- An Elmer Encounter -
Friday 26th October and we have an action-packed agenda as we take the tram to Grand Central followed by the 9:54 Euston train from New Street. Our morning mission is to investigate Canley, an area the Secretary last photographed some eleven years ago. Alighting at the railway station we confirm that the Herald pub as was has been replaced by a care home, then Prior Deram Walk entices us with its little park, local shops and community centre. A few more houses have sprung up here since 2007 but the branch library is still on hand complete with mural of Elmer the Elephant.
- A Phantom Bald Spot? -
Our Canley circuit also includes a loop of Cannon Park shopping centre as we note a number of international students (Chinese especially) making their way to the University of Warwick campus. St John the Worker Church precedes a wander along Shultern Lane, uncovering a cottagey corner of Coventry where we contemplate some silly songs (Larry Grayson's Pom Poms meets Brian Taylor's Donkeys Tale, both suitably awful). Canley Crematorium is busy with a funeral service which may explain the wake buffet being prepared in the Phantom Coach across the road; this pub is one of several Sizzlers we'll sample today, although the bald spot seems more excited about potential closet remains attached to the main building.
- The Sovereign, Charter Avenue -
Continuing with Canley and Charter Avenue keeps us entertained with a swathe of estate agent 'For Sale' boards - Henry's in particular seem to have property under offer almost everywhere, sparking us into a rendition of Gone Gone Gone by Johnny Mathis (a disco classic which we cheekily misappropriated). Further fun awaits in the Sovereign, a standard estate boozer that serves as today's darts destination. For once D9 Destroyer was on top form - possibly aided by a steady flow of Carling bleach - in triumphing 3-2 although it was a close run thing!
- A Telegraph Tempter -
Into the centre of Coventry we now go, making use of a 16A bus which rumbles back around Cannon Park before powering along the Kenilworth Road past War Memorial Park. We are aiming to swiftly switch onto either the X1 or the 7 but the plunging temperatures are playing havoc with the Chairman's bladder, hence an emergency call at the Stag is required. Along the way Lamb Street reveals some intriguing remnants of the former Coventry Evening Telegraph offices, presumably these storage units will be disappearing soon as part of the redevelopment of the wider site.
- Ready for the Rock & Roll singalong -
After that speedy Stag half, we do indeed make use of the X1 for our link along Holyhead Road spotting Alvis Retail Park and Coundon Shopping Parade. The Chairman has had his eye on the Tollgate as an essential target for many a year so this is the trip when his wish is finally granted. The pub is particularly notable for its late 1930s Art Deco architecture even though these days it operates as a Stonehouse carvery outlet. Further Carling lubrication means our voiceboxes are fully oiled in advance of some Rock and Roll karaoke, whereby the 2018 edition quiff (a little beige creation) is unveiled to the sounds of 'Poetry in Motion' and 'Blue Moon'.
- Strange Sheep -
The afternoon sees members concentrating on Coundon thanks to a slice of classic suburban Coventry investigation. There are discoveries to be made (Christ the King Church and Prichards mortgage brokers on Westhill Road then Bablake Playing Fields off Norman Place Road), plus pubs to photograph (the Brooklands and the Lion's Inn, the latter formerly known as the Cedars). The Nugget on Hollyfast Road is another Sizzler where we bump into a spooky skeleton and the Chairman tinkles the ivories of the resident piano in Bobby Crush fashion. If that isn't surreal enough for you, we offer next the Old Shepherd's luridly coloured sheep, quite a sight on Keresley Road!
- Quiffy driving on the 16A -
Evening is encroaching upon Keresley Green as we pick out the local medical centre and the Bell Inn as items of Bennetts Road South interest. The Coronation Club also looks intriguing but doesn't appear to be open yet, so we flag down another 16A and unleash a full scale Ron West driving re-enactment. The route in full links Keresley Village with the Warwickshire Shopping Park at Binley via Coventry City Centre and Stoke Aldermoor (operating a joint timetable with the standard 16). Just look at the focus of Mr D9 as he attempts to keep the quiff in place!
- Cheers from the Old Dyers Arms -
Our arrival back in central Coventry allows scope for a nightcap or two prior to the train home. The Old Dyers Arms at Spon End by the rugby ground gets the nod for some Adnams Broadside (this establishment is said to be popular with the biker community), before the final curtain falls care of the Aardvark and a swift Wadworth 6X in a fancy (i.e. dimpled) glass. Hub happenings are therefore concluded in Coventry for another year and the quiff is safely stowed away until 2019 - cheers!