The Times of London reported today on a man who was convicted of killing his wife. He did time but doctors had issues with his stability. He "convinced" then that he was all right. So, what does a woman killer do when he gets of of prison? He gets a job driving a Black Cab. Bull Crap! The authorities have no problem with this but the thousands of cab drivers in London do. They staged a traffic stoppage in protest. I have to support this. Cab drivers are good people and they don't need this. The Times said that they cannot name the person due to legal reasons. Bull Crap! Let me say this. Would you want your wife, sister, daughter or mother in a cab going about the city with a guy like this? We do many things to keep men who prey on children away from them but see nothing wrong with women killers being allowed to take women for a ride. To work in a job that does not put you in direct contact with women is one thing but this is placing women at risk. And the women are not allowed to know about this. I have always believed that females and children should not be harmed or put in dangerous circumstances. Am I that wacky for thinking this?
One thing I do everyday is read the news out of London. I always find it interesting and, at times, amusing. Sometimes, like now, I find it bewildering. Take the story of the man in this news report. He is old enough to buy and drink alcohol but when he tried to buy a bottle of wine at a Sussex supermarket he was stopped. He was not doing anything illegal. He was not acting drunk or irrational. What was it that prevented staff from selling him a bottle of wine? He was buying it in the presence of his teenage daughter. The bastard.
The store is one of a growing number of outlets trying to prevent underage kids from obtaining alcohol. Golly good, I say. Bu he was an adult and her dad. Did that matter to the store? No. Did he have to prove he was the dad? No. What did the store require in order to let him buy the wine? SHE had to produce ID to show that SHE was of legal age.
Now I ask, what was going to happen to that bottle of wine at home? Would he be required under pending UN law that it be kept lock in a safe? If no safe is in the house would it need to be fitted with a cap lock? We all know how easy they can go off. And heaven forbid if would actually see the bottle at home. It could damage her for life.
Teens from 16 on up can have a drink in a pub if they are with their parents and they are at a table having a meal. This actually promotes responsible drinking for both the teens and the parents. It is suppose to be a life learning exercise. Is this going to be outlawed now? What will happen when a grand father is having a pint in the presence of his newborn grand child? Will the child have to show a driver’s license? I am amused!
There is a common misconception in America that the Brits drink warm beer. I know that is not true as Brits drink warm Ale. Well, that's not true either as British beer is only slightly warmer that what US brews are SUPPOSED to be. Thanks to some American national blands the beer we drink can make an ice cube feel warm. British beer is splendid the way it is and the flavor is what make the beer. Having said that, British beer does have a major problem: British Summer Time. Although unaffected by the turning of the hands of the clock it does not sit well in a cellar when the outside temperature is in three digits. I have been to London several times in August (I prefer spring or fall) and some beers were downright sour. Some pubs with air-conditioned cellars but those without were problematic. One never knew until it was too late.
I was overjoyed to attend the GBBF one summer but I paid a heavy price. My hotel does not have air-conditioning so I was never able to dry off. The tube to Olympia was stopped and so was the cooling. After ten minutes I would have sold my soul for an ice cold Coors. Yes, I was that desperate. But the hall was cool and none of the beers were bad. All in all I had a great time and made drinking buddies. We even sang a few on the train back. But it was still hot.
Over the past few years I was delighted to be able to attend and work the London Drinker Beer Festival. Not only is it walking distance to my hotel but is held in the civilized month of March. I do hope it will take place in 2010 as the hall may be sold. Good luck to North London branch of CAMRA. I will be having a cold one over here for you guys.
The Times of London reported on an unbelievable story coming out of Utah. A young high school lad was working on an art project and it required him to wear a kilt on occasion. A few key point need to be made first. He is ok with wearing the kilt as it was his idea and yes, he is Scottish. He probably got the ok from his teacher and there is no word that he got any guff from classmates. Myself, I would not give any guff to any man with balls to wear a kilt. Can I saw Black Watch? Apparently his principal doesn’t have any. Brains, that is. He told the lad not to wear the kilt because somebody could accuse him of cross dressing. To that I say bollocks. Somebody in administration apparently has some education and order the principal to apologize. He also needs to get an education on world culture and heritage. The lad’s family, McFarland, operates the Clan MacFarlane Heritage Center and Museum of Highland Life. This may be a good time for a class field trip. I think some need to get out more. No word yet if any of the girls tried to peek.
Well, after my little note about Guinness 250 I do have a beer that I can take pride in drinking: London Pride. The pub, known to have pipers from time to time, (OK, it's Piper's Pub) has London Pride, London Porter and ESB. Fine beers from London's independent brewer, Fullers. I am thrilled to have the Pride but I have to say that the Porter is my favorite beer when I am in London. Fuller's brews it as a seasonal in the UK so I can't say how long it will be on tap here. The phrase, so many beers, so little time aptly here. Now I do enjoy a Guinness but side by side I think the Porter is a better brew. So let's do an experiment. Try a pint of each, side by side, or one after another and see what you think. The Porter just has so much more to offer, I think. The body is there (a bit deeper) and the malt comes through in the mouth (it lingers on). It is a tad colder than I prefer but I can let it warm up. And it goes great with any football match. I just wish it came on cask.
