30 Jan, 2022
2022/1/30 16:05:49 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Both the Eagle & Child and Lamb & Flag were my local pubs—I lived right there on St Giles while in Oxford. Of the two, the Lamb and Flag was in much better shape and much more popular: it was cleaner, more spacious, and had much better food and drink. The Eagle and Child was quite a mess, and not so popular: a tiny front room with 'characyer' that was always packed (being the most 'Inklingish' of the rooms, certainly, but I generally saw tourists there), then a narrow space in which the bar itself was, then a tiny hallway with a horrificallly squalid bathroom off it and the kitchen next to it (also squalid), and finally a large back room seemingly last decorated in the 1970s (wood panelling, mirrors, and faux greenery), which was once the conservatory (where Inklings gathered on occasion, as mentioned in letters). I'd get a table back there away from the chatter (it was nearly always empty or close to it), eat, drink, spread out the books, keep drinking, and do my work. Out back in the off-limits garden proper—one could see into it from the rooms above Greens—were piles and piles of junk. Grim. The fare was that of the Richardson chain: frozen food and no local ales, only mass-produced stuff. The Greens Café was delightful: they made fresh pastries and panini, and in the former inn rooms upstairs one could eat and or study; there's good sun through the large windows morning and afternoon. The upper rooms in the Eagle & Child would be better used for seating than boutique hotel rooms, as there's so little seating on the ground floor for patrons, and would benefit from a conference room somewhere up there for Inkling-related stuff, surely. The Greens Café upper rooms were quite spacious and would make better hotel rooms, considering the necessary addition of en suite bathrooms. The Eagle & Child really does need an overhaul, though, so hopefully it will get one, however long and however expensive it may be.