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The “To Do” List

I suppose I’m lucky, I take a very laid back approach to Christmas, that is it’s all done by the end of August! So the “To do” list in question is a couple of tasks that I set myself in two earlier posts. In the first The Dog’s Nose I conveyed the story of an old fashioned beverage which appears in a Dicken’s novel, and in the other Let’s play “Blind Chivvy” established the rules of a wandering game. In the posts I said I would endeavour to drink the first and try out the second.

Arriving at Charing Cross station on a very wet and cold morning I made my way up to Fitzrovia to try out an audio tour for VoiceMap that I’m currently writing called “Beyond the Fringe”. I had promised myself a salt beef sandwich from a great little shop I know, but I was too early and so vowed to return after the trial. The trial involves walking the route to make sure that all the commentaries start in the appropriate places and that all the instruction given, “Turn right” “Stop” etc are correct. When it goes well it’s enjoyable, when it doesn’t, like this time, it’s not (let’s just say I was a little tetchy by the time I finished). Following the trial (minus the salt beef sandwich I headed for the Tube and alighted at Leicester Square and made the short walk to Floral Street, then into Rose Street, a small alleyway that brings you out by the Lamb & Flag public house.

When it’s crowded

When it’s not

I love this pub, it’s almost perfect, good beer, foods ok and the interior is just right, dark wood and gloom, pierced by well positioned lamps. The only thing that would make it a ten out of ten would be the residual smell of tobacco smoke. I’m not a smoker, but I used to love that smell as you walked inside to get a drink. Anyway to my quest. This was hampered a little by the number of people crowded into the two small bar areas. So, a Dog’s Nose if you have not read the earlier post is a pint of dark beer known as Porter, which has a glass of London Gin and some nutmeg mixed into it and is then heated. I knew that the heating part of the task would not be able to be undertaken, but I pushed my way to the bar ordered the porter and then a single shot of Gin. “No thanks” to the offer of tonic water, no to ice and again no to lemon, I could hear the barmaid thinking “Strange”. I added an order of Pork Scratchings (if you’re not familiar look it up) and managed to find a small shelf with a stool to perch on.

A Dog’s nose (Product placement if anyone at Fuller’s wants to send me a case)

I must admit that I became a little furtive when adding my small silver foil wrap of grated nutmeg, shades of Golden Brown, which would have looked suspicious to any onlooker and then tipped in my Gin. Gently stirred the concoction with my pen and then took the first draft. Slightly disconcerting would be my evaluation! I totally concur with the comments made by the author of the recipe in the earlier post. One was definitely enough and so as I fought my way down the glass my attention turned to task two, which is known as Blind Chivvy or psychogeography. Basically this involves walking through city streets with no plan as to direction or destination. Again, if you read the earlier post there’s a connotation with a few glasses of Absinth, but as the single Gin with no additives had been difficult enough I thought I’d be pushing my luck to inquire about it’s availability. Finally managing to consume the last of the”Nose” I headed out of the warm fuggy interior and the cold and wet hit me in the face like a slap from a partially frozen kipper. Now Blind Chivvy is not as easy as it would first appear, specially if you actually know the area. I’d struggled with right and left earlier in the morning but I’m certain that my left would be right so headed off through Lazenby Court. I had at first endeavoured not to walk along any streets or roads and tried to take alleys, courts and passages instead but quickly ran out of them. I then settled on right then left and in the end anything that looked interesting. The outcome was surprising in that I ended back at Floral Street. By this time I couldn’t feel my feet and I was a bit damp, so made my way back to the station and then home where at last I began to feel warm again.

To give an in depth explanation of all the streets and alleys would take far too long and bore you to distraction probably. So what did I learn by playing the game? Well, it showed that even though you possibly don’t know the area all that well your internal compass takes over. It was ok as an exercise in wandering, but next time I think I’ll try somewhere a bit out of my comfort zone.

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