Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tour 5 - From Barbados to Sierra Leone

So after the epic attendance of the last’s episode you would have thought that a trip out on everyone’s preferred party night (Thursday) just after pay day and in a nice “easy to get to” central London location, we would potentially be reaching new heights in terms of the number of tourists aboard the BGC’s Skylark.

Look! Architecture!

But of course, I wasn’t reckoning on Mr Cheese’s “never go out on a Thursday” rule, Mr Clarke’s plans to be sunning himself in Turkey, the payroll girls coming up with some sort of half-baked, half-believable story about having a “leaving do” to attend and the IT blokes just basically saying that they couldn’t be bothered.


Well sod the lot of them. I still had my faithful Penfold in the shape of Slowpoke Sam who was more than up for some mid-week High Commission based pub tomfoolery…so all the more flags for us then.

For those who know how to spell Barbados and know that Ba(r)hamas doesn’t have an extra “r” in it the area we would be exploring tonight is Bloomsbury, which is the area in between Holborn and Mayfair and includes such places as the British Museum & Great Ormond Street Hospital.

No prizes for guessing.

It’s also home to two other High Commissions in additional to Barbados and it was a pretty easy job to intersperse the route in between these with a maximum of 8 pubs. Luckily at least 6 of these pubs where in “pairs” being so closely located to each other that if Sam and I felt the midweek pace was getting a bit too much we could easily miss one or two of these out.

It's on a corner......well it would have to be wouldn't it?

The route proper started in The Jack Horner on Tottenham Court Road, but due to the fact I’d been “working at home” (and yes, I did actually do some work) and Sam works silly navvy shift hours, for us the tour really began on the 5 o clock train to London which set my commuting nerves a jangling as we went in the opposite direction of half the population of Great Britain.

The tube from Paddington to Oxford Circus was as packed as I’ve ever seen it and it was quite a relief to emerge into the watery summer sunlight and walk the rest of the way to The Jack Horner, missing out Tottenham Court Road station as it’s currently under several billion tons of concrete due to the Cross Rail project.

In fact the walk up from Oxford Road was quite interesting because we cut through the various little backstreets of Fitzrovia, where every street corner seemed to have a pub on it, making a mental note in my brain anyway, that we should try to do a tour around this area at some point……you never know, there might be a future High Commission hiding in these backstreets.

Eventually we broke back out onto Tottenham Court Road and quickly entered The Jack Horner which is one of Fuller’s Pie and Ale pubs. This means overpriced pies and free drink vouchers for Sam and me due to Fuller’s ongoing free pint thing on their websites. Sam made full use of his voucher, going for a pint of the normally exorbitantly priced Sierra Nevada while I kept things real with a pint of Wayland Smithy from White Horse Brewery.

We couldn't put the Jack Horner pie-chart to the test due to money reasons.

I’ll say one thing for The Jack Horner, there was certainly no shortage of attentive bar staff with Sam and me being asked throughout the duration of our drinks whether we required any additional services. We did toy with the idea of eating one of the fabled pies, but at those shocking prices we decided that Fuller’s would have to make do with just the price of our vouchers as we made our departure to begin the tour.


The next stop was the first High Commission of the night after a quick left turn into Great Russell Street we found ourselves directly outside the Barbadian High Commission. Alas, this place must have been following the example of its Caribbean sister, Jamaica, as there was no jolly flag to be seen flying outside the door, which is a shame as it’s quite a nice flag at that. So instead, we just had to make do with a photo of my ugly mug and the empty flagpole.


The route continued down Great Russell Street, past the Trades Union Congress building where Sam doffed his flat cap and gave a rousing rendition of the Red Flag, before we walked alongside the impressive frontage of the British Museum itself.

The next stop was in the appropriately named Museum Street and appropriately was called The Museum Tavern, which from the outside looks to be a huge corner pub, but in fact, on the inside is quiet a snuck long thin pub.

Long and thin.

