We were flagging by Day 9 of our US trip. The oppressive heat, weird US spelling and lack of artisan sourdough were taking their toll.

But we were perked up by the arrival of US Dave’s wonderful cousin Jan, who lived a few blocks away from our Pentagon City base and has probably been wondering why it’s taken so long for me to write up this post.

DC 2

Jan arrived at our hotel lobby with a smile and a portfolio of maps and advice like “WALK” and “DON’T EAT THE CHEESE”.

More importantly, she made sure we covered the main sights in DC in two hours flat, without once giving us a date to remember (1776 ?). She was a brilliant person to walk around with, unlike some people who keep pushing you into pubs all the time.

Trump Hotel
Secret entrance to alternativeg Trump Hotel
Not Trump Hotel

DC reminded me a lot of Adelaide. Low rise, handsome, dull commercial district, world-class park. All it lacked was a cricket ground by the Potomac but these things take time.

Jan then introduced us to the joys of DC’s free museums, which really are startlingly good (and cool, importantly).

In two days we covered American History, the American Indian and Art. Lots of art.

Here we have Simon contemplating life after his eighth pint in Burton yesterday.


And some paintings of BRAPA bacchanalian excesses in Burton, yesterday. This from the Japanese exhibition.

Better than Crilley

After that, you need a peaceful video of a waterfall in the Art Gallery.

DC is spotless, and unless there’s 2 billion people in town for a Trump inauguration, surprisingly tranquil.

As you know, this blog has limited patience with tranquility.

The pace picked up a mile east, where Chinatown Express gave us enough food to keep even Matt full till we got back to New York. London prices, at worst.


Family Dinner

I was left to explore the bars by myself. Most of the entertainment seemed to be along the attractively named 14th St, where ChurchKey dominated RateBeer ratings.

It’s upstairs

ChurchKey is no Spoons. Narrow, dimly lit, a row of seats for diners along the wall and a row of seats at the bar for drinkers.


Looked quite suave and sophisticated, a bit unlike me.

But they had baseball from West Ham.

Not cricket, though

And they had a “curated” beer menu to rival Torst.

Couldn’t even pronounce those

And, surprisingly, cask from home.

Hidden hand pumps
Oooh, Lees

Yes, Lees Harvest Ale. My nemesis (look it up on this blog).

The exemplary barman kept plying me with iced water, I kept plying him with dollars which apparently is how staff get paid in the States.

Murkv Cask

You don’t really want to know what I drank, do you ?. It was all good, apart from the American cask which was suffering more than the Lees Harvest Ale.

You want to know they were playing “Heartland Rock” and Style Council, Weller and Costello, and that I was commiserating with an Arsenal fan from Swindon on his way to see “soccer”.

Where were you, where were you in ’69

It won’t be getting in the GBG until they introduce cooling, Si will be pleased to hear, but I loved it all the same.



  1. Yes indeed Martin. Your title should say Middleton Junction. The only part of Lees in Chadderton is the two car parks and Willoughby’s (Lees Wine Merchant) warehouse.
    Surprised though to find Harvest on cask there.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice day out! Went to a proper pub on Stratford High Street (Edward VII…I think!)
        Never been to baseball before. Probably won’t go again!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. When I first read that I thought I must have said she was your uncle rather than your aunt.

      Jan did patiently explain the genealogy but it went over my head. More luck explaining east and west.


  2. “Capitol”, a corruption of “Campidoglio”, the seat of government in classical Rome, and not a variant of “capital”, as some would have it.


  3. Passed through DC briefly last August, but with barely enough time to check in my bags for my overnight Amtrak train ride to Chicago, all I really saw of Washington was the impressive, Union Station.

    I did take a brief walk outside, and whilst I could see the Capitol building at the far end of the street (boulevard?), it was too hot and humid to walk there and back, before joining the queue waiting to board the train.

    So unless I’m passing that way in the future (unlikely), I’ll make do with your, as always, interesting write-ups, with your eye for the quirky and unusual. You were lucky to have the services of a local guide, by the sound of it, so thanks also to Jan.

    ps. Sadly never tried Lees Harvest Ale, not even in bottled form.


    1. The Union Station is impressive, and in 10 minutes walk along the National Mall (the Boulevard) you’d see all the sights you recognise from the TV.

      But it’s really all about their amazing free museums, comparable to visiting London for the South Kensington stretch and British Museum.


    1. Good question.

      We had sit down noodles in Chelsea Village (tremendous, delicate) and a family banquet in Washington DC Chinatown (huge, tasty). There were loads of cheap Chinese takeaways in our bit of Brooklyn with similar menus to England I didn’t try.

      Mind, you’d find “crispy chilli beef” caries wildly in the UK too.

      Liked by 1 person

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