Archivio mensile:dicembre 2013

The Bricklayer’s Arms

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Acting and running a pub aren’t that dissimilar, really. It all comes down to performance and, if you don’t cut the Colman’s, the audience votes with its feet. Maybe that’s why landlady Becky Newman has gone down a storm at the Bricklayer’s. A former actress with stints in Casualty and The House of Eliott on her CV, she now treads the reclaimed Victorian floorboards of this Putney gem and the crowds are bringing the house down. When she took on the pub in 2005, she said it resembled “a Wandsworth nick reunion party”. The lags have moved on and among the real-ale buffs the regulars now include High Court judges, MPs, Fulham FC fans and a crowd from Sky Sports, just around the corner. Awards have been lobbed at it like bouquets from the gods. Situated down a side street a few minutes’ walk from Putney Bridge, the small, early Victorian Bricklayer’s is overshadowed by housing estates. Inside there’s a single bar and a long gallery at the back. There’s seating to suit all tastes, from wooden tables and stools, to comfy chairs and a pair of settles from a Welsh chapel. The flag-stoned beer garden is packed on sunny days. Beer makes the running at the Bricklayer’s, which usually offers the full range of Taylor’s Yorkshire ales, including its creamy Best Bitter and the magisterial Landlord (reputedly Madonna’s favourite pint). On the day we visited, a Cumbrian beer festival was in full swing and the perky Loweswater Pale Ale was a rousing refresher. Draught cider and perry come from Herefordshire and lager from the Czech Republic, and wine-drinkers can choose from a slim but sizzling list of crowd-pleasers

The Red Lion

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As far as location is concerned the Red Lion is hard to beat, midway between the House of Commons and Downing Street. It is the closest to No.10, although it’s unlikely you’ll see the PM here. Perhaps the odd MP though as it has Parliamentary TV broadcasts from the House (thankfully mute) and there’s a division bell for those important votes, so MP’s needn’t miss a thing. This is a classic late 19th century pub. The long narrow bar was once divided into Public and Saloon, with the counter running along the back wall serving both. The solid hardwood fittings are broken up by carving or insets of decorative glass. The etched and cut mirrors are beautiful examples of the craft. The remaining wall space is covered with interesting and amusing prints with a political theme. The Red Lion serves as watering hole and dining room for civil servants and journalists, although the conversation is more likely to be about sport than politics. Curious tourists find there way here too, so it can get very busy especially when Parliament is sitting and finding a spot to eat can be difficult, although there is a dining room upstairs. The cellar bar hosts the Electric Mouse Comedy evening on Mondays, doors open at 7pm.

