I am supposed to be producing eleven pipers piping. No chance.
The Pipers in Dagenham, and I have no idea if that had any connection with the Dagenham Girl Pipers, was demolished in 2005 and is now a block of flats.
It joins the list of other Dagenham pubs now defunct like The Henry Ford (now a drive-in McDonalds, the Chequers (now Halfords car spares), The Anglers Retreat (part of a vast empty space earmarked by the Strawman for a new prison, HMP Beam) The Church Elm (another block of flats) the Beacon Tree (more flats) the Merry Fiddlers (a hole in the ground and the roundabout it gave its name to is