chrisamies: (Default)
So my sick leave has come to an end and I am back at work on Monday. Still have to go to the fracture clinic on Thursday though. Then there is the matter of physio and also doing exercise to get rid of some of the excess weight accumulated through four weeks of little exercise and too much bad food.
I have however been writing; the novel is still at 42000 words but has the addition of a third story strand between the other two. And 'For fear of little men' has rounded out at 25000 which is an odd length - was fun finishing it, though I'll have to change the name 'Damien Mocata' for something else. (Mocata is the villain of 'The Devil Rides Out', and unless this Mocata has taken that name - not impossible - I'll have to change it).

I have to remember to sit properly or this bone gets painful again.

On Thursday I went back to the Fairfield for the music but quite honestly if I'm barely tolerated there I can't be arsed with it. There is about one person there I'd miss (not including the people who are involved with the music, who turn up elsewhere) and I can meet up with her somewhere else. Unfortunately the Cricketers, down the way, is advertising itself as a madeover ale pub but I nipped in there last night and it doesn't seem any different. At least the Tup (now called Number 88 but it was the Tup when I moved here and until early this year so I still call it the Tup) is still there and doing good beer even if they were down to one ale thanks to the football. One (and that good) is a lot more than none (as in the Cricketers).

Today I may be playing boules in the afternoon and Julie has said she'll turn up to the boules game as well, which is nice. She hasn't been around much but is this weekend.

Having not been to Skyros I've been reading 'The Joy of Burnout' by Skyros founder Dr Dina Glouberman instead, and also invited to go along to Esalen in November. Now this would be something, and as I've never been to the USA would be a first, but not sure it is something I want to go to.
chrisamies: (pub)
Based on the scores I've given them in the pub list, these are my top pubs that I visited for the first time in 2009. A special distinction has to be given to the Royal Oak, SE1, which I revisited in the summer and which is now the only pub I've given 10/10 to.

And the list is:

9/10
Earl Ferrers, 20 Ellora Road, Streatham SW16

all the 8/10s:
Prince Edward, 73 Princes Square, Bayswater W2
Stubbing Wharf, King Street, Hebden Bridge HX7
Top Brink Inn, Top Brink, Lumbutts, Todmorden OL14
Anglesea Arms, 15 Selwood Terrace SW7
First in Last Out, 50 High Street, Hastings TN34
Sunrunner, 24 Bancroft, Hitchin SG5
Fly in the Loaf, 35 Hardman Street L1
Barley Mow, 82 Duke Street W1
Brewery Tap, 68-69 High Street, Wimbledon SW19

which is conveniently 10 pubs.
chrisamies: (pub)
So I went to the new Fairfield Tavern. This morning I had been no less miffed than I was last night - went for a brief walk to Richmond Park and remembered why I don't walk there (it's not a pleasant walk to get to the park, and on a bright Sunday morning there are going to be so many people there).
The Fairfield ... well, it's ok. The landlord gave me a pint (Deuchars IPA, excellent I must say). I met one of the other Marlborough regulars there - he probably brought down the average age of the people in there by ten years. It does not, shall we say, have the diversity of the old Marl, nor does it have Sam, who as my friend said does the traditional landlady bit very well. Then we went to the Tup and I tried both ales they had (Doom Bar and GK IPA), sent them both back. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a local.
I would like to see folk music at the new pub if only to be able to use the slogan 'A Fairfield full of Folk.' Still.

That's the Fairfield in the icon to this post. But back when it was the Marl.

Tonight I've been on the bike to Bushy Park, which was more like it. Deer, and sunset, and enticingly winding paths to myself.
chrisamies: (Default)
as I have been repeatedly informed over the last year.

However this may not inform my feeling while wandering through Bentalls Centre this morning that it was in essence no different from a seabird colony. I could imagine a helicopter zoom shot down over the cliffs to a squawking mass of terns or whatever squabbling and fighting over their nests; and the tiered and cliffed shininess of the Bentalls Centre with its loud and raucously breeding inhabitants is no different from that. I was too subdued to start saying "it's a breeding colony, nothing else" and contented myself with walking through the fountains in Market Place. Shot by both sides? More like wet on one side. Previously I'd been to the gym, and after that, had lunch and slept for an hour and a half until woken by a telemarketing call.

