12/5/89

After the lunch-time session, Rene¹ dropped us off in Enfield, about 25 minutes from The Woodman. We banked our wages of 2 weeks (£426-00, including £26-00 from Extrastaff for the day I did in the warehouse in Bracknell²) then went shopping for some of the things we will need for Africa: a pair of sneakers each (when I got home, I discovered my pair was 2 left feet!!) a backpack for Linda and some toiletries. We caught a bus back to Broxbourne & it took us in & out of the streets of Enfield, Waltham Cross & Cheshunt on its route. We rang a taxi from the Bull & it took us back to the pub in time for the evening session.

We were all cleaned up & ready to lock up when Billy’s³ girlfriend came in hysterical & saying Bill had hit her. She rang the old Bill (POLICE)⁴ & 4 of them came out & sorted things out.

¹One of the Woodman’s bar staff.

²see entry for 30/3/89

³The incorrigible Billy Harvey was the no-good son of a local farmer. He was a thief, a con-artist, liar and a part-time pikey (gypsy) who constantly caused trouble at The Woodman.

⁴The Old Bill is cockney rhyming slang for the police. Although there are many explanations for the term’s origin, the most likely is that it a shortened version of Old Bill Bailey, the slang name for the Old Bailey courthouses in London where the original London Police force were based.

11/5/89

RACK AND RUIN

We have been suffering the chaos Pauline and Eddie have caused.  It has been a week since they took over and the whole pub has gone to rack and ruin.  Linda and I are doing twice the amount of work we should be doing while Eddie stands round with a dumb look on his face and Pauline preens herself and tells everybody how “shattered” she is.

But the week hasn’t been all bad. On Monday we biked around the back roads to the little round cottage near Cheshunt with its thatched roof and overgrown garden, then back to the pub by the Beaumont footpath and “Bread and Cheese Lane.”

fullsizeoutput_e9b

Location: obvious.

Then on Tuesday, Rene¹ dropped us off at Ray and Joan’s place and we spent a couple of hours there telling them our problems. Then we walked up the street to a pub called The Anchor which is run by a guy from Lyttelton² call Neil Clifford.  We caught a bus up to Broxbourne and went for tea at Maggie’s which was really nice. Relaxed, informal and good food. We caught a taxi from The Bull³ back to the pub.

¹ One of the staff at The Woodman

²Lyttelton is a small port town on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

³ The Bull is a pub in Broxbourne that had a taxi phone outside. We often summoned a taxi from there.

4/5/89

Ray and Joan left today and have been replaced by a couple from Yorkshire called Eddy and Pauline.  We’re not sure how we are going to get on with them but they have a hard act to follow. Ray and Joan have moved back into their flat in Cheshunt and Ray is going to work for a company that makes machine tools.  We are missing them already as we got on really well with them and they helped us out lots.

Their address is 25 EDWICK COURT
HIGH ST
CHESHUNT (0992) 27789

fullsizeoutput_cff

A map I drew of the directions to Ray and Joan’s house in Cheshunt.

2/5/89

The day was a lovely warm spring day.  Because of the shortage of staff at the pub, we worked the lunchtime session, then packed up some rolls, chocolate and a bottle of Coke and headed off on the bikes.  We rode up to the Broxbourne Woods¹ and found a spot to sit and eat our lunch in amongst the cool shade of the birch trees. When we had finished, we biked along the lanes past fields of oats, grass & horses & sheep grazing.  We stopped for a coke on the lawn of a pub called The Beehive, then went on to the little village of Little Berkhamsted. We sat in a gateway and took in the view out over the hazy, rolling,

fullsizeoutput_e98

Field Friends.

tree-clad hills then went back into the village for a beer at The Five Horseshoes. I had a xxxx² and Linda had an AK³ shandy.  After that we rode back to The Beehive for two more beers then cycled on through the late afternoon sunshine. We stopped and walked out into a paddock and sat down and waited till curiosity got the better of the five horses, 3 Shetland ponies and a cow which inhabited the paddock. They came over and snuffled round and I took some photos of Linda and her friends – 2 little Thewell⁴ ponies & a quiet little Murray Grey⁵ heifer!  We spent ½ an hour with them then rode home.

¹The Broxbourne Woods are a 240 Ha (600 acres) reserve of birch, oak and hornbeam trees with a profusion of wildflowers forming a carpet beneath the ancient trees.

²xxxx, also known as FourEx is an Australian beer from Queensland. Australian beers were popular in Britain during the eighties and most pubs stocked at least one of them. FourEx, however, is fucking horrible so who knows why I chose it that day!

³AK is the flagship ale of the McMullens Brewery. No-one remembered what the AK stands for but local wags who disliked it reckoned it stood for All Kinds!

⁴ The pony cartoons of Norman Thelwell were a favourite of generations of pony-loving girls.

⁵Murray Grey are a breed of beef cattle.

25/4/89

I spent the morning mowing the lawn while Linda worked in the kitchen.  After lunch we got the bikes out, pumped up the tires, and rode down to Wormley.  We posted a letter then rode down to the New River and rode along the banks for half a mile or so. We stopped to watch a huge Swan get out of a lock then “swan dive” back into the river and it was then that the rain that had been threatening came down. We cycled madly back to a little bridge & sat under it in the cold wind and ate our bags of crisps as the rain splashed down into the murky, slow moving water and the wind rippled the surface and blew occasional spots of rain in onto us.  A couple of passing Mallard ducks paused to munch on a few chips that we threw them then moseyed on downstream in the rain.

After a while we decided the rain wasn’t going to let up so we rode back to Wormley and bought some chocolate at a corner store & went up to St Laurence’s church where we waited till the rain stopped and munched on our chocolate. Then we splashed our way back to the pub.

24/4/89

I got a letter from Joe today with a cutting from the Timaru Herald about the Mt Cook Cup game which Mackenzie won 18-9 against Pleasant Point.  This is one paragraph from it:fullsizeoutput_cfe

Linda worked in the kitchen at lunch time for a bit of extra money, then we caught the train into London and went round to Kumuka.  We paid our airfares to Nairobi¹ and found out a few things, then went and had a cup of tea and a bun. Then we caught a bus at random and it took us past the Hard Rock Cafe so we hopped off the bus and had a couple of burgers in there.  Then, we caught the Circle Line² back to Liverpool Street and the express back to Broxbourne.

circle

¹In addition to organizing overland expeditions, Kumuka also operated a travel agency specializing in cheap flights to Africa.

² The Circle Line is London’s original Underground line. Completed in 1884, the Circle Line is my favourite London Underground line. Sometimes, when I was at a loose end in London, I would just ride the Circle Line round and round…just for fun!