Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I've been into London a few times over the past week or so. I very much enjoyed the photos in Tom Hunter's exhibition at the National Gallery. The light is fantastic and I also like the subject matter – takes on Old Masters and photos taken to reflect the headlines of the Hackney Gazette.

On the bus back to Limehouse I was taken by St Paul's. It looks magestic lit up against the night sky. In comparison, the Tower looks remarkably squat. I got annoyed by the musical accompaniment that is the wheelchair ramp – resembled a siren sounding the alarm at a nuclear plant – and also a pair of Italian tourists trying to locate their position in an A to Z. Every time they managed to find the street they were on we'd moved on by at least five minutes. I couldn't help myself and had to intervene. I couldn't quite work out whether they were pleased or not.

Following on from Gaw Blimey's blog about coughing carriages on the c2c ( I thought it was April Fool's) the only mention I found was an advert for Benylin – Is your cough driving you off the rails? Four people were coughing, myself included, and I am pleased to say that the Health Police did not descend and remove us elsewhere.

Walking down from Fenchurch Street station I noticed a board for a local bar. 'All pints £2.90'. As if they think that is some kind of bargain.

The book (a present) I bought in the Design Museum came in a delightful paper carrier bag. I did ask the cashier if the bag was strong enough. The answer was in the affirmative. I couldn't help but check they were sure. 'Tried and tested' was the answer. Well, I don't know where. Half way down the South Bank one of the handles went and I had to carry the book under my arm – which rubbed the corner of the bag through. I am not impressed and shall tell them so next time I visit.

Outside Marks and Spencers on Oxford Street I was happy to acknowledge the black Father Christmas. He's been there collecting for charity for as long as I can remember. Lord Cole. When I asked how long he pointed to his badge – 12 years service for Diabetes Uk – except it was out of date; 15 years would be more accurate. His vice-like grip on my arm suggested he wanted more of a chat. So we did. It was lovely!

Sam Smith's pub are a shining light in the dark of London as far as I am concerned. The beer is good and cheap (£1.70 for a pint of bitter) and I have yet to find one devoid of atmosphere. Waiting for C. in the Red Lion on Kingly Street I did get embarrassed by the fact I had to ask a complete stranger to help me detach my hair from the wood panelling. That may have been less embarrassing than the fact I walked out of the changing rooms in the Ilford Debenhams having forgotten to put my top back on. I thought my coat felt odd; I looked down, saw my bra and nearly had a heart attack.


coolbuddha said...

I had a similar embarrassment in Marks & Spencer - I had forgotten I had a bra on.

gawblimeyman said...

Beer in London is shocking...having been teetotal for 3 & a half years now I am really shocked if I'm in a pub up town and buy a mate a pint. That the Lord for St. Wetherspoon, the patron saint of winos & pikeys!

Che-Jay said...

£2.90 a pint !!!

Hells Bells

I think my local working mens club is 90p for a pint of dark mild, mind you a flat cap and whippet is mandatory for entry and woe be to anyone that sits in uncle Alf's place, it's been his seat for 40 years so it has !

The Blind-Winger Jones said...

Ah yes, Sam Smith's a fine Yorkshire brewer extending it's generosity to the good people of the Southern English capital. Nice to hear of folks enjoying our missionary endeavours ;-)

liits said...

Oooh er, Sam Smiths! My Dad always warned me not to drink anything Smiths, either Johns or Sams. Coming from Leeds, somthing only to be proud of in terms of Tetley's, I know what he meant. Here are two stories about smiths beer, one for each firm. Sam Samiths do tours around the brewery, as do most brewers, anyway, the party going around the Sams brewery were being shown the fermenting shed where they still ferment the beer in "Yorkshire Squares", huge, reat big slate [square] vats with open tops. Anyway, as the party was leaving the fermenting shed the guid looked around to ensure everybody was keeping up when he saw two of the party pissing in the vat. It's rumored tht Sams beer has never been so strong!
The other story takes place across the road at John Smiths, where they do things in a more modern way.
Having emptied one of their massive storage tower silos, the guy had gotten in to hose it out. Well, the fumes must have gotten to him and he had closed the hatch after him while he caught 40 winks. He must have been missing for some hours because the automatic brewing cycle had caught up with him and the silo was refilled drowning the poor guy. What a way to go.
The first story is probably apocryphal but the second has some basis in truth. I believe that the chap had had a heart attack.
Drink Guinness, at least you cannot see if it has things floating in it!