Archive for the ‘entertainments’ Category

The blog in the rear view mirror   Leave a comment

New-Belgium-Slow-Ride-Session-IPA

Warmest regards to Fatty from Tucson for spotting this beer label (if anyone knows where to get Fat Tire in Swindon or Oxford please get in touch)

 

It has been a good run — one of nearly 6 years, nearly 1300 different pubs, a few marathons and a bunch of halves (and shorter races), good entertainment, fulfilling work, and a couple of laughs.  But, it is over … at this address, anyway: I’ll continue on in much the same vein at the Endless British Pub Crawl (continues) but this site will just be an archive for the first 1292 pubs and memorial to itself and a lot of ill-advised fun that went into gathering the material herein.

EBPC1 hits 2015-01-03

I want to do a retrospective of this blog’s 6 years but it deserves better than what you have before you.  Them’s the breaks…here it is in tedious detail.

delivery-at-stretham-local-shop

In 2177 days, there have been 2537 posts.  Of those, 1292 were specifically for 1st time pub visits, 367 were for last year’s Daily Tipple (with added Haiku), 210 have been for the Chippy Challenge and the Kebab Challenge, and 169 were for the 2012 Yellow Beer Challenge.  The remaining 499 involved running, mocking the serious beliefs of others, laughing at the weak, bitching and moaning about one thing or another, obituaries, and other things that serve to strengthen my bona fides of Britishness.  According to WordPress, these pages have been visited just over 350,000 times…get a life, losers.

pigeons

Most frequent pub names so far (and how many of each):

43 Red Lions
24 Crowns
22 Ploughs
19 (tie) Bells, White Harts
15 Greyhounds
14 (tie) Black Horses, King’s Arms, Queen’s Heads
13 (tie) Rose and Crowns, Swans, White Horses

in-free-press-4

Best names: Five Mile From Anywhere No-Hurry Inn, Far From The Madding Crowd, Cafe Rene, Sally Pussey’s Inn, The Bee’s In The Wall, The Roaring Donkey, Who’d A Thought It

Fuck that place: The Angerstein Hotel, The Woodman Inn, The Black Horse

London Marathon last mile

Personal favourite pub write ups: The Chequers in Cottenham, hangover after a night in the King’s Arms in Ely, handing the puzzle over to the Dog and Duck in Linton (Cambs), the Crown in Penzance (a low-key 25th anniversary), the Glue Pot in Swindon after my first Wildcats Hockey match, the Blackfriar in London (not so much the write up as the architectural details), and the Rose and Crown in Chippenham for the fantastic people watching.  Certain there are other decent ones but this list contains the two or three I’m really pleased with.

dog and duck puzzle

 

Other pubs worthy of mention (good or bad):

The Red Lion in Southampton for architecture and Henry V connection
The Hop Inn for the locals’ alternative names
The five Red Lion Run back in 2010
The New Inn, Blists Hill (a historic museum town)
The Goldfinger (accidentally found Ian Fleming’s grave on run to this one)
The Blue Boar, Aldbourne (Dr. Who link)
The Blind Beggar, Whitechapel (Kray Brothers link)
The Red Lion, Aston (a town of ‘tards)
The Brass Monkey, Teignmouth (George W Bush on their sign)
Wernham Hogg’s, Slough (The Office tie-in)

wernham hogg slough office

The writing isn’t brilliant but it was never meant to be stunning. I have occasionally stumbled into something I’m happy enough with (to mention here) but never anything I would attach a real name to.  Some of those are:

What a Bunch of Dicks”  (September 2011)
Our Ex-Neighbours”  (September 2011, with links to the whole saga)
Risk Assessment: Proper Use of Bins”  (October 2012)
British Citizenship Exam”  (November 2012)
My Pet Leeches”  (September 2013)
Me and the Queen”  (June 2012)

closer magazine leech orgasm story

It wasn’t all drinking and knob jokes.  Occasionally I ran, sometimes quite a lot (although usually whilst stopping regularly for drinks and to tell inappropriate knob jokes).  I even race a bit with some of my favourite racing efforts here:

