Out of work and onto the bike to ride home, run inside and grab a pair of jeans and other essentials, then back out to ride in to Richmond for a beer.

Sunset commute ride, sun in the eyes, bugs along Gardiners creek, manic motorists all around. The majority of other cyclists are heading out from the city, here I am again riding against the flow.

Past the DHR and a surprise to see it all closed up, tape across the door and builders’ ladders and stuff filling the bar. Up the road to the Spready and in for a pint. Damn, I managed to leave my lock at home, so its the Belgian bike lock1 on the front wheel and a seat by the window where I can keep an eye on it….

People watching.

People listening.

Snatches of conversation float past; a strong London accent at the end of the bar, “Me arm ‘urts when I lean on it like dis”, an indepth discussion on lightning strikes on trucks and truck drivers, two girls complain about their boss…

A blind man and his guide dog arrive in a taxi, so relaxed as they negotiate the crowded bar, amazing.

People watching, second pint of Goat.

A Dover regular, a local character, walks in and meets his friends, not really surprising with the Dover closed. I wonder why, it was renovated only a couple of years ago?

Feeling quietly melancholy and a little homesick for Richmond, so many faces I recognise, quite a few who nod and recognise me back.

A chance meeting in the gents’ with a garrulous local and I learn all about the Dover, there’s been a buyout and the new owner has big plans. The old back bar has moved into the front bar, the unused upstairs is becoming a function room, it’s all changing … so long as it doesn’t change like the Bridge Hotel did — comfortable local pub to brighly lit soulless trendy bar.

Footnotes

1 Put the bike helmet strap through the front wheel and cross your fingers. Stops, or at least slows down, any casual theft.