The blacksmiths arms
bold & jetlagged after Heathrow
your lunch arrived with scampi, chip and beans (baked not green)
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
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.