Season 2010-2011CLARK'S; 46 Exmouth Market, Finsbury
(4 pts)
(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pts)
DAVID ARKELL1240022626
NICK EVANS1131012020
RON COX1121011616
DENISE ROUSE1021011212

Autumn-bedrizzled pie and mash clubbers gathered for their season's first meet at Exmouth Market recently. Since the third week of August your crusty correspondent has been cultivating a pie-er consciousness; a plate of hot stodge was to provide much-needed ballast and cheer.

As I crossed the threshold I was accosted by champ 09-10 Dave Arkell, waving a signed receipt of consumption and expenditure upon these premises. Dave looked harried, but at least the guv'nor breathing down the back of one's nape might provide a cooling breeze after a red hot luncheon. In my opinion the guv'nor needs to fill his physog with Clark's finest to understand this is not a lunch to be taken lightly. I wonder if his name's Harry.

My spirits were elevated by the singular sight of cycle-shorted sea shanty singer 'Hawaiian Brian' Catchpole. Sporting a midnight pineapple short-sleever, he was the only one of us properly attired for Clark's 'thermal deck' directly above the ovens.

I hadn't seen Graham MacLaurin for a year or two. An employee of University College Hospital, Graham has campaigned tirelessly to get health-giving pie and mash onto the hospital menu. Imagine the cheerful anticipation at mealtimes, the smiling faces, the miracle recoveries, the free beds - that's got to be good for the nation's bottom line.

On more of a flat line, Rikk Lucas presented me with 'Immortal Last Words', from Quercus Bookshop buddy Daniel 'Buddy' Bouquet. There's a choice morsel from William Pitt the Younger whose parting words were 'I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies.' Along with a bunch of grapes, this handy and handsome volume would make the perfect hospital gift.

Bouquet chose to dine on spaghetti instead. I hope he got splashed.

Former champ Lucas was excellently equipped for splashage, but I was relieved that his breast pocket brolly remained firmly furled. It would be quite the poorest form to put up a brolly within these hallowed walls.

We were honoured once more by the dignified presence of Denise Rouse from Royal Berkhamsted. Denise nobly demonstrates that pies do indeed become the lady.

Some fact fodder: that affluent town has had 50 different spellings and epithets since the Domesday Book, among them 'Muche Barkhamstede' and 'Berkhamsted Magna'. But if you're lost in West Herts a simple 'Berko' will suffice.

From Dacorum to decorum. Experienced campaigner Lucas here shows us how to derive maximum benefit from these nourishing vittles.

Quite by contrast Big Ron Cox was showing a completely cavalier attitude with his plate, and brandishing the fizzy drink with gay abandon. It's because he's now in 'The Risk Industry'. Naturally there followed coordinated and economical application of Ron's resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events and to maximize the realization of opportunities. In other words he cleaned his plate after this photo.

Our new boy summed up the experience pithily as 'a good square meal on a round platter' and then proceeded to divulge the inner workings of his portable database. Forget the i-Pad, check out the bri-Padâ„¢, a fully-fledged folio organiser with moveable highlight pages for important info. Chuck out your chargers now.

I can hear Brian's dulcet tones on a late-night radio show featuring a potent mix of ragtime, sea shanties, island folk and anecdote from around the globe. Broadcast shortwave only from the North Sea, it would be called 'The Midnight Pineapple' with Hawaiian Brian Catchpole.

Our friends eclectic.

Be seeing you,