Archive for the ‘Oxford’ Tag

Kebab King, Oxford   Leave a comment

 

Outstanding.  The work canteen had something dreadful and the one at Biochemistry was even worse.  I decided to try Kebab King for the first time in years (since before the Kebab-per-Week Challenge that prompted this thread and this map) and was pleasantly surprised.  Eaten on a fairly quiet — for tourist season — stroll past the Oxford Castle, meat and chips were almost exactly what the weekend recovery called for.

 

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Posted July 30, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Food, Kebabs

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The Coconut Tree, Oxford   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2102:

With recent and ongoing events, I’ve fallen more than a week behind on these stupid write-ups.  Last Thursday, I was dashing to the bus to see if I could keep the kitty alive and comfortable for one more full day (failed, by the way) and spotted the bus at the stop in the distance.  Taking a chance on running for it (wearing heavy, steel-toed work shoes) I got to the door as it was pulling away.  Fuck it, I thought, I can’t outrun this asshole to the next stop (½ mile away) but if anyone is loading a bike I can get there in plenty of time.  I gave it a go.

No one was loading a bike and a puff of exhaust was the only part of the bus I caught.  Parched, I walked a couple of blocks up to the Coconut Tree for a pint of Noble.

 

 

 

Except for some of the wall decorations and the tuppence mural bar (the top spells out “Coconut Tree” in shiny 2p’s), it is indistinguishable from the dreadful Joe Perks (which was far worse than when the same house was known as The Duke, a few years earlier).  Unnoticed in either of the earlier incarnations, the under table coat hook (a necessary-if-not-sufficient sign of a proper bar, even if this one is more of a restaurant, now):

 

 

The only customer in the place, I drank up quickly.  Good thing, too, since the next bus arrived only 10 minutes after the previous one (so 5 minutes early).  Nice result, since the bus stops didn’t have time to get fully populated and our ride, unlike the rudely driven one before us, was almost as sparsely populated as the Coconut Tree.

 

Posted April 20, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Ironside, RIP   Leave a comment

Over the last 25 years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work for — often with — a couple of dozen eminent scientists, able to honestly call most of them friends.  During my short tenure at Cambridge, I never met Stephen Hawking (unsurprisingly), but one of my bosses there who is now what passes for ‘head of research’ at the University told me a couple of amusing stories about him while we were out for a long jog in the fens.

Yesterday was busy at work and it slipped my mind that he finally slipped the coil.  I headed home and, as I passed University College, it took a moment to realise why the College banner was at half mast.

Loads has been in print these past 36 hours about his Pop Culture importance like his appearances on episodes of The Simpsons and Big Bang Theory (among other tele programmes).  People forget about his brief tenure in the early 70’s replacing Raymond Burr while he was in prison for smuggling heroin across the border at Tijuana:

Posted March 15, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Obits

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2017: Year in Review   Leave a comment

Everyone does an End-Of-The-Year retrospective and I almost always do, too (here’s 2016’s review, for example).  Remember, this blog is about pubs and running more than anything else and most of what remains is primarily adolescent humour.  With that caveat, I bring you the Year 2017 In Review:

The Running Year 2017 (painfully detailed post to follow) was only salvaged in the last 1/3 of the year despite an initially strong start.  I started training for the Siracusa Marathon which had been cancelled at the last moment in 2016 and which was again cancelled this year nearly 3 months before it was scheduled to run.  Shit.  However, this left me in pretty good shape for tackling the London Outer Orbital Path mostly in May (while Jackie was Stateside), averaging more than 6½ miles per day and one week over 90 miles.

But, a prolonged respiratory infection hit me the first week of June (lingering for another week and with a relapse mid-July) and a spot of cancer related depression thereafter pushed my weekly mileage down significantly.  I had only managed to hit 1000 miles for the year by mid-August.

Fortuitously, I came into possession of a block of hash and a few very oily buds of home grown pot and, with their help and guidance, rediscovered the joys of hard training with no specific goal.  Well, one specific goal: I decided to try to salvage the annual mileage with a modest 1600 by year’s end, upping that to 1800 as it became clear 1600 was going to fall easily, eventually ending on 2022.  Now, if I hadn’t already blown through the weed I might target some real mileage for 2018.

So, running was all personal this year and that made it a good thing.  No races.  No hashing.  No GHAD.  Just finishing the London A to Z Runs, the London Outer Orbital Path, the Holiday Run Streak, and starting the TfL Run Project with 267 pub stops for the year in the midst of runs (and, 322 total, bringing the grand total to 2038).

