A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘pub’

Tubby Isaacs

Posted by Alan on August 20, 2013

Tubby Isaacs Seafood Stall, Aldgate

Tubby Isaac’s Seafood Stall, Aldgate

Tubby Isaac’s seafood stall at Aldgate is now closed.

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Not quite London to Brighton

Posted by Alan on June 14, 2011

This weekend I attempted my longest bike ride yet, the target a pint of Darkstar’s finest at the Evening Star. This was always going to be a challenge and sadly I gave in 15 miles short in Haywards Heath. But not without some adventure and some lovely Southern scenery. Heading out from home the first stop was Crystal Palace, 17 miles down the road from home.

Crystal Palace

It's that tele mast again

A short pause for a quick snack and drink before an excellent run down the other side of the hill.  At this point I wasn’t following a route map, just trying to point in vaguely the right direction. This was probably a mistake! Seeing signs for Bromley and Beckenham I turned westwards and ended up on the edge of Croydon near Selhurst. Not something I really wanted – Croydon is a very motorised place, fully of dual carriageways and car parks. This diversion easily added 2 miles compared with the route I could have taken by heading towards Beckenham. Oops. Eventually I fell out of the urban sprawl and onto country roads.

Frylands Wood, New Addington

Frylands Wood, New Addington

The next pit stop at around 27.5 miles was a pub called the ‘White Bear’. It looked pretty good – a reasonable selection of ale, busy but not uncomfortable and the food looked fine. Some of the reviews online are less positive and it was £2 for a blackcurrent and soda – daylight robbery! Still, an ample chance to sit and take on board more liquid before heading southwards again. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to work my new gps toy properly yet – so ‘mile 27’ apparently took 44 minutes to complete…

So here comes the ranty bit.  In my planning I’d looked up a couple of routes, using CycleStreets and Sustrans. I really don’t know why I bother with the latter – I’m more and more convinced each time I try a Sustrans route that it’s been designed for someone with a 4×4 and bike rack who likes a slow pedal at the weekend.

Muddy ditch

This is 'national cycle route 21'

NCN 21 is Sustrans London to Brighton route, or more specifically Greenwich to Brighton route. So perhaps you might expect that connecting two cities it is a well paved, waymarked route allowing comfortable progress of 10-15 miles per hour. I’m not exactly Chris Boardman after all. Sadly it isn’t. Just 100 metres after finding the route at the White Bear, it turned into a muddy ditch. Since destroying my pedals on the way to Southend (and possibly the other rides before that) my bike is currently out of action waiting new pedals and retirement in the north. This mean’s I have Ruth’s Trek road bike – it’s not designed for this and this slowed me right down to 5-8 mph.

Spot the sign

Spot the sign

The route is waymarked, but these are often small hidden dark coloured signs on dark trees. Admittedly not a great photo but if you can spot the sign good on you!

Sign in Context

Sign in Context

As soon as the next sign pointed onto another track, I gave up on NCN 21 and took to using maps and minor roads.  By Caterham (mile 32) I was getting ready for the next break – but instead I got held up, by a carnival! This 5 minute wait proved a useful little boost.

Caterham Carnival

Caterham Carnival

Just over 35 miles, the pit stop proper arrived – the Caterham viewpoint. It’s a great view with the M25 completely hidden from the top. You can still hear it though – in the distance, the South Downs and the next lot of challenges.

Caterham Viewpoint

Caterham Viewpoint

By this stage I had started to flag a bit – I’m not convinced I’ve got the diet right on a ride to provide the optimum level of energy. At mile 42 I found another pub to take on water, the Dog and Duck close to the village of Outwood. I was fast running out of afternoon and it started to become clear that I wouldn’t get to Brighton, at least, not if I wanted to get home at a sensible hour.  So I switched the target to beat 55 miles so that at least I’ve cycled further in a day than I’ve walked!

Viaduct

Ouse Valley Viaduct

The Ouse Valley Viaduct just outside Haywards Heath provided a last breathtaking scene, this time man made countryside as the road dips down just above the river before climbing into Haywards Heath itself. Arriving just after 6pm, it had taken me 8 hours to travel the 57.6 miles – with stops. According to the GPS thingy, a moving average of 10mph, with my actual moving time being just under 6 hours.

Onto a train by half 6 and back in London sometime around 1915 leaving time for one last photograph.

