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After a concerted campaign, it was officially announced on Thursday 24 February, 2000, that Jan 'n' Dave (aka Mr and Mrs Taylor) have been appointed as full time "tenants" of "The Angel" Glemsford, at least for the next year.
This is great news for the pub, the regulars, the village and, we hope, Jan 'n' Dave.
Now we can officially say:
As the Taylors prepare for the next move, the Angel is already showing subtle signs of impending change (see below), now expected on October 8, 2001. The naval flavour has gone from the bar with the removal of two pictures, including HMS Sheffield. More to the point, and more acceptable to the Suffolk xenophobes (look it up, Mother), that bl**dy canary has, at last, disappeared from behind the bar. Despite frequent attempts tp kidnap it, it survived through thick and Paxo, and has now headed north to its Kings Lynn homeland. Funny. Most birds fly south for winter. But then, this is a Norfolk canary of which we speak. Mind you, given Norwich City's performance so far this season (if we forget Preston), and Ipswich Town's slow start (if we forget Moscow), that damned canary could be crowing later.
Mind you, during his second spell of bedrest, drama of the wet sort struck home. Poor old Jan arose to find the public bar under many gallons of water. Contrary to popular opinion this was not the result of a failed attempt to stretch the beer supply further, but of an act of forgetfulness by someone up the road, who, allegedly, left a garden hose running for 48 hours so that it infiltrated the lower strata of the pub car park and thence into the bar. You can imagine the mess and squelch. Regulars were evacuated to the eyrie and treated to table service while the industrial suckers and driers got to work. One result was a much brighter (and slightly bigger) carpet. Another result was a subtly developed dictionary of insults.
Matters soon got back to normal, although the tale of the flood will lat forever in the annals. There is no truth in the rumour that Mr Porter was seen measuring up for an ark project.
Talking of matters aquatic, this August Bank Holiday saw another attempt by Angel regulars to seize the Head of the River trophy in the annual Sudbury Raft Race.
They did very well - forging a foamy furrow through the uninviting waters of the Stour, belaboured by morons hurling hard-boiled eggs, rescuing the requisite maiden (well, Hannah, actually) and returning to base in a pub record time and achieving a much more than creditable sixth place. Congratulations to Tim, Jos, Lee and Steve (and Hannah). I hope to compile a page of photos in due course to celebrate further this positively Nelsonic achievement.
The new quiz season has been going for seven weeks now. Under the valiant leadership of that nice Mr Orton, their record so far reads Played 7 Lost 6, Won 1. This includes an 11-4 drubbing at the hands of The Compasses, Stansfield this week. Dave will tell you that the one victory was on the occasion of his participation in a game against Acton Crown. True, true. It rather begs the question, however.
After this week's defeat the team made a heartfelt and warmly appreciated presentation to Jan and Dave on the occasion of their last home game under the Taylor Dynasty.
Meanwhile, we await the arrival of the new quiz season with anticipation and trepidation.
23 May, 2001. Ivan Pearson swept aside all opposition in the annual contest for the Landlord's Shield, played by all members of the Angel Cribbage team. Among the opposition were the mighty talents of Jim, Jean and Rosie, as well as that Nice Mr Roger Orton.
None of them could live with the smouldering talents of the veteran Mr Pearson.
By the way, apologies to regular readers for having omitted to publish the final crib table. It's on its way - maybe before June, but take it from me, they didn't win, and they missed out on the Wooden Spoon as well.
Jonathan and Robert and friend have been to France.
They went with the specific intention of visiting Jonathan's grandfather's grave in Normandy. Wilf Farrance (senior) died on 6 June 1944, during the first assaults of Operation Overlord. The story of the Farrance family since then is almost worthy of a 21st Century Thomas Hardy. But I digress.
The trio set out not only to visit the grave, but also to see some of the memorials and museums dedicated to that crucial piece of History, and to enjoy a beautiful piece of country.
They stayed in Cabourg, and returned with enthusiastic reports of their few days there. They were apparently a little fazed to start with by the continental interpretation of a triple room: one double, one single. The English tradition of drawing lots soon solved that problem, if not the nocturnal habits of the pair who lost. I had better draw a duvet over that story.
None of the party speaks French, but they didn't let that get in the way, although it did cause some amusement at meal times. Take, for instance, the problem of asking for water. (Quite why hardened Angel regulars should be asking for water is beyond me, but they must have had a reason).
One would think that a request for EAU would get them somewhere, but it took several minutes of gestures and repetition of Oh - you know - Oh, Oh, before Jonathan, in desperation said "Oh bugger it, ask for some Perrier, then." At which the ever-so-friendly waitress cottoned on, and produced the required beverage.
Our intrepid voyagers met even more linguistic intrigue when visiting one of the museums. By this time heartened by their success with la langue francaise, one of the trio was emboldened to approach le guichet to ask for "Trois billets, s'il vous plait."
Repeat: "Trois billets - that's right isn't it? Trois - three, billets - tickets."
Repeat the process, and so on.
Eventually, the face of the very French looking guardian of the turnstile cracked just a little, and in broad Norfolk declared: "Oh, you want three tickets, do you mate?"
Unblank looks, and a few mild expletives at having been "had" by a fellow countryman - well, someone from north of the Great Divide of the Waveney, anyway.
More stories as they unfold over a few pints of IPA.
Cheeky young whippersnapper Porter has been invited to visit the Isle of Lewis. He knows it closes on Sundays, so is organising his trip (via easyJet to Inverness, bus to Ullapool and ferry to Stornoway) to coincide with opening time. Having been there a couple of times, I am insanely jealous and expect a full report, including splendid photos of sunset over Callanish and the beach at Luskentyre.
Watch this space.
The departure of Old Salty Phillips to pastures and waters new and Swiss is recorded eleswhere on this page.
The night of his farewell to the hallowed cloisters of The Angel was an occasion of all due sobriety and calm. Well, Fran was there to keep an eye on him.
I am pleased to be able to report his safe arrival on the far side of France. In fact, he does it himself, in this transcription of an intelligence document dropped by the electronic equivalent of a carrier pigeon just the other day:
"Ahoy there Glemsford! It's Old Salty Phillips and shipmate Fran the Ex Navigator !
How did she do it ?
We are in a lake.
After sailing around and around and around I started to get suspicious. After consulting the Nav, who admitted to being lost, but very clever...Even I cannot explain how we could sail into Lac Léman... I think it's part of a cunning plan, it's seems she owns a tavern or two here and thinks it's time we settle down, which is not a bad idea. Even though there is not a IPA House to be seen...! The court martial has many things to consider.
More to follow.
Hope this find you as it leaves us HIGH and DRY. "
So there we are
Bear in mind, as above, that this page reads chronologically downwards.
After the synod-like collection of former regulars from all points of the compass that coalesced in the bar on 13 and 14 April (see below), we had every reason to expect that everything would return to normal. Weddings, after all, can only last so long.
Tuesday, 17 April, 2001 turned into yet another of those evenings.
At about 10.00 p.m., there began to appear, in ones and twos, groups of visitors, with strange accents, but vaguely familiar faces.
In a way which resembled a group of cold war spies meeting near Checkpoint Charlie, they all arrived with the same pre-programmed question and furtive look round the bar:
"He's not here then?"
to which the coded reply was:
"He said he'd be here."
The suspense was worthy of John le Caré. Beers were bought and sipped, and each time the latch rattled, faces turned in expectation, only to fade into disappointment.
For whom were they waiting?
And then, fresh as the wind off Mount Cook, and as delicately as a Jonah Lomu sidestep, he arrived.
Or rather, they did.
The arrival was prefaced by one Robert Chilwell, acting as chaperon for the night for Glemsford and Hamilton's own Bruce Rudd.
Then the evening began in earnest. Whispered conversations developed into gales of laughter and reminiscence. Those who had been so anxiously waiting were introduced. Half-recognised faces turned into reality. Ale was consumed in abundance. Photos were taken (can someone let me have a copy for this page, please). Dave and Jan served the IPA as fast as the cellar door would open.
