Only once a year. Perhaps an hour should be chopped off Saturdays; and awarded to Sundays on a regular basis.
The first intention, drafted on Friday, was Saturday mid-day in Kew Gardens, and a leisurely afternoon in one of the gastro-pubs. The damping dreck floating earthward on Saturday quelled that intention. So, having drained the central-heating and refitted the valves in the Pert Little Piece’s bedroom on Saturday, what about trying for it on Sunday?
Sunday dawns, technically an hour earlier than usual. Hmm: looks a bit dull. Perhaps not. Let’s have a pub lunch in Greenwich instead. Haven’t been there for a while. Agreed.
Catch the 134 bus. Decant onto the Northern Line. Umm! Archway station is closed. On to Tufnell Park. Y’know Malcolm can now count the number of times he’s used Tufnell Park on one finger.
Hello! What’s this? The Docklands Light Railway is suspended on the Lewisham branch. Rapid reconsideration of route required.
Right! Got it! Northern Line to London Bridge, South-Eastern train to Greenwich or Maze Hill.
Worked like a charm. The Lady and Malcolm amble down from Maze Hill to Thames-side. If any pile deserved, was made, needed to become the site of a prestigious university, it surely is the former Royal Naval College, of Charles II vintage. Why not invite any of the great universities of the world to set up a constituent college here? Alas, it got the University of Greenwich.
At the river, the Lady and Malcolm encounter the kind of cerulean blue sky that would have given John Constable palpitations. Sharp right turn into Crane Street brings our intrepid expeditionaries to The Yacht. This has to be one of the most divinely-located grog-shops in the galaxy. Unfortunately, today, there’s a block booking. Food would be considerably delayed. The Lady is for feeding.
Swift retread to the Trafalgar Tavern. Resolution: early repeat mid-week visit.
Now, the Trafalgar is not quite as good as it gets; but it’s pretty adjacent. Things, at first, look grim: pint of Adnams? Sorry, no: it’s off.
Now, from previous experience, Malcolm has learned to trust the Guv’nor’s opinion here. So it’s Sharp’s of Rock as a good alternative. Not only Doom Bar but — Me Hercule! — Sharp’s Own! Put Malcolm down for at least a couple, instantly. Oh, and a bottle of Chilean Cabernet.
Now, if Malcolm had to declare his preferences of a lifetime, they would lead with Adnams of Southwold (the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree); and, for whisky, Glenmorangie (smooth: an taste inherited from his discriminating mother) and Jura (for something more peaty), with Highland Park as a close runner up. West of the Irish Sea, Black or Green Bush, depending on who’s buying.
The truly perceptive will have noticed a common factor: all of these producers are coastal. The salt waters is in their veins.
As the Lady in his life and Malcolm wait for one cod-and-chips, and a steak-and-ale-pie, they ruminate on this great discovery.
A leisurely, extended sit ensued, occupying a window-table, in that great bow window, watching the changing tide. Scanning towards Limehouse in one direction, and to Blackwall in the other, it is hard to identify a single building of distinction in the panorama of the North Bank. Surely, considering the billions expended, here was one of the great architectural opportunities of the late twentieth century wasted.
The Sunday papers dissected, opinions on the world exchanged, food digested, the extra glass consumed, it became time for homeward.
Whereupon the Thames Clipper hove in view, and delivered our excursionists to Embankment pier. Across the road and into the Northern Line.
Now: coming down a new departure point was Tufnell Park. On the way back, why not? Dare they? They did!
They left the train at Mornington Crescent (another first) and across Hampstead Road for the 134 bus.
Home, to find that all the clocks needed altering. And the pre-set oven had worked perfectly.