Salty Mug Pies

I have been racing around like a headless chicken for weeks, but I’m certainly not complaining. This summer has been a heady mix of culture, fun and activism, the latter being particularly fulfilling. It was a lovely surprise to find out at the anti-Trump rally that a pub in Clerkenwell was rewarding those who could prove their attendance with food and drink discounts for the rest of that month. Double win was that this particular pub, The Blacksmith & The Toffeemaker, was also entirely vegan which made my plant eating buddies very happy. We had to head down for some dinner and their weekly pub quiz; what better school night entertainment? There was no flaw in this plan.


A long name, but worth remembering

I must admit I was exhausted when I reached the pub; it was a boiling hot Monday after a super busy and sleep deprived weekend so my sense of humour was already on thin ice. (Having a friendly barman hand me two Sierra Nevada’s for the price on one perked me up immediately though) Catching up with a friend it was with much hilarity we reminisced about joining in a Wayne’s World themed pub quiz hosted in Dalston a while ago.


Party on Wayne, party on Garth

That night was such a laugh. My buddy and I have been calling each other Wayne and Garth jokingly for years since we bought wigs together for an eighties fancy dress hen do. We proceeded to congratulate ourselves with drinks and, donning our new mullet and crimped wigs, realised we resembled the much loved characters played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. Upon seeing the Dalston quiz night we roped a larger team together and proceeded to combine our memories of the film and its sequel to place at a solid second when the scores were tallied. Granted there weren’t many teams, but we were very proud of our efforts, celebrating late into the night.


Our below average attempt to build Garth’s doughnut man

Back to the Blacksmith, I wondered as the quiz host came around collecting the entry fee from each participant, how well we’d do in a less specifically themed quiz. Being a Monday the pub was relatively quiet and there were just four teams joining in. From my seat I took the opportunity to survey our competition as the questions began. Our first task was to name our teams relating to the theme of the day, the tacky yet wildly popular Love Island. None of us had actually watched the television show so I began to worry a little about our chances.

Much to our trio’s delight, the questions were a balanced mix of sport, history and culture. There was of course face mash’s and word games to decipher,  as well as a cryptic music song intros round. At the halfway point the teams marked each other’s answer sheets and we realised we were not actually doing too badly. Reading out the scores so far, our host also announced the bar staff had chosen their favourite team name: Get Your Salty Mug Pie on My Face – which was ours! Not only had mashing random words together won us a packet of crisps, exciting stuff, but a couple of lucky quiz guesses had paid off and we were in the lead overall, more excitement.

Trying not to be over confident and with drinks refreshed, we powered through a killer round where one wrong answer disqualified any points from that section. We crossed out so many double answers and debated so much you’d think the prize was £100 and not £22 (seriously). In the end it was our vegan powered collective brain matter that came out on top as we came first! I think this is my first pub quiz win, but it wasn’t over yet.

The host added an extra twist; we could walk away with half the prize pot or we could choose to gamble the whole amount on a game of chance. The petty thought of splitting £11 three ways seemed so ridiculous, besides, where was the fun in that? Going for the gamble, and with the whole pub now watching us, the host placed four cards on a shelf against the wall, rear side facing out. We would now be playing a game of ‘higher or lower’ (literally guessing if the next card to be revealed was of higher or lower value than the previous) leaving our winnings up to instinct and luck. This was almost too much for my sleep deprived brain to handle, but card by card, we guessed correctly. Burying my face in my hands as the last card was about to be revealed, I simply couldn’t look.


Going for the gamble

As the host announced that we’d correctly guessed the final card as lower than the previous, and won the entire pot, it felt like a lottery win. My initially depleted tank had been filled with laughs, ale and scrumptious food making me even sleepier but equally overjoyed at our surprise success. Making my way home with the sun still up and feeling so exhausted that tears seemed imminent, I was not only £10 richer in my wallet but immeasurably richer in my soul for making another fond memory to be randomly reminisced at some point in the future. We didn’t get our bag of crisps though…