Autumn brings falling leaves, an England defeat in that interminable rugger tournament, and the necessity to visit South West London if I’m going to complete the GBG for the capital by Christmas.
The first Saturday in November gave me an all-day gig in Camden, with just enough time to brave Clapham. Or £10.45 for a Gin & Tonic as it’s known in our family.
I jumped off at Clapham South, to see what was there as I had an hour to kill.
Yes, I walked up.
That was fine, the downpour that greeted my dash along the edge of the Common less so.
I stopped for a flat white and almond croissant at Uncommon, which was populated by grumpy Dads doing their parental duties when they wanted to be watching the rugger.
Then it struck me. Surely the pubs would be open early today.
Hurrah ! for rugby, anyway.
I found myself facing in the opposite direction to a room packed with white shirts and buckets of champers as England pummelled the Springboks or whatever they do.
The folk in the bar area seemed less interested, I was delighted to see, as it meant I could see the usual Draft House section of cask, all cruelly ignored in favour of Pravha or Steigl.
“Prefer card, ya?” the extent of my conversation at the bar.
“Richard’s being sensible and having a coffee” was the pick of the bants. Oh, come on, it’s Clapham.
If you’ve seen one Draft House you’ve seen half a dozen.
Scrabble, music posters, vinyl, posh tea bags and the tiniest Gents since Layer Road closed.
They’re really not bad. Cosy, a cheap beer, the Wandle (NBSS 3) actually improving as the rugby went to pot.
The downpour was playing havoc with the Overground and I had to be at Chalk Farm by 12:30 to sell a spare ticket to a lady with a St Paulli bag, so I once more skipped the Eagle, the best of the Clapham bunch.
Instead, here’s some olives.
And here’s some folk singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot“.
Silly me assumed England must be winning, but it was just drunk posh boys.
A quick glance in the packed Falcon confirmed the score, and my spirits rose as I headed to the Junction.