Archive for April 2012
“Days of wine and roses laugh and run away.”
As usual, if you want to see the most recent prior crime against wine reviews appearing in this blog, here is a link: Wise guy, eh?: Wine, April Part A.
I don’t really go in for the carb-loading during the marathon taper as I eat shitpots of pasta, rice, and bread anyway. So, when I saw this slab of brilliantly marbled beef at the butcher I had to get a couple of slices. Swinging by the Sainsbury’s I spied some Asian ladies hurriedly loading shopping trolleys with every bottle they could of this Saint Emilion on the top shelf but, being taller than them, I snagged one for myself (at 2/3 off retail). It was quite nice with our little feast.
It looks like some sort of curry Bolognese hybrid, but it is actually a pasta sauce…the bowl of green stuff is all the basil I had, some sliced spring onions, and some chopped parsley to go in when the pasta and sauce get tossed (probably an hour after this photo was taken from the liquid appearance of the sauce at this point). The Cotes du Rhone was the last red bottle in the rack (where DOES all this wine go?) so we trusted our luck and found it more oaken than anything we have tried all year. The Sainsbury’s Wines from France line are fairly uneven (like Two Buck Chuck back in the States), but we lucked into a good run this time:
Someone, somewhere in the annals of restaurant history, got it in their head that all sorts of other bad service and pricing atrocities could be assuaged by having the waiter stop by every now and then to top of your wine glass with the bottle you already bought, interrupting the meal or conversation or both. And, so it was that at the Dragon Castle chinese restaurant in Elephant and Castle our waitress reached across our table (using the edge to support herself and nearly toppling it in the effort), over our plates of fairly standard fare, to the wine bottle I had placed out of her reach to avoid such a travesty and sloppily poured up some of this barely passable swill:
This seemed to amuse the house deity no end:
The night before the London Marathon (after our late lunch at the Dragon, above, and our visit to Brixton, here) we supped at La Dolce Vita, a small bistro in Borough at the Blackfriars roundabout across from South Bank University. I had a pasta with capers, anchovies, chillies and tomatoes…divine, as was the homemade bread with chilli infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The house wine was perfect for this fairly delightful meal: a bit earthy, tannic, and yet with almost artificially fruity overtones:
After the Marathon, we headed toward Paddington but our train was still a few hours away. You can always count on a good meal at the touristy yet authentic Bizarro, and my reward for the day’s jog included marinated sardines and rigatoni with sausages, while Jackie’s treat included pasta with tomato and tuna started off bybruschetta with some of the most perfect tomatoes and fragrant basil I have ever smelled. The house wine was a Montepulciano and was probably as good as anything twice the price on the carte:
We went to London with the fridge and cupboard bare and only one bottle of red wine in the house. I picked up some rocket and cooked the rice that was part of the Marathon goodie bag and thawed some chicken breasts to fry little aware that it would be a couple of days before we properly resupplied. The Chianti was good, though and helped lubricate the aching old muscles:
Another hectic day and we opted to order a pizza but didn’t want to pay restaurant prices for a bottle of wine. I dashed to the off license up the street and took a chance on the Pone 2-for-£6 deal. They misspelled ”Shyraz” on one bottle and this Veneto was more like Night Train or Mogen David than anything drinkable. After half a bottle we decided to boil it down to add to a sauce, or maybe use it to clean the barbecue grill.
The Pone reduction went ahead despite the ‘Shyraz’ being marginally drinkable. I added a handful of garlic cloves, some rosemary and bay leaves then set it to simmer away. Starting with about 1.25 liters this evaporated to a little less than 200 mL. Since I am pretty sure this will either go in a sauce or get used to braise some pork chops, I floated a hot chilli in the hot reduction before freezing the batch:
Burritos are one of our staple food groups and until the summer heat, such as it is around here, sets in the savoury treats will only be spicy to the level of mild (back home) which is sort of blazing for English standards. Anyway, there’s no need to pair this delicacy with cold beer, yet, and the Spanish wines are plentiful to choose from and cheap to acquire:
I got a five-pound ribeye on the bone from Brian and Kay down the butcher shop…aged perfectly and succulently rare when it came out of the oven. Asparagus is still in season and we go some green beans and Anya potatoes to round out the feast. I can’t remember if we have had this Cotes du Rhone earlier in the year but it was clean on the palate and presented floral, oak and fruit flavours in different proportions depending on which morsel it chased down the gullet…a perfect end to a rainy day of outdoor chores:
Wines noted this half of April were:
Roc de Lussac Saint Emilion with seared steaks
WfF Cotes du Rhone with curry-esque spag-bol
Tierra Antica Cabernet Sauvignon at the Dragon Castle, London
Rosso Sanleo at La Dolce Vita, London
Vini d’Autore Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at Bizarro Italian, London
Piccini Chianti Riserva
Pone Veneto and Shyraz (cooking only…foul)
Marques de Carano Gran Seleccion
La Chasse Cotes du Rhone
The rain pissed down before I was out of Sunningwell and my planned shortcut to the quite marvelous Prince of Wales ran into the fence at an old RAF base. I trudged along eventually finding my target.