This place is another from the Taylor Walker stable and had the usual mix of red-nosed wine drinking regulars and pink baseball cap wearing tourists, meaning that Sam and I fitted well in. We decided to take advantage of the more reasonably priced menu and before you could say “must have been heated up in the microwave” we had bangers and mash and the Big Ben burger in front of us to accompany the pints of N1 from Hammerton Brewery and Curious IPA from Chapel Down.

Like all of the Taylor Walker pubs, this place was Cask Marque accredited but there was no sign of the certificate, unless it was well camouflaged against the book-shelf wallpaper. Just to clarify, this was wallpaper that looks like a load of shelves of books.


After Sam had admired the tatty souvenir shop opposite and I’d admired the sombrero hung on the wall, we left and took the 50 yard journey to the opposite side of the road and The Plough, another Taylor Walker pub which surely has its deliveries done by the same brewery dray as the Museum Tavern?

But funnily enough the evidence on the inside suggested otherwise as the front bar had a distinct lack of handpumps that had been so in evidence in The Museum Tavern. We both went for a half of Dead Pony Club from Brewdog and settled back in the front bar as our foray into the back bar had revealed neither the Cask Marque certificate or enough room to swing a pair of red heels in. Anyway the company in the front bar was more pleasing to the eye and as Sam would attest by his Taylor Swift rendition, the music was better too.

With half pints finished, the route continued round the corner into Bloomsbury Way and past Bloomsbury Square Gardens and eventually after taking our lives in the hands of the hundreds of busses thundering by we reached the next pub.

Sam's across. I'm waiting for the bus.

The Holborn Whippet occupies a prime location at the top corner of Sicilian Avenue which is a rather odd, but rather beautiful passageway that links Bloomsbury Way and the Kingsway. The architecture is quite splendid and it’s possibly worth a visit whether or not your aim is to partake in either the Holborn Whippet or any of the other restaurants that line its sides.

The pub is obviously doing very well and is taking full advantage of its location as there was a hustling and bustling crowd spilling out into the avenue itself. For all of its fullness though, service was very quick and the main challenge was working out what beers were actually for sale as they were only advertised on little slate blackboards over the number of beer taps poking out of the wall behind the bar.

The beer we went for was the rather jolly sounding Mirthless from Redwillow Brewery and we continued with the ½ pint measure seeing as there was still a number of pubs in front of us. A point totally ignored by the barman who although poured us half pints, tried to charge me for pints. He rectified his mistake quickly enough but did seem almost miffed that I was pointing out such an obvious mistake. I got my money back but am still short an apology.

Sam's Column.

We retired to the hustle and bustle of the crowds outside and found a comfortable position leaning up against one of the Sicilian pillars. We probably should have stayed for a couple more because there was certainly the beer range to warrant an extended stay but somehow the ambiance wasn’t quite our collective cups of tea so we decided it was time to leave.

The route now led us down the full length of the avenue until we emerged out onto Kingsway and we could have had a nice shortcut ahead of us had there not been huge road-cum-building works blocking the road. So instead we had to trudge down to the High Holborn crossroads and then back up Proctor Street until we could bear right into Red Lion Square.

Now there’s a brief story, which is most pertinent to both the tour and Red Lion Square itself that I have to quickly retail.

On the south side of the square are the offices of Mishcon de Reya, a London company of lawyers whose claim to fame is that they represented Diana, Princess of Wales in her divorce from Prince Charles. And if that claim to fame wasn’t enough, they also had the pleasure of interviewing me for a job about a year ago.

As I was killing time before the interview began, having arrived about 3 hours too early in my usual style, I strolled around both the square and the roads leaving off it. It was then that I stumbled across the High Commission of Sierra Leone and it was this occurrence that cemented the idea of the Flying the Flag tour.

Now before we go on to describe the front door of Sierra Leone’s offices I suppose I better clear up that Mishcon de Reya and I came to agree to not agree to work for each other although to be fair to myself I never actually heard back from them so for all I know they’re still waiting for me to turn up one Monday or other. Let’s hope Camilla doesn’t need their services any time soon.

