Let me start by telling those of you who don't know yet, I am moving to London at the end of this summer! I'm obviously VERY excited about this, but it does mean that last Saturday's third edition of the Pub Carpet Crawl was probably the last one in Cardiff. *SNIF!!* I must emphasize the word probably, because on my Pub Carpet Crawls we've only been to two areas, which means I'm still very far removed from having collected all the pub carpets in Caerdydd. I've also noticed London pubs don't tend to have carpet that often, so there might just be a reunion!
For Pub Carpet Crawl #3 we returned to Canton, to finish what we started in March: the rest of the Canton Mile. We met at the Victoria Park Pub, an establishment that has - in my opinion - a great classic pub carpet.
There is a skittle alley at The Vicky, painted in a high gloss Kermit green. We had a go at skittles, which you would think is a lot like bowling but it's actually far more difficult.
Next up was The Clive. A bit of a nondescript pub, but they did have two different carpets. The one in the front of the pub (seen in the second picture below) was particularly hideous and even more so in combination with the various patterns on the chairs.
In The Duke of Clarence we could finally catch up on what was happening in the group A finals of the Eurocup, as they showed both matches (they love football at The Duke - it's a well known haunt for fans of the Cardiff City 'Bluebirds' football club). We were very upset not to find carpet, but we were very impressed by the reupholstering of the back of the benches that line the entire pub (which is actually a nice feature of The Duke).
∧ Reupholstered in a beautiful shiny silk. The red velvet seats up next?
Now over the past few years I've gained a bit of experience when it comes to pubs and carpets and I just knew there had to be carpet somewhere in the Duke. My best guess was the loos, so I went for a wee. No carpet there, but on my way to the toilets I discovered there was a function room at the back of the pub where a massive party was going on! It was dark in there with lots of flickering disco lights and people shaking their hips to Jerry Lee Lewis. Eager to join in on the fun I quickly went in and there it was: the carpet. The carpet was on an elevated area where people were sitting and as they all turned their heads when I stormed in with my camera I soon came to realize I had just crashed a private party (the massive array of snacks and presents on the table behind me also gave me a hint). Too embarrassed to take a picture of the carpet I left...
A good few pubs on the Canton Mile have closed in the last few years and we were sad to discover The Insole has suffered the same fate.
∧ The Insole looking desolate.
O well, enter the Canton Liberal Club. Wow this place was happening and with its five different carpets it was truly a pub carpet heaven! It is a huge building, with a large lounge in the front with a pool table and other antique table ball games (called 'bagatelle', according to their website only found in one other place in the UK).
In the back people were playing bingo and there was another room where again there was a massive party going on with lots of disco lights and people shaking their hips, this time to more contemporary dance music. The beer was cheap as chips and they even sold ham rolls. This place is a keeper!
The big five of the Canton Liberal Working Men's Club:
We were only at our 4th stop and we were already running out of time. The size of the group (+/- 30) made it almost impossible to keep the drinking tempo in sync. Realizing with a shock that it was 22.30 already I think I ran to the Butcher's Arms! This is one of those pubs I never dared to enter, because from the outside you can't see anything through the windows except that they have fluorescent tubes for lightning. So yes this is a very traditional pub, but the atmosphere inside was very pleasant.
Then all of a sudden a pint dropped. Promptly one of the staff members came out with a mop. They told us not to worry as it happens more often that drinks are spilled without anyone touching them. Apparently this started happening after the previous landlord fell down the stairs in the pub and broke his neck. Brrrrr eerie!
∧ The haunted pint.
Maybe they got tired of all the spontaneous smashing pints soaking the carpet and therefor opted for a wooden floor in the bar? There was still carpet in the backroom and the toilets though (because it's far less worse when fluids are being spilled here..?!) ∨
Oh and what a joy, turned out The Corporation around the corner stayed open till midnight! This was the last pub we visited on Pub Carpet Crawl #1, but then I had been so distracted that I'd completely forgotten to take a picture of the carpet... So it was totally legit to go there again and have one more beer.
∧ Would you believe a pint had just been dropped here?! (Not by a ghost this time..)
The Corporation has an extremely absorbing carpet!
An old man was DJ'ing and gramps had an impressive laser show going on! He even spoke through a mic in between songs, which I always find so endearing. He played us Dolly Parton and the B52s, which was nice.
Then the clock struck twelve and we were kicked out of The Corporation. The last Pub Carpet Crawl in Cardiff had ended. Though it not necessarily meant the end of the night...
I'm a bit melancholic now, but the crawls have been so much fun. I'll definitely continue doing them in London. Without wanting to sound too pretentious, there is more to them than just drinking beer and taking pictures of carpets as some weird hobby. They lead you into unknown territory, let you have a glimpse at worlds you are normally not a part of, you learn about the neighborhood and its history, you meet new people and erm.. you get to spend the whole next day in bed.