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So, it looks like the old Marlborough may be reopening after all, and this time it isn't just a rumour. The Kelly Arms are expanding up the road and have bought it off Gall and Woodlouse (as I call them).
I seem to have offered to do a website for them; but then, I saw the Marlborough dissolve into nothingness, and wondered what we could have done to stop that happening. Ironically the old Newt and Ferret (as it was before) had a site, but the Marlborough, no.
And the new pub will go back to the old name - the Fairfield Tavern. Before it was the Marlborough, before the Refectory (cursed place, lasted less time than the Marlborough and nobody cared so much) and before the Newt and Ferret.
Listening to Grey Horse gig footage on YouTube; I seem to have lost the going to local gigs that I had a couple of years ago. I'm sure it'll start again.
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Or to be exact, where the new barrel of beer has arrived but hasn't 'settled'. This is peculiar as it is Greene King IPA, which the previous incumbent of the Bricklayers, Kev, wouldn't sell as he hated the stuff. One of the reasons given was: "If you took a barrel of proper beer and rolled it down the stairs the beer would be cloudy for ages. It'd take time to settle. IPA would just come out clear as usual. There's something odd about it". Doug, the new guvnor, says he wants to try alternatives - for example Greene King's summer ale which the brewery themselves are pushing. They are tied to Greene King but there is a big range, not just wretched IPA. Abbot, Morlands, Ruddles, and various GK seasonals - all possibles. And what is to stop them having bottled bitter for those times the barrel isn't on? Eh? The Marlborough used to. Indeed they used to run out of beer on a regular basis probably because there volumes were so small that a fluctuation in trade either way made a real difference.

It's a funny thing but the Bricklayers - which has admittedly only been open again for a couple of weeks - seems to be working so much 'in terms of' the Six Bells (now the Honest Cabbage, but nobody in the Brickies calls it that). Doug used to run the Six Bells, the barmaid is a regular at the Six Bells, and at least one of the Brickies' new regulars (if you can have such a thing) was formerly usually to be seen propping up the bar there. In his case he used to practically live in the Marlborough before that. Like me, he's looking for a replacement for Sam and Pete's old pub and the Bricklayers is a lot closer than the Six Bells - which doesn't seem to know what it is at present. The Bells is pushing the food menu with glossy advertising cards through people's letterboxes, so you'd think it was trying to go upmarket; but at the same time it has a prominent pool table and is frequented by blokes in baseball caps so it's catering for the local good ol' boys.

But w.e.f. last night the Bricklayers has new comfortable furniture! Big club-type armchairs were being wheeled in as I sat at the bar and drank up mi (non-real) zyder. Sporadic music from the jukebox; some of it Irish. Doug may be trying to turn it into an Irish pub (which the Six Bells used to be) in which case it'll be like (very) old times when I lived in Hammersmith and used to go to Latymers (formerly the Red Cow), run by Ken Maguire who now has the Prince Albert in Twickenham.

But despite the absence of beer last night and of anyone like Sam (nobody could be quite like Sam) the Bricklayers is starting out well.
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So finally the bathroom project is very nearly finished. When I left this morning (and the fitter had already arrived. They're keen) there was still the lino to put down and the shower to get working, and a few other bits and pieces. By tonight it should be fully working.

The Marlborough may have 'transferred' to the Honest Cabbage but fewer of the Marl's locals have been turning up - as a result Sam is calling it a day. I suppose at least I won't have to listen to anyone singing "Father and Son", that deeply depressing uplifting dirge - as I parody it, "look at me, I'm old but I'm smug." Whether the former regulars will stick together I can't say - Sam and Pete (former managing couple of the Marl) are all some of us have in common I suspect.

Did a bit of writing yesterday even if it was Biggles in the style of Harry Stephen Keeler - the lamentable results are here.

Have watched the final ep of "Ashes to Ashes" this morning also.
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Back here at 2.30 by which time it really was all over: there hadn't been any more drink for a while and it was all getting rather silly. In a good way. Everyone who'd worked there in the past turned up so it was good to see some of those who hadn't been around for a bit. Also kept networking; met several people who I could very well have met in other areas of my life: "Don't I know you from somewhere?" "Almost certainly." There aren't that many recumbent riders around after all. And people involved with the permaculture project in Tolworth that our Gardening teacher mentioned.

Conflicting rumours keep circulating: the pub is going to be converted into flats, or it is going to be taken over by another brewery. We will carry on at the Honest Cabbage, we won't because that is becoming a restaurant.

For the rest there are photographs so you can see what went on.

