14/2/90

VALENTINE’S DAY Because of the way the roster for the week worked out, I had the whole day off today. My plans for a lie-in went out the window at 8:00 Am though when the dray arrived and Brian and Jim didn’t¹. So, I saw to the delivery then went back to be for ½ and hour.

When Linda got up she gave me her Valentine card then went down to work. I got up and walked down to the bank and drew out £5 to buy some flowers. I ended up buying a red rose for her at a street market on Lower Marsh Road and I gave it to her along with my card.

I had planned to spend a few hours down at the Imperial War Museum but when I got down there (it is only a 10 minute walk from the pub) I found that it cost £2-50 to get in and I hadn’t taken any money with me. The walk wasn’t totally wasted though as on the way I found a house with a small plaque on the wall saying that William Bligh, Captain of the Bounty had lived in the house in the 1700s.

Back at the pub, I collected my camera gear and set off to explore some more of the Thames. I walked along The Embankment which has been renovated and re-built into sterile and atmosphere-less home for big businesses. All of the old wharves and docks have been torn down and modern “old style” buildings have been put up in their place. It is a ghetto of glass, polished stone, expensive cars and yuppies!

One small section is still old and grimy and that is the area adjacent to the old “Clink” prison². There is a tiny, narrow cobbled street running between the old warehouses on the river bank and the back wall of the now dis-used prison. At its narrowest, the alley is only a few feet wide and is cold, dark and dank: just the sort of atmosphere you’d expect beside a medieval prison!

I walked on down past Tower Bridge but couldn’t get much further without leaving the river so I crossed the bridge and walked back up the North Bank past the Tower of London. I detoured away from the river to have another look at St. Paul’s Cathedral then walked back up to Westminster Bridge and back to the pub.  

¹Let me explain this strange sentence! The dray refers to the truck that delivered the beer to the pub in aluminium and timber casks. The name is a hangover from bygone days when beer was delivered by horse and dray. Brian, the pub’s owner, and Jim, one of the barmen, didn’t turn up to help unload the delivery which is dropped down a wooden chute into the pub’s cellar.

²The Clink prison was the oldest prison in England, dating back to the 12th century. The slang phrase for being in prison, to be “put in clink”, derives from the prison’s name.

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