The pub has a larger lounge but only the Public Bar was in use and so I was subjected to the “nice weather for a jog” round of chatter from the three customers and the landlord. I bought a Loose Cannon Dark Horse (an Abingdon based brewery) and paid with a tenner, got my change, and I guess I dropped the fiver on the floor ’cause I came up short later on. That’s such an annoyance, but what-are-you-gonna-do, eh? The rain strengthened and I enjoyed the beverage, but the pint and the shelter cost £8.30 all tolled.
Coincidentally, four large, bald Geordies came in bitching about the prices in their sing-song dialect. It is almost as surprising (even more so) to find these lads in an isolated village in Oxfordshire than it is to find an American, and they were a hoot. Noting the upcoming ale fest in the pub includes the 1/3 pint measure (so you can try more of the beers), one said, “Fockin’ ‘ell. There’s only twenty beers on, what kind of men do you have around here?” Another started talking about getting loaded in Belgium at some place that had several hundred beers to choose from; he missed his flight and found himself £120 out of pocket…and I whine about losing £5.
It was a pretty Friday afternoon when I caught the bus out to Sunningwell and only mildly overcast as I entered the Flowing Well, a recently refurbished large roadside tavern cum restaurant. Remote but near Abingdon, I didn’t really expect to be greeted at the door by a waitress with what I suspected to be a phony Italian accent (but when it didn’t persist may actually have been just the regional Oxon/Berks tongue). Anyway, she didn’t seem disappointed when I said I just came for a beer and I wasn’t disappointed to find the Libertine, an ”American Style I.P.A.” amongst the other Greene King wares: very hoppy and a bit more astringent than typical British I.P.A. it is still fruity and fairly complex.
There were a couple of guys in to rework the menu for the week, and from what I could tell this place leans toward fresh produce to yield plausible Italian dishes. One of them mentioned the London Marathon and we started comparing notes. I turned him onto the blog and we had a bit of a laugh about my efforts. His buddy, on hearing this, said that’s how the first guy should have run it because, “he said he hit the wall or something gay like that.”
As I headed out for my run to Shippon, the rain started to fall lightly.
Before I say anything about the London Marathon, let just take a second to say that the Angerstein Hotel can go fuck itself. Thanks, that’s a load off my mind.
The booklet the London Marathon authorities sent included a map of the route with a little pint glass marker at every pub along the way (which was a logistical godsend for me)–you’ve really gotta love the British…they even put a can of London Pride in the starters’ goodie bag. However, it occurred to me that the route was fenced almost the entire way to keep the riffraff away from us elite athletes; I wrote to a number of these pubs asking if I could call in an order from about a mile out to be brought to the kerb and I’d put together correct change and gave them my bib number. The Lord Nelson (Isle of Dogs, about 16.7 miles from the start) was the first to respond closely followed by the Porter’s Lodge (Monument at about 23.5 miles) both offering to comp me the beverages; then the Angerstein Hotel came through soon after (another free offer, as bogus as the one at the Porter’s Lodge, at 5.3 miles) and I stepped up the search for someplace in the range of 8-14 miles. Sweet: this was shaping up to be the best marathon ever…or second best after this one.
Similar to the runner info magazine, the online interactive map shows the pubs nearby (the pint mugs are drawn on the little orange markers)
My original plan was to take the World Record for fastest marathon dressed as a nurse, then this jackoff did it much faster than I possibly could (whilst flaunting the “dressed as a nurse” bit). Then, fastest marathon playing a ukulele was rejected by the Guinness people as “too specific,” whatever that means. A friend in Georgia then asked, “if you want to do something absolutely ridiculous and somewhat memorable, why don’t you just go as yourself?” Brilliant in its simplicity, as indeed so am I, that is exactly what did.