Grunty Fen 1/2 Marathon and general thoughts on the finisher’s medal (September 2009)
Snowdonia Marathon pub crawl (October 2009)
The River Run — Cantabrigiensis HHH (October 2009)
New Year’s Eve 10K Little Downham (January 2010)
Historical notes on the 30 Pack Marathon (April 2010)
Thame 10K and morning chunders (June 2010)
Florence Marathon (December 2010)
Bupa 10K plus bailout for the London Hash (May 2011)
Run For Heroes 5K or thereabouts (August 2011)
Chippenham Half with a sponsored pub stop (September 2011)
Swindon Half whilst hitting every pub within 1/2 mile (October 2011)
Cricklade Half + 8 mile warm-up (October 2011)
London Marathon pub crawl (April 2012)
Great British Beerathon Like the 30-Pack only smaller and including food (August 2012)
Great Bustard 5 or getting there’s half the fun (July 2013)
Beat the Bore at Night (September 2013)
Malmesbury Carnival 10K done twice to hit some pubs after  (August 2014)
Isle of Wight Marathon pub crawl (October 2014)

11:58 My big head notwithstanding, this is the Joe Strummer Subway

11:58 My big head notwithstanding, this is the Joe Strummer Subway

In fact, I started the blog for people in the States that already knew about my running idiosyncrasies (i.e., running to get to a bar, drinking heavily there or at one or more other bars, then running home).  So, for them the “racing” entries are no surprise nor are some of the other efforts, which I enjoy as much or more.  These three Birthday runs are typical:

2010
2013
2014

I also used to ‘hash’ before I found the one true way; my life as a hasher came long after I started drink-running (and drug-running, for that matter) and that it has become just a passing fad baffles some of those folk although I still encourage hash virgins to go to a hash as a kick start to Hashlam.  I would, indeed, encourage all of you to go hashing at some point.

We saw some good shows and bad shows and some shows.  I saw Springsteen in the Atlanta Fox Theatre in the 70’s but Jackie never had so we booked a trip to Maastricht to fix that…and it was awesome.  We causght Neil Young in Hyde Park and Paul Simon there as well another year.  Two of the best shows were Lloyd Cole in Stroud and George Thorogood in Cambridge, and you can’t go wrong with the BeatHoles.

beatholes poster from sunday

Tourism ideas:

No trip to Wales is complete without a ride down this highway. (November 2009)
Find out why they refer to Oxford as the City of Dreaming Spires. (September 2010)
You can wait for English Heritage or the National Trust, but the loving family fits their own plaques (like this one to Arthur Stanley Eddington).  (August 2011)
If you get to Germany, indulge in the local folklore like the Bremen Musicians. (June 2012)
Nothing is more fun than old buses. (June 2014)
Get out on the street furnishing trail, maybe starting with post boxes. (November 2014)
And, to be serious, here are a few ideas for London.

shark house oxford

Recipes and food:

A friend that travels in China sent some delectable menu items to look for but I still haven’t found them in any Chinatown restaurants.  On the other hand, you can find the most interesting spices in the Caribbean markets, here.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you shouldn’t shy away from complicated recipes like this one.  Or, as an alternative you could start your day with one of these.
There were, of course, a lot of booze recipes, but these are worth the efforts involved and better than the pictures would suggest:
Lupini
Cassoulet (one of several versions blogged herein)
Rabbit

chinese menu 1

Finally, no look back wouldn’t include obits.  Mostly, I obitted people I don’t know but knew of but on occasion I actually had a relationship with the deceased (Rest in Peace, y’all):

Vic Chesnutt (December 2009)
Bus Job (October 2010)

Andy Holden (whom I did not know but feel a special connection to, January 2014)

This blog (January 2015, which you are reading right now)

 

 

DT #342, 8 December 2014 (Adnams Yuletide)   1 comment

Adnams Yuletide

 

John Lydon (piss drunk),
Sheldonian Theatre,
Oxford Monday night.

Name: Adnams Yuletide
Type: bitter
Venue: Four Candles, Oxford

John Lydon 1a

Review/notes: Dirty and repetitive and alcoholic: butter salesman and former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten spoke at the Sheldonian Theatre (designed by Christopher Wren, a fabulous venue). If you’ve seen him on tele twice (or more) then you’ve heard everything he said tonight, but it was still fun…in the way getting stuck in a bar conversation with a thoroughly lubricated old cunt can be once you resign yourself to it (meet me down the pub sometime if you’d like to test this theory).

The beer was likewise earthy, derivative (of other Adnams ales), and strong.  A winter warmer for standing on a cold train station platform.

John Lydon 2a

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #337, 3 December 2014 (Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Émilion)   Leave a comment

Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Emilion

 

Really shouldn’t care
But, artifice amuses
And piques interest.