Sierra Leone definitely wins the prize for the most unassuming front door so far. Their High Commission is half way along Eagle Street which is just a row of high brick walls and there in the middle is a very plain wooden door into which presumably the Excellency of Sierra Leone walks in everyday and asks if there are any messages. At least there was a flag though, so points over Jamaica and Barbados!

Red Lion Street.

Leaving behind the palatial openings into Sierra Leone we turned the corner into Red Lion Street and bumped straight into the next two pubs, The Dolphin and The Enterprise, which stand glaringly opposite each other in this very narrow street. The Dolphin was the nearest and although the beer selection was disappointing (halves of Timothy Taylor Landlord) the actual place was ticking many boxes with its patterned carpet, interesting pictures on the walls and piles of knick-knacks littered along each and every surface. Inside we easily obtained some seats by the window but outside there was a sizable crowd of punters milling around in the fading evening sun.

Nice place....shame about the beer range.

I had thought that both pubs were Cask Marque accredited but it turned out that only The Enterprise is, so swiftly finishing off the halves we popped over the road to the much bigger and much darker Enterprise where we were met with a similar disappointing range of beers.

The Dolphin as seen from The Enterprise.

This time we chose Purity’s UBU and tried in vain to locate the Cask Marque certificate before failing once more (that’s three down and no certificates so far) and instead resigning ourselves to some high stools by the door.

The Enterprise as seen from The Dolphin.

When you take a closer look, The Enterprise was actually quite ornate looking, with some lovely raised patterned tiles adorning the walls and it’s a shame that the lights were kept down so low when in my opinion, a brighter ambiance would have suited the place much better.

The halves didn’t take long to finish and before you could notice how many people seemed to come across from The Dolphin, use the toilets in The Enterprise before returning back again, we were on our way to the final High Commission of the night.

Theobolds Road led us to John Street where the more impressive frontage of the High Commission of Malawi is located, complete with flag, allowing us the final gurning snap-shot of the night and another three High Commissions ticked off the seemingly never ending list.

Only another 487 photos like this of the BGC.

Feeling rather sloshingly full and also with an eye on the clock in order to avoid the red-eye last train home, we now had the choice of one of two final watering holes. So taking the easier route, we continued up John Street where The Lady Ottoline occupied a corner of the road spot.

None of your lip here!

As we approached the place, Sam noticed that there was a sizable crowd inside the building and let out an expletive. It was a rather mild expletive, but an expletive nevertheless and no sooner had it left his lips than a wandering glasses collector who was loitering outside the pub told us in no uncertain terms that it was “closed for a private function”.

Now of course, we have no way of proving whether this was indeed the case or not, but it at least made the final watering hole decision easy as we rounded the corner into Gray’s Inn Road and wandered down to The Yorkshire Grey.

From the brief glimpse we had of the Lady Ottoline it looked to be a young, hip and happening place, if you’re into bared walls, menus on clipboards and blokes with beards and to be honest, The Yorkshire Grey looked exactly the same, even if it was less full. No doubt because they weren’t closed for a “private function”.

Hacked off with the Hackney! HAHAHAHAHA!

For all its hipness, there was only one cask ale on draught, Hackney Brewery’s Best Bitter, which I went for whilst Sam went for a can of Electric IPA from Brixton Brewery, which at least wasn’t served on a shovel, or in a cocked hat.

One sip of the Hackney told me enough to know that this beer was off and summoning all my depths of bravery I informed the barman so. He took a sample himself and whilst managing not to speak a word to me directly, produced a range of facial expressions to indicate that he disagreed. Then the manager (all skinny jeans and bushy beard) appeared and went through the same pantomime.

Eventually when this duo had taken their curtain calls, bows and bouquets he offered me an alternative drink of Sierra Nevada, which at least allowed us to finish the pub crawl with a nice sense of circularity. Oh….we found the Cask Marque certificate…….stuck on the highest shelf imaginable. 4 Pubs, 4 non-Scans……………Trevor!

