There are disadvantages to playing your Cup match on Friday night, but only if you’re the poor souls having to make the Manchester-East London return journey.
It was ideal for proper plastic fans like me, home by midnight on Friday and fresh for a trip back to the Smoke with Mrs RM.
I know she wants a trip back to Bermondsey, but I have a few scattered GBG ticks in London to do, so I surprised her with a trip to South Croydon.
Our only previous trip to England’s last undiscovered wilderness was 20 years ago when Mrs RM took a wrong turn off the A22. The stress of a visit to the in-laws and then Ikea were to blame, not her impeccable driving (a Fiat Panda back then).
This time, we walked from East Croydon along the B274, admiring this tribute to The Damned;
Our minor argument on the way was, surprisingly, not about Mrs RM’s pace but whether Croydon is in London or Surrey. Later on we passed Whitgift School where Surrey CCC rack up 200+ in 20/20 matches, so I’m calling it Surrey. If this reduces its Beer Guide allocation I reserve the right to change my mind on that.
We were in agreement that Croydon has unfulfilled potential, and gave our best wishes below to the chap waiting for the re-opening of the “Cultural Quarter”. If Hull can do it…
Plenty to see on the way, which is what makes “Following The Guide” such relentless joy. Mrs RM was particularly taken by the way South Croydoners (?) keep their gardens in their cars to maximise space. If you can identify the moss and lichen varieties below, well done.
At last, a new pub appeared. The Crown & Sceptre is a proper side-street Fullers pub, with more emphasis on beer and pubby banter than you’d find 5 miles north-west.
None of that puffy-lidded pie nonsense, just a good-value home-cooked menu at half the price. Mrs RM started the day with a pint of ESB (NBSS 3), I made do with the Pride, which was drinking very well (NBSS 3.5). It was the perfect accompaniment to a post-12th night playing of “Merry Christmas Everybody” which made perfect sense, even if starting on ESB didn’t.
We wouldn’t move house to live next door, but I’d have been happy to have these locals as my neighbours. Chat centred on Palace, Lingfield Park spread-bets, and the classic line;
“You can’t tell him what to do; he’s thirty-effing-one” – Yes she can mate.
The joy of the Travel Card is the freedom to jump on and off buses for no reason, and I made Mrs RM jump off at 2 seconds notice as we approached Croydon High Street, and the amazing street art near the flyover (top).
At this point we debated spending the day revisiting old favourite pubs, as the wonderful market, with its Dog & Bull, weaved its spell.
Sadly, that one is the only traditional Guide pub in the centre, and anyway duty called. We were off to the craft enclave of Dulwich …(t.b.c.)