Season 2009-2010M.MANZE; 87 Tower Bridge Road, Borough
(4 pts)
(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pts)
NICK EVANS4131012077
BEN HAYES4021011264
JASON SHARP4022011560
SCOTT CECIL3032022052
ALAN TERRY3022021651
TOM LEADER2223022751
TERRY CECIL3031021750
EDWARD MOSSE4021011248
DAVID ARKLE2122022035
ANDY POTTER2022011530
LEN WILCOCK1044023030
UNCLE JIM1022011515
JOE OLIVENNES101.51.50111.512
AUNTY JAN1012011111

As I approached Manze's Palace of Pies for Round 4 of Season 0910, my flabber was well and truly gasted, for who should hail me from beneath the voluminous green awning but Uncle Jim and Aunty Jan, on a surprise culinary visit!

Eddie, Ben and I arrived from Waterloo on the 1 at 1, slightly earlier than advertised. Other dignitaries and notables soon hove into view.

The counter was a whirr of activity, serving a mix of take away and 'inside' orders. The mash pail [far right] gives an idea of the brisk trading tempo at this hour.

Here is a birdseye view of my handsome platter, showing the trademark Manze's mash sidescrape.

Auntie Jan was raised on Pie and Mash, having oft visited Harrington's in Tooting. For her the marble tops held no surprises, but for Uncle Jim it was a first (and perhaps a last).

There were some bewhiskered boatraces on chin-high display. Mister Jason Sharp styled himself as a 'nautical Holmes' - I think knot. But he is infinitely preferable in the role to the woefully miscast Robert Downey JR who 'shortly' features in the eponymous movie. In thee-aters Christmas Day [click here for a preview].

Alan Terry's a man who bristles with confidence, but his flamboyant face fuzz put me in mind of a different kind of movie altogether.

Actually the growth was in aid of a charity called Movember for which chaps attempt to grow a splendid 'soup strainer' during the month of November, with all proceeds going to prostate cancer research. Alan and his chums drummed up a hair-raising £6,441.99. Well done you beardos.

David Arkle continued to sparkle with what he described as his usual combo, eels, double pie, double mash; certainly something for Messrs Sharp and Ruello to ponder. On this occasion they were in the company of giants.

Judith Deschamps lent the occasion extra auspiciousness. Judith contacted the club last season whilst preparing her dissertation on 'Cockney Identity and Food' for Birkbeck College; now she's extending the work into a full-blown history of pie and mash. Expect something weighty enough to hold open the stoutest of fire doors.

Len 'The Enforcer' Wilcock made his debut this season with a classic 4-4-2 formation which launched him straight into the middle of the table. Being a FIFA-appoved referee, Len has given me zero out of ten for application of club rules. Perhaps we could appoint him as a Table Warden - two bookings and you're off. Len can whistle, book and show you a red card faster than you can say Pierluigi Collina.

Daniel Bouquet dropped in with pal and fellow disc jockey Julian Hitchen. The two vinyl junkets are tipped to be the respective Emperor Rosko and Dave Lee Travis of the ambient snooze-core groovelounge generation. Available for parties, weddings, operations and state funerals.

Talking of which, now that Edward Woodward has passed to the other side, Bouquet suggested a revival of his hit TV show with Graham Darlow in the starring role - The Eel-qualizer? In Daniel's words 'He looks a bit like Woodward did – at the end – and his regular four portions of eels are enough to settle any scores.' If this pic proves anything, it's that satori can be attained in one's own lunchtime.

Meanwhile back on my table, I was being interviewed by a student of radio journalism. Isn't it marvellous what you can study these days?

My interrogator was the charming Hannah Olivennes of City University; 'I was assigned this work by my tutor. I happen to be a huge fan of food in general so I was quite glad when she did.'

I suspect Hannah was less glad when confronted with a plateful of steaming artisan stodge, but she accepted her assignment with grace and humour. Her questions were polite but to-the-point and presented with a crisp BBC accent; in other words a great voice for radio.

Someone who's got a great face for radio is Terence Cecil.

This power trio has been in consistent form so far this season, but Cecil Junior is definitely putting the oldsters in the shade with a top five league placing.

The lad's got enough thatch to spare me a combover, surely?

Youth seemed to be the flavour of the day. This promising young shaver helped his sister to maintain dignity by cleaning her plate - isn't that what brothers are for? Classic herringbone twill and liquor v-neck modelled by Joe Olivennes.

Edward Wasp's energy levels continue to run sky-high after some serious carbohydrate loading. Buzz-buzz!

But, as the adagium maintains, it doesn't matter how old you are, it's how old you eel.

St@ttus Tritortius