Archive for April, 1995

Last week in London …

April 30th, 1995 No comments

Today was my birthday. Quiet affair – few drinks with friends and the baby’s first day out. Wierd how he’s quite happy to ride around in the car, in fact it seems to placate him. I guess he hasn’t yet learned the concept of “accident”!

We are exhibiting at Internet World International ’95 – 16-18 May at Wembley arena. Come and have a giggle if nothing else! We are trying to persuade a few London breweries to donate a keg, in which case it may be possible to acquire a pint by mentioning your pent up desire to meet Arthur in the flesh…

Damon Hill won the San Morino Grand Prix today. Only managed to watch a few laps, so I will have to watch the rerun on Eurosport sometime. It appears that Michael Shumacker didn’t feature. David Coulthard has to be the one to watch this season. Unbelievably talented driver, he looks certain to give Damon a run for his money. Nigel Mansell managed to do very little, and of course the Ferraris seemed to find that extra 5% that they have lacked in most of the races recently in front of their home crowd. F1 is much more interesting this year than it has been for a while.

Snooker – Jimmy White is out, and it looks like Steven Hendry is going on to take the World Chamionship yet again. He plays like a machine! I dont know if you saw the perfect (147 point) break yesterday, but it blew my mind. Practise makes perfect?!? By now he has won the finals yet again.

Pubs to watch – for a typical british pub why not try The Copper on Tower Bridge road? The illustrious web writer Andres, our artist Neil (Line and Design) and I had a few too many and played snooker a good deal less proficiently than Stephen Hendry there on Saturday. Plotting things for the show and a new look for the Mall. Watch this space! Anyway, The Copper is a reasonably decent pub with a reasonably small pool table with reasonably large pockets (faster games make more money I guess). Earlier we were at The George which has been mentioned more than once in this column. Now there they have a game called Bar Billiards. Basically its a pool table which has some holes in the middle rather than around the outside, and different holes count for different scores. You’ll have to go and look yourselves – too tricky to describe here. Fiendishly good game to play.

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Arthur’s Neural Aerobics

April 23rd, 1995 No comments

This test is to measure your intelligence, your fluency with words and your creativity. In the three years since this test was developed there have been few people who could solve more than half the 26 questions at the first try.

Many however, reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, particularly at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed, and some reported answering questions over a period of days.

There’s no glitterig prize for solving this challenge, though a Solution Page with your name (and photo?) on it, with perhaps a mention in the next Arthur’s Column (hence gaining the eternal respect of your peers) would be suitable reward for the first set of correct answers.

SEND COMPLETED TESTS TO: [email protected]

Question: 16 = O in a P Answer: Ounces in a Pound

Now spend sleepless nights with these:

1.   26 = L of the A                        14.     3 = BM (SHTR)
2.    7 = D of the W                        15.     4 = Q in a G
3. 1001 = AN                                16.    24 = H in a D
4.   12 = S of the Z                        17.     1 = W on a U
5.   54 = C in a P of C                     18.     6 = D in a PC
6.    9 = P in the SS                       19.    57 = HV
7.   88 = PK on the KB                      20.    11 = P in a FT
8.   13 = S on the AF                       21.  1000 = W that a P is W
9.   32 = DF at which WF                    22.    29 = D in F in a LY
10.  18 = H on a GC                         23.    64 = S on a CB
11.  90 = D in a RA                         24.    40 = D and N of the GF
12.  20 = R in the TT                       25.    76 = T in a BP
13.   7 = S on a FPP                        26.    10 = GB on a W
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Last week in London …

April 16th, 1995 No comments

I thought I’d leave the baby picture up for a week or two – it proved so popular last week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Firstly, congratulations to Michael Sharpe and Kalvinder Singh of James Cook University in far north Queensland Australia for the most complete answers submitted to the puzzle thus far. While I did not ask for answers to be submitted, it is amusing to see the variations on a theme that crop up!

