The Great Beer Pull

I have blogged at length about our friends at The Marksman, I believe. But did I tell you that the landlady operates a barter system on a chosen night about once a month? A patron may make an offer to the landlady, usually for an item on her Wish List. If she likes what you offer, she might just buy you a pint! Apparently, an unnamed food stuff from the states and a few certain cds are a valuable trade indeed. The landlady graciously agreed to allow me to pull beer for myself and my lunch guests, Drew and Lauren, in exchange for her overseas treats. I am not sure she came out ahead in the deal, but I am really pleased to have memories (and photos) to share with you – and some day my kids.

Speaking of kids, the pitter patter of two more little feet are soon to be heard at The Marksman! Dawn and Gary do make a beautiful baby, so I look forward to meeting the January babe when mom and baby are out and about.

Why beer pulling? Yeah, I understand why you might be confused by my desire to learn this skill. It’s all part of my quest to understand the culture of the community pub. I couldn’t think of a warmer, more fun place than here among these people to learn about the art of pulling beer and pub ownership.

Just look at the glow. Doesn’t it just look like “the old” and “the new” got cozy here together in this pub?
marksman bar

First, there was a brief lesson on glasses.
lesson on glasses

Then, we started with the most complicated pull of the day: Guinness.

And then I waited for the Guinness to settle.
waiting on guinness

Lauren ordered a Red Stripe. Easy. (Please, forgive the face that I am making.)
lauren and red stripe

David, Gary – I can’t thank you enough!

Thanks also to Michael for the unexpected lesson in cocktail making! Can you bring the crew ’round to our new place for dinner and another lesson? Let’s say… housewarming party? I’ll provide dinner and materials.

My little blog is not much in the way of PUB-licity (hahahaha!) for my friends at The Marksman, but I am pleased to sing their praises nonetheless.

Hey there facebook friends, check out our entry on the web to really make my day! (Oh, and become a fan of The Marksman on Facebook.)

Dolly Parton and Ladyhawke

What do Dolly Parton and Ladyhawke have in common? Well, I know that they both get airtime at my favorite local pub. Do you know how much that pleases me? Consider this your informative bulletin.

Emily is back from Madrid and Lauren survived her big press release on Friday so we headed to The Marksman to celebrate.  (Ok, maybe we would make up any ‘ol excuse to take people to The Marksman.)
em and lauren

And we sang 9 to 5 followed by My Delirium, ate too much, laughed, shared, rolled out the door blowing kisses to a handsome Australian food expert… Ah, yum. 

Drew took his leave after lunch to work at home (ick, bleck, eww. Yes, I said ‘work’ on a Sunday). So, the ladies and I wandered through the flower market on Columbia Road. Lauren treated me to beautiful yellow and golden orange Gerber daisies. They really do a lot for my stark white flat.

We popped into a couple of really great shops. I got Drew a little present – I got one for a lucky blog reader as well, so it must remain a surprise until the next Giveaway…

*Emily treated me to Cava sangria later that evening, which we served in my new, hot little retro pitcher.

Emily, Drew and I sat in our pajamas sipping sangria as we watched the first episode of this season’s Dr. Who – LIVE. We have finally gotten on the British Dr. Who watching schedule…  Seriously folks.  I think we are really in London.

* I was totally spoiled after a few hours with my girls… And if you have Emily as a house guest, she makes you tea and does your dishes. Lauren will arrange your flowers if you’ll have her over for some tea. When are you ladies coming over again?!

Pretty please, visit our website.

Oh. My. Marksman.

You may or may not remember how much we love The Marksman. We’ve only mentioned it several times.

We have an excuse for bringing it back up – the menu has grown, a new chef is in residence, and we can. Because it’s our website.

This Sunday we were accompanied by two lovely ladies, Emily and Lauren. Lauren assured me that the Bloody Mary is the best she has ever had. And the presentation delivered on its promise.
blody mary

David recommended the roast to our meat eating friends. It mysteriously disappeared from their plates as the conversation wandered in circles. Let’s be honest, ladies don’t clean their plates. (Or do they?!)

Drew and I enjoyed omelets from the brunch menu. I had no idea what David was talking about last time when he said that breakfast and beer were good company for one another, but I think I understand now. When breakfast is eaten in the afternoon, it does make sense – whether or not there was a bender the night before.

David also recommended the Chocolate Fondant. (It’s what some of you Americans might call a molten cake with a side of cream whipped so long it’s the consistency of butter.) Order it. Trust me. I could not get a photo before the spoons starting flying!

choc fondant

Both of the owners stopped by to say hello – and we heard the good news that their daughter will soon be a big sister! I am not sure I could love them more. And I barely know them… It’s just so nice to feel at home.

DrewandJengotoLondon. Simples.