Tonight I have been up to Bayswater - to the Prince Edward - for the birthday celebrations of Olga, and its being Olga there was karaoke. Got talking to a young Polish woman whom everyone else seemed to be ignoring (due to almost everyone being in a couple). She is not even the first postgrad translation student I've met recently.

On the way home: the old Marlborough was full of people: the people who'd worked on it to turn it back into a pub. It opens its doors to the public tomorrow lunchtime, as the Fairfield Tavern. I'll be there.

The question is, can I live with this not-meshing with the rest of the world? Or is it just that some people make more of it than others?
chrisamies: (Default)
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.
chrisamies: (Default)
I've been reading 'Ghostwritten' by David Mitchell and 'Jitterbug Perfume' by Tom Robbins. Years apart, both roam over a wide range of sets and both have an Irish scientist (not the same one) as a main character. Robbins picks up on the undemocratic nature of Hinduism which links with von Ungarn-Sternberg's distinctly un-touchy-feely approach to Buddhism - if your deeds in one life affect your next, then those born in high places must be better people by definition?

Apart from that, it is snowing, as everyone else based around London has said. I suspect the work to build the new summerhouse, which was due to start tomorrow morning, won't. As it is I have practically got the front bedroom in shape as a bedroom apart from the delivery of a new bed (scheduled for the 9th). These two projects are separate but after living here for three years and a bit I've moved on from the original confguration which was very much a first attempt.
Last night, went to the Fighting Cocks to hear a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band called imaginatively the Fred Hot Chili Peppers. Good music and a nice audience, even if one did apparently run off with my pullover as she was collecting her and her friends' bags. I asked her if she'd found it but although polite she was clearly the worse for wear. That's the difference, in some pubs she wouldn't have been polite either. The HC I hardly bother with as the locals seem to have an issue with people who aren't in clearly definable couples.

The FC is quite a gothy pub which makes it a find, and now that they have real ale (Hobgoblin) there is less excuse not to go in, not that I tend to except for gigs.
This morning, woke up at 1015, had a very quiet day, which would make one suspect I'd had too much of the Hobgoblin (I had one pint, which added to a half of Old Speckled Hen in another pub earlier in the day adds up to not very much). Took some clothes I hadn't worn for a while to the charity. Wrote my Pubs Officer's Report for the AGM, which is on Thursday. I am bound to get rechosen as Pubs Officer. The Pubs Officer can report that tomorrow the Marlborough will have been closed for a year, and is still boarded up.
chrisamies: (pub)
Friday night: Susan's birthday, so we meet in Hammersmith for me to give her her present and head for the Old Suffolk Punch. However by the time we realise there is nothing happening there and the locals are beginning to shake their spears, er, fists, it is too late to go elsewhere (for a meal, say) and we go our separate ways. Was in bed by midnight. Usually I'm on the way home at that time.
Saturday begins subtly, with a wander into the Market Place and buying a few household items, and then further afield for some plants, which can stay in their pots until Sunday. Saturday evening, off to Bethnal Green! The area draws me back ... well it does because [livejournal.com profile] lproven is having his birthday drinks at the Dove, where I haven't been since July 1994, and I have no idea why I went there then [Edit: diary says 'Roz's birthday' - [livejournal.com profile] rozk I believe.] Had beer and much conversation. Did not experience the Unisex toilet, but left in good time for a late train.

Today, woke up feeling moderately chipper and went for a swim. Felt much worse after swim. Planted the plants (a small yew tree and some primroses) and tidied up a bit in the garden.
Then, still with a headache, to London to meet Angela. We go to see "Let's talk about the rain" which was good and then went to have Chinese food afterwards. I feel a bit unsettled on the way home - second date blues perhaps if there is such a thing?