Now it can be told. Present in this happy throng were: the aforementioned Mr Rudd, who has appeared on these pages before. The son of a former village policeman, he emigrated to New Zealand well over 20 years ago, where he admits to working, walking his dog in the bush, drinking a few, driving a 4WD and deep sea fishing for Marlin and the like; Steve Dunn, son of Maurice and Avis who used to run The Crown in Brook Street before Sunny Jim took over when the Dunn's moved to Canada in 1988. Steve was accompanied by Leanne, his wife, whose transatlantic accent suggested that she had been in Canada slightly longer than Steve. Steve's sister, Nicky, at least, appears on our Guest Book pages.
Another happy couple joining the reunion was made up of Ellie and Dave Stocking, from the not-so-distant, but equally exotic, Rougham, which is on the dark side of Bury St Edmunds.
Bob Chilwell, a globetrotter himself, of no little repute, made up the party.
It was more great fun. In all seriousness, it is quite staggering to reflect just how far news of Glemsford and the Angel has travelled, quite literally, in recent times. 160 years ago, people were forcibly sent into exile for sheep stealing; now, the wonders of modern technology allow us to move effortlessly around the world, in reality as well as virtually.
And still the buggers come back.
Seriously, it's been fun. Thanks for the compliments that were showered on these humble pages, and thanks for the beer, Bruce.
Isn't it amazing how a wedding, which wasn't even in the village, brought so many people back together again?
Keep in touch, all of you, and see you soon.
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Which winds us neatly back to:
Regular readers of these pages will be familiar with tales of international meanderings and peregrinations.
People really do flock from far and near, and even Essex, to revel in the atmosphere of this most traditional of hostelries. Residents of the place are also renowned through this medium for their efforts to emulate the exploits of Raleigh, Drake and Ranulph Fiennes.
You only have to scroll down this update to find out about Old Salty's imminent translation to the land of Calvin and Heidi and gnomes.
We should not have been surprised therefore when a group of long lost ne'er-do-wells and imbibers of copious quantities of Messrs Greene, King's finest, suddenly descended on the unsuspecting clientele on Good Friday and Easter Saturday (13/14 April 2001). But this group really did prove the point (and the pint). And the reason for their gathering re-opens previous tale largely untold, even here.
First of all, who were they? Well, Tony Ward, for a start. He's been keeping a low profile lately ("Impossible", say those who know him) but returned for another dismal weekend of liver-thrashing. Sitting demurely at the bar on Friday night was none other than Mo. Yes, that Mo, around whom these pages first took life. With Mo on Friday and Wardy on Saturday was a character of large physique, more-than-large personality, a beard to challenge the Dubliners and an accent born of frequent and rapid migration between Florida, Glemsford, Munich and the Gaeltacht of the Republic of Ireland. This was Drew, of whom more tales have been told than there have been confirmed sightings. Wardy reckons it must be 10 years since last Drew washed up on these shores. "Falstaffian" is not an apposite description, but at the moment it will have to do. Then, late on Saturday night, the lights dimmed as the latch rattled, and a cold draught skipped chillingly and mockingly along the cider and Guinness taps. Two figures paused briefly in the doorway: one a figure of utter loveliness, the other a crouched and weather-beaten manifestation, a walking warning to those of us who might be tempted to another pint. Yes: it was Bryan Morgan and Andrea, blown in all the way from Bavaria. I'll let you decide which was which, and return to them later.
And rumour even has it that Bruce Rudd has appeared.
Now: why were they here?
Yes. The reason for this almost-celestial conjunction of strange apparitions was a wedding. Not any wedding, either. Phil Housego is a Glemsfordian Chelsea supporter who left the village a few years ago to live in exile in Essex, where he has finally persuaded Sue to make an honest man of him. But that is only a fragment of the story.
Phil was a globetrotter. He backpacked with the best of them. South America, most of the sub-continent of India, New Zealand, Oz: he went there. The phrase "itchy feet" was coined for Phil, and had nothing to do with a common fungal complaint which you can get treated in Boots.
We lost track of the number of times he arrived back, almost unrecognisably tanned and spiritually affected by his experiences and determined, this time, to listen to his Dad (Fred the Painter) and settle down, only to hear a few months later that he was "off again". What a life! And then that final trek, out of the safety and security of New Cut, into yet more tracts of unbelievable bleakness, to places the very name of which make strong men wince over their IPA and weak men whimper into their pints of lager: yes, Phil was moving to Chelmsford and to work in London, in a real job, with real wages, and paying real taxes, and wearing a real suit.
Small wonder then that, answering the call of an Arthurian summons to action, the mighty collection of well-wishers came together for a proper
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I promised to return to these two. They have been mentioned before a couple of times, during fleeting visits from southern Germany, but I have never told the story of Bryan's move to Munich. It won't take long, but it bears out my point about the Angel's internationalism. Many years ago now, when Mo was Mo, and you could still by a pint of IPA for less than your weekly pension, Bryan decided the time had come to get out. Why? Well partly it was love and partly it was none of our business, but it is the leaving party of which I write. This started on a Friday night. Bryan's boat left Harwich on Monday evening. He just made it. It was that sort of a do.
Bryan drove a battered old yellow Escort in those days. We saw it grind its Monday evening way down Egremont Street - almost literally, such was the load in the back: a lifetime of good living encapsulated in a few cubic feet of Dagenham rust. Bryan bequeathed me his real tankard, the one I still drink from.
We heard later that the gallant vehicle got Bryan where he was going - Munich and Andrea - and then gave up the ghost. Such is romance. And such it was, because, a while later, news came of Andrea and Bryan's wedding, to which the same warrior band was invited. Andrea had studies to complete, which are now done, and she works for a publishing company. Bryan has work as a printer. And then, some time later, came Josephine, who is now nearly 4 years old.
And then, this Easter weekend, they returned, however briefly, to rekindle long-held memories, and the spirit of the old days.
Welcome one, welcome all.
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As recorded (below) the Angel crib team broke with tradition last month by winning a game.
Things have now taken a serious turn, in the shape of their winning FOUR games on the trot.
The latest game, against the Swan, Melford, stretched credulity to the limit when the result emerged as a 10 - 5 victory.
If they carry on with another victory in the final game, they will be in serious danger of failing to win the wooden spoon which, until now, has been their major hope for a trophy this season.
Watch this space.
After all the excitement of the season, the final league table has been received. One the one hand, we were delighted to finish third, behind the two teams from the Melford Swan. On the other hand it is rather galling to note that the difference between our final placing and the champions title was probably a maximum of 4 or 5 wrong answers. Perhaps Glenn Hoddle could find a decent supernatural reason for this.
Not only is star quizzer "Chas" Chandler a star quizzer, he also has a habit of producing offspring.
Just before the quiz season ended, he (or rather Mrs Chandler) produced mini-Chandler no. 4.
Of course, our congratulations go to all and sundry; things should have quietened down by the next quiz season, so we should be able to expect some really good answers from Mr Chandler. Unless of course, the pair of them decide to aim for Five In A Row.
In this benighted world of the wettest year on record, freak snow storms, floods in Cavendish and the inexorable spread of Foot and Mouth Disease, it is pleasant to be able to report several pieces of Good News:
And, of course,
Yes, it's true.
After a season which has resembled Norwich City for its lack of success, and has left that nice Mr Roger Orton (captain and manager) hunting for Ron Atkinson-style excuses, the Crib team have surprised us all by winning not one, but two matches.
Admittedly, the first was in a knock-out cup match, against the Clare Swan, but it still counts, and the second provided us with a League victory over local rivals from the Cherry Tree, Glemsford.
Regular readers and supporters can breathe easily, however, in the knowledge that it is still almost certain that the coveted wooden spoon will be awarded to The Angel at the end of season.
After promising a great deal with their final surge towards the the end of the season (full results found here), the Quiz team failed in its attempt to reach the play off places at the top of the table.
It was a mixed season, with silly points being thrown away unnecessarily, but there is no need for personal recrimination or vendetta.
Trevor Hatt's threat to resign, or, worse, resume drinking at The Cock, is out of all proportion to his not knowing that the Chinese art of treating ailments with the help of sharp needles is known as acupuncture.
News has reached us of the intention of Colin "Old Salty" Phillips to become an exile to fame and fortune.
He's moving to Geneva.
When we were first told, we assumed he had found a position as "bad weather consultant" to the Swiss Navy.
On second thoughts, we wondered if easyJet had refused to accept his OAP bus pass for the bookings he's been making recently.
Then we decided Fran might have something to do with it.
