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 had 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.

London Drinker-sponsored Prosecco Christams tree

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).

It’s a tardis inside

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“.

Those trainers cost more than a bottle of Cloudwater DIPA 7

You can’t beat London buses.

Anyway 650+ words is outside my comfort zone.  Tooting and (alert) Clapham to follow.


  1. Point of order – I believe it is ‘Swing Low … ‘ NOT ‘Hey Ho …’

    Then again the people you saw may not have been authentic RFU followers and didn’t actually know the words? You can tell an authentic RFU follower by that fact they talk about rugger extensively, but only go to test matches once or twice a year at Twickers. Often to be seen wearing red or mustard yellow coloured trousers, possibly green jumbo cords for the more conservative? If they allowed dogs into Twickers you may see them getting towed along by a heavy boned chocolate Labrador.


  2. Two observations ( so far ).
    Firstly anyone using the word “rugger” is not a rugby fan at all, but an over indulged public schoolboy or banker on a freebee.
    Secondly, with reference to the lovely family dining in Spoons, there are no Christmas Day lunches this year; their cancellation has I believe been a consequence of their discontinuing Sunday roasts.


  3. I must have been to that Wimbledon ‘Spoons about a dozen times, always via the Russell Road entrance, before I realised that there was a whole other, much larger, section of the pub on the Gladstone Road side! This may well have cost me the opportunity to drink alongside Pamala Anderson, who visited the pub several times whilst starring in panto at the theatre over the road.
    The Prince of Wales looks a lot nicer from the outside than it does from within – having said that, it’s still one of the better pubs from the Taylor Walker chain and has a few good bits of Crazy Gang memorabilia on show.


    1. Sorry I missed the Crazy Gang memorabilia.

      Should say I had the pleasure of drinking alongside Mrs RM, which far exceeds the pleasure of Pam (I’m told). I’ll quite while I’m losing.


  4. I wonder whether Gemima and Harry are siblings or are inflicted with being embroiled in a loving relationship.

    Martin, to answer your query, which I assume has at least 7 quiz points, Wimbledon is a crap town in Surrey.


      1. There are direct trains between all three settlements. I’d get a day return from Stockport to Shrewsbury, route not Wolverhampton, for £22.80 then do a change of route excess on one portion to route any permitted, which will cost half the difference between the two fares hence is (£46.20-£22.80)/2=£11.75. All this should be doable at any booking office in the country.


      2. Dave, I’m not sure how extensive your travels are when you visit England, but as a foreign resident, have you ever considered a Britrail pass?

        For Martin, and you if a Britrail is more than you need, I’ve trumped my previous offering:
        Stockport – Crewe cheap day return £11.30 (on weekdays, this is valid by any train scheduled to depart after 09:29, unrestricted at weekends)
        Crewe – Telford, route Shrewsbury, day return £15.10
        Change of route excess on one portion of the latter to route any permitted (£19.90-£15.10)/2=£2.40
        Total £28.80

        Your Shrewsbury – Wolves, or vice-versa depending which way round the triangle you go, will need to stop at Telford. The vast majority fulfil this requirement.


      3. In the past yes, but with our eight day trips they don’t seem to be a fit. The freedom they give is fabulous though.


  5. I went in the Prince of Wales on the 5th July 2005 while doing a large pub crawl in the area and the sea food van is on my photo of it, i love seafood so had to have a tray of prawns while walking to the White Lion which i classed as a Tooting pub,a Courage house at the time.


      1. We used to years ago,but very rare now,though we did see the man with a wicker basket selling sea food in a pub recently which surprised us.


  6. There are two codes of rugby. One is called rugby and the other is called league, or by our Antipodean cousins, footie.


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