Archive for the ‘tourism’ Tag

London A to Z Runs : Index   Leave a comment

 

The London A to Z Runs were a construct to explore — until then — unfamiliar areas of town since we moved to London and to drink a lot of beer in the effort.  The runs were:

2016

A for, you know … things that start with A, 16 September, 4 pubs, 8.5 miles
B for B pubs and B concepts, 23 September, 3 pubs, 3.8 miles
C for Crime, 28 September, 4 pubs, 10.4 miles
D for Dr Who, 7 October, 4 pubs, 4.1 miles
E for Ealing, 14 October, 3 pubs, 6.2 miles
F for Film, 28 October, 4 pubs, 7.2 miles
G for Graffiti, 4 November, 3 pubs, 4.6 miles
H for Heathrow Third Runway, 7 November, 4 pubs, 6.2 miles

2017

I for the Isis (Thames), 31 March, 4 pubs, 6.5 miles
J for pubs that start with J, 7 April, 3 pubs, 6.0 miles
K for Kennington, 13 April, 3 pubs, 4.1 miles
L for the Ladder in Harringay, 28 April, 3 pubs, 4.4 miles
M for Mile End, 5 May, 3 pubs, 4.7 miles
N for the Northern Line, 17 May, 5 pubs, 7.0 miles
O for Olympic Park, 19 May, 4 pubs, 6.5 miles
P for Postboxes with an Edward VIII cypher, 16 June, 4 pubs, 7.6 miles
Q for Quays, 23 June, 3 pubs, 5.0 miles
R for Respiratory Distress, 30 June, 4 pubs, 3.3 miles
S for Streatham, 10 July, 4 pubs, 11.1 miles
T for Towpath, 14 July, 4 pubs, 4.7 miles
U for Udders, 28 July, 3 pubs, 8.0 miles
V for V2 rockets and The Blitz, 4 August, 3 pubs, 4.5 miles
W for Women, 9 August, 4 pubs, 5.5 miles
X for Xenophilia, 18 August, 5 pubs, 5.3 miles
Y for Y-chromosomes and Yobs, 23 August, 4 pubs, 5.8 miles
Z for Zoo, 1 September, 4 pubs, 7.5 miles

This was a very satisfying series of runs (159 miles worth) over the last year for many reasons, not least for the 96 pubs visited during run breaks.  You can find the rough locations of the runs on the map, just follow the beer shoes.

 

 

 

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Posted September 2, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

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London A to Z Runs : Z   4 comments

 

Z is for the Zoo, both the Regents’ Park one and the menagerie that animal named pubs make up (in fact, this run could have taken place anywhere in town if only beastly named pubs were involved).

I set out from Finchley Road Station up hill to Hampstead Heath to the hooved section of my imaginary Zoo.  Here I encountered …

 

… a Roebuck, but my earlier web-scouting convinced me that the pub is kind of up its own arse so I patiently continued the safari.

 

 

 

Sadly, the White Horse is shuttered, but a few hundred feet farther along the Stag (and its 24 tap bar) awaited this brave huntsman.

 

 

Refreshed, the adventurer continued.

 

 

The Bull & Gate seemed, on the interwebs, to be a bit too posh for my tastes (at least with more suitable accommodation so near).  But, not all Zoo creatures are wildlife, so into the collection it goes:

 

 

The Lion and Unicorn seemed similarly unsuitable for a sweaty naturalist (naturist, as well, but clothed at present).  The great British lion is rare to see in the wild, but not so much so as the chimera that joins it on this sign:

 

 

Eventually, I took refuge in the Old Eagle after a slight misdirection and the Golden Lion very soon after that.  The end of my trek was near!

 

 

If I ever decide to re-do the A-to-Z runs, P for Porno might include the Spread Eagle:

 

 

The Buck’s Head had an inviting web-site except that they proudly feature Brew Dog beers.  Even this shouldn’t warrant 86’ing a pub that looks this good; but, since it is in the middle of Camden Town, I was pretty sure it would be full of the sort of dickheads that intentionally go to Camden Town.   Instead, I continued on to the gorgeous (albeit filled with the annoying people I just described) Elephant’s Head.