Good luck to the pair of you. Keep in touch. We expect a regular bulletin to be sent to appear on the "Foreign News" page that I will soon have to set up.
The Burns Nurse from Chelmsford, aka Neil "I work dead hard, me" Porter, has had some more time off (which is rather like saying Monday comes before Tuesday).
Always being one to live life near the edge of the fast lane, he went in search of sybaritic pleasure and hedonistic stimulation in the fleshpots of the land of the Gael.
Quite what he got up to, I don't like to ask, but I can only quote his entry in the guestbook:
"Will be bringing postcards and sordid stories down shortly, couldn't post postcards as spend all me money on whiskey and beer."
Needless to say, he signed himself "The Wild Rover".
He also claims to have met people who drink more than his grandfather.
Fantasy, fantasy. All is fantasy.
The floods of the pre-Christmas period (see elsewhere) turned out not to be just a brief interlude in an otherwise quiet winter. The Glemsford area has since been assailed by all sorts of strange weather. We had a lovely bright January, but very cold (after the snow just before the New Year). Since then the inundation has continued. Cavendish has been cut off again. And more recently we've had to contend with good old traditional fogs.
Someone has also been forecasting a plague of locusts for Lent. I wish they'd keep quiet.
These pages have frequently carried references to the cosmopolitan cavortings of Angel regulars. 2001 promises to be a vintage year.
Already, I have received reports of Bob Chilwell gambolling in the Gambia, whence he reports "Cheap beer and sun". It's good to know that cultural awareness is high on the list of holiday priorities.
And Doods meandered off to Madeira and returned with a healthy glow to his cheeks and tales of the terror of landing at Funchal.
Old Mother Riley, meanwhile, admits to making it as far as Braintree.
In the reverse direction, Alun Williams, founder member of the Brisbane Angel Quiz Team Supporters Club, made a flying visit to the home of all that is good to check on the continuing high quality of the goods on offer.
He came hot foot from a Thailand wedding (his own) on New Year's Day and, although he could not persuade his new bride Noy to join his sampling activities, declared himself entirely happy with his visit.
The Angel is renowned for its snacks of epicurean excellence.
People come from near and nearer - even unto the ends of Hunts Hill - to sample the card of Twiglets or Spring Onion flavour cheese biscuits.
Now seekers after exotica (yes, Tony, that has to be an "x") have the chance to taste a new range of Bar Snacks ranging from Bombay Mix through Japanese Crunch to the wonders of large packets of Cashew and Brazil Nuts. Designed to tempt the most refined palate, these titbits have all the quality of Dave's Pickled Eggs with none of the social stigma.
"What next?" I ask myself. Raw Garlic for chewing purposes, probably.
Although they haven't yet called in a team of marketing makeover artists, Jan 'n' Dave have obviously entered the new millennium with a thrusting desire to become market leaders.
The bold Pub Snack venture (see above) is but one plank in a raft of new initiatives.
The flagship activity has to be the Sunday whisky raffle which has seen people queuing half way to the fruit machine to buy tickets. Winners so far include Tony and Rosemary and John and Tess. As with the Christmas raffle (see below), yours truly has won nothing.
If all this wasn't enough, Messrs. Greene, King have also been conducting a scratch card promotion, offering the unrivalled opportunity to own a GK tee-shirt, or even a fleece. Early winners include Ivan, Steve Stammers and, yes, just for once, your esteemed author. Just as well they come in XL size, that's all I can say.
I hear good news, too, of the continuing high quality of the cheese nibbles put out on the bar of a Sunday lunchtime. Some people see this sort of thing as a trivial non-event, but to the discerning, demanding drinker of Glemsford, such issues are vital; after all, with such a choice of watering holes, reputations can be made and lost by the blueness of the Stilton, the crispness of the Twiglet and the nuttiness of the Cheddar. In all respects, as always, the Angel wins out.
Regular readers will be anxious for more news of the fate of the two representatives of the Angel in the nail-biting series of inter-pub competitions.
The post Christmas euphoria of success for the Crib team (they actually won a game) has not been maintained. Their games since the festive season now show a record of Won 3, Lost 3 - better than it was, but not good enough to lift them from the foot of their table. As Joe Royle would say, however, there's still all to play for.
The Quiz team have fared better and are now staging a major challenge for play-off places or even a run in Europe, having only lost once (to the Waggon and Horses, a result which was exactly reversed the following week).
Part of this refound success may be put down to a harder edge in defence, with a refusal to accept poor decisions, and a greater sense of challenge to assaults by opposing question masters. No longer will we be prepared to accept inexact interpretation of the rules, like "That answer is wrong".
Full results may be found here.
Although they would never seek such excuses, the poor form of the Crib Team may have something to do with the trauma experienced by a couple of team members lately.
Stuart and Joan Seaton have been living happily with the notion that their parrot called Sid was, to all intents and purposes, male. With a name like that, what else could they expect?
Imagine, then, their amazement and concern to discover that Sid was trying to lay an egg. Little wonder that their crib performance suffered. Pleas have been made to the League to invalidate recent results on the grounds of post-traumatic stress disorder, to little effect.
The problem has been further compounded by the reality that, not only is Sid female, but also he/she is egg-bound.
The discomfort of the poor creature can only be imagined, and Stuart and Joan's parental responsibilities have undoubtedly taken their toll.
Gamblers have a good time at the Angel. The fruit machine is always on offer, although Ivan has stopped playing now, preferring the safer haven for his investments at Bury Bingo.
The Sunday Whisky raffle attracts a fair amount of custom.
And now there is also the opportunity of playing on what is irreverently known as the Poke Board. This is a charity-raising enterprise which involves paying Dave 10p.
In return, you get the chance to poke a curtain hook (technically known as "The Poker") into one of 1200 cells (technically known as "Holes") in a board. In each "Hole" is a miniature version of a playing card, cunningly disguised as a small piece of paper. Winning involves "Poking" out a card with a value of 8 or more (Aces High). Prizes range from 3 free "Pokes" to £10 (for a Joker).
This is a game of skill and high entertainment value, and Robert (Sippo Junior) ranks mong the most-skilled of players. He can draw out a series of 2s like nobody else, and has been on the hunt for the Joker since the game first made its appearance.
Imagine therefore his dismay when a Visiting Mechanic from Lynn, ostensibly called in to sort out the Taylor's ailing Orion, won a Joker with his first Poke. Not only that, but he employed a "ringer" to do his Poking for him! It was our own Janet who "wielded" the Poker.
Robert was not amused, and nearly called "Foul". He could only be calmed by the promise that Jan would do the same for him.
Strange habits, these Norfolk folk.
Although these pages are dedicated to The Angel, Glemsford, I can't let two pieces of sad news from neighbouring villages pass without comment.
In the last week (13 January 2001) we have lost two hostelries of fine renown and quality with the closure of the White Hart, Stansted and the Five Bells, Cavendish.
Some would say these are but signs of the times, but I would add that this also has something to do with a misplaced lack of community feeling on the part of certain shareholders.
Since the closure of Blair's Folly on the Thames, it is no longer appropriate to apply the Dome as Jim Gardner's preferred soubriquet.
It is hereby officially announced that he is, henceforth, to be known as "Sizewell".
Yet another brief update,
but it is quite frightening how quickly time slips away. What was a damp end to summer turned into the almost apocalyptic inundation of Autumn, and the year ended with strange white stuff on the ground, together with, for recent times, very low temperatures.
For a while, the end of 2000 saw the Stour Valley resembling a white water theme park. Clare was cut off (from Glemsford), and only the high ground through Fenstead End was passable. Cavendish had sandbags out several times, and the puddle at the bottom of Skates Hill lasted for weeks, taking car drivers, and Neanderthals in white Transits alike, by surprise.
Dave had to expend a great deal of time and energy preventing the river that used to be Angel Lane penetrating the sacred boundaries of the cellar.
We think he succeeded, but comments about the strength of the IPA should be addressed to Greene King, not Dave.
Both the crib and quiz teams began the New Year in the way they mean to carry on, with resounding victories.
The Cribbers started off with a win over Crown, and followed it up with a 10 - 5 victory over The Hare, Melford. Such riches.
Meanwhile the Quiz Team won a close fought game against the Horse and Groom from Sudbury.
