Friday, July 15, 2011

A Lovely Evening Out

Waves of nostalgia overcame me tonight as we stepped into The Marlborough Arms on Tottenham Court Road.  This was the pub that I frequented many nights during my fall semester in London back in 1992 (I was an early college bloomer – just seven years old really).  Dr. Everhart led us there this evening to enjoy a pint and dinner.  Unbeknownst to us, they were ready and had a beautiful private room set up with pitchers of water and rolls on the table.  The pints soon came out along with a delicious fish and chips dinner.  Have any of you had warm custard on top of apple pie?!  It’s incredible.  Many thanks go out to Taylor the graduate counselor over at the FSU Study Center for setting that up for us.

Back to the pub, nostalgia, and London in general.  So I stepped into the pub and flashed back to an evening many years ago.  Many memories escape me, but I have a clear one of sitting at one of those tables, drinking a pint, listening to REM and missing my boyfriend (who is now my husband).  I remember some blokes stumbling over to me and my friends to tell us why they hate Americans – in a very jovial and lighthearted tone.  Now that it is 2011, I looked around TMA to see if I could sense changes.  I don’t remember the signs warning me to hold on to my bags.  There also seemed to be a slightly different crowd attending the bar.  Looking around the room I noticed more diversity and I didn’t hear that many English accents.  Perhaps Portuguese?  And something else more elusive…what is it that’s so different about this place?

As I sipped on my pint I chose to share a bit of trivia with my classmates.

“Do you know what David Tennant’s favorite band is?”

To my delight they answered in the negative.

 “He loves The Replacements”, I answered myself in an authoritative tone. “It only makes sense since they are both from Scotland”. 

“No they aren’t” replied Joseph, “they’re an American band.  I think they’re from Minneapolis”.

What?!   How could I be so wrong?  This argument needed to be solved quickly and since we are all library students we were up for the task!  Being out of our native environment, none of us had internet devices on us.  Fortunately, we were surrounded by Londoners - hip people in a hip city- they were sure to have some devices that could help us.  We asked at the table close to us whether they had an internet device and could answer a question.  They looked at me with alarm and answered with a thick accent (Lithuanian?) that they did not and did not know who The Replacements are.  We found another group at a table, this time with English accents, but they also were not connected to any information source and did not know The Replacements.  Giving up for a while, we discussed politics, religion, healthcare, and The Beckhams until I decided to continue the search with a group of young people to my right.  This time the accent was Spanish (they told us they were from  Pamplona, Spain – I’m not an accent expert people!) and they did have an internet device.  The answer to the question was “The Replacements are from Minneapolis”.  Joseph is now officially the pop music expert of the class.  These guys continued to chat with us about education, reading, information, laziness, and Aubry’s tattoos.  I even cracked out the pictures of my beautiful children causing the young woman in their group to exclaim my favorite statement of the evening, “You are too young to have two children!”  I love you stranger from Spain.

After a while I realized what was so different in the pub…NO SMOKE.  It’s hard for me to believe, having traveled in Europe a few times, that smoking in pubs has been banned.  It’s such a different atmosphere without the constant gray haze.  The Guinness was still as delicious and the company delightful.  They have a British beer that I know I need to go back and try; Bombardier.  Oh, Marlborough Arms, it is so nice to see you again.


  1. awesome evening. it's nice to know that i'm still really young - i mean if you are not old enough to have two kids.

  2. "I love you, Stranger From Spain!" Be careful, love. That has gotten a lot of unsuspecting, pint-drinking American girls in trouble, if you know what I'm saying . . . . and I think you do! haha