Season 2008-2009CASTLE'S; 229 Royal College Street, Camden
ROUND 11
17.04.'09
PlayedEels
(5 pts)
Pie
(4 pts)
Mash
(3 pts)
Afters
(2 pts)
Liquor
(1 pts)
SumTotal
NICK EVANS111211119220
LEN WILCOCK50440230149
TOM LEADER46030342136
ANTHONY RUELLO60330223127
BEN HAYES60221117110
JASON SHARP60220115103
RON COX4133022893
TERRY CECIL692
ANDY POTTER6022011588
JOHN LEACH4021111458
EDWARD MOSSE5021011257
SCOTT CECIL455
TED BATTS4021111442
DAVID ROYALTON-KISCH3021011242
DENISE ROUSE335
ALAN TERRY228
DOUGLAS BENFORD2111111528
RICHARD LUCAS228
GRAHAM DARLOW128
ALAN SMITH227
THOMAS KRAFT224
TONY CHUNG224
NICHOLAS KINGSTON-SMITH117
REHAN QAYOOM201101816
JAMIE TANNER116
CHRIS WALTER115
ANTO MORRA18
BEN HARVEY18
JACK MOSSE18
TAMSIN EVANS18
GRACE COX10001022

[Heavens above] A rust-flaked reminder that Camden was not always fashionable flim-flam and decadent whimsy. You could say Castle's is on the more functional side of town, but the Pie and Mash-ive were undeterred, with a terrific turnout of fifteen on this grimy mid-April afternoon.

Tom Leader was already looming large in the window display, causing consternation for the Canary Wharf Come—Latelies. Jason Sharp summarizes:

'This was always going to be a tough one for us. Drizzle and a traffic jam delayed our outward journey — it took three quarters of an hour door to door. On arrival can you imagine our dismay on seeing those prodigious talents Tom Leader and Len Wilcox ahead in the queue? We'd arrived at the Old Den but unfortunately we'd been greeted by Messi and Kaka. The slow service, miserable decor and attractive but flavourless pies did little to raise our game. After nine minutes we had to leave, having achieved our lowest scoring round since Christmas leg; we went to play with the big boys and mum made us come home early.

'On the way back not much was said. We were deflated. Through the afternoon Tony looked for a glimmer of hope in calculating Tom's average per match and ascertaining that if he performed mildly below par there was a chance of third place. He would take the afternoon of the final off and slowly eat until he exploded, yes that's what he would do, Tom might not turn up after all... I left him to cling onto his dreams. We've still got Clacton to look forward to — and in Tony's case the final — but for this season the dream is over.'

Due to a lack of change (in his pocket, not his character) Andy Potter got a 50p discount, so the crumpled fiver in his hand sufficed for his 2-2-1er.

We were graced with the presence of Ron Cox and his charming daughter, Grace. Being a vegetarian poses somewhat of a challenge in the P-n-M League, but she sat in with a good deal of er, grace, and eventually succumbed to the custard-gilded delights of Castle's dessert menu. Did I forget to say grace?

Len Wilcock retained just enough composure for a classic profile shot, in between choruses of dissent — you see, he turned up at Arment's a week late and wants his points to count.

[Right] It was gratifying to see youthful gobs distended in the pursuit of hearty and wholesome nourishment.

Edward Mosse had the goodness to bring me a bottle of out-of-date Reindeer's Revolt Beer from the National Theatre Bar. This, a snippet from Beer Advocate:

Look is a slightly hazy, highly carbonated burnt orange, topped with a full long lasting old grandma lace colored head. Smell is of brandied figs, fruity floor wax, and warm portuguese muffins (so lemon and baked bread). Taste is caramel with cooked lemon oil, some bread crust, slight metallic aftertaste to it.

Could we do the same for pies, I ask? I think I lack the verbiage. I was tempted to douse my pies with it, but decorum prevailed.

The gullet of Tom Leader dominated proceedings but, incredibIy — or inedibly — Tom had no pies. He couldn't fit them in around the eels. My landscape shot, complete with flash-bounce, shows him wafting another tenner at the counter in a scene of opulent abandon. One can only imagine the afternoon of dissipation that ensued, and it's perhaps a blessing that the massage parlour across the street burnt down last year.

Castle's was enlivened and invigorated by three mash-keteers from points west: John Leach, Ted Batts and Douglas Benford of Brentford. Dour Doug dubbed us as 'The Most Inconvenient Club in the World'. If it was a Convenience Club, I wouldn't want to be a member.

Which leads neatly to the spotted dick. "Sugary ballast that does the job" was Doug's descriptive, but I detected in him a hint of quiet enjoyment. Afterwards he said he'd be alright as long as he didn't move too fast.

Here's Rehan Qayoom, who recently penned a sugary ballad for the Pie and Mash Club. I still haven't recovered from his outrageous use of 'bravey' to make rhyme with 'gravy'.

Castle's is notable for having its pie oven occupy pride of place in the dining room. As you can see, it's fan-assisted.

Wall furnishings are sparse, but well-chosen.

Anecdotes flowed freely from a friendly Castle's regular of some 62 years' standing, someone who remembers when a single pie and mash was sixpence and the queue stretched all the way to the traffic lights (did they have them in 1947?). In those days, cattle droving on the Camden Road was a weekly event, and rustling an occupational hazard thereof. Spoils were shared between the ration-fed residents of Royal College Street. Would you like some salt with that?

Cast iron carbuncle or ferrous feast?

St@