Christmas and the New Year were both celebrated in considerable style at The Angel. Decorations were subtle and under-stated, which is more than can be said for a number of houses in the village, which were covered with hideous amounts of commercial illuminated tat and rubbish.
Jan did remember to hang Millennium Balls from the bar, and there was some seasonal greenery as well.
A frequent visitor to the hallowed confines during the 12 days, and before, and after, was the cheeky and now not-so-young whipper snapper Neil Porter, away, for a brief spell, from single-handedly maintaining the efficiency of the Essex branch of the NHS. Old Salty was around briefly, with Fran, and Mo's lodger, Chris, formerly a resident of The Angel itself, also appeared for a seasonal pint or seven.
I have not referred before to the "arrival habits" of various Angel clientele, but weeks spent observing these phenomena have compelled me to publish the results of an important piece of sociological study.
You can often predict the arrival of Ivan Pearson, by the distant but distinctive rumble of the Felix Bingo Bus. It is normally possible, then, to count down his approach. A good bar person can then have his pint on the bar as he walks through the door.
That nice man, Mr Roger Orton, on the other hand, is harder to predict. His approach is silent. Like others, he rarely leaves footprints, ghosting in from the back door like Austin Healey mesmerising the Australian defence at Twickenham. In fact, so quiet is his arrival, it sometimes takes a countable age before his diet Coke is served.
Some people (no names, no bar bill) announce their arrival by storming the front door as though it were the gates of Cadiz in the Napoleonic War, and demanding "73 pints of IPA, and make it snappy".
Someone whose arrivals have taken on an increasingly stereotypical nature of late is Brian "Old Mother" Riley. Now Old Mother has always been known as someone who sneaks in round about 10 minutes before shut-tap, and it has thus often been possible to "name" him before he crosses the threshold; obviously, however, time of arrival is not a safe identifying feature. OMR has helped with this project immensely by developing an almost uniquely characteristic rattle of the door-latch, followed (slowly and in measured style) by the appearance of the unmistakeable face round the door, followed, almost apologetically, by the rest of said OMR.
The next stage of this study will involve departures, as well as more arrivals. This will, however, be a more difficult exercise since, apart from Ivan's "Let's see what tomorrow brings forth", "departure" from The Angel is a much more erratic and non-time-specific process. By which I mean, of course, there is some doubt whether some people ever leave.
I realise that my references to one "Old Mother" may confuse regular readers.
By way of introduction, Brian Riley is someone who works as a fireman in one of our local factories. Until they start sponsoring this page, I can't name the company.
He has recently been sent on a training course in foreign parts - near Norwich, to be precise - and returned with numerous tales of derring-do.
He has also been on holiday to Malta with his son, Gary. As always he returned with accounts of a number of escapades involving discos, missed ferries and local funeral traditions, not necessarily in that order. A good time was had. ...
OMR scores a number of points on my scale of qualification for mention in these hallowed pages through his intimate knowledge of the workings of the old London Midland region of British Railways, and, in particular, for his familiarity with the late-lamented Woodford Halse shed on the Great Central.
Apart from the problems both Jan 'n' Dave had earlier in the year, negotiating the staircase of The Great Place - (Dave, incidentally, is STILL waiting for an appointment to see a specialist about his damaged shoulder) - concerns are growing among other clients about the health and safety issues involved in drinking in the place.
Is it just a coincidence that both Dave Hill and the Village Craftsman (Roy Porter) have recently been subjected to the surgeon's knife for ailments not unconnected with weaknesses in the nether regions? I think we should be told whether lifting glass to mouth and money from pocket constitutes a hazard of hernia-type proportions, (although, of course, in Roy's case, the latter scenario is so rare as to represent an infinitessimally small risk).
Both victims of The Angel curse are, I'm glad to say, on the road to recovery, and are almost walking normally.
If the crib team were a premiership club, they'd probably be clamouring for Terry Venables by now.
In short, it has not been a successful start. Wednesday evening conversations go something like this:
"So, how did you get on, Dome?"
"Well, my table won."
"And what about the team as a whole?"
"We was stuffed."
Never mind. Such a run of bad form can't last.
You want to bet? Since I wrote that, back in October, the record has continued to fail to impress, and as we enter the festive season break, the team are poised just one place above the copyright symbol, that is, at the bottom of the League table, by 6 points.
The exact figures are, at present, Played: 17 Won: 4 Lost: 12 Stanstead Club Chickened Out: 1
Among their notable results, their 13 - 2 defeat by arch-rivals, the Cherry Tree stands prominently to the fore. I suppose I must record the names of the sides which have have suffered what amounts to giant-killing at The Angel's hands: they are, Shimpling "Bush", Clare "Ex-Servicemen's and Working Men's Club", Clare "Globe" A and Stansfield "Compasses".
In passing, it must be recorded, too, that the "White Hart" at Stanstead has suffered a severe decline in fortune recently, with the departure of the landlord. Sad days in the licensed trade. Their crib team has taken up residence in the Stanstead Club.
Meanwhile that nice Mr Roger Orton doesn't really have to sulk in the back bar: Jim "The Dome" Gardner, Rosie, Ivan and even Porter the Younger still hold their heads high, and take all the flak going.
The unexpected success of Ipswich Town in the Premiership has caused no end of fun in The Angel, particularly at the expense of Delia's Delicate Dumplings from Carrow Road.
Dave has stood up to the battering manfully, but there must come a point (probably when Wimbledon complete the home-and-away double) when the Canary will finally fall from its perch.
As always, The Angel has seen a healthy amount of migration. The new houses, built on Mo's strawberry patch, are now fully occupied, and the newcomers have been properly inculcated into the mysteries of life in The Angel.
There have only been fleeting glimpses of Old Salty Phillips recently, since he seems to be dividing his time between the relative attractions of Portsmouth and Geneva. Oh for the life of an easyJet-setter.
As recorded elsewhere, the Golf Yawnament brought some old faces back into the pub.
The traditional start of the festive season occurred on 20 December, 2000, with the announcement of the winners in the Grand Christmas Draw. Suffice to say that, as is traditional, I won nothing.
As is also traditional, Dave has acquired a barrel of the seasonal Captain Christmas ale. For those who don't know this beverage, it is a liquorice-coloured delight, at 4.6 ABV. It is not, as some think, named after the season, but after the former owner of the long-lost brewery in Haverhill, now remembered only in the name of the doctors' surgery in that fair metropolis, Christmas Maltings.
Another nod towards the jollities of the time of year has been in the form of airings of "The Kippers at Christmas", courtesy of Jan 'n' Dave's Magic Music Machine. At this very moment, all and Sippo are learning and practising the words of "The Poacher's Christmas" for a grand rendition on Boxing Day.
As I have commented before, I have very little in common with the Royal Family as far as my opinions are concerned, but the Princess Royal's well-publicised, and much repeated, view of the game of Golf as a "good walk spoiled" exactly coincides with mine.
However, as a fair and impartial reporter of the Glemsford scene, I must record the first outing of The Angel Golf Day on 6 October.
This report is based, with thanks, on the text in the "West Suffolk Free Press", 12 October, 2000.
Golfer Kevin Taylor drove from Norwich to Glemsford to boost the numbers in a charity tournament organised by his father - and went home with all the top prizes.
Not only did he take the winner's trophy by the narrowest of margins over the village's Neil Searle, he also had the longest drive and the nearest shot to the pin.
But the other 12 players weren't too bothered: they had all enjoyed the golf in near-perfect bright and sunny conditions at the Newton Green golf course.
Some of the players were at the course early for coffee - or even fried breakfast - in the clubhouse before they got down to the serious business.
Organiser David Taylor ... kept a close eye on proceedings as he was transported round the course in style in Jimmy Whittle's new buggy. (Now: that's an idea for the cellar work, Dave.)
After the game there was fish and chips for all in the clubhouse before they returned to Glemsford to tackle the 11 gallons of beer given by the brewers, Greene King. A raffle of golfing prizes boosted the funds to £160, which will go to village charities.
Obviously, a good day was had by all, and the effort for charity is another example of The Angel spirit.
