Monday, August 20, 2007

Good ol' pie and mash!!

Good ol' pie and mash!

Most Londoners were bought up knowing all about pie, mash and liquor. In fact we all looked forward to it as children. We would always have to queue up outside to get served and a seat as it was always so busy. We would stand for what seemed like hours peering in at everyone eating their dinners. In one side of the window would always be the live eels waiting to meet their fate and get cooked. I could never, ever face a jellied eel after seeing them in the window wriggling about. Our nans would sit and eat jellied eels with mash and liquor while telling us to sit nicely and eat properly. Our mums would always get us a nice bottle of R Whites lemonade or cherryade to drink with our pies. Then if we were really lucky we would get some fruit pie and custard but the pie and mash filled us up so much we rarely got the fruit pie.

Look at that!!! 2 pies, mash and liquor....yummy! We would use the chilli flavoured vinegar and lots of salt and pepper and eat every last morsel up.

There were quite a few pie and mash shops in and around London but sadly not many now survive. They were mostly what my nan called "spit and sawdust" kind of places with tiled walls and big dark wooden tables and bench seats. Sometimes it felt like we were in church with the seating arrangements!

We always went to the Manzes in Chapel Street market (top photo) in Islington. There was another shop in Kentish Town called Castles that we only went to if Manzes was shut. Castles is still there to this day and has a very busy turnover but in my mind they don't sell proper pies....well, not like we used to have at Manzes. Armetts just off Walworth road is still open and very much thriving. They sell wonderful pies just like Manzes and I will often ask my mother in law to get us some if she is down that way. We really don't have pie and mash now as we dont' have any sops near to us. It's such a shame as we just love it!
If you are ever in London you must go try the pie and mash and even the jellied eels if you are feeling brave!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The London Orbital road otherwise known as the M25

I'm back! I have been absent for some time I know but am back again now with more tales of London and surrounding areas!

Today I was inspired, or would that be depressed after a trip round the M25 motorway. Now anyone who travels on it often will know that when it's running well then it is fabulous but boy, when there are problems then there are BIG problems! Today was no exception for trouble. Just for a change there were roadworks.....there are always roadworks!

The M25 is a very unpredictable place to be, you just never know what will be waiting around the next corner or at the next junction. If you listen to the radio in London all you ever hear is about the tailbacks on the M25. I thankfully have never been unlucky enough to get caught in a seriously bad hold up. My friend did though! She went to visit her brother who lived at the next junction and it took her 3 hours to travel the one junction....isn't that terrible!! She was pulling her hair out by time she arrived.

This the the M25 on a good journey....until that is I drove a little further! The 50mph sign should have given me a clue as to what was waiting round the corner......


So here is the oh so familiar "get in lane" sign that is the thing you just don't want to see on any motorway!

Todays tailback was caused by a couple or workmen having a chat on the hard shoulder! It caused about 5 miles of very slow traffic and probably lots of stress too. It wasn't too bad to be honest as at least the traffic was moving....ok it was only able to move at about 30mph but at least it wasn't at a standstill. I have started to tell my TomTom sat nav to take me on routes that avoid motorways. For some odd reason these routes are rather fun and take some very interesting routes. You should all try it sometime!
Some may say that the M25 has been a great idea and bless the day it was built. Others mutter that it is awful and they avoid it like the plague. What do you think?