The highlight Stonch's pub was the display of the Sun's page 3 above the urinals. That's a lie. Really it was the impromptu tour of the cellar. I love getting a glimpse behind the scenes. I took a half of cider back up for Dolores. She loves a proper cider. What a wonderful woman she is. I'm a very lucky man.
I couldn't complain about the beer, either. Both the Landlord and Brakspears Bitter were pretty spot on. I was starting to get into slurping down large volumes of weak beer. Just like Friday nights in Leeds, when we'd down ten or eleven pints of Tetley's Mild.
I'd promised the kids a taste of Stonch's pork pie. Bribed them, more like. They weren't disappointed.
We got talking to the bloke on the bloke on the next table. I don't remember London being so friendly. I'm always striking up conversations now. Perhaps fat, old blokes like me aren't threatening. Who knows. Maybe I just beamed out negativity when I lived in London. I was shocked to discover that the bloke on the next table had read my blog. I thought my readership was limited to a few hardcore homebrewers, other bloggers and trolls. I was amazed a normal member of the public might look at it.
"Can I have your musket?" Lexie asked Stonch, pointing at one of the old guns on display. Like I said before, he has a disturbingly good vocabulary when it comes to small arms. "No." "Why not?" "Because it's not mine." It's a sign of Lexie's developing maturity that he left it at that.
Dolores was on the look out for a big WH Smith. She wanted to get a couple of their special offers for Christmas presents (just as well the kids don't read my blog). Stonch suggested the one on Hatton Garden, just a couple of minutes away. Dolores decided that I'd had enough beer ("But they're only 4% alcohol.") and dragged me off.
I didn't really mind. I quite wanted to visit a big Smiths myself. I was after a copy of the 2009 Good Beer Guide. The one in King's Cross still had the 2008 edition on display. To my delight, the Smiths on Hatton Garden had the 2009 edition. Two beer books in one day. I'll remember this day for years to come.
How to get back to our hotel? Then Dolores spotted a bus heading to King's Cross. We'd been planning on getting a bus at some point. This was the perfect opportunity. Andrew wasn't keen on negotiating the the stairs, so he and Dolores stayed on the bottom deck. Me and Lexie got the panorama seats - front row, top deck. It really is the best way to see London. If you're not in a hurry, which we weren't.
A curry was also in our plans. No point taking the kids along. So we left them with pop, a bag of crisps, petrol and matches. I've done that joke already, haven't I? Never mind. We had a choice of two curry houses just over the road. We chose one at random.
I'd forgotten how hot curries can be in Britain. Even my two star one had me sweating all over my nan. It was nice, though. Small, but perfectly formed. Except for a few too many onions. I'd started with an onion bhajee. It's a tradition. I always have an onion bhajee. Ever since my first encounters with curry in Leeds. That's why I usually have a nan or chapitis instead of rice. No-one ate rice in Chakwal or Nafees.
The kids were lying in a bloody heap when we got back to the room. That's why I'm writing this in a prison cell. I blame Dolores. I always do.
From the cellar: Herold Czech Black Lager / Tmavé speciální pivo - Herold Tmavé speciální pivo ABV: 5.3% Origin: Březnice, Středočeský kraj, Czech Republic Website: www.pivovar-herold.cz First published: 5 February 2001 ...
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