And I didn't see a drop of that 11 gallons. Ho hum.
|Our picture shows the line up before the start. From the left are: Jimmy Whittle, winner Kevin Taylor, organiser David Taylor, Dave Bonner, Phil Hamblin, Nick Lagdon, Stef Marks, Jim "The Dome " Gardner, Richard Smith, Dave Tomlin, runner-up Neil Searle and Jim Flutey. Missing from the picture (well, it was early in the morning) are Graham Farrance and Stephen Bishop.|
The Angel has been simmering along quite nicely. The IPA has been consistently good, and we did have a brief influx of another Greene King attempt to be trendy with its dreadfully-named but pleasantly drinkable "Ale-ympic". Something to do with another bout of Australian Empire-building, I believe. We've also got a new fruit machine.
The new houses that have been built on half the garden at the back are finished, and the new residents are flocking to the hallowed portals, to sample the wares, we hope. Well, Peter has been in fairly regularly.
Or rather, they might have done, but as the results show, it has been a very mixed season so far. Played 6, Won 3, Lost 3, is not the sort start we wanted. No excuses, but no panic changes either. It's a game of two halves and there's all to play for, nothing's decided until the last whistle blows, but we're gutted and far from over the moon, Brian.
Mention has been made before of Young Hannah's attempts to turn The Angel into an extension of her college library.
Not content with that, she is now intent on running seminars in the bar area. Loud erudite discussions can be heard regularly echoing among the glasses and ashtrays. They are generally good-humoured, and frequently punctuated by gales of loud laughter from one corner of the seminar table, normally from Suffolk's answer to the Voice of Ulster (Ian Paisley), the one and only Ellie.
Well, it keeps them off the streets, and most of us were young once.
Although he's found himself a job at last, working in the Specialist Burns Unit in Chelmsford, Young Porter keeps turning up, sometimes to play in the crib team - about which, no more need be said. When he's not around, he sends a postcard instead. The last one we received came from Derbyshire (we think) although the post mark was illegible, as was most of the text - well he is in the medical profession - except for some obscure references to sheep and his grandfather, not necessarily in that order.
I think the BMC should hear of this.
The late summer and early autumn caused their usual rash of unfortunate haircuts among the regulars. Your author succumbed to the scissors of an eager tonsorialist in Clare, while William has maintained his reputation for imitating the estimable products of the Kleeneezee Brush Comany.
Janet keeps threatening to send David to the shearers as well, with muttered comments about "the Admiral not liking it."
Word has it that The Angel is about to be invaded by a herd of Buffalo, or Thomson's Gazelle, or Mad Ox-men, or something.
What can this mean?
Watch this space.
The swifts have long gone, with the swallows and martins; the gentle fragrance of wood smoke wafts seductively across Angel Lane; the sentinel trees of Hunts Hill are turning gold with pride and the waters of autumn are trickling, then flowing, then flooding down Angel Lane. Jupiter is low in the evening sky, and our thoughts turn longingly towards the turning of the year...
Who writes this rubbish any way?
Although the beer at "The Angel" went through a dodgy patch some time ago - not Dave's fault, just a rogue batch - we must make it clear that for some time now it has been on excellent form.
Given all the problems of late, Dave deserves full credit for keeping it in such good shape.
I am pleased to say that people have begun to transmit postcards for inclusion on this site. The first contributions have come from Old Salty and Fran (Twice) and the intrepid Townsends of Ventnor.
I told Ro to pack Factor 100, but she would not listen. (see picture)
I'm ok apart from a nasty RED RASH from the knees down. Kids still with us, despite several escape attempts.
So far, largest live crab 3" across which was removed from under large stone by Karl's net (79p in local store) and scared the c**p out of Hannah and Ro.
Tim, Ro, Hannah, Karl.
| Ahoy there, Glemsford!|
Old Salty and shipmate Fran are now stuck in deepest France (25/8/00, 1915 at 450 metres) Not a Tide or IPA in sight! Methinks the navigator has been drinking the local red wine!! We went to Dijon for mustard and came back with sore feet. Weather set fair, temp 30 degrees + Our shorts are not scaring off the natives. Regards to All
|Having spent two days in Portsmouth including a boat trip to the IOW. Today we leave Tiverton after a 4 day stop, having seen Dartmoor Exmoor and plenty other mores. We are now heading for the Bath Bristol area before gong to Luton via Oxford. Weather has been good and the views wonderful. ... Love, Colin and Fran|
An anonymous correspondent (whose name rhymes with a famous American cigarette lighter) has come across these mysterious images, purporting to be of the Crib Team on a secret pre-season tour of the Greek Islands.
"Yes - I did - I did say "One for his knob"".
Team transport was something of a problem.
Rosie thought Roger's team tactics needed revising
Further news has filtered through of Jonathan and Robert's trip to the states (see below). Apart from visiting Memphis, they spent some time in New Orleans, seeing the sights and several bars. They found out which were the safe places to visit, what happens at a New Orleans funeral, and how to annoy tour guides while visiting the swamp country. Hint: don't practise imitating the voice of a wild pig.
Graceland, and the search for Elvis, was an undoubted highlight of their visit, once Robert had sorted out how to use the recorded tour guide.
Jonathan was somewhat bemused by the ready availability of vilolent and deadly weapons in the local shopping malls. He did try to import a bazooka and an elephant gun, but British customs officers were not fooled by his explanation that they were solely for use against an infestation of garden slugs.
Ivan Pearson made a very welcome return to the Crib team on Wednesday 30 August, after his pacemaker surgery. He was warmly greeted by one and all, and Dave was able to make a presentation to him, in the form of a "Beer Voucher" to be spent within the hallowed portals of the Public Bar.
Ivan's return, however, did not help the team out of their beginning of season slump. Playing the Melford "Hare", they lost 9 - 6.
Or, more accurately, "The Secret Gardener", is the title of another chapter in the Tales of the Angel.
Given his shoulder problems, of which no more need be said, Dave is not really up to keeping the luxurious lawns and borders of The Angel in good nick. In any case, he freely admits that he doesn't know one end of a delphinium from the other, and couldn't identify a dibber at three paces. So, it is a major mystery as to how the aforesaid acres of horticultural excellence have been kept up to scratch.
Some say strange lights have been seen in the garden late at night; others say that the flower fairies have been working overtime; another, more prosaic, explanation places responsibility with the unexpectedly green fingers of a certain gentleman with a tendency to go on strange jaunts of the motor-cycling sort, and who, apparently, has recently acquired a Harley-Davison of his own.
Just as we are getting used to summer football, 16 August 2000 saw the return of the long-awaited crib season. After last season's near-triumph, the team have been in pre-season training, and duly went into battle against Stanstead "White Hart".
10 - 5
However, the occasion was notable for several reasons.
Roy Porter played, and his table won, 4 - 1. Not only that, but Roy also won the raffle.
I'll tell you what - he bought a round with his winnings. First beneficiary of this act of unwonted kindness was his grandson, the ever-so-pleasant Neil.
Mind you, the joy at this gesture was tempered a little when Neil found out that this counted as his part of his grandfather's will.
Not to be outdone, the crib team played Glemsford "Crown" (23 August) and lost 10 - 5 again.
Roy played again.
He didn't buy a round.
We have a technocrat in our midst.
It has been revealed, ever-so-quietly, and with no fanfare, that Steve has been accepted as a fellow of his professional body.
I think the I.M. bit is the Institute of Materials, but doubtless I'll be corrected.
Congratulations, Steve. Are we still allowed to drink from the same barrel?
Jos has duly returned from his motor-bike jaunt around the Fatherland, with countless tales of derring-do, like brewing-up beside the autobahn, and challenging a German traffic warden at her own game.
He met some very pleasant people and even visited Colditz. There is no truth in the rumour that he tried to jump his bike over the perimeter fence, nor that he returned with forged papers and Donald Pleasance in tow.
Meanwhile, Old Salty Phillips has been showing Fran the delights of Holiday England.
The Grand Tour included Portsmouth, a day-trip to the Isle of Wight, Tiverton, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Oxford and Luton.
Yes, that says Luton. It said so on their postcard.
The Sunday lunchtime pint at the pub is a revered English institution. All sorts of conventions apply.
"Let's take the dog for a walk, and end up at the pub," is one such.
"Why not go for a cycle ride, find a little village pub, have a quiet drink and drift home to lunch?" is another.
"Well, I don't mind just having a half, so we could get in the car and save our legs," yet another.
