Saturday 13 February 1999 saw ex-lodger Chris celebrate his 50th birthday. Your correspondent was not present, but reports suggest a good time was had by all, but not anything that they can remember, or will admit to.
The ancient Angel tradition of table surfing was honoured. Trevor, as befits a parish councillor, lost his trousers - to whom, is not clear.
And Lainey Love discovered new uses for spoons ... feminine fashion will never be the same.
Ivan Pearson got home late.
On February 20, Mo did the honours with a bar of Glorious Greene King IPA in the Village Hall to celebrate Marilyn and Steve's Silver Wedding, their collective 50th birthdays, Alex's 21st and Pip's 18th. People came from far and near, and a wonderful time was had by all (from what I can remember).
Long time afficionados of the Angel Scene will recognise a "new" face behind the bar. Brett is back. Not as good looking as Elaine, Mo or Jenny, Steve Brett is, nevertheless, well-versed in the traditions of the Angel, having spent a spell behind the bar several years ago. Then he decided he had better things to do with his time. That was his excuse, anyway.
Three daughters later (the latest, Kayla, was born at the end of February), he now thinks he had better concentrate on something else, so he has substituted emptying bottles of milk and changing nappies for emptying botttles of beer and changing barrels. Welcome back, Steve. Does Caroline know?
The 27th March has been and gone. ...
John "Chas" Chandler, stalwart and bulwark of the Quiz Team, reports the safe arrival of Samantha, on 26 March. Well done, Lee. Mind you, his mind wasn't on the quiz on Sunday. We got stuffed by "The Crown", Acton, 61 - 48. Can't have everything, I suppose.
You will have read with admiration of Jos 'n' Jane's recent excursion to the New World.
Well, now I can report their latest exploit: a day out in Inverness for the Easter weekend. Foregoing the delights of international flying, they succumbed instead to the wonders of inter-regional, nay international, motor cycling.
Setting off from Glemsford, on Good Friday they headed for the English Lake District. On Saturday the trusty machine swept them further northwards to the borders, then to the lowlands, and then up the dear old A9 to the capital of the Highlands for the night. They report the consumption of excellent real ale, haggis and malt whisky, and the luxury of a four poster bed.
All this, and they were still back home in time for several pints of Triumph before "closing time" on Sunday, with 1300 miles under their leathers.
Easter Saturday saw The Angel packed with visitors.
Rowan, Mo's other son, finally made it back for the tenth anniversary.
Never mind, Rowan, only a week late.
He brought with him a bunch of mates (including Jem) from the Big City. Being 0171-ers, they drank an assortment of strange concoctions and were reportedly disappointed that The Angel has not been converted into a Ballykissangel lookalike. However, they all behaved themselves impeccably and did not once try to use a mobile phone.
Tony Ward also brought visitors in the form of Carl and Iris from Chelmsford.
On Easter Sunday, the place was packed to the very pumps at lunchtime, but the evening ended quietly, like all Angel evenings. Visitors of note included Esme Smith, secretary of the Local History Society, along with her husband, their son, and his lady, visiting Glemsford from the USA.
Thus more international links are formed. Mo's old friend, Fran, had easyJet-ted in from Geneva again, to maintain the existing links. Welcome one, welcome all.
The quiz team eventually only stuttered to the end of the season, finishing fourth behind the Rose and Crown, the Waggon and Hearses, and someone else.
It didn't help losing three out of the last four games, including (by two points) the grudge match against the Black Lion.
Our defeat by the Rose and Crown, again by two points, was only made bearable by the fact that their win almost guaranteed them the League title above the aforesaid W & H. If anyone suggests we lost on purpose, we'll refer them to our solicitors.
Otherwise, the rest is a matter of bar room trivia (if it's not all that). We now have a new Maggie behind the bar on Thursdays (new to the bar, that is, and poached from the Black Lion). "Old Speckled Hen" has been back in the cellar. The Crib team finished quite successfully, which reminds me ...
The Crib League traditionally finishes its season with a competition between the landlords and landladies of the various hostelries which play in the League. Never one to miss a trick (every pun intended), Mo asked Roger to represent her. So he did. And he won. Well done Roger. Apparently, there were some sour grapes from another competitor who felt Roger was ineligible. Tough.
