Some guy named Cid. What a great way to start a story.
Since I’m all about correct time keeping on this blog, I thought I’d jump right into the middle of my most recent trip to London with my family.
One of the very few places that was on my Dad’s “must-do” list was to visit a little pub named “The Eagle” on City Road in the borough of Hackney.
Wait, wait…did I just say “Hackney”? As in, the Hackney where my attempt to locate the Burberry outlet store went terribly, terribly wrong and I swore to never, ever, ever frequent that neighborhood ever again?
First of all, yes. Second of all, *insert whatever noise is made when sticking your tongue out at others*.
I was going to title this post “Never say Never” but then Justin Bieber called me and threatened to sue…so we’re back to much more creative titles that leave you wondering who Cid is…right?
Of course you are! (don’t you DARE close this window!)
The Eagle is a pub that, legend has it, is where the nursery rhyme “Pop! Goes the Weasel” originated…or at least was set here. I know right? Those crazy Brits use pubs to inspire nursery rhymes. What do we use? Creepy illustrations of tree limbs holding cradles while crashing to the ground.
But I digress…
So we venture out to Hackney with much less chaos than my previous trip and easily locate the pub. We grab some seats outdoors just as an old timer stands up to ensure that we’ve taken photos of the exterior of the building.
This comes right after we stood on the other side of the street for several minutes snapping pictures…so this elderly gentleman, in hindsight, had given us plenty of warning of how much snark we were about to encounter.
He has a cane, is appropriately dressed for a Sunday, and has a killer set of sunglasses. I’m already thinking: This. This is what I want to be like when I’m 70+…well, minus the whole ‘being a man’ thing…
After grabbing a beer he strikes up what would end up being a two hour conversation about everything. The Queen, El Cid of the movies, the nursery rhyme, the youth of today, the American usage of the word “what”, fist-bumps and a comparison of British to American words.
Long story short (so hilarious, I know) Cid was a wealth of information, whether it was all true is up for speculation, but it made for a highly entertaining afternoon.
The first bit was a discussion on seeing the Queen change the tyre of a lorry during the war. We know this happened, but Cid claimed to have been there.
The second was a rousing chorus of all of us singing Pop goes the weasel, and Cid explaining that the rhyme actually referred to the drunks who would pawn off things in order to frequent the pub (hence: “Up and down city road, in and out of The Eagle, that’s the way the money goes, POP goes the weasel”). So Pop means to pawn, weasel was what you were pawning and going in and out of the pub every time your pawn amount was up. Wikipedia correlates some of this, but leaves it ultimately up to speculation.
My favorite of the afternoon was when he gave us a lesson in English language and proper speaking habits. This occurred when, throughout conversation, the word “What” was used when one of us didn’t hear or misunderstood any particular part of the conversation. After a bit Cid shouts “WHAT?!!” as if he were a parrot. He then goes on to deplore American’s usage of that word instead of “pardon” because “What” ultimately makes you sound…well, like a parrot. We had to agree after he repeated the word incessantly to prove his point.
The afternoon came to a nice close after Cid impressed us with his knowledge of the 6 PM flight paths of various airplanes crossing over the patch of sky above the Eagle (if they cross to the left, they are heading to Heathrow Terminal 1, if to the right, it’s terminal 3) and his equally impressive use of the words “Knackered” and “Pissed” – both of which he used to describe his increasingly inebriated state – all with the good humor and geniality one expects to find in the local old timer who, according to the bartenders, sits at his specific table every Saturday and Sunday.
So, cheers to you Cid! Since you told us that you don’t own a computer, cell phone or vehicle I’m doubtful you’ll ever read this entry, but maybe over the years you’ll send us that letter you promised (the only civil way to communicate, after all) and we can all become pen pals.
It was an awesome afternoon.