Pub details (especially write-ups)

Pubs by month
16   Jan
17   Feb
20   Mar
11   Apr
74   May
12   Jun
19   Jul
23   Aug
30  Sep
28  Oct
40 Nov
32 Dec

Other good write-ups (reverse chronological order under the subheadings):

Favourite Pub visits:

The Woodman, Birmingham (pub #2000)
The Charlie Chaplin, Elephant & Castle (atmosphere)
The Queens, Crouch End (stunning)
The Victoria Tavern, Plaistow (atmosphere)
The Harp, Covent Garden (beer curation)
The Britannia, Plaistow (drunken conversation)
The Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Chorleywood (damn near perfect pub)
The Marquis of Granby, New Cross (weird encounter)
The Old Oak Tree, Southall (whorehouse as revealed at the Lamb, shortly thereafter)
The Pineapple, Lambeth (not a half-bad local this close to Waterloo)
The George, Isle of Dogs (trying to convince a middle-aged guy he’s still fuckable)
The Wattenden Arms, Kenley (surreal art criticism)
The Sir Julian Huxley, Selsdon (foul-mouthed grannies)
The Tiger, Homerton (rare to find a hipster joint so hip)
The Duke’s Head, Crayford (almost too hospitable)
Dive Bar, Hull (they gave me too much change!)
Wm Hawkes, Hull (dark and awesome, despite fucking up my order)
The Rising Sun, Mill Hill (Grade 1 Listed)
Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow & Wealdston (stunning former home of WS Gilbert)
The Queen’s Head, Limehouse (maybe gone by now, but as local as they come anymore)
Ye Olde Greene Manne, Rickmansworth (more encounters with nutters)
The Castle, Holland Park (architecture and hopelessly incompetent staff)
Lavin’s Bar, Hanwell (another psycopath encounter)
The Bull, Iver (for the local day drinkers)
Tap Social, Oxford (awesome microbrewery and tap room)

Other Events:

TfL Run Project (ongoing)
Beaujolais Nouveaux Day
Socialism 2017
Notting Hill Carnival (August Bank Holiday)
Mets vs Capitals Baseball
Nunhead Cemetery
Anti-Tory March and Rally (Not One Day More, July)
My First UK Vote
My Trip To Hull (many good posts)
Shakespeare’s Globe for “Nell Gwynn”
Taping of Have I Got News For You
Anti-Trump Rally at the US Embassy

Food and Feasting, mostly Recipes:

Vodca Sméar Dubh (Blackberry Vodka)
Tom Collins Obit
Feast of St Arnold
Hot Dogs
Treasures From Trumpministan
Yellow Peril Dandelion Wine
Angostura Tinted Martinis
Iron Duke Punch
Limping Lotta’s Banana Muffins
Tafel Spitz (Viennese boiled beef and stuff)
Chateaux La Limace et Le Gaz Hilarant (Drunken Bunny Cabernet)
Tamarinds (also, growing them)
A Week Of Haggis
Lyme Bay Mead (gift from workmates)
Winter Solstice Mead (another Drunken Bunny brewing attempt)
Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch Bourbon (gift from a lab visitor)
Best Kebab: Streatham Kebab, Fish and Chips House
Best Fish: The Carp & Trout, Hampton Hill

Previously Unwritten Recipe:

Basil & Grape Cocktail (from a food section article in The Guardian): makes 2 (these were really refreshing at the end of Summer)

Put these in a blender and blitz:
3 shots of good gin (I know, I know … all gin is good gin)
16 chilled green, seedless grapes
12 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
juice of a lime

Pour into a shaker with ice, shake vigourously, and strain over 6 FROZEN grapes in each of two glasses. Garnish with one more basil leaf in each.  Yummy.

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Obits (note, Tom Collins Obit in Food, above):

Robert Blakely, designer of the Fallout Shelter sign
Unnamed Person’s Wake at the Red Lion, Southall
Bill Simonsick (one of the few truly great Americans I have known and loved)
Bruce Langhorne (one of Dylan’s inspirations and dead ringer for my cousin, Chuck)
Lord Snowdon (trivia topic at the Sportsman, Croxley Green)
Tommy McDermot (late of the Old Crown in Hayes)

 

Best Ludicrous Posts:

Be Careful Of Your Dreams Coming True
Unfortunate Business Name
The Man Cave, Oxford
Party On, Wayne
The D.H. Lawrence Car Hire, Sudbury
A to Z Run W for Women
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys Tribute
A to Z Run U for Udders
New Cds From Notting Hill Market
Julie’s In The Drugs Squad
A Cancer On The Presidency
D90B (Drunken Bunny version of P90X)
NOT a Fetish Bar
Post to President Bannon
Trumpageddon…Inauguration Day

What an absolute bastard year.