Me, one day before and a few minutes after the race
Preparation for this event–I don’t think it appropriate to call a 50,000 person clusterfuck like this a “race”–involved all the normal endurance practice: slowly ramping my weekly long runs to around 20 miles, doing some of these with 4-6 beer stops, and carrying a bit of training weight in the form of a cold can of Carling throughout (although some of this was sacrificed en route in the name of the 100/100 Challenge).
Approaching Tower Bridge and the halfway point it was still wall-to-wall people
Since a lot of the training runs came at the end of the workday in the lousy winter weather so that I was forced to carry a towel and dry clothing and a heavy coat on most trots, I was already prepared to carry a light backpack with a couple of dry t-shirts and some extra Vaseline for my nipples; I also packed the 100th Carling, a cuban cigar and lighter, a bunch of oat cookies, and my mobile (to phone the pubs). One thing that might have helped would have been to include a few runs directly into crowds trying to exit busy subway stations which would have prepared me for the first two or three miles of the crowd.
After the hike from Blackheath Station, the Blue Start looms over the hill (roughly at the Greenwich Meridian)
Okay, enough whingeing about the big race logistics. Once you decide to just enjoy the day as a day out, the London Marathon can be fantastic. It is, more than anything, a fundraising machine but there are some compelling and even heartbreaking stories enacted before your very eyes (these are covered in great extent by better writers in less smart-arsed venues, but try to find the one about the paralyzed woman in the mechanical suit or any of the ones where a loved one ran in memory of the recently departed).
My own run was interrupted to make calls to the ostensibly free beers and, of course, to make stops in pubs for pints. These have been covered on this blog already (links to the names):
Inside The Rose of Denmark at 5.1 miles
In front of The Angerstein (gfyourself) at 5.3
Inside The Farrier’s Arms at 8.5
At the fence near the Lord Nelson at 16.6
Inside the Porter’s Lodge at 23.5
Then, at the 25 mile marker I lit up a Cuban, pulled out Carling #100 of the 100/100 Challenge, and ambled along to the finish.
The weather was perfect, sunny and lightly breezy despite the dire warnings from the Met Office of 30 mile headwinds and torrential downpours. Most folks were pretty civilised and I don’t feel at all bad about my splits (a bit embarrassed, but such is my day-to-day existence). Keep in mind that these include the beer stops (a couple of which were inordinately long) and that there were 37,000 folks in the narrow roadways (I could touch at least two people without stretching out my arms full length nearly every step of the way):
Sir Humphry Davy...Google him, he's cooler than Faraday (or as the wife refers to him, "That Dishy Faraday")
It couldn’t last forever, but my work colleagues have discovered the blog…shit, or shite as it were. Now I have to watch my language, cut down on the gratuitous nudity (on here, but don’t worry, ladies and selected gentlemen, these vestments ain’t sewn on), and stop slagging everybody off so much. Fucking internet, there’s no privacy anymore.
The Marathon was done, we had eaten a nice dinner at Bizarro Italian (more here and at the end of the month for the wine review), and the Angerstein Hotel could still go fuck itself. A little walk around the modern architectural nightmare that lies adjacent to the canal next to Paddington Station and we were ready for a beverage, and I was ready for a shave. I spotted the Fountain’s Abbey across from St Mary’s Hospital and we wandered in.
The main bar was busy but, I later learned when I went up to de-beard, there are two upstairs areas that are fairly private if not rented out for a function. This is a nice old Victorian house and I needed some nice, old, Columbian coffee and whatever bourbon they could offer to wash down a handful of codeine–even at my abysmally slow pace the Marathon had taken its toll. Fortunately, they were out of coffee and the tiny Polish woman dashed out to a Costa nearby and brought me something delightful and then poured up a large helping of Maker’s Mark. Bliss.
This was Alexander Fleming’s local…I’m alergic to penicillin, but do quite admire his altruism and professionalism. I’m not at all sure about the portraits on the fireplace, but I would like to think he’s the one turning his back on it all.
