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Dr John Hawkins

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Airport Adventures with Andy

Posted on 2010/08/08 11:11:43 (August 2010).

[Wednesday 4th August]
Just within the last couple of days I had heard from my friend Andy (who had moved to Japan back in February) that he'd be passing through Heathrow en route from Tokyo to visit his family in the South of France. He hadn't been able to fit in an actual stop off in the UK, but he did have a few hours between flights, so I jumped at the chance to go and meet him for a drink or two.

We met in Terminal 5, and proceeded directly to the only bar in Terminal 5 outside of security - the Five Tuns. Unsurprisingly it was pretty soulless - as you'd expect from an airport "pub" - and so our thoughts soon turned to trying to escape the airport to somewhere a bit more pleasant.

So after a quick search on Google Maps I determined the nearest pub with some character was the London Apprentice in Isleworth. This turned out to be rather good - although I think some of the modernisation of the interior is a little regrettable, the exterior of the building is still rather handsome (and hasn't changed much from a 1930s picture of it I'd seen), the beer seemed to satisfy Andy's craving for real ale, and the food was very good too. I particularly enjoyed the "veggie 'fish' and chips" - they'd taken slices of halloumi and coated it in the same batter usually used for fish - a fantastic idea.

I've really missed the guy since he buggered off to Japan, and so it was nothing short of heavenly to sit in a decent pub with Andy, mulling over life, the universe and everything, even if it was only for a couple of hours.

Eventually though, time came for Andy to head back to the airport, and for me to head back into central London. We hadn't really thought this part through particularly well, and it took quite a while to find a taxi (it turns out they're somewhat less common in TW7 than they are in SW1). By the time I did successfully hail a cab, Andy only had about 45 minutes to make his flight! He didn't have a phone that could make outgoing calls with him, so I didn't actually hear whether he made it or not - I assume so... or maybe he just ended up going back to the awful Five Tuns.

I then headed back into the centre of London to meet up with Chie, who had arranged for us to have dinner with her former university tutor (Nozaki-sensei) and his wife Kaori-san, who were visiting Europe for a few days. We'd decided to play it safe and took them to Oliveto, which I think went down rather well. Chie had also taken them to a couple of pubs in Belgravia beforehand (of course following my recommendations). Nozaki-sensei and Kaori-san are both wine buffs, and we'd got onto the conversation of Champagne during the evening. I was rather pleased that when I mentioned there was a bar round the corner with a good selection of champagnes Kaori-san pretty much immediately said "let's go!" - so we rounded off the evening with a bottle of Perrier Jouet at the Ebury Wine Bar.

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