The Marlborough

1 November 2006 - 2 February 2008

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This weekend. Yesterday, haircut and bought two shirts, then in the evening to the Marlborough for the 30th birthday of one of the regulars. Fun, and a refreshing absence of yoofs. Left at 2230 which is early for me, there. This morning, tidied up the garden a bit and turned the compost heap. Looked in briefly at the Marl. in the afternoon but they had no ale, not even bottled (we'd drunk 'em dry again! "Sammi's party," the barman said apologetically), so I walked to Richmond Park and along a path under trees to Pembroke Lodge, where it was too late to get any tea; so back, the sun behind cloud, just above the horizon, trees like explosions of frozen earth, and even passing joggers and families scurrying for the exits didn't detract from the feeling. Years ago I sold a story called "Not from Around Here" which was set in Richmond Park (the main character was a park warden) and rather gave its own plot away by mentioning Saki and quoting 'Gabriel-Ernest'.

Still, kept on with my intention of being outdoors more. 10 km / 6 miles which is not too bad.
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On the face of it, the weekend was quite healthy. Having accompanied Susan to the local for the usual Friday night session (the last ever I fear - the sound system is now packed away and the pub is already starting to look a bit stark) I left for home at a modest 0030.

Saturday, planted the new tree (Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry'). Dug a big hole, put compost from my compost bin in it, put tree in, filled in around the sides, watered. Also cut back the fuchsia which is now brown and brittle.
Afternoon, went to the gym. But I was unable to complete my circuit - very nearly did but skimped on a set of weights and one of the machines. I should really go to the gym tonight but am 'countable tired.

Sunday, got on the bike and rode to Walton on Thames and had lunch in the Weir Hotel and then came back home by the towpath. It was a bit windy setting out but not too bad coming back and riding on the towpath is fun so long as people realise what a bicycle bell is actually for.
chrisamies: (garden)
Closing time at the pub last night was 1230.
I finally wandered out at 0245.
(obLegal: no drinks were sold after closing time). A busy night even if some of the students did think Friday Night was Fight Night and the cops were called. Most of the trouble happened outside on the pavement however.

Much was discussed including what we are going to do after 2/2 when it shuts down. There is a move to take the entertainment to the Six Bells (aka Honest Cabbage) (good, it's improved no end recently and I already thought it and the Marl. were aiming at a similar audience), and another suggestion was to 'colonise' the Swan (me: 'Student bar! No real ale!').

Apparently the Kelly Arms, recently taken over by Michael Pearson who owns the Canbury Arms, has shut down too. These are not good times for proper pubs (as opposed to bars) in Kingston.

This morning I have been mostly going around garden centres looking at trees. A Norway Maple would suit the end of the garden. But in the end I ordered one online - that way it gets delivered.

And breakfast this morning contained a double-yolked egg. Aren't they supposed to be lucky?
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At the beginning of February my local, the Marlborough, will close down.

It really is the end of an era. I've been going there pretty much since Sam and Pete took it on in November 2006, at least once a week (Friday nights there were a fixture), often twice, and not necessarily always for beer - have often been known to go in for a coffee on Saturday afternoon, or for Sunday lunch.

I've written to the owners - Hall and Woodhouse - asking if the place is going to carry on being a pub after the present tenants leave, and suggesting that it would be a good idea if it was. Because the last thing we want is for it to turn into more bastarding luxury flats. It's also quite an interesting building though it's been modified (I think it's originally two houses that were knocked through into one and an extension added to the side), and I doubt if it's interesting enough to be listed - but it's still worth a punt to the borough council along the same lines, i.e. look unkindly upon planning applications to knock it down or convert it to residential. It's the pub-to-restaurant ones that are more difficult to contest as it isn't even a change of use (it's still Use Class A3).

Unlike so many nearby pubs which are either lager-only yoof drinking dens or gastropubs, the Marl seemed to have the balance right - a pub for adults, but not too grown-up.
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I have joined Facebook, entirely so that I could join the Marlborough Appreciation Society, but already finding other people I know on it. Had one of those moments when you realise someone you know is connected to someone else you know (of) - an overlap for my worlds of cycling and the aforementioned pub. Spent yesterday in Chiswick House Grounds, then the Marlborough (roast chicken dinner, yum) then to the Europa at East Molesey for jazz.
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Did go to the Marlborough in the end. Stayed too long. Also they ran out of beer. Plenty of fun otherwise though.
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Back to work today, even though I don't feel that well still. Spent much of yesterday just resting - managed to walk to Richmond Park and a little way into it, and also did some food shopping, but that was about it.

Also several phone calls from friends and relations.