"Look, we never get out during the week - so let's walk down to the pub with the kids; we can sit out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine." Yes: a well-tried favourite.
All these justifications will be heard around Glemsford late on a Sunday morning before The Angel fills up for its traditional Sunday lunchtime session.
August 13, 2000 was no exception, with the bar well-filled by 1.00 p.m..
"I fancy taking the DUKW for an outing."
Seems fair enough.
Run that past me again ...
And so, there it was, trying to park in The Angel car park, causing confusion to the residents of Angel Lane who must have thought Stephen Spielberg was in town.
Bill's pet was built in the States in 1945, ready for action in the Pacific. It has a 6 litre petrol engine, does about 5 m.p.g., could carry 20 fully-equipped marines and is hell to park.
"Why?" you ask.
"Why not?" says Bill.
And who's going to argue with his answer to road rage?
Angel veteran that he is, Jos can't seem to stay away from the open road. Previous jaunts have included the USA(twice) and a weekend round tour of Britain, as well as the infamous balloon adventure.
All this (well, not the balloon) on the back of a motor bike.
So this year, he's got the itch again, and he's off round Germany with his chums. Look out for a full report.
Migration isn't just an outwards process. The Angel has had several notable and exotic visitors of late. Apart from the below-mentioned Neil Porter, who's unlikely to welcome the title "visitor" anyway, the hallowed portals have been blessed recently by the Goldings (Mary Lou and Tim) from Wilmington, Delaware, in search of their ancestral homeland. Nice people, too. I managed to keep them away from Roy Porter, lest he claimed ownership of the whole village and tried to sell it to them.
A nicely-bronzed and suave figure crept into the bar the other day, and it took several of us a few nano-seconds to recognise the revered figure of Michael Kelvin. He'd run out of lotuses to eat down in balmy Malaga, and sought to revisit old haunts and tidy up some business. Michael, you will remember, used to run the Black Lion, further up the village. It was good to see him, and his story of a friend's stag night in Spain will run and run. Don't ask.
Perhaps our most notable visit was that by a certain Thomas the (freshwater) Trout. This was brought in by Jenny Stammers' Dad. I don't think you really want to know, but it is a modern version of that Victorian favourite toy, the automaton. Blessed with light- and movement-sensitive switches, said fish bursts into song and dance at the slightest provocation, from its imitation stone plinth. It had us in a stitch. How we chuckled.
The clientele of The Angel are well known for the exotic nature of their holiday destinations: you only have to read about Jos or Jonathan or that nice Mr Orton to know what I mean. 2000 looks like living up to the tradition, with Tim and Rosie dragging their offspring away to the tropical delights of Bembridge on the sun-kissed atoll of Vectis - that's the Isle of Wight to you and me. I await news of more holiday destinations. Since it's been remarkably quiet in the bar of late, I can only assume that Tony Ward , for instance, is already terrorising the good paysans of South West France. And, of course, Robert did make it out Greece in the middle of the heat wave.
Me? I'll make do with a couple of days in Devon, I think.
More postcards, please. C/O The Angel
That ever-so-pleasant young Mr Neil Porter has at last been offered a real job. Having spent years trying to be a student, he's at last qualified as a nurse and has been offered a job in a Burns Unit in Essex.
Quite how medical qualilfications help with work on a second rate Scottish poet and philanderer, I don't know, but there you go ...Neil will probably explain when he next has a fortnight off.
Readily identifiable by their habit of drinking half pints very slowly, agents of the CAMRA pressure group visited the Angel at the end of July to make sure that Dave's IPA was up to scratch.They would have not been disappointed, even if some of their number did ask for orange juice and lemonade, and one for a Campari and soda.
Difficult one that. Not only does Dave not keep the vile pink stuff, he also does not keep soda. Oh dear.
Hard on the news of Jan 'n' Dave's assorted accidents comes news that Ivan Pearson has been taken into hospital and is to be fitted with a pacemaker.
Quite simply, we send him and his family our very best wishes.
I know these pages have not been updated for a while. To be honest, there has not been a lot to laugh about, although there have been some bright spots.
To start with the bad news.
First of all Dave had a nasty fall on the stairs a while ago, and dislocated his shoulder, broke a bone in his hand and, it transpired, also ruptured some tendons in his shoulder. So he's been struggling somewhat, to say the least.
To make things much, much worse, Janet then had a very nasty fall herself, causing serious skull damage, and a spell in hospital which was unpleasant in the extreme. She's out of hospital now, but recovery is going to be a long job.
If there has been a bright side to all this, it must be the way people have rallied round to help and support. Barry, Jools, Jackie, Paul to name but a few - with apologies to those not mentioned - have all lent a hand. Naturally, Cherry and Paul have been visiting and making guest appearances behind the bar as well.
I'll just add the obvious: all the regulars and friends bid our very best wishes to the Taylors for a rapid return to something like normality.
Regular readers will, I hope, understand the lack of trivia for the next few weeks.
Amidst all the kerfuffle, Dave celebrated his **st birthday on 23 July. Best wishes, Dave, and many happy returns.
There's an Angel golf tournament due in September. Despite my natural aversion to this most boring of occupations, I will endeavour to keep readers up-to-date with the outcome...zzz...zzzz..zzzzz.
There is also a rumour that The Angel may be taking to the water again with another entry in the Sudbury raft race. Watch this space.
Being summer, there have been some goings and comings. As I type this, Jonathan Farrance is doing the States. No postcards yet, but Graham reports a loud "Yee-Haa" from the direction of Nashville. That nice man Roger has been abroad again. Not sure where, but he's developed a tendency for throwing china plates across the bar in mad abandon. Steve Plumb went to the transatlantic colonies on "business". He reports an interesting pint of IPA from one of the imitative micro-breweries over there.
IPA form has been a little variable lately. Not Dave's fault, I hasten to add. Could it be that Greene King are trying to produce too much in their new found corporate status as challengers to Bill Gates for world domination?
Two visits by Gales HSB have, however, proved excellent.
The Angel went wild today (29 May) with news of Ipswich Town's return to the Premiership. Their 4 - 2 win over Bassett's Barnsley will be cheered to the echo.
Many villagers made their way to Wembley; the rest of us followed each twist of a great game with growing anticipation.
The only downside of Burley's Boys success was that, on their way up, they passed a certain South London side disappearing in the other direction.
Whither the packet of Paxo?
Hard on the heels of the solution of the Paxo mystery, comes news of another foray behind the bar by unnamed but well-known mischief makers.
Someone has been responsible for trying to con the management by switching the "cheap offer" sign from a bottle of cooking scotch to the bottle of premium label "Famous Grouse". Dave was not amused, particularly when he nearly fell for it.
Who should shoulder the blame for such an attempt to dislocate the till receipts?
I'm not telling.
This cup, played for annually in memory of a stalwart member of the Angel's crib team, was one this year by Graham Farrance in a close run fnal with Ivan Pearson.
After his victory, Graham maintained tradition by filling the cup with a massive cocktail, made up from almost every optic. Some people even drank it, although we reckoned it might have been better used for those odd paint-stripping jobs around the house.
When the Morris Men of Little Egypt celebrated May Day with their Dawn Dance at Easty Wood, Jan helped the celebration by providing a sumptuous breakfast at The Angel. Rumour has it that, rather than missing the alarm clock, Jan simply stayed up all night.
The dancers were very grateful, even if the neighbours didn't appreciate the early morning carolling.
Dave, meanwhile slept through it all.
The millennium is, by legend, a time when all manner of strange manifestations occur.
The Angel has not been left out in this respect.
Tony Ward was recently seen drinking a can of Coke.
Now, no-one will believe that.
At last, after months of searching, the Taylors have finally discovered who was responsible for the dread act of attaching a packet of stuffing to the Norwich City canary.
Despite clues and hints from all round the bar, they were in the dark until a loose tongue at lunchtime led them to the inevitable truth that the perpetrator had been none other than
Not least among the mysteries of the Paxo Affair was exactly how Dave Bonner managed to keep the secret for so long. The rest of us were waiting with bated breath for him to let the cat out of the bag, or the canary out of the cage.
Somehow, he managed it.
Never being one to miss a trick, Jan decided it was time to visit some other hostelries in the village, but needed a guide.
Who to choose as a chaperon was the problem.
