Archive for the ‘Buckinghamshire’ Tag

The Swan, Iver, Buckinghamshire   Leave a comment

swan-iver

“You’ll do better to stay over here and have another.  You’ve got your picture of the place and they’re rude.  And, it costs more, and … ” I cut off my drinking buddy at the Bull so he could take a breath.

“It’s not the photo that makes it count…it’s the beverage.  I’ve got standards, you know.”  After a two-count, he and I started laughing then the owner and the bartender joined in.  Some places, you get to know everyone easily.

The Swan, however, does not appear to be one of these places.  Although much more densely populated and with steady traffic in and out — all stopping to greet, but not linger with, others drinking in isolated realms of the bar — in silence I watched darts on tele while otherwise enjoying a Rebellion IPA (the price wasn’t bad and the beer was very good).

The guy at the Bull was right, but I think maybe he has been barred from the Swan for being too gregarious.  Or, friendly at all for that matter.  If I didn’t have 7 miles in the rain to run home, I would’ve gone over to tell him so.

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The map is at this link.

Posted January 31, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Bull, Iver, Buckinghamshire   1 comment

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The gruff, aggressive, and very drunk guy at the Bull bar demanded, “why are you taking photos of pubs?”

“Habit, I guess. Ooooo! Theakston’s Best, please!” I had just spotted the £1.75/pint sign on the Theakston tap. I was soaked partly from the sweat but mostly from the torrential downpour on the run from Uxbridge town centre.

“Wuh duh yuh mean, ‘habit?'”
“Been doing this for ages. Almost up to 1800, now.”
“Different strokes for different folks,” he said dismissively. Thinking he had lost interest, I settled into my beer. “Hear!” he spouted, startling me and the massive bartender. “Is that…is that an American accent?”

“Yeah, ‘fraid so. I’d lose it if I could. It’s the only thing American about me, though.”
“But, you’re American.”
“Not according to my passport. It says I’m as British as you.”
After a long pause during which he looked like he was urinating but the chair remained dry he asked, “why did you leave there for here?” in that frustratingly defeatist way Brits ask this.
“I saw it coming.” The owner and the bartender laughed and we started talking about the Trump immigration Executive Orders only to be interrupted again.

“But, why did you leave there?” The bartender stepped in: “Trump, mate. He reckoned he foresaw Trump coming.” Then, they both started to laugh. The owner and I talked about the conversion of the pub from a café (which it was when I ran past a few months ago) back to a pub. Then, she changed back to the Trump ban, again.

“How can he block so many people?”
“Well, it isn’t so many. They are quite specific in who they target.”
“Yes, but it is a nation of immigrants.” I took note of this coming from the south Asian woman. “And, to target a religion. Isn’t there religious freedom there?”

I smiled, ruefully and tried to answer without my reflexive condescension.  “It’s not about religion or terrorism or economics.” I turned and looked the black bartender in the eyes to see that he was listening, then back at her. “It’s this,” I said, pointing back at my face and drawing an air circle around it (sort of the national “note the race” hand gesture in Britain).

“Oh, of course. The racism is much worse there, isn’t it?”
“It’s hard to miss.”

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Fantastically friendly bar, even the plastered guy propping it up.  You should go there (they open at 9am).  Here’s the map, if you decide to.

Posted January 31, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Red Squirrel Bar and Bottle Shop, Chesham, Buckinghamshire   2 comments

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I left the dreadful Red Lion (and it pains me when a Red Lion is dreadful seeing as I started this stupid blog with the one in Stretham), and headed to the Underground station with plans to have the stout in the fridge to cover the Advent Calendar for the day.  Off to my left, the Red Squirrel beckoned and I answered with a pull of the door.  Best decision in days, I think.

 

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The house has 12 taps and most have their own product flowing.  My choice for the night was the London Porter and I can’t think of a better choice to start (although doing halves and running the taps is a tempting proposition).

 

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I was especially taken with the mural/highlight strip that reminded me of the dining room table in the house.  Meanwhile, in the toilet Obama reminds me that 11 taps remain:

 

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Posted December 23, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Red Lion, Chesham, Buckinghamshire   3 comments

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Definitely a locals pub, I stepped up to the bar at the Red Lion directly in front of the bar maid who looked through me then went and took someone else’s order.   No, “I’ll be right with you,” or “kiss my bum,” or anything.  She finished this order then lingered in conversation with the guys there.  I went to the toilet and pissed all over the wall.

