(An “Official Finalist” for “Elegant Title”, in the designated category: “One of the Least.”)
Organizing the scattered, scribbled detritus atop my congenitally messy stand-up desk, I – shamefully belatedly, I confess – discovered the annotated list (more rhythmically “transcribed list” but I like “annotated” better), indicating which of the compiled “English Pub Names” were real and which, in conspicuous “Silly Mode”, were made up. (By yours truly.)
The following are, believe it or not, English pub names that actually exist. Deepest apologies if you (sensibly) did not retain your distinguishing list.
Actual English Pub Names
The Bull and Spectacles
The Cat and Custard Pot
The Goat and Tricycle
The Ape and Apple
The Queen’s Head Artichoke
The Slug and Lettuce
The Hairy Lemon
The Hung Drawn and Quartered
List of Marginally Less Outlandish English Pub Names Concocted by the Writer
The Hound and Pencil
The Crown and Penguin
The Fish and Bumbershoot
The Hat and Horseman
The Pig and Raspberry
The King and Cuttlefish
The Grape and Highwayman
The Plough and Overshoes
Okay. How, if you can recall, do you remember you did?
Well, “Well done!” Or “Better luck next time”, whichever appropriately applies. (With the “less-than-even-odds” possibility of a “Next Time.”)
Once again, my apologies for the months-long delay, delivering the results. I must clean up my terminally cluttered desktop more often. Who knows what “precious nuggets” I might startlingly unearth?
This questionably popular contest calls to mind the Hampstead imbibatory “local” I frequented back in 1967 on a nightly basis. (Wow, did I really drink alcohol every night? I believe I did. Why? Because everyone elsedid. Although I was unable to participate in “Buying Rounds”, as I lose the power of speech, ambulation and reason after drinking more than one half of one pint of English room-temperature beer.)
My neighborhood “local”, The Horse and Groom, situated on Hampstead’s “Main Drag” Heath Street, was a less than ten-minute walk – or “weave”, depending on my night’s accumulated “intake” – from my comfortable bedsitting room on nearby 10 Church Row. (To which, on my recent magical trip to London, I finally gained access, experiencing a generously provided “Guided Tour”, after fifty years of wanting to go in, but being wimpily unable to pull the necessary, door-knocking trigger.)
Here then are some random remembrances of The Horse and Groom:
Learning to roll a cigarette (though I did not smoke), packing the tobacco so loosely, that when I subsequently lit the far end of it, the flame shot straight through the tobacco, painfully singeing my tongue.
Rejecting an offer to accompany a group of companionable co-drinkers to the Epsom Derby– pronounced “Darby” – having to work the next day (as an Elementary School teacher), and having my pubmates pick me up the following morning, explaining that they had called my school pretending to be me and lyingly reported that I was sick.
Having a concerned pub pal locate an incredibly cheap apartment for me after I was (unjustly) booted from the my cushy Hampstead apartment, and me, (reluctantly) taking it, despite the fact that the low-rent building’s facilities included no shower and no bathtub, largely because my kindly “mate” had made the considerable effort effort to find it.
Emboldeningly “under the influence”, I… on second thought, I’m gonna leave that particular one out, to be disclosed after I’m dead… if I remember to do so.
Being secretly invited to remain “After Hours” as one of the gracious publican Eddy’s “selected” few guests to watch the televised FA Cup (a national soccer extravaganza), enjoying heaping platefuls of party snacks and a your-money’s-no-good-here “Open Bar.”
Living now too far away to regularly frequent the pub, receiving an official, embossed “Half-Pint” mug, as a parting “Complimentary Souvenir.”
A random sampling of memories… though there are certainly numerous more.
A few “Visits-to-London” ago, I excitedly took my “Year-Abroad-Studying” daughter Anna to see my old, inebriational “Stomping Ground”, only to discover that the Horse and Groomhad shockingly evolved into a local Chinese restaurant. The news from my most recentvisit, however, is considerably more hopeful.
The Chinese restaurant has, sadly, bitten the dust, the soaped-up windows revealing the place is currently nothing.
Who knows? Maybe it will re-open as a revitalized Horse and Groom. (The establishment’s large, gold-leaf lettering is still prominently affixed to the building’s street-facing facade.)
Yeah, probably not.
Time inexorably matzoson.
The Horse and Groom, a name, too credible to grace my contest’s semi-fictional list, was once a bustling, socializing concern.