And tomorrow is not a strike day after all but the plumber is coming yet again to try and sort out this leaky central heating system of mine.
chrisamies: (Default)
For a quiet weekend it's actually been productive. Friday night, went to the Twickenham Beer Festival, good (not just 'ok' as I said somewhere else). Saw various people some of whom are on LJ.
Saturday, went to the garden centre and bought hellebores and a heuchera and planted these. Still need to replace the shed as it is now a lot more visible due to trees being cut back nearby and it is very tatty indeed. But still. Possibly a toolbox and a bike locker would do instead of a shed as such.
Saturday night, to the Honest Cabbage to see Sunday's Child who were also more than ok. Much kudos for the version of 'I will survive' performed on a kazoo and rattly things (maraccas?). It was hardly their fault that there was almost no audience.
And today. A slow morning marked only by turning back the clocks (my new bedside clock-radio does it automatically which is nice) and going to the supermarket. Mid morning - yes, it was raining, but Susan phoned and fortunately persuaded me to meet her for a walk in Richmond Park. As she doesn't know the park at all we needed to see some of the highpoints so went to the Isabella Plantation, through the area to the north of it (and saw dozens of deer), then to Pembroke Lodge where we had tea and cake, very civilised. Also looked through the telescope at St Paul's Cathedral. It had long stopped raining.
Back to Norbiton station with a comfortable five minutes before her train - the opposite of Vauxhall Syndrome by which whenever I'm going home from central London I seem to get to Vauxhall station when the Kingston train has just left.
Now I've written out my presentation for the interview on Tuesday and am spooling down ready for tomorrow.
chrisamies: (Default)
Last night, over to Islington to set up a friend's new computer. Then off to a pub (the Coronet, a very large Wetherspoons) and then Club Distraction at the Lord Nelson. Any night that can line up Tanz Mit Laibach and Love will Tear us Apart is ok by me. Yes, getting back took several hours but it wasn't quite the same as last week - I stayed over, this a.m. we went and had breakfast in a caff near the Emirates Stadium, then my journey home took me via Kingston town centre where I bought a copy of 'Norwegian Wood' by Murakami and also some groceries. The actual travelling bit was easy even if once again I just missed the Kingston train at Vauxhall (I'm sure this does happen more than you'd expect).
Club Distraction was good - the usual relaxed Gothic attitude even if no real ale - but these places keep being further away! At least in this case I had somewhere to crash out afterwards.
chrisamies: (Default)
Saturday: bike to Chiswick House grounds to meet Bridget.
We decide to go to the Soho Theatre to see Whisper. Back to her place, park the bike.
Head off by bus, decide the bus isn't going to get there in time for the 4 pm matinee. Grab a cab. Which arrives at the theatre at four on the dot, we only just get in.
The play is - experimental and interesting but would it have worked better as a radio play? Three people miming behind a screen and sound through headphones, choose one.
Then I get a txt from [info]lproven suggesting going to the Zeitgeist, Lambeth - the pub formerly known as the Jolly Gardeners but now a German pub. With an hour or so to spare B. and I go to the El Metro II in Hammersmith for some tapas. The place is not improving. The staff do not seem to speak Spanish despite its being a Spanish theme bar (not really a Spanish restaurant) (they probably aren't).
Zeitgeist, good beer and company and the night bus back to Kingston. The N87 takes forever, it always has. I get home at 2a.m.
Not going anywhere on Sunday (though I do now have some new bedlinen and pillows, which I needed to buy).

The week's best pubs, Zeitgeist and also the Star, Godalming. Although its main beer range is Greene King, it does ciders and perries including Gwatkins Oldfield which smells like model aircraft glue and takes the lining of your throat off (I'm informed. I just had a sip). The Star very nearly got 10 out of 10 from me - and nowhere has ever got that. In the end I gave it a 9. It's a good 9 though.
Not many other good pubs in Godalming unfortunately - at least we didn't visit them - though the Sun is ok despite being Hall and Woodhouse.
chrisamies: (pub)
Or I would have seen that if I'd been a week or so earlier as Nottingham had its 'Robin Hood marathon'. As it is, up to Nottingham yesterday for a meeting, which finished agreeably early so instead of going back to the station by tram (as I'd got there), I was able to go for a walk in the park and down by the canal, not forgetting to call in at the Olde Trip to Jerusalem, allegedly England's oldest pub - it's likely that the caves that comprise the back of the pub are pretty ancient, but the rest of the building does not date back to 1189 as the sign claims. Besides, it's Greene King which doesn't augur that well. 'Oldest pub' is such a complex issue that I can't even answer it for Hammersmith (where the George was first recorded in 1656 but the current building isn't where the old one was, and the Dove, while a late-17th or early-18th century building, was built as a private house and wasn't a pub until some decades later, thus being younger than some of the others).