The Shard

Looking up - The Shard

It’s not long now until ‘the big one’ – the c2c ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. Our maximum distance per day is around 45 miles. Now it’s just the hills to worry about!

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Bogle Training Part I

Posted by Alan on January 23, 2011

This year sees the 50th anniversary of Manchester RAG’s Bogle. Since getting involved with Manchester RAG as a student and running their 2006 beer festival, Bogle has been one of those events on the calendar. I’ve helped a few times as a marshal, driver, co-ordinator and in 2009 I tried walking. Sadly that time I neglected to do any training so after 29 miles, at the 5th checkpoint I gave in.

This time I am training… alongside one of my team mates for this year, Richard.

St Stephen's Tower

Angry skies above St Stephen's Tower

So the basic premise was this – we walk from our flat to Cask, Pimlico. (You seriously thought beer wouldn’t be involved somewhere right?). This took us across Walthamstow marshes, through the back of Hackney, right through Smithfield Market onto the Embankment finally widing through the back streets behind the Catholic Cathedral to the pub.

Bus Abbey & Protest

The protesters were apparently not evicted on Friday as decreed by the media...

Cask is a fantastic little pub, serving a wide selection of food and ales.  Sadly for us we had essentially booked in for a (well-deserved and required!) pitstop for some food. And 2 half pints each. (It would be rude not to!)

Cask, Pimlico

Cask, Pimlico formerly Pimlico Tram

From here we headed south of the water to the places where Taxi’s infamously don’t go. Through Vauxhall, across to Elephant and Castle finally reaching the Draft House at Tower Bridge just as the sun had set. Cue more beer! Just the one pint though as after c. 17 miles we were both pretty tired. The calorific value of beer is probably helpful, but I am sure the alcohol isn’t!

Sadly recording all of the journey was a leap too far for my Nokia (it’s almost 2 years old now) – Sports tracker made it almost to E&C with us – it’s stats are below.

Statistics – recorded by Nokia Sports Tracker…
Distance recorded by GPS Average page Steps kCal burned
12.97 mi 16:01 min/mi 23995 1598
2.67 mi 15:00 min/mi 4707 328

Bogle is the first weekend in March so much more training required if I am to get around the full 55 miles.  Of course, sponsorship information will appear in due course… 🙂

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One Less Car

Posted by Alan on October 3, 2010

One Less Car, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

Spotted in the Pembury Tavern, Hackney. It was the barmaids! She seemed slightly freaked out that I was taking a photograph…

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Cromer Pier, Silhouette Ruth

Posted by Alan on September 20, 2010



Cromer Pier, Silhouette Ruth, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

Having a play with the camera from time to time, though I still have rather a lot to learn.

This is inside ‘the Dolphin’ at Cromer, with the Cromer Pier behind Ruth. It was rather a grey day so I went with the monochrome to totally blank off the sky and really extol the bland weather.

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 1

Posted by Alan on September 15, 2010

Got up a bit later than was really helpful. That’s pretty normal for me though. The alarm goes off, I snooze and a 10 minute blink later maybe I get up. Still, we did manage to make the train at Wood St. And it wasn’t too stressful, thought I’d forgotten that we’d have to push the bikes up a long steep flight of stairs onto the platform!


Our bikes at Wood St

Our bikes at Wood St, loaded and ready to go

We got into the Liverpool St around 11AM – to a scene of chaos – more so than usual, because this was the Tuesday of the TSSA/RMT tube strike. I have to admit, I did feel a bit smug as I wandered into M&S to buy a picnic for lunch on the train… For getting the bike onto the train National Express East Anglia were a bit of a shambles. Both of us had tried in advance to reserve bike space and both been turned away. It was not to be 3rd time lucky as we were then told you have to reserve at least 3 hours in advance! But, it was OK to just show up an hope that there weren’t other cyclists travelling… We arrived at Sheringham around 3pm and rode the few hundred metres to the B&B. After a brew we rode down into town and had a cycle around to learn the centre.


Cycling on the promenade

Cycling on the promenade

There were a few hardy souls braving the wind – at least it wasn’t raining though! Seeing rain approaching from inland we raced back to the B&B to unpack and hide from the elements. It wasn’t long though before we were out again and down to the Windham Arms, probably the best pub in Sheringham. Food was pretty good and a great selection of beer was on offer. After tea there was time to wander about again and see the rest of the town.


IMG_4648

The bright lights of the small town

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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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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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