Archive for the ‘Middlesex’ Tag
Five miles into a run up the Grand Union Canal from Uxbridge, I took a break at the Coy Carp. I got the feeling from the cool reception that I was probably a lot less welcome than the polished and posh families flowing in for lunch so I headed out by the weir to watch ducks.
A family came out and the little boy — perhaps 3 years old –got excited when he saw the terriers the couple near me were tending. “Duggie! Duggie! Wuff-wuff!” he said then immediately lost interest when he saw the ducks floating around. The adults chatted a moment then the parental units headed across the bridge followed by the toddler; “bye-bye, duggies,” he said as he passed waving to no one and nothing in particular.
The other side of the pub, by the canal, features some kayak slalom gates and there were tons of fisherman despite a huge sewage treatment facility having an outfall not a mile away. It was breezy and cool but my short stop wasn’t long enough to let the chill set in.
The sun started to come through the cloud cover and I drank up and returned my glass to the bar (someone needed to show the staff some class). I headed toward the bridge waving aimlessly as I passed saying, “goodbye, doggies.” The couple wished me well.
Here’s a map.
Wealdstone reminds me of industrial towns in the US rust belt, built near — and for — a large factory (Kodak) that is now dormant and doomed to become a housing development. Meanwhile, the town struggles along with a variety of immigrant populations maintaining a psychic distance while sharing the streets, all of this informed by roughly equal amounts of respect and disdain for one another. That’s the impression I got on the Indian, Pakistani, Polish, and Romanian filled street on my way to Daly’s.
“The door opens and what have we here?” one old fellow at the bar theatrically intoned as I came in a little more than 6 miles into a run through heavy, freezing rain. Maybe they were expecting someone else; as I pulled off the drenched hat and gloves and made my way to the bar, everyone turned away and went back to doing what ever they were doing before I turned their heads.
It is an Irish place, so I guess a pasty white guy like me — especially one with a native-English-speakers’ accent that isn’t English — is always a welcome addition, or at least a tolerated one. The barmaid slipped into Irish which would have made me a bit paranoid except that it might well be the lingua Franca in here. I really should learn at least the niceties in Irish, so frequently do I find Irish beer shacks in this part of London.
The pour seemed to be about 2/3 lager (the usual choices) and the rest Guinness. I had a little over 5 miles to go to get home and the chill was starting to settle in so after a piss break (the back hall had three more conspiratorial sounding Celtic speakers huddling about), I set back off on the road.
The reason I made such a big deal about Uncle Jim’s kebab was that it was so unusual: most kebabs you get were like the one I inflicted on myself (or, rather, with which I afflicted myself) at the Kebab Centre in Ruislip yesterday. Yuck. I couldn’t decide if it was the meat or the salad that imparted the rotting compost essence but the congealed grease that collected in my mouth and esophagus definitely came from the Beast that was passed off as lamb (as did the salt that had me attached to a water bottle for the next 6 hours: I drank as much water last night as I would, usually, in 2 days).
Ahh, the New Year started as they are wont to do and on New Year’s Day it was rainy and cold outside as we were trying to figure out where all the booze went in the house. We were able to piece together a pleasant afternoon watching another depressing movie (Dallas Buyers’ Club, which I would recommend), then set about clearing the liquor supplies.
The next morning was gorgeous out and I ate some leftover pizza for breakfast, chased it with a shot of cognac, and headed out for the first run of the year (a day late, but as I said it was a lovely day). I had a mission on this run beyond the 9 mile minimum planned: to add the first new pub of 2017, the Moon and Sixpence in Hatch End.
There’s nothing really to note of the place (even the Wetherspoons website gives it a standard ‘Moon in the name’ write-up) but there is nothing at all wrong with the joint, either. In fact, I would imagine the neighbourhood finds this house a blessing since there are no others in the village. I was especially happy with the Kawasaki Red Ale and the abandoned beer garden on this cool but sunny midday break.
The run? The outward route racked up 4.9 miles and the homeward bound one another 4.7 treated as a training run for an April marathon I’ve signed up for (pace of 7:15/mile out, 7:30 back with ~7 flat for the final, roughly, mile to the house). Dry clothing and a shot of cognac greeted me at the door. Happy New Year.
My second micropub in a row (see the Beer Asylum from Friday night), the Hop & Vine opened Saturday night and I finally made my way over Sunday for a lunchtime pint of porter. The atmosphere is industrial but the Hop Inn (Swindon) made it work so well that it has been district CAMRA pub of the year several times in the 3 or 4 years it’s been open and there’s no reason this one can’t do likewise, here.
The ales are gravity fed but the taproom is visible across the bar. They have several gins and a large variety of bottled beers. I’m especially interested in the 2L refillable growler for takeaway purposes (although, I have to smirk whenever someone here uses the term “growler” in the American context knowing all to well what the vernacular definition is).
The couple that run the joint are still excited and friendly so it might be good to catch them before they get surly and rude. I, along with 1000’s of others, supported their license with the Hillingdon Borough Council and now it is time for us to support them with regular custom.
Friday night, I went to Pinner to see if I could round out my candidates for the remaining days in the Sout & Porter Advent Calendar at Beer Asylum. I probably could have bought the entire 26 days worth there. “This is a wonderland,” I said to one of the proprietors as I picked up my second 1/2 pint at the bar. He nodded then smiled broadly — a proud grin — and agreed, almost excitedly, “yes. It is. First time here?” “Mmm-hmm,” I nodded, just as eagerly. “But, not you’re last?” I raised an eyebrow, “of course, not.”
I had a BBNo 08/06 (Oatmeal Stout) to start and followed it with an Old Hands Rauch Bier, a Weiß as as German as the Royal Family and brewed not far from their house. I talked with the beardy other proprietor about the new craft beer place opening in Ruislip this weekend and he seemed excited at the prospect of Northwest London becoming a haven for this sort of shop.
I always have my doubts about chippies that claim to be “Award Winning,” but the Aquarius in Ruislip Manor deserves any accolade received. The fish was perfectly steamed inside a succulent batter crust and the small was incredibly filling: it would have been good value for money even as a run-of-the-mill bite of cod, but I awoke this morning wishing I had bought some extra to reheat for breakfast and lunch.