That problem was soon sorted by The Angel's own expert on the nooks and crannies of every pub within ten miles of Glemsford: Paul Jacques.
So the little party set out (14 May) to see what could be seen.
They completed the circuit some time round about closing time. Janet swears she stuck to tonic water all evening.
Paul makes no such claims.
Dave is devastated. His lovely little whisky tankard has lost its handle, broken off in a mad smash-and-grab raid launched by the Paxo Kid in another fit of insanity. When will he ever learn that such behaviour may be acceptable in the Cock, but is totally inappropriate for the hallowed confines of the Angel?
Meanwhile, Dave is looking for an expert in the repair of miniature drinking vessels. Yellow Pages not being very helpful, the Glemsford Dome, Jim Gardner, has offered to help. We await progress.
Yes: IPA has gone up to £1.90. Not Jan 'n' Dave's fault, and the quality is as fine as ever, but I can remember when it was 60p a pint, and I'm not that old.
A recent (unnumbered) birthday celebration in the Seaton household led to an unlikely combination of naval power, unheard of since the Kaiser reviewed the British fleet in 1907.
Between them, Dave "Shut yer Gob" Taylor, Colin "Old Salty" Phillips, and Stuart "Wing and a Prayer" Seaton contributed 62+ years to HM Ships, so the meeting is well worth recording here:
Wednesday 19th May saw another visit from the band of itinerant purveyors of Irish pub music. The Band With No Name wander from pub to pub on successive Wednesdays, and reach a good pub standard of performance. They have several fiddlers - notably Mike Feather, and flautists as well, plus a squeeze box or two, and the inevitable massed ranks of Bodhrans. Their repertoire is extensive, but they always end with the theme from "Captain Pugwash".
Dave was seen to do a hornpipe, but only in the confines of the cellar.
As mentioned on another occasion, competition for the Bart Simpson Lookalike Haircut award is hotting up; this is probably connected with the unseasonably hot weather we've had lately.
Latest entrant is your host, who has only just got over the anaesthetic.
The late season surge of the crib team took them to a very creditable sixth place in their (large) league. Unfortunately, the "Pride of Glemsford" trophy was won by the Cock.
Never mind: next season will be different.
As outlined elsewhere, for the benefit of the Brisbane branch of the Angel Quiz Team Fan Club, a stumbling mid-season performance meant that the quiz team could not win the league, but a creditable set of late results saw us into a comfortable third position in the League.
Jos already has a reputation for travel to distant parts and climes.
Always willing to try something different, this spring he was seduced into taking part in a flight across home territory in a hot air balloon.
The flight started in Cavendish and continued, across Glemsford, to Stanstead. Jos has been kind enough to lend me some photographs. They give a fascinating view of our countryside. Go on: spoil yourself.
Roy Porter celebrated his 73rd birthday on 7 May. His grandson Neil tells me that Roy celebrated with a bath and a haircut.
Now, that's celebrating.
The weekend of 6/7 May 2000 saw a flying and alcoholic visit by former regular and stalwart, Bryan Morgan. Together with his lovely wife, Andrea, and daughter Josephine, Bryan flew in from Munich, before heading off to visit other friends around the country. Great to see them: still rocking after all these years.
Apart from the knowledge that he is still being sought for avoiding the call up to fight in the Boer War, we have no real clue as to the age of Doods, the self appointed mayor of South Glemsford.
Well, we didn't until he let slip the other day that he is now a grandfather.
You couldn't miss it really. His grin was as wide as the Stour estuary.
Anyway, he (and Carol, of course) have been blessed with a grand-daughter: Lilli Jayne.
Congratulations to all concerned.
A little known aspect of the range of facilities available in our favourite hostelry are the library and study opportunities.
Well: at least, I didn't know about these, but they must be there because Hannah seems to prefer the ambience of studious quiet that often prevails at the bar to her college library. She has been spotted with reams of revision notes, and text books on Ethics. (Hint, Hannah: Chelmsford is one of the main towns - remember that, and you'll be ok).
As always, the regulars are ever-willing to assist with helpful prompts, like "Who's this Phil Ossoffy bloke, anyway?"
We are beginning to find out more about Dave's earlier life:
This year's London Marathon took on a whole new importance for the regulars at The Angel. Amidst the throng of serious and not-so-serious masochists trudging round the streets of the capital city was a regular Angel drinker, Lee Eagles.
He finished the course in a seriously impressive time of about 4 ½ hours.
Official confirmation is awaited for the time, but he has received his medal, and local scrutineers, in the shape of the Townsend family, recorded his progress at 15, 17 and 20 miles (it has to be said from the safer confines of the City Pride pub), while his wife caught up with him at 23 miles.
The fact that he'd told her he was "just popping out for a paper" apparently cut no ice, and we believe his last few miles were run markedly quicker. "Hitting the wall" paled into insignificance alongside her exhortations to "get a b****y move on."
Seriously, we're all full of admiration for such an effort, even more so since Lee's whole effort was in aid of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Well done, Lee!
There is, however, no truth in the rumour that your author and Dave Taylor are already in training for next year's event.
The lateness of Easter this year did nothing to curb the spirit of Angel regulars. Apart from the ceremonial opening of the Chip Frier, and the refurbishment of The Angel gardens (see below), the weekend was its usual jolly round of humour and conviviality. Jan outshone herself in the field of decorations, combining Easter greetings with St George's Day bunting (despite the fact that, apparently, the church authorities declared that St George could not be celebrated within a week of Easter, and put back the traditonal day to the first week of May).
Jan was not impressed and refused to pander to such ecclesiastical whims.
Along with the decorations, an Easter Bunny (stuffed rather than jugged) was raffled for charity. The winner was that Nice Man Roger Orton.
Further celebrations took the form of Dave Bonner's annual haircut; he is now challenging Will for the "Who can look most like Bart Simpson?" award.
Just as the football season is drawing to its inevitable conclusion, with Ipswich fighting to escape automatic promotion and Norwich being charitable to their fellow-strugglers, and Wimbledon doing an impersonation of free-fall parachutists who forgot an important piece of equipment, The Angel was rocked to the bottom of the crisp packet by an attempt to kidnap Dave's stuffed canary.
Just who could be responsible for such an heinous act is hard to imagine, but the finger of suspicion is pointed firmly and accusingly at someone whose name rhymes with Jim and whose surname is that of the lead guitarist of The Who (allegedly).
More news as it happens.
The mysterious appearance of the packet of Paxo stuffing (see below ) next to the Norwich City FC canary emblem (well, it is still a mystery to Jan 'n' Dave - the rest of us know Full Well who did it) has taken on a new twist. Those of you not interested in English football in the dizzy heights of the Nationwide Football League (Division One) may have failed to notice that, on Sunday (19 March 2000), Norwich City visited top Suffolk side, Ipswich Town for the local
derby match. punch up
Norwich City WON 2 - 0.
Dave and Jim "The Millennium Dome" Gardner were delighted.
Many others were not.
Anyway, to celebrate the event, the packet of Paxo has moved, from its former place, to reside fairly and squarely on top of Jan's newly-acquired Ipswich Town pennant.
This could become a tradition.
And indeed it has: just as Ipswich have undertaken their now-traditional end-of-season stutter (who else could lose 3-1 to QPR and let Chris Kiwomya score?), Norwich are trying to emulate them (admittedly from further down the table) by being generous both to Port Vale and Barnsley.
Nevertheless, as I write (25 April) the packet of Paxo remains firmly attached to the Ipswich pennant and
Jan 'n' Dave still don't know where it came from, despite all sorts of clues.
I forgot to mention that we were honoured a couple of weeks ago by a visit by some more old friends of Jan 'n' Dave, in the shape of Ian and Teresa from King's Lynn. Ian is a leading light in the King's Morris side in Lynn, so it was good to exchange yarns and suggest a proper dancing get together in the future.
Easter weekend is traditionally a time to get out and about, and The Angel is always a popular venue.
Jan 'n' Dave used to run the Ex-Serviceman's Club in Swaffham (that's in Norfolk), and it was nice to hear that two lots of their regulars from that stage of their career made the trip down to visit them in Glemsford.
Included among them was Trevor's mum (he of the quiz team - who has, incidentally, recently ended his exile in Cornard and moved back to the village - sense will prevail, after all).