This week has been a long haul changing nappies and doing such other mundane things that fatherhood (for the new age man?!?) seems to demand. Babies are incredibly demanding creatures – give me a kitten any day! End result is that I have visited exactly 0 pubs this week! TRAGEDY. So I will tell you about one that I went to last week just before the baby was born. Didn’t write it up last week as I was a tad busy with the birth etc…

The Trout is in Oxfordshire. Actually it is really close to Oxford. If you want to find the place whatever you do don’t phone and ask for directions – one sure way to get lost. I tried this and concluded that the bar staff live on the premises from birth, and commute by canal boat! Basically you go round the Oxford ring road north towards the airport and go down past the Forte Moat House hotel at the second roundabout (assuming you’re coming from London). We went there on Good Friday for lunch. Idyllic surroundings on the Thames river bank, just below a weir. There is a lock off to the one side for the narrow boats that frequent this part of the Thames, and the weir is in place to maintain the relative flatness of the Thames for these boats.

The lunch was quite ordinary, but the scenery more than made up for it. It is great to get out of London on a weekend. Unfortunately most Londoners agree with this sentiment, with the result that traffic jams and tailbacks are inevitable. To give you an indication of the frustration of travelling in this part of the world I will describe my route to The Trout.

We started by joining the A40 at Holland Park, intending to simply head out to Oxford (the A40 goes directly to Oxford). Within 1 mile we were going about 5 miles per hour in a traffic jam. I spoke to a friend who we were meeting at the pub and I knew was ahead of us by mobile, and he told me that the traffic jam stretched past the M25(London’s outer ring road). This would make the next 5 miles take about 1 hour, so I ducked south through Hammersmith to the M4 (the road to Heathrow). This was relatively clear and we had a great run as far as Slough. The M4 runs sort of parrallel to the A40 to the south, and there is a fast link between the two at Henley which we intended to take. Things started to back up at the first off ramp to Slough, so we headed off the M4 on to the old A4 road. This was still quite quick for the next 4 miles. Then we reached a point where there was an off-ramp from the M4, and hit a massive tailback. At this stage we decided to chance the motorway again (on the basis that most of the cars seemed to have left at this junction). Sure enough, traffic was moving at about 50mph, so we were able to move fairly fast to the link road via Henley and Maidenhead. From here it was up to the M40, on to the A40, and on to Oxford. The excercise took 3 hours, compared to just over 1 1/2 hours returning.

Other than that, not much to report from the last week. Still quite cold and miserable at the moment, but maybe it will improve? It is supposed to be summer you know!

Until next week I bid you adieu.

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A baby boy!

April 16th, 1995 No comments

Just a quick note this week. Sunday was a special day for me – my wife gave birth to a 7lb 4oz boy! Hence my late writing of this column, and its brevity.

Anton is born!

Anton is born!

3.00AM on Sunday morning and off we went to the famous Guy’s hospital. We only got to bed after a dinner party at 2.00AM, so I wasn’t all that keen to go anywhere. Anyway the staff at the Guy’s labour ward were very professional, and after only 8 hours young Anton was born. Not without a few worrying moments, cord round neck and other such fun! It is an amazing experience to watch the birth happen, and I would strongly advise any budding fathers out there to go and watch at the birth.

Then its off to the maternity ward (floor above) where for only GBP50 you can hire your own personal room. Having duly done this we ignored the signs and got the mobile to work letting the rellies know. “Anton is a very pretty baby” (of course!). Wifey was hungry (dinner was given back to yours truly in the early stages of labour) and do you think we could get a bite to eat? Not a sausage. Had to go to McDonalds and invest in some junk food. Have to ask what all the taxes that go to NHS are spent on. Certainly not the facilities at Guy’s.

Then again, Guy’s is one of the hospitals that is scheduled to be closed down by Virginia Bottomley (our illustrious Health Minister). Something to do with efficiency and redundant beds?!? Didn’t see too many redundant beds when I was there! Crazy stuff is happening with the British health service. Great pity – it seems to me that the system is just progresively being destroyed.

