ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 7 (SUN)

Today was our day to explore Canterbury. Thanks to Sarah, a native of this town, we had many good suggestions beyond the Cathedral. She advised we should pick up some gourmet picnic fixins at “the Goods Shed” near the train station and take them to Westgate Gardens near our hotel, try the “Old Brewery Tavern” for a pint and flat screens for the Games, and head to “Cafe du Soleil” for dinner. She was spot on.

Thanks Sarah.


Canterbury Cathedral at night from the usually closed Christ church gate.


The Goods Shed – umm, umm, good, including some decent cannoli.


with Andrew, the Bottle Man, at the Goods Shed. Has a fantastic selection of brews, including the “Big Bottles” from Bklyn Brewery – how this can be? Claims the biggest selection in southeast England, including London.


Today’s PerfectPint – the Kernel, a British beer with Australian hops, suggested by Andrew. I had complained that the British IPA’s lacked character, were not very hoppy. Andrew said it was due to the British hops, suggested this British brewed beer with Australian hops.


Mo Farah, national hero, doubles in 10K and 5K. Last time I can remember this happening was Lasse Viren, in Montreal and he needed blood doping to do it.


Canterbury – Westgate Gardens


Canterbury Cathedral


Canterbury Cathedral – Evensong service. Celia said we had spent enough time in pubs, needed to spend some time in church. The organ was awesome.


Cafe du Soleil – chargrilled brochette of Kentish lamb. If you like lamb and I do, southern England is the place to be.

Today’s PremierPub: our local in Canterbury for the closing ceremony. our young Brit friends were able to help us understand who some of the acts were, esp. Muse and Beady Eye. But my fave moment was when one of the guys said: “Who is this chap?” and Celia casually said: “that’s Mike Rutherford from Mike and the Mechanics, he used to be with Genesis.” They were mighty impressed, but not as much as me.


ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 6 (SAT)


Rye – day trip from Canterbury. bit down the coast from Dover. very scenic town just across the channel from France and near the scene of the crime – the Battle of Hastings.


Rye street scene


Charmaine, turns out the Fletchers were Shakespeare’s collaborators..


Rye street scene


global warming?

Rye – St Mary’s from churchyard


Rye – Ypres castle from top of St Mary’s church.

Today’s PerfectPint: BebopTop, a quality cask ale brewed in Kent with the finest hops.


Rye rooftops from top of St Mary’s, the local parish church.


changing trains on the return from Rye to Canterbury. this young woman ambushes me on the platform. she screams: “Dad! Dad! where have you been?” runs over and gives me a full body hug. I’m more than a bit shocked, but reply: “gee, we must have lived an alternate reality. btw, daughter what is your name?” she says “Zoe”. We part and I tell her that I would have preferred she made me her older brother, rather than her dad. Celia says: “you’re lucky she didn’t think you were her grandfather!”
and yeah, I still have my wallet.


Today’s PremierPub: Thomas Becket pub which is in Canterbury, of course.

ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 5 (FRI)

Today was London get away day.
We started with a personal, guided tour of Parliament by our host Sarah, who works there. She was able to get us to some behind the scenes places not available to the general public.
Unfortunately, no pix allowed – very strict security.

After a picnic lunch in a park on the Thames, and a bit of shopping in Hyde Park, for what may have been the last remaining souvenir t-shirts in all of London, we boarded a train at Victoria station bound for Canterbury. I don’t know what the Cathedral pilgrims found 600 years ago, but we found a town that was party hardy on a Friday night.


Celia looking short, complains it’s not fair – Sarah was wearing heels.


Hyde Park – Connie, I would say that is a fine looking horse and rider.


Hyde Park – security lines, not my fave Olympic moment.


Canterbury – view of the West Gate from our restaurant, the very fine Cafe des Amis. The next day when talking to an Olympic volunteer who lives nearby, she told us that this was her fave restaurant in town. We went there because it was still open and was near our hotel. Sometimes you get lucky.


Today’s PerfectPint: In Transit, a summer hop ale from Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame. This local Kent brewer came highly recommended by the train bartender.


Today’s PremierPub: Cherry Tree Freehouse. on a dark side street off the main drag in Canterbury, High Street. fortunately, there were a couple of guys in the place you could have a pint with and some conversation. in fact, the chap on the right spent 2 years in washington heights, and lived to talk about it.


Cherry Tree has trivia, but it seems their game may have started before Tuesday night Trivia in Northport.

ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 4 (THU)

Today we toured the grand St Paul’s Cathedral, then traveled across the Thames to the Millennium Dome, a very nice arena built inside a giant shopping mall. We were looking forward to USA v Australia in women’s Basketball SF. These teams had played for the gold medal in the last 3 Olympics.20120811-165607.jpg

London building like crazy – count 6 cranes in this pix.


London – lunchtime in “the City”, London’s financial district. the boys in suits have a pint before going back to work.


London – St. Paul’s from the canyons of their wall street.


London – St. Paul’s interior. not as big as St. Peter’s, but maybe just as impressive.


St.Paul’s under the dome – no photos allowed, so this was taken on the fly. Took the tour, Harry was very knowledgable, and very British.

St Paul’s cantilevered spiral stair that is said to be the grandest in England, may have been used in HP movies.


city skyline from the top of St. Paul’s. quite a climb.


who are the real Wenlock and Mandeville?


crowd enters No Greenwich arena, formerly the Millenium Dome, for Basketball SF (W)


imagine how bad their seats must be. reminds me of our seats in the superdome for Final4.


obligatory photo of tourist with local bobby (not so local, Daniel was from Yorkshire).


