The Bricklayers pub in Putney is a dying animal. When the children were growing up it was famous for underage drinking and drugs but this century it has became a much awarded real ale pub. It has areal open fire. Yet its fame is becoming worn,its honours torn and its fate dismal. Outside the thirty or so Fulham FC (a footie team also with a more glorious history than future)home fixtures it is a pub on the retreat. It has cut its hours, put up its prices and often has little choice of beer,often doesn’t bother to light the fire.. But as an old fashioned boozer , like a drunken whore, it has its charm especially to old fashioned coves like me.
So there I was the other evening and I bumped into Chris. Chris and I met forty plus years ago when he was a a sub and I a feature writer for Marketing Week. He rose to become chief sub on the Evening Standard where he was also the man who crossed my Ts and introduced commas to my copy.
He was also chairman of the Putney Labour Party and so as a semi active Tory we had a lot to banter about. Old glories, old chums, fierce drinking adventures in extinct watering holes and then he mentioned B. I hadn’t thought about her in years. Weeks of lust had flared sulphur like into an afternoon of passion. How could I forget. Once I was a man. Great stuff.
In walked a middle aged couple (50-70) Chris knew well. We shook hands. The lady announced it was her birthday. They sat down with their drinks. I suggested to Chris and company that we buy her another drink to help her celebrate. They looked at me as if I was wearing a suicide vest. So I bought the drink myself.
I walked over to the couple and gave her the drink. House red, this is the Bricklayers.
Happy Birthday. She looked up. I don’t know you. So what , its your birthday. Her eyes watered or was she wearing contact lenses? She patted my hand. That’s the nicest thing anyone has done for a long time. You are very kind. Sure.I made my excuses and left. Chris and his mates cheered.