Business of the day:
From Crouch End to Greenwich.
Stage 1: to Muswell Hill on W7, to find the Muswell Hill roundabout is now a major excavation.
Stage 2: from Muswell Hill to Bank on a 43 bus, to discover that whole stretch through Islington is now re-routed via Caledonian Road. Even more major excavations. Retreat into the Phoenix, Throgmorton Street, where I was joined first by Pert Young Piece, then by the Lady in my Life.
Stage 3: DLR from Bank to Greenwich, Cutty Sark. I used to be supercilious about the DLR, but it is truly a marvellous piece of kit, somewhere between a toy train and a proper grown-up railway — yet something more substantial than a tram. The weave through the towers of Canary Wharf is an experience worth the journey in itself.
At Greenwich, the task is to inspect the ceiling on a Painted Hall Ceiling Tour:
Up close, and personal, this is astonishing. I hope to live long enough to see the finished result.
And so, back the way we came,
Stage 4: DLR back to Bank. This time in the front seat, to play train-driver — and London has no greater thrill-ride for this Bill Hoole manqué.
Stage 5: from Bank, the 43 to Muswell Hill.
Stage 6, post-prandially, the W7 back down to the Maynard.
Carte du jour:
Something of an experiment: the “Miller and Carter” steakhouse, housed in what was once the cavernous “The Church” (a.k.a. O’Neill’s) in Muswell Hill Broadway.
For all of the pretensions, this is yet another branch of yet another tentacle of the Mitchell and Butlers octopus. Which makes it also a subsidiary in the Molson Coors megalo-brewing brand.
I felt obliged to see the place, having known it through various incarnations. For many years the former non-conformist tabernacle (all florid red brick and flint work) was being left-to-decay. It had been leased for a while as local council offices, but was then in a state of limbo and pigeon-crap. It was on the point of being demolished for a supermarket (the supermarket chains have eyed various properties — notably the Odeon cinema — but in each case have met the rising tide of middle-class N10MBYism). Eventually the teetotalist covenant was broken, and for a brief but happy moment it was “The Church” with a brew-house. That didn’t last long, and it went to being O’Neill’s, a barn of a sportsbar — a good place to watch the Rugby only available to Sky subscribers, but not a place to linger for the non-fizzy beer crowd. The arrival of Wetherspoons, taking over what was originally the old Express dairy on Muswell Hill roundabout (then, unhappily, as the teenies’ drink-and-drugs mart of choice), at what is now the Mossy Well changed the whole boozing culture of N10 — and for the better. Even if it also meant the loss of the Wetherspoons houses in Crouch End and at Highgate’s Gatehouse.
I’d have to presume that the Mossy Well, along with wider availability of international Rugby, drained the life out of what had been O’Neill’s — and so M&B are having another go.
I’ve now tried it once. It’s OK-ish; but I doubt we shall return.
Beers of the day:
A pint of Camden Pale Ale at the Phoenix. Err, well … if one must.
A pint of London Pride at the Gypsy Moth in Greenwich: definitely a step up in the world. If I can’t get ESB “lunatic broth” or — yet better — HSB (originally Gale’s Horndean Special Bitter from Hampshire) then London Pride is as good as Fuller’s gets. I’d have preferred a Young’s Special, when it was a London brew, but … horses-for-courses.
Finishing the evening: a taste more of that rather-toothsome East London Brewery’s Jamboree, on draught, at the Maynard.
Quote of the day:
Banner on Pentonville goal: “Serving the community for 175 years”. The “service” of 120 prisoners was abbreviated by the hangman,
Readings of the day:
The New Statesman and the New European.
Then A Great and Noble Design, the catalogue of Sir James Thornhill’s sketches for the Painted Hall at Greenwich. This really needs a complementary volume for the finished work: that will presumably follow from the conservation work. Oh, and a little pamphlet — just a dozen printed pages (English and French on opposites) of Thornhill’s own Explanation of the Painting. The bit of that which caught the Pert Young Piece’s eye went:
In the Middle of the Gallery next the upper Hall, is the Stern of a Britiſh Man of War, with a Figure of VICTORY filling her with Spoils and Trophies taken from the Enemy.
Under the Man of War is a Figure that represents the CITY of LONDON fitting on THAME, and ISIS, with the ſmaller Rivers bringing Treaſures unto her. The River TINE is there pouring forth his Plenty of Coals.
Her attention was that of an avid student of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, and re-reading (and audio-booking) the lot before we get volume seven.
My interest there was as much in the typography of 1726. What exactly were the rules of initial capitalisation (presumably for all nouns — easy), of ENTIRE CAPITALS (was this for Proper Nouns?) and for italicising (which seems just weird)?