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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friends From Afar!

"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles." ~Tim Cahill

The bonnie lass and her American Hubby, Joe.
    We were fortunate to hook up with our dear friends  Sally and Joe Horton while we moored up at Kensal Green earlier in the spring, waiting for the endless rain and over cast weather to disperse so we could move down onto the Thames. Theirs was an ambitious travel itinerary including as it does Sally's family and friends in East Anglia and Scotland (she's a bonnie lass from Glasgow). 
   The Hortons were traveling with two of their dear Pullman,Washington friends Roger and LeiAnn so a bit of sightseeing across the Island was also in the cards. Given all of this Les and I did not think it would be possible to spend time with Sally and Joe this trip but bless them--they found us At Kensal Green when they were in London and invited us to meet them at Covent Garden for dinner one evening.
  Les and I got all dressed up--aftershave,dress slacks, and shined shoes for Les; perfume and jewelry for me!  We weren't planning to eat out any place posh--it's just that ANY dinner off the boat is an occasion to dress nice for those of us who live aboard all the time!  We really don't have any other excuses for dressing up, so...off we went.
   A short walk up the canal towpath, a zigzag across Sainsbury's parking lot and we were out on the street at the Ladbroke Grove bus stop. The number 23 picked us up and about forty five minutes later it deposited us at Aldwych street in the theatre district adjacent to Covent Garden. 
   A short walk through the grounds of St. James chapel (the Actors' church) and there we were, just as Sally and Joe came sauntering along with LeiAnn and Roger. Les waved his arms and Sally and I made a beeline for one another. Big hugs and smiles! Introductions ensued. I had never met Roger and LeiAnn although I had eaten at their fine establishment in Pullman many times. Rico's Pub is the closest most folks in Eastern Washington State will ever come to a British pub unless they visit Europe.
Joe, Jaq, Les, LeiAnn, and Roger

Rico's Public House, Pullman, Washington.
   The interior of Rico's is brick, dark paneling, thick wooden beams, a long bar, comfortable tables and booths by the window to look out on main street (as High street is known in the USA). There are books and games and a variety of newspapers to keep one occupied as well as a separate section with billiard tables (Snooker to Brits) and darts. Live music and dancing is available on the weekends. Rico's has a good pub grub menu and makes the best hamburgers served with thick, fat chips--not french fries! One can get this served up with Guinness or Mac & Jack's dark Ale, two of over 20 choices on tap. There is a sign above the door in     
Latin which says, "There is no beer in heaven, therefore all beer must be drunk here."
   Les has fond memories of a beautiful, sunny day boating and fishing on the Snake River aboard Roger's boat, back in July 2011, but he hadn't the pleasure of meeting LeiAnn. Off we all went chattering and laughing, catching up as we walked the London Streets to Porter's--guaranteed for good British food. We waited at the bar for fifteen minutes during which time the men ordered their lagers and ales, Sally took a trip down memory lane with a Harvey Wallbanger and LeiAnn and I ordered mead. Soon we were seated at our booth and having a great time. As we six chatted I discovered that Roger and Lei Ann had lived in Alaska for some time in the 1970's during the North Slope Pipeline boom. It was great to reminisce about things Alaskan.
   The menu at Porter's is extensive and it was hard to narrow down one's choice. During their travels the past few weeks through Anglia and the Cotswolds, Roger had taken a liking to a Brit dish called faggots, of which I had never heard.
Faggots with mash, peas and gravy
   Faggots date back to at least the mid 1800's and were a means of using the heart, liver and offal of pigs, mixed with herbs and bread crumbs, shaped into patties and often cooked in a crock of gravy. At Porter's this dish is made from minced beef, onion, carrots and herbs, and cooked in an onion and ale gravy.
    Les and Joe had the braised lamb shank pie which they both agreed was superb. I had the chicken and mushroom pie which was okay. Sally ordered Steak and Kidney pie and I cannot remember what LeiAnn decided upon--the mead quite went to my head! At the end of the evening we all stumbled out laughingly into the street in high spirits as Les gave Sally details of how to take the bus from their nearby hotel to the canal where we were moored. LeiAnn and Roger had never been aboard a narrow boat. We planned to wind the boat before they arrived, pick up our four friends and cruise through Little Venice, past the London Zoo, wind before Camden locks and end at Paddington Basin.
   The next morning dawned miserable, cold, and rainy. Les walked up toward the bus stop and found the two couples on the towpath, huddled under a bridge! A quick walk back to NB Valerie and a warm up with coffee, tea and carrot cake--using Joe's incredible, best-ever recipe. With some Django Reindhardt music in the background, we set off in the rain--the men in back and Sally, LeiAnn and I inside. A pair of swans approached the boat and LeiAnn fed them from the window....all too soon our cruise was over. We cut it short due to the lousy weather and just headed into Paddington Basin where we parted from our friends. They took the underground onward in their journey and we moored up for the night. 
A full table and mile high pies at Porter's in Covent Garden, London.
   Thank you Sally and Joe, for taking time from your busy travel schedule to spend a bit of it with us, and thanks for introducing us to LeiAnn and Roger--the craic was was grand!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We all had such a wonderful visit ... Both days. You have captured it well. Thank you both. We miss you.

Sally and Joe