Anyway, back, supper, and some guitar practice and an early night, for this morning I had a job interview. I feel it went well but you can't tell sometimes. I'll hear at the end of next week. It would be a good job to have even though the commute would be longer (slightly) and the pay at least no better; I like the organisation and the building though. I think I tick all their requirement boxes, but someone else might do so more than me.

And tomorrow the gasman cometh to fix my boiler. Hot water! Heating! Showers! (for now I've been boiling a kettle and washing in the bathroom sink).
chrisamies: (pub)
Further to yesterday's rant about the Windmill, how nice it was to be able to nip into a pub for a sarnie and a soft drink at lunchtime without having to encounter a wall of fug. However people like me - non-smokers who like using pubs - seem to have been in a coerced minority, as before the smoking ban, pub owners essentially kept on behaving as though almost everybody smoked, as they did up to the 1970s (say). So, they please the smokers, and the non-smokers go to pubs less and less because to them pubs are places where people, mostly men, sit around filling the air with smoke - to the point where it doesn't occur to them to go into a pub at all.
Then in July last year there is this huge turnaround and pubs are required to be in the position that they possibly should have been in for a couple of decades - pleasing non-smokers first, as these days there are quite a lot of them. I'd always noticed that proportionally a lot more pubgoers smoked than people in general, but never really appreciated that non-smokers would stay out of pubs because of the smoke - to me it was a matter of 'find a pub that isn't too smoky, or face smelling of smoke'. Trouble is, do the non-smokers go back? I suspect not. The pub's image, already tarnished with the first cliche', has developed a second - that the public house is a place rammed with unruly drunks necking cans of lager and causing trouble. Between the one and the two the demographic is on the slide.
Then again some groups have their own impetus. SF Fandom for example - most people don't smoke, they meet in pubs, and there's an end of it.
chrisamies: (Default)
Once there was a pub. This pub was close to a civil service building which meant it got a lot of customers at the end of the day, especially on Friday. In the old style there were two bars, a Public and a Saloon, the public on the left and the saloon on the right. In between them there was a serving space where the landlord and his two barmaids poured pints of Courage Best and Directors and called for toasted sandwiches to be delivered down the serving hatch. The thirsty office workers would go down there and line up along the counter in the Public bar - for some reason they never went in the Saloon, possibly remembering their elders' tales of days when pints in the Saloon would cost more than in the Public.
There was no outside space. In those days you could smoke in pubs, and they did. Come Friday the public bar would be awash with smoke and beer-drinkers. Some of them went at lunchtime as well as that was still permissible in those far-off days.
Then the office building was demolished, the people who worked there went their separate ways, and I didn't think about the pub again until just now.
I went back.
Imagine my dismay that the two cosy bars had been knocked through into one, the glass reading SALOON BAR and PUBLIC BAR in the doors had been replaced by clear glass, a new counter has been built at the right-hand wall where the old saloon bar was (though the food hoist is still in its original position, marking where the counter used to be). There is apparently beer on, though all the pumps were turned round: Greene King have taken this pub over, but I don't think all this has happened because it's them. Such 'renovations' happen all over. There are now red sofas and dining tables, and a pointless 'outside' area at the back where they probably used to store barrels.
It could be worse: a lot of pubs have closed down. But the Windmill, Lambeth High Street, isn't what it was when we used to go there.

