This is the third part of his guide to Hornchurch – Part 2 Here
No, 109, Fatling & Hornchurch – a very brown looking pub – from its sign outside to the wooden confines inside – that has bands on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and used to be called The Bull. (Was Fatling & Firkin immediately prior to its current name. I suppose they added ‘Hornchurch’ into the mix in order to differentiate it from others of the same name when typing it into Google.) Live music is let down by the poor sound system and the low ceiling. I like pubs with low ceilings, but it probably doesn’t do amplified sounds any good. The bands don’t help themselves by playing virtually the same set-list as each other despite having a wealth of material to choose from throughout human history. These are just some of the usual suspects:
- Mr Brightside by The Killers
- Last Nite by The Strokes
- Dakota by Stereophonics
- Delilah by Tom Jones
- Sweet Child O’Mine by Guns N’ Roses
- Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
- Sex On Fire by Kings of Leon
- Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
- Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams
- My Generation by The Who
- Valerie by either The Zutons (who wrote it) or Amy Winehouse
Set-lists won’t be EXACTLY the same ALL the time – there’ll be the odd tune that not everyone else does – but why not mix it up and play Someday by The Strokes, Bartender and the Thief by Stereophonics, She’s a Lady by Tom Jones, Carol by Chuck Berry, King of the Rodeo by Kings of Leon, One Vision by Queen, Run to You by Bryan Adams, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere by The Who, You Will, You Won’t by The Zutons or Back to Black by Amy Winehouse if you will insist on covering songs/singles by those artists? Every band has the same sound with the same songs, so virtually no Friday or Saturday is different to the other.
No, 111-113a, Nando’s – THAT chicken place. It’s where the people who hang in and out of takeaways for hours with their Staffordshire bull-terriers go on pay-day.
No, 115, Betfred – hmm, I wonder.
No, 117, Michaels of Hornchurch – butchers.
No, 119, The Carphone Warehouse – mobile phone place/thingy.
No, 121, Wimpy – scene of me nearly kicking to death a man dressed in some sort of wacky outfit at a five year olds’ birthday party. I was also five.
No, 123-125, The Vanilla Room – hair and beauty place *yawn*.
No, 127-129, Post Office – due to many other Post Offices being closed down, there are often queues spilling out onto the high street because everyone in the area is coming to just this one as opposed to being spread out amongst three or four others. The place is quite wide and the door is on the side of the next establishment (Boots), but sometimes the queues come out of the door and stretch to The Vanilla Room.
No, 131, Boots Opticians – need I say more?
No, 133A, Douglas Allen – estate agents.
No, 127-133, Starbucks – was Burton Menswear until the summer of 2013, but obviously, the 217 step walk between the two Costa Coffee outlets was too much. Nearest Costa Coffee is 79 steps from here in case you’re wondering. Why this address is 127-133 when there are three other residences in between those numbers IS beyond me.
No, 127-133, Knights Snooker Hall – same address again. Reach the junction at Starbucks, turn left and this is there slightly hidden under a tree. Looks dingy especially as the first thing you have to do is walk up some sinister looking stairs before seeing what it’s like inside. But I used to go there nearly every Saturday as a teenager. Coca-Cola and a Kit Kat or Mars Bar were an absolute treat.
No, 135, Beresfords – estate agents.
No, 135, Paddy Power – no indication of whether this or Beresfords is address a or b. I asked people in both establishments and they didn’t know either.
No, 137, Say Cheese – develops photos. Striking red sign with white letters.
No, 139, Specsavers Opticians – eyes, eyes, eyes…
No, 141, Utopia Spa: Utopian Beauty & Spa – didn’t have enough time to think of anything to put here as I fell asleep as I finished typing ‘spa’.
No, 143, Age Concern – charity shop. One should be concerned about the driving abilities of ageing drivers. They seem to be either very slow dangerous drivers or very fast dangerous drivers. Slow can be dangerous too you know.
No, 145, Glynn’s Amusements – arcade. The numbers round here got a bit confusing so I went inside and enquired. A man and woman (probably in their early forties) were sitting having a chat. She had to go into what looked like a reception booth to check the address. As I walked out I heard her say ‘‘as you do.’’ I suspect this was in reference to my explanation of what I was doing.
No, 145, The Wallpaper Shop – if I have to tell you what these sell then don’t bother reading anymore.
No, 147, Thomson – holidays an’ that.
No, 149, a flat.
 Was 217 yards for me at least.
 The emphasis on the word ‘is’ is in relation to my earlier comment about the idea of a Waitrose in Hornchurch being NOT beyond me – although it still seems silly to have put it so close to the equally respected and much cheaper Sainsbury’s.
No, 151, Boots Opticians – for information on the company see the one above that’s above the one above that etc… Tiny little space (go in with a backpack at your peril). Went in and asked for the address and had what seemed to be a mini-stroke as the words got stuck in my throat when trying to explain what I was doing. A middle-aged woman with glasses was very courteous, but another in her 20s (I’d say) looked at me as if I was nuts.
No, 153, Fleur Couture Florist – many people are under the impression that a good deal of florists are run by football hooligans as a cover for selling drugs. Not sure it applies to the little old lady working in this one though.
No, 155, Sukhothai – can take your own drink in. I haven’t been there since March 2005 when I was UNDER 18.
No, 157, Hornchurch Minicabs – handy to have if you need to take a cab to the nearest Costa Coffee or Boots whose closest branches are an astounding 47 and 26 yards away respectively.
No, 159, Sense – a charity shop designed to raise money for deaf and blind people. Bought a brown corduroy suit-like jacket for a cool three quid from here.
No, 161, Hallmark & Thornton Card Shop – betting shops and card shops play a big part in this town.
No, 163, empty – WAS an estate agents called Bromley Estates. Sign has been torn off. They ain’t coming it seems. A SIGN that someone else is ready to come in orrrrrrrr…?
No, 165, Barber Shop/Bits N Bobs – you know what a barber shop does. Bits N Bobs sells sponges, footballs, sandcastle kits, some hoops and much more. Alladin’s Cave (as the WHOLE place used to be known) sold the same stuff.
No, 167, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop – PURVEYORS OF FINE CONFECTIONERY you don’t know how happy it makes me to have a place with ‘olde’ in the name. YE Olde would’ve been better, but still… Can’t have it all. This residence was empty for a bit with a couple of men in white overalls working inside when I went past it. Another time, a suited and booted middle-aged woman with strawberry blonde hair asked if I was a worker called Dave (THINK that was the name). Next time I went past (couple of weeks later) it was Olde Sweet Shoppe. Again, I’m impressed with the speed of the transformation. I could have had a field day putting cotton in people’s here in hair when it was Princess Textiles. Still had the sign up when it was being renovated.
 Or should that be Mr Simms’…? Really depends whether it’s part of the title or just pointing out that a Mr. Simms is something to do with it.