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Arthur’s Column

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! 😉

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