Thursday, 27 September 2012


Perhaps we were all a bit too jaded from last week. Perhaps it was the fact that we weren’t getting paid until the middle of this week. Perhaps the boys are just getting sick of me, but whatever the reason I just couldn’t raise a single man-jack of them to go out this week. Aussie Pete quoted a poorly tummy (Awwwwe poor Petey. Mummy rub his little tummy better? Take some nasty medicine for the poorly tum-tum. Where’s the smile for Mummy’s brave Petey? Where’s the smile? There it is! There it is!) and Spikey haired Ed had gone on holiday without a by your leave or an invitation.

But, the boys had also expressed a wish that the next street, Bow Street was one they really wanted to do as its proximity to Covent Garden dangled the carrot of enticement of some superb pubs, so to do this square single-handed would be as welcome as the proverbial fart in a crash helmet (or something like that).
So what was a lonely boy to do? And then it hit me, inspiration of the highest order, I’d use this week to re-tread some steps and re-visit a couple of places I needed to go back to. First on the list was the Masons Arms which I’d previously covered in Electric Company. As regular readers will know I’d sent an email off to Fuller’s about my visit and to cut a long story short it had culminated in a very nice phone call from the Masons manager, Matt, and a £20 voucher to come and visit again. So I did!
Firstly I took Matt’s advice that he’d given on the phone and to take the over-ground train from Victoria to Battersea Park rather than do what I did last time and walk the ½ mile or so along the Thames from Vauxhall to Battersea. He did say the pub was directly outside the train station and he couldn’t have been more right as a quick jog across the road and I was back in the Masons again.
I slipped in not quite knowing whether I’d get a welcome or not only to be greeted by a friendly, bearded and handsome face. Would it be possible to nip to the look before I order I asked, “yeah, no probs” came the reply in a strikingly familiar antipodean accent. This must be Matt, I though as I had a wee to the soundtrack of one of Billy Connolly’s concerts (it’s true, go there and visit the loos, it’s true I tell you!) Re-emerging to the bar I asked the friendly face if he was indeed Matt? No, he wasn’t, he was Sam and Matt was out on business but Sam knew who I was! “Oh yeah, Matt said you might be in, how’s the Monopoly Tour going?” he asked. This was like being famous but without the paparazzi and the constant fear of violence, but almost just as thrilling.
I ordered a steak (no chips – paleo is still king at the moment) and a pint of Fuller’s Wild River. Now I’d had this beer before in the Doric Arch and had only scored it a 3 on untappd, but Sam not only served it splendidly but he also filled me in the history of how Fuller’s came to brew an American IPA. It was perfect. I had no choice. I had to score it a 5, my first ever.
The steak was similarly splendid and the service was as brilliant as it had been the first time round. I suppose I better get the scan whilst I’m here I asked Sam as he brought the steak over. “Yeppers (he didn’t really say yeppers, but in my mind he did) certificate is over by the door.” And there it was. Scan in the bag and nothing more for me to do than to quickly swill down a pint of London Pride (top notch condition) profusely thank Sam and nip across the road again for the next train back to Victoria.
As I took a photo of the power station from the train (someone was flying an angry birds pig balloon in front of it) I was just left wondering whether the pub was actually worth complaining about first time round or am I just a miserable git who’s never happy?
Can you see the green pig floating in front of the power station?
But that feeling didn’t last for long, especially on the tube to Kings Cross as I had that lovely feeling of being just that little bit squiffy whilst all around me were still hustling home from work. Quick as a flash I was back in front of Platform 9 ¾ (yes, still just adults taking the photos) and up the stairs to Fuller’s newly opened Parcel Yard. Again regular reader will remember I visited this pub during the Pentonville Road visit but the Cask Marque certificate wasn’t available.
First thing that struck me was that the pub was extremely busy but also it was hosting the Cask Report 2012, the annual report into how Cask Beer is faring in the wider world of the drinks markets. Unfortunately although I could peer into the private room where they were holding the report I couldn’t see anyone famous in the world of beer, although a lady with a name badge did hold the door to the toilets open for me…………….
Service was still lightening quick at the bar and one lovely pint of Fuller’s Autumn Ale, Red Fox later I had the scan in the bag (certificate at the end of the bar) and could scurry my way back to Paddington.
There was one more story to tell; as I was on the Circle Line a chap got on at Euston Square and was taking photos of himself with his mobile phone. Thinking he was a tourist trying to capture a picture of “here’s me on the underground”. I tapped him on the shoulder to ask if he’d like me to take his picture. He was more than happy to pose but then turned the camera around and took a photo of both me and him. He then took various shots around the carriage, especially of sleeping people.
Turns out he was a Brazilian artist called Helio Teles (you can find his website here) and I introduced myself in return only for another chap in the carriage to comment “ho ho, I wish I was rich too” and before you knew it there were about 6 of us exchanging smiles and comments. “Shhhh everyone” I said, “don’t you know you’re not allowed to speak on the Tube!”
It was a fitting end to possibly the friendliest night out on the Monopoly Tour – I must leave the boys behind more often!


  1. Richard !

    Hi, do you remember me ? I sit a bank of desks away from you - see you on a daily basis….
    I also attended a 'boys' night out recently - walked the cold streets of London looking for pubs - drinking pints (didn’t moan) - had a photo with you - does this ring any bells ?

    I was just a bit confused with your last sentence ' leave the BOYS behind more often'

    You have either completely forgotten about the GIRL on your tour (therefore I am hurt and will consider starting my own amaretto/cranberry tour) - OR……. you are trying to say you would like a night out alone with me ?

  2. Oh Mags! I'm so sorry.........of course I remember you, how could I forget the rays of sunlight you brought to our visit to Northumberland Avenue, not to mention the scent of haddock, chatter of knitting and kittens and mis-direction to the subsequent pubs!

    I also remember the photo - it's currently pinned to the wall of the gents on the second floor. That's ok isn't it?

    The Amaretto and Cranberry tour sounds excellent, I'll be there as soon as my civil partnership comes through.

    By the way - name the square - and your solo-night dream can come true :-)

    Luv ya xxxxx

  3. Hang on.

    You went in the ladies toilet?