Archive for the ‘tourism’ Tag

Circle Line Finished, District Crippled, some Northern, TfL Run Project   1 comment


Friday entailed another race against the setting sun on a TfL Run Project trot, this time starting at Embankment. The actual route is here:




Missed the Underground Roundel fro Kennington on this map…drink and/or drugs may have been involved


Sticking to The Embankment, the next station was Temple.






On the segment to Blackfriars, a winged stallion on a gate startled me…I was certain, just moments before, that I was the only winged stallion on the Thames Path.




At Blackfriars, the path to Mansion House and Cannon Street veered inland a bit.




Mansion House

Cannon Street



Leaving Cannon Street, I was now finished with the Circle Line and one, small segment shy of completing the District:






Avoiding the foot traffic in The City is difficult at the best of times. I took some alleyways to get to Bank Station where I started working on some of the Northern Line:








Crossing London Bridge, the Thames looked especially busy (but, there was a nice view of HMS Belfast and the Tower Bridge).




The next 1½ miles yielded the most congested pavements of the evening. London Bridge and Borough Stations passed easily enough, though.


London Bridge




Just after Borough, I took a cider break at the Gladstone Arms. Then, straight down to Elephant & Castle.




Elephant & Castle 1


I stood by the Faraday monument in the roundabout to take a photo of the station, but just the other side was a different entrance to the same station (assuming the first one serves the Northern Line and the 2nd the Bakerloo).



Elephant & Castle 2



The shopping centre’s Elephant & Castle could use some fresh paint.




I took a wrong turn and had to loop back to Kennington Station but approaching it from an unplanned angle yielded a new perspective on its dome:





Close enough to my finish, I stopped for another beverage at the Ship before heading past North Lambeth Station to Waterloo.




The full system map after tonight’s run:



Amersham to Chesham, Metropolitan Line, TfL Run Project   1 comment


The weather sucked and I was tired of the Holiday Run Streak. The entire journey out to Hertfordshire was spent internally arguing whether or not to do the full planned route. But, since this represented the outer-most segments on the Metropolitan Line on the TfL Run Project and since I made it out to Amersham I decided to plod on with it.





On the way to Chalfont and Latimer Station, I stopped for a pint at the Pomeroy (write-up soon). Nice enough, I guess, but it is more restaurant than bar.


Chalfont & Latimer



The next segment featured a bit of suburban parkland. I ran through here a little over a year ago but it was after dark and I really had to focus on the pavement illuminated by torchlight. Today, I got the chance to look around and spotted some rough-hewn bench sculptures like this one near what I would characterise as a sewage lagoon:




And, the hands on the ass seating:




Another beer stop at the General’s Arms (write-up soon) lasted about 30 seconds too long and I arrived at Chesham Station in time to see the train depart.





With 30 minutes to kill in the cold-and-windy station, I explored. They have a garden with a gnome! The sprouts look like weed, but I’m sure it is merely coincidence.




The Metropolitan Line now looks thus:



And, the system is a bit prettier with that purple bit in the upper left filled in:


Posted January 8, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Running

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Kensington Olympia to Elephant & Castle, Multiple Lines, TfL Run Project   3 comments


Windy and a bit cool Friday afternoon, I was racing against sunset and slalom-ing through inexplicable crowds of tourists on my way from the Shepherd’s Bush coach stop to Elephant & Castle.  I by-passed many an attractive pub on the journey, too, but probably saved myself £5.80 per pint on the way.  The start was chosen to pick up the last western segment of the District Line from Kensington Olympia (3rd time at this bleak station) to the always pretty (despite the crowds) Earl’s Court:



Kensington Olympia

Barons Court


At Earls Court, the Piccadilly Line merged as far as South Kensington (with the Circle Line joining at Gloucester Road):


Gloucester Road Station is actually 2 stations although the older part is now just some shops.