So we managed to actually enter 7 of the 8 planned pubs and all-in-all I reckon if you could have the décor of The Dolphin, the beer range of The Holborn Whippet and the clientele of The Plough, you’d have a pretty good pub. It would just need a bearded bloke on the door in a sombrero telling everyone that it was a “private party”.

From there it was a quick dash across country to Farringdon tube station to make it back to Paddington in time to take part in some unnecessary jostling for the penultimate train back home.

Hard at work.

And if you were wondering whether Sam won the colouring competition…..he did! And I have to say that his colourful efforts, carried out on the train no less, were actually quite good. And anyone who thinks they can draw a better pair of breasts can try to do so on the sheaf of spare sheets I left on the trains.

You’re welcome FGW, you’re welcome.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Tour 4 - From Bangladesh to Zambia

Variety, as they say in the Heinz baked bean factory, is the spice of life, as long as all of those spices taste of sugary tomato ketchup of course. And so it was with the latest installment of the Flying the Flag saga, as this time we wouldn’t be meeting in a post-work fatigue of exhaustion and overwork, but instead on a bright summer’s Saturday when all sensible people would be down B&Q or slumped in front of the TV.

The memorial erected to celebrate the BGC.

The reason for moving this was two-fold. Firstly, for a number of weeks now, old friend and former Monopoly Tour two-timer Slowpoke Sam and I had had a visit to the Brunel Museum in Bermondsey arranged and it felt like completely the right thing to do would be to try to combine this with a few High Commission linked watering holes at some point.

Your guides for the day.

Then I researched the next episode of the tour, (remember the one that will cover Bangladesh) and discovered that the Kensington High Street area of London (where the Bangladeshi High Commission is) is home to an absolute plethora of Embassies and High Commissions and the route would cover no less than 7 such establishments. Add to this the fact that the precise location of the pubs in this area would mean the route would be a case of “meet in pub 1 – walk around all 7 HCs – tour round the other 4 pubs” I reckoned that if I sprung this on a load of tired workers at about 6 in the evening, I may have a mutiny on my hands.

The flags of the seven High Commissions - Before and After

So therefore, this very round-about way of an introduction is just saying that, Sam and I decided to forget the idea of the museum, after all I bet it’s just full of chains and top hats, and  just treat ourselves to a leisurely stroll around Kensington with a little bit of photography thrown in. Sam was also extremely excited as this planning would almost certainly mean he would romp away with the colouring prize for this week.

What neither of use expected were three things; firstly it turned out that our chosen Saturday was also the date of London’s Gay Pride March. Secondly, our route from Paddington to Kensington, a supposedly genteel perambulation across Hyde Park would also mean crossing the stage of a Taylor Swift concert. Finally, when I advertised to the rest of the tour faithful that we were planning a Saturday tour, fully expecting a raft of “oh, sorry can’t make it, I’m off down B&Q” type excuses, the tour’s version of the Golden Girls only went and said that they’d love to meet up, hangovers providing.

The Royal College of Music gets into Mauritius Day.

So for Sam and me, the day started at the local train station packed aboard the 10 am train to Paddington, along with a carriage full of young men in very well coiffured hair, tight jeans and at least one of them with no shirt on. It could have only been because it was a hot day, I’m just describing the scene, that’s all. An hour later and we were tentatively entering the Tyburn, that awful Wetherspoon’s pub that we first set foot in on the Park Lane episode.

The chair graveyard.

The pub hadn’t changed much for the better. There were at least 7 (seriously, I counted them) security people guarding the entrances to the pub and it seemed that the pub now only uses plastic glasses to serve its beer in. Add to this, even though the pub was full of morning breakfast eaters and breakfast drinkers, half the tables hadn’t been laid out, leaving a huge stack of chairs in one corner, looking very much like a wooden version of the elephants’ graveyard.