Actually, May Day weekend Sunday, but never mind. Dave Bonner organised a traditional Angel Barbie for Mo on 2 May. The local medical services have been put on a state of amber alert. We'll see.
...Loude singe cuckoo
Despite all the bad news flying around at present, life in "The Angel" continues in a slightly soporific early-summery way. As noted elsewhere, the music has been changing a bit, not always for the better, and it has to be said that an air of despondency settled on the bar for a brief while, with the success of Man U. and the failure of Ipswich Town to make the Premiership.
There was even little comment when a pint of our favourite tipple reached £1.84 the pint, and Hula Hoops went up to 33p.
Not content with New York and Scotland, Jos is off again. This time, it's the West Coast of America and the Rockies, in the company of other like-minded biking enthusiasts. Flying out to Los Angeles, Jos and his mates will be picking up Harley Road Kings to begin a three week odyssey around the rugged parts of the far west of the USA.
It should be noted that all references to "Easy Rider" and Steppenwolf have already been officially banned in the pub.
Jos promises plenty of postcards, which I will upload to this site, and a video, which I won't.
The Ivan Slater Memorial Cup, a crib trophy competed for in-house in memory of a much-respected member of the crib team, and long time regular of The Angel, was won on 2 June, 1999, by that nice Mr Roger Orton (qv). In a gripping final, he roundly defeated Mr Robert Chilwell, who had in turn disposed of Mo, herself, in the semis. A grand time was had by all.
Just a week later, Roger sufferred a shock defeat in the House Crib cup when Steve Brett played a storming series of games to emerge victorious.
As reported above, Jos has been swanning around the good ol' U. S. of A. on a two wheeled machine with a powerful low-slung engine. Briefly, he arrived home safely, having sent two postcards. I've not been able to scan them yet, but will.
You have been warned.
Colin "Old Salty" Phillips is on the look out for a crew again, for this year's attempt to take the title in this year's Sudbury Raft Race.
In case you might be tempted, you can read about last year's effort here.
You can take it from us that references to "beasts from the heavens bringing about the end of the world" were obvious references to "The Angel" (get it?), and the doom referred to was the fact that Mo's bottle of Tia Maria ran out just before midnight. Such gloom and despondency has never been known.
Never mind; the world was rapidly saved by the presence of mind of dear old Tony Ward, who provided a replacement.
Phew: we can all sleep safely from now on.
Inevitably, there has been a succession of comings and goings in recent weeks. Wardy has disappeared somewhere between Lyon and Perpignan, for about a month. If you need to contact him, try the bar, any bar, or the nearest Templar relic.
Tim and Rosie are off to the Dordogne soon.
As recorded above, Jos has already been biking in the US.
That nice Jim person had a jolly good time in Switzerland: god knows how he coped with all the hills; as a Norwich City supporter, he's not used to even a gentle slope, and never, in normal circumstances, ventures beyond Skates Hill, in case of vertigo.
Old Salty Phillips has, inevitably, spent a good deal of time at Luton Airport. He always did know how to live.
Your host has recently returned, with family, from the fair Isle of Skye, with tales of derring-do and local real ale. You may have to suffer a new page about that one.
More holiday snaps as they arrive.
Mo has finally persuaded her providers of Fine Ale to rustle up another couple of barrels of Gales HSB, and wonderful drinking it is, too. Some would say too good because it does seem to have a certain propensity to provoke exaggerated sideways movement among its drinkers.
10 August saw the return of a peripatetic band of minstrels to "The Angel", purveying a mix of largely Irish-orientated acoustic folk, including some magical flute and bodhran, penny whistle and melodeon, coupled to some flatback mandolin and guitar, and Sarah Wright's beautiful voice. A good evening ...
... by the return the very next evening of Van Morrison to Mo's Sound System. Oh Calamity, as Robertson Hare would have said.
August 11 1999 will be remembered for the solar eclipse. Needless to say, "The Angel" celebrated in style, with frequent cries of "Isn't it dark?" and "What eclipse?". Beer prices remained exactly the same, and the new fruit machine again failed to pay out. It was dark by closing time.