The antibiotics have another day to run, that's ok as I don't feel like going out tonight anyhow - the Marlborough is having NYE which is tempting but I expect I will save my £25 and forgo the champagne cocktails and dazzling company (it can be, too. A better category of pub, is our Marlborough). Just as well I didn't sign up for the Fox Club's NYE bash (more expensive but it includes accommodation) or I'd have probably been trying to cancel - though as it includes the room I might just have crept upstairs as soon as possible.

At work we have moved desks so I've just spent some time unpacking crates. A box of books has also arrived including 'The Importance of Being Drunk' by Richard Gray, 'Veniss Underground' by Jeff Vandermeer, and 'Gateway to Hell' by Dennis Wheatley. Also the 'Handbook for Horticultural Students' which would really have been better before I started the Gardening course, rather than two fifths the way through.
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Still no broadband. Luckily the library has free internet access for members and so that's where I am.
I also have two new pairs of shoes including a pair of Beatle Boots. The others replace my allegedly solid Josef Seibel shoes which have gone in both soles. Are shoes actually designed to walk in? Gabrielle the Brazilian spoke of something called 'riding shoes' which really aren't designed to walk in, just for sitting in cars, etc. Possibly a mistranslation from Portuguese but I can see what they would be - sole-contour lasts more or less.

Last night, went to the Marlborough thinking this was just going to be for a swift half and then home, but ended up in there until 1 a.m. Karaoke wasn't scheduled but happened anyway. We are losing a teenager tomorrow - Natalie, the very capable barmaid, will turn 20. She wants to see me in tight leather trousers, apparently - thinks I should perform in their 'Stars in their Eyes' event (on the 21st) as Rod Stewart. Hm.

[I think I know where she's coming from with this now. Checking out the video for 'Young Turks' (1981 and doesn't it look it), Rodney is in a grey jacket with sleeves rolled up, white T shirt and the aforementioned leather kecks (as far as I can tell). Last summer I was known to turn up to the Marlborough in rather similar gear but not with leather trousers as I didn't own any. I can also 'make with' the Raybans too.]

Don't want to continue with 'Fire of Unknown Origin' just at the mo, though I have some scenes I want to write. 'The Long Red Time', that wintry vampire story set in somewhere not quite Prague and not quite Vienna, is more alluring. Then there is the revised ending to 'Walking on the Bones'. Priorities!


Dec. 14th, 2007 10:40 am
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So the Trees, Shrubs and Roses exam passed without major upset. This time there were absolutely no questions where I thought 'what the hell does that mean?' - which is a good sign.
On the train this morning Ch. said 'Of course you did alright, you always do in exams' - this based on size of sample, 1, as she is referring to the tests in the Greek course we did. She reverses my habit of wearing hat but not gloves - has been wearing gloves in the morning since November. But then she has plenty of hair but her hands are tiny. It's a matter of where you lose heat from.

After the exam, I went to the Honest Cabbage (aka Six Bells) where there was some Jazz. Good, too. This is the pub that is supposedly changing hands in the New Year to not become a Korean restaurant, as we'd surmised, but to probably become some kind of semi-gastro pub along the lines of the Canbruy Arms and the Pottery. Spent some time texting lproven (who passed on nolley's news, which I can't see as I'm not on his FL) and drinking Wells Bombardier - not my favourite beer (it's too 'heavy' for my taste) but it was the only option, and was my first beer for nearly a week too. Got talking to someone who more usually goes into the Marlborough - his wife does karaoke and I remember her from there.

She it was also who gave us a heads-up for Never The Bride being on at the Bulls Head, Barnes, on Monday - haven't seen that band for a while, so I want to go there.

Tomorrow I was going to Canal 125, as the_major said she might go along, but her LJ has been deleted.
chrisamies: (Margaras)
• My job is probably coming to an end next year and I want to avoid getting stuck in an IT job in some backroom, which it would likely come down to.
• I am out of sorts with CAMRA. I don’t even know why I got myself onto the committee, when you consider that when I moved into the area in 2005 I wasn’t sure I was going to even drink alcohol at all, and for the first few months didn’t very much. I am not drinking this week and we shall see how it goes. Still pretty tired though. I expect it takes a while to get itself out of the system. I know I’ve been through all this before but it is still an issue. Maybe I will be able to do some writing now kthx?
• Ch. Is moving to Oxford because her husband has a new job there, not because there’s anything wrong with her job. So they both have to up sticks and I won’t have my travelling companion any more.
• The Last B Movie of All is in December. Not that I went very often, but it was there. Still, there will be new venues I’m sure though perhaps not so welcoming to the not-exactly-a-goth-but-can-wear-black-sometimes.

