Archive for the ‘Public Houses’ Tag

The Hendon, Hendon, London   Leave a comment


After tracking down my 2nd Edward VIII postbox (should’ve been my 3rd, but for a faulty list), I had a half hour to spare before heading home and nipped into the Hendon to put on some long trousers and sip a tall industrial cider (Strongbow).



The Hendon is a giant estate pub on a road that really outgrew itself as London spread into the Northern suburbs. But, it still has the feel of a local and fills what would be underused space with 4 pool tables. These were crowded with duffers slapping the balls haphazardly around the velvet. There was one competent user, an 18-year-old with a large rack — and if anyone would point this out to her she could use her skills and architecture to get rich of these slobs insulting billiards and abusing their cues.




After awhile, I noticed the Arabic (or maybe Israeli) pop music in the background which seemed oddly appropriate. This seems a really decent house for a Meet ‘n’ Eat. And, if the adverts in the loo are any indication, they are concerned with your health and well-being. Mind you, I’ve only ever had blood in my urine after being beaten with a pool cue but maybe other causes are more prevalent around these parts.




Vandalism seems rife here, too.



Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Greyhound, Hendon, London   1 comment

The run continued and I eventually found pub #3 planned for the day, the Greyhound on the north edge of Middlesex University. The street was quiet and shaded by large trees and the neighbourhood seemed almost rural. I had high expectations.




I ordered a Rosie’s Cider. “We’re out of that,” said the barmaid despite the pump clip pointing out to the world.
“How about one of these?” I asked pointing at an interesting ale pump clip. She winced.
“Do you want to try it first?” A hippy at the bar tried to discretely shake his head at her but the Rasta hat holding in his white-boy dreadlocks created a breeze.

I pointed slowly first at her, then too the pale Don Letts, then back to her. “You just cleaned the lines on that one, didn’t you?” I took the glass she offered and smelled the sharp detergent from half an arm’s length then tasted the tertiary amines mixed in with sulphides and a modicum of that which you might expect beer to taste like. “I’ll do a Fosters,” I said while pushing back the foul glass with a shudder.



Outside, groups of students and faculty gathered at tables.  A skunky whiff on the breeze appeared to be coming from the garden but smelled more like it was coming from an Amsterdam Coffeeshop. High expectations, indeed.





Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Catcher in the Rye, Finchley, London   1 comment


It rarely gets this warm in England but Friday afternoon was in the low 30s Celsius (upper 80s Fahrenheit) and the uphill run from the Old White Lion took more out of me than the mild gradient should have.  The Catcher in the Rye appeared to be the nearest pub near my route so it would have to do.

The bartender, a skinny and humour-free hipster, was the only living soul.  I asked him if the Dignity, my first choice, had been converted into a chicken restaurant.  “I think it has been converted into a restaurant that specialises in chicken.”  Glad I asked.

Friday was also Bloomsday, so maybe he was just in character — perhaps as the student Cyril Sargent or the ridiculous Denis Breen.  Anything is possible, and besides this pub SHOULD do Bloomsday if for no other reason than the literary theme.

Or, maybe he’s just a phony and bourgeois but thinks he’s actually Holden Caulfield.  No matter…here’s a picture of Marilyn Monroe reading (judging from where the book is open) Molly Bloom’s soliloquy.  So, at least I’ve done my part in the day’s celebrations.

Posted June 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Old White Lion, East Finchley, London   2 comments


I ran past the Old White Lion back in March (between the Beaten Docket and the Ranelagh) but it wasn’t open that time of day.  On this visit, I didn’t recognize the route until later when I passed another notable pub I noticed back then, just up the road.  My memory is shot.



Most of the pubs in this upscale part of North London are gastro-monstrosities and the Lion also lists itself as such but the crowd here seemed fairly working class (but this appearance may have been just in contrast to the posh hipster teenager pulling pints behind the bar — maybe it’s field work for an anthropology course at uni).  I got the only beer I didn’t recognize and headed to the garden.



The house is loaded with lovely detail.  For instance, the rain drains have a lion rampant motif built into them as well as most of the mains cabling routed through:



But, it was already late on a Friday and I needed to move on if I was going to finish this run before the traffic became untenable.




Posted June 18, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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London A to Z Runs : P   4 comments


P is for Postboxes: Edward VIII postboxes to be specific (something of an obsession with me) and, fortunately for this run there are more in London than anywhere else in the country.  I haven’t contacted these people (Letter Box Study Group) but it is good to know (I keep telling myself) that I’m not the only postbox obsessive in this country (and bear in mind that the leader of the Labour Party is a manhole cover enthusiast).




And, so it came to pass that this episode of the A to Z runs took me to East Finchley Station (above), to start ticking off these rare trophies.  Just out of the station, I thought I encountered a crossing of the the London LOOP but on inspection found that it is the Capital Ring Trail (and, I noted it for a future series):



The first was less than a quarter-mile from the station and I topped it with my 2009 England Cricket cap.  This one seems to have endured some welding repairs over the years:



A gentle hill rise took me into Finchley where the Pardes House School caught my attention and, by stopping to photograph the grand building, I caught the attention of several congregants either there as parents, teachers, or maybe just awaiting Shabbat.  I must have appeared harmless enough, though.



I had already stopped at the Old White Lion by this time and had targeted this neighbourhood for my second pub stop.  To be fair, I lost my dignity ages ago and regularly discard what little grows back.  But, the pub called Dignity is now a chicken place so no one here can claim to have Dignity anymore.  I had to settle for a place called the Catcher in the Rye.



There is also a claim that there is an Edward VIII pillar box outside Mill Hill East Station (visited on the N for Northern Line run).  This is blatantly untrue and has been so for quite some time.  The ancient Betty II box is in need of paint and has obviously been repainted several times before.  It’s as if you can’t trust anything you read on the Interwebs, anymore.  Disappointed, but with one more within the region I printed maps for I continued on.



In the Deep South, most people pronounce my hometown, Atlanta, as “Aa-Lannah,” but there are a few, especially around Macon, Georgia, that call it “Lanta.”  With no one around to ask about this place, I leave it to you to research (but heed my Interwebs warning).  And, if you want to practice a North Central Georgia (USA) accent, you could do worse than starting with this little article I published a few years back.



There were several grand looking cemeteries on the route but the Hendon Crematorium was pretty tantalizing:



After a pub stop at the Greyhound, I finally closed out the postbox hunt with this well-maintained example on Elliot Road:



The plan had been for 3 E-VIII-R boxes and 3 pubs but with one bogus box I had to make up the difference with an extra pub stop (damn the luck!) at the Hendon before heading home.  Hendon Central Station was the official finish:






Crown, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire   Leave a comment


My boss held her annual barbecue at her house in Islip, Friday, and I haven’t attended a lab function in ages so felt a bit of pressure to go.  I’ve run to things there in the past (and from things, as well) and, having lived in Bicester a little over a year also had cleared most of the pubs-to-do already, years ago.  So, I decided to catch the train out and do a run to one of those rare pubs I HAVEN’T yet hit in the area, the Crown in Charlton.



As is my way, I got lost despite having good maps and clear skies.  At one point, a young deer bolted from the weeds and knocked me into some nettles; soon after that I was faced with the prospect of doubling back or fording a stream.  I soon spotted the church tower in Charlton and knew the pub must be close (across the street, in fact) and there I was able to wring out my soaked socks whilst listening to a chorus of retirees taking the piss out of each other.


Topics ranged from “On The Buses” to the general election the night before.  The five of them barely let the one speaking finish before the next one stuck his own 2p in:

“Hear, what was the name of Reg Varney’s sister in ‘On the Buses?'”
“Oh, I wish you hadn’t asked.”
“The ugly woman.”
“She wasn’t ugly she just wasn’t…”
“What wasn’t she?”
“Okay, so maybe she was ugly.”
“But, what’s her name?”
“Anna Karen.”
“No, that’s not it.”
Olive, it was.”
“Oh, I thought you meant her real name.”

Despite this Goon Show, I got swept up into the political conversation but deftly escaped for the picnic. Quite a nice house and worthy a second stop, certainly.

Spotted this eyeless bunny with a broken neck on the run to the barbecue:

Posted June 11, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Tudor Rose, Coulsdon, Surrey   1 comment


I left my regular digital camera at home on this run so the smart phone was serving as GPS route tracker, wi-fi device, and camera all day.  Less than a mile after the Wattenden Arms, a mile away from my train station (just over 23 miles into the journey, today) I took a snap of the final pub of the day, the Tudor Rose.  The device then shut itself down.

Actually, I could relate to this.  I, too, was exhausted and didn’t realise just how sick I was (nor how much I would be for the next 4-5 days) and I needed this break even though the rest of the run would be downhill and should be easy.



I went outside to sip a Becks and try to get motivated to leave.  An Indian woman was at a nearby table chain smoking, really pulling the things in with two or three draws then lighting another off the previous one.  Just beyond her, a  young couple were eating some chips and didn’t seem especially keen to share them with the toddler they were minding.  I had the impression that the temperature was dropping rapidly but in retrospect it was probably the sweat drying and the fever settling in.

The pub is big and seems more restaurant than bar, but it is also a grand house.  The impression I got at ground level in the garden was of an elegant cottage from one of the colonies more so than an English pub.  Its light, wooden frame interior seems more at home near a beach in Bermuda, Rhodesia, or New Zealand; the exterior brickwork belies its relative recent construction (or renovation or addition — the roof stacks look late-Victorian but the rest screams 1970’s mock-Tudor).

I tried the phone again and it came up with 5% battery left but by the time I snapped a couple of more shots, it shut down again.  It was still early, but the skies had started to get overcast (probably from the plumes of tobacco burnoff at the next pew) and I needed to get going.


Posted June 3, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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