Long known for her preparedness to venture into the arcane realms of musical entertainment, Mo recently astounded us all by giving laser space on the CD player to some lightweight jazz classics, sponsored by that nice man Roger. To the strains of Billy Eckstine and others, us regulars were transported briefly to the foyer of a seedy 2 star hotel in Eastbourne. As if by magic, the bar cleared dead on closing time when Louis Armstrong grinned his way through "Wonderful World".
We think it was a plot.
No sooner had Robbie Earle and Mark Venus dusted down their football boots for the new season, than "The Angel" crib team swept into their own new season action.
True to form, they lost their first two matches, including an 11 - 4 drubbing by "The Perseverance" from Long Melford.
My Geneva correspondent reports:
"Here in Switzerland it has been very nice and hot. I will just let you know that Colin "Old Salty" Phillips even left Luton Airport, flew over to Geneva and spent a good time in the mountains, walking up and down (ask him about his knees), picking up blueberries, eating "raclette"(swiss speciality) and drinking good wine ! "
Now, I ask you, is this any way to train for the all-important raft race?
Or so it would seem, since that ever-so-pleasant person Neil Porter seems to be spending more time sampling glasses filled with IPA than glass tubes filled by his patients. If they had them these days, I reckon he should be reported to matron.
Oak-smoked peanuts have been challenging Hula Hoops in the snack popularity stakes of late. Must be the hot weather.
In fact this latest gourmet treat has proved so popular that Mo had sold out BEFORE the Bank Holiday.
The chances of "The Angel" winning this year's Sudbury Raft Race were ruined when Colin "Old Salty" Phillips' crew refused to sail under his flag of (in)convenience. They said they had other things to do with their spare time on a Bank Holiday.
Faced with this insurrection, Colin, now re-named "Captain Bligh", had no choice but to abandon his entry for the race.
Our Naval expert reports: "An ashen-faced Colin told me that he was "gutted ... at the antics of the lily-livered scum from the bilges", that he would like to see them "impaled on the sharp end of the raft" and that, yes, he would have a pint."
Nelson never had this trouble.
As promised, Mo's final Bank Holiday Barbie was a great success, with huge quantities of delicious meats and assorted goodies being both cooked to charcoal and consumed with relish (and pickle, and chutney, and who writes this rubbish?). If anything, larger quantities of fine ale were also consumed. Judging by the Tia Maria bottle on Monday morning, Mo did alright too.
Little did we think however that, "bash" would be taken quite so literally, until Mo dcided to move her car to make room for the revelries. Who put that concrete post there, anyway? Did it move? Is the scratch reparable? I think we should be told.
We are all still waiting to find out the identity of Mo's successor.
We can wait.
Mo's final weekend at The Angel was, as you might expect, celebrated in some style.
It had always been intended that the main thrash would take place on that final fateful Saturday.
Because it coincided with the proposed date of the Horkey celebration of the Morris Men of Little Egypt, they magnanimously decided to cancel their evening event, and join in at the Angel.
|During the day, however, they contrived to ensure that their curtailed Horkey celebrations should finish at The Angel at lunchtime. Mo, of course, was delighted to see us and even allowed us to bring our own fish and chips so that she could spend maximum time behind the bar.|
|The evening celebrations, if that is the right word, got off to a quiet start, but The Angel was soon buzzing. The regular regulars were occasionally outnumbered by the "once every three years" regulars, but no-one really minded. Indeed, it was easy to pick out the real regulars: we all wore black armbands.|
Some of us went even further. Tony Ward turned up in full undertaker's gear, echoing the closure of the Greyhound before the Great War.
|Old Salty Phillips turned up to view the Final Mutiny. He was with Fran, and Fran's daughter came, too, but here he is seen deep in funebral conversation with fellow-ghoul Tony Ward.|
|Actually, the place got so crowded, it was impossible to take photos. Celebrations continued long into Sunday. So much so that, by Sunday evening, there was barely a dribble of IPA left in 4 barrels of the stuff. If you look carefully at this photo, taken on the Sunday evening (3 October), you will notice that Tia Maria bottle was also empty - now there's a surprise.|
|The last rites had to take place on Monday evening, with no draught anything, except that ghastly black stuff from Dublin via Park Royal. Still, we regular regulars can say "We were there", even if the camera did develop a slight shake and a misty lens.|
Some of us have been on holiday. Steve Plumb always makes sure to take part of his annual break the week before the schools have their half term. Lucky so-and-so. It meant he could catch up on his gardening, without his efforts being ruined by the local pre-teen mafia.
