A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Archive for May, 2010

Southend Air Show

Posted by Alan on May 31, 2010

Today we headed out to the Southend Air Show. It was bloody hard work getting there – thanks to strategically placed engineering works by all operators, but I’ve just about got over that! Once there we saw lots of ugg boots, white shoes and a few planes. Here’s the best few of the pics.

4 planes in the sky

I wish I had a zoom lens right now

4 planes circle above the pier

Curve above the pier

Bi-plans and dark skies

Bi-plans and dark skies

Bi-Planes above the pier

Bi-Planes above the pier

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Around London Bridge

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As I was running late to meet the CAMRA ‘crew’ anyway, I wasn’t exactly in a rush. This opened up a few opportunities for photos! At Kennington, I found a house missing:

A missing house in Kennington, London

A missing house, Kennington

I hope someone didn’t wake up one day and discover next door had just disappeared!

Moving on towards London Bridge, I came across this view:

Natwest Tower/Tower 42 from the peabody estate, London

The view from the outside

London is an utterly strange place in many ways. Poverty and riches often live side by side. It’s surprisingly green and some areas are surprising quiet. Just round the corner is the Lord Clyde – next stop for the CAMRA folks.

The Lord Clyde

The Lord Clyde, Borough

A fairly standard London boozer. Nothing out of the ordinary beer wise – good, proper bitter served well. Next up was the Gladstone arms.

The Lord Gladstone

The Lord Gladstone

This place is much smaller than it looks. With 10 (ish) of us, we took up 1/3rd of the seating in the pub! There was live music promised (we ducked out halfway through the second song – 0ops, mustn’t have been a good for confidence!) and an interesting menu with pies from pieminister of Borough Market (mmm). Somewhere to check out again when not in a rush perhaps.

With the light gone there aren’t any photos from the next pubs. The Royal Oak was nice but expensive (as usual) – good to see Fullers Hock back again (a lovely dark mild), the Market Porter was really busy hence we skipped on to The Rake. I wholly agree with the philosophy of the Rake – ‘No crap on tap’. They’ve just started a blog (at http://therakeblog.wordpress.com/) and combined with their twitter feed you can check out what beers they have. I’m not going to pop in for x,y,z beer but it’s nice to see what I’m missing out on.

Enough drivel for now. Early start tomorrow!

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The Meatwagon

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As is the norm for these days, I am late. It’s just one of those things that the City does to you I think. There always something else more important / broken / … that is a great excuse! Last Thursday (13 May) saw me trek to both ‘The Meatwagon’ and the East London & City pub crawl. The meatwagon is essentially a burger van – but with a difference. You have to follow them via their website ( http://www.themeatwagon.co.uk ) and they make the burgers themselves.

The Meatwagon, parked up in Herne Hill

The Meatwagon, parked up in the garden of the Florence, Herne Hill

It’s certainly better quality than the burger van I once briefly worked in (a story for the pub…!) and everything did have a real home made feel to it. That said it’s probably not something I’d indulge in too frequently – A couple of my workmates Jon & Adam have been raving about it for weeks now and I think I’d let my expectations get a little high. But hey – if it rocks up near you do give it a go.

That night the Meatwagon was being hosted by the Florence, Herne Hill.

The Florence public house, Herne Hill

The Florence

The Florence is a brew pub and I did get to sample two of their beers trying a half of the Beaver and a half of the Weasel. There seems to be a burgeoning brew-pub scene in London now which can only be good news. Fed and watered, it was time to head off and catch up with the younger CAMRA people out in London Bridge…

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Whisky in the Attic

Posted by Alan on May 16, 2010

Last Tuesday I went to a whisky tasting with Billy and Chris. Luckily Billy has written up the whisky element here so I don’t have to 🙂

The attic is in the pan peninsula tower, on South Quay. Right at the top. So there are some great views.

Central London Skyline from the Docklands

Central London from Docklands

We’d all won a competition by Chivas Regal for a free tasting event featuring their whisky. On the day the Chivas Regal 12 (the regular one) had been mixed up with Glenlivet 12 (nice) but that wasn’t really a big deal.

Part of the evening was of course a sales pitch – we leant about the origins of the Chivas brand (2 of the Chivas brothers started a shop in Aberdeen for the rich) and of blended whisky (a shortage of Cognac). All of this sampled from the 48th storey.

The Attic Bar, South Quay

The Attic Bar

The Docklands towers at dusk

Dusk on Docklands

I couldn’t pick a single favourite – but the Strathisla 18 and Chivas Regal 18 were both exceedingly nice… shame the former is mostly employed in the production of the latter and isn’t really sold anywhere.

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

The millennium dome at night

The millennium dome at night

And so with a miniature Chivas 18 and some chocolates to take home, we were dispatched into the night…

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Sussex Pub Crawl

Posted by Alan on May 8, 2010

After the trip to Arundel Castle we went for a beer. Having an epic train ticket – we had plenty of choice of where to go, but decided to start in Arundel. After all that castle viewing we were kinda thirsty.

First up, the Kings Arms in Arundel:

The Kings Arms public house, Arundel

Kings Arms/Arundel

Recommended highly by the good beer guide we thought this place was OK. Beer c. £3/pint is pretty normal for the south, the glasses could have been a bit cleaner and the anti-mobile phone rant on the wall was a bit much. It did look like it had a good crowd of locals and there were still games around to play – darts in particular.

Inside the kings arms public house, Arundel

A proper solid boozer - Kings Arms/Arundel - featuring Emo and Simon

Next up, we took the train round to Chichester for a cab out to the Gribble in Oving.

The Gribble public house, Oving near Chichester

The Gribble

Listed in the good beer guide as a brewery, this was also recommended highly by Emo. Personally, I thought the beer was a bit ‘watery’ – pleasant but not really much too it.  The food was pretty awesome though and it was nice to try out something a bit different.

Alan P with a half of Gribble Mild

Yours truly with a dinky half pint of Gribble 'mild' (I am allowed halves - I live in the south!)

Back to Chichester where we had a choice. Train home or train to Brighton? We’d picked up a bottle for the journey whatever…but when the Brighton train rolled in first and we figured out we could get back and still make the last tube decision was made.

The final stop for the night was the evening star in Brighton. This was a cracking pub with really well kept beer and a great atmosphere. We only got to stick around for 1 hour – but I’ll definitely be calling in again whenever I get back to Brighton.

Simon & Emo finally start to object to the photographs in the Evening Star Brighton

Simon & Emo finally start to object to the photographs, Evening Star/Brighton

With that we took the last fast train back to London at 11pm – making the last tube home to boot. Awesome day out.

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Arundel Castle

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2010

This early May bank holiday saw Simon, Emo and I take a trip down to Arundel castle, about 4 miles north of Littlehampton on the south coast. Arundel castle is actually two castles – the stately home built in Victorian times (when castles were all the rage) and the actual castle a mott/bailey fortrification surviving (with modifications) through the civil war to this day.

Arundel castle, stately home

I'm not sure that turret could actually hold a cannon worth using...

The place reeks of power and status. There are many grand rooms full of large paintings of the Dukes of Norfolk, who still retain this as their home today. No pictures allowed inside of course – I don’t mind that since I can imagine how much flash might damage fragile paintings and also revenue from the tours must go some way to keeping the place…

Arundel castle, mott & bailey

The real castle

As well as the paintings, stuffed animals and trappings of gentry, the grounds includes some well kept gardens and the Fitzalan chappel.  The chappel is unusual as it is actually two churches stuck together – a Catholic side and a protestant/Anglican side but neither connected bar a single door in the main area of the chappel. In fact, the Anglican side is outside of the grounds!

Inside Fitzalan chappel, looking towards the protestant side

Looking towards the protestants

Photography was allowed in the chappel so I got to have a bit of play with the EOS…

Praying monk

Praying monk

close up of angel wing and blurred photographers

Winging it for the angels

Praying for the next life - grave statue

Praying for the next life

Next up were the gardens – unfortunately a day for frequent heavy showers meant that most of the flowers had closed up, but there was plenty of colour available to enjoy.

A splash of colour - red flowers

A splash of colour

Pink rose

Pink rose

spots of rain on a green leaf

Drip drip

We probably spend 4½ hours all told wandering around – very enjoyable.

Next up – the pub and eventually Sussex pub crawl… to be continued.

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Supporting the marathon

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2010

Being midway through the marathon I got to see some of the clear up, the bit most people forget! So this is a brief pictorial to say thanks to all those people who make sure all the running and fundraising happens.

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

St John's Ambulance - on bicycles

The roadsweeper tractors

The roadsweeper tractors - note the runners in the top right hand corner

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The scrubber - removing the extra road markings

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The ambulance folk, doctors and nurses

The barrier removal men

The barrier removal men

The bin men

The bin men - I hope that bunting is going into the recycling!

…and to everyone else off camera.

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