I was able to get a beer, eventually, in the Porter’s Lodge, unlike having to supply my own in front of the Angerstein Hotel (did I mention before that they can go fuck themselves?). Rob at the Porter’s originally offered a free beer after I asked if I could buy one and have it brought out to the London Marathon route, 50 feet away, and gave me his cell number. I checked back and got a corrected number as he originally gave me one with an extra digit, but he still seemed keen on it then (I can post the emails like I did for the Angerstein if necessary). On the day, I first got his voicemail, then a message from O2 that the service had been disconnected during my call…if you didn’t want to do it, why offer?
Then, I decided to jump off the course and go over to the dystopian hellscape bunker that is this bar and found my way to the serving area where three tenders were slowly dealing out easy orders to two customers. Okay, Rob didn’t turn off the phone because they were swamped…. Five minutes later, I finally offered to buy the Fosters that took Guinness-time to pour off the customer ahead of me, pointing out that I was under something of a time constraint.
Finding a place to down this was easy but there were so few customers (what a surprise) that I had to get one bleary eyed old alcoholic (I know, I know…pot-kettle) to try multiple times to take this photo for posterity.
Thanks, Rob. I hope this is the write-up you were shooting for (it could be worse).
Like the Angerstein Hotel (which can go fuck itself), I asked the fantastic Lord Nelson if I could buy a beer and have it brought to the fence during the London Marathon and like the Angerstein Hotel (which can go fuck itself), the marvelous Lord Nelson offered to comp me that beer. Unlike the Angerstein Hotel (may if go fuck itself for all eternity), The Lord Nelson not only honoured their freely given offer but tracked my slow arse down through spectators four-deep at the rails. Bless them and all who polish their bar with elbows.
I spotted the pub down the road and realised I was on the wrong side of the pack, so threaded my way to the right and found an eddy of no runners at all. Spotting the pub door, I got as close as I could and told the fans there that someone was supposed to have a beer there for me. Easily 6 were thrust my way, but I smiled and said, “no, Gemma said she would have me a beer, inside, maybe she’s at the bar.” The nearest guy, probably the only one that could make out my horrendous American accent, said, “at the bar? Right, then,” and dashed in when seconds later a ripe young thing appeared through the crowds smiling with a pint of Spitfire. I am living the dream.
It is a fantastic building and these quayside pubs have remarkable histories. Stop by and say you heard about them here. I owe them some custom, myself.
Approaching the Farrier’s Arms, I almost forgot about how much the Angerstein Hotel can go fuck itself. I received even more of the appropriate psychologically palliative care within this wonderful, if small, boozer.
Once more, I threaded my way through the crowds and approached the bar. The older of the two women told me where to find the toilet. “Not yet, love, I would like a pint, first.” I ordered a Fosters and the landlord, I believe, showed up with a tray of gummy bears saying, you deserve these more than the others do.” Damn straight.
We had a nice visit, the four of us and some of the punters. This is the kind of place you really like to stumble upon (or into) and it really cheered me on the long haul to my next scheduled stop. Thanks, guys!
The Angerstein Hotel can go fuck itself (as I have said here, and here…oh, yes, and here as well…and here, and here).
I didn’t ask for a free pint, I asked if I could buy one but due to the fence could someone bring one out. Not only did they offer to do so, they offered to do it gratis…the lying sacks of shit.
From: “Dr. Slow Ride” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I’m running the Marathon a week from Sunday and I’d love a quick pint (looking for beer stops about every four miles or so). If you ARE open, I can ring you with my running number when I’m about a mile away to make sure I have correct change for the pint (the barrier gets in the way, so I’d have to beg curb service, sorry). Hope we can do business! Cheers, drsr
Hi Dr Slow Ride
you may have free pint on us at the Angerstein HOtel, please call before arrival, we look forward to seeing you and GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sHERRIE EMMA AND ALL AT THE ANGERSTEIN HOTEL
And, then the phone call on the day:
“I’m the guy in the marathon that is supposed to call for a beer.”
“The guy in the marathon that is supposed to call for a beer, you say?” and in the background “no, get rid of him.”
“Yes, is there a problem? I can still pay.”
“No mate, you’re too late, we’ve already done that,” then after a short pause, “no, mate, I don’t know what you’re on about.”
“Is Emma there? Or, Sherrie?”
“Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about mate.” And, the line went dead.
