Sunday, 28 April 2013

More cafes

The other day I set out to take some books back to Whitton library, but due to a local event the car park was full, so I drove around searching for alternative parking. And this is how I discovered secret Whitton. I returned there today on foot. Originally I thought I'd only stumbled on a decent looking pub (the White Hart). Then I realised there were a couple of cafes there as well. My eye was first caught by the highly intriguing Dick's Triangle Cafe. This is that most excellent of things - a ghost caff!

Peering through the net curtains you can tell the chairs were put up on the tables years ago. A tea towel folded and laid over the counter one closing time, obviously they expected to come back in the next day. But for whatever reason it was not to be. The Marie Celeste of caf├ęs. I'd put money on there being a copy of the Sun or the Mail in there, it'd be interesting to see the date on it. 

Anyway, back to the land of the living. The other cafe, Sam's cafe, is quite small but they've arranged nine formica tables with bolted on plastic seats very sensibly. It was empty when we walked in but filled up over thirty minutes or so, mainly with little, bald, fat men. The food, while not exceptional, was good. Another sausage would have helped balance the abundance of chips you see up there. Next time I'll specify two sausages. The place is done out in blue tiles (an Islamic influence?) which gives it a chilly vibe. This is only partially remedied by the slightly forlorn prints of Istanbul that adorn the walls. We sat under a good one of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

Whitton high street does okay for greasy spoons actually; the Whitton Cafe (I think it's called) which I would grade as okay, and the Golden Grill which is, all things considered, probably the best. Lighting not too bright, some nice exposed brick decor. I always go for the corner that has an accumulation of potted plants. And it's open till midnight. A bit unnecessary for my purposes, but it's nice to have somewhere that doesn't shut at 3 o'clock.

But Sam's gets extra points for serendipity. And its location. It's very near Kneller Hall. that was another surprise a year or so ago, I was driving along (having got into the wrong lane coming back from the Royal Mail depot) and I clocked that rather impressive building. I parked up and got out to investigate. Noticed a pub on that occasion too, the Duke of Cambridge. Still not been in.

Friday, 26 April 2013


One of my favourite daydreams used to be imagining how I'd manage if I were somehow catapulted back in time. My brain, on autopilot, would most often take me back to ancient Rome. The first thing that occurred to me was that I could use my knowledge of (what would have become) future events to my advantage and become a famous prognosticator. But when it comes down to it, I don't know that many exact dates, accurate to the day. There's the Ides of March in 44 BC I suppose, I could try to save Julius Caesar. But he was allegedly warned by a soothsayer, who's to say he'd have taken any notice of me? (Maybe the soothsayer was me?) I used to know the regnal dates of the first however many emperors, I could perhaps go in for laying bets on who would succeed. But the whole area of seeming to anticipate an emperor's death would be fraught with danger - it was illegal to cast an emperor's horoscope I think. And of course there's the less mystical scenario of such knowledge possibly implicating you as a conspirator. Far better to steer clear of that sort of business.

Anyway, my favoured solution to this not really very pressing problem eventually came to me, I think, after reading somewhere that the Romans had had the potential to have invented the gramophone (i.e. it didn't require the precision tooling that only came in with the industrial revolution). I wouldn't have a clue as to how to make a gramophone, but it did get me thinking, and the result was that I'd invent the printing press. They'd have gone crazy for it, I just know it.

Monday, 8 April 2013


I was caught unprepared for Thatch's death today. The plan had always been to crack open a bottle of champagne. However, our emergency bottle of champagne was whisked off to a friend's engagement party a couple of weeks ago and hadn't been replaced. 

So I marched down to my local and had a couple of pints. You might think that these could be construed as the actions of one who admired the late baroness and I suppose they could. But that was not my intention. The idea was not to exult in an individual's death, she was, after all, a mother. The ritual quaffing of drink was instead just my small gesture against the oncoming tsunami of bollocks in the media, a definite rejection of the idea that she should be granted any sort of special funeral, and that I do not sign up at all to the idea that Mrs Thatcher was a good thing.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

How bible was my black

I found an old Welsh Bible in a bookshop a few weeks back, going for 50p, who could resist that? And here, picked for its sheer, eerie weirdness, is a verse: 

A'r pedwar anifail oedd ganddynt, bob un o honynt, chwech o adenydd o'u hamgylch ; ac yr oeddynt oddi fewn yn llawn llygaid : ac nid oeddynt yn gorphwys ddydd a nos, gan ddywedyd, Sanct, Sanct, Sanct, Arglwydd Dduw Hollalluog, yr hwn oedd, a'r hwn sydd, a'r hwn sydd i ddyfod.

A little bit of vocabulary to help you out. I've got a feeling Welsh spelling might have been revised at some point since this Bible was printed (an inscription by a D. H. Thomas of Treorchy gives us a terminus ante quem of 1915).

pedwar - four

chwech - six
llygad - eye
aden - wing