Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Angel on the Bridge - Henley-on-Thames

The Angel on the Bridge in Henley was a place that me and my friends frequented on many a Saturday night during the 1980s. I continue to drive across the river every day and so this afternoon I stopped off and went into the pub for the first time in a number of years. How my friends would be shocked to hear I ordered a coffee rather than a pint of Brakspears!

The usual night would consist of getting into Henley by train or bus for opening time at 6:00 as this was a time when pubs were not allowed to open all day. We would set ourselves the challenge of doing 9 pints in 9 pubs before 9:00pm and then meet up with the rest of the crowd in The Angel for pint number 10... The night of course would not be over until 2:00am when we would invariably stumble out of the local nightclub "Stallones"! How our poor livers suffered :)

The funniest summer at The Angel was when the price of a pint in there was £1.12, but don't ask me what year... Traditionally at the famous regatta The Angel would raise its prices much to our disgust!  I am not sure what the amount was, but any amount was too high. However our saviour was Stu Phillips who not not only managed to convince a barmaid to charge us regular rates he also managed to get £1.12 charged as the price for a whole round of drinks regardless of how many drinks we bought! Happy days.... lunchtimes, afternoons and evening :)

Yes I know the hair needs a cut!

The bar staff at The Angel were forever raising their eyebrows when we entered the pub knowing it would be a long night, and would from time to time throw us out, but then would end up dancing with us in Stallones! But the most famous night we all enjoyed the most in Henley was the legendary fancy dress fundraising pub crawl for our bestest friend Miss Julie Robson. The challenge was to go to as many pubs as possible drinking a half pint in each raising funds along the way. 20 pubs 20 halfs was the challenge... The idea was the boys would do the drinking whilst our beautiful girls would flash their "eyelids" and collect coins in the buckets along the route and also get ahead of the procession ordering the drinks for the boys to drink. (and of course getting absolutely plastered themselves too) Now there were two schools of thought here. One was to get to final pub as soon as possible and get back onto pints... I was onto that, but I also realised that if you stayed near the back there were plenty of unfinished drinks to sup :) Needless to say whichever way you approached the evening it was a marvellous night and I believe the police were chasing "fancy dress" characters all over the town who were apparently misbehaving...

My connections with Henley run very deep. Not only did my dad row at the regatta and drink ridiculous amounts of beer going back 60+ plus years ago from now, and I would like to think I did a pretty good effort at keeping up the tradition. But also my mum was actually born in a pub in the town. "The Sun" which unfortunately is offices now. BUT even deeper than this is the fact that many of my longstanding friendships have been well and truly cemented in Henley and I know back in the day at times I was a right pain in the arse! This blog is dedicated to all my friend who were there at the time :) You know who you are, and I love you all! xxx

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