Dave and I went to school together. On a mission to not drink too much during January, we agreed a cycle ride to a pub. The day arrived : Saturday, dark, raining, a drizzle closing in. I geared up, high vis, my massive safety helmet and my rucksack. I pumped my tyres and off I went, down Central Park Road, up Henniker Gardens (a road much known to me as I used to walk up it to catch the 147 from outside what is now NK News and Club MM). I decided to take the Katherine Road route to Wanstead Flats – a road filled with hazards, parked cars on both sides, narrow roads, hills and dangerous drivers. There are also some gems, like the old St Stephen’s Petrol Pump, and the giant Trebor Sweet Factory.
West Ham were playing home so while I waited I saw Chelsea Tractors, one after the other, pile into the narrow East End lands. Forever blowing bubbles indeed : bubbles of giant exhaust fumes. I met Dave on Capel Road and we swiftly worked out a route to the Tap – down to the Overground Station and along the line, parallel to Station Road. We’d find the Tap right after we stumbled upon the Hawkes Cider Room. La Forchetta have a wood-fired oven there!
The Tap is delightfully self-contained in a deceptively large railway arch. It is packed full of craft beers and perry and some sofas, and we broke our fast with much relish. A few halves later, we headed up the road to the Hawkes place for a cider and a pizza (both delicious) and were joined by several hipsters. The scent of the wood-fired oven was lovely as was the IPA they had on tap.
We had a drink and then agreed it was time to go home : off I went, through the driving rain in nothing more than a leather jacket and clad in the shroud of my youthful dreams. Rain water soaked me to the skin. So be it ! We must retreat from the edge, as the soil is crumbling.