The Marathon starter’s goodie bag included a can of London Pride. I had that out in front of the bar and got a guy to take the photo but he let his daughter do the work (shown above). I hope they read this.
Before I say anything about the wonderful Rose of Denmark, allow me to point out that the Angerstein Hotel can go fuck itself.
Left high-and-dry by the proprietors of the aforementioned shithole, I veered off the London Marathon course when I spotted the delightful façade of the Rose. Excusing myself through the crowds of well wishers with, “pardon me, runner needs a beer, excuse me please,” I quickly arrived at the busy bar.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but I’m on the clock. Can I possibly jump the queue and get a pint of…?”
“London Pride?” the landlord asked while changing his trajectory from the pint’s rightful owner to me.
“Excellent. Just what I wanted,” I lied. “Can I get this man one as well?” I asked but the fellow refused and even took my photo:
We had the briefest of chats and I accepted my change and the well wishes of the assembled.
We had dinner at a fantastic Italian place (notes on La Dolce Vita in the wine review at the end of the month) and I fancied a bit of whiskey for a night-cap (thinking: “must go to Marathon start hungover…”). Just off the roundabout we spotted the Flowers of the Forest and wandered into the crowded room with wooden floors and minimal furniture. Three guys were hugging, either affectionately or on the verge of fisticuffs or both but, regardless, very VERY drunk. Most of the rest of the crowd seemed to be holding it together but were all seated safely away from these guys and close to the door.
We sat not far away, on the other hand, in the name of science or observation or because we just don’t know any better. One of the guys sat abruptly on the ground and one of the others started dragging him away by his feet. The guy with the bad case of refrigerator repairman trousers bent down to help but then started wrestling the upright guy on the pool table. No one else seemed to take any notice.
The kid on the ground arose with some effort and looked like he was going to puke. The bartender set up another round (I think it was the kid’s shout) and they all said, “hooray,” in a very non-committal and vaguely humanoid manner. The kid then wandered outside to, I reckon, poop in his pants and sleep in a pool of his or anyone else’s vomit; we made a note to turn him face down but didn’t see him when we left.
I am fairly certain that I was not as hungover as these guys the next morning.
After our disappointment at the kitchen closure at the Elephant and Castle we opted for lunch at a chinese place (I’ll cover the Dragon Castle in the wine review at the end of the month), then went down to Brixton to have a ramble around. Truly we should have gone down there to start because the food on offer is varied, fragrant, obviously spicy (a lot of Caribbean and even some authentic Mexican places). Brixton and Brixton Market rules.
A trundle around the neighbourhood and we wound up back close to the market and decided to pop into the Effra Hall for a quick one or two. The bartender was making time with the ladies so we were nearly ready to piss off someplace else when he finally recognised our presence. Jackie ordered a large V&T but by the time the V was on top of the ice and lime there was very little room for T…excellent. I had a Red Stripe and since she had her truly large portion of grain neutral spirits I had time for another half.
The crowd, like the neighbourhood, was an even mix of descendants of the Windrush and descendants of white yuppies but the music was dance hall dub and the atmosphere was perfect local dive. This is a quite a nice little local in this nicest section of affordable London.
The Bridge Hotel was full of marathoners largely due to it being inexpensive and near the transport links. It was also surprisingly clean, quiet for an in town residence, friendly and professional. Our room was small but more than adequate and came with a bowl of fruit. For location, it is a few hundred meters from Borough Tube Station on the Northern Line and only a few hundred more to Waterloo Rail Station or the Thames across from the Palace of Westminster.
The breakfast nook was down in the Iran Room, a strange little lounge in the basement. We had eggs but there was only white bread to toast, no real coffee (instant) and nothing healthier than corn flakes for cereal. More fruit was available, though.
I get Room 13 more often than any other when I stay in a hotel....
We stayed near London South Bank University, an urban school between Waterloo Station and the Elephant and Castle neighbourhood. On the weekends, the area is hard-up for anything to eat during the day except diner stuff, kebabs, or fish and chips so I was glad to spot the little sign on the Elephant and Castle pub that advertised Thai food. We were too late for the food, however, and inside was heaving with football fans enjoying (or not) the Arsenal v Chelsea match.
