The May Day Bank Holiday weekend (May 1st - May 4th, 1998) was a mixed one for The Angel regulars.
Of particular note was the final appearance, behind the bar at least of Elaine, aka Lainey, who was departing to a new alliterative career patiently and probably painlessly packing petfood. We all wished her luck, over and over again, and will doubtless meet her the right side of the bar, when she will find out just what we have to put up with.
Her replacements (one barmaid could NEVER replace her) were rumoured to be Susie and Sharon, of whom more anon as they settle into the round of coarse insults that regularly ring round the bar.(Editor's note: They obviously weren't too impressed, because neither lasted very long.)
Another newcomer to the bar that weekend was a barrel of Marstons Pedigree, as part of Aunty Wainwright's never-ceasing quest to make extra profits out of us hard-pressed drinkers. We'll see. Personally, I'm waiting for the arrival of gallons of Gale's HSB from Horndean. Then we shall know the true value of "guest beers".
Saturday also saw a return visit as live entertainers of Mo's House Band, Devil's Dream, who regularly practised in the dining room. Possibly best described as a Bluegrass-Celto-Folkrock combo, they made some nice noises, particularly when driven on by thumping bass and a well-played electric violin. "The Devil Came Down To Georgia" inspired Trevor to sway gently at the bar and demand an encore, while that stock-in-trade favourite of every inebriated would-be Irishman, "Wild Rover" had him (Trevor, that is) thumping the bar with gusto. My particular favourite of the evening was the anthem of the unemployed, "Whisky on me Giro", which had Thin Lizzy fans everywhere singing along.
We are promised there is more to come.
Mo, meanwhile, was smiling serenely, and the Tia Maria took another hammering.
Just before Christmas (1998), Sally (Mo's daughter-in-law) and Jason became the proud parents of Holly. Mo is delighted and has hardly stopped smiling since, except when the Tia Maria ran out. Well done everybody.
Tony Ward spent Christmas in the Lake District - doubtless summoning up the muse of the Romantic Poet. "When all at once, I saw a crowd, a host of pints of IPA ..."?
Colin "Some Old Salty" Phillips, on the other hand, spent Christmas reliving his childhood fantasies with Mickey Mouse. His excuse was that his own kids "wanted" to go. Course they did, Colin, we understand. So did the Florida Highway Patrol when he went "left hand down a bit" forgetting that our former colonial cousins do things the other way round. Crunch. Apparently the car rental company were quite understanding too. It makes one wonder how the Royal Navy actually managed to find Trafalgar, let alone emerge victorious. Welcome back, Colin. Glad you found us.
Mo's fruit machine, the profits from which normally fund at least 7 foreign holidays a year, has been excessively generous recently, with payouts well beyond the normal house limit of 50p. The only downside of this has been that there are rumours that the winners did not obey the other house rule of "putting it all back in." Look out lads, or it will be shove ha'penny next year.
IPA has now (Jan. 99) reached £1.80 per pint. Triumph is over £2. Christmas Ale has been a good buy this year. Latest addition to the "guest list" is something called Mansfield "Old Bailey" (4.8 abv). Haven't tried it yet. I'll let you know.
Tony Ward and Wilf Farrance celebrated their 54th birthdays over the weekend of 9/10 January, 1999. Such celebrations are renowned for lasting a long time. This one did ...
The Angel has been honoured with guests from foreign parts in recent weeks: Bryan Morgan, formerly of Angel Lane, now of Munich; Fran, Mo's friend from Geneva; and the inimitable Alun Williams from Brisbane, via Entebbe. Welcome one - welcome all.
The new year has seen continued success for the quiz team. On 3 January we celebrated with a grand win over the Acton Crown, but 10 January was even better: against a strong Black Lion team, we only dropped one question of our own, and ran out with a record score of 67 - 51. Unfortunately, the next week saw a dip in form, when we lost by 2 points to the Rose and Crown at Bridge Street, after being 13 points ahead at half time. Ho hum.
Ho hum indeed. After that we drew 52-all with the Horse and Groom, Sudbury, and then lost 51 - 50 to the up-and-comers from The Brook, Great Cornard.
However, we got our own back the next week with a resounding 63 - 42 win.
Revenge is sweet.
But its only a game ...
As recorded elsewhere, there has been trouble with the music at The Angel lately. However, Mo's brand new Dansette-update has been wowing the regulars with its dulcet tones for several weeks now, with no apparent trouble, other than an excess of Harry Nillson.
Things have improved since that nice Roger person constructed a new shelf for it so that it doesn't get shaken by the frequent rattling of the over-worked till.
Mind you, Colin hasn't been let near it, and Lawrence hasn't offered to fine tune it yet.
Broken News: however, Mark Godfrey reports that the machine he lent Mo in the weeks of silence has since refused to work. Perhaps "The Angel" ghost has taken over the machine.
Jos and Jane flew off recently for a long weekend in New York. Daring or what? They planned to stay in a hotel on the 34th Floor (although this turned out to be the 5th floor (US hyperbole, I suspect) - but was enlivened by a (dead) cockroach), go up the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty, and take a Manhattan Helicopter trip, as well as seeing "Phantom" on Broadway. Problem? Not really, except that Jane is rumoured to be nervous of flying and heights. Another Ho hum there, I think.
Jos reports that it was a great success, and denies all rumours of air rage.
Apart from the odd game of Spot The Tourist, cribbage is the main pub game played at the Angel. The pub supports a Wednesday evening team in the local league. Let it be recorded that on 20 January 1999, THEY WON! ... and they won again (10 - 5) on 10 February.
We won't mention what happened in between, but since then, they seem, somehow, to have carried on winning, including a resounding 11 - 4 win on 24 March.
The Quiz team celebrated long and loud on 14 February having beaten our bÍtes noires, the Waggon and Horses A team, Sudbury, by the resounding score of 56 - 42. Bloody Marvellous. And after that, have continued with victories over the Swan, Melford and The Greyhound, Lavenham. Then we lost to the Hadleigh Ram, beat the Waggon and Horses B (good game that - fun people) and then, woe of woe, we lost to the Acton Crown (see below). Sue Savage must be rocking with laughter.