Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pictures of a pub garden

Surprisingly good photo from moving train of the back garden of our local pub. A few months ago but I lazily only just got roudn to looking at some old pictures.

When this was taken the other end of the train was even nearer to my own garden, which is sort of just out of the picture to the right – but there is no way I am showing you *that*, its too embarrasing!

Loampit Vale Bypass!

Blowing up a little we can even recognise the landlady watering the plants:

Pub garden

Riots in Lewisham?

I know its unlikely that anyone will look to this blog for news about recent events, but if you do the Brockley Central blog at seems to have accurate and up to date rumours about the so-far not-quite riots

Banjos in the Bog – music and beer at Dent (1)

We were at Dent for the the very wonderful Dentdale Music and Beer Festival, and it was wet. (As usual click on any of the little pictures for links to larger ones)

So after our bracing morning stroll we went into the Sun at about 1.30 for a quick pint before going back to the muddy festival site. The pub was pretty packed, and there was a singing session in a side room that was too crowded for the seven of us to fit in to, to we hovered in the back room while a family ate their lunch and then grabbed their table. Narrowly beating a rather subdued set of young women out on a hen do to the chairs. Though their attention was later taken up by a much less subdued set of scousers out on an unrelated stag do which seemed to involve wearing silly clothes and often pyjamas.

It was fun, ands the cheap and wonderful chips were cheap and wonderful but we missed the music and felt vaguely guilty about not seeing the bands in the festival field. So Adam set off in the rain to explore the mud.

Meanwhile, sometime between 3 and 4pm this bloke called Dave came and started playing the fiddle…

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He missed his guitar player so Mark and Martin went back to our tents to get theirs.

Then a banjo player arrived, quickly followed by two more guitarists anyway, so our brave explorers work was unneeded. But when Martin and Mark got back and settled in and led the beer song (a Cunning Plan of Mark’s which worked) but – as you can see – the table was getting a bit crowded and the scouser stags a little loud

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so some musicians went out the back for a quick fag and some space


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And more musicians walked in from the back:


The fiddler is Mikey Kenny (Ottersgear) who played wonderfully that night & I think the very damp-looking woman might be Sally of the Kitchen Drinkers who sang on the stage the next day. And yes, that bloke from St. Helens smoking a fag by the wall really is wearing pyjamas.

Dent did what it said on the tin – we had music and we had beer. Lots and lots of both,

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And when it rained they sheltered in the toilets. Wonderful resonance! Shall they be called Banjos in the Bog? Or WC Fields and the Toilet Band?

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And there was another session in the back garden – by 9 or 10pm there was music in the side room of the pub, music in the back room, music in the smoking area by the bogs, and music in the car park. We never got to see the festival stage that evening.

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30 seconds over Accrington

So I went to Preston station and got on the first train going anywhere I hadn’t been before. And it turned out to be the slow train to Colne. Colne seemed a bit far for the three hours I had to spare. So I bought a day return to Accrington – having never been there before – and set off. It was a grotty train. Two cars, no bogs, bench seats with metal railings a bit like buses used to have. Too close together to sit straight. My knees didn’t

fit. (And I’m not tall)

The train set off south, over the river, and turned left past the field where dodgy teenagers play noisily with fake motorbikes. The first stop is Lostock

Hall. Not much is visible from the station. A few suburban rooves behind some small trees – Sorbus on one side, Salix on the other. As the train draws away

from the tiny halt I see rows of small new brick houses, a sort of retros-80s-council-estate-retro-30s-neo-Georgian-pseudo-vernacular with conservatories

style. Orange brick. Pantile rooves. Tiny plastic windows that look as if they can’t be opened.

After Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge the train did a great slow left curve and entered some lovely rolling countryside. Green,well-wooded small fields, some almost spectacular narrow steep treed gullies, and loads of Rose-Bay Willowherb by the railway. Small fields, landforms almost like the ancient countryside of the Weald or some of the mildly hilly parts of County Durham. Ash trees, rowans, and willows. Golf courses even. After a roll through this unstereotypically not-quite-northern landscape stations start to come thick and fast and we get to Pleasington (aptly named) and Cherry Tree Station, and Mill Hill – which has a mill and a hill and so beats the better-known London suburb with the same name which doesn’t. This is a lovely place.

And we can’t be twenty miles from Preston, maybe not even ten.

Then some industry is visible and it all gets urban again and here is a giant green metal arch over the railway and there are churches and shopping centres everywhere. This must be Blackburn? It is. There is even a cathedral. This is a real town, a large one, and it looks quite substantial in the sunlight. Near Blackburn station there is a mill converted into a mosque and out the back there are loads of young men in white robes and skullcaps playbing basketball.

Almost everyone gets of the train and they are replaced by a huge load of other passengers. There are posh accents – I mean posh Lancashire accents – and an

unliley large number of teenage girls, some in school uniform (its after three by now so maybe they are on their way home ((but if so, where are the boys?))

