A short diversion from chronology, though I only now need to bring you up to date with my “Birthday Bonanza” in Cumbria and Manchester, which will probably only take me three weeks with a bit of discipline.

Having failed to make it to the Ruislip micro pub on Christmas Day due to the in-laws prior claim, I did at least get to a pub on Boxing Day.

And a football match. 40 years ago my Dad would bring me to see Cambridge’s team of stars on Boxing Day.  The haircuts on Walsall fans in 1977 (2-1) still cause nightmares.

A world post-programmes.  Team sheet on the wall of the burger van

It’s a more subdued Abbey these days after several seasons of energetic dross following an overdue return to the League, and gloom was in the air as they sat in 22nd place, just above the League 2 relegation places that lead back to obscurity (aka the stuff Duncan watches).

But they still managed to attract 4,601 (away: 121) today for a “local derby” v Crawley Droners, a team a mere 4 counties & 2 hours away.  I presume the 121 came for the pubs.

Obligatory Christmas hat in the Newmarket Road End

The tunes you heard back in the ’80s and ’90s are still the ones you struggle to hear over the £20 Amstrad P.A. “A Town Called Malice“, “Whole of the Moon” and the obligatory “Life of Riley“.

The pies are of the same vintage, so I save myself for the Tesco Deli Selection at home. No Cloudwater was spotted on my visit (there’s GK IPA underneath the main stand).

The Supporters Club Bar (top) shouts “Craft“, doesn’t it ?

Read the match report here.  I’ve rarely seen two halves of football as contrasting.  Cambridge hoofing to the big guy, Crawley playing out from defence like a Gatwick Barca for 45 minutes, then practically roles reversed to the 90th.

A deserved last minute winner greeted with what passes for euphoria in the Fens.

“We fight to the end”

I stayed to sing along to “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts“, only played when United win.  On this actual HiFi.

Feeling weirdly sentimental I then popped over the bridge for a pint in the Green Dragon.


Hideous repaint

Not what it was, as I noted in 2016, but a post-match atmosphere still lingers.

What was the score ?” asked the Old Boys watching the King George VI at Kempton.

Probably Kempton. Or the other one.

Almost like the internet and radios hadn’t reached Chesterton yet.

Old Boy, ill-fitting hat,dog
Carnage on the racegoers’ table

I’d overtaken the younger laggards over the bridge, so had first choice at the bar. With the nose on Rocking Rudolph reinstated, there was only one choice.

The Plum Pudding of brown Christmas beers, he says controversially

Not bad at all, an easy NBSS 3, which would put it in the Beer Guide in 95% of Scotland (105% of Fife).

Foamy Rudolph

Then the scarves came in. What did the matchday regulars discuss ?  The referee ? The penalty decision reversed ?  The White Stripes track ?



“What did you get for Christmas, anything nice ?”

“Tea bags”.












23 thoughts on “COCONUTS

  1. I love the “Carnage on the racegoers’ table” photo. Don’t think I’ve ever seen so many emptied glasses in one of your photos. It’s as if the customers said, “Bring each of us 2 pints at once; we’ll down them, one after the other, and then stumble away once we’ve finished.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a feeling that’s EXACTLY what happened, Mark !

      Just realised the King George was the big Boxing Day horse racing fixture and the Old Boys settled in for the duration. They left as the football crowd came in.

      There was some carnage in front of Simon and Mrs RM in the Cambridge Blue last week 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “There was some carnage in front of Simon and Mrs RM in the Cambridge Blue last week. ;)”

        (slow golf clap)


    2. That “Carnage on the racegoers’ table” photo is nothing compared to when in the sixth form quite a few of us used the lounge of, coincidently, the Ascot Tavern and one evening decided NOT to take any glasses back to the bar whenever we went for our next pint.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post full of proper Christmas traditions RM.

    ‘The Supporters Club Bar (top) shouts “Craft“, doesn’t it ?’
    I should say – is it made out of recycled pallets…?

    ‘I stayed to sing along to “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts“, only played when United win. ‘
    Strewth – is that why they don’t win very often…?

    Carnage at the racegoers’ table – the number of abandoned lagers must have some significance…perhaps they’d all rushed down the bookies for their winnings….?

    They had the Rockin Rudolph on at one of our locals over Christmas – HH must have done a good marketing job to get it out there. I thought it was a nice pint too (very good), though our hand pump/pump clip didn’t have all the trimmings like yours…

    Tea Bags – I guess you were lucky they didn’t do another rendition of ‘Coconuts’.*.. 🙂

    *PS – initial raised hopes that this post would feature top band Kid Creole and the Coconuts were dashed…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A couple of years before the takeover one of the Hardys and Hansons directors told me that the shareholders were perfectly happy with their annual dividends so I don’t know why they then decided to sell out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. From memory. Hardy & Hansons had some really good informal dining pubs (better than the Greene King branding), particularly in and around Kimberley, so it wasn’t even as if GK were giving the pubs a much needed new lease of life.


      3. I really liked hardy & Hanson’s beers, especially their bitter. It’s a shame they took the shilling from Greene King and sold out.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It is a shame. Must be 20 years ago, as I only recall visiting their own pubs for a few years in Kimberley and west Notts. Local CAMRA seemed to disown the pubs that GK took over; the legendary Nelson & Railway still run by long-standing Landlord one example. Really snide comments by Nots branch in their magazine paid no interest in the quality of beers, which are actually some of GK’s better brands.


      5. Yes, “Hardy & Hansons had some really good informal dining pubs” and we used the Nurseryman pub on the Derby Road in Beeston a few times and were well pleased.
        And their Mild, Bitter and Classic were all good beers, as were the occasional ones such as Olde Trip and Rocking Rudolph.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like December 27th.
    It’s around this time that Christmas is beginning to take its toll on the amateur drinkers.
    ” Oooh,I couldn’t face another drink ” is music to my ears.
    I shall be stepping out shortly for my first 5’o’clock club for a while.Back to getting some space at the bar.And not having to make polite conversation with braying twats in jumpers that light up.
    The weekend should see off the stragglers who haven’t learned to pace themselves properly.
    Normal service is nearly resumed.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. What, those, in the purple-and-yellow ones, that light up saying “vote ukip”, Paul?

        Oh, the usual I suppose. Covering the neighbourhood in used scratchcards and Akita crap?

        Who knows?



  4. “Having failed to make it to the Ruislip micro pub on Christmas Day due to the in-laws prior claim,”

    Shoulda done what my dear old dad did once. Visiting the in-laws one time in Sevenoaks he began to complain about his knee acting up and said he had to go for a walk to give it a bit of a stretch. Wound up in a pub for a few pints. 🙂

    “Team sheet on the wall of the burger van”

    Soon it will just be one of those bar code thingies that you scan with your smart phone*. 😉
    (or as some would say, ‘get with the programme’!) 🙂

    “(aka the stuff Duncan watches).”


    “A Town Called Malice“

    And I always thought they were singing about that little place in the heart of Australia.

    “I stayed to sing along to “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts“,”

    Good lord, that song takes me back. My dad would belt that out (and others) from his basement every Saturday morning whilst cleaning his bar.

    “Hideous repaint”

    About the best you can say is that it’s a bit more green?

    ““Tea bags”.”

    See? You Brits and your tea. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

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