There can’t be many posts about Gidea Park, except of course the ones from Simon and Alan. It’s basically a garden suburb in the styles of Petts Wood or Shirley, with some attractive foliage and a functional shopping arcade. Until recently, it was dangerously close to the appropriately named Zombieland Skatepark, a favourite of my younger son until the environmental authorities caught up with it.
Its fame now, apart from offering my nearly-final East London GBG tick*, is as one of the treasured places named after a famous band, joining Kilburn & The High Roads, Japan and the Sleaford Mods.
What a great year for music 1981 was. And for West Ham United.
I took the train from Gidea Hill station to the London Stadium on Friday, accompanied by several carriages of ‘appy ‘ammers. Support for the “Iron” has moved eastward and northward since they won us the World Cup in ’66, with a fair contingent of supporters in Cambridge as well as urban Essex. The loss of terracing and corporatism surely to blame.
Clearly plenty of folk in the posh bit of Romford can afford the season ticket and Amstel prices. They can also afford some higher prices than you’d expect in the Ship, which provides some relief from nearby Harvesters, Table Tables and other eateries.
Craft hasn’t quite reached Romford yet, but I like a traditional ale line-up. My first attempt to visit the Ship on a wet October Wednesday met with a wake. Even Simon (surely) wouldn’t have pretended to be a mourner to get served, and nor did I. I was expecting good beer quality on a busier pre-match Friday to compensate for the repeat journey. Not that wakes are sober affairs.
I’ll let you guess what I had. It was OK (NBSS 3), but not a patch on the classic Londoners pint of old, though £3.40 wasn’t so bad. The barmaid took some sweets out of a giant tub of “Heroes” on the bar, I presumed to complement my pint, but then scoffed them herself. After Simon’s OliveGate episode I wasn’t taking any chances.
The compensation for those disappointments was a classic pub fire, low-beamed toilets, beermats, proper seats and top quality Essex banter. And this is Essex in all but name.
“She’s slagging me off, I only came in for a quiet pint”
“You know that scene in Only Fools and Horses (you know the one), I’d have made an insurance claim if that was me”
Leading on to an unnecessarily complex discussion about car insurance premiums.
It’s a good choice the insurance advice was so good, as the music comprised “If you leave me now“, “Leave right now” and “Don’t Go“. Twenty minutes was enough.
NB It’s only writing my notes up now I realise the connection between those three songs – spooky.
*The micropub in Upminster is closed till mid-January, of course.