I had a J20 and a cheese sandwich and remembered the way it used to be.
chrisamies: (Hedgehog)
Just because I am having 24 hours off the alcohol and 12 hours off all sustenance apart from water doesn't mean I can't go out. So I have been to the Fighting Cocks and heard Tubelord and Blakfish. Some of it was really quite good. Certainly preferable to attempting to watch Leap of Awfulness [ Code 9 ].
I wasn't expecting much from that and didn't get it, so the biggest disappointment of the weekend is still how unfriendly the Bricklayers Arms has become. It's like it's a completely different pub. 'A semicircle of dark, hostile backs' as Boris Vian said in 'The Heartsnatcher'. So I went to the Kelly Arms instead which was full of colour (someone was having a 1970s-themed birthday) and also good beer and pleasant people. Not quite the Marlborough but it has promise.
Today, back on the bike! Between rainshowers, over to Chiswick via the Park. Tomorrow, blood test to see if I have dietary deficiencies, but I doubt I do.
chrisamies: (Default)
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.
chrisamies: (Default)
Last night, believing it to be the night of the CAMRA branch meeting, I got on my bike and rode over to the Earl Beatty in Motspur Park. No sign of CAMRA members, hardly surprising in that pub which isn't at all nice - I think they just use it because it has plenty of room. After half an hour, phoned one of the committee members who told me the meeting was the previous night, despite what i have in my diary. Rode back and wanted some better beer than I'd had so went to the Willoughby Arms.
Me: "Do you have any mild?"
Barmaid: "What is that?" - confers with other member of staff. "Oh, mild ale." Other member of staff comes back with pump clips. I decide to have a half of Surrey Hills Shere Drop which was very good but considering this is widely reckoned to be the best pub in Kingston - at least for its beer range - oh what a surprise. Personally I prefer the Park Tavern as it has a nicer atmosphere and people have more of a clue.
I decided I really don't like sitting on my own in pubs. I may have done a lot of it up until the end of last year but having got used to not doing it, it feels uncomfortable unless I'm somewhere I know well, which these days means the Tup. There are other things to do. My beer consumption is falling generally, and the number of visits to previously unvisited pubs this year has almost certainly been less than the total for May last year.
And I now have a sore neck probably from looking behind me on the bike on the way there and back.

So tonight it is the start of the last module of the Gardening class - Garden Design. Then I am so going to the Works to hear Pete and the Pirates.
chrisamies: (Default)
Today Susan wants to go to an exhibition called 'Mystic Arts' at Olympia. This I do not mind as it is my old area and I was just thinking this morning that I am a bit nostalgic for it (actually this arose because I had to go to the postmen's office to collect a package. Remembered how I would go up to the same at Blythe Road, just behind Olympia, in the Hammersmith days. But now the post office there has closed, which because the North End Road one closed a few years ago, and the one in Hammersmith Road (forgot about that one - I think it replaced North End Road some time in the last few years) has gone, means W14 is the first London postal area not to have a post office.)

Last night, went to a leaving drink at the Morpeth Arms for two of our Sustainable Development people. One of them lives in Twickenham and regularly goes to the Red Lion for the music so we might meet there some time. For some reason I was wondering about beer advertising: very often it depicts a group of three men in a pub. Not one because it's Bad to drink on your own apparently, not two because they 'might be a gay couple' (shock horror) but three. Then I wondered, why just men? Our little group last night was mixed, probably more women than men in fact, and pretty much all drinking beer of some kind or another. Is there still some idea that women don't drink beer? Because it won't wash, you know. On the other hand, advertising depicting a mixed group - is it always couples? I haven't looked into this one. There is a lot to be looked into, come to that, and is it worth it? I suspect it's a bit of a Rembrandt Comic Book - hardly worth the effort of so doing.

Still haven't heard back from the Forestry Commission but it's only been a few days and I may have been the first person they interviewed. As this job was advertised in the Guardian and all that they may have a few applicants to go through!

Up fae Tup

Apr. 30th, 2008 09:41 am
chrisamies: (Default)
Someone just posted on beerintheevening saying that 'nobody cried when it [the Marlborough] closed down'. That just isn't true.
Meanwhile the manager of the Honest Cabbage is submitting 'reviews' of his own pub as if by visitors; this would hold more water if he hadn't already, under the same handle, made a comment that began 'hello this is Alex [the manager] from the Honest Cabbage'.
Which leaves the third pub in the line - the Kingston Tup. Like any Tup, it's a sports pub - a huge screen at one end and a pair of repeaters for those whose viewing angle is restricted because they are facing the other way or sitting in the back bar (where I was yesterday evening and wondering if it was built at the same time as the rest of the pub or added later. My interim conclusion was that it was built at the same time but the previous pub on the site (the original Three Tuns) only covered the ground area of the front bar, so the single-storey (but high-ceilinged) back section was built on to use up a bit of a yard at the rear.