Anyone who knows London knows that it is a city for walking. We think of London as a big city but it really is a collection of villages and squares, each containing little nooks and crannies that most people don’t know about. One of my greatest joys when I visit is to walk the back alleys of “the town”. In my walks I have found Hen & Chicken Court (did Pepys live nearby?) and the Home of Sir Lawrence, just to name a few. A number of nice pubs can be found as well. Most people think of back Alleys as sinister places to avoid but they can yield wonderful finds. As for Back Alley, yes it does exist in London.
It was with delight that I found a website by Ivor Hoole entitled A Guide to the alleys, courts, passages and yards of central London. These alleys have been here for centuries and they hold London’s history. Mr. Hoole writes eloquently about them and their history. His site should be required reading before any visit to London. He has taken the time to list over 400 alleys and yards and his passion for his work comes through. I have to say that it would be a pleasure to take a walk with Mr. Hoole. On your walks you will notice blue plaques on the front of homes. These show where famous people once lived. More information can be found at English Heritage and here is a map.
Why is Transport for London and and third party websites promoting the Oyster pay-as-you-go card for tourist? I think it is great and I have one. But as a pay as you go card I think that it is better for people working and commuting in London. The Travel Card is much better for tourist as it can be used for select period without the owner having to think about the value on the card. Yes, it can be placed on an Oyster Card as well as a buss pass, but this is rarely made clear by other writers. The Travel Card was made for visitors and works well. The fact that it can be used on an Oyster makes it better but some writers have made this very confusing. Or is it just me? I do know about the Visitor Pass and some of the others but the TRAVEL CARD should be explained clearly to incoming visitors. Yes yes, yes, I am aware that some visitors can save money if they know how little they will be using system but I think they are a rare breed. With a one day, three day and seven day card I think any combination will fit the needs of visitors. I am open to feedback on this but my rant is that the pay card is promoted too much over the Travel Card, which is downplayed. But, maybe it's me. I am often told so by so many.
Old traditions seem to die hard in the UK. Back in the '70's a female friend of mine was at university in London. She was American. As they often do, she and some of her friends went to the pub for a pint. They sat at a table but she went to the bar to order a round. Upon taking the order the bartender, a man, walked away without saying anything. After a short while she came to realize that she was not being served. She asked him why and was sternly told that ladies do not drink pints. Another female friend was in London a few years back and did not experience this. But she was treated this way in Ireland. Most places would not serve a single woman at the bar and when she ordered a pint at a table (with a meal) she was still given looks. I have to ask if this still occurs today? I mean, I do see women crossing the street on their own.
A cat believed to have fallen off a lorry has been traced by his microchip to have come from France. Now, instead of being sent back the government has given him illegal immigrant status and placed him in quarantine for six months. Under British law he can be put down after one week. I thought only people could be immigrants? What about the birds and the bees? As he is been made an immigrant will he be given human rights? He's a cat. Send him back or place him for adoption. What about other illegal immigrants? Can they be put down after one week when placed in custody? On a sideline note, all children in the UK will have their DNA recorded. Will they also have microchips implanted? This could make it faster to get into the tube, but really. Talk about Monty Python meets Gitmo!
Sad to say that London could be moving in the wrong direction. National Rail is to perform engineering work on the viaduct that passes above Borough Market SE1. That is good news for travelers getting into London. This may be bad news for those living in Southwark and visitors like me. Borough Market is under threat with the planned works. Parts of it and some of the merchants may be forced to move and speculation has it that it may be worst. The Wheatsheaf pub was to remain but it is being demolished to make way for the work. The Market Porter pub has been saved for now but who knows what will happen. I can understand the viaduct work but now Thameslink wants to build a terminal on Borough High Street. As always this may not be good for those who live and work here. The Market is a gem of a tourist site and provides quality food for people living in London. If the market is demolished another London landmark will be lost forever. Yes, these thing happen but how sad that what makes London what is is has to go in this way.
Ok, I have no shame. I attached myself to Stonch's blog to get myself out in the public eye. I have been reading Mr. Bell's blog for a long time and I enjoy it. Well, yes and no. I can't wait to come back to London and his blog makes me "homesick". I also want to visit his pub. I may not make it over in 2009 but 2010 should see an increase in London beer sales once I arrive.
Ok, this is my first time writing a blog. I have no idea what I want to say right now but when I return from my drinking session I should have a lot to write. My main interest is in everything London. Well, so are women, drinking and more drinking, but writing about London should be safe. Cheers, for now.