Archive for the ‘running’ Tag
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.
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.
I ran up the hilly roads from JJ Moon’s in Wembley to the JJ Moon’s in Kingsbury only to be greeted by another cheery bartender (at 10 am, what…the…fuck?) watched over by a stern and sharply dressed bouncer/security guy (at 10 am, what…the…fuck?). Maybe that’s why Wetherspoon’s names some of their pubs “JJ Moon’s” instead of something related to the building or the area: staff on Prozac and a dangerous customer base. This one used to be a furniture store for decades before the bar took over and the block of storefronts went up in the post-war rebuilding-and-expansion boom of the 1950’s so there was plenty of fodder for a more imaginative name.
Still, it is hard to complain about drinking a pint in each of two pubs for less than £4 all in. While working on my porter here, a guy sat across from me with a slightly better order, though: a large whiskey and a cup of coffee. I should consider that combo for the rest of the winter.
Looking back at the other JJ Moon’s encounters, I didn’t notice anything odd in the one in Ruislp and the one in Tooting seemed connected to some underground fellows. Here’s a map if you fancy trying this one out (you can find the others there, too).
Sunday came around with snow flurries and blisteringly cold wind; the ground was too warm for the snow to stick so I couldn’t even use that as an excuse not to do the planned long run for the day. I left the house just after 8 and weaved my way over to Wembley to the Wetherspoons there — the disappointingly named “JJ Moon’s;” I think they could easily have come up with a name related to the dairy industry or Barham’s history but either they got lazy or the JJ Moon’s label designates something in particular in the Wetherspoon’s Universe (the Spooniverse?).
The inset tells the story of George Barham starting a dairy nearby, sending milk to the city, obtaining a Royal Warrant for same, and his eventual knighthood.
I bought my breakfast beer — a stout — from the cheeriest bartender I’ve met in a while. He spotted my coin carrier and remarked, “that’s one of those…those old…”
“Film canisters,” I helped out.
“YES! I haven’t seen one of those in ages!”
“Yeah, I bet you used to carry your weed in there.” He glanced quickly at one of the besuited bouncers (at 9 am they had bouncers).
“I used to do photography back when those were still around,” he corrected me. “What a flash back,” he added. “Get it?”
“Yeah, yeah. That actually works for both our stories.”
Later, he wished me well as I layered back up for the damp, windy run.
Here’s a map.