They were a strange mix of tiny (by comparison) Asian dudes and very large, round African guys with large, round shaved heads: this reminded me more than anything of the Cafe t’Pleintje near my old house on Nilda Pintostraat in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam Zuidoost where we were, for about a mile in any direction, the only folks not of Ghanese (from Ghana) or Surinaamse (from Surinam) descent. Comfortable as this made me feel, superficially, I thought it prudent not to start snapping photos…the exterior has been painted blue and there is a small garden at the side. Just go early if you want the Thai food for lunch.
Jackie and I went to this small backstreet boozer, third of its sort for me this day, the Coeur de Lion. The bartender couldn’t possibly be old enough to run the place; in fact, you had to wonder why he wasn’t in school now that half-term was done, but there were others (the owner amongst them) to check in from time-to-time. The music included Patsy Cline and Hank Williams senior which had a strange effect on the atmosphere.
There were four ales on, beautiful windows, and a cast iron stove to provide warmth. I had a Sharps Cask Pilsner and she had a large wine. We talked a bit about her meeting and what to do next and whiled away the better part of half an hour. Delightful.
The backstreet boozer, The Volunteer Rifleman’s Arms, was packed to the gills and they seem to dislike tourists. Standing in the one open spot, somewhat near the narrow staircases up and down, I asked if there was any other seating. ”There’s two seats down there. The toilets.”
“Cool, is there anything to read?” The barman smirked a bit and some shifting went on, something of a natural movement, nothing caused by our exchange. He pointed at a table of 8 people crammed just at the end of the bar (this place is tiny); “they’re going soon,” he said. ”To the toilet? Not really my business, nor yours if you don’t mind me saying.” He spotted some cushion space near the window and directed me there.
I had just gotten settled when his head pops around the corner of the bar and startled me with, “alright, sir?” in the midst of a sip of my pint. ”Not too bad,” I told him, “dry and warm and sitting with a pint…what’s not to like?”
Jackie called to say her appointment was finished about halfway through the pint and I picked up my things to go. ”Leaving so soon, sir?”
“Yes, the woman calls so I must.”
“Yessir,” I answered quickly then drained the rest in one. This place is worth a visit.
Just up the narrow street from Belushi’s sits the tiny, oak panelled Old Green Tree. To get to the seating in the back would have required squeezing through the freak show standing around in the front of the bar so I just stayed put and listened to them.
This is a great, if tiny boozer. I had a pint of RCH Pitchfork while my floor show consumed a variety of things…leaving many dishwasher loads in their wake. Oh, there are four other ales on at any one time, mostly local.
In Tucson, I used to have lunch at least once a week at Belushi’s, a crappy student oriented bar with pretty good burgers and cheap beer. In Bath for the day, I spotted Belushi’s with an almost identical sign and went in to find a student oriented bar with cheap beer. Dead in the middle of the day just like the one out in Arizona I don’t get the feeling I would fit in during the evenings (just like the one in Arizona). Yummy, cold lager, though. Just down the street, an ill placed fountain might tempt the less lubricatable.
It is always a dodgy thing for a work colleague to loan you a book, especially one nearly as obsessive about its subject as the fell running zealots in this one. For the loaner, there is always the possibility the intended loses all respect for you (although there is little chance of that–I stand in near awe of this fellow); for the loanee, you have an obligation to give it at least a token read-through. This book, Feet in the Clouds by Robert Askwith, isn’t written especially well, but the guy is a journalist first and foremost and has chosen a compelling subject filled with characters interesting on their own merits. The tales of obsession with the sport are instantly recognisable to those of us who dabble in distance and hills and especially those of us that have some serious wilderness trail runners amongst our drinking buddies.
It becomes obvious along the way that Askwith wanted to write about the attempts he made at completing the Bob Graham Round, this 72 mile/42 peak circuit of the Lake District that must be completed in 24 hours. Others have attempted this monumental and futile task (writing about Bob Graham Round experiences, that is) and failed so it was well and good that he expanded the scope to cover the history of the sport and the personalities and politics involved in its obscure modern incarnation(s).
At the end of a few months of more-or-less serious training runs, I am ready to get out for some unplanned countryside trots. This read makes that near-future of truly pleasure runs become crystalline for me. It taunts me like a red rag to a bull, and I see bits of the ridgeway and some Cotswold hillsides before me, casting those come-hither glances from between the lines of every page. Give it a read if you can find a copy.