I don’t have a huge amount of inspiration for any chatter this week, so if you dont mind I’ll just sign off for now and resume my normal writing next week. Have a great week wherever you are, and remember, whatever time zone you’re in, the odds are I am awake! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Arthur’s Column

April 9th, 1995 No comments

Pubs covered in this issue:

  • Messy Murphy’s (Fleet Street)
  • The Anchor Tap (SE1 Tower Bridge)
  • The Ship (Wandsworth)

Quiet week for a change. Lovely warm sunshine and dry conditions quite unlike what one expects from London weather.

Messy Murphy’s is a new pub in Fleet street which had a visit from the team this week. It (like Ryan’s) serves Guiness imported from Dublin. It’s quite small, and seems really popular. The decor has been well thought out. Well recommended for a visit.

Friday evening ther was time for a quick few (along with zillions of people) at The Blackfriar, then it was off to The Anchor Tap for a beer while I waited for wifey to join me for dinner. The Anchor Tap is on Butler’s Wharf, and is situated where a brewery use to stand. Alas, they don’t brew there any more. The pub is OK, but the beer wasn’t to my liking.

Dinner with Wifey at Conran’s The Butler’s Wharf Chophouse restaraunt. Quite expensive and not quite fantastic food. I would rate the Chophouse below the other restaurants in the group. I should explain that there are 3 other restaurants in the Conran group located on Butler’s Wharf. Starting with The Chophouse (from west to east) we have Pont de la Tour (most expensive and very nice), La Cantina (very good) and The Blueprint Cafe. The Blueprint is by far my favourite.

Had liquid lunch today at The Ship in Wandsworth. Very crowded (sunny day on the river etc.), and the food ran out. Its a good spot to go if you want to meet between Putney and the City. Many flashy cars and bikes parked in front while the beautiful people sunned themselves. Minor altercation as a red car of indiscriminate breeding made contact with a brand new Audi open top. All adds to the day’s entertainment!

I walked to work a number of times this week. The reason I mention this is because my route takes me past many famous London tourist sites. I thought I might take you on an abbreviated virtual walk in this week’s column.

Lets start where I live. It’s a converted warehouse on an inlet that goes south off the Thames called St Saviour’s Dock. The roof is held up by huge wooden beams, and one can easily imagine the days when it was a warehouse. In fact, in the bathroom there are marks on the one side of the beam that are of the sort that would be made if a worker was playing darts with a knife. At high tide I have a view of the water (eye to eye with a duck). At low tide I can see the mud and refuse that constitute the river bed (about 15 feet below the window).

From St Saviour’s dock I walk west through Butler’s wharf. This is where the apartment scene in “A Fish called Wanda” was filmed (John Cleese hanging out of the window). Again, lots of warehouses, most of them converted into reasonably expensive accomodation. This brings me to Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge was one of the great engineering feats of the last century. Built in 1894 it was at its time very advanced, with a fascinating mechanism to raise and lower the central leaves. Huge “accumulators” (essentially heavy weights) are raised about 50 feet by water which is pumped by a large steam engine powered pump. Then, when the bridge is to open, this stored potential energy is transferred (again by water through pipes) to rotary engines which act on cogs and raise the counter-weighted leaves.

From Tower Bridge I have the choice of walking along the south or the north of the Thames. This week I favoured the South bank. The walk takes me past the HMS Belfast – a World War Warship which is permanently moored for tourists to tramp all over. The it’s under London Bridge, past the Kathleen May and the Old Clink Prison. Many really interesting sites. I would recommend this walk if you have some time in London – it gives a great feel for how the city developed.

Further on the walk takes me past the new Globe Theatre. This replica of the original shakesperean theatre is nearing completion. No doubt it will be ready for summer performances. It will be interesting to watch Shakespeare in its original setting.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for all the supportive emails. Those of you who have already emailed me will be notified by email about the London Mall bash. As for the rest of you… watch this spot! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Arthur’s Column

April 4th, 1995 No comments

Well here we are then…

This column will henceforth work from Monday to Monday (I usually only get around to writing on Sunday evening quite late).