Name: Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Émilion
Type: red wine
Recipe: burrito night — chicken boiled to shreds in tomato juice, shredded and wrapped with black beans and extra mature white cheddar
Venue: house

Review/notes: Great wine but felt a bit stuffy after the bottle so switched to the Atomic Firewater for The Walking Dead mid-season finale (our copy had Danish subtitles).

Still harvesting amusement from the Brooks/MapMyRun Holiday Challenge, this time because MMR responded to one of my tweets:

2014-12-03 MapMyRun takes notice

Two great things about this…first, and most importantly, they’ve completely missed the point that there is no winner of the challenge based on mileage (nor speed, nor duration, nor number of workouts — participation alone gets residents of the USA entered into a random draw).

Second, and the one I liked the most when I first read the MMR response about an hour after it was sent, the cheaters are all reinstated — the most believable of the Top Five, Shervin S, is doing about 19 miles per day at a pace a little below 4 miles per hour while I checked out Tony M yesterday to find he had turned in a run of over 3 miles averaging about 3m46s per mile.  Then there is my personal favourite:

2014-12-03 MapMyRun takes notice does fuck all

 

Our Dick Mask (Richard M in at #2) has tried the hardest to live up to the spirit and bile of my original sub-challenge by racking up over 10 THOUSAND miles on Sunday (average pace: under 19 seconds per mile).  He’s not a runner, he’s Santa Claus:

2014-12-03 Dick Mask shows us how it is done

 

My own mileage for today, a puny 6½, was at a snails pace of 9½ minutes per mile as I worked on a G-Had trail (map of the route at the GH4 entry for trail #53).

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Holiday Running Streak Update   1 comment

2014-12-02 richard m on the fastest pace yet

We have a champion but there is plenty of room at the top.  While I was checking my non-work internet crap at lunch I went to the Brooks Holiday Marathon Page I mentioned earlier in an attempt to get bogus entrants.  The top 30 places are populated with just the regular liars and a few probable real runners but by the time I scrolled back everyone had shifted down by one to make room for Richard M’s ascension.  Fantastic, in 8 days he has 12 runs averaging better than 3:45 per mile for 314.4 miles (nearly 40 per day).  Please, get your ludicrous asses out there or, at least, on your computers.  We want to really stink this thing up.

For my own effort, I included my run to the bus station this morning to get in a less-than-one-mile run as a box-ticking exercise, then hopped of the bus in Besselsleigh to run into work at Oxford (0.95 and 5.25 miles):
2014-12-02 bus dash in Swindon2014-12-02 Besselsleigh to Oxford

 

 

 

Shortly after this post, the leader board was purged of many of my original outings, leaving this group at the end of Day 9:

2014-12-02 Day 9 leaderboard

So, here are the most interesting of these possibly more legitimate entries:

Ian F: 138.2 miles at 7m 28s per mile
Stacie G: 138.8 miles at 8 m 13s per mile
Trace C: 22.42 miles/day averaging 5h 44m per day
Lisa A: claims more than 7 hours per day at just over 2 miles per hour
Dion J: claims 7-8 runs per day at nearly 45 minutes per run

Some of this is absolute horse shit. If any of it is accurate, they are elite athletes that it would be surprising their sponsors would be happy with their endorsement of another product.  Note that Brad L, only at #13, is still turning in remarkable run results:

2014-12-02 Day 9 best effort

Please Join This And Help Ruin It For The ‘Winners’   3 comments

I use Map My Run because it works with the GPS chip in the smart phone I bought off a junkie in Amsterdam.  Others do as well, but I’ve become accustomed to MMR.  I came up with my own personal challenge to run 3 or more miles every day in the holiday season two days before the start of their Holiday Marathon Challenge.  You get credit for your logged runs toward the distance of a full marathon and there are random draws for prizes for participants…none for farthest or fastest or largest number of runs, just participants (although to get in the grand prize draw you have to complete the virtual marathon).

One caveat: you must live within the 50 United States or Puerto Rico or a sovereign territory or the USA, which leaves me out of the prizes.  Still, I’m rather enjoying the wee game so it might come as a surprise that I am calling on my brethren jackasses to crash the system while I continue –completely out of character — to play by the rules.

Why? Take a look at Day 5 as screen-captured at 4 pm GMT:

Day 5 of the MMR Holiday Marathon

There I am with my puny 5 runs, one per day, averaging 4.4 miles per run at about 8 minutes per mile.  Nothing to be proud of nor, indeed, to be ashamed of considering these have all been done on a broken toe and several whilst dead drunk. But, I have to hang my head beneath the “achievements” of the Top 3.  Let’s parse their numbers, all self reported as can be your own:

“Lukas J” has run 195.8 miles in 26h 56m, or 39.16 miles per day averaging 8:15/mile throughout although, granted, this is spread out over 4 or 5 runs per day.  Who can compete with this?

Perhaps “Tony M,” who is similarly impressive, fitting in 8 runs per day averaging 32 minutes per run of about 3.2 miles.  That’s 8 runs over a ½ hour each every 24 hour day for the last 5…let’s hope he picks up the pace a bit.

The top female in this Cavalcade of Gods is “stacie g” who may be the most impressive, yet, with 2 runs per day averaging over 11.7 miles per run at an 8:04/mile pace.  Marvellous.

So, I would ask that you lot register with Map My Run (if there is a ‘Tell Us How You Heard About Us’ part to the registration, mention this post) and submit similarly bogus efforts.  Maybe record a run whilst driving 80 mph down the motorway, or a 24 hour long run every two days keeping a 6 minutes per mile pace…be creative.  I’ll be slogging along, stopping at pubs every hour or so (maybe more frequently), and watching your efforts with earnest interest.

UPDATE: 20 minutes after the above screen capture, “Lukas J” logged 2 more runs adding another 10.4 miles.  Awesome, or more accurately unbelievable.  You all have a lot of bogus mileage to log if you are going to catch up:

Day 5 of the MMR Holiday Marathon twenty minutes later

 UPDATE: At the end of 5 days, “stacie g” has gotten lazy and was displaced but I find myself most impressed by “Charles C” who is averaging 8 hours 49 minutes per day running, in 4h 52m chunks (obviously he has to take a break every now and then to charge his Garmin battery):

Holiday Marathon Challenge liars 2014-11-29 end of day 5

 UPDATE: Well into day 6 (30th of November), our winner for most ludicrous entry of the day goes to ‘Brad L’ with 105.5 miles at a 4m 35s pace.  I hope he’s one of my saboteurs:

2014-11-30 blog update 4-35 miles

DT #323, 19 November 2014 (Hardy’s Bankside Rosé)   Leave a comment

Hardy's Bankside Rose

 

Finally saw Chef.
Now, looking for Spanish Lake
And Citizen Four.

Name: Hardy’s Bankside Rosé
Type: rosé wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: Everything I read about Chef used the term “food porn,” and the treats did look good but not obscene…I may not be able to fully define “food porn” but I know it when I see it (a perfect example being Big Night).  Still a very pleasant little road trip/family picture, mind.

I snagged the suggestion from the same blog that, yesterday, pitched Spanish Lake — a documentary about a Saint Louis suburban neighbourhood where that author spent some of her teen years and which was just a few miles from my home in Glasgow Village.  Lago was the place I formulated my theory that the housing built cheap but superficially “nice” was destined to become a slum in ten-to-fifteen years time; I’ve since watched it happen all over the States, but think it might be fairly satisfying to see it confirmed,here in particular, on celluloid.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved St Louis (and still do); but it treated me worse than even I deserved at the time.

The third mention in the haiku regarded a documentary about the Snowden affair, most of it shot in the days either side of him being revealed as Wikileaks’ most famous contributor.   Bravery and naïvety in this one, shit architecture and city planning in another, and tasty treats (not least of which include Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson, what I might like to think of as bread for the ideal Cuban sandwich) in the other.

Wine was half its normal price.  Good, but only worth 1/3 its normal price.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #321, 17 November 2014 (Cotswold Spring OSM)   Leave a comment

OSM and thrift store find

 

“The dead belong to
The live people who claim them
Most obsessively.”
― adapted from James Ellroy’s My Dark Places

Name: Cotswold Spring OSM
Type: mild
Venue: Four Candles, Oxford

Review/notes: James Ellroy’s backstory makes mine look like some sort of Disney movie so, when he came to speak at Blackwell’s Bookstore in Oxford, we had to go.  He’s quite a prick and not especially eloquent, but the boy can sure write.

I met Jackie at the Fork Handles after work to decide where to grab some dinner.  She already had some wine and was reading the liner notes on a couple of CD’s she picked up in a charity shop, so I perused the offerings and settled on an Old Sodbury Mild ahead of our evening listening to the Old Sod…Not So Mild.

The OSM is awesome, by the way — like a bitter cup of black coffee.

OSM pump

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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