I hadn't been drinking in Turnpike Lane for over 20 years and the odd time I went there at the end of the 80s I'd have had so much beer that any attempt at memory retrieval would have been pointless. But an old friend of mine is about to leave town and although we normally meet in The Sailsbury, now and then we like to sup beer in far flung places. Like Turnpike Lane.
We'd arranged to meet up somewhere to catch the 2nd half of the Europa Cup final between Fulham and Atletico Madrid. Things didn't look good when I arrived to find various outsized flags of St George on the outside of the building. Usually this a clear sign of a dodgy boozer. But the Westbury had a strangely mild atmosphere, more like the kind of place you'd find in a provincial market town. A mild disappointment was the lack of cask ales but the Guinness turned out to be rather good. Another let down was the last minute goal scored in extra time by Madrid. Now the Westbury was officially an unlucky pub.
By now my full-naval-issue Stoke Newington Dad beard was starting to annoy me – more of the Guinness was ending up caught in the bristles around my mouth and I vowed to shave soon. My mate then told me about the lovely suburban house he and his family would soon be moving to and I silently mourned the upcoming loss of yet another drinking partner. We supped up sadly and jumped on a southbound 141.