Remember this guy from an earlier post? Saturday afternoon, after leaving the Tate Modern Lichtenstein Retrospective exhibition, we crossed the Thames to have a drink at the beautiful, art-nouveaux pub, Black Friar. It was more crowded than usual due to the crowds that were in town for the London Marathon. We ordered drinks and stood around hoping a table would open up. As Robin admired the artwork on the walls, a 75-year old guy sitting by himself started talking to her and after a few minutes we joined him at his table. Terry was a very nice guy, on his way to a talk about something weird, crop circles kind of stuff.
After he left we had an empty stool. A big burly guy, sort of like the drawing above, handsome enough, Scottish accent (I think), wearing a seaman kind of cap, on crutches with one leg missing, amputated near the hip, appears a few feet away in the stream of light that made him a dramatic silhouette, like a movie director planned the scene.
Robin motions him over to take the empty stool. He sits down and gives me a twenty asks me to buy him a pint of Becks while he goes to the loo. How he got down the small winding stairs, and back up, I don’t know. So I buy him a pint of Becks and ask his name. In an accent so thick I can barely understand him, he says “Paul, but you can call me Polly!" then roars with laughter almost falling off the stool backwards.
Then he says, as he glints at us with one eye, “Didja evah walk into a place and think somethin’s not right?” He launched into a ten-minute story that sounded like a combination of a drunk Popeye and an insane pirate. We understood only an occasional word, like “boat” and “tractor” and “bar.” It sounded like “Aarrrgghhh farrrgghh whargh sharg boat groarghhghg margasharga tractor blarghghg.” Every sentence or two he’d stop to roar with laughter. Robin was laughing so I figured she understood him. No, she was just humoring him. She occasionally asked him to repeat something, but it was garbled and totally not understandable. We think he was telling us about losing his leg, and it had something to do with a tractor in a bar.
After about ten minutes he leans over, puts his hand on my leg, and says “Ya know what he says to me a couple of years later?” I shake my head in disbelief and awe. “He said, ‘The next time you have one of those feelin’s, would ya let me know?!’” Then he roars with laughter like never before.
Robin says “We better go meet those people for dinner.”
He says “No, aarrghh, one more drink, grrrrr arrghhg.” As we say goodbye I shake his hand and it felt like I was holding a ham hock. When we left the bar Robin said “I hope he doesn’t try to follow us.” “Don’t worry” I said. “I'm pretty sure we can outrun him.”
I’ll always remember him when I think about the Black Friar pub and wonder what the Hell that story was about.
|Black Friar bar station.|
|A very nice pub.|
|This is the spot where Polly appeared. Creepy but fascinating.|
|Great artwork everywhere.|
|Robin buys some nuts glazed with something tasty. You can always find these treats around the Millennium Bridge.|
|Robin has wine and waits for a table to open up.|