It Rocks to be Welsh – Official.

Day 4 cntd (10th Jan 2009)

Bar Lorca (Tufnell Park) 1 bt Negra Modelo, ½ Heineken, 1 x Gin and Tonic £8.70

Contemplating Tapas at Bar Lorca

Contemplating Tapas at Bar Lorca

We had been spoilt today by a whole host of stations that had pubs very close by and Tufnell Park kept this trend going. The fact that the pubs were all so near was certainly a godsend considering the weather today, and also made it all the more astonishing that we’d still managed to get two pubs wrong. The usual combination of shoddy research and a pig-headed “I know where I’m going” attitude from Mr West I expect.

Tufnell Park Station comes out at a big six-way road junction, and Bar Lorca occupies one of the wedge shaped buildings squeezed between Brecknock and Fortress Roads. It’s got quite a modern feel to it, relatively sleek in design, but with some fairly extravagant chandeliers hanging down over the room. It has gone for an upmarket look and a Spanish theme, with Cocktails, Rioja and Tapas usually being the order of the day. In fact, so Continental and Inter-Continental was the drinks list, we were struggling to find anything for our “Drink English” guideline (although, to be fair, we had kind of messed up on this in the previous couple of pubs as well). Gordon’s Gin was the saviour on this occasion, giving Lewis a vaguely sophisticated air as he leaned casually against the bar and held court.

As we contentedly sipped and took in our surroundings, I think it was Keith who asked something very innocuous along the lines of “It’s a shame there aren’t more people in here”, which immediately led me into one of my overbearing industry diatribes – “Blah, blah, blah 25-30 pubs a week closing blah, blah, blah heavily taxed blah, blah, blah stupid supermarket pricing blah, blah, blah it’s all killing the industry blah, blah, blah”

Like the fine gentlemen my two companions were, they politely, and sensibly, ignored me – zoning me out whilst nodding occasionally and carrying on with a completely different conversation. When I came to, I think they were talking about the rugby.

After my face colour had changed from purple rage back to a slightly embarrassed red, we decided that unless we wanted to settle in with some Chorizo in Red Wine and Manchego cheese (very tempting), then we better make our way onwards and upwards. Adios Bar Lorca. Muchas Gracias.


INTERLUDE: Essential Pub Conversations Number 5 – Why St David is by far the best Patron Saint.

Something a little different from most of our inane pub ramblings so far, consisting of wise words from Mr Keith Lewis (well, a controlled rant, at least), with musings on religion and the reasons that St David rocks harder than Patrick, Andrew or George. I stood and listened in awe, posing the occasional question, as my learned Welsh friend put forward a compelling case for his kinsman. Without further ado, Keith – Take it away.

“Everyone knows that St George was actually born in Palestine. And in fact his father was a Roman and his mother was Palestinian. On top of this, he never actually came to England in his life, and in an act of Saintly infidelity, he is also the Patron Saint of Brazil, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia. In fact there are more monuments to St George in Moscow than any other city. It was apparently only in the time of Edward III that he became patron saint (we had a chap called St Edmund before that), and then of course he wasn’t made into proper star until Shakespeare wrote Henry V.

St Patrick, may seem to have a strong case at first, what with the 17th March being celebrated all over the world, but with regards to the man himself it is a total mess:

Firstly, he might have been one of possibly three people, none of whom were actually Irish: either a Deacon from France called Palladius; a man born in Cumbria who was taken to Ireland as a slave whilst still a teenager; this in itself is a newer version of the story that I was bought up on which stated that he was in fact from West Wales, not Cumbria. The confusion could stem from the fact that Cambria is Latin for Wales. The Welsh version is more likely as Wales was the only place in Britain that retained Christianity after the Romans left and the rest of the county reverted to paganism.  Secondly – as for the legend of banishing the snakes from Ireland, good old science and natural history has suggested that there weren’t any there since the ice age anyway.  Talk about taking credit where it’s not due….

So what of St Andrew? Well, to be fair, he was an Apostle, the brother of Simon Peter, and has given his name to a type of cross (the diagonal one on the flag of Scotland, apparently based on the one he was crucified on). However, it cannot be ignored that like St George, he never actually came to the Britain in his lifetime – it is apparently probable that either his head or a bit of his cross turned up in Scotland several hundred years later – and like St George, he has also spread himself around a bit, being Patron Saint of Romania and Malta as well as Bonnie Scotland. Plus let’s face it, his Saint’s Day is at the end of November when it is cold and dark.

So it is only good old St David who was actually born, lived and died in the country he became patron of. In a nutshell – he set up Churches, made Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, looked after the poor, got recognized by the Pope (“haven’t we met somewhere before?”), and behaved like an all round good guy until he died well past his hundredth year in the late 6th Century. This therefore makes him the most appropriate and homely of all the “domestic” Patron Saints (The final tally by the way, is probably two Palestinians and two Welshmen!)”  Good work Dave – the undisputed winner of Keith’s 2009 British Patron Saint Championship.

So there you have it. Confirmation that these pub conversations aren’t just about films or music, and confirmation that education IS fun. Every day is a school day when you are out drinking with Lewis.  Perhaps we should add a postscript to this conversation, offering our sincerest apologies for those of a Scots, English, Irish, or indeed enthusiastically Religious persuasion, just in case these opinions offend. But remember kids, it rocks to be Welsh. You heard it here first.


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