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Vignettes from the past two days

Setting: Outside the doors of the Manuscripts room at the British Library

irisbleu, blurring around the edges with exhaustion, waits to go in to find out if she can see the Gawain manuscript. I'm the one delaying her from her quest, asking a few last questions of her before her whirlwind tour of the library is done and her work begun. She seems fragile, as if sleepless for the past week in study for an exam which was about to begin. Coasting through wakefulness on the thrill of the chase, she slips through the door, in search of her prey.

Setting: The Hobgoblin, a pub in Reading

The walls and ceilings are covered in tidily nailed-up beer coasters, thousands of them, each different from the others to my eye. The coasters represent every beer the pub has served, an extraordinary procession of local and seasonal brews, on tap. A beer there one day is often gone by the next. We are seated down a zig-zagging corridor of niches and cubbies, our own tucked-away table, away from the growing throng by the counter. I missed seeing the bottles of rhubarb wine and mead, so am drinking something generic while aquitaineq drinks a pint of one of her favorites. As the afternoon progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that this really is her local pub. One bartender stops by to make sure she'll be coming around again in the next few days. The other is a classmate of hers. It may look like an aging locals' pub from superficial impressions, but it's become the pub she'll miss most when she leaves.

Setting: S&M, a diner in Islington

In between creamy bites of cheddar cheese and rosemary mash, I am caught up in the banter between two intelligent, reuniting friends. The venison and the Somerset pork-and-apply sausages are good, but the conversation is better. For the first time, I've found black pudding I would go out of my way for - we all share black pudding fritters, coated in crumbs, deep-fried, and served with salad cream. vschanoes is visiting from the States, half-a-week to spare between teaching classes, and neither of us has seen rozk since summer. V. abjures my love of Thanksgiving; they catch up on politics in deliberate clichés; we all have dessert, not all of us sweet ones. She flew in this morning, and jet lag is starting to hit, so she leaves us ensconced safely away at a café with promises of reunions, R. and I to talk over cappuccino and juice, V. to sleep.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ajodasso
Nov. 17th, 2005 12:49 am (UTC)
I haven't been sleeping enough, I confess. And I'm sorry for rushing off, because I had the feeling it would take a long time for them to get me even the slides, and it did. Seventy minutes, whee, and then I spent an hour and a half with the slides and another hour writing out the application to see the MS. I go out of there at almost 4 PM, and time was tight meeting up with londonsound. Not the best planning on my part. We'll have to do a proper day in London *hugs*
owlfish
Nov. 17th, 2005 10:43 am (UTC)
I know exactly how it was, and I was feeling rather sorry for you, really, given how much you were trying to get done and quite how tired you looked. It was lovely to see you, even if briefly, and briefly meant I got a whole lot more work done that day, which was good.

I'll be up in York sooner or later too. I have a slew of people to visit there!

*hugs*
a_d_medievalist
Nov. 17th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
Sounds lovely! I needed to hear something like that today ;-)
noncalorsedumor
Nov. 17th, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
Libraries and beer and food! Heavenly. :-)
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Nov. 17th, 2005 10:46 am (UTC)
It became fairly crowded before we left. We got there at around 4 on a weekday though, so there was still plenty of space - and several tables to choose from for sitting down. It's not that big, really, so I can see it being very crowded very easily.
lazyknight
Nov. 17th, 2005 09:27 am (UTC)
There are Hobgoblins all over the place, and pretty much all of them serve a decent pint. The local 'Goblin is one of the local Goth haunts... well, with a basement entitled "The Crypt", 'tis hardly surprising...

The things nailed to the walls were probably the clips put on the handpump, rather than coasters/beer-mats...
owlfish
Nov. 17th, 2005 10:44 am (UTC)
You are wise in the way of beer and I bet you're right. Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
lazyknight
Nov. 17th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for answering my question....
Yup... The chain of pubs run by the Wychwood Brewery are (to the best of my knowledge) all called The Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin is also the name of one of the standard beers they brew as well, and the logo on the front of the bottle is the same as on the shingle outside the Bath 'Goblin...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )