Archive for the ‘Hertfordshire’ Tag
Rickmansworth pubs seem to have more nut cases than most. A few months back, I was treated to an absolutely ludicrous encounter at the Coach and Horses then earlier on this day’s trip I had to piss on my territory in the Rose and Crown due to another fellow that seemed to think he was funny enough to fuck with a stranger. Now, I was at the bar in Ye Olde Greene Manne after getting lost in the woods on the LOOP Sections 13/14 run, steam pouring off my head but my body a bit cold from the rain. There was a guy at the bar drinking a half pint and a woman waiting to be served.
“NO!” the guy said, emphatically.
“Pardon?” asked the woman who awaited her drinks.
“Not…you. I was talking to the chap.” He looked at me and repeated, “no!”
“What’s the question?” I asked, immediately thinking of Gertrude Stein’s last words as told by Alice B Toklas. This made me smile so I continued, “oh, right, I was just wondering ‘does my ass look big in this.’ You’re too kind.”
“No,” he said again with the authority of the bar manager denying me a drink; but, then he turned and started having a conversation with a sideboard full of dishes and I realised he was just ill. I took my Black Sheep to the porch…it wasn’t really that cold out.
Soon he joined me and apologized. “I don’t know what offended me, but I was overwhelmed with rage.” I have that effect on too many people, I thought.
“Privilege,” I answered. “It’s the curse of the suburbs.”
“Is that an American accent?” And, so we restarted and I got his story and a feel for the parts that he embellished and the parts he just imagined. At first, he said worked construction but as the story progressed and he found out that I actually had worked in carpentry, he admitted that worked in construction management for his family’s firm until he got an injury that he was due to start physio on in the morning.
“Head injury, was it? Someone hit you with an iron rod?”
“No, my leg. And, eh, my back. And, no one hit me.”
“The day is young. Back injury, you say. Good meds? You know some synthetic opioids render antipsychotics inactive.”
“You don’t say?”
“Oh, it’s true. But, your mileage may vary. Oh, speaking of mileage, I’m off. Would you be a dear and take my glass back to the bar?”
I’m like a magnet for these guys. If you want to find one, here’s a map.
The Rose and Crown was busy with a Sunday lunch crowd but I still got a splendid pint of ale forthwith. The guy sitting nearest the pumps got his table as I got my change so I claimed his now vacant perch and had the best seat in the bar. I reached over to where I first leaned on the bar to grab my LOOP maps and a new entrant snatched them away in an attempt at humour. “Have we been hiking?” he asked peering over the sheets.
“Well, I have. Wait, wait! This is a puzzle, isn’t it? You asked, ‘have we?’ knowing full well and already if you have been. So, yes, I deduce that your answer is, ‘yes,’ unless you’re just fucking with me.” I snagged the maps back from him and he reached for my beer.
“Seems you won’t be needing this, then.”
“Hey, hey…HEY!” I snarled. I don’t know what the rules are here but you can lose a finger or an eye fucking with someone’s beer at a real bar.
He went over to his party who were awaiting their table and returned and we talked about the possible routes from Moor Park to Rickmansworth and around to this pub and the Greene Manne further along. The landlady got drawn into this between rushing around tending the civilised patrons; at one point, I mentioned the TFL guides to the LOOP and that they have fun facts and points of interest. “Points of interest? Like what, for instance?” I pointed out the mounds of fly tipping waste and the iron gate Thomassons I spotted on the way here but that they somehow didn’t make it into the Guide Sheets.
They wished me well. Go say, “hi,” if you find yourself near there (here’s a map).
Since I was cutting the run short, anyway, I was pleased when I looked up from my fish treat and spotted what I reckoned to be another pub sign. Even better, this appeared to be a deviant bar so at last I might have an interesting write-up to do (no offense to the Tree, the Waterside, or the Coy Carp earlier this day). I eagerly approached the Carpet and Vinyl with thoughts of 70’s pubic hair and form-fitting/fluids resistance outfits.
Alas, it was non-euphemistically a carpet and vinyl shop. Sort of the old bait-and-switch (and, come to think of it, “The Bait & Switch” might make a good fetish bar name, too).
Although not as cold as it has been, I was fairly under-dressed for the damp, breezy day and while warm and sweaty I think the run from Uxbridge had depleted my breakfast. Very hungry, I popped into the first chippy I could find, the Sea Master. “It will be ten minutes,” which I accepted, deciding to cut the run short of the last mile and a half to Croxley and to just leave for home from Rickmansworth.
Well worth the wait … the fish was perfectly steamed inside the crisp batter envelope and not at all more salty than absolutely necessary. Why can’t EVERYONE do this?
Leaving the Waterside I wondered if all the pubs on this journey were going to be gastropubs (and posh ones, at that). The Tree was a proper boozer filled with proper pub citizens/denizens.
The Lounge bar was filled with the pub’s football club so I went to the Public bar and found a crowd watching F.A. Cup highlights and feeding a child (of about 6 years) candy. I sat with the kid’s family (also a part of the football squad) as the kid went into a full-blown Cornholio-like sugar rush. “You know what would calm him down,” I suggested to one of the old farts pushing gummy treats on the monster, “is a cup of black coffee.” The dad (or uncle) next to me said, solemnly, “we’ve tried that before but it ended in tears.”
I left but doubled back into the Lounge needing the bathroom. Ten footballers looked at me as I scanned the walls for the door. “What d’you need, mate?” “Pisser, please.”
“First door on the left,” one answered as all of them pointed to the two doors, one in the hallway and one in the room, on the right. I took the first of these and they all started shouting, “no! that’s the kitchen.” I tried the other door, looked back and one of the guys yelled over, “yeh, there, first door on the left.” Inside, the two bathroom doors were Gents on the right and Ladies on the left. I hope their sense of direction is better on the pitch than it is in their local.
Here’s a map.
The Waterside had a lot friendlier staff than the Coy Carp but I was still a sweaty and under-dressed mess so I took my Doom Bar out to the garden past the Sunday diners. The sunshine was fleeting but this shorter segment of the canal run (now off the canal and on the main drag into Rickmansworth) warmed me up considerably — nothing to do with the 10 pounds extra weight I’m carrying, surely.
Spotting the sign, I realised the garden continued on to a little island between some streams and I went out to inspect leaf buds on some of the trees in the marsh at the garden’s edge.
Looking back across the creek to the pub, you might not think it is as nice as it is but the interior has a grand old interior of timber and stone. When things start to green up, this will be really nice.
Forget the robin red breast…the first sign of spring is the snowdrops (followed in rapid succession by crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, bluebells, and invasive weeds. Hooray!
Here’s a map.
Although dismissed by a former manager as just another fizzy beer bar, Druids had a fairly impressive line of cask pumps. I was knackered from the week, the cloying illness, and the lack of sustenance (save for a cup of coffee in the morning and pints at the Sportsman and the Halfway House earlier on the run) so I went for the sweet nourishment of Old Rosie cider and soon felt revived. My bartender had to keep asking for more seasoned help. “First day?” I asked as he handed me my change. “First hour,” he replied, nodding my way and adding, “you should count that until I get my feet under me.” I already had, but I am a suspicious/paranoid bastard.
There seemed to be a Two Tone set playing on the radio but it might just have been an 80’s station. A dog wandered through seeking — and getting — attention at every stool but, upon sniffing my shoes, she moved on abruptly. The cheek. I left on this insult to the strains of “Too Much Too Young.”