Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pub jokes sort of

President Clinton gets off his White House helicopter with a pig under one arm. The marine salutes and says, "Nice pig, sir." Clinton says, "Got it for Chelsea." Marine goes, "Nice trade, sir."

Guy walks into the Good Mixer in Camden Town with a pig under one arm and ordered a pint. Slightly stunned barman serves the pint and asks, "Where did you get him?"

Won him in a raffle, says the pig.

Little boy is lost in the supermarket, can't find his daddy. "What's your daddy like?" the clerk asks."

"Beer and women with big boobs," says the lad.

I'm just a social drinker. Every time someone says they'll have a drink, I say, "Social I!"

Man walks into a pub with an alligator under his arm.

"Do you serve lawyers here?"

The barman says they do.

"Then gimme a pint and a lawyer for my alligator."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Song lyrics as poetry

At his peak in the mid to late 1970s (only my opinion, of course) Paul Simon wrote some pretty amazing songs. I have no idea what corner of his multi-level brain they came from. Not all of the songs on his albums became super popular, of course, but the lyrics to even some of those were very imaginative, and I liked them a lot. A really lot of them DID become hits, happily. Where do things like the following come from?

"One man's ceiling is another man's floor."

"A mean individual stranded in a black limousine."

"... but there's no tenderness beneath your honesty."

"Shining like a National guitar."

Paul Simon was asked on a talk show if he thought his lyrics would stand alone as poetry. He said no. He was wrong. If you don't believe me, read "Hearts and Bones" sometime. Or "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War" (on Negotiations and Love Songs.)

Or read this one:

Couple in the next room, bound to win a prize;
They've been going at it all night long.
I'm trying to get some sleep, but these motel walls are cheap,
Lincoln Duncan is my name and here's my song, here's my song.

My father was a fisherman, my mama was a fisherman's friend
And I was born in the boredom of the chowder.
So when I reached my prime, I left my home in the Maritimes
And headed down the turnpike to New England, sweet New England.

Holes in my confidence, holes in the knees of my jeans;
I was left without a penny in my pocket.
Oooo-wee, I was 'bout as destituded as a kid could be
And I wished I'd wore a ring so I could hock it, I'd like to hock it.

Seen a young girl in a parking lot, preaching to a crowd,
Singing sacred songs and reading from the Bible.
Well I told her I was lost and she told me about the Pentecost.
Seen that girl as the road to my survival.

Just later on the very same night, I crept to her tent with a flashlight
And my long years of innocence ended.
She took me to the woods, saying "Here comes something and it feels so good"
And just like a dog I was befriended, I was befriended.

Oh, what a night! - Oh, what a garden of delight!
Even now that sweet memory lingers.
I was playing my guitar and lying underneath the stars,
Just thanking the Lord for my fingers, for my fingers.

Well, I had to think a little bit about that double entendre; the need for fingers to make sounds of happiness on his guitar and the need for fingers to experience the sensation of touch. The following never fails to draw me back through the mists of time whenever I hear it:

"I met my old lover
On the street last night.
She seemed so glad to see me;
I just smiled.
And we talked about some old times
And we drank ourselves some beers.
Still crazy after all these years
Oh, still crazy after all these years.

I found out just today that there is indeed a book of Paul Simon's "poetry" out there. I think I will buy it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is what an American means when he says "jackknife" and he is not talking about diving.

Click picture to see larger image.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You can also drink in pubs

Reluctantly pushing food to the side for a moment, and turning to that which makes a pub a pub...

Stout: A kind of strong dark beer brewed with roasted malt or barley. Stouts are traditionally the generic term for the strongest (stoutest) of beers at 7% or 8%.

Dry Stout: Dry Stout is Irish Stout is Guinness.

Porter: Not going to talk about porter. It seems to start arguments.

I had to do some research on the word "dry". I remember when it was the fashion for American breweries to make "dry" versions of their beer, but I never investigated what it meant. It did taste different. It didn't last long in the American market.

If stout is called that because it is strong (high in alcohol content) then that can only be achieved by fermenting longer.

Dry is not necessarily stronger, because dry refers to the addition of more hops to produce more bitterness or more of a bitter aftertaste. (Bitter is good in beer.)

Guinness: A famous Irish brewry. Their product.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ploughman's Lunch

Often simply called a "ploughman's", it consists of (at a minium)...

Some cheese (a thick piece, often cheddar or some local cheese)
Relish (usually called "pickle" in the UK, but what Americans would know as relish)
Maybe a sliced onion instead of the relish, though
Bread (especially thick, crusty bread. A slab of bread with butter)

And that's it.

But more is usually added: a salad; perhaps half an apple and some potato chips (crisps) and maybe even a diced up boiled egg.


To an American, this is more like an appetizer (starter) tray. And SURELY it is not hearty enough for any hard-working ploughman!

It's not really an ancient dish, though - dating perhaps back only to the 1960s when the Milk Marketing Board was trying to promote the sales of cheese. They succeeded on a grand scale.

Some think there was a similar meal called a ploughman's lunch, dating from about 1957, and still others think it may be an offshoot of the "ploughboy's lunch" which was popular after the war.

Be that as it may, it is now an English culture icon and staple of pub food.

I might try it. I might, that is, if I couldn't smell fish and chips cooking in the kitchen.

Speaking of fish and chips, the best are no longer found in Upton Village, the late Mrs. Longden having apparently had her coal-fired fryer buried with her and the local pork police confiscated all her pig fat. And so the best fish and chips in the UK are not in England at all, but in Scotland, Wales, and NI, in that order. I will tell you where in another post. But the best fish and chips in England? I still favor Grimsby, but the Times says Coleman's of South Shields, and I suppose they would know.

Here is another ploughman's thing

And another...

And a strangely demonic child about to dig into bread and cheese with obvious relish...

And, finally a Relax Max version of a Ploughman's

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I can't stay away from pub food very long...

Looking for the best pub food in England, and...

"At The Sportsman, a seaside pub on the pebbly Kent coast, I recently ate the best lamb I've ever tasted.."

Ok. But what I want is plain old fish and chips fried in real lard and maybe some bangers and mash. Or a pasty. The lamb you can keep with my compliments. So, when I say "the best pub food" I am talking about OTHER than lamb. Just a personal preference.

Visions of spotted dick and toad in the hole. But we'll start simply: fish and chips. Where are the best fish and chips in the entire world to be found? I'll tell you next time. But I know.

To all the hoards of Americans who follow this blog, chips are french fries. They are not really chips, as in crisps. Never mind.

Of course, in the UK, fish is what they call chicken. Not to confuse you about what we are talking about here.

Ploughman's platter explained next.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thank you Max

Well I left the pub in what I thought were the capable paws of Max... however... although he hasn’t ran the pub totally into the ground the recent posts have left me a little disappointed… but maybe that was he plan to lure me back.

So here I am… let the frivolity begin.

In all seriousness, I am glad Max has kept this blog alive, I took a break from the blogging world as I focused on other parts of my life… mainly learning how to drive and moving house, I also changed jobs a couple of times last year… but maybe now I am ready to return.

I’ll be back here to pour pints and maybe write the occasional post.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Harrow Inn

"The 16th-century Harrow is a gem. Unspoilt, brick-and-tiled, it hides down a country lane that dwindles into a footpath by a little stream...formerly a drover's stop."

Alastair Sawday's beginning description is captivating enough to make me stop and read the rest, even if the pub itself doesn't seem to exactly jump off the page. "Drovers" is not a word that is in the average American's vocabulary, and it instantly pulled my mind back across time to Sir Walter Scot's fine short story, "The Two Drovers". But, unlike Sir Walter's tale, you will not find any fighting between long-friends at this cozy pub.

It is billed as a "village inn set in the hangers of Hampshire" but I don't know what Hampshire's "hangers" might be. I say "pub" but it is really an inn foremost, I think - at least the atmosphere would match an American's mental image of what an early inn was supposed to be like: two small rooms with timbered walls; brick inglenook fireplace aglow in winter; scrubbed elm benches and tables, no bar... what? No bar? But still very much a pub despite. Only a hatch-like serving counter with barrels of local ale resting on racks.

"There's a small wild orchard garden, and some weather-worn rustic benches to the front. Food is limited to generously-filled sandwiches, split-pea and ham soup full of fresh vegetables served with great chunks of bread, a ploughman's platter...served with a smile."

The Harrow Inn. Steep, Petersfield, Hampshire. In Claire and Nisa McCutcheon's family since 1929.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best pubs in England and Wales

This list of best pubs was published in TimesOnline. Some of these fine Public Houses would not match the average American's fantasy of what a quaint, authentic neighborhood English pub is "supposed to" look like and taste like, but even those are more than just fine (and they aren't pretending to be anything they aren't, anyway.)

A few of the pubs on the below list are MUCH more than merely nice, rather expensive, restaurants which just happen to have a bar on the premises - and perhaps a game room off to the side; These few are MUCH more than that and certainly deserve the name "pub" - no matter what country you are coming from.

The Sun Inn
High Street, Dedham, Colchester, Essex
(Local, Seasonal & Organic Produce Award Winner)

The Parrot
Forest Green, Dorking, Surrey
(Local, Seasonal & Organic Produce Award Winner)

The Wellington
Wellington, Herefore, Herefordshire
(Local, Seasonal & Organic Produce Award Winner)

Harrow Inn
Steep, Petersfield, Hampshire
(Authentic Pub Award Winner)

Topsham, Exeter, Devon
(Authentic Pub Award Winner)

Black Bull Inn
Bridge End, Frosterly, Durham
(Authentic Pub Award Winner)

Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumbri
(Pub with Rooms Award Winner)

Main Street, Clipsham, Rutland
(Pub with Rooms Award Winner)

High Street, Grinshill, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
(Pub with Rooms Award Winner)

Duke of York
Iddesleigh, Winkleigh, Devon
(Community Pub Award Winner)

Butts Road, Ashover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
(Community Pub Award Winner)

Helmingham Road
Otney, Ipswich, Suffolk
(Community Pub Award Winner)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pub Listing

Drinking and having fun is taken seriously in the south of England. There are 1054 pubs in Hampshire alone. I don't know if I believe that figure or not, but that's what the directory says. Here are a few:

Abby Hotel, Romsey [pictured above]
(11 Church Street)

Other Romsey pubs:

Star Inn
13 Horsefair

William IV
45 Latimer

The Olive Tree
11 Latimer St.

The Tavern
30 The Hundred

The Tudor Rose
3 Cornmarket

None of these pubs have been visited or reviewed by our blog viewers, at least not that we know of. If you have visited any of them, your input and rating is appreciated.

What are some of your own favorite pubs? Give us a description and picture and we'll put them in the Slap & Tickle Pub Registry.