Whether he also managed to tame his man-eating monkey puzzle tree (Aruacaria) remains to be seen.
Those of us who are tied to school dates have to wait until the World and his Family are at leisure, and then pay full price for our fun. Not to be thwarted, the Clarkes blew some Air Miles (via Sainsbury's) on a trip to see Alex in Berlin. Our first time there, we were instantly seduced by the place. A wonderful city, to be highly recommended - not least for it's amazing public transport system.
Hard on the heels of Mo's departure, and the almost world-shaking news of Dave's propensity for bursting into song, come two further changes which threaten to shake our esteemed hostelry to its very foundations.
Firstly, Tia Maria has been relegated.
Yes, that very symbol of Mo's reign has been shifted from its status among the optics to a minor rank among the strange blue spirits and hangover cures.
But what, I hear you ask, could replace it?
Bl**ding Bacardi, that's what. It seems Janet has a taste (if that's the right word) for the stuff. So there it is, a diminishing litre of white rum where Mo's favourite tipple used to hang. Ho hum.
And the other change?
David and Janet have devised a cunnning plan to clear the bar at closing time.
Where Mo used to rely on our law-abiding nature, David and Janet have resorted to extreme, not to say inhuman, methods.
Quite simple in its savagery, they put a Cliff Richard CD on the sound system.
Never has the pub cleared so quickly. Ivan Pearson was seen to leapfrog the table in his urgency to get out.
Can we take much more of this?
If you haven't heard, Mo has gone.
Never let it be said that we are a pessimistic lot in Glemsford. No sooner has Mo left for Long Pastures new, than we greet behind the bar Dave and Janet. Although they are expected to be temporary "holding" licensees, they have already found their feet, and the way to the cellar, and are very welcome. As they say in Rome:
... and as they say in Glemsford ...
Janet and Dave have quickly been absorbed by, and absorbed, the essential spirit of The Angel.
Insults are again being traded mercilessly round and across the bar.
The IPA is in supreme form.
Most of the regulars have returned, and one or two have been added with the return of lunchtime opening. There have been unconfirmed sightings of Roy Porter, now the Rocking Horse season is over.
Dave has been out playing crib, and they've even won a couple of matches.
Two features of personal note tie in with D & J's professed liking for folk music and Morris Dancing. Apparently in a previous life, they were the hosts of a folkie pub in King's Lynn, which also was frequented by the King's Men Morris side of that fair Norfolk town.The bunch of itinerant musicians who tour local pubs playing (loosely) Irish folk turned up last week (20th October); they played well, and Jan provided food.
The Morris Men also visited after one of their practice nights. Although not in musical mood themselves, a jolly good time was had, and food was warmly welcomed. Thanks Janet.
So far, the only drawbacks seem to be Dave's professed liking for a First Division side from Nearly-The-North-Sea (they wear yellow and green, and are nicknamed after a trapped, very small, ornamental cage bird, if that's any clue), and Dave's (yes him again) determination to try to sing along with whatever's on the sound system - recently, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Ho hum, you can't win 'em all, as they say (they have to) at Carrow Road.
The new Greene King Masterquiz season got under way on 7 November, with a resounding victory over old rivals, the "Black Lion".
Our league this season is made up much as before, although we have lost the Cornard pubs and gained the Metcalfe Arms in Hawstead, wherever that is.
To keep you abreast of events, the fixture list, and later, the league table can be found HERE.
Since Mo's departure, the crib team has maintained its reputation for keeping us guessing. Most recent results have included two defeats, one by the ignominious score of 12 - 3.
I have received this mail from abroad:
Your correspondent in Geneva payed attention to the latest news from the Angel, very pleased to hear that the new people settle down nicely. Also surprised that the Tia Maria has been relegated ! But last time I was over, I noticed the Port had disappeared too : not relegated, but run out ! I only hope they found a new bottle for my next stay, which is very soon !
Rest assured, Fran. Cockburns has reappeared on the shelf.
However, despite two Friday night visits from Mo, of late renown, Tia Maria remains relegated to languish at the back of the top shelves.
