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.
In unfamiliar territory in the post-sunset twilight, a pint of Courage seemed appropriate and what better indicator that this was available than the Courage & Co livery all over the Windermere. I went into the trackside near South Kenton Station and entered a land that time forgot.
The fellows playing billiards in the ornate Lounge Bar were generally in their twenties and thirties, but the guys at the perfectly preserved, carved walnut Public Bar were relics (although, to be honest, I believe most to be about my age). Excited to see a stranger, I heard stories from a couple of these guys that they tell so often that blokes from the other room were hollering in corrections.
It serves its purpose, the pub does. The very mixed community gathers here to maintain the community spirit or just to shoot the shit (and a few racks of pool). One of the nicer large venues I’ve come across in recent months — worth a journey out to the northern reaches of Wembley.
The Preston, despite being more a family style restaurant than a pub, impressed me with the ale selection (five plus one settling) which is nice as it is the only game in this part of town. I was likewise impressed with the price: I got my Brakspear for just £3.
The ACTUAL price, however, is £2.95 but when the delightful barmaid opened the drawer to give me my change for three quid, the manager stomped up and took control of the till with his RFID key and started growling about how “you’ve got to watch those bastards” and “they steal from you” then he rifled through the drawer before standing there fuming. I wasn’t the only customer (nor was she the only server) waiting while he insulted us, directly. I waved off the 5p change; bastards, indeed…they probably feel a kinship.
Then, the little fucker started marching around the place, glowering at each table of customers for a moment before stomping off. With any luck, Ember Inns will exile this little Napoleon to some place less nice than the Preston would be if he just buggered off.
Man, it was humid during yesterday’s run (and warmer than I’m used to). Plus, I got completely lost and wound up close to Wembley but fortunately spotted a pub. Unfortunately, it was the Black Horse. Fortunately, they had five ales on the pumps. Unfortunately, the Brakspear that I got tasted metallic (but, I chalked that up to the cold I’m fighting off).
It’s an Ember Inn, so kind of geared toward dining for fat families more so than a pub atmosphere. Still, it made the extra time list of the August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge.
Walking home from registering with my new GP, I spotted Wembley Stadium on the horizon. After the unfavourable comparison of Wembley to Ruislip by my barmate last night, I decided to go have a look for myself seeing as it is just over there. As I suspected, the comparison was hardly fair.
The town IS much browner than our little village and this results in a lot of shops with Indian names or Caribbean colours and smells; few are opting for English (with the exception of the Caribbeans) preferring instead one or another of the Pakistani, Indian, Tamil tongues or Polish (because there are some white people around…mostly in the pub), and for some of the Africans, French. It’s an immigrant neighbourhood but the area is also 10 times the size and 50 times more densely populated than Ruislip so the expectation of a ‘traditional English’ setting would be nearly as horrifying and alien to my Ruislipian friend if ‘all the migrants just fucked off back where they came from.’
The real immigration issue should be, as always, what effect the new populace has on the drinks industry. It was hard to find a pub on my walk from Sudbury Town Underground to Wembley Central — there was one at the start, and an Irish place just as I started hitting Lahore Central, but thereafter it was fairly dry. A few blocks past the tube stop I finally found the Liquor Station which used to be the Post Office (not the Post Office Pub but the actual Post Office).
Inside, the bar is fairly nice but the one ale pump was dry. “We have bottles, but only the Brown” offered the Romanian bartender, blissfully unaware of the thoughts I was trying to organise for this posting. I opted for a lager, feeling an exiled kinship with Australians who, like most of the early settlers of Georgia, were prisoners dumped in an inhospitable environment — yeah, the English did that and, save for the Europeans here, did even more for the population of Wembley. Chickens…roost. Or, for the white folks: horse…Brexit door.
For me, this is another of the August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge entries.