 

 

Group Christmas Dinner, Exeter College Oxford   1 comment

 

The enforced jollity of the office Christmas party is worth avoiding but I feel obliged to show up at least every other year.  There’s always the opportunity for the Dutch farewell, the Irish goodbye, the French leave … pissing off before the games get started, essentially.  This year, I pulled more of a Northern Irish goodbye: this is where you tell a few key people in advance to limit any loss of life.

 

This year, our research group had the do in Exeter College which has one of my favourite chapels at the University.  Since this is almost certainly my last Christmas at Oxford, this was a nice surprise and blunted the edge of the generally shit situation.

 

 

Our Professor’s P.A. chased up our RSVPs diligently and also checked for any dietary requirements or prohibitions.  I replied, “I don’t like things with mayonnaise in them. Other than that, if you consider it food, then so do I.”  It was more a joke than anything, but as the starters were doled out one of the servers stopped by my assigned seat to ask, on behalf of the chef, if it is because of eggs that I don’t want mayo. “No, I just find mayonnaise an abomination.”

 

 

So, the assigned seating resulted in bespoke treatment from the kitchen.  Fantastic attention to detail, there.

It was surprising, then, that I was seated only one space away from the shithead who’s continued residence in the lab has prompted my efforts to find other employment (which has, finally, come to fruition albeit delayed until the early Spring while the folks at the new site write a position for me).  This particular dickhead is a complete sociopath and unwilling to take a hint, a request, or a direct order to shut his fucking mouth and leave someone the hell alone.  It isn’t a secret that I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, so this seating arrangement is especially egregious (or, maybe the boss just wants to hurry me along — this is the sort of move to encourage it).

As a result, I cut the evening even shorter than planned and skipped coffee and pudding.

 

Just as well, I reckon.  The next item on the agenda would be the distribution of Secret Santa presents.  I find the joke gifts insulting and tiresome so I only ever give these to people I find loathsome.  One year, I drew the name of an especially arrogant sack of shite and bought a presentation-style wine box and stuck a bottle of Buckfast in it.  The box was more valuable than the bottle, and his disappointment at the contents was worth going over budget.

 

 

 

But, generally I try to give thoughtful treats even though I have never received anything useful, beautiful, or even slightly amusing.

I plucked the name of one of the new DPhil students and did a bit of cyber-stalking to find that he is a classical music buff.  I really don’t know anything else about him, so I decided I’d just get him some music that I would like for myself.

The record store I went to had a really limited classical music selection so my first (the recent re-release of Glen Gould’s Goldberg Variations) and second (Beethoven’s 7th, especially for the 2nd movement) choices were not in the bins.  I settled on Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (#7) as a piece of music with a moving story of its premier performance.   Besieged and starving, under relentless Nazi bombardment in Leningrad the musicians — drawn from troops and the citizenry — broadcasted the piece from a bombed out hall to loudspeakers across the city and down the defence lines.

An appropriate piece for the start of any doctoral programme.

[UPDATE: Someone dropped off my Secret Santa gift and I re-gifted it to a colleague.  “Don’t you want to know what it is?” he asked and started to open it.  “Get that fucking thing out of here.  I mean, ‘no, no thank you.'”  I am quite sure it was shit, figuratively or maybe even literally.]

 

 

Posted December 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in work

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The Man Cave, Oxford, Oxfordshire   1 comment

Gay bars seem to be closing at a faster rate than other pubs. I guess this is progress — every bar is now a gay bar.

But, despite what we’ve gained by updating to the mid-20th century, we’ve also lost traditional, gay bar names like The Toolbox or The White Swallow.

So, it’s good to see a new place open in Oxford called The Mancave (not too far in theme from “The Manhole”). I’m not too convinced by the barber shop theme (is this some sort of fetish house?), but I’ve seen worse…Christ, I’ve woken up in worse. Best of luck, boys, and godspeed.

Posted October 13, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh

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Work loos, stifling innovation   Leave a comment

Following a history of work loo stories (most recent, here), the urinals in the main lobby of our 10-year-old building (the huge cracks in the basement walls that leak copiously during heavy rain despite burial 15 feet below paved surfaces first appeared at least 8 years ago) have been marked “Out Of Order” for all but yesterday of the preceding 6 weeks.

 

The signage returned this morning.  Insult added to bladder injury came by way of the signs prohibiting an engineering remedy involving the sinks:

 

 

Posted October 10, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh, work

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