08.12.13 Fulham v Aston Villa

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A Steve Sidwell strike and a Dimitar Berbatov penalty saw Fulham record their first win in seven league games with a deserved victory over Aston Villa. After Berbatov had seen a header pushed onto the post by Brad Guzan, the Whites went in front in the 21st minute when Ashkan Dejagah played the ball into the path of Sidwell who beat Leandro Bacuna to clip a shot over the Villa keeper. Nathan Baker cleared a Alexander Kačaniklić shot off the line but the Swede was to win the penalty for Fulham’s second when he was tripped in the area by Bacuna. Berbatov slotted the spot-kick home with customary ease. John Arne Riise hit the post in the second half as Fulham secured a crucial win and ended a run of six successive league defeats. It was another impressive display by Fulham under Head Coach Rene Meulensteen. The defence were rarely troubled, while the Whites always looked dangerous on the break. Ahead of the busy Christmas period, it was a much needed shot in the arm for all with Whites connections as Fulham secured their first win since the 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace in October. Meulensteen made one change from the side that lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur last time out, with former Villa man Sidwell replacing Pajtim Kasami. The Swiss midfielder dropped down to the bench where he was joined by Under-21s starlet Lasse Vigen Christensen. After a minute’s silence to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, Fulham got things under way and were attacking the Putney End in the first half. The Whites started brightly and saw early penalty claims turned down in the seventh minute when Berbatov appeared to be nudged in the back by Baker as Kačaniklić whipped in a cross. The ball was cleared behind and the resulting corner from Kačaniklić was met at the far post by Berbatov whose header from six yards was tipped onto the woodwork by Guzan. Villa were always going to be dangerous on the counter and so it proved in the 12th minute when they quickly broke. Gabriel Agbonlahor skipped down the left and crossed for Christian Benteke but the Belgium international sent his header from seven yards wide of Maarten Stekelenburg’s left-hand post when he should really have hit the target. Stekelenburg then beat away a Benteke drive from the edge of the box after Fulham had failed to clear their lines, but the Whites went closer to taking the lead when Giorgos Karagounis sent Dejagah clear. Ciaran Clark got back to make a brilliant challenge as Dejagah shaped to shoot with the ball falling to Kačaniklić whose driven shot was cleared off the line by Baker. In the 18th minute Kačaniklić drew a save from Guzan after Villa had been opened up down the left once again but Fulham were soon in front. Berbatov and Dejagah played a one-two with the winger squeezing the ball through for Sidwell. Guzan came out to block but, from a tight angle, Sidwell, under pressure from Bacuna, clipped a left-footed shot over the keeper and into the far corner of the goal. A wonderful passing move by Fulham saw them given the chance to increase their advantage in the 30th minute from the penalty spot. After a Villa corner was cleared, Karagounis launched the ball forwards to Berbatov whose first-time flick sent Kačaniklić racing clear. The Swede was sent tumbling in the box by Bacuna and, after Mike Dean pointed to the spot, Berbatov nonchalantly stepped up to send Guzan the wrong way. Villa almost got themselves back in it straight away when Benteke’s cute flick to Fabian Delph found the midfielder in space but he dragged his shot across the goal and wide. Berbatov forced Guzan into a good save in the 37th minute when he collected Sidwell’s lay-off after some fine passing on the edge of the box by Fulham in what was the final action of note in the first half. Fulham started the second half on the front foot. A well-worked short-corner routine between Karagounis and Kačaniklić saw the Swede cross for Philippe Senderos whose header was well held by Guzan. Berbatov skewed well wide from Riise’s crossfield ball, before Karagounis showed some fine footwork to ghost past two Villa players but fired over from 30 yards on the hour mark. Five minutes later Riise almost opened his Fulham account when his header from a Karagounis cross came back off the near post after Guzan had completely misjudged the flight of the ball. Chris Herd went into the book in the 67th minute for a late tackle on Karagounis, before Guzan saved Dejagah’s left-footed drive from the edge of the box at the second time of asking. Villa had offered little as an attacking threat but a mighty goalmouth scramble ensued in the 70th minute; Riise and Hughes bravely making blocks as a succession of shots rained in. Kasami replaced the excellent Karagounis in the 72nd minute in Meulensteen’s first change of the afternoon and the Swiss nearly made an instant impact when his low cross was almost turned into his own net by Clark with Herd clearing from near the line. Kačaniklić made way for Damien Duff in the 77th minute, before a long-range effort from Riise flashed just wide of Guzan’s near post. Aaron Hughes got away with what looked like a foul on Agbonlahor in the box with seven minutes remaining and Stekelenburg made sure of a first clean sheet since the win over Stoke City when he tipped Benteke’s drive over the bar in injury time.

La mia Londra!

