Take me home please
G. Kelly, 526 Roman Road
Season 2016-2017

This was the fourth annual midwinter trip to Bow, which journey I made with the 'gnomic' North London duo of Goldwater and Mosse via the M11 overpass at Hackney Wick.

Wick's wastes soon gave away to Victoria parkland, and once across the Regent's Canal we were short minutes from the window display of G.F Kelly in Roman Road Market.

Thanks to Rikk Lucas for the chilly grey daguerreotypes, from which all traces of festive warmth have been artfully removed.

Kelly's white-tile-and-marble decor may not be to everyone's taste, but high standards of presentation prevail from staff linen to china liquor jugs, making this one of the smartest traditional pie and mash shops in the land.

[Below, left to right]: Leanne, Neil and Robert

[Right] A superb formation of 3 and 1 and [below] the gizzards in glorious detail. It doth bring about gladness in gullet and gut of pie punchers and mash munchers, such as these two grizzled veterans of the Pie and Mash Club.

Nick Everton donned an Argyle sweater for the afternoon's sport, and with the large array before him secured the day's highest score of 24.

Ray Goldstone was close behind on 22, decked in full festive raiment.

Dames of decorum Jean and Judith in the booth behind the counter. It was all very tasteful, from the festive decorations to the Christmas crackers.

[Below] At 82, Brian Catchpole is the Club's most senior combatant. After a year of hip-op hell and the loss of his long-time partner, it was a relief to see the spry sea shanty singer in action again, even if he did get a bit hog-eyed later in the afternoon. Talking of which, you can catch his outfit 'The Hogeye Men' in full song every third Sunday [except August] from noon until 3pm at the Horseshoe Inn, 26 Melior Street, London SE1.

Twelve years separate these two old boys of the Hackney Free School, Stuart Freedman and Terry Steadman, but there were a few masters in common and much to reminisce on an upbringing in postcodes E8 and E9. Freedman, a professional photographer, has been corresponding with us recently on a project of 'mutual interest'. We'll keep you posted on that, but meantime you can check out his work at:
www.stuartfreedman.com
You can also find his excellent essay, 'The Englishman and the Eel' here.

Terry Steadman has been following the club's progress for a while and simply decided to rock up. You should do the same sometime . . .

The shop caters for normal people as well.

The dessert course brought up a portions quandary which your statistician has resolved everso fairly:

Mince Pie = 0.5
Mince Pie + Custard = 0.75
Crumble + Custard = 1 single portion
2 Mince Pies + Custard = 1.5

After the afters, the carollers were sufficiently carbo-hydrated to burst into a festive cacophony that once heard is never forgotten. A stodgy selection of pie and mash carols was leavened by a solo Catchpole shanty involving an eel [in the lyrics, not the flesh].

This year's addition to the P-n-M songbook is a take on 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing':

Hail the burnt topped Pie of Peace!
Hail the Spud of Mashfulness!
Savoury warmth to all they bring –
From the pauper to the king.
Soft the undersides we carve
With a spoon – we will not starve –
Pastry bounties of the earth,
Baked to stretch the stomach’s girth.
Give us liquor with a splash
Glory to the Pie & Mash!

The Lord Tredegar was our chosen destination for the Christmas cheers.
The Pint and Map Club.

St@