Monday, 14 October 2013

Bye Bye Hannah and the Thomas Becket

I'm not sure how I feel about change.  Sometimes it's for the best, it refreshes your life, brings new perspectives and allows you to move in a new direction.  Other times it takes something away that you will miss or alters a dynamic.

Last weekend we said goodbye to Hannah.
She's packed up her bindle, located the cat's boots and trundled up to the big smoke.  To be fair to her it was a completely logical move; she has friends and family there and a brilliant career opportunity waiting for her.

I'm just going to miss her!
Hannah and I first met a couple of years ago when she worked with me backstage on Barefoot in the Park.  Since then she's become a stalwart part of our little crew of wannabe thespians; her birthday BBQ's are a vital part of the summer calendar and her plasticine face is the stuff of legend in the group!  Seriously, the girl has control over facial muscles that I'm not sure the rest of us even knew existed!

She is a wonderful girl - sweet, funny, quirky and highly intelligent with a wicked sense of humour and a brilliant laugh.
We bundled into the Thomas Becket for a night of revelry to help send her off to London Town with a smile on her face and a skip in her step.
The Thomas Becket is named after Canterbury's most famous dead person.  He was Archbishop of Canterbury roughly 900 years ago and his blood is still visible on the flagstones in the Cathedral, which just goes to show how sloppy the Cathedral housekeeping staff really are.  Becket went on a bit of an excommunicating rampage, barring people from the Church left right and centre whenever someone disagreed with him.  News of this reached the King, Henry II, who is alleged to have wished Becket dead.  A group of enterprising young knights saw this as an opportunity to win brownie points with the King and went on a jolly up to Canterbury.  After an exchange of words with Becket who point blank refused to go anywhere with the knights, the knights drew their weapons and proceeded to carve little bits of Becket's head off, leaving blood and brains littering the floor of the Cathedral.  Becket was eventually canonised and became a figurehead for many pilgrims to the City.
These days the Thomas Becket is a pub down one of Canterbury's side streets and about as traditional a pub as you could hope for.
The abundance of hops covering the ceiling makes most of the pictures look like they were taken outdoors!
The bar serves home cooked food and a great range of ales and stouts.  One of my friends swears by their roast dinner and it can be hard to get him to eat anywhere else if we are out! It's also a lot bigger inside that I remember it being.
Guest ales always go down a treat with the ale drinkers of the group.  These were apparently very nice.  I was on bottles of wine so couldn't really tell you.  And yes that was bottles, plural.  I'd just accidentally completed dry September and was planning to break my abstinence in style.
The entire pub feels warm and cosy and very countrified.  It is the kind of place I can imagine people who come to the UK and want to experience 'a traditional British pub' are looking for - it has that type of romanticism about it.  Don't expect farmers in flat caps and welly's though with border collies staring up at them with limpid eyes begging for a pork pie - you are as likely to run into a group of people from France or a bunch of students as locals in here.
It is also very popular and by 10pm you can't really move inside, especially the nights they have live music on. It's not the kind of place you come to if you want a quiet night out, or even the ability to really hear one another without yelling.  We got there about 8pm which was perfect for laying claim to our own little area by the door, blocking the entrance and exit for every other punter. 

We were there for the serious business of socialising, gossiping and generally giving Hannah a good sending off so we got down to it with a vengence.  At some point in the evening (I think I was at the bar) the others hijacked my camera so I can't really explain some of the pictures.  I'll let you draw your own conculsions!

We started off well - sober, sensible and chatty.  Note the distinct lack of empty glasses and bottle on the tables.

Then these came out.
And then this happened.
I'm not sure what happened.  Well, that's not strictly true.  I know exactly what happened.  Tequila and wine which made for an impressive headache the next day.  I do know that it was a brilliant evening, and I hope that Hannah had as much fun as I did.
She's back in a few weeks to come and see Wyrd Sisters.  I'm sure we will have a similar evening then!

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