Much as I adore riding my scooters, mixing it with the traffic on Mile End road isn’t my idea of a proper larf. I haven’t used the Vespas to ride to work for many months, having worked out a cycle route where I can remain largely unmolested by East London’s numberless untaxed, unlicenced, uninsured, untrained and un-brained drivers. Unfortunately, London’s famous black cab drivers have it in for me and they are everywhere. A couple of recent incidents involving cabbies mean they won’t be getting any tips from me for a while, but that’s another story. This picture was taken yesterday morning in cab-free Victoria Park, which I’m delighted to say makes up about a fifth of my ride. Leyton behind me, Bethnal Green and the City up ahead. Yesterday’s ride was a stuggle – I was suffering with what the Germans call a Katzenjammer.
The night before had been one of those rare evenings where friends and colleagues shift patterns align and we all found ourselves guzzling Harvey’s at the Royal Oak. The Best was superb, but the Pale Ale was a bit lip-curling. It seemed like a good idea at the time to finish the evening with a couple of pints of Thatchers Traditional. It’s been a while since I knocked back a Thatch, and the robust balance of dry and sour floated down a treat. Stick that in your bunghole, Malcolm Gluck. I used to drink Thatcher’s at the Fighting Cock in Bradford, where as teenage idiots we used to put ice in it to deaden the flavour, pre-empting Magners by about 20 years. By the time I took this picture I was realising those last two pints had not, in fact, been a good idea. I was still realising it by teatime.
This other pic was taken on friday’s ride home and shows the state the Olympic stadium’s in at the moment. At night it looks like the Starship Enterprise. Out of shot on the other side of the canal is Fish Island, an enclave of industrial units now becoming populated with artists priced out of London’s Trendy Shoreditch (TM). While I was stood here an Afghan hound trotted up to say hello, but legged it before I could get a picture. It was the image of Paris Hilton.