Archive | May, 2014

Three pints and a towel please…

25 May

Three pints and a towel please…

I have been asked to write about some of my experiences getting into pubs whilst drunk, sober or being mostly harmless following a rather quick off the mark answer after being refused entry to one of my favourite bars in Sydney last December.


My wife and I were celebrating her and her best friend’s birthday. After a fabulous meal at a much overpriced restaurant in The Rocks area of Sydney, we made our way to one of my favourite bars. Jackson’s on George has long been renowned as one of the most exciting and vibrant venues in Sydney; I always try and have at least one drink here when ever visiting. There’s a fantastic sports lounge out the back with the old style pub feel; there’s also a great bar and dining area at the front which looks out to the hustle and bustle of George street. It’s recently been taken over and is now what’s considered an Irish style pub. My wife and our two close friends were in front of me; my so-called mate being the cheeky one and unbeknownst to me at the time had told the security guard to not allow me entry when I decided to rock up.

Boris the security guard stood there arms folded, muscles flexing and chewing gum with a smile on his face casually says, “mate, give me one good reason I should allow you into our fine establishment?” With a flourish I pull my iPad out of my satchel with an equally smug grin and say, work for the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, would you like a write-up?” Boris laughed and then in a barely audible whisper whilst chewing ” that will do nicely.” Boris was obviously no mug, we swapped several quotes and I was given good advice to make sure I settle the bar bill, look out for any savage birds and disembodied hands. He also said, don’t ask for credit because having your throat torn out by a savage bird while a disembodied hand smashes your head against the bar often offends”. I was then given entry into his fine establishment. If your best laid plans don’t turn out especially when they involve drinking at a pub make sure you have your guide and always know where your towel is.

Readers, you come along with me and have a good time. The U.K. is a fun place to be. You don’t even need a fish in your ear. This year I celebrated what I consider a milestone birthday. Can you guess? It’s the answer to life the universe & everything; yes that’s right, it’s 42. To date, I am yet to find the answer, let alone understand the question.

Over the Christmas and New Year break of 2013/2014, my family and I travelled through parts of Paris, England, Scotland, Ireland and about two and a half hours of Wales. Whilst we were away for roughly five weeks, my plan involved visiting as many pubs as I could fit into what was already a hectic schedule. One of the planned highlights would be my 42nd birthday, which also fell on a Thursday. Of course, all through our lives we’ve had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, something big, even sinister, and no one would tell us what it was. But, that’s just perfectly normal paranoia— everyone in the Universe has that. It would be celebrated in Liverpool, home to many important things. The Beatles, Jerry and The Pacemakers, that famous football team & the Mersey ferry to name a few. I should also mention Jamie’s Italian restaurant, which was my food moment for the trip; the only time I drank red wine, for which the-mother-in-law was paying so I ordered a few…bottles.


What was the plan? Well my daughter and I have a love for the late, great Douglas Adams. If you’ve read his greatest work, you’d know how during the first few chapters Arthur Dent is having a terrible Thursday. Arthur’s house is about to be demolished to make way for a bypass. His friend, Ford Prefect has taken him to the local pub and is trying to explain where he’s from, what’s about to happen in the next few minutes and why he wants Arthur to accompany him off world. Yep, the planet is about to be demolished to make way for a Hyperspatial Express Route by the vogons. ( You can check the Vogon Demolition Projects as well as their rates here: http:/

When the pair walk into the bar Ford makes his order to a dismayed publican. “Six pints of bitter, and quickly please; the world’s about to end.We so much wanted to walk into a random pub on my birthday and do exactly that to see what would happen. We’d chosen my birthday to also do the fab4tour which I highly recommend for any Beatles fan. We finished the tour in the CBD of Liverpool and decided to go into one of many places celebrating the life and times of the Fab Four. As fancy named cocktails were the order of the day it, didn’t have the desired effect. Or maybe the blank stare we got from the waitress really summed it up. I’m sure she was thinking, Thursdays, they always come in on Thursdays. How miserable. We asked for a Pangalactic Gargle Blaster the next time. Unfortunately for us, some frood claiming to be the Galactic president had been there night before and left the pub high and dry.


Further along on our travels we visited the Camden Burroughs. It’s taken its scruffy image and turned it around in favour of becoming a tourist haven, particularly at weekends when elbow room is scarce around Camden Lock and the market. The colourful shops sell tacky souvenirs, tattoo parlours and food takeaway. Here we found one of the best pubs-The World’s End. Very old and it immediately drew us in for what else? Beer. There’s all sorts of quirky signs proclaiming all sorts of rules and different aspects of its history. We perched ourselves at the bar, ordered pints of beer and wine for the ladies. After a few, I decided to ask what’s a great local beer? I’ll have a pint. Still can’t remember what it was, but it went straight through me. After the 3rd we decided to leave, unwillingly I add, vowed to return one day.


Although, the Guide says that there is an art to flying—we thought we’d better take the double decker bus to Trafalgar Square. Having no idea how far away it was, it could have been the improbable night bus from Islington which wouldn’t have been due for two million years, I settled in on the top floor. Pure torture- I think the driver knew I’d had a few by the amount of bumps we hit. It’s times like this you really think, if only I could tie it in a knot. After a while I couldn’t take it any longer and informed the travel party I was getting off. I didn’t care where we were, I’m off. The button is pressed, I slide down the hand rail, and out the bus before the rest had a chance to even blink. I run across the road to the closest pub, and I ask for directions to the toilets to be told by the lovely lady, “you need to buy a drink love before you use the privy.” Bloody hell, 1 pint of Guinness, 1 Carlsberg, a red wine, a glass of water and a coffee. I run back outside and shout across the road to my bewildered family who didn’t know where I’d dashed off to, having another drink, come and pay!”

The barmaid points to the right and downstairs, was this the disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard” that Arthur Dent mentioned? I reminded myself as I had done most of this trip so far; Don’t Panic. After that was achieved and a lot of laughing, at my expense, we settle down for another drink in a pub called Molly Moggs. We enquire to our whereabouts and we are told that we are in the Leicester Square Theatre district. I might add we spent a fair bit of time here in the end.


Did we make it to Trafalgar Square? Yes we did, the very next day as we drove out of London in the direction of Scotland; all I could hear from the back seat was laughter. Where I’d hopped off the bus the day previously was only a five-minute walk to Trafalgar Square from the Theatre District.

I’d lost track what day it was I mean who needs to know when your on holidays. I should have known, bloody Thursday. Luckily for us all; this year Towel Day is not a Thursday. It’s a Sunday for me, and yes I’ll be posting from my local pub towel and all whilst I raise a glass to an inspiring man called Douglas Adams. A man who gave us the question and answers to Life, The Universe & Everything…. ( cue the music )

Douglas Adams’ Virtual 60th Birthday performed by Dave Gilmour “Wish You Were Here“

Cheers, hoopy froods. Have a great Towel Day. The rest of you… Keep banging the rocks together.
Shano a.k.a. @wombatjedi