• But … I thought the Six Bells (aka the Honest Cabbage) was closing down but it’s only going to be refurbished and reopen under new management.
• Nat may have moved to New Cross but she is still around at my local. I thought she’d gone off me but we had a good conversation on Saturday. I wished I’d had a camera when she was standing in the doorway, smoking (just outside the pub, honest) – like something out of a film noir.

Oh, and today - Hanukkah doughnuts in the staff restaurant!
chrisamies: (earthshine)
Up at ten this morning which wasn't bad considering the lads (two of my former fellow-EFL teachers) and I were in the Marlborough until chucking-out time some time after midnight, and then came back here and stayed up talking and listening to Roger Waters for some time after that. Enjoying the early hours of my birthday in good company. Tradition dictates a proper breakfast and so there was bacon and eggs.
J and K have gone back now - Kevin said he was thinking of staying longer but I want some time on my own, thanks very much.
Martina sent me a present - an electric toothbrush. Useful!

An odd thing that has been resolved is identifying the 'earworm' that occasionally pops up in my dreams - just a verse without the chorus. The chorus would have made it a lot easier to ID because the song turns out to be 'Walking in Rhythm' by the Blackbyrds, from 1975. Not a song I've given much thought to and I don't think I have it on CD anywhere.

Radio 3 reception seems to have massively improved on my new sound system as well which is nice.
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I have had the cold that everyone else, well a lot of people, seem to have had. Spent much of Thursday asleep. didn’t go to work, which doesn’t concern me that much, but also didn’t turn up for the City and Guilds Gardening class on Thursday, so who knows what I’ve missed? I’ll have to email the tutor and find out. After all we have an exam on 1 November. I wonder if there is anything worse than just cold going on as I do feel very tired.

So last night didn’t go far, just down to the Marlborough, my local - there was some kind of Hispanic duet playing drums and guitar, which was ok. It is the sort of pub where I could just sit and write, and may do so. It’s pubby without being too hidebound by tradition - there is a different but very good atmosphere in some way. It did actually run out of bitter while I was there but there was more to hand. Badger bottled beers however tend to be very sweet, too much for my taste.

Also I’ve arranged going to Hebden Bridge this coming weekend - may even go on a weekend trip to Whitby while I’m up there.

Today there are no trains from Norbiton so to go to town i will have to get a bus to Raynes Park first - could go via Surbiton but I no longer have Zone 6 on my travelcard so I’d need to pay extra. Might as well get the bus in the proper direction too instead of going south to go north.

I am writing this on the MacBook in the dining room because (i) it’s faster and (ii) the connection actually works. And (iii) from the end of the month I won’t have the choice, unless I buy some kind of external AirPort connection for the Mac Mini. Still trying Mariner MacJournal with this.


Sep. 3rd, 2007 01:35 pm
chrisamies: (garden)
Those peoples who claim the day starts on the evening of the day before seem to be on to something. I can’t talk about the weekend without mentioning Friday evening, when as often I went to the Marlborough, not my nearest pub (that would be the Six Bells) but I can count it as my local (though see later for news regarding nearby public houses). There was hardly anyone in there but we had a good time anyway. The landlady telling me “You’re among friends here.” To bed at 1 or so, up at 9 next morning.

Does a wordprocessing application format text proprely and without falling over? I am forced to say that AbiWord doesn’t, indeed I hear that the developers may have given up developing the Mac version. AbiWord twice dropped out of sight completely while I was working on the novel. Nisus is nice but it won’t copy from the Mac to the MacBook – you can only have one copy. Mariner Write however, does copy, and render text correctly, and apart from my being slightly confused by the Save As dialog – RTF (Write) seems to be the version you need but if you save your document as that it doesn’t open it properly afterwards. What you need to do is tick the little box marked ‘save with file extension’. Reading reviews of Write people either love it or hate it, little ground in between.

Yes, I spent Saturday working on the novel, completely uninterested in going anywhere – I think I spent no money at all that day. [edit: I think this is the Saturday I spent feeling warm and cosy as an egg thanx to the Marlboroughness of the Friday night] Also in the afternoon I made an apple crumble and an apple cake (got to be some way of getting rid of them apples) – unfortunately the apple cake didn’t get long enough in the oven and fell to bits when i took it out. Another half hour was enough to turn it into proper cake, but it is still in several large segments.