Then they all get off again. After Blackbun the hills are briefly covered in houses, then bare, no longer like the ancient farmed landscapes of the east of

England but now open and spattered with sheep. Few trees and ther might even be some drystone walls creeping up them.

One more stop and the skyline is now all moorland. We halt at Rishton and then “Church and Oswaldthwistle”. Now the North looks like the North.

Accrington’s quite posh. Well, compared with Burnley it is. Photos later (upload bandwidth is dodgy here) I walked round the centre for half an hour – photos

later – then had two pints of Guiness and a pleasant chat in the Nags Head. Thank you Sharon (“don’t call me ‘dear’ – I’m expensive” not hat I did) and Pete and incomprehensible barman.

Th train back is for Blackpool South rather then Blackpool North and it is faster, more comfortable, provided with bogs, and full of beautiful women. Enugh

of whom get off at Blackburn for me to move to a seat by a table, oon the right, facing forwards. The hWe get back in less than half the time the outward

journey took. The houses between Bamber Bridge ande Lostock Hall look quite inviting now. Maybe that’s the Guinness. And all through that pretty Lancashire

countryside, I can see Preston in the distance. It is visibly more of a town than Blackburn. Even unto St Eggburger’s

The way we speak now, part n+23

Overheard on a train, young woman on mobile phone moaning about her housemates:

“Do you remember the like house thing last year?”

“…at the end of the day I’m like I don’t need to be there…”

“I thought you were going to say I’m like going to say Laney like…”

“Oh my God how happy was I when I passed!”

Accent sounded quite extreme RP to me, with some switching down on a different phone call. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the vowels, but her “year” approached my “yeah” and her “yeah” was someway towards “yah”.

On the other hand final “t” is almost always glottal – which is pretty standard – also it was sometimes glottal between vowels, and so was the “d” in “he said that” at least once.

And she gets invited to Hunt Balls.

“Do you remember the like

Overheard on a bus

Someone mentioned “a job at Halfords” (the bike shop). Someone else misheard as “Harvard” (as in Boston). I suspect those words wouldn’t sound much like each other to most Americans.

(young men of vaguely Asian or mixed appearance, speaker with a new-style London accent, the other a bit closer to RP)

The view from the College bar

Standing on the smoking terrace outside the bar on the 4th floor. In the next building I can see people fencing. Down below there is a yurt. The old Post Office tower looms shinily over ULU. The other way I can see Senate House – AKA Gotham City Hall AKA the Ministry of Truth. Its all lit up. Birds are singing in the plane trees. People are talking about PhDs. Its not a bad place to work 🙂

The Road to Millwall (5)

, or, collapse of once-stout QPR

So how do we get to Millwall from central London for an evening kick-off match?

Its easy and quick. The Millwall ground is the nearest professional stadium to the City of London – only about two miles away, just a tad closer than Arsenal, and there are plenty of buses and tubes going sort-of in the right direction. Away supporters get advised to go by train from London Bridge to South Bermondsey, so we will avoid both statios for that very reason!

We start by a well-known building in the lively dead centre of London and wait for a Number 1 bus

As all London transport geeks know, the oldest bus route in London – and therefore almost certainly the oldest bus rout in the world – is the number 12, from Oxford Circus to Camberwell. It is the direct descendent of the first motor bus route run by Tilling’s back in 190-something, and that itself was a descendent of probably the first horse bus route. Though some argue for the 9, and there are a few running-dogs and revisionists and who hold out for the 24. Splitters! (And why does everybody on a southbound 24 in Goodge street in the evening look so sad or hassled?)

So why is the number 1 the number 1? It’s not a particularly important route, nor a very long distance one. OK, the 12 was adopted into the London Transport numbering scheme a few years after it started, as it was being run by a private company who didn’t yet use numbers – but what gave the Lewisham to Willesden route precendence over the numbers 2 to 9 – all of which still exist, and have at least some of their route in common with what they were doing a century ago.

Its just one of those mysteries.



Its hard to take photos on this journey because its dark. Though we get occasional chances – like this photo of Waterloo Station. We could get off the bus here and go down those escalators you can see in the picture to try to get to Bermondsey or Surrey Docks by tube. But we won;t, because the Number One takes us almost all the way.


That’s about it for the view. Also I’ve already put lots of pictures taken from buses online – some linked to in this post on the Dark Streets of London

So I came back the next day in daylight & will post those pictures soon.

Other than that, nothing of interest until the first siting of police activity just where the bus is about to turn right from Southwark Park Road to Galleywall Road. One of the other unfailing signs of the imminence of Millwall, an extrem number of railway bridges, is also in evidence. There was one just beside us as we turned by the police car (I was taking photos the other way of course) and there is anoither one at the bottom of Galleywall Road, just before you turn into Ilderton road. Which is as dingy a spot as you will find in inner London.

