Sunday, February 01, 2009

From the City to the Country.

Above are a couple of photos taken during a brief sojourn into the provinces yesterday; both shots were taken in rural Kent - you can see more of the same by visiting my Flickr site. The upper shot shows sunset over a thorn tree, and the lower shot is of an extremely rare, classic Bedford Romany camper van, photographed in the car park of the Chequers pub in Heaverham.

We also visited a pub that has a reputation that borders on urban myth; it is regarded a place that people have heard about, but few are actually certain that it really exists. The Pub is the Old House at Home, at Ightham, near Sevenoaks in Kent. It has no pub sign outside, no publicity or hanging floral baskets. It looks like a somewhat dishevelled and run down private cottage in the middle of a picturesque village. When you go inside it is like stepping back into the 1930's - I felt it was almost like being part of a lost episode of All Creatures Great and Small. The pub does not serve lager or much in the way of spirits, instead it has four superbly kept local real ales, served directly from the barrel, over a bar that looks like it has not been changed or varnished for over sixty years. The place was populated by friendly locals, all of whom seemed to own a dog of indeterminate parentage. There was a lovely log fire in an large inglenook fire place, no juke box or one armed bandits - indeed, I am not entirely sure that the place was wired for electricity. The pub is the polar opposite of the likes of Erith's Potion bar. Regulars from there would absolutely detest the Old House - they would say that it was run down, scruffy and in the middle of nowhere. For precisely these, and a number of other reasons (great real ale, a sense of history and character) I absolutely love the place.

I am thinking about starting a competition - what do you think? I get a lot of leaflets from pizza delivery companies and other deliver to your door food services. The trouble is, some of them are absolutely miles from my house. Any food would be congealed and stone cold by the time it arrived. Don't these people think about their target areas when they deliver the leaflets? It must be a big financial drain, sending out leaflets to people who will never order your products because they are too far from you. I wonder what the furthest distance between fast food outlet and potential recipient is? Add a comment with your submission for furthest leaflet below.

I was very fortunate to attend a corporate bash at the not open to the public BT Tower on Tuesday this week; I got to go up to the former restaurant on the 34th floor, which has been modernised and refitted as a private cocktail bar for corporate entertaining. Nowadays the infamous rotating floor is only fired up two or three times a year; I was very fortunate to be there on one of those rare occasions. I would have loved to have taken my camera, as the views over night time London were truly staggering. Unfortunately photography is prohibited for security reasons.

The GC's nightclub saga may have now finally come to a conclusion. I had not been able to say anything for legal reasons, but I have been in pretty much continuous contact with both Bexley Council's planning department, and the local Police regarding the subject. There was to be a planning application meeting at Bexley Council offices between the club organisers and the Police, who were opposing the application on public order and increased crime grounds. I had been asked to attend to represent the views of local residents. I received an Email from the Police on Friday morning, telling me that the planning application had been withdrawn by the people behind GC's, and that it was now all over. We shall see, as has been said before, the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. Time will tell.

My Asus EEE PC has died. The Ubuntu Linux O/S build reported several kernel errors and then locked up in a sulk. I think I will flatten the installation and reinstall a clean version from scratch. More work - ho hum.

I was walking towards Morrison's in Erith from the shopping centre earlier today; I was in the process of crossing the road using the well marked zebra crossing when a people carrier zoomed past, causing me to jump out of the way. The driver was talking animatedly on his mobile phone and completely ignored me. Incensed, I followed his vehicle around the car park as he selected a parking space. When he emerged from the vehicle, I challenged him with "Are you aware that it is a criminal offence to use a mobile telephone whilst driving?" and before he could respond, "It is also an offence under the Road Traffic Act to fail to stop at a pedestrian crossing when it is in use". He, it has to be said, was rather taken aback (he was a rather scrawny little bloke with what looked like his Mother In Law in the back of the vehicle). He stammered an apology - I think he thought I was about to hit him - which was absolutely never going to be the case - a well chosen word and a pointed finger do quite well enough, thank you. Okay, I am six foot four, stockily built and wear size 12 steel toe capped boots, but that is mere window dressing. A well defined sense of right and wrong and the rage (tm) are more than sufficient to power Captain Tweed.

I have just found out that former Radio Caroline ship mate Nick Jackson is now working at Absolute Radio (what used to be called Virgin Radio). You can read all about him here. I must get in contact with him, as we have not spoken in ages.

This weeks' video clip is a classic sketch from Not the Nine O'Clock News. Brilliant.


  1. Great picture of the Bedford van. Reminds me of a model I once had as a kid, I think it was a Corgi or maybe Matchbox. -- Ah those were the days.

    Sounds like a great pub. The kind of place that will still be a round after the big bang just because the locals haven't looked outside yet...

    Come to think of it if you asked them now what's the weather like down there they'd probably say it's not a bad summer this year!

  2. It's a 1967 Bedford CA - they don't make 'em like that anymore!

    Interesting pub, that one at Ightham. Although I was once familiar with the area (about 27 years ago), I can't say that I recall much about it apart from the moat. If I were a drinker, I would probably drink in a pub such as this.