A lot of folk have been whining about 2016 (as if 2016 cares), but it’s a wonderful life when you can board a train crushed against folk in England “rugby” shirts singing “Hey Ho Sweet Chaaariot“. I bet they’d reserved pub tables in Twickers.
It’s always a bit of a mixed blessing when the lovely Mrs RM joins me on my giant walks. On the downside, we have “mismatched” walking speeds; on the upside you can tick a lot of pubs when you’re sharing halves. Last year we managed six Wetherspoons in the centre of Glasgow and the Pot Still in an hour. If all the Beer Guide pubs were in Glasgow I’d have finished it by now.
Mrs RM has a special software that analyses my posts for rude comments about her, but there’s no need. She made good time through the backstreets of Summertown, Clapham and Sutton on Saturday, in sharp contrast to the other worn-down citizens of the capital. It really is a slow city, both in walking and decision making.
Clearly my decision-making is at fault, as we started at Wimbledon’s Wetherspoons the week after the vouchers ran out.
That aside, we were thrilled by the Wibbas Down, another of those classic ’90s Spoons with ground level toilets, screaming Twilds (see:BRAPA) and overstretched staffing.
You may think that starting the day with a 7.5% Oakham Attila is a bad idea, but we use the same economic logic successfully employed at IndyMan this year; start with the strongest.
11.30am is a classic time for a Spoons visit. You can admire the contrast in conversational content between professional Smooth drinkers and the family groups maximising the value of the £1.10 unlimited coffee offer.
From our lofty position on a posing table we pronounced on the quality of conversation coming from the Big Breakfast booth opposite.
Jemima and Harry had summoned their parents from the Village to discuss their respective Christmas plans before passing them on to their solicitors. Christmas Day lunch at Spoons seemed a wise choice to me, but seemed to be off their radar.
Wibbas apart, Wimbledon central seemed rather short of pubs, the giant Prince of Wales aside. It’s one of a few handsome buildings in a functional town (is it a town ?), but pales against the two Youngs pubs in The Village.
I thought the Attila might slow Mrs RM down, but quite the reverse. After the Sutton diversion, we sped along Plough Lane towards the By the Horns Brewery Tap. Of course, football pretty much died in ’92 after the Dons left Plough Lane, but the area round here still has that unmistakable lower league atmosphere you get at the Abbey or Old Trafford. There was a seafood van in the Prince of Wales (RIP) car park the last time I was here.
Pleasingly, By the Horns have a premises without pretension (compare and contrast: Crate).
This was great, like a micropub with gorgeously cool beer (both cask and keg) and a wider age range of customers. Tellingly, the TV was tuned to motor sport, not “rugby”, a big win. Sure, it was high stools, but I can live with that for 12 minutes. Milk stout astounding (NBSS 4), the usual keg hop monster even better according to Mrs RM, and a lot of beer drunk in a small room. Better than Bermondsey.
There were two small dogs that didn’t jump up Mrs RM as she left, which is a first.
The No.44 to Tooting was its usual joy; a chance to see the latest winter fashions dominating London and take in some top geographical debate “Summerstown ?, where the **** that ?” “It’s just ‘ere, where the hipsters meet up“.
You can’t beat London buses.
Anyway 650+ words is outside my comfort zone. Tooting and (alert) Clapham to follow.