Pubspy: The Lord Palmerston, Carshalton
Farewells are never easy, unless of course, the mother-in-law outstays her welcome at Christmas.
The Two Ronnies were experts at farewells. Ronnie Corbett would famously wrap up their show by saying: “It’s goodnight from me.” To which Ronnie Barker would reply: “And it’s goodnight from him.”
If only I was so adept at saying bye to the boozer when the bell goes for last orders. I normally wait until the last possible moment before being pushed on to the mean streets of Sutton by a livid landlord.
However, last week it wasn’t the farewell to the Lord Palmerston that I had a problem with, it was the introduction.
As I approached this backstreet boozer along Mill Lane I saw something hoisted from a back garden which sent a shivver down my spine.
Fluttering in the wind was a St George’s flag with the Chelsea badge slap-bang in the middle. It was horrendous.
If the chavs of south-west London got together to proclaim independence and drew up a shortlist of designs for a national flag, then this would be a frontrunner.
I wish I’d been prepared for what greeted me when I walked through into the public bar of the pub. The mesmerising light show provided by an array of fruit machines was enough to make a U2 concert look like a minor act at Carshalton Carnival.
Judging by the quirky cast assembled at the bar, I felt like I had stumbled on to the set of Only Fools and Horses, although, in this episode, the cast was made up entirely of Trigger look-a-likes.
These Del-Boy devotees had a smashing time giving the clumsy barman an earbashing when he let a beer jug slip through his butterfingers.
The incident set off their smokers’ coughs before they stepped outside for some fresh air, and of course, another fag.
One of the puffing punters said: “Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it hundreds of times.” Del-Boy would have been proud.
The pub is split into two – the public bar and the saloon.
The public bar, which feel like a northern workingmen’s club, is nothing special, aside from a signed caricature of silver-haired cricket commentator David Gower.
Trigger was never the sharpest tool in the shed, and anybody with any wits about them should head straight for the saloon bar.
Here the low beams and the dark wood are the perfect setting for punters to sit, sup and admire a framed England rugby shirt signed by Laurence Dallaglio.
The choice of ales isn’t bad. I saw three or four options on draught before settling on a pint of London Glory.
Anyway, that’s enough of this old nonsense. It’s time to move on. So, with that in mind, I’ll put on a pair of thick-rimmed glasses and, in true Two Ronnies style, say one last thing – it’s goodnight from this Pubspy.
The Lord Palmerston, 31 Mill Lane, Carshalton, SM5 2JY
DECOR: XXX Thankfully it’s a bit rough around the edges – a welcome change for the sterile pubs on Sutton High Street.
DRINK: XXX Greene King IPA, London Glory and Courage Best.
PRICE: XXX £3.10.
ATMOSPHERE: XX The air was filled with the boisterous banter of the more mature chav.
STAFF: XXXX A very nice lady served me.