 

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When I returned, she seemed to notice me.  I was still in the running gear so it was probably down to the fragantly wet footprints I trailed behind me.  I drank up alone at the far end of the bar then headed out for friendlier environs.

 

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Posted December 23, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Boot & Slipper, Amersham, Buckinghamshire   Leave a comment

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The climb back from the Saracen’s Head involved a muddy trail through a wood followed by a bit of Amersham tourism at the top of the hill…the upper town has as much going on, it seems, as the bit at the bottom of the hill.  But, I couldn’t linger as my return train was miles away at Chesham and the sun was already dipping well below the tree tops and diving for the horizon.

On the way out of town I spotted the Boot & Slipper, a Chef & Brewer pub/restaurant, and stopped for a cider.

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My experience with Chef and Brewer pubs (dating back to my first couple of weeks in England) is that they are filled with heavy furniture and stone flooring and every one of them is lovely to look at but there is something soulless about them.

Maybe it’s the customers.  I eavesdropped on a couple of guys reduced to talking about their kids.  Nothing wrong with that except the abstract way they spoke about them as if, I suspect, they really don’t know or even really want to know anything about their children except that they can use this as a suburban shield from any sort of deep conversation.  One of them, though, has a daughter who is a keen and, if you believe him, apt runner.  Instead of interrupting, I wrote a friend an email apologising for my lack of holiday spirit and thanking her for the lovely card she and hubby deigned to send me.  I knew I was off to a long, wooded segment of the course and half-assedly paraphrased Robert Frost’s allusional reference to a forest journey.

On my exit, I peered at them through the window.  One looked up and smiled slightly then, on making eye contact with me, recoiled and quickly stared through his drink to the bottom of the glass.  I waved at the other one, the father of the budding track star, and ran off toward the long descent to Chesham.

 

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Posted December 23, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs, Running

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Saracen’s Head, Amersham, Buckinghamshire   1 comment

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The first stop on my first Christmas Holiday run was at the Saracen’s Head down a long, steep hill from Amersham Station, one of the extreme endpoints of the London Underground and actually miles outside the M25.  Atlanta people might compare it to Roswell, or Tucson people could think Marana; Amersham is positioned about as far away and in the same general direction as those outposts are from their city centres.

 

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I came in and ordered then took my beer to the fire and listened to the couple of chaps at the bar snipe at each other about the football clubs they support.  One, a Liverpool supporter, was reading the Sun — an incongruity which I would have brought up if they and the bartender didn’t fuck off outside for a smoke at about that time.  I finished my beer alone…as we all do, eventually (winter doldrums setting in, too, as this was the first day of celestial Winter).

 

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Posted December 23, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs, Running

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Red Lion, Iver, Buckinghamshire   1 comment

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The Red Lion in Iver is a Chef & Brewer pub; so, as it is more focused on food than drink, my dear bartender was stuck humiliatingly behind a maître d’s podium.  I waved off her furtive glance at the seating chart and said, “bar, only, love.”

“Have you been running or is it raining?”

“Yes,” I said and went back to choosing a beverage.

“Sorry, a logic miscommunication on my part. Which?”

“Oh,” I replied thinking that this was spectacular, “both.”

 

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I paid for my cider and my change included one of the new, plastic fivers which I immediately inspected. “It’s real I assure you.”

“Oh, that’s not the issue,” I said as I thrust the note back her way with my thumb under the AK52 prefix of the serial number.  A waitress completed my thought: “if it’s AK47 to start then there are idiots out there that will buy it for £50,000.”  I nodded.  “Some jackass bought one at auction for 80k last week even though, legally, they are worth precisely five quid.” {UPDATE: bought but never paid for, story here.}

“Excuse me a mo, I’m just going to inspect the safe,” my hostess informed us. Smart woman. I hope she gives me a cut if she gets lucky (although getting a cut whilst getting lucky seemed so much more a Whip & Collar thing before that house turned out so bland).

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The rain ceased as quickly as it had started.  Autumn is still like that despite the trees only now turning colour a month and a half late.  The sun continues to set earlier every day and soon I’ll only be able to inspect nice country pubs like this on days off.

 

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Posted October 17, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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