Sam quickly settled his train ticket debt by buying me a bacon sandwich and a half of Jack Brand Mosaic Pale Ale from Adnams, a very nice citrusy refreshing summer ale only spoilt by the previously mentioned plastic glasses. The Tyburn isn’t a place to hang around and indeed after our hurried breakfasts it was time to go, but not before I’d made a visit to the amazingly impressive toilets. It might take you 10 minutes to get there, after you’ve negotiated the steps down to the basement and the miles of corridor to the loos, but they are well worth it…..now they just have to carry this sort of standard of décor and luxury to the rest of the pub.

 Best toilets of the day.

So the day by now was heating up very nicely. Only the most hard-hearted of souls could not have felt some level of sympathy for the bus loads of G4S security people who were being bussed into the North East corner of Hyde Park ready to protect Taylor Swift from the thousands of pre-teen girlies patiently queuing, who would probably rip her limb from limb without a second thought crossing their pink-frilled minds.

Sam and I, however, had the South West corner of Hyde Park on our minds and it was a pleasant, if not rather sweaty walk across this vast expanse of greenery until we eventually emerged out onto Kensington Road.

The starting point was supposed to be a pub called The Goat, located bang on the point Kensington Road turns into Kensington High Street but Sam had other plans that involved a bit of light shopping at the local branch of Whole Foods.

Points for identifying the one Commonwealth flag.

I’ve never stepped foot in one of these places but Sam’s not stopped raving about them since he popped into the branch at Cheltenham and emerged 4 hours later when he discovered that they had a “in-store” bar complete with draught beer. Unfortunately for us, although the Kensington branch was similarly equipped with a bar, it was unmanned and we decided to give our custom to the pub rather than to a place that charges over 4 quid for a bowl of nachos. But, they do do a nice line in decorative flags so the omens were boding well for the day.

The Goat - Complete with electricity.

So back to The Goat. First impressions was that this was an amazingly quiet and air conditioned oasis of calm after just the 50 yards or so of Kensington High Street had nearly driven me to distraction thanks to the dawdling tourists and the blithering idiots with their wheelie suitcases. Unfortunately, the second impression, that of the beer selection was a little more disappointing with just the choice of Taylor Walkers own 1730 ale alongside the ubiquitous London Pride and Doom Bar. That said, we were served by a very polite and attentive Irish barman and the beer wasn’t too bad.

1730. Ask for it by number.

Perching on the high stools by a high table with a good view of the entrance and the electric real fire we established by the power of text that we probably weren’t going to see the ladies in this particular watering hole for quite a while…..George for example was only just entering the shower..….so without wanting to prolong our sipping of the 1730 into another pint, I got the Cask Marque scan, thanks to another extremely polite barman, and we left to begin the long hike around the High Commissions.

The first two are just around the corner in Kensington Court and although both flags were disappointingly tightly wrapped around the flagpoles, we could still make out the office shared by both St Kitts & Nevis and St Vincent & the Grenadines (try writing that out longhand on 1,000 envelopes a day). Sam wasn’t too embarrassed to agree to my request to record BGC’s presence for posterity and other than correctly identifying the nearby embassies of Belarus and Mongolia and literally wondering about the sanity of the chap in yellow who was casually making light repairs on his window frames several storeys up in the air, we were back on our way within minutes.

A similar story was carried out in Palace Gate, just a couple of roads down. Here the Zambian High Commission stands proudly in its own majestic detached building (again imaginatively titled Zambia House) surrounded by luxury cars. In this street alone there was a Maserati and a Lamborghini and just as we left, a Ferrari was driven by…..by a man with a little willy. Little Willies aside, the visit was once more snapped for the record books and we were off on our way again.

Outside Zambia House.

For the third time in a row, we ducked down another parallel street, this time by the name of Hyde Park Gate and found ourselves face to face with the fourth High Commission in what felt like, as many minutes. Fiji’s flag was hanging proudly outside giving Sam an excellent opportunity to record the colours on one hand, whilst photographing yours truly with the other.


