My South West London Sunday Special continued apace, and following on from the impressive Nightingale, I walk to Balham station and make my way back to my furthest point south, Carshalton.
I'd ticked the wonderful Hope, and the Sun, back here in 2015 along with somewhere called the Windsor Castle not currently in the GBG. Tom 'Clag Monster' Irvin terrified a wet eyed 18 year old barman by declaring "Carshalton could be a very nice village if it wasn't for the rubbish one way system!"
|Tom, seconds before upsetting the barman|
My next pub wasn't in the GBG back then, but it is hard to believe it would ever be left out.
My last three ticks had all been 'good', but the Railway Tavern, Carshalton (2365 / 3929) finally put us into 'very good' territory. Like all great boozers, it didn't look particularly open, but once I located the side door and gave it a firm push, all life was here. A hi-vis man in a paper turns, looking startled as I say 'hello', and the landlady is one of those ultra impressive types who knows everything that is happening in every square inch of her pub. A railway theme is apparent as I sit on a delicious repurposed train carriage seat, but even more striking is the vintage London decor - mods and the swinging sixties, it made me feel all Austin Powers like 'yeah, baby yeah!' I thought the landlady has spied Colin, but it is my GBG highlighting that draws her into conversation. "Doin' a bit of study?" she asks, so I go into full BRAPA mode. Hi-vis man doesn't flinch. I tell her the £4.20 I've paid for the London Pride here is easily the cheapest this weekend, and what a well drinkin' Pride it is. She appreciates that and tells me that any price rises have been carefully considered and the lowest in the area. Special place this, a must visit if your daaarn in London taaarn.
A couple of stops north on the same train line was a place I'd never been to before, mainly because (a) they don't have a football team that have played Hull City and (b) I've not seen a GBG pub here before. Mitcham is the name, like my favourite roll-on deodorant. My pub was a fragrant ten minute walk from Junction station located along a main road.
It wasn't on a hill, I took a deliberately jaunty angled shot as a nod to my Sheffield Utd supporting friend Krzbi. He is famed for such angles. His football team were playing mine in two hours, and if I thought I did this dedication to him, they wouldn't beat us too heavily!
Windmill, Mitcham (2366 / 3930) was t'rific. Even more boozery than the Railway. I'll get my one major gripe out of the way first. The horrid stifling dark metallic grey walls. It just didn't fit the ethos. You can see the unique shape, it had some beautiful stained glass windows, and the customers, wow well they were proper characters. More 10pm than Sunday lunch. A lively place without ever crossing the line into seedy, intimidating or rough arse. Volunteer, Bexleyheath, take note. Pride is the only ale on, but this time, the pump clip has no red on it. A grey Pride pump clip to match the walls! Sadly, I couldn't photograph it for bar blockers. But even bar blockers felt acceptable and proper in here! Free bar snacks are one of my favourite reasons for visiting pubs on Sunday's which don't make a meal of making meals .... but the bowls were already empty. No more free food for me this weekend. A bloke shouts to his elderly mate, who is walking past my table, but he throws his voice so the elderly bloke thinks Colin is talking to him! For a second, he looks terrified. I mean, you would, wouldn't you? Well, we all have a laugh about it. A talking cauliflower. If it happened anywhere, it'd most likely be in a pub like the Windmill.
|Can you spot him?|