Women’s Basketball SF: USA v Australia. These two had played for the gold medal in the last 3 Olympics. The Aussies played tough defense in the first half.


We had a young Aussie fan Alex in front of us. I told her I would root for the Aussies in the first half because Americans always root for the underdog. When the Aussies powered ahead of us by 7 points with time left in the half, I told her: “No Deal!” I started to root for the USA, which obviously made a difference. Yanks won by 13.


Thames Barriers, not too many tourists down here. black security guy wanted to close up. I told him I came all the way from nyc to see these things. he said: “ok. obama is my cousin”. good man.


Today’s PremierPub – Coach & Horses, Stoke Newington. good beer, music, conversation with Sarah & Adam – a fine way to spend our last night in London.


Today’s PerfectPint – Czech Staropramen.

ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 3 (WED)

Today we travelled across London to old Earl’s Court in West London for the Mens Volleyball QF matches: Brazil v Argentina and USA v Italy. Brazil & Italy are the gold medal faves. In the evening we tried the most famous meat pies in town at Newman’ s Arms (all I could think of was Sweeney Todd). Finished up at a couple of National Team Hospitality Houses. Brazil, Olympic hosts in 2016, spared no expense renting out the impressive Somerset House.

Muggles think this is St. Pancras Station. Ethan & Karina know this is King’s Cross, the one Harry used.


Volleyball QF (M) – USA v Italy @ old Earl’s Court (a dump).


Italy was just too good, wins 3-0. We also saw Brazil demolish the Argentines. My money is on Italy to win gold.

that’s the only kind i’ll have.

Today’s PremierPub: Marquis de Granby, Fitzrovia. Today’s Pint: our old fave, a nice fresh Guinness.


Newman’s Arms famous for their steak and kidney meat pies – umm, umm good. not sure about all the items on the dessert menu, though.


London Eye


Across Thames to South Bank.


Casa Brasil @ Somerset House. very impressive. but a Brazil party house with no samba music? what’s up with that.


Czech House interior with lots of very fresh Pilsner Urquell and 2 big screens for the events.


Czech House exterior.

ENGLAND 2012 – DAY 2 (TUE)

This daily photoblog will follow two pilgrims’ progress from pub to pub across southern England. During 2 weeks in August (7-18) we hope to visit London & the Games, Canterbury, Rye, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Hogwarts, Bath, Salisbury/Stonehenge, and who knows what else. Each day’s post will feature a few photos trying to capture our experience, a bit of commentary to provide background, and photos of that day’s premier pub and pint.

This may be confusing, but now that we are in London, it’s time to track the days from when we landed in England, late on Monday, August 6. – so today, Tuesday, becomes Day 2.

Today is our first day in London for the Games. We headed out at the last minute to Hyde Park to catch the triathlon where two Brit brothers were favored. This was one of the few events that most Brits were able to get to see in person and there were large crowds there. Then we explored the city a bit, visited a small museum just off Oxford street, and finished back in Stoke Newington for some Olympic events on the telly at the local with Adam & Sarah.

Hyde Park Triathlon (M) – young Team GB fans hoping their boys medal.


Triathlon – flat paved road, reminds me of Asharoken strip. Art we can do this.


HydePark – with Team GB fanatics, Dai and Wilson, we celebrate the Brit brothers smashing performance in the tri.


thought this might be the British Museum, turns out it’s Selfridge department store.

Nick, Selfridge greeter, points out where the good pubs are.


Give Me Ten !

Wallace Collection – a small gem of a museum, overlooks Manchester Square


Wallace Collection – for all you geometry teachers, a wonderful special exhibition “The Noble Art of the Sword”


Today’s PremierPub – the GoldenEagle in Marylebone, with Today’s Pint: Tribute Cornish Pale Ale (not my fave).


London street scene – Marylebone


London Oxford Street – good thing they don’t make these busses any wider.


London, Stoke Newington – after dinner with our hosts Sarah & Adam at their fave local.

London 2012 – 0805/Sun

DISCLAIMER: This day and the preceding days & photos are from before we arrived in England. Just testing how this blog works by using photos available on the Internet (the Guardian newspaper). These are NOT my photos.

Today’s Key Events:

55kg Greco Roman Wrestling

Equestrian – individual jumping

Athletics – GB team sweetheart Jessica Ennis celebrates gold @ Hyde Park

with a few of her fans

London 2012 – 0804/Sat

Today’s Key Events:

Athletics – A massive smile beams over the face of Jessica Ennis as she wins gold for Britain in the women’s heptathlon and celebrates after crossing the line in the final event, the 800m.

Triathlon – official timekeepers photograph from Omega shows the finish of the women’s triathlon race. Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig won the Olympic women’s triathlon from Sweden’s Lisa Norden after a dramatic photo finish.

 470 Women’s Class Sailing – Dramatic skies are pictured over Weymouth Harbour as competition begins in the 470 Women’s Class Sailing.

London 2012 – 0803/Fri

Today’s Key Events:


Athletics – Finally, track & field starts with the W 100 meter heats.


Cycling – Well, Team GB surely likes the Velodrome with it’s cycling events.


Cycling – “Victoria Pendleton follows the derny in the women’s Keirin heats at the Velodrome. Pendleton went through first.” What the heck is a derny?