After sampling London Underground’s most central destination – Charing Cross – last month, we headed to its most distant – Chesham – for our annual Christmas Crawl.
T’was the crawl before Christmas and all through the train,
Everyone was groaning in pub quiz induced pain,
On our way to Chesham for Christmas in zone nine,
We Q&A’d through 60 minutes on the Metropolitan line.
First The Queen’s Head for Thai Christmas dinner,
Where we laughed and gorged and waved goodbye to being thinner,
Then to The Red Lion for pints and pool,
Where merriment continued in the spirit of Yule.
Now four jars in, a swift jump and a hop,
To try local treats in the Chesham Brewery Shop,
An independent boutique with bottles abound,
Interesting bevvies and dogs sniffing around.
We supped and quaffed and commented duly,
On the benefits of each individual brewery,
Here we could’ve stayed, tasting all liquid delights,
But more pubs to find on this enchanted, dark night.
Through the old-y world-y charm of Chesham’s streets,
With reddened noses and rosy cheeks,
To The George and Dragon and, while not a pubs best,
It was lifted from the doldrums by a very special guest.
Lights flashing from the streets, a bell rang through the night,
Then St. Nick himself staggered into sight,
It was certainly him, we could tell from a mile,
And his presence made one and all widen a smile.
He wore a cheap cotton suit and a beard of polyester,
But Santa really was there, with Greg as attestor,
“Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas to all!”
Empty glasses kissed tables and on with the crawl.
Onwards to refuel in The General’s Arms,
Which was bland and lifeless but meant no harm,
Followed by a walk through the blistering cold,
Of a distance similar from South to North Pole.
And into the warmth of The Jolly Sportsman,
Where we quivered in delighted muso fandom,
As performing, straight from Spain, was rock royalty,
(Or a relation thereof, so more like rock admiralty).
Denis Cook came from the Costa with a hymn,
“His nephew’s called Norman – AKA Fatboy Slim”,
Doug at the bar dutifully informed,
As his nineteenth pint was lovingly poured.
The crowd were entranced by Denis’ voice,
An electro-acoustic was his weapon of choice,
Hit came after hit – again and again,
Nowhere was more jovial then right there, right then.
For his next sing-a-long classic he needed assistance,
“Someone with rhythm and a bit of persistence”,
I leapt at the chance and with a shake of the hand,
He informed me I was now fifty percent of the band.
The bells on my Christmas jumper would provide,
The needed percussion to play alongside,
The final song before the break,
I had to bounce in four-four without a single mistake.
He struck the first chord, I jumped up and down,
And for the next three minutes I was the greatest drummer in town,
The nearby table of ladies sighed dismayed,
But I was lost in the groove that Denis and I played.
The song ended, the audience reaction was of the gauge,
Denis and Andy; Chesham this year, next – Pyramid Stage,
Departing to The Game Keeper’s Lodge our final call,
On this – our final 2016 crawl.
Another charming pub, maybe the best it could be crowned,
And in the corner another talented duo could be found,
But I bought my last pint and in a blink,
I’d dropped the card machine in another man’s drink.
The glass was full, until it smashed,
And the bar tenders for beer towels dashed,
I tried to save the fiscal tech,
But stood helpless with it – dripping wet.
The ale seeped across the bar,
The singer tutted from behind his guitar,
The now drinkless drinker stared, aggrieved,
“Don’t worry – I’ll pour you another one, Steve”.
If only he knew my musical acumen,
Then I could’ve been forgiven,
‘Do you like You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby?
I could get you a signed copy . . . maybe’.
We headed for the door and back to the station,
Thanking Chesham, our merry destination,
As the tube train pulled once again into sight,
Happy Ultimate London Pub Crawl, and to all a goodnight.
Next stop: CHIGWELL