14th December 2022.

Life is more than pubs, pub mascots and pub guide markers, of course.

But that hadn’t stopped me producing a neat little spreadsheet of my GBG “needs” ahead of our trip to the Lexington for the End of the Road Christmas gig (cos I am big Xmas fan).

In years gone by I’d have been targeting at least half a dozen of those London ticks; Eddie Fogden would have done them all in an afternoon, but with rail strikes and heavy snow my ambitions were tempered.

I’d chosen a luxurious hotel near Leytonstone tube station;

Technically, as the name suggest, the Wanstead Hotel is in Wanstead, but don’t let that put you off. It’s cheery, well-equipped and spotless and the only reservation I have is that exiting an icy parking space by reversing on to the A1199 is not for the faint-hearted.

If you insist on exploring E11 above the A12 (keep up) you’ll find some impressive housing on the way to the park,

which we reached just as the receptionist phoned to tell us we could have our room an hour early.

A slippy 10 minutes into Leytonstone via the underpass, with my attempt to persuade Mrs RM to slip faster so we could catch the tube to the Boleyn Tavern failing badly, so we slowed down and went to a caff.

They call them “caffs” in East London, no idea what it means. I remember “caffs” from visits to Leyton Orient before I started going to pubs (have you heard that Mrs RM drove me to drink ?).

San Marino looked perfect, a cultural melting pot of cabbies, lone Muslim women eating cake, gentlefolk and us, whatever we are.

I sensed a Turkish influence, so I had the Istanbul All Day Breakfast, but apart from the halloumi it was your typical Full English.

Sadly, Mrs RM couldn’t finish her cottage pie so I had to eat half of that as well. But it was great. And I’m reminded; I’ve still never been to F. Cooke.

And Leytonstone looked gorgeous as well, even without a trip to the North Star or the Red Lion.

The journey to the underground is paved with gorgeous mosaics, reminding you of the time when Bogart lived in a flat above the Spoons.

But would the underground take us to Bow ?

12 thoughts on “CAFE LIFE, LEYTONSTONE

  1. I had a very dear friend, sadly no longer with us, called John the Caff on account of he had…well, a caff. He was from That London.

    Turkish caffs are good as are Turkish barbers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Down for a gig years ago, only place I could find to stay was way out. Found out later it was a Manchester derby weekend, so ended up in a place it seems nobody else wanted.


      2. I once stayed at a B&B called The Shalom.

        I asked what time breakfast was.

        “You come down at eight you get breakfast at eight. You come down at eight thirty you get breakfast at eight thirty. You come down at eight forty-five, you don’t get any breakfast” said the lady.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have ‘placed’ the Wanstead hotel now and remembering passing it and thinking ‘Who would want to stay there?’ Now I know. If you stay again, you should visit Wanstead Park (best on the rare snow day) and see the remains of Wanstead House, once (1820s?) reckoned to be the greatest stately home in England but sold brick-by-brick for the usual aristocratic reason of paying gambling debts. The cottages around the North Star were built for servants from the House.

    Liked by 1 person

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