So why this one then? If you’re expecting a long held ambition for joining the force, then I’ll admit right now, that not only have I never wanted to, but the mere thought, repulses me. Years ago, when the Beeb began showing F.A.Cup first round highlights, they covered The Plod versus Fisher Athletic. Fisher Athletic at the time were in what is now the National League. Fisher routinely beat the Plod 3:0 at the Plod’s ground. At the time I had no ambitions of ground hopping past League grounds, obviously that’s changed. Doing a ground hop at the Met Plod now appealed. That Cup game all those years ago, is the reason. Going back to the Dog after the game last night, was taking its toll. The alarm woke me up, I reset it. I got to the bus stop later, only to realise I’d forgotten my face mask exemption card. I ran back to the flat to get it, and then back to the bus stop. The overwhelming feeling being that I was far too old for this running lark anymore. I got to Moor Street with just enough time to buy some advanced tickets for future trips. The booking clerk wasn’t on top of his game, it was obvious he didn’t want to go through the hassle of looking for and printing them. It’ll be back to New Street next time. He’d not only been reluctant to follow what I’d written down, he got Southport mixed up with Stockport. My handwriting is bad granted, but not that bad that you can’t actually read it. If it was, I’d be a G.P. I didn’t discover his mistake until I was on the train, by that time, it was too late to rectify it. I jammed my earphones in, and tried to drift off to sleep. The sleep was not forthcoming, so I made do with just listening to my playlist and watching the world outside flash by my window. As we approached ‘The Smoke’ I started to feel a little more human again. By the time we touched down at Marylebone, I was suffering from hunger pangs. It had always been my plan to have breakfast at the Met Bar, and I was definitely ready to carry through with that plan. Wetherspoons breakfasts are cheap. Part of that reason is because they’ve been gradually shrinking. It won’t be long before they’re having to use smaller plates, so it looks bigger. As I was getting the train from Waterloo, I got the Bakerloo line down, the idea was to take in the Hole in the Wall, only to discover when I got there, that they’d altered the opening times. I took a slow walk to the King’s Arms in Roupell street. They had a plum porter on from the Kent Brewery, it was absolutely gorgeous. As I supped on it, I smiled at the owner who was moving to the cheesy dance track that was being played. She looked to be in as good a mood as me. With time knocking on, I drank up, vowing to come back after, when she quizzed me on another pint. I had been texting with my eldest sister, she had been trying to discover where I was heading, I wasn’t going to let up where, but somehow, we got onto the date and the significance of it. It doesn’t seem 20 years ago since the terrorist attack on America, the memories are still extremely vivid. The plan was to visit Surbiton and the entries in the GBG. When I was still at school (Yes, I really did attend and amazingly, I did learn a little. Not much, just a little.) I thought Surbiton was just a generic name given to anywhere in suburbia. It is actually a made up name, but the place is now quite substantial. If I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed as I was.
The first on my list was Coronation Hall, a Wetherspoons conversion. It’s been several uses throughout time, a music hall and cinema to name but two.
Another use is training staff. Knock Wetherspoons all you want, but like McDonald’s and any Japanese factory, they know how to train their staff. It’s only once you’ve managed to escape, that you realise how well you’ve been trained. The girl who served me and was being expertly guided by another member of staff, as she poured my pint, was glowing fluorescent green, she was that new to it. After the Spoons, I went to The Antelope. Wow, what a lovely boozer, with a fabulous set of staff. So friendly and so pleasant. A few times, you find yourself wondering how a place gets in the GBG, not this place, this place fully deserved to be in.
The Lamb looks like your typically traditional style pub from the outside. Inside it’s anything but. It’s got a feel of micro pub about it. If I’m being honest and I do try to be, I could’ve posted loads of photos of this place, and just have done with it. It fascinated me so much. Here’s the ones I limited myself to.
The Black Lion over the road was more mainstream. It still served an excellent Young’s Original though. It also had the football on. Spurs were playing, and I got chatting to a Tottenham fan. As Spurs were the away side, I forgave him for not being there. With an eye on the clock, I needed to move, and move fast. Saying T’ra, I made it back to the station, just in time to catch the train to Thames Ditton. Landing, I had just enough time for a last one in the George and Dragon. A Shepherd Neame place, it had some unusual artwork.
I so wanted Poole to win. My view of our police force had not been improved.
The Met Plod have actually got a decent team and they were playing the better football, but Poole grew into the game. As the first half finished, there was nothing to choose between the two sides. The second half started as the first half finished. There needed to be a spark from somewhere. It came in the form of a penalty awarded to Poole, who duly scored from it. The Plod retaliated, though they stopped short of sending in the Mounted Division. Poole had now got something to try and hold on to, and several supermarket shopping trolleys were used as barricades. Reinforcements were sent in and despite a really good save from the Poole keeper, the rebound was put away. The Plod could smell blood as a couple of Vans parked up in readiness to take people off to be processed and put in the cells over night. One charge by the Plod created mayhem in the Poole defence. The sheer panic subsided as the ball miraculously found its way into the arms of the Poole keeper. With a rare reconnaissance mission into the Plod half, Poole managed to claim a free kick. The valiant effort smashed off the bar. A baton charge down the other end resulted in the Ol Bill hitting the post. Another chance, had the ball in the back of the heroic Poole keepers net. Every single one of the 162 people in the ground, could see that it was a foul and would immediately be disallowed, but the announcer claimed it as a goal. Typical of the Police. Once he’d realised his mistake, he retracted his statement. It was the last action of the game. The second half had definitely been better than the first.
Luckily I was able to follow other people out of the ground and off the premises, before vacating the immediate vicinity. I caught the train back to Waterloo before being lured back to the King’s Arms and that plum porter. The cute, feisty owner remembered me. Smiling when she saw me, she remarked on it. I reminded her with a grin, that I said I was going to come back after. Comfortably Plum from Kent Brewery, was not really the only thing that was worth going back for. I got the Tube back up to Marylebone, just having enough time for a swift half in the Allsop Arms. A Green King owned place, there’s not really anything to mark it out, but there’s something I like about the place. What, I have no idea. I slept most of the journey back to Brum, waking up around Dorridge. Getting off at Moor Street, Paul and Jackie Mason were getting on. It was Paul’s Buggies shirt that caught my attention. A quick chat eschewed. I’m looking forward to playing them lot at the Hawthorns in October, but I really hope we beat em. For me, it’s Peterborough next.