I bet that subject line got your attention.
So I’ve lived in Higham Hill for 13 years yet haven’t really explored my local area much. Walked up Higham Hill road a couple of times and a bit of Blackhorse Lane. I think the problem is I’ve rarely had the time. I used to work in Surbiton, then a West End job working crazy hours, then my current job in Chiswick. The 3 years I was out of work in the recession contained crippling depression. Spending weekends at my partner’s near the high street means I’m not much in my home area.
But today I got home and got the vacuuming done and thought “Fuck staying in on a sunny afternoon. Fuck being that guy.” So I went out for a walk. Time for a nice, cold beer. Time to try some local pubs.
Just a 10 minute walk up the hill from my flat is the Warrant Officer. Lots of scaffolding on the outside didn’t stop it being open on a Sunday afternoon and it was pleasantly quiet. The sound system was playing various Americana from Country to blues to a ‘Lighter Shade of Pale’. Speaking of pale I chose a pint of 13 Guns yank IPA. They had a couple of ale taps on but I was in the mood for something cold. £4 tells me I’m not in the pub at the West Midlands council estate I grew up in (seriously I get change from a twenty when I buy 6 pints at Xmas). I settled into a corner armchair to let life go by.
I’d rank the Warrant Officer under ‘nice estate pub’. It seems to have a bunch of middle aged and retired men making up the clientèle in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. It’s got a couple of TVs (not on, fortunately), pool table, free wifi. Apart from the mix of old chairs the décor revolves around military insignia and a case full what I think are replica flintlocks.
Eschewing the wifi I sat, made a few notes for this post and enjoyed the music. I think I’ll be back for a quiet pint again sometime.
Fortified with a beer I decided to go look for Higham Hill Park, which was just 2 minutes away. It was a bit smaller than I expected (Lloyd park has spoiled me, and is nearly as close) but has good facilities which were being well used; tennis courts, basketball courts, playground and playing field.
I found myself a patch of grass to write some notes. And then stretched out for 20 minutes. It was warm with a cooling breeze and I found myself occasionally chuckling at how I never make time to make time for myself. I watched planes overhead leave contrails and pigeons flirt with each other.
So, more beer. On a previous walk I’d noticed another pub and decided to try the Prince of Wales on St Andrews Road.
No interior shot of this one. I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact I wasn’t the only bloke in the pub watching the football. This is your classic estate pub; choice of Guinness, John Smiths or Fosters (I went for lager on a warm day). Judging by the missing paint it’s not seen a decorator this century. Two of the three TVs in this smallish bar were showing the game. There’s a pool table and a one arm bandit if Sky Sports doesn’t get you excited. Looking out back there seems to be a beer garden.
While I may not be kind the ‘stow needs a mix of pubs to serve all of its residents. As we don’t have a ‘spoons it is pubs like this and the Lord Palmerston which serve the ‘basic’ end of the local beer trade.
While I doubt I’ll return to the last venue I hope to spend some time chilling in my local park. Certainly, I’ll drop into the Warrant Officer of an evening for a pint.
And next time I get chance for a walk I’ll try and venture a bit further North into my neighbourhood.