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From the footballing point of view Tuesday evening was rather good. QPR seemed to be playing for a draw, and didn;t look as if they were seriously trying to score. Millwall’s defence was better than theirs and their offence was at least more enthusiastic and committed. When Millwall managed to score QPR appeared to realise they could in fact lose, at get demoralised quite quitely. Or so it looked from our end. Millwall made all the running in the second half , attacking at every opportunity – a tactivc that failed agains ‘Boro (though it was exciting to watch, drew against Forest, beat QPR, and triumphed at Burnley. If they manage to keep up the improvement against Cardiff they are going to win five nil 🙂


The Road to Millwall (4)


Somewhere Over The Railway

Also Known As:

Funny sort of recession, innit?

I’ve often been able to spot previous economic “downturns” because the amount of construction going on around me goes down. It was especially obvious in the brief blip in the late 1980s/early 1990s – the number of tower cranes visible from the window of my office fell from over 100 to 30 in a few weeks and then went down almost to zero.

Doesn’t seem to have happened this time. As you can see from these pictures, that’s not where we are at these days at all. Not where I live, anyway. Its swamped with construction projects. As we can see from these pictures of yet another way to get to the Millwall ground – this time by walking across Deptford Park and along Surrey Canal Road. Take a look at some of the smaller pictures – cranes and construction in almost all of them.

We start by going round the corner to Jerrard Street. Our view is blocked by this huge construction site:


But we take our stand by a smaller one:


Straight ahead we can see a railway arch (surprise, surprise, the first of many) and, Somewhere Over The Railway. more construction going on


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Our mission today (should we choose to accept it) takes us on a 47 bus along Brookmill Road and into Deptford Church Street.

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They even let buses into pubs nowadays:


I like the look of London in the rain. The sky is the the right colour for the buildings. And the more spectacular of the new buildings know that and (literally) reflect it – they gave up trying to look Mediterranean or Manhattanish, and settled for shiny, wet, and yellowish-grey.


Then left at the bottom of Church Street and up Evelyn Street. You get off just after the fire station, by the canal bridge, (not that there is any canal any more) and turn left and walk into the park. You can see the power station in the distance.

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We’ve not got away from either construction or railways though. We need to dogleg left into Surrey Canal Road (people younger than me can still remember when it was a canal) through one of the nastiest junctions in London. For cyclists, anyway. Three roads approach the same spot (four if you count a sort of slipway into a lorry park beside the railway) and all are blind – two of them have bends, two have sudden slopes, two go through railway bridges – so each road has at least two reasons why you can;t see what’s coming.


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Now we are on familiar territory – yet more railway bridges:


And the power station – we must be near!


Under one more bridge then turn into this inviting driveway and the stadium is in front of us.



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Past the place where you can just about see the Big Screen from outside the ground – you can tell it by the heap of empty beer cans and fag ends and the strategically placed old mattresses and dead fridges for kids to stand on

And now we can draw nil-nil with Nottingham Forest.

But its OK, because I’m posting these with a huge lag so I already know that it gets better next week….


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Food! Beer! Toilets!

What more could a football supporter want?


Three-nil, that’s what!

Saturday was a sad day for Burnley in another way as well. I went there to see a football match. And we had a famous victory. Not a lot happened in the first half – the BBC website said that Burnley had most of the possession but it didn’t look like it from our end – James Henry in particular was hammering at them like a hero for attack after attack. There were some attempts at goal, but Burnley simply didn’t look as if they were trying that hard. They almost seemed to be willing to settle for a draw. Which might have made sense from QPR away to Millwall earlier in the week – they are so far up the table they don’t need to beat Millwall – but is not a good tactic from Burnley at home, still four points shy of the play-offs, and with only nine more games to go.

And just like QPR on Tuesday, whatever they were trying backfired. They couldn’t get past Millwall’s defence for the first hour or so of the game, then they let in a goal they should have stopped. Then they woke up, smelled the coffee (or should that be the cider?) and suddenly realised they could lose. And did lose, just like that. Just as against QPR (where it worked) and Middlesborough (where it didn’t, but was hair-raising fun to watch) Millwall kept on coming, right to the final whistle, and the other lot didn’t manage to organise a fight back. Paul Robinson got a second goal, and the third fell to Andros Townsend, a teenager on loan from Spurs, his first score for the team.


Scary Millwall supporters walking to the ground (& yes there were cops waiting for the half dozen or so of us who got of the train)


Of course when we actually got there there were mostly local fans:


Important things first:


The away end of the ground is a lot like Palace. But it was quite comfortable as there were only about 400 of us, not the 4,000 of squeezed into one toilet the day we went to Norwood.


Look at the large crowd at the other end. (That’s important. There will be questions later)


There is even a pillar in the way. At least I could move around to see past it.


Its an odd feeling knowing that all these cops are here to protect the 14,000 at the other end of the pitch from us:

Oh, did I say 14,000? Look again. The game has about ten minutes to go, but most of them have left: