Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Playing Betjeman At Ping Pong

By Anastasia Hancock

It would seem that The Betjemen Arms has come up with the perfect summer combination. This clever little St Pancras boozer has managed to nab one of the Ping-Pong tables that have sprung up over the capital thanks to a group of lovely people behind the Ping! initiative, which is encouraging us Londoners to try our hand wielding one of those natty little bats. Couple this, the original beautiful game, with a selection of ciders and ales and you’re onto a winner.

Pity then, that when I arrived stretched, limbered up and ready to do battle in the table-tennis domain, I found that the table was not actually within grabbing distance of the bar – in fact it was positioned in the station itself. Unsurprising, then, that greedy ping-hogs made it impossible for us to demonstrate our exhibition-standard strokes for anything more than one short game (it wouldn’t be sporting of me to give away the result – suffice to say that a few glasses of wine didn’t exactly improve my partner’s typically whippet-fast reflexes).

Sadly, I had missed the ‘challenge the barman’ competition that had pulled in the crowds earlier that afternoon, a match that had – somewhat suspiciously – been won by one of The Betjemen Arms’ managers. Was there foul play in the air? All that frenzied sporting activity works up quite an appetite, and the pub itself is more than capable of providing high-carb victory fodder, all nicely washed down with those English ciders and ales.

2012, here we come.

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