A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘camra’

Bright Lights

Posted by Alan on December 12, 2010

Euston Tap

The bright lights of London - Euston Tap

It’s been another busy week as the inevitable party chaos of Christmas descends – thus time for a pythonesque list of things done.

Monday was Ruth’s birthday but she was working a long day in the hospital so I prepared instead by hitting Oxford St, bringing back a surprise (nowhere to hide presents in our flat!) and having a proper beef & ale stew waiting on the table for when she got home.

On Tuesday Dan popped up in London – fancy a beer? The Gunmakers and Euston Tap provided plenty of entertainment in the form of quality beer.

By Wednesday it was time to take Ruth out for a proper birthday dinner. Queue Queens steakhouse. It was very good though sadly not very full. Could be a symptom of limited promotion – their own website simply states ‘coming soon’ and you’ve no idea about what treats lie in store until you arrive.

Thursday saw a work xmas do where after some great food at Kym’s of Pimlico we decamped to the excellent Cask.

On Friday, Ruth was back at work.  This left me free to go check out Mason & Taylor in Shoreditch and then write about it. And then leg it to the Euston Tap / Bree Louise to catch up with another work party.

And thus that left the weekend for R&R. Well, best get onto the Sunday chores…

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Epic Bike Ride

Posted by Alan on June 27, 2010

Having decided to stay at home for a change and save a bit of money… myself and the lovely Ruth embarked on an epic (for us at least) bike ride. Through CAMRA I’d heard about a CAMRA-award winning pub (The Duke of Hamilton) that may close and be turned into flats over in Hampstead. At around 10 miles (16 kilometres) this was about idea for finding out just how unfit we might be!

Our route took us through Walthamstow’s marshes just down from Tottenham under this really low bridge:

Low bridge under the railway - just 5 foot clearance!

Warning - Low Bridge!

I know at 5’8″ I’m not exactly tall – but this bridge has a clearance of just 5′ (c. 1.5m) – that’s got to be taking the biscuit on a national cycle route right?

Heading through Finsbury Park and Tuffnell park we finally came to Hampstead Heath where the gradient finally got the better of us and we had to have a rest.

Ruth under a tree at Hampstead Heath

Ruth rests under a tree on Hampstead Heath

About another half mile of mostly walking up a really steep hill… we finally arrived at The Duke.

Alan outside the Duke of Hamilton, Hamstead

Maybe one day I'll figure out this smiling in photos thing?

Add some food from the gastro-pub just down the road and we were ready to head back. Though…we did cheat a bit and get the train from Gospel Oak back to Walthamstow cutting out about 7 miles (11.2 km) before cycling the last leg home.

So all in all about 15 miles exercise done – not in an awful time, though having planned a route using http://www.cyclestreets.net/ we were about 30 minutes behind it’s recommended completion time – probably mostly due to having to stop every 300 yards (c. 275m) to check the next instruction! Sat Nav app required for phone I think… and hopefully more delightful weather to take advantage of!

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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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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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Lock in at Pure Groove

Posted by Alan on April 30, 2010

Got your hopes up there? Nope not a real lock in… I still haven’t made a pub my proper local enough to be invited to a lock in (and I certainly wouldn’t be writing about it online if I did!!)

Thursday night this week I took a bunch of work mates and some CAMRA crew down to Pure Groove near Smithfield Market, for Fordy’s lock in (as well as the beer festival that has been going on all week).

Matt Forde

Matt Forde & Romesh

Somehow we ended up on the front row. Normally a bad idea for a comedy gig – but this time we didn’t come in for any flack! (Win!!). The basic premise of the night was that of a lock in – people talking over a few beers about their most embarrassing stories etc.

This worked well for the first half…then the beer started to show a bit…

Romesh and Jon Richardson

Romesh and Jon Richardson

…at which point were weren’t really sure if Matt and John Robbins had got into an arguement…

Romesh, Robbins and Fordy

Romesh, Robbins and Fordy

…still seemed to work out OK in the end 😉

Beer wise the event was a bit of a let down. Pure Groove seemed to have gone for the quantity over quality approach – given the place can probably at best hold 120 people, 8 ales as well as the bottles/wines/spirits seemed a bit optimised. I would have much preferred 4 good ales instead of the 8 flat ones that seemed to be on offer…still I hope they carry on an try again. I’m sure I’ll pop in from time to time and if I ever get a turntable again look at the music they sell – the prime reason the place exists!

