Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas, Dad and Daughter Time.

Is this a poem? No, not this time..
Is this a moral Christmas tale? No not at all.
Does this have anything to do with music & bands? No, except that we did this because of a certain lack of bands and music!
Is it a travelogue? Well sort of, maybe a 'Drinkalogue' might be a better descriprion!

Dad and Daughter Time

Firstly I must apologise to my beer loving friends for not noting some of the truly splendid ales we sampled on our trip around London, I was full of good intentions but the sheer enjoyment of the moment somewhat overcame me!

It’s this lovely time of the year when families get together and it had been far too long since Vicky, my eldest daughter and I had spent some quality Dad and Daughter time together, just the two of us, so for a special Christmas treat, on Saturday the
22nd December 2012, we were going to see Asia at Shepherds Bush but sadly the concert was cancelled due to Carl Palmer’s illness, so, always one with a reserve up my sleeve, I thought, never mind, we’ll go and see The CC Smugglers at the Barfly in Camden instead, thank you, you extremely mean, Mean Fiddler for cancelling that gig at short notice too!

So, Saturday, a trip to London with no particular goal for the evening, just a simple wander around some of my favourite pubs and places and to introduce Vicky to some new sights and to relive some old memories, what a jolly splendid way to spend the day.

I had to write this up before she got there first as No.1 daughter is a gifted writer in her own right, check out and you’ll see what I mean.

Jumping onto the fast train from Stevenage to Kings cross and a quick trip on the Northern Line found us at the Euston Tap, quickly ensconced in the corner supping away on a couple of splendid beers.

Next, after a short stroll in the rain we ducked into the Bree Louise with it’s fine selection of beers, I could not resist the Art Brew 6.5% Winter IPA, whilst our Vic went for a lovely rich dark beer, sadly the barrel had just about run out and the barman could only pull a drinkable 2/3 of a pint, so we got that one free gratis and Vicky chose a lovely amber ale, with 50p a pint off for CAMRA members (Like me) a lovely cheap round!

 Now the Bree Louise is famous for it’s beers and home made pies and indeed for some of its clientele (The Fellowship of the Stick are sometimes to be seen within).
Some pubs allow you to take your dog, should you have one, into the establishment, some pubs have friendly cats wandering about the place, I have also seen fish (in tanks), a budgie, even a parrot, but as Vicky & I sat and enjoyed our pints we spotted a young lady with  a small ‘pet carrier’ so we asked her “What’s in there”, “It’s OK” she said, “It’s just a Gerbil!”, it turned out that Henry the Gerbil was being transported up to Merseyside as he could not be left alone over Christmas, quite right too, Gerbils are for life, not just for Christmas!

A short hop on the tube saw us enjoying a nice lunch in The Sir John Oldcastle in Farringdon, OK so it is a Weatherspoons but it is a good one and you may wish to note that The One Tun, Ye Olde Mitre and The Jerusalem Tavern were all closed, this being a Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, obviously no-one really wants to drink in a historic pub this time of year!

At Farringdon Station we met our Fran after one of her auditions and ambled into the Castle for another fine drink, this pub is historic as it holds two licences, one as a pub, the other as a pawnbroker (by royal assent) they also served a most delicious mulled cider that Fran enjoyed.

By now the weather, which had been awful all day, deteriorated somewhat more so the three of us tunnelled our way back to Kings Cross where we said farewell to Fran while Vicky & I headed off to Camden and a quick pint in The Elephants Head before hitting the “As much as you like for £3” Chinese food stall in Camden market, sitting under cover on the old motorcycle seats watching the rain pound Regents canal into froth!

 Nicely replete we set off to explore a very dark and soggy Camden market, drying out for a while in Cyber Dog, I was very tempted to dance on the podium but modesty forbade me!

Now someone had had a sneaky hankering for a Belgium beer all day and for once it wasn’t me! So I took Vicky to the Belgo Bar, was it heaving, packed? Well it was when we got in there, in fact we were the only punters in the place! 

Blame the recession, the weather, the time of year, in fact the only really crowded places we saw all day were the stations with hundreds of people leaving London or just passing through!

The Kwak was mine by the way

Talking of stations, our final port of call was The Sir John Betjeman at St. Pancras, a couple of nice 3% Trinity Ales to round off the day while watching the world go by,  Kings Cross on one hand an the Eurostar terminal on the other.

 All in all a most splendid ‘Dad and Daughter’ day, something to be treasured and hopefully often repeated!

Happy Christmas one and all.  

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