A guest beer has returned. Dave and Janet are serving Old Speckled Hen to discerning drinkers. Mind you, as the ground forces of the Greene King empire spread further afield, whether this qualifies as a "guest" beer is an interesting question.
November 19th, 1999, was another occasion for a thrash at "The Angel". Our Janet celebrated her xty third birthday, and laid on an admirable spread of goodies for all those present; the IPA flowed profusely and a genuinely happy time was had by all, despite some appalling music on the sound system. I ask you, who can really celebrate with the muffled squawk of Abba in the background? Still, we might have had Cliff as well, I suppose.
No Dave, don't get any bright ideas.
Those of you who don't know "The Angel" (Why not?) need to know that the IPA is served straight from the barrel, unsullied by pipe, engine or gas. To achieve this, the bar staff have to pick up glasses, walk into the cellar room, through a swing door, collect amber fluid and carry it back to the bar.
... here are some early pictures of one of the new incumbents. Apologies for the poor quality, but the elastic on my digital Box Brownie was running down.
All of us regulars are delighted that Janet and Dave's sojourn in our watering hole has gradually extended, right, it seems up to Christmas, New Year and beyond.
It really has been very heartening to see how much people have taken to the new régime.
The crib team has maintained its efforts; the Quiz team has had a mixed start to the season, but has been bolstered by the quality of Jan's snacks at the end of each home game.
The lunchtime and early evening brigade are equally happy, and we get the feedback that Jan and Dave are feeling thoroughly at home.
It has been recorded previously that the snack and barfood selection at "The Angel" is of the finest.
Why, then, with such a plethora of goodies available, does a certain gentleman of naval extraction feel it necessary to plunder the Twiglet packets of innocent paying customers? Doesn't Janet feed him? I think we should be told.
A recent evening in "The Angel" saw an amazing conglomeration of licensees meeting across the bar.
Janet and Dave were both in residence behind the bar. The hallowed portals were then graced by the presence of Tony and Chris Brind, formerly licensees of "The Cock".
A moment later, the door swung open, and who should sweep in? You've guessed it, her Moship, fresh from spending her leaving present on a trip to the Dominican Republic.
What is the collective term for a gathering of publicans? Answers please to the email address below.
Meanwhile, one wag was heard to comment: "Five publicans and not a decent pint between them" He was, of course, joking.
The traditionalists among us have been at pains to point out to Jan and Dave that Christmas is taken very seriously at "The Angel". Not for us electronically-controlled Santas with voice synthesisers stuffed up their cloaks. Not for us vast quanities of tacky decorations threatening to strangle all who pass beneath the beams. Not for us pre-recorded tapes of the Cliff Adams Singers murdering "Santa Claus is Coming to town" in true 1950s-style. Not for us artificial sprayed-on frost in each corner of each window.
No: we like things subtly done. Some gentle greenery. Silver sprayed teasels, perhaps. A paper chain or two. A gentle carol declaimed by a male voice choir playing softly in the background. That'll do us.
So, I am pleased to report that, so far, all has been in order. OK, so there may be a few too many fairy lights, and the foil streamers are already festooned across the bar, but the emphasis is on understatement.
... not me. Wednesday 22 December saw the results of the grand Christmas Draw. Myriad prizes and goodies were distributed to the grasping populace. Not one bottle of Tonic Water came in my direction. I am not bitter; I'll just have to keep playing the fruit machine.
Almost unnoticed in the excitement of the build up to the festivities, the Christmas decorations in "The Angel" took a strange turn on Christmas Eve, with some odd additions to the decorative scene, viz:
Quite how this happened, we're not sure. Jim Gardner is pleased. Will Mattin is not. Dave just smiles that same serene smile.
Just to add to the note of celebration, here are some extra shots of "The Angel" and Jan and Dave as the holiday begins:
The Jan 'n' Dave régime is making a steadily greater contribution to the life of "The Angel", much to the delight of all the regulars, including those who doubted that there could ever be life after Mo.
It is the considered opinion of all and sundry that they are "just right", with a subtle touch and a genuine "feel" for the place.
Without wanting them to blush too much, quite a number of us hope that we will be able to persuade them and those-who-know-and-do at Greene King that they would be perfect as tenants on a much more permanent basis.
