Friday, March 25, 2016
ENGLISH JOURNEY 2016
Friday, 24th March, en route Grant Caldwell's book launch, find me at Y & J's mid-afternoon, heart-of-the-city pub, side bar. Pint of Guinness, Smith's cheese & onion chips ("top quality Aussie potatoes"), rugby on high screen lower bar. Imagine this as letter to Guinness & craik chum Libby Hart, or the brother in his Weymouth hermitage, I mean sib Bernardo not Ken up there in W Tree though he's here now too, soon as mentioned, or new found old mate off the migrant ship, fifty effing years ago he's reminded me, Kal Fenton… And the letter starts, "I've arrived already, the English journey has begun… tearing around town, last minute calls on bank, doctor, chemist… three days until the flight but one foot already on the ground in Blighty… Y & J's is an old city pub, a touch of London, teeming foot & motor traffic seen & heard through door & window, throngs constantly in & out the pub, --school of downed tools workers in orange & blue overalls commandeers public bar's best tables, --five matrons lead their fellers in to the higher section, which I call the side bar because best entered from the Cathedral side on Swanston, long Edward Hopper view from bright street to darker hotel interior, haloes of cigarette smoke in the good old days, talking culture not health m'dear, --young men with huge backpacks like Chris Tong & me on the road to Aachen in 1963, --dear God not another step, I'd happily expire in ditch beneath woody overhang, --black cap & tee lads find their pozzy at table angled to me whose occupants, he, Irish, drinking Guinness, she, Australian, on cider, tell them how they walked all through Europe with equally heavy packs once-upon-a-time…" Leave off then, sip my drink, watch the sports screen, calculate the time, make mental note to have cheese & onion again, in England, probably in Weymouth Harbour pub, look out on little boats, little boats...