It is not however bad, having some comfortable seating as well as tables, two ales on (Bombardier and Doom Bar) and my lager-drinking friends tell me the lager's better there than at the HC as well. It also has live music twice a week, and salsa classes. The manager is from NZ and I think some of the staff are Italian which makes a change.
No, I wasn't watching the football. I left when that came on, gave my table to a pair of Spanish women - Barça fans? I expect so. Was in the pub writing up my presentation for Tuesday, so as to have less distractions than I would at work or home (always very tempting to check the email again).

Last night, awake at 3 am. This morning, utter shite. Crowded and delayed train, rain, worse than the usual crap. Very nearly turned round and went home again.
chrisamies: (cat)
Wednesday, up to Islington and the Lark in the Park, which is actually a pub, for the latest Silver Wizard Project gig. The pub is an odd shape: long and narrow, with an obstruction halfway down as though it had been knocked from two bars into one but there were structural items that couldn't be removed. This meant, along with the small stage, that (i) two thirds of the band were invisible and (ii) it was difficult to see much at all. Not helped by people in the 'audience' who insisted on talking loudly, including one person who was talking very loudly about his house purchase. The band had to reduce their set by one song and then found out they needn't have bothered as the other two bands supposed to go on after them had both cancelled. Was ok though.
There was also no real ale on pump, though there were bottles of Pitfield Bitter and EcoWarrior (bottle conditioned).

Home via Earls Court and Wimbledon as there is still no Victoria Line after 10pm. Still got the 2314 from Wimbledon though.

Yesterday, busy with the content migration from old intranet to new. Then in the evening got on the bike and did a lap of Richmond Park, mostly in the dark. The final bit, going clockwise and finishing at Kingston Gate, includes one nasty little hill where I had to stop before going on - did not however at any point get off and push. Other riders in the park, a few - they should use lights though! I saw what I thought was two bikes heading towards me in line astern but it turned out the rear bike had another one each side of it. Fortunately I was well over to the left. I wonder what that ride would have been like on the Mistral
- which was indeed silver, as is (silver-grey) the Dawes I have now. Challenge used to do a model called the Wizard (just to connect with the previous story) but have superseded it. Recumbents can do hills, you just sit there and pedal and hope it doesn't get so slow you fall over. One current view on hills is that rather than pelt at them hoping momentum takes you up the other side, you approach them in the gear you are going to go up them. Makes sense I suppose because if you pedal furiously on the downhill, you're using up energy you should be keeping in reserve for getting up the uphill.

Definitely felt better after that though.
chrisamies: (Default)
So I've just been birdwatching in the company of 30 other people in Richmond Park. This seems to me to be a case of the observer affecting the observed and to be honest there weren't a lot of birds beyond the general jackdaws and parakeets. There were skylarks, however, rising and falling and full of song. And a green woodpecker in a tree (the yaffling call of them was all around - but you don't see them as often).
Got there by bike, which was inconvenient as we started from Roehampton Gate, the other side of the Park for me. I am obviously not very fit at present as I found out. Some of the people whizzing past me and hanging around the cafe' looked extremely fit, though. Whippet-like.

Last night, went to the Kingston Tup - that's the pub at the other end of my street. Some of my pals in there, and also some music from a three - piece band called Never Mind the Bongos - which makes them sound like a comedy act but at least it isn't portentous. Agreed that the HC is a horrible little pub without comfortable seats and with too many people wearing baseball caps; and that the Tup, which has comfortable seating and live music etc. is far better. I even found out there is a little side bar to the Tup that I didn't actually know about, which also has squashy sofas and a small outside area. The other remarkable news was that the Marlborough seems to have, if not a new owner, at least someone interested in it. Sam (former manager of the Marl) reckons Hall and Woodhouse might sell it and then it would be a free-house, "good for beer drinkers" as she put it. For now though the Tup looks like a good bet.

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