It actually says that on a sign on the door, honestly. This is the (infamous) Stag, on Burnt Oak Broadway, scene of many a late-night punch-up over the years. Everyone knows the Stag, it’s one of those pubs which are always there, central to a neighbourhood, not just any old boozer, a character in its own right. I don’t go there, personally, but I did pop in to finish the colour in this drawing in the warmth. I did feel a little self-conscious getting my little watercolour set out, not exactly hard-as-nails, but nobody cared. I hadn’t set foot in there for many many years, since I was a kid. My nan (‘nam’, we called her) used to drink in here every single day, she was a true regular. I imagined her sitting in that seat by the window where she always sat. I got all nostalgic. I could smell the cheese and onion crisps. There weren’t many people in there, but the conversations were generally littered with “f***ing this, f***ing that”; having lived in the swear-free States for a few years now I had forgotten how many times you are supposed to put the word “f***ing” within sentences when you come from Burnt Oak. It’s really a f***ing lot.
After sketching this, I popped into a Romanian cafe/bakery across the road, and had a cup of tea with the owner, a Romanian man I hadn’t seen in over twenty years, an old family friend. That was nice; he gave me a huge plate of Romanian cream cakes to take home to my family. A fun first day back in Burnt Oak, the f***in’ town where I was f***ing’ born, innit.