I have already commented on Dave's propensity for bursting into song behind the bar, particularly when he wants to clear the place at shut-tap.
As the weeks have moved on, strange rituals have been observed.
Most notable has been the said landlord's propensity for seizing any opportunity to seize hold of his beloved wife in a loving clinch behind the bar. Now, I'm not opposed to outward displays of affection, but when it gets between a customer and his pint ...
"The Angel" has always been a place where it is possible to get a good, friendly insult.
David has maintained this tradition. We are slowly becoming used to being assailed with this loving comment from across the bar if we should dare whisper the mildest criticism of his behind-the-bar activities. Thus:
"Dave, could you turn this Spice Girls' record off/Stop humming Cliff Richard songs/change the barrel?"
Apologies to all my readers (including Mrs Trellis) for my abject failure to keep The Angel news page up to date over the Christmas and New Year (1999 - 2000) season. Blame it on the boogie.
I am pleased to be able to report, however, that Jan 'n' Dave successfully maintained the traditions of The Angel: a packed pub, a good pint of IPA and an excellent series of insults.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day lunchtime and Boxing Day saw the place bursting at the seams, and even the so-called "quiet period" between Christmas and New Year's Eve saw a healthy level of custom and, presumably, not-so-healthy livers of drinkers.
All this served to confirm to the regulars that Jan 'n' Dave are just right for The Angel. We feel the brewery needs to know. If any of you out there feel like contacting Messrs Greene, King at The Brewery, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk to make the point that they should invite the Taylors to stay on a more permanent basis, we would be eternally grateful.
In common with the rest of the intelligentsia that is the village of Glemsford, The Angel did not succumb to the populist error of the tabloid media in celebrating the spurious millennium. That is for next year.
Nevertheless, the pub was a hive of celebration.
Unlike other establishments, The Angel did not try to take advantage of its custom by charging exorbitant prices just for being there. Regulars were welcomed for the late celebrations with a free ticket for an excellent buffet in the early morning.
Before I go on, I must come clean and admit that I was not able to be present for the occasion, having been translated to the wasteland of Northamptonshire for a spot of mother-in-law-sitting. I am therefore endebted to my contacts at home, and dependent upon their accurate recollections for this account. The photos are courtesy of Paul Jaques. For reasons which only he can explain, the photos cannot reflect any activity before midnight. Rumours of a search for a glass slipper are unfounded.
|To Jan and Dave's delight, a goodly crowd were present, to be greeted in song by our cheerful host.|
|Visitors were many: Mo, still sporting her Caribbean suntan joined in the fun.|
|Jan, inevitably, worked hard behind the bar, but ...|
|... also found time to mingle with the crowds.|
|Stuart seems to have enjoyed himself|
|Tess and John also took the opportunity to renew their resolutions.|
|Barry and Jules are very much part of the Angel scene, living only a short step from the front door.|
|Inevitably, some people fared better than others. There is, isn't there, always a shadowy figure slumped near the door, representing the fading of the old year. ...|
|... Tony Ward always plays this part to perfection.|
|How such people keep going, I don't know, but Jan 'n' Dave obviously managed|
|The clock cannot lie ... this is a.m., 2000|
|After this, the film runs out, but I am reliably informed that order was restored to The Angel at the correct end of licensing hours.|
Since the New Year, The Angel has returned to more sedate ways, but remains lively.
The quiz team resumed winning form on 9 January, despite (because of?) the absence of the captain on family duties.
The cribbage team have had a game cancelled because of 'flu among their opponents.
I have received e-mails from Bruce Rudd in New Zealand, and from Jan 'n' Dave's daughter Cherry, who promises to feed me titbits of scandal with which to embarrass her parents. I can't wait! On the other hand, I'm intrigued to know just what will embarrass Dave.
Dave Tomlin, long-time resident and regular, posted a message on the guest book page. He's off to France but uses these pages to remind him of home.
Bob Chilwell commissioned some pictures of Roy Porter at work. One of them now decorates the notice board. A copy can be seen here.
Despite not (yet) being a permanent appointment, Dave Taylor has appeared before the licensing magistrates to acquire
the license of The Angel in his own right.
If Greene King can't take the hint, they damn well should now.
Best beer. Best custom. Best hosts.