Sunday, June 26, 2011

Prince Albert, Ely

On Friday I went to the Prince Albert in Ely.

There's no website, but it's in the Good Beer Guide and I managed to locate it easily enough. And, almost by accident, managed to find the car park that it's right next to.

I thoroughly enjoyed my pint of Mild. I knew ahead of time that Mild was served, and that was one of the reasons for choosing the Prince Albert to spend that part of my evening in.

I also had sausage, eggs, and chips for dinner. Which was just what I expected - tasty and cheerfully served.

If you compare the food on offer to those pubs which have a much larger investment in food, then the choice isn't that great and the prices aren't the cheapest. I suspect both are because they simply don't do enough food trade to allow economies of scale to kick in. But what you get is of decent quality, and what you would expect from a small local.

I would have loved to stay longer (and have a bit more of the Mild), but had to collect my passengers and head home instead.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Film Review: Robin Hood(s)

We watched the 2010 Robin Hood film (the one with Russell Crowe) the other night.

It's an OK film, but it really didn't work. It didn't really make sense to me in terms of the Robin Hood legend, which they've definitely mangled beyond all recognition. The plot itself is a little confused, and the film seems to lurch unsteadily from one phase to the next. Occasionally I would be impressed by a bit of gritty reality, and then put off by some errant inanity. The other outlaws aren't well fleshed out and seem to be peripheral, while every time I see Marion I think "Galadriel".

Seriously, this would have been a much better film if they had written a story from scratch and not confused it with the Robin Hood legend.

I haven't seen it for a while, but the 1991 version starring Kevin Costner was a much better film. Not only was the story more coherent, but it flowed much better. And there was a dark undercurrent to the film that gave it some backbone.

My favourite Robin Hood has to be Errol Flynn, though. That is a stunner of a film. From 1938, even. It's bright, cheerful, funny, and unashamed fantasy. Yes, certain aspects of it are complete nonsense, but it all fits together to produce a hugely enjoyable whole.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Camden Market

A little while ago we went down to London for the day. After dropping one daughter and boyfriend off at ExCeL we drove into London, heading for Camden which is somewhere we visit every few months.

On a Sunday we park on the Outer Circle of Regent's Park, just round from London Zoo. There's usually plenty of space, parking charges are quite reasonable. And then just walk a few hundred yards across to Camden. (Driving into London on a Sunday works fairly well - not too busy, and no Congestion Charge to worry about, although getting to Regents Park just skirts the Charging Zone.)

This time, while Camden was packed as usual, there were an awful lot of FC Barcelona shirts and Spanish accents in evidence. The fact that they had won the Champions League Final the night before might have had something to do with it, I guess, and they were out in force shopping for souvenirs before heading home.

While I quite like the atmosphere in Camden, and love browsing, I've come to the conclusion that it's not really my scene. Mel and the girls come away with tops, dresses, shoes, and assorted accessories. I've struggled to do anything as simple as finding a good book at one of the 2nd-hand bookshops.

There are huge numbers of places to eat. We often end up at the Ice Wharf, the local Wetherspoons place. It's set back a few yards (nothing more, really) from the hustle and bustle of Camden itself, but seems fairly quiet, and the menu seems to be able to provide for all the fussy eaters in the Tribble family.

Snug Bar and Loch Fyne

With the girls off at the Jarman Centre sleeping in a bivouac, we decided to go out for a meal.

As our meal booking was slightly late, we decided to take an earlier bus (when they're still relatively frequent) and stop off for a drink first. So we called in at the Snug (there are two in Cambridge - their website calls this one on Lensfield Road the Trumpington one, and it really isn't anywhere near Trumpington). It was reasonably quiet, so we had our usual small table with a couple of armchairs at the back, and settled down to a Zombie and West Indies Yellowbird.

Then along the street to Loch Fyne. And it was pretty full, explaining why we were given a slightly later booking. We started off with The Fisherman's Plate, which had a good selection of fish (although a little more bread wouldn't have gone amiss). Mel had the King prawns and scallops, while I went for the Pan-fried fillets of seabass. Both main courses were excellent.

The meal itself was pretty good - what of the downsides? Quality is good, value for money fairly average; the service was of pretty good quality although a little slow, both in taking our order (another waiter had to come and welcome us and explain today's specials) and in the fact that the starter (a cold platter, so no preparation delay) took a significant time to arrive. But they're obviously doing something right as the place was packed out, and usually seems busy.