This is my original blog – all my blogs  since I started in 2009 - are here including those from The Ale Archive – all the beers I’ve sampled at home and on our travels since 2012.
 
Since 2012 most of our travel has involved a caravan. I now have a specific caravanning blog called (Get Your) Legs Down which not only documents all our trips but includes product reviews, site listings, storage locations, mobile service engineers and much more. It too is on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

A day at Lords

Not to see the England beat Australia in the Ashes the other week but to watch the inter services 50 over's/side match between the Navy & Army. We were joined by our very good friends and neighbours Tony & Jane - Tony, most of you will know is an ex-para so it was clear who we would be supporting!
 
We'd farmed out one of the parcel rounds to another courier, but were planning to knock off as much of the town centre round as possible first thing before heading back home to catch a bus to the railway station.
 
Two things could have happened to assist this - first it could have been a quiet day, and second, the delivery to us could have been early. Predictably, neither happened, so with just the four urgent deliveries completed we raced back home got changed and were soon at the bus stop.
 
Now this sentence will have surprised those of you that know us well. The last time we took a bus in Brighton was over five years ago - before we moved down here. However the clincher was the fact that you can add the bus tickets onto your train ticket for only a couple of quid, as well as the obvious advantage of not having to worry about drinking and driving.
 
It wasn't long before we were at the train station and with wallet replenished for the day we were soon on the train and on our way to London.
 
The journey to Victoria took a little under an hour, then it was onto the underground and up to St Johns Wood and a short walk to Lords cricket ground.
 
It being nearly lunchtime, and none of us having eaten since breakfast, we got our tickets and then headed straight for one of the food outlets. You've heard of people describing jaw-dropping moments, well, ours came when we looked at the price list. I kid you not; £5.50 for a hot dog - must be out of touch, however the hunger pangs were increasing so we took a deep breath and ordered.
 
To be fair, they were very nice, but at that price you would expect nothing less. All that savoury though had brought a thirst on so, after a detour to the bar (and another deep breath) we grabbed some seats and surveyed the scene.
 
Lords is beautiful - we were sat in the Mound Stand. The iconic Members Pavilion (complete with resident stuffed shirts) was over to our right, and the new media centre - known colloquially as 'Cherie Blair's Mouth' was to the left.
 
They were using one of wickets closer to our side so we had a good view of the action. We'd missed the opening few over's and the Navy were in bat. They had already lost four wickets and it became clear early on that they simply not scoring fast enough to post a decent total. The Army's bowlers soon got the better of them and before long the Navy were all out for a paltry 139 after only 45 over's.
 
There would be a forty minute break for lunch before the Army came out to bat, so eschewing more gold plated hotdogs we exited the ground in search of some more reasonably priced sustenance.
 
We circumnavigated the ground but didn't find what we were looking for - i.e. a boozer, so headed back inside, via the bar, to see the resumption of proceedings.
 
The army batted well looking keen to get on with it and despite a regular loss of wickets soon scored the required number of runs and won the game in only 21 over's. So, not much of a contest but good fun to watch (and to the untrained eye, easier than an international match too)
 
It will come as a surprise to no-one that we decided that some more solid and liquid nourishment was in order. We headed south to Marylebone station and took the tube to Piccadilly Circus.
 
The heavens had opened whilst we were underground so it was four very soggy individuals that arrived at the Bear & Staff, just off Leicester Square a short while later. The beer was good (and cheap) and the food was excellent - nothing fancy mind, their specialty was all different types of sausage whether it be in a sarnie, with mash or chips. We decided to be awkward and have burgers - proper ground Scottish beef and hand cut chips - fantastic!
 
Appetites well and truly sated, we headed off in search of more liquid refreshment.
 
Two more public houses had the benefit of our patronage the last of which was the Red Lion in a small passage just off Pall Mall, which proclaims itself to be 'London's last village pub' and is apparently the second oldest pub in London. Whatever the claims, it was friendly and the beer was excellent.
 
Time to head back to Victoria and the train home. It was still peeing down and we got pretty wet (again) but the walk to the underground was shortened somewhat by the opportune and welcome arrival of the number fourteen bus.
 
The train journey back to Brighton flew by (or should that be 'trained by') quickly mainly because we all nodded off at various points. The bus journey back from the station was notable only because the driver seemed to have something of a Michael Schumacher complex. And yes, it was still raining!