For the moment we could then forget all about flags and High Commissions as we had the longest walk of the tour as we carried on down Kensington Road until we bumped into the Albert Hall. This striking building looked wonderful on such a sunny day and couple with the superb view of the Albert Memorial over the road in Kensington Gardens made it quite a highlight of the day. Even Sam was impressed.

Look at his little face.

The route allowed us to circumnavigate the Albert Hall and wend our way down Kensington Gore until we reached Exhibition Road and the final High Commission for this stage of the tour. Unfortunately though there was no flag as the Jamaican High Commission had obviously decided to give it a quick wash in the sunny weather…….or something. It didn’t prevent us snapping the brass plaque though and before you could say “blue plaque for Sir Malcolm Sargent” we were back on our way. (Talking about blue plaques, I’m now kicking myself we missed one for Winston Churchill which was just a few doors down from the Fijian High Commission and Sam will be double kicking himself that there a plaque for both Isambard Kingdom and Sir Marc Isambard Brunel also in the area.

Blank flag outside Jamaica

There’s not a great deal to say about the next stage of the tour other than the view of the Albert Hall from Prince Consort Road is probably better than the one from the front of the building and you also get to see the impressive Royal College of Music complete with plunking piano music coming from the open windows.

A much better view of the Albert Hall.

After this monumental number of High Commissions it was definitely time for a drink and lucky The Queen’s Arms came to our rescue. If you weren’t looking for it you could easily miss this turquoise coloured pub, parked up in a little mews appropriately named Queen’s Gate Mews. The signs for Sam and me were good, especially the sign that announced there were 8 Real Ales and many craft beers to be enjoyed.

The Queen's Arms in 3 photos.

The other good sign was that the pub was comfortably busy with a smattering of lunchtime diners but none of them causing any problems getting to the bar to be served with a pint of Red Sails Cherry Porter from No 18 Yard Brewhouse, which is Shepherd Neame’s “craft” experimental brewery. It was a very nice beer but probably a bad choice on such a hot day and Sam with his pint of Sierra Nevada had made a much better choice.

Red Sails in the sunset on the East Coast

I think it was about this time that we got a notification from the ladies that, shock horror and much to our surprise, they were actually finally on their way. This gave us plenty of time to check out the pub in more detail and see what a fine place it was. It’s an M&B house but I’m not sure if this branch of their business allow the landlords a little more freedom in terms of beer range or whether they’ve just realised that there’s a huge market for places that do a little more than Carlsberg, Pride & Doombar.
There’s was certainly much more than Carlsberg, Pride & Doombar as our second pints of East Coast Pale from Knops Beer Company could testify to. Still no signs of the girls……fancy a tinnie of Beavertown? Smog Rocket? Yes, don’t mind if I do.

Is that a Heinkel on the lable?

Eventually like a bejewelled and sandaled camel train they eventually turned up and came trudging in. It was all very strange seeing them in civvies whereas I was pretty much in the same clothes as I wear for work. This also applies to Sam who was a sight in dashing hi-vis.

The high bar stools by the windows that had served us so well for the past hour or two were immediately dismissed and we were summoned outside to complete our beers. Not that that was much of a hardship in the delightful weather. One tinnie of Beavertown turned into a tinnie of Rooster’s Fort Smith and we literally had to drag ourselves off to continue with the tour.

Fort Worth - Outside.

The route took us back down Queen’s Gate where George was quick as a flash to identify the Thai flag hanging outside its embassy but unfortunately everyone seemed to miss the Bangladeshi one hanging next door, which was the point of the visit. It was then a smart left turn into Elvaston Place and a walk up to the Mauritius High Commission whose horizontally stripped flag seemed very appropriate on the day where everyone who had a flag pole seemed to have hung out the Rainbow flag…..apart from Jamaica of course.

That's Thailand at the end.

Sam gets into the Rainbow Flag spirit. Unfortunately that's Mauritius in the background.