Also spotted over the weekend has been Neil Porter, escaping from the rigours of nursing training, and splitting his spare time between energy-sapping pints of IPA and leisurely walks in the Hertfordshire mud with his current "item", whom he describes as an "enthusiastic walker" note: use a spellchecker before you upload this: ed. : it must be love, Neil.
Fran from Geneva was also in town, with "Old Salty" Phillips. Stelios of easyJet must be making a fortune out of those two.
As always, welcome one, welcome all.
Easter Weekend, 2000, (21 - 24 April), saw another step forward in the revitalisation of The Angel as a centre of epicurean excellence.
The chip frier is working.
guinea pigs customers partook of Scampi and Chips on Saturday, and, so far, we have no reports of ill-effects.
So, within days we can expect a full snack menu to be in operation, and a welcome addition it will be too. Well done, Jan.
The only question is: what effect will it have on the market for Twiglets?
Now that Spring has sprung, all good householders thoughts turn to cutting the grass.
Our own Dave 'n' Jan have even been spotted in the open air.
The wasteland that was the front garden has been turned into Glemsford's answer to the gardens of Versailles. Out of a wilderness, they have created swathes of immaculately-manicured lawn.
Nevertheless, it looks cared-for, and tidy.
In fact, it's been cut twice, already.
I understand the remedial work was carried out with the help of Steve Plumb's strimmer. So difficult was the task that said implement collapsed in the process, and calls went out for "more string".
Steve has a wry smile on his face, but he doesn't mind, because he's been busy cutting his own hedge and reinforcing his Monkey Puzzle Tree against the predations of the local footballing mafia who plague his well-tended garden.
Talking of Steve Plumb, reminds me that he took a few hours off from his strenuous lifestyle to visit our French neighbours to replenish his wine supplies recently. In the course of negotiating a hypermarket car park, doubtless testing his suspension and steering to the limit, whom should he run into (almost literally) but Glemsford's very own Farrance brothers, on a similar mission.
Graham, Ramon and Wilf were combining their trip with a run to visit their father's grave on the Normandy coast. Mr Farrance (senior) died on D-Day. For Graham, at least, it was his first visit.
I gather the family was very impressed with the care with which the graves are still tended after so many years.
On a lighter note, however, the Channel Tunnel let them down on the way out, with broken down trains and major delays. Just think: if they'd not been delayed, they might never have run into Mr Plumb!
Now: "The Angel" crib team does not have a reputation as a bunch of winners, but, just recently, they've swept aside all opposition in a spectacular run of good form, defeating Stanstead Club, Clare British legion, The Cock (Glemsford), Stansfield Compasses and Glemsford Club. Such a run meant that The Angel stood proudly on top of the Glemsford section of the league.Some of the wins have been quite impressive.
Needless to say, however, such form always comes to an end, and on 15 March, the team suffered a heavy loss against the Clare Swan. This, we are assured, had nothing to do with the fact that skipper Nice Man Roger Orton had beggared off to the delights of Torremelinos and Spanish senoritas for a week.
They will return.
And indeed they did. Winning 3 out of their last 5 matches, they zoomed giddily up the league table (we await the final version). It was a pity that they lost their very last match to the Melford Swan, but it has been a very good season and they are the Pride of Glemsford. Jim "Millennium Dome" Gardner's ode to the team is worth reading again.
Meanwhile: the Brisbane branch of the Angel Quiz Team Fan Club (AQTFC, now there's a catchy acronym) is anxious to know how the team has fared this winter (I kid you not: the demand came by e-mail).
Well, we seem to have come through a rare patch of dodgy form.
Against the Horse and Groom, we swept into a commanding lead, only to be pegged back in a disastrous last (point-less) round to lose by 4 points.
The match against our mates at The Swan, Melford, saw us fall badly behind on the first round, sweep back into the lead, then throw it all away in the second half and lose by 3 points (i.e. one question and a bonus).
We then lost spectacularly to the Rose and Crown (54-44), but bounced back to defeat, in succession, the Metcalfe Arms, The Crown, Acton, and The Greyhound, Lavenham.
Included in our team for these last games was that Nice Man, Roger Orton, sitting in for Chas, who was unfortunately indisposed (as a newt, actually). Roger did very well, and even got some answers right, even though the illustrious captain has developed an annoying habit of ignoring RIGHT answers in favour of spectacularly WRONG ones.
Our final match is against the Waggon and Horses, and although we can't win the League, or come second, realistically, we hope to improve our final position markedly.
As predicted, IPA has risen by 2p per pint, so now sits neatly at £1.86. Well, at least that means one less 2p piece rattling around our pockets and purses.
The weekend of 10 - 12 March saw Glemsford graced by some visitors from Surrey. Such grand people normally pass Glemsford by, but these were special people from Merstham, in Surrey, who knew Jan 'n' Dave in a previous existence in the British Legion club there.
So it was our pleasure to welcome The Major, (there's always one, isn't there?), Julie and Stuart, and Alan Shotton.
They've even promised to come back again.
The recent (see below) Poems and Pints evening at "The Angel" was a great success, attracting visitors and contributors from the length and breadth of the village, including the inevitable Roy Porter, who, let it be said, made some wonderful contributions, including several of his own-penned epitaphs to former friends and residents of the village.
Also included were a couple of offerings from Glemsford's own Millennium Dome, Jim Gardner. Since these need a parental advisory sticker, I am putting them on a separate page, which can be found here
David's affection for Norwich City Football Club (The Canaries) is recorded elsewhere. In this enlightened age, he need make no secret of it, and is generally treated with understanding.
We even tolerate the presence of a small mascot behind the bar, in the shape of a woollen knitted birdie (aah, how sweet).
Dave, however is a little perplexed. Some time last weekend (19/20 Feb, 2000), someone sneaked behind the bar and secreted a packet of Paxo on the shelf next to said mascot.
(Our international readers shouldunderstand that Paxo is a commercial brand of stuffing (forcemeat) traditionally served with dead, roasted poultry).
Apart from the fact that it took him two days to notice it, Dave was not slow to understand the satire which lay behind this deed.
No one has yet admitted to the fell act: wisely so, given the oaths that have since emanated from the business-side of the bar.
There is an air of optimism about the place at present.
As a precursor to Jan 'n' Dave's more permanent appointment, the Crib and Quiz teams go from strength to strength. On Sunday (20 February) the Quizzers beat local rivals from the "Black Lion" in a hard-fought contest, and the Crib team demolished "The Cock", 8 - 7.
A further harbinger of spring and better times appeared in the form of Fran from Geneva. Things are looking up.
... the excesses of Christmas decorations, and Jan lets us all down by festooning the hallowed portals with a load of naff Valentine's Day streamers and balloons. Now, if I remember rightly, St Valentine was martyred by being pierced with multiple arrows. How wise the Romans were. Balloons be warned.
Despite the presence of the aforesaid commercial rubbish associated with St V.'s day, Sunday February 13, 2000 will see a raising of the intellectual temperature of The Angel, when we hold our second "Poems and Pints" evening.
We are promised plenty of contributions, some self-penned, some light-hearted, but mostly high quality.
We are even promised a couple of contributions from Glemsford's own millennium dome, Jim Gardner.
Look out for a full report.
As always, the Angel Globetrotters continue to brave the further reaches of the known world.
Tony Ward took his trusty rig to Portugal. Old Salty Phillips has been back and forth to Geneva (now, there's a surprise).
Steve Plumb has been to Letchworth.
Neil Porter is reported to be in Chelmsford, purveying dubious humour about Suffolk's poor neighbour to the north.
January 2000 was a quiet month in most respects, but custom has held up well, encouraging Jan 'n' Dave to make further plans for future events.
Ivan Pearson soon recovered from his nasty bout of cold, flu, bronchitis. welcome back.
The crib and quiz team continue to win, much to Dave's delight.
At their annual general meeting early in January 2000, the Morris Men of Little Egypt formally adopted The Angel as their
side's headquarters. This means that most Tuesdays will see the men descend on The Angel for refreshment after their practice
As I write, this has not yet resulted in a descent into music, song and general ribaldry, but their business meeting on 22 February ended with some attempts to revive old habits of that sort.
Never let it be said that the move was only a result of Jan's offer of sandwiches and roast spuds, but they are very welcome nevertheless.