The Stour Valley needs its railway back

Changing Times ...
The Angel Soars

The Stour Valley needs its railway back

New Tales from The Angel
- The Thorogood Era

Lest there be any doubt, these pages are an unofficial record of the goings on at The Angel, from the partisan point of view of a paying customer. All views expressed are those of the author. So up yours, Greene King.

7 December 2001

Settling In Nicely: More Changes

Since the last edition of these pages, Peter has displayed a keenness to augment and improve the ambience of The Angel. Apparently, they talk posh like that in Melford.
What it really means is that, having had Tommo paint the place green, our enterprising landlord has come up with several new ways of making his mark.
The greenness has been extended behind the bar to complete the seamlessly integrated liaison between staff and customer. (S**t - must stop talking Melford). What that means is that its all one colour.
Next, the intrepid Tommo braved the glazier's tools to replace the venerable frosted glass in the front bow window with heavy bullseye pains. It hasn't fallen out yet.
We are now open to the gaze of the poor benighted folk on their way to and from The Cock. Some of us feel this makes a case for net curtains, but PT disagrees.
But the best was yet to come.

If the cap fits ...

Before I get on to the even more significant decorative changes, I feel obliged to venture into a vein of seriousness not familiar to my readers.

I need to point out to online readers at this point that I also place hard copy of these pages in the bar of The Angel.

When the last update was put on display, someone was obviously offended by my reference to "blow ins", and appended a typescript in reply to my comments. This took the form of an unremittingly vitriolic diatribe against people who cannot reply for themselves, accompanied by some unpleasant comments about the acquisitiveness of the same people. It was totally out of kilter with the tone of this whole document. It was anonymous.

First of all, let me make it clear to my hardcopy readers that that appendage was not of my making. I would not poison the spirit of these pages by reprinting it here.
Secondly, I also need to point out something which I thought might have been obvious. These pages are written for fun and with a smile.
Thirdly, I sign these pages.
Fourthly, someone wrote that "Anonymity is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
As for blow-ins, as I said: "If the cap fits, ...".

Exploring the fabric of The Angel

After that brief and unwonted/unwanted drift into the outpourings of someone's spleen, back to more important matters.

When the Thorogoods first moved in, Peter displayed his talent for acute observation, when he noticed that The Angel has chimneys.
With typical perspicacity, he also worked out that where there was a chimney, there might be a fireplace.
Not being one to mess about or waste time, our intrepid newcomer went looking for it, despite being assured by the longest-standing customers that they had never seen one, except on the outside wall of the bar.
But Peter wasn't looking there: he was searching right in the middle of the building, in the back bar (formerly "Mo's Eyrie"), right next to the staircase.

In a trice, the carpet was rolled back, the panelling was down, and the search began in earnest. With amazing speed, the explorers found what they were looking for - the remains of a hearth. Further investigations revealed a flue open to the chimney, except for a sack of straw stuffed half way up.
A rapid visit to a buildings reclaim depot (Melford-speak for scrapyard) provided an antique fireplace which was rapidly installed, together with fittings, appropriate tiles, a mantelshelf with ornaments, and a big mirror.
A grand lighting ceremony was held on 1 December.
So far, the old place has not burned down.

The new feature has been welcomed by everybody. It looks absolutely right, and adds immensely to the "feel" of the place.
Photos will be added when they come back from the chemist.

Photos now available here.

Now why didn't someone else think of that?

So: one day Peter was talking to that nice Mr Orton about what else needed to be done to improve the pub. "What about those steps?" said the nice Mr O. "What about them?"
Well - (we are talking about the steps up into the Eyrie, where the fruit machine used to be before Mo's changes, which used to go up, turn left and go up again, with a railing across the bend, as it were) - why not take out the railing, make the steps go straight, replace the railing to the side, and create a cosy corner beside the big window?
Why not indeed?
So he did.
And there it is.
A straight run to the loo.
Rumour has it that Peter is still looking for new ways to perk up the place. What next, we ask? Suggestions, please, on the label of a bottle of Lagavulin ...
(Photos to follow)

Team News

You can probably write this one yourselves.

The crib team have been losing (except for one game). An ashen-faced Nice Mr Orton has been heard to blame the fall of the cards, and to threaten wholesale changes to the team.
Personally, I think there's a spooky coincidence in the wooden-spoon chasing antics of the cribbers and the fortunes of Ipswich Town this season.
Except, of course, that the cribbers have yet to play their away match against the San Siro Hearts and Clubs Wanderers.

On the other hand, the Quiz team keep winning - except for one game.

No change there then.

We are getting some wonderful sandwiches, however.

Extra Quiz News

Driven by a desire to encourage the greater general knowledge of the clientèle, the esteemed Mr Thorogood has twice thrown open the doors of The Angel to extra quiz matches: once when the Sunday team had a week off, but felt in need of a challenge; and once when a Thursday night looked as though it would be empty, so PT organised an open night for willing teams. Both events were jolly good fun. The results are irrelevant, but the good guys won, and it's a lovely watch, Peter.

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Such was their desperation to see the changes for themselves, Old Salty and Fran flew in from Geneva (courtesy Mr easyJet). They semed impressed, and will be back in December. I've corrected the French, Fran.

The rest is...

Lots of other things happen at The Angel:

  • I'm still looking for assistance in the form of literary and literate correspondents to take up the cudgels on behalf of those other regulars, the Tea Time club and the Sunday Soaks. There is, after all, a whole set of alternative cultures about which we Last Knockings drinkers know nothing, and of which readers of these pages need to be informed. Let me know.
  • The Eyrie is developing its own in-crowd. Hannah and Ellie seem to have adopted it for their quiet chats ("Strictly between you and me and the rest of the pub ...").
  • The Whippersnapper still makes it back from Chelmsford quite regularly; he's even been known to speak to his grandfather.
  • Jules from next door has taken on some bar duties to give PT and Mel time off. Welcome.
  • The standard of pictures, cartoons and wittinesses in the pub and its loos continues to improve. Very welcome additions, these.
  • No guest ales yet. There are sound commercial reasons, we're told.
  • We're assured there will be no tacky Christmas decorations this year. Another sign of a change for the better.
  • Plans are afoot for another Poems and Pints evening in January. PT is all for it, and threatens promises to treat us to some Kipling.
    No Robert, not shop-bought apple pies.

... is silence

I'd like to report that the music has taken a big turn for the better.

I can't. We're missing "The Kippers at Christmas" already.

Back into October and November 2001

I've decided to keep each addition to these pages separate, rather than simply add length. I hope regular readers will not get too confused.

Follow this link

Forward to the 2001 Christmas Season

Page maintained by Steve Clarke, Copyright(c) Steve Clarke. Created: 10/11/99 Updated: 03/01/2002