I want to focus on the rose part, as that's a metaphor sometimes used to describe the radiant fragrant flowers of English Womanhood. Well, this week, I had a rare opportunity to see out last orders at a bar (my favourite London Beer Bar, as it happens), and was able to observe a few specimens in action.
Part One occurred after the bar staff had called last orders. I'd enjoyed watching them deconstruct the concept of last orders, but eventually, having debated it, one of them grasped the nettle and called it. Some pubs have a bell which will usually provoke a Pavlovian response in punters, but here, calling it seemed to work, as a couple of drinkers immediately made their way to get a final drink before the place closed. Then, five minutes after time had been called, two of our Roses made their way up. One of them was about to try and order, when the manager cut her off and told her the bar was closed. She wasn't to be put off. Fragrant, elegant and with a sense of entitlement which swept away the law, she told him that this was her favourite bar, she'd brought her friends, and it would be seen as a kindness to serve her more drinks. Declined again, she turned to her Rose mate (I say rose, on reflection, more of a chimera made with spare bits of Geri Halliwell and Patsy Kensit), loudly apologised to her and declared the bar to be "shit". However, being a fragrant English Rose, she made it sound like a compliment. Probably.
Some ten minutes later, and having observed the bar staff and I pick apart the incident, Rose number 3 made her way to the bar, all shouty and assertive, dressed in her M&S business best. A weird three-way conversation may then have ensued, as follows:
Rose 3: "We've paid for our drinks. Can I -"Rose stomps away. Luckily your correspondent is a man without ego. They tell me this sort of thing is common amongst a certain class of drinker at this bar. Maybe they think this is their time. Pomposity designed to intimidate their inferiors. Just remember, though, next time you see a fragrant English Rose, sometimes they're up to their knees in pigshit.
Boggle (for it is he): "Your friends missed last orders.."
Rose 3: "I'm not talking to you. Am I talking to you?" (addressing the Manager) "We paid for our drinks. Is there any reason why you have to keep looking over and talking about us so we can hear?"
Boggle: "She was 5 minutes after last orders..."
Manager: "The bar is closed. You can drink up and leave"
Rose 3, addressing me again: "Are you stupid? You look stupid! I'm not talking about last orders!"
Manager: "I'm not really interested. We're closed, so you can drink up and leave"
Boggle: "I'm not stupid. Your friend thought she could get served after closing"
Rose 3: "This is her favourite bar. She brought us here specially, and you treated her very badly?"
Manager: "I've never seen her here before. She said the bar was shit when I told her she wouldn't get served"
Rose 3 (floundering): "She wouldn't say that!"
Boggle: "She did. Ask her."
Rose 3 (addressing Boggle): "But why talk about us?"
Boggle: "Why ask me? I'm stupid."
Boggle's Beers Of The Week.
Not a new feature. Just had the chance to try some very good stuff this week. First is La Trappe oak-aged Quadrupel. 10%, but you wouldn't know it. This could be a sweet, phenolic mess, but isn't, as the beer carefully walks a tightrope without falling over into dominant whisky notes. Lots of lovely condition with the aging lending some pleasing vanilla to a fine Quad. Thanks to Demon Brewer Don Burgess for the sample.
Next is Brewsters Porter. I don't know anything about these guys. A bottle was shared by Rake Manager Glyn Roberts. Fabulous nose and pleasing mouthfeel, with chocolate, red berries, and a long warming bitter finish.
Lastly, Dark Star Thornstar, the collaboration beer by Mark Tranter and Kelly Ryan. APA is my favourite Dark Star beer, and this is a Black IPA version. Same ABV (4.7%), lovely fresh hops on the nose, the chocolate malts imparting a nice balance in the mouth, and a mellow hoppy finish. The Harp has some if you haven't tried it.