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Up the Orient, Down the Pond

Posted by Alan on April 18, 2010

Yesterday was pretty good day. The sun was shining (and still is). There were no vapour trails in the sky (Thanks volcano – I wonder if our air quality has got better?!).

We started the day here with the arrival of a new TV. This is about 4 months late but a failing on my part to actually pick one to buy! Never mind… it’s here now and last night we could finally tune into HD via freeview.

Come lunchtime it was time for some Saturday afternoon football. I’m not really a football person but when it was suggested at work I thought why not. We started with a pre-match pint in the William IV, Bakers Arms and then headed for the game.

Leyton Orient

Leyton Orient Football Ground

Pie at half time and we watch Leyton beat Stockport 2-0. Not a huge surprise since Stockport are going to be relegated anyway… a post match pint in the lovely beer garden at The Birkbeck, Leyton gave us time to enjoy the sun and the sky. (Sadly the Supporters Association at the Orient who have an awesome bar wouldn’t let us in…)

Lastly… I went down to the pond in the fading sunset light to see if I could get any decent shots of the birds on the pond and practice a bit more with the D-SLR. I think perhaps an hour earlier would make a lot of difference but here’s the best few.

Eagle Pond

Do not feed the birds!

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Snaresbrook Crown Court & Eagle Pond

Canadian Goose

Canadian Goose

Swan

Swanning About

Pond and Bus

Passing the pond by W12 bus

Leaves

Leaves

Sometimes I do have the remind myself I live in Z4 and not in the vast countryside of Essex…

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Spring Beer Festival

Posted by Alan on March 27, 2010

Today and tomorrow sees the bring beer festival at the William IV in Leyton (Bakers Arms). Myself and Jon popped in for a couple of beers.

The William IV - Bakers Arms, Leyton

For about 2 years now this place has been a brew pub – i.e. a pub that brew’s it’s own beer. Today they had put on a range of about 15 beers to sample, from the lightest lager to the strong Romanov Empress Imperial Stout (12.1%).

The Beer Menu

Romanov Empress Stout

Amarilla

Favourite beer of the day was probably Red Sun – a blend of Brodies Red and Brodies Sunshine. Dark but also light – lovely.

Last beer of the day was Brodies’ blue – which is surprisingly red…

Brodies Blue

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The Trip to Nottingham

Posted by Alan on March 14, 2010

I visit Manchester far too often. It probably helps that my parents live there and many of my uni/college mates still do. But once every now and then we have an agreement to meet somewhere vaguely halfway – hence the trip to Nottingham.

Silhouette of Ruth at St Pancras

The early (0900) train north beckoned

Nottingham is a kinda of strange halfway – it’s 2 hours from London, 2 hours from Manchester. London to Manchester takes just 2 hours 10, but at least the concept is there!

First up we were to head to the Castle and wander round with my Grandma. This was quickly rearranged to a coffee and a chat as the mistle hung miserably above the city.

I think this London bus may be lost...

The afternoon however… was much more pub based. We’d ‘planned’ to visit two pubs – but got so cozy in the Trip that we didn’t move out very quickly…

The Trip to Jerusalem

The Trip to Jerusalem - below Nottingham Castle

‘The Trip’ is allegedly England’s oldest in – and the rooms go far back into the rock on which the castle sits.

Holey Rock

If you get the chance to visit Nottingham this place is worth it for the novelty – decent beer too, nicely kept. I’m sure there are other places to go too though…note this all happened about 2 or 3 weeks ago (27/02), I am just rubbish at keeping up to date!

All the pictures are heading for flickr as I’ve decided I need to backup everything online in the highest quality possible. Flickr pro seems to do the job – check out this set.

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Ready for the Floor

Posted by Alan on February 24, 2010

Almost another month goes by without me spilling diatribe onto here. Just what is wrong with me? Well, as per usual I just got busy and forgot. Lame eh?

So heading backwards… last Friday saw me at Manchester Academy 1 to see Hot Chip. Not a bad gig, the band took a bit of warming up but after a couple of old numbers mid-set got into their groove. Loved the fact that I bumped into ‘old’ uni-mates, nice to have a home 🙂

Hot Chip - Manchester Academy I

Hot Chip - Manchester Academy I

Hot Chip in pink

Hot Chip in pink

Academy I has changed a bit since uni…but not loads. I really should do more gigs…

Spotify nerds click:

* * *

Saturday week ago, Henry and Alice were in town so we figured we should check out some of the bars in the Shoreditch triangle.  Not quite enough to consititute a real pub crawl, but:

The Reliance - Old St

Nice little pub, selection of ales and ciders. Not too expensive for the trendy part of town!

Bricklayers Arms - Charlotte Road

Without a hat,  scarf or haircut we looked a bit out of place. OK ale though and decent jukebox at least!

Spread Eagle - Kingsland Road

No ale but interesting enough inside…

Then we took in some food at The Diner, back towards Old St again.

Finally we finished up in the Pembury Tavern, Hackney for a game of bar billiards.

Bar Billiards - Pembury Tavern

The Pembury is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Quite an unusual pub – huge, has a young clientele but sells only real ale, real cider and real lager (I think the closest lager was from Germany!).

Much of the rest of the time has been taken up working or thinking about BCS stuff.

It’ll be Easter before I know it.

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Cemetery Gates

Posted by Alan on February 1, 2010

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
While Wilde is on mine

So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives
Where are they now?
With the loves and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died
Seems so unfair
And I want to cry

* * *

I haven’t really done any proper new year’s resolutions for years now. Probably just a lack of willpower but I tend to flunk them before February has started like most other people. But I do try have a ‘theme’ (or vision if you want to be caustically corporate). Last year this was achievement. Targets included getting a good job (tick), finding a better flat (tick) and reading more (sort of achieved…).
This year, arguably, the theme is consolidation (yeah, I *do* know that doesn’t sound awesome). Essentially though doing more with what I have achieved and being a bit better at delivering anything I promise. So, this weekend when we got invited to wander around the cemetery at Nunhead I jumped at the chance. Time for the new camera to come out to play and also chance to learn a bit more about the city we live in.
It also helps that Ruth has a strange obsession with death from her archaeology days.

Cemetery Gates

We'll meet you at the cemetery gates

Nunhead is in South East London, about 5-6 miles from the centre and we took the 2.15 tour from the gates. It is sister cemetery to Highgate (where Karl Marx is buried) but being South London it doesn’t boast the same kind of clientèle Highgate aspired too. Not that there aren’t famous people buried there, it’s just they have faded from memory as time has passed.

Cemetery Chapel

Nunhead Cemetery Chapel

The cemetery was hit several times by bombs during WWII, which has led to gaps in the trees/monuments. Some 250,000 people are buried here so the gaps are very misleading!

Amongst the formerly famous were several local philanthropists and also a Labour MP responsible for introducing the first old age pensions back in the 1930s.

It’s quite forested place – during it’s heyday some 200 people were employed to maintain the grounds but as death became less profitable the numbers dwindled and eventually nature started to claim back the land. Today it’s maintained in part by the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery who also run the tours.

Silhouette

Silhouette

The cemetery boasts a view of St Pauls from the top of the hill. Sadly I don’t have a lens capable of really showing that view!

Sculpture

Sculpture carving

There are some fantastic examples of carving amongst the memorials. Sadly, during the 1970s many were vandalised and removed. Those that do remain are often missing limbs, noses or unrecognisable. This one was very lucky indeed.

So. If you have some time on a Sunday and are inclined either to play with photography or learn a bit of history go find it! We plan on Highgate sometime later this year (maybe when it is less cold!)

The trip was rounded off by a pint in the Market Porter and in the Royal Oak (Borough). Also worth a look in if you fancy a pint though weirdly the Royal Oak was still full of xmas decorations…

The Market Porter, Borough

The Market Porter, Borough

Enough drivel for now. To finish with the start…

Cemetery Gates – The Smiths (The Queen Is Dead, 1986)

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
While Wilde is on mine

So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people all those lives
Where are they now?
With the loves and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died
Seems so unfair
And I want to cry

You say: “ere thrice the sun done salutation to the dawn”
And you claim these words as your own
But I’ve read well, and I’ve heard them said
A hundred times, maybe less, maybe more

If you must write prose and poems
The words you use should be your own
Don’t plagiarise or take “on loans”
There’s always someone, somewhere
With a big nose, who knows
And who trips you up and laughs
When you fall
Who’ll trip you up and laugh
When you fall

You say: “ere long done do does did”
Words which could only be your own
And then you then produce the text
From whence was ripped some dizzy whore, 1804

A dreaded sunny day
So let’s go where we’re happy
And I meet you at the cemetery gates
Oh Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day
So let’s go where we’re wanted
And I meet you at the cemetery gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
But you lose because Wilde is on mine

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