A stroll, a pint, and a chance meeting

Tonight my host and I went into London and wound up in the area of Brompton Oratory.  We strolled around for a while and eventually jumped into a Chinese place for some dumplings and soup, to fend off death by starvation, and then walked about a while longer.

It was really good to move around and get a little exercise.

Eventually, on the way back to the car, we ran into one of the Oratorians, someone known to me from Rome.  While he went off on his errand, my host and I stopped at a pub and ordered up something.  Although there was Fuller’s, which someone recommended in another entry, I opted for a Duchy Ale, which apparently has something to do with the Prince of Wales.  It is made during a limited period.  Yum.

Then a remarkable thing happened.  As we sat down, and wound up next to another clergyman (non-Catholic), I looked up to see coming around the corner someone from Oxford’s Newman Society whom I met time I visited that university town.  It seems that wherever I go I run into people I know!  Amazing: in a city of, what 7 million, I wind up in the same pub with people who recognize me from across a room.

In any event, I am pretty tired and will go to bed soon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Paul says:

    Fuller’s is a beautiful pint but that Duchy organic looks interesting. The Prince of Wales is the Duke of Cornwall and thus a lot of his income is earned from the Duchy lands.

  2. Lubeltri says:

    Look at all of those beautiful cask ales! I wish they were more available on this side of the pond!

    Father, could you tell me the name of the pub? That Duchy looks interesting to try.

  3. Duchy Ale is available in bottled form in America, and I can testify to its excellence.

    I also agree with the Good Father about running into people in London. I have been working in New York for two years now since graduating from university, and I have only ever run into anyone in Manhattan once. Yet whenever I am in London, I always run into people. If I spent half my time in front of Westminster Cathedral, and the other half in front of Brompton Oratory, I think I’d run into everyone I know. Granted, despite being a native New Yorker, I have more friends in London than in New York, but I still find it strange.

  4. Boko Fittleworth says:

    You’re my hero, Father, and I’m sure God blesses you with many merry meetings, but Andrew has a point. You may run into people because you know where to be. There may be 7 million people in London, but how many are hip to the Oratory? No offense, Father, but you’re a type (and what a wonderfully blessed type it is). I once ran into a friend from the States on the roof of the Vatican. I felt like James Bond. Andrew, a decade ago, I found weekday Masses at St. Agnes were The Place To Be. Don’t know if that’s changed. Perhaps the cognoscenti have moved a few blocks south?

  5. Boko Fittleworth says:

    I should add, Father, that WDTPRS is THE place to run into people online, with TNLM and Rorate as close alternates.

  6. Maureen says:

    Don’t they call London a city of neighborhoods?

    Sounds like everybody was just in the neighborhood. :)

  7. Lubeltri: We were in the area of the Brompton Oratory mainly because my host knew a good parking place.

    But across the street, sort of, from Oratory is a pub called “The Bunch of Grapes”, which seemed congenial. And it was.

    It was a great chance meeting and good pint.

  8. Scott W. says:

    Oh noes! Demon Ale!

    Just kidding. It sounds delicious.

  9. tertullian says:

    You’re going to have to come up with a reason to stop in Belgium to visit the Abbey of Saint Sixtus in Westvleteren if you want to sample truly world class brew.


  10. Jayna says:

    “But across the street, sort of, from Oratory is a pub called “The Bunch of Grapes”, which seemed congenial. And it was.”

    Father, I cannot tell you how many times I went to that pub when I was living in London last year. Actually, the moment you mentioned the Oratory and having a pint, I wondered to myself if that’s where you’d gone. It was convenient because I could go to the Latin NO Mass on Thursday evenings and have time for a quick bite before the free organ recital started (every Thursday night in October, I seem to recall). It’s a pity I never got to see the place during the day, though the fact that it was so dark even during Mass gave it a certain ambiance.

  11. Welcome to England, Fr. Z
    I’m so glad you’ve found “The Bunch of Grapes”. It has some fine old woodwork, and some fine old ale.
    There are two places in London where you cannot fail to meet like minded Catholics. One is Brompton Oratory. The other is “The Bunch of Grapes”.
    Enjoy your visit, Father.

  12. Supertradmom says:

    Father Z, is the little Polish restaurant still nearby in West Kensington. As a youth, I would go there with trad friends after Holy Mass at the Oratory and talk for hours about liturgy, the Church, etc. The proprietors never kicked us out. I lived in the area and was married at the Brompton Oratory. I always met people I knew from my hometown, or from Notre Dame, or from other places…That is part of the charm of London. And the neighborhoods are real places of relationships, as in London, one really “belongs” to the areas, such as Brompton, West Ken, South Ken, Chelsea and so on.

    Have a pint for us, please….

  13. Jayna says:

    “I lived in the area and was married at the Brompton Oratory.”

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be married in the Oratory. You must have some gorgeous wedding photos from that!

  14. Christabel says:

    Father, could I suggest you award your host the highest possible WDTPRS kudos for finding a parking space anywhere near the Oratory!

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