[As if to underline quick how slack I’ve been at blogging of late, as if to prefigure a 2015 of failure, Knockers gets in there right quick and blogs like it cool. This doesn’t mean that she’s better than me. Rather, this alone doesn’t mean that she’s better than me.]
A few years ago, Uncle Dodo aka The Colonel aka Major Doddsbut never aka his real name (which I recently discovered is Hilary so who can blame him?) announced in his Christmas broadcast that he’d taken in an Afghan. An unexploded shell, bandicoot rat, scar above my mother’s right eye caused by a monkey and gout are all evidence of his cavalier attitude to souvenirs, so none of the family was very surprised. Indeed, given that he was pretty much retired by the time he went to Afghanistan we presumed that hejust sat around eating mint yoghurt chicken so it seemed entirely plausible that he’d spent his spare time coaxing a local into his kitbag.
That fact that said Afghan was called Beamish never struck the family as odd, given our troops’ proclivity for renaming locals (only the Welsh contingent has enough phlegm to pronounce Allahdad, so Steve is easier all round.) It wasn’t until we arrived at Dodo Towers and were denied our usual enthusiastic welcome from Fiver the black lab that we realised something was up. While she sat scowling on her over-indulged backside, the dog equivalent of Donatella Versace galloped towards us in slow motion. After much incredulity and licking, everything became clear: Major Dodds had taken in a hound more stupid than the one he’d been flogged for £5 ‘cause she kept rescuing birds instead of retrieving them. Sweet, dopey thing (the dog). (Actually, both of them.)
It turned out that Beamish wasn’t an Afghani afghan after all. He was from Staines. A woman on a train had told Uncle Dodo that she’d inherited him from her irresponsible daughter and he’d ruined her frequent sojourns to the Canaries. So much to Fiver’s chagrin, he’d brought the darned thing and its ADHD home, sacrificing numerous antique vases in the process. Apparently his name was once Peaches, as if more evidence of the daughter’s foolishness were necessary, so in the same vane as naming Fiver after her paltry value, he tried Free-be for a while. It didn’t stick. The rest of us pushed for Twerp, but it turns out that a person can get arrested for shouting that out in the park. So one Sunday afternoon, the decision that he would be named Beamish was made over a glass of warm beer.
Had that glass of beer been consumed in a small town on the outskirts of San Francisco, Beamish may well have been named Amber, Alpine or Oatmeal after one of the local micro-brews. The town: Mountain View in the Silicon Valley. The pub: Tied House. Itself a microbrewery, this place is not only reassuringly malt-smelling and sticky-floored, it also sells thoroughly decent pub grub, properly named. For example, fish and chips comprising FISH and CHIPS. Not fish and crisps-calling-themselves-chips and confounding unsuspecting Britishfolk [to be fair, all Britishfolk are constantly unsuspecting. It’s our most endearing/self-defeating quality]. And sausage-shaped sausages. None of this burger-shaped sausage nonsense. Seriously, can you imagine the ‘Carry On…’ film franchise being successful without British staples being both phallic and known as bangers? Anyone who has ever eaten a faggot will agree.
So, I had the house sausages, which were beer and garlic chicken and Sicilian Italian (best be specific lest the Mafia kidnap your children) pork, also featuring muchos garlic. They came with mushy polenta that looked like mash, so I confess to feeling a little cheated, but were scrum-diddly-dum-dums so I got over it pretty sharpish. Stan went for the house burger and a tall, not-very-cool but in no way uncool house-brewed Cascade Amber, proving that if it isn’t house-made then the Pebworths aren’t interested. I’m reliably informed that it was delicious, as were the garlic fries, many of which I stole, so everyone that spoke to us for the rest of the day passed out. My brother Pickles, resident of Mountain View, recommender of the Tied House and valuer of consciousness, didn’t speak to us for the rest of the day because we didn’t order the hot wings. Quite the oversight, apparently, but lucky for him.
$42 (£27) for a meal for two.
954 Villa Street,
Tel: + 1 (650) 965-2739