Later on I found out the Kelly Arms, to the south of Fairfield, had apparently closed down. So as to get a picture of it for ‘Last Orders’ I biked over there, only to see a pub that was very much going. Rumours of its demise seemed to be greatly exaggerated. That was the furthest I went on Saturday, although I’d been into the garden once or twice.
So on Sunday lunchtime I went to the Kelly again, to find a pub that had in fact been reopened two days earlier. In many ways it is still unfinished – the walls need painting and the garden is still full of the detritus of the refurbishment. But there are four real ales on – including Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, which is usually a good sign. Talking to the barman it transpires that the Kelly has been taken over by Michael Pearson, landlord of the Canbury Arms. But the Kelly is a lot more ‘pubby’ than the Canbury, which with its pale grey walls and dining-only furniture is more than a little stark, despite the good beer range. While we’re talking Michael himself turns up. It seems the Canbury was in a very bad way when they took it over – hence the gutting of it (though I don’t remember it in its previous incarnation), while the Kelly was in much better shape.
The Kelly may be further from my house than the Canbury, but the walk to the Canbury, depending on how much traffic is going along London Road and round the one-way system, varies between grim and downright unpleasant. The way to the Kelly would be much nicer – along Fairfield, down through Mill Street and over the little bridge. I know which I’m more likely to do. That and quite possibly, because of the area’s demographic, the Kelly would be less full of kids running about. Michael did put out one of his ‘bulletins’ in the Canbury saying “this is a pub, not a creche”, but I don’t know how much notice has been taken.

Next I went down to the Thames and watched the boats go past; and after that amusement had passed, to the Market Place which these days is full of wurst stalls and an open-air pub selling German beer. I saw one of the local CAMRA committee with some of his pals and sat with them for a while; ended up selling a copy of Dead Ground to one of them (I’ve just posted it).

Home and the day was far from over. Inspired by the still remaining Apple Mountain I stewed some apples, put them in a kilner jar and poured vodka over them. The result should be interesting. Kilner jars! My grandma had kilner jars to preserve all the fruit from her garden, and my did she make jams and jellies. Not sure about the vodka though – she liked her small tin of stout of an evening, and as she lived to 94 (though sadly the last few years in sore decrepitude) she must have been doing something right.

And still the day wasn’t done with me, for the neighbour and I finally got some work done on the Path. It is now laid up to the front doors of the two houses (which face each other). Finally it looks like something’s been achieved, and we can see the way it’ll look when it’s done.
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Wheatley, that is. Tony Keetch and his 'Desmond Stirling' character has a lot to answer for (I did entertain the possibility that Stirling is supposed to be Anthony Burgess but while Burgess wasn't exactly a leftie, as I recall, I don't think he was as Conservative as 'Stirling' or Wheatley. Perhaps, like Jeff LInt, Stirling is a mixture).

So I set off for a Large Charity Secondhand Bookshop and found:

The Devil Rides Out
The Launching of Roger Brook
(both in hardcover, Hutchinson Edito-Service Edition, 1972)


Mayhem in Greece
in a first edition hardback, also Hutchinson, 1962.

Remarkably chipper seeing yesterday was a chapter of spilled drinks:
coffee (over me in the train on the way in to work)
beer (when my chair collapsed outside the back door. Inexplicable, and no, I wasn't drunk at the time, I hadn't had a chance to sip the beer)
beer (in the Marlborough when a departing customer knocked my pint off the table).
Well it was Friday 13th.
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I have spent a pleasant evening surrounded by people and unfortunately not speaking to any of them because I have no voice over the kind of noise level we were achieving in the Marlborough. That and a cold which I have been fighting off all week. Kingston has the highest population turnover in London - over 50% in 2003-4 - and this shows in the youthful demographic we were getting in there. 'Sblood, if we got some decent real ales in it could be like Bath, and who could ever be tired of Bath?

I should also restrict myself to singing songs I actually know, but half the fun is not knowing the song perfectly and having to wing it. Sam (who runs the M.) didn't seem to mind anyhow.

The "Miami Vice" episode 'Missing Hours' was scripted by Thomas M Disch. This does not stop it being a clunker. "Missing hours? Never mind that, give me back the hour it took me to watch it!'. It could have been 'The X Files' avant la lettre but wasn't.

Tomorrow is the Kingston Beer Festival. I am supposed to be working behind the bar for eight hours.
Talk about Missing Hours. I think I have some due between now and then.
chrisamies: (Margaras)
The cats have driven out the foxes.
The foxes kept down the rats.
There are now large holes in the shed door.
Coincidence? I think not.

I have been having a busy weekend involving (from Friday night and in order) musical silliness at the Marlborough, the beer festival at the Three Moles in Selham (northwest Sussex) followed by curry and more music in Surbiton; and then down to Clandon (Surrey) to see family today. Have had a go at playing the saxophone (and how many dogs howled?) - got a note out of it at least. I'd forgotten my sis plays the sax - though I don't think she's actually done so for a few years, probably not since she became a mum.


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