 

 

A brief jaunt down the canal path then a quick pass by the actual Zoo:

 

 

And, I was ready to head home at St John’s Wood tube station when I realised I had found the entomology section of my Zoo.  I took just a brief moment at the coffeeshop there to look at the Beatles before decamping for the suburbs.

 

 

 

 

Posted September 2, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

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Notting Hill Carnival 2017   Leave a comment

 

We went to the Notting Hill Carnival to drink beer (check), listen to loud music (check), look at mostly undressed folks (check-a-roonie), and to eat some Carribean food (check).

 

 

I didn’t take a lot of photos after the crowd grew almost unmanageable so this is what you’ll get from this page (apologies, but just image search “Notting Hill Carnival 2017” and you’ll find whatever it is you think you want).

 

We weren’t as drunk as the Iggy Pop looking mofo, above, but not because we didn’t give it the ol’ college try.  His dance was really not as impressive as the copper whose video turned up viral this morning.

 

 

While the crowd probably contained every black person within 500 miles, this is London so (despite racists moaning about being overrun) it was a fairly pale shade, overall.

 

 

I was excited to find an ornate VR postbox (my effort to prove myself the whitest guy at the Carnival, according to Jackie):

 

 

And, the home of one of the founding paraders:

 

 

The Grenfell disaster weighed on everyone’s minds and there were tributes to the victims throughout (and, miraculously, an actual minute of silence in this loudest of London parties).

 

 

That’s not why there was so much smoke in the next picture.  We imbibed in a modicum of hash before travel, but we could easily have sustained a contact high everywhere we went.  “Mahr-ree-wanna, mahr-ree-wanna…like the Bob Marley, mon,” intoned one street salesman as we pushed through a crowd.  That and the hundreds of jerk chicken and goat curry stands on almost every street left our clothing reeking of char.

 

 

The food was grand, too.  J had the goat and I had the chicken (contributing to the avian holocaust wherein more chicken is consumed in 2 days than in the whole rest of the London year).  I also had these numbers handed me on the Tube the day before:

16,000 coconuts
400 goats
15,000 plantains
70,000 litres of carrot juice
10,000 litres of Jamaican stout
25,000 bottles of rum.

I believe it.

 

Entrepreneurs in the neighbourhood rent out their toilets for £3 a go (£5 if you want to jump the queue).  The dry compost loos provided by the borough make it an understandable (if not justifiable) luxury.

 

 

The first and last — the Alpha and Omega, if you will — stands we saw were this troupe of God Botherers:

 

 

One of them — at the far left of the photo — gave me a leaflet with a long, preachy cartoon.  Distilled, below, are the bits I thought I could use here (but opted not to bother):

 

The Royal Oak, Brentford, London   1 comment

Pub #1907:

For the Y-Chromosome run, I wanted a football stadium with a pub on each corner but this isn’t as common as you might think.  I settled on Griffin Park because it is near enough the house to make it an easy hit but, sadly, one of the pubs, the Royal Oak, was listed as shut down with no prospect of reopening.  Leaving the Griffin, pub number three on the day’s journey, I ran past just to have a look at the building and through an open door I spied a guy sitting at a bar sipping a beer.  Hooray!

Workman were putting in kitchen equipment and the whole place looked more like a construction site.  I chatted with the other fellow and the landlady and found that she had worked here years before and had quite a no-nonsense reputation with the hooligans that regularly filled the place.  “Hopefully, they’ll return,” they agreed.

They’ve only just reopened a couple of weeks ago and the bar is operating almost as a pop-up micropub at present, but there’s no reason it wouldn’t be a success at least for the football season.  You should drop in … at the NW corner of Griffin Park.

