St Albans and her pubs: a love story




The blacksmiths arms

bold & jetlagged after Heathrow

your lunch arrived with scampi, chip and beans (baked not green)

The goat

in its tiny garden during those terrifying, thrilling weeks

we designed our new life.

The subsequent summer; Monopoly with Jayne and Karina and actually finishing!

The lower red lion

Cheese Club in quaint progress; we watch like anthropologists.

drinking in the lush, bustling beer festival

with Emma and George late that May

The six bells

Roxy’s first pub drink (bowl of water; mostly ignored)

after she dashed across Verulamium Park

in the icy, Six Nations Rugby afternoon

The rose and crown

the sandwich pub & her tranquil fire.

we muse over our hopes and remote home, at a squat table

Ye olde fighting cocks

On a bench by the gushing, gargling Ver.

Astonishing, on every visit, at its impossibly low ceiling.

The spotted bull

A jubilant call from Classic Sovereign- The Brambles was ours-

so we were moving from Mrs. Thomas’ B&B

& Damo & his awesome weetbix teeth.

Suddenly caring for that sport on rugby world cup morning

& our last lunch in England; Christmas day.

The king harry

Fruli for you on Fridays and over Hoegarden

Father Manus spitting about Nicholas Breakspear, England’s only Pope, da bleedin’ fooker

The white hart tap

in hazy September sunshine, both wide-eyed over cheese steaks

The vintry

Once proud home of the nine sausage lunch, assembled on a mashy gravy pillow (what a country)

The bunch of cherries

chattering, after school ales (just another half for Fiona) then

cycling home, into the weekend, along the ghostly Alban Way

The white hart

One Friday as we sip, an ambulance crashes on Holywell Hill (second that week!)

& our unsettling and wonderful, last few nights & freak-out days

The hare and hounds

a pint with my cricket-mad father-in-law and cricket-mad Matt,

a 20/20 match on Sky TV and the Ashes agony begins…

The three hammers

after a brisk autumnal ramble out to Chiswell Green

we and Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding and just the two of us.

The cross keys

curry and naan on metal plates and my mixed grill surprise.

Kathleen, Paddy and Louise-

snowy Hertfordshire schools: shut that bright and crisp afternoon.

The white lion

the petanqued beer garden

& how, vanishing summers ago, on their first day, mum and dad

recounted stories of our life in that other world; far, far away.





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