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Scrivo questo post solo ed esclusivamente per me. Scrivo questo post perché ci sono posti che nonostante abbia visitato e rivisitato mi riescono sempre a emozionare come fosse la prima volta. Siete mai stati a New York? Avete visitato il negozio di giocattoli Fao Schwarz? Bene quando arrivo a Londra mi sento come un bambino dentro Fao Schwarz. Se dovessi contare quante volte ci sono stato non riuscirei peró la city é magica e nel periodo natalizio riesce ad essere ancora piú magica. Sará per le mille luci, per la bellezza dei negozi, per l’aria che apparentemente non ricorda la depressione che si vive il resto d’Europa, sará per quello che rappresenta per me, ma racchiude un insieme incredibile di emozioni. La conosco bene, cosí bene che sembro un Londiner nella tube o nel scegliere scorciatoie per raggiungere la mia destinazione. Ho i miei posti, dove vado e ritorno, giá non sono un semplice turista, sono un cliente. Ho i miei amici, frequento un pub….dove vado senza appuntamento tanto qualcuno che conosco entra. La passeggio come fossi un residente, la mia Londra non é necessariamente Oxford Circus, Piccadilly etc., la mia Londra é una passeggiata per Regent Park o Hyde Park fuori del caos dei turisti, prendere la metro alle 8 del mattino per vedere come davvero si vive in una cittá cosí grande. Passeggiare per Notting Hill non al sabato mattina ma bensí in un qualsiasi altro momento, visitando i mille negozietti e curiosando tra gli scaffali… La mia Londra é quella che profuma di calcio, quella che al sabato vibra di passione e muove migliaia di persone tra i vari stadi cittadini. La mia Londra sono i miei amici, quei ragazzi conosciuti per caso e che non perdono occasione per passare qualche ora insieme tra una pinta e qualche battuta che nemmeno capisco del tutto a causa dello slang. La mia Londra é li…che mi aspetta e mi chiama come un sirena chiama il naufrago…mi attrae….mi accoglie…e mi coccola…e quando la devo lasciare é come lasciare una persona amata, ti fa male il cuore ma giá conti i giorni che ti dividono dal rivederla.

01.12.13 Europa v Palamós

Camacho marxa de l'exeuropeista Dani Romero

El Europa se paró en el Nou Sardenya. Tras encadenar seis victorias consecutivas y ocho partidos sin perder, el equipo de Pedro Dólera cayó derrotado ante un Palamós bien plantado sobre el campo que supo sacar petróleo de su única ocasión clara y que contó con los palos como principal aliado. Hasta en cuatro ocasiones se encontró con la madera el equipo graciense, que se mantiene líder. Empezó dominando claramente el conjunto de Dólera, que gozó de remates de Valderas y Rovira para poner a prueba al portero Martí en los primeros 20 minutos. El primer palo de la matinal llegó a la media hora. Corner que remató de cabeza el siempre presente central Cano, pero la cruceta evitó que el Palamós encajara gol. Del posible 1-0 se pasó al 0-1 en una acción también de estrategia. Falta lateral del Palamós que el capitán Chicho, sorprendentemente sin oposición, remató a placer. En la reanudación, el Europa fue de menos a más para volver a dominar el partido, pero de nuevo el poste se interpuso en su objetivo. Casi de guión de película trágica fue la acción del segundo y tercer remate a la madera, en la misma acción: cabezazo de Camacho, rebote en el palo y balón que vuelve a ser rematado por Camacho en esta ocasión al palo contrario, volviendo a escupir la portería al cuero. Con el Europa lanzado, la fortuna volvería a sonreír al Palamos, ya que al minuto 91 el centrocampista Guzmán envió al palo por cuarta vez un remate de los escapulados.

Blue Jasmine

Jasmine French siempre había formado parte de la clase alta de la ciudad de Nueva York. Su vida parecía maravillosa, sin embargo, todo cambia de forma repentina cuando su marido le abandona; de una vida de lujo, ha pasado a tener graves problemas económicos que le han situado al borde de la bancarrota y de los que parece incapaz de salir. Sin otro remedio, Jasmine vuelve a reencontrarse en San Francisco con su hermana, de la que no sabía nada desde hace meses. Intenta recuperarse de la crisis que ha sumergido su presente en un caos, pero le resulta tremendamente complicado, incluso toma antidepresivos para enfrentarse a ello. Añora su anterior vida, cuando todo era sencillo y el dinero le sobraba. Su incapacidad para adpatarse a la nueva situación traerá consigo graves consecuencias que no sólo le afectarán a ella, sino a todos los que le rodean.