For any of you that have read previous posts (see my About page and Seaview Hotel post) you will be aware that before Grenson entered my life, my hopes for dog ownership centred very much around a vision of a roaring fire, a leather chair, a pint of ale, a packet of pork scratchings (I know they’re not to everyone’s taste but I’m from the Black Country; we give our babies scratchings instead of dummies!), and a sleepy dog snoozing at my feet. Indeed, the quest for this idyll has, in no small part, led to the very existence of this blog. However, the picture that I had created wasn’t simply a product of my imagination, it had inspiration behind it, and it was this very pub – The Lord Northbrook – where it originated.
One day, while enjoying an afternoon pint, I spotted a gentleman on the other side of the room reading the paper and enjoying an ale. But unlike me, sitting on my own like a saddo, this fellow had a little pal curled up at his feet snoring away … just to be clear: it was a dog, he didn’t just have a small tired friend sleeping under his table, that would have been weird (although, I’m sure we all know pubs where this is a possibility!). From that moment on I’ve been looking forward with great anticipation to recreating this dog/pub nirvana for myself.
First things first, the Lord Northbrook is a great pub. Only a few years ago there were no decent pubs at all in this area of south east London where I live. It was all to do with Scottish presbyterians or something. Apparently some kill-joy Victorian built most of the area and because he didn’t enjoy enjoying himself he wrote it into law that no one else was allowed to either. Thankfully, things changed, and at around the same time that we got the refurbished Station Hotel in Hither Green, we were also gifted the Lord Northbrook. The day that an Opentable, Time Out and Shortlist award winning pub opens up just a short walk away from home is a very good day indeed!
It’s a pub that looks good. It’s a pub that serves great ale (it’s highly likely that the staff will offer you a small taster if you find it hard to choose – always a nice touch).It’s a pub that serves great food (see all the awards). It’s a pub that also supports live music, with a band performing there most weekends. But most importantly, it is a a pub with leather Chesterfields next to an open fire! Grenson and I commandeered one of the leather sofas just as another log was put on the fire.
As you can see from the picture above, Grenson duly obliged me by lying down, transfixed by the warming glow of the fire. I had my leather chair, I had my fine ale, I had my open fire and I had my dog curled up at my feet!
As the barman passed I enquired about the final piece in the jigsaw – ‘Excuse me, could I get a packet of pork scratchings please?’ to which I received the heartbreaking reply ‘sorry we don’t sell scratchings’… NOOOO!! So near and yet so far!!!
To be fair to The Lord Northbrook, I did then recall a Sunday evening last year when I had asked for scratchings and in lieu of the real thing, they had kindly provided me with an entire board of leftover pork crackling from that day’s roast dinners. With that filthy deliciousness in mind, I really can’t hold the lack of scratchings against this wonderful pub. And to paraphrase The Stones, ‘you can’t always get what you want … and in the case of scratchings and after a heavy festive period, that’s probably a good thing for the belly’ … or something like that.
Maybe the full dream scenario is just that, only a dream? If so, then I’m fine with that, and in the meantime I’ll have great fun continuing my quest to search it out, especially if all pubs are as good as The Lord.
The Man and the Dog.