Finally, the route led us up Gloucester Road, and the row of rather scruffy shops and coffee bars seemed a world away from the smart Kensington town houses but it did lead us to the Gloucester Arms and it was back to the world of Taylor Walker beer ranges and standard menus.

Gloucester Arms

Not wanting to try another pint of 1730 Sam and I had pints of Brewdog’s Punk IPA whilst the girls were still on flavoured ciders or Nicole’s case, pints of Otter Amber with a Punk IPA pint chaser.
It was here that the colouring sheets were produced to howls of delight (they sound the same as ones of derision) and the competition was afoot even though I had forgotten to bring a prize.

The gloves are off....

Perhaps the shape of the flags this week caused some confusion but immediately everyone seemed to colour Bangladesh’s flag as if it was Japan’s and Jamaica’s as if it was Scotland. That’ll teach them not to fly it on a weekend! There was also an inexplicable rush on the colour purple with almost fights breaking out over the few purple crayons.

Waiting for the colouring to finish.

I mean, if you had to describe how to “work” a crayon it doesn’t get much easier does it? You look at the end of the crayon and that’s what colour you’re going to get……unless you’re this load of special cases as I was met with hundreds of cries of “I needed red!” or “this was supposed to be blue!”

I have about 50 such photos

The flurry of hurried scribbling had piqued the interest of the barmaid who tentatively asked what we were all upto which gave me another opportunity to perform my “do you know the difference between an Embassy and a High Commission” line and Sam opportunity to steal my camera and take multiple random shot much to his, and only his, amusement. It also gave Nicole the opportunity to pull out the answer sheet from my bag and cheat on the colours! Disgraceful behaviour.

Builders Arms

After loading up with food (quite a decent sausage and mash to be honest) we were now on the homeward stretch with a meander up Victoria Grove, joining onto St Albans Grove and The Builders Arms, our second M&B pub of the day and one that in many respects was almost a carbon copy of the Queens Arms. There was the same varied beer range on for example (Sam and I having another Beavertown, Neck Oil this time) and the same young and hip crowd which was just beginning to gather as we left the Queens Arms.

Look how young and hip they all are.

We found a table outside, luckily not in the sunshine and received a phone call from Phil (remember him? Always pissed? Bit like a ticking timebomb?) who strangely was also in the area, apparently looking at houses with a very rich friend of his.

That phone is about to ring in a moment.

We arranged to meet up in the final pub of the day, The Greyhound, which after a slight lost-detour we found located just yards from the entrance to World Foods where we’d started the day. This third Taylor Walker of the day was almost completely deserted and we had the choice of seats but not so the choice of beers as Sam and I were forced back to the Brewdog Punk IPA in lieu of anything else.
There was just enough time for a couple of woeful attempts on the quiz machine before Phil arrived and again it was that slightly weird feeling of seeing Phil fully sober whilst we, well certainly I, was starting to get just a little weary.

The Greyhound.

Now before I forget I need to complete the blog with the rundown of this week’s winners in the colouring competition. Emma was as neat as ever but couldn’t hold on to her crown due to some very psychedelic colours in use. Nicole, Sue and Gemma's were just too scruffy and Sam at least held onto Rob’s title of “most abusive” entry.

Japan & Scotland?




Gemma - Too scruffy.

The runaway winner was George for both neatness and accuracy of the colours and she fully deserved my offer of a bottle of beer from the next door Whole Foods, which she amazingly declined……I will have to make this up on the next tour.

We have a winner!

The final act was Sam and I scrambling our way to High Street Kensington tube station where Sam was not as impressed and I think he should have been by the way I knew just where to stand in order to be opposite the exit when we arrived back at Paddington. Mind you, we were all very impressed at Phil’s “Crockett” impression dressed in my jacket which I’d left behind in The Greyhound.

Book 'em Danno......possibly

Look after that iPod in the pocket Phil……you might find you’re a closet Barclay James Harvest fan.