This year our old pal Bernie O'Brien had other commitments so the four of us, yours truly, David Munro, Julian Dunn and Mac Rutherford set off via sit up and beg, or however you would describe the rolling stock running between Shelford and Liverpool Street, for London. We felt a bit fraudulent calling ourselves old as the average age is well under 60 but no matter.

We were soon wandering down Brick Lane where around half way down we stumbled across the most amazing little back street boozer that Mac had visited before. The Pride of Spitalfields has four fantastic beers and is full of East End charm; you would expect a plate of jellied eels arriving at any moment. Jules and I had a pint of 4% Sharp's Doombar from Cornwall, in fantastic condition, and David and Mac settled for a brilliant pint of London Pride. The staff were very friendly, but we were staggered by the size of the portions of well cooked food and the incredibly low prices. The special was shepherds pie and peas for £3.00! An enormous bowl of chips was £1.00, and ham, egg and chips for £2.40. Mac rarely goes an hour or two without getting his laughing tackle around something to eat, so despite having a lunch booked elsewhere, he tried the salt beef sandwich for £2.40. It was really amazing, doorsteps of bread freshly carved with lashings of salt beef, fantastic.

They had Chas and Dave bashing away the old Cockney songs in the background, and we all sang along with the gems of "Tottenham, Tottenham" and "Ozzies Dream", no Gooners around here! Literarily tearing ourselves away after a few pints, we next visited Lord Butlers Head near the London Wall where we tried various Shepherd Neame beers in a lovely old pub dating back to the 16th century. Unfortunately the beer was not quite as good but no matter - on to Simpsons Tavern in Cornhill for lunch. Steak and Kidney Pie and Shepherds Pie initially washed down with a couple of excellent pints of Harvey's bitter were followed by a rather nice bottle of Rioja.

A lie down at the flat only a 4 iron away from Tower Bridge, and we set off for The Nags Head in Kinnerton Street, Mayfair where we had a few really expensive pints of Adnams bitter at £3.00 per pint and for Explorer, £3.50! The pub is fantastic, and very much reminds me of a cross between the Blue Ball, Queens Head Newton and the St Radegund, and the crowd are great. We were well treated by our old friend Kevin the landlord and an old pal from the Queens Head at Newton, Colin, who when commuting between Connington and London always seems to call in at Newton. We were joined by Chris Evans from Radio 2 after he had finished his show, and when it was suggested he should join us at the wine tasting before broadcasting the following day he remarked that in the past he would have done, but not now.

It was then back to the East End and to the Lahore Kebab house for a lovely curry before sinking a couple of pints of Caledonian Deuchars in the Dean Swift in Shad Thames near the bridge, and a healthy night's sleep. The wine tasting was fantastic the following day, and the not-so-elderly gits returned home triumphant!

Jerry Brown