Saturday, 31 October 2009

Gin Palace

Perhaps not quite Orwell's Ideal (scroll down for yesterday's post) but with no sport on TV and no piped music, The Salisbury punches well above its weight for a pub on the main drag in the West End of London.

Friday, 30 October 2009

The Moon Under Water

In his essay The Moon Under Water (1946, published in the Evening Standard) George Orwell provided a detailed description of his ideal pub, which he would name the Moon Under Water. The ideal pub, he wrote, must meet ten key criteria:

• The architecture and fittings must be uncompromisingly Victorian.
• Games, such as darts, are only played in the public part of the bar.
• The pub is quiet enough to talk, with the house possessing neither a radio nor a piano.
• The barmaids know the customers by name and take an interest in everyone.
• It sells tobacco and cigarettes, aspirins and stamps, and lets you use the phone.
• There is a snack counter where you can get liver-sausage sandwiches, mussels (a specialty of the house), cheese, pickles and large biscuits with caraway seeds.
• Upstairs, six days a week, you can get a good, solid lunch for about three shillings.
• It should serve a creamy sort of draught stout, “and it goes better in a pewter pot”.
• They are particular about their drinking vessels at The Moon Under Water and never, for example, make the mistake of serving a pint of beer in a handleless glass. Apart from glass and pewter mugs, they have some of those pleasant strawberry-pink china ones.
• At the Moon Under Water you go through a narrow passage leading out of the saloon, and find yourself in a fairly large garden.

(My moon is a man-made crescent viewed in the lake at St James's Park. Any suggestions?)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Queen is Dead

Eleanor of Castile (1241 – 1290) at the ancient hamlet of Charing.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Way Up North

“Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet III/i 1599)

“Shoot that poison arrow to my ha-ha-heart”
(ABC, Poison Arrow 1982)

“‘arrow on the ‘ill”
(Posh bit o’ London, innit)

The East Finchley Archer (above) fires his bolt down the world's 5th longest tunnel (the Northern Line). Back in the day (1940s) it used to be the longest.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Way Down South

At the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill SE23