We’ve Only Got Four Minutes

I am quite torn between the desire for an extended period of time to myself and relief in the fact that there has been very little of that.  The schedule has been full, as you can tell by our absence.  The Tuesday night before Megan left, we must have been up until at least 1:30 a.m. just dragging out the last minutes.

Wednesday evening we found ourselves in Trafalgar Square with a handful of Canadian ex-pat friends for Canada Day.

canada day

canada day bikes

Thursday evening I shared a day of training with my co-workers, followed by an evening of team building festivities on the river and at the National Gallery Cafe for a posh dinner.


thames clipper skipper

thames clipper

national gallery cafe

dinner at ng

Friday evening Drew and I attended farewell drinks for his colleague Lin, of whom we had grown quite fond.  She was like an extension of our family the way she looked after us as we settled in (and even after).  It was the second Friday in a row that we raised our glass to say goodbye to peeps leaving Ticketmaster.  There must be doors being thrown open somewhere…

On Saturday Drew and I joined some American ex-pats and their families for a picnic at Tooting Bec Common.  It was quite laid back and informal with babies as entertainment.

When we tired of sitting in the park, we wandered through the crowds in the West End.  Gay Pride festivities were in full force in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, and Soho.  I had hoped for more music and less blatant drug use.  Perhaps I had hoped for something more familiar, like a backyard barbecue.  Silly rabbit, London is for parties.

trafalgar gay pride

leicester sq gay pride

gay pride trash

The Marksman was privately booked on Sunday (maybe for the owners’ anniversary, a Fourth of July party, or for their daughter’s birthday) so I will have to wait quite a while to enjoy the next vegetarian special…  Sad.  Still, we managed to get quite a lot done before making our way to the Millenium Pier where we boarded the Thames Clipper for the O2.  Drew surprised me with Madonna tickets!

madonna o2

When we visited London in May to decide whether or not we could make it living here, Madonna and Justin’s “4 minutes” was being played everywhere we went.  There was no way that I could have at that time imagined that we would eventually be watching Madonna perform it live in London.  Granted, Justin was projected onto moving stage screens, but the deja vu of it all was enough to give me chills.  It’s just another moment that seems to bring us full circle.  My daydreams feel like a smear of something you see on the Tilt-a-Whirl; I am dizzy from it all.

That’s What I Love About Sunday

On Sunday we got quite a late start. We still made it to the Columbia Road Flower Market before the crowd had thinned for the afternoon and managed as well to stop in two funky shops for art purchases. By then our stomachs were growling more loudly than we were speaking. I was so happy to sink down at our (newly) regular table for lunch at The Marksman!


We’ve been asked where to find the best fish ‘n’ chips in London and haven’t been able to produce an answer, but we are happy to report that we’ve found it! Just look at this plate…

fish n chips

Their secret might be that they start with sea bass… It’s served with a really yummy homemade tartar sauce (and David played us a little Dolly Parton so that we would feel at home).  Unfortunately, you may not find your favorite main on the menu as it is seasonal and often rotates so that patrons don’t get bored; just ask them what’s on the menu for the day when you book your table.

lunch at marksman

It’s so swank and local to say that we got to meet both of the owners, Dawn and Gary and their beautiful baby Marlowe.  Dawn made time to talk to us despite the fact she was enjoying her own Sunday lunch!  Don’t worry. If you missed it your first trip, we’ll get there on your next.

After lunch, we wandered along the east side canal until it started raining.  There are so many great old and new buildings to see along this section – on the east side there less pubs and crowds of people, though there are still interesting bits worth the wander.  I think Megan picked out several flats with patios that she’s ready to let.  When Emma gets ready to open in London, I know the first girl who will be on the boat over the ocean!  Bring it.

One Pub, Two Pubs, Three Pubs, Tums

Last Sunday we took our lovely Nashville friends to the Columbia Road Flower Market before hitting The Marksman of Shoreditch for a proper pub lunch.

flower market

marksman pub

With full bellies we wandered to Holborn for a round at The Ship. (Ok, I may have had sparkling apple juice and a hand full of Tums. Whatever.)

ship drinks

After drinks, we visited Whittard Tea in the Covent Garden Piazza. Of course, being in proximity to Covent Garden warranted a trip to Porterhouse Pub.

porterhouse drinks

A short walk away to Soho and we couldn’t resist our favorite little Japanese skewer restaurant Bincho Yakitori. I wish I had photos of the food! Drew and I had the tofu – I had the very yummy vegetable rice as well. Yeah, that’s my party pooping water. Laugh if you must.

bincho drinks

After dinner we retired to the flat for ice cream, chocolate cupcakes, video games, and planning for J & Q’s trip to Paris the next day (Monday).  Yes, Paris and back in one day.  Crazy.  (Shakes head.)  They got a cab at 3am, flew at 8, and arrived back at the flat around 11pm with yummy Parisian treats.  I must admit that I had not done much in their absence besides surviving my first day back at work.  Once again, I was very thankful to be with friends.