glass was half empty (see what I did there?), and I was convinced one of these obese fellows creaking around the grounds was going to have a heart attack at any moment. I just wasn’t getting into the spirit of the pub name.

 

 

I finished my lunch and headed out. I needed to cross the road to rejoin the trail and was dashing toward it when I heard the clip-clop of the horse-drawn hearse, stopped at the kerb, and removed my cap until the entire cortege had passed. I hope the passenger deserved this minimal show of respect but I bet he was a complete and utter bastard. Crypt half full, and all that.

Loads of ale (and more guests to come), cheap (my meal and drink was about £7.50), and it was where I was when I got hungry and thirsty.  Not much to complain about, for sure.