 

Posted August 26, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Griffin, Brentford, London   1 comment

 

Pub #1906:

Entering the Griffin (on the SW corner of Griffin Park), I slid past the posh, tall, twenty-something kid standing at the bar and ordered an Oliver’s Island, apologising for interrupting the conversation with the barmaid.  “Not at all,” he reassured me as she poured, then to her he continued by asking, “what sort of … stuff … comes out of that estate just over there?”  He emphasized this with a dismissive tone to his voice and an even less respectful flutter of his hand in the direction of a council estate down the road a bit.

She was chirpy and polite (and somewhat posh herself, for a local girl) and explained that this is still a fairly close neighbourhood despite new money coming in over time.

 

 

He and his American wife (who appeared from the loos), continued to ask about the neighbourhood and the trade for a while then at 1 minute till 5, they disappeared out the door.  A long moment passed and I said to my host, “THAT was condescending.”  She looked taken aback and I tilted my glass toward the door and paraphrased, “what kind of … stuff … are they worried about?”

“Oh, I see.  No, they are considering renting a pub down there and I guess they are scouting the neighbourhood.”

Them?

“They do seem a bit young, but they have experience running a pub in Twickenham.”

“That’s what I was thinking, yes … a bit … young … and maybe a bit ….”

 

 

I didn’t get to finish my thought as the clock went past 5 and regulars poured in as if they had been waiting outside for the starter’s signal.  Empty except me, her, and the yuppie scum a few minutes before, it was now a lively community centre with easily a dozen friendly locals asking after each other’s day and introducing themselves to the weird, sweaty bloke with the American accent in their midst.

Oh, the place is splendid, by the way.  Worth a look in just for the interior details, but a grand bar as well.

 

Posted August 26, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Princess Royal, Brentford, London   1 comment

 

Pub #1905:

A couple of young men were chatting with the landlady (I assume) over some lagers when I entered the Princess Royal, the next stop on my journey (about 50 meters from the New Inn).  “That looks good,” I said whilst pointing at a lager on their table and soon I had one of my own.  I also had the place to myself as the lads went to the street to smoke and she disappeared out the back.  The autotune “enhanced” pop music gripped the muscles between my shoulder blades; one track ended and after a moment’s respite another would begin…relentless.  I drank up quickly in hopes of escape.

 

 

The lads reappeared with another.  They appeared to be on parole — ankle tags aren’t as obvious as they used to be — and one ordered another round from our hostess who had reappeared miraculously just as they had.  They took a sip or two then returned to the street for another smoke or just to get out of range of the speakers.  She disappeared again, too.  As did I.

 

 

Posted August 26, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The New Inn, Brentford, London   2 comments

 

Pub #1904:

I hadn’t run far to get there, but I had three pubs (which turned into four) to visit before the longer leg of my journey could commence.  Near the Northeast corner of Griffin Park the New Inn sits with a smallish bar in front and a large, sunny lounge visible through a window in the bar.  Three fellows in the lounge stopped talking to stare at me through this notch and when they resumed their conversation they kept eyeing me suspiciously.  This continued for 5 full minutes and I was ready to leave since there didn’t appear to be a bartender; a skinny kid who emerged just then from the beer garden with two teenage girls took his place behind the bar and asked my order.

 

 

I pointed to the pump clip turned my way and he gave the handle a rudimentary tug.  “It’s out.”  Of course.  He turned the clip for Old Speckled Hen around and, without asking if I would like it, pulled a pint then, realising his presumption, asked, “would you like one of those?”

“It’ll be fine.  I’m just thirsty.”  I tried a sip and wrinkled my nose.  “Not TOO soapy,” I joked.  He reached for my glass, apologising profusely; but, I was too quick and pulled it away.  “Really, it’s fine.”  The guys in the lounge seemed amused or, at least, a little less menacing.

Pretty house, great garden, and I wouldn’t judge them on a late Wednesday afternoon shift…someone professional MUST run this place when it’s busy.

 

Posted August 26, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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