Things I Learned Today
September 19, 2008

  • I can blog from the banking citadel in which I work. Wherein most websites are verboten, this one is not.
  • Taking lunch in heels is a bad idea.  (I thought– how hard could it be?  So many of my fellow City  women do it.  I had learned from a fellow City worker that most women in heels wear trainers to lunch, keeping their heels under their desk.  Why did I not do this today?  Maybe I was feeling sassy, or stupid, but I limped back to my desk.)
  • Negotiating the banalities of the office is even harder after a pint.

Today I went to the Blackfriar pub, which is very close to my office.  I passed the Rising Sun, which is the closest pub to me– it  has a grand red corner sign and is on a lovely little windy secret street.  However, every time I go by it is filled with suits.  They are my coworkers, yes, but do I really want to drink with them? Well, being a woman alone, someone who knows no one here,  it would be more like drinking around them. I have tried to rally my pleasant coworkers around the wisdom of the lunchtime pint but they aren’t having it.  I’m on my own.

I usually go to the Blackfriars pub because it’s a nice mix of people and I’ve rarely had a bad pint there.  Plus, even inundated with tourists,  you can always find a seat and it’s lovely inside.  They havea weekly guest ale which I always try.  Today it was a Coach House Blueberry Bitter. I ordered a half but was given a full.  I’m glad I liked it, nay, loved it, but now I’m confronting an afternoon of work a bit tipsy.  Even so, it had a blueberry muffin nose, and was definitely very sweet– cut by a resiny, bitter finish making it a very balanced beer– surprising given the blueberry-pancake finish.  I apologize for comparing this beer to sweet food.  I usually hate that.  If anything the berries in the beer were very present but completely natural and earthy tasting, melding well with the malt and hops of the beer so that it didn’t taste blueberry-flavoured at all.

While I was finishing my pint, my nose in a Gunter Grass novel– more to banish self-consciousness at drinking alone than to actually read, II overheard an American tourist talking to a Brit (she must have been a Brit– she was eating a fish finger sandwich).  The American smelled of cheap perfume which was overwhelming my pint and making me grumpy.  She told the other woman that there are no pubs in America, only bars, and they serve hard alcohol and are “scary”.  She said that she can only buy non-alcoholic beer in her supermarket which made me conclude she must have been from a dry county in the midwest, not dissimilar from where some of my relatives reside. 

It made me sad, and maybe a bit homesick and confused.  The only thing that gave me a glimmer of hope was that she was drinking a dark brown ale, so maybe she was catching on.