Pubs covered in this issue:

  • Blackfriar
  • The Albion
  • Punch and Judy
  • The Ship
  • The Roebuck
  • The Anchor Bankside

So there we were yesterday, along with zillions of others, doing the “watch the Oxford Cambridge thing”. Rumour has it that this is the most watched televised sporting event in the world. I guess its brevity contributes to this status! Cambridge won (cost me a few quid…)

The Ship was unbelievably crowded. A great pub on a summer’s day, its position on the bank of the Thames close to Chiswick Bridge (the finish) makes it a dead cert for “where to watch the race from”. There were huge amounts of people, queues a mile long for the toilet, and altogether the makings of a huge party. All this for 2 rowing boats passing by for all of 30 seconds is a bit thick… but that is what it’s all about. Still, have to recommend The Ship as a great pub on any vaguely decent day.

Eventually the crowds got too much for my about-to-have-a-baby wife and we adjourned to quieter surrounds at the top of Richmond Hill outside The Roebuck. Richmond is a rather nice, rather expensive part of London about 6 miles west of the West End. The Roebuck is on the top of a hill where (so I’m told) Mick Jagger and Michelle Pfieffer took up residence at different times (and different places). Richmond Park is close to The Roebuck, and is full of deer, hence the name. A truly stunning park, I would recommend that anyone visiting London for longer than a day or two goes for a walk (or drive) around the park. The pub was originally built in 1749, so I guess it has about 250 years of practice at selling beers to those who want to soak up the sun at the top of Richmond Hill. I should mention that the weather was really warm yesterday, totally out of keeping with the rest of the week…

Monday dawned with that look of “snow’s about”. And so it was. Snow and sleet through most of the morning just made it miserable, none of the romance of a real snowy day, and definitely none of the warmth of a spring day.

Tuesday evening saw me delve into the depths of the Punch and Judy in Covent Garden. There they were filming some sort of rubbish about girls drinking pints (something to do with a new beer called “femme fatale”). Now if you see me on film saying I think girls drinking out of pints is bad, please ignore it. I have no opinion either way over whether girls should drink out of pint glasses, actually I think the entire argument is silly. Just had to stir the film crew up a bit…

Wednesday lunchtime saw a steak in The Albion (Ludgate Circus). Advertising itself as a “Big Steak Pub” it held out promise for a memorable lunch. Alas, it was not to be. A rather mediocre steak in a rather mediocre pub.

The Blackfriar is an altogether different kettle of fish. Now I have to ask… what exactly is a kettle of fish?!?! The Blackfriar has the most amazing decor, and is a really interesting pub for a drink. Situated opposite Blackfriar’s station it usually has a fair crowd drinking outside it on a sunny day. The King Lud also got a look in this week. Really good pub.

Many great advances in the Mall this week. Mark McCormack has written many very interesting books, so its good to see his group the IMG joining the Mall. I personally am working as hard as I can toward the day when I can spend 9 months on a boat running my business from the sea! IMG run a whole bunch of interesting events, and we will be featuring many of them, starting with the Hampton Court Festival.

Well today was the London Marathon. I don’t know who won, but I have an enormous amount of respect for all those who took part, particularly the slower ones who were battling to keep up with the garbage trucks at the back. Running a marathon is no mean feat, and I would be proud to be able to say that I had done so. Well done all who took part! We had a particularly enjoyable time near Tower Bridge thanks to a band playing Blues Brothers tunes. This was followed by a rather enjoyable lunch at The Anchor Bankside between Southwark and London bridges on the south side of the river. There you can sit outside in the sun (when it shines!).

That’s all for this week. Why not send me an email? Always great to get ideas from you readers out there. Next week I will let you know about the London Mall bash. I have been a bit recalcitrant because I am likely to be in hospital with the wife watching her do the old baby thing next week, and I hate to miss a party. Anyway, watch this spot!

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