Gloucester Road

Gloucester Road, the old bits

The Circle Line stayed with the District Line until I veered south across the Thames at Westminster:



I had an otherwise funny conversation with Doug Stanhope in Tucson (during which he insisted on showing me a disturbing video of a Mexican prostitute on his phone) years before I knew he was a big deal.  Since then, a hasher I know there has made friends with him.  Not that Stanhope Gardens has fuck all to do with either of them, but discarded Christmas trees seems a likely metaphor if you are clutching at straws after this segue down Memory Lane:



South Ken Station also bears two facades but experience with it tells me that internally it has longer pedestrian tunnels than the distance to walk to any of the adjacent stations on District, Piccadilly, or Circle Lines.


South Kensington

South Ken, old bits

Bela Bartok stands watch outside:


On the way to Sloane Square, the outstanding Michelin House appeared before me.  Once the tyre manufacturer’s London HQ, it now acts as serviced office suites.  The window mosaic above the Michelin Man holding a cocktail glass of nuts and bolts says “Nunc Est Bibendum” or “Now Is The Time To Drink” (sound advice):



Sloane Square

I didn’t have a Sharpie with me (and the crowds were oppressive) but the correct graffito for this play is, “So was mine”:


Except for a surge of Chinese tourists, later, I mostly escaped the crowds after Victoria.



Happily, I crossed paths with this tribute to Henry Purcell on my way to St James’ Park Station:



Or, should that be “St James’s Park Station?”  That spurious/bonus S on your signage is grammatically incorrect, TfL.  Tsk.


St James Park


Ten minutes earlier and the shadow would’ve been at the base, making this a postcard shot:


the abbey


At Westminster Station, I faced a choice between continuing to Embankment or veering south now.  The first option would have been tidier but the crowds were so heavy on Westminster Bridge and along the river that I opted to follow one segment of the Jubilee Line just to get through them as soon as possible:




Waterloo Station is beautiful at the front.  From this side, not so much:




The final dash along the southernmost two segments of the Bakerloo Line ensued.



Lambeth North

Elephant and Castle

Now a little after 4 pm (Friday is always POET’S Day, but I’m also comp-timing the days I came in during the Xmas break), I headed to the 6 Yard Box which was still closed (despite posted opening time of 4 pm and someone milling about inside) even after I had a hoppy pint of Meantime Lager at Long Wave next door.

Here’s the obligatory system map update:


2017: Running Year, Slightly More Detailed   Leave a comment


January:  The 2016 Siracusa Marathon got cancelled so I planned on the 2017 edition of the race in late April and started training for it as the holidays came to a close.  The orange trace on the monthly graphs shows my TARGETED 7-day mileage and the blue trace my ACTUAL distance; having done a few marathons, I wasn’t too anal about precision but — since I was shooting for a Boston and New York qualifying time — I tried to exceed the prescribed dosage when convenient.  Cold and occasionally rainy, the pub count for January was 16 total, 13 of them involving runs.  My racing license arrived from the Italian athletics authorities and I got my required medical certificates sorted before the end of the month. This seemed a good start to the year.  Net Mileage = a modest 137.

Highlight: 17.2 mile loop to Wetherspoon pubs in Wembley and Kingsbury in some light snow, mid-month

February: The 2017 Siracusa Marathon was cancelled on 01 February…of course.  Having started the training, I stuck with it in case something else popped up but nothing really cool presented itself.  My heart wasn’t in it, and the pub count became much more the focus (16 out of the 17 February pubs were during the runs).  Mileage: 141 (month), 278 (year)

Highlight: The 5 February canal run into the city, first time on some of that now familiar path


March: Realising the soul had left the training body, I shifted the focus to the London Outer Orbital Path with an aim to finishing by the end of May (actually, a fairly ambitious plan).  I had already covered Sections 11 and 12 for 12 miles worth of the LOOP and in March picked up 3 more segments for another 19 miles.  All 20 pubs were during runs, and on 31 March I resumed the London A to Z Runs project with I for Isis.  Mileage: 160 (month), 438 (year)

Highlight: Sections 13-14 of the LOOP, in the cold rain, with surley pub lunatics throughout


April: A funk settled in as the date for the cancelled race in Sicily approached.  Despite this, I trundled on through J, K, and L of the A to Z runs. 9 more pubs (+ 2 not on runs), but no more sections of the LOOP.  Once the training schedule was finished, I scaled back prescribed runs to total 22 miles per week while I tried to get my mojo back.   Mileage: scant 101 (month), 539 (year).

Highlight: The J run for being absolutely ludicrous


May: With Jackie off to America for a couple of weeks, I settled into tackling the LOOP and completed the 24 remaining sections (132 more miles) by the 30th.  I consumed Hull for my out of town trip (mostly a liquid diet) and continued the A to Z with M, N, and O.  Pubs: 74 (60 on runs).  Mileage: 200 (month), 739 (year).

Highlight: The LOOP, but especially sections 22-24


June: A persistent upper respiratory infection dogged me from the end of May till mid-June and I didn’t run at all for a full week early in the month.  I changed the prescribed distances so that I would simply average 21 mpw rather than designating 5 day during the week with targets and this made it a little more psychologically palatable after my little health fiasco.  The monthly mileage suffered greatly (only 87 and change) and I reached the six month mark with only 826 miles in my pocket — this was going to be a very slack year, indeed, if I didn’t make some changes.  All 12 pubs were on runs, one before a work function and the rest on A to Z runs P, Q, and R.

Highlight: The erstwhile Postbox run


July: Despite a jump on the running month early on, the illness from June returned and even brought severe nose bleeds with it this time.  Recovering toward the end of the month, I managed 13 pubs on runs (19 overall) mostly on A to Z runs S, T, and U.  Mileage: 109 (month), 935 (year) … it was going to be a strange feeling to break 1000 in August.

Highlight: The Land of Liberty, Peace, and Plenty run


August: And, strange it was so I adjusted my target mileage to 35 per week to kick my ass into gear a little.  This — and the unusually warm weather — seemed to do the trick as I completed V-Y of the A to Z runs, picked up 23 more pubs (21 whilst running), and surpassed the July mileage by nearly 50% (154 on the month, 1089 on the year).

Highlight: The Xenophile run


September: Feeling that structure helped motivate me in August, I reloaded my Ultra Marathon Training regimen from back when I was working up to the Ridgeway 86 miler a few years ago.  Not to target a race, mind; no, just to have some difficult-to-attain weekly goal that would also, if followed, get me to an almost respectable end-of-year total over 1800 miles.  With the long runs on Sundays but a long-standing promise to Jackie that I wouldn’t take up all day on the weekends with ridiculously long runs, I found myself ticking off Wetherspoon pubs at the ~9am end of the longer journeys, then catching the Tube home for a quick shower to be ready for the day’s activities by 11.  So, in the 30 days of September I managed to hit 30 new pubs (22 on runs) whilst clocking another 178 miles (1267 on the year: if I stuck with the schedule, this would give me over 1950 by New Year’s Eve!).  Oh, and I finished the A to Z on the 1st of the month.

Highlight:  The first and second Hammersmith Sunday morning runs

October: Staying relatively healthy until the end of October (save for fracturing the middle toe on my right foot on a pre-dawn towpath a week into the month), I managed to rack up all my prescribed mileage and then some (226 for the month, 1493 on the year but still trailing Brownie by 200 — who is also chasing a scant, by his standards, 2000 miles on the year).  Jackie brought an especially harsh cold home and suffered with it for two weeks before I finally succumbed at Halloween and spent two days convalescing at the start of November.  But, by then I had managed 19 more pubs on runs (a lot of single pub runs during the work week, 28 total on the month).  The long runs were forcing me into new territory, too, despite being mostly in the wee hours of the mornings.

Highlight: Finishing off the Witney pubs that have daytime hours


November:  Finished painting the cast iron bunnies, went to the annual Socialism conference, and started a new running project focused on the Tube, Overground, and London Trams.  Mileage reached 253 for the month (1746 for the year) largely on the TfL Runs but also in part due to the start of the Holiday Run Streak.  Jackie left for the States on Thanksgiving Day and it was the first time I missed making an obscene meal for the Holiday in the nearly 40 years since I moved away from my folks.  I took some time off work at Oxford to focus on some long runs and drink a beer or two at an interestingly named pub or two.

Had yet another unsuccessful job interview, this time in Birmingham; however, since I was sure I wasn’t suited for the job — and certain that they knew that when they invited me — I interviewed as if for a job that I wanted.  Got a call a couple days later saying they weren’t going to offer me this job but that they would like to have me reinterview for the imaginary job I appeared to be after.  As I was told, one of the panel asked, after I left, “what the actual hell was that?”  Another replied, “I don’t know, but I want one.”  With any luck, they’ll be back in touch early in the New Year.

Highlight: The TfL Run Project started



Hard training (188 miles in only the first half of the month, 276 by the end) in regressively shittier weather left me susceptible to the worst respiratory infection of the year, which I succumbed to for two weeks starting the day after Jackie returned from putting her mom’s house on the market.  Don’t worry, I shared it with her and we were both still ill for Christmas.  What a shitty holiday season this year.  I mean, we put up a tree and ate & drank too much (and quite well); watched bad telly; went for a couple of walks and, in my case, kept up with the runs.  But, it was an even more low-key affair this year than most.  That’s winter, for you: makes you anxious for what the coming year brings.

Highlight: Hitting 2000 mile threshhold on Boxing Day and, despite only hitting 1000 at mid-August, finishing the year with 2022.


Posted December 31, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

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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.


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.



Wealdstone-Harrow via Wembley, Overground/Bakerloo/Metropolitan, TfL Run Project   1 comment

Christmas Eve wasn’t an especially special run, but I had miles to do and not much else to do with them so there you have it.

Anyway, after coffee I made my way to Wealdstone and started another TfL run:


Harrow & Wealdstone


South Kenton

North Wembley

Steadily working my way down to North Wembley via Kenton and South Kenton, the route turned north and back toward Harrow-on-the-Hill (for the last time) via Preston Road:

Preston Road

The best bit all day was a sad railway crossing below Northwick Park:


After which the trail turned toward Harrow on the Hill:

Northwick Park

Remembering the need for some holly leaves to stick in the Christmas pudding, I followed residential roads the rest of the way to Harrow-on-the-Hill, tearing this piece off not far from Trinity:



Every little bit of the Overground helps:

The Bakerloo still looks lean and mean:

But, the worst of the Metropolitan is probably behind me:

And, the network continues to take on colour:


The Brown Derby, Kennington, London   1 comment

Pub #2032:

My legs were flagging, I was cold and wet, and I didn’t think there were anymore new-to-this-list pubs on the route to Kennington Station where I would change into my dry kit and head home.  But, just before Oval Station the Brown Derby presented itself.



This was one of those rare bars that sticks a lot of stupid shit together in a misguided attempt at hipness and, yet, manages to pull it off.  I don’t know how it happens, but some places just do.  Here’s some of the stupid shit: above the right half of the bar there is a rocker arm driving a bank of large, leaf-shaped fans to-and-fro.  The articulated arm is driven by a rotary motor so that the rail on which the fans are hinged doesn’t just thrust but also rises and lowers slightly with each cycle.  Two puffer fish are hung from the rail and, likewise, float with this wavelike motion.  Mesmerizing.



The jukebox is likewise fabulous, but out-of-order.  I would have offered to repair this for them, but it seemed an involved conversation about my qualifications would ensue and I let go of the notion.  They had really good taste in the music they were playing on the non-jukebox system, anyway…jazz and reggae interspersed with a couple of seasonal things.

Even the retro (but politically incorrect) wallpaper in the toilet somehow “works.”

And, the beer is good.



Posted December 17, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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