I have a respectful relationship with the sauce, in whatever variety it is to be consumed. I habitually take a few ‘dry days’ every week, to give the system a rest and my man will attest that it is a struggle to inveigle even a sweet sherry past his master’s lips at these times. Therefore it is with some trepidation that I, pillar and doyen of the Arts ands Social Scene in the Borough of Ealing approach December and the preposterously-termed ‘run-up’ to Christmas. As I’m sure you’ll agree, that with all the excuses people find to have a skinful in the forthcoming weeks, running is the last thing we will be considering.
Of course it would be rude of me to turn down the Ealing Golf Club Dinner and Dance, they have done so much for my stance. The Ealing Classic Car Club Pub Crawl is a must as I never want to run out of imperial grommets again. I would feel I was letting the Terza Rima Society down if I did not join in their annual Open Mic at the Red Lion, especially after they helped me with that tricky tercet over the August Bank Holiday. The local branch of the Terpsichorean Muse always put on a fine sit-down dinner in December, however I tend to find myself leaving before the sabres are brought out. Then there are the pressure groups. It would be amiss of me to not sup a couple with Fewer Bus Stops in Ealing after all they have done for the beloved two-seater and myself. Finally, the relatively new When Are They Going To Get Started With New The Bloody Cinema In Ealing Already are bound to organise something and they are as nice a group of incensed film-fanatics as you would ever want to meet.
Then of course there are the Pitshanger Poets. Some would say that what with our proximity to the Grapevine bar that every Workshop is an excuse for a drink, and perhaps to an extent they would be right, however there are exceptions. my betting is that John Hurley is mainly fuelled by tea, judging by this week’s picture of a would-be admiral at the yacht club. Michael Harris is occasionally seen with a Guinness, as fine a reward for tonight’s dip into the life of Martha Graham as one could want. Samir Hazlehurst is strictly a whisky man, though his exploration of a particular kind of vampire shows that he prefers to be drawn to food. Anne Furneaux has been known to have a drink in the bar, though as tonight’s exploration of safari tourism shows, only because she has mastery over the topics of the day. We were delighted to see Angela Arratoon again ensconced around the table, and her chilly piece was welcome adjunct to Christmas, reminiscent of a ginger wine over ice. Daphne Gloag has never visited the bar in my memory, though if she did it I believe it would be strictly for a glass of 1950 Dom Perignon; she reprised a fine piece making sense of distances. Caroline Am Bergris enjoys a small sherry, though as I understand it, only with macaroons. Her piece was an assertive evocation of her time living on the streets. Nick Barth is partial to beer, though his poem took us back to the teapot used for The Last Cuppa. Owen Gallagher’s secret talent is rating the ability of landlords to keep and pour London Pride, while his poem recalled work at a dry and dusty sawmill. Peter Francis has been seen meditating over a glass of red wine, much as the character in his poem meditated over the stones he was balancing on the beach.
There are some in the group who believe we should return to the heady days of the annual Pitshanger Poets’ Seasonal Dinner, however I believe today’s bards are not made of the same stuff they were. The reasons why Sir John Soane left Ealing are obscure, as are the reasons why he spent so much of his life working for the Bank of England. Were the poets in danger of drinking him out of house and home?
If you have been, thank you for reading.