Day 4 cntd (10th Jan 2009)
The Coconut Tree (Finchley Central) 1 x bt Kingfisher 1 x bt Cobra 1 x bt Corona ½ Strongbow £8.70
Ah, The Coconut Tree. If you need your local bar to be a cross between a style bar, a working mens club, a school disco and a bingo hall, then oh boy, we have found the place for you!
Set at the foot of an unassuming office block opposite Finchley Central Station, “The Tree” (as us regulars call it) has a minimalist bar area, lots of white decor, some fine chandeliers (“ooh, looks like real glass” said Hazel), and on this particular night it had what looked like a full on travelling/wedding disco in the corner, complete with disco ball and revolving lights.
The plain (ie cheap looking) tables had their own decorations on – little bowls of Pot Pourri (for some reason, Mr Lewis decided to eat some – just to check the flavour I guess), and there were some strange little pot plants as well – “Like Yorkshire Bansai”, said Liam.
It was fairly busy, as you’d expect for a Saturday night, and we decided that we would partake of their fairly extensive range of bottled beers, which included lots of Asian lager. Suddenly the reason for this became clear as we noticed that they operated as a modern Indian Restaurant (possibly as well as a Bingo Hall, Working Mens Club and School Disco). Apparently it only took on this latest incarnation in May last year – before that, it was reputedly a bit of a teen hangout (see – School Disco!), with various daft names like The Ferret and Trouser Leg, or slightly less daft names like The Central.
Despite its various quirks in terms of decor and offering, it was not an entirely unpleasant place to be. “I kind of like it, in a strange way” said Keith, and he had a point. Everywhere should have at least one place a little bit out of the ordinary for a drinking hole, and let’s face it – it made a change from yet another bloody Irish Bar.
INTERLUDE: Essential Pub Conversations Number 6 – What are the Sounds and Smells That Let You Know Summer is Coming?
Let’s get a bit random shall we? We are also jumping forward in time just a little, because this is a conversation that seems appropriate to post now, since most of us are either basking happily in the summer sun, or possibly just muttering under our breath, moaning that its only half past ten, but already I’m baking hot, and I can’t even take my suit jacket off, cos the sweat patches under my arms are huge, and I’m just gonna have to sit here and overheat for the next six and a half hours etc, etc……….
Sorry. Anyway, walking down a country lane in some very un-British sunshine, myself and Lewis heard the unmistakeable sound of cricketers indulging in a bit of batting practise. The distinctive sound of bat on ball seemed very summery to us, which got us talking about what else was typically “British Summer”. We decided that listing the sights would be too easy – we are men who like to test ourselves, after all – and so restricted ourselves to just those sounds and smells that you only get for about three months of the year. Or three weeks if it is a typical British summer.
We enlisted the help of Hazel and Liam, and set about producing an essential and definitive list of those things you hear in the distance or sniff on the air, that can only mean one thing: The Sun Has Got His Hat On, And He’s Coming Out To Play…….
The sound of Leather on Willow (Cricket, don’t you know)
The smell of freshly cut grass
The sound of a motorized lawnmower
The smell of freshly creosoted fences
The sound of glasses chinking in pub gardens (of course)
The sound of bloody kids running noisily around pub gardens (whilst you’re trying to have a quiet pint with the Sunday paper)
The smell of Cow Poo (even when you are nowhere near a farm)
The smell of a Barbecue (possibly the greatest smell on earth)
The sound of very polite applause (Wimbledon, Henley, Polo, any Golf Tournament, the local Bowls Club….)
The smell of BO on the London Underground (strictly speaking we are talking mid-summer here, but it is particularly distinctive, so we thought we’d include it)
The sound of a Bumblebee (a pleasant hum, unlike the incessant whiny buzzing of psychotic, evil wasps)
The sound of an Ice Cream Van (tunes that should be available as a ring tone)
The smell of plant life (a sweeping generalisation to encompass the many suggestions we had including Apple blossom, rape fields, daffodils, bluebells and thousands of other early summer flowers.)
And finally, if we are being completely honest –
The sound of thunder (and of rain hammering against the roof of your car/house/tent)
There you have it. As always, they are in no particular order, but do feel free to tell us why we are wrong, and help us expand the list accordingly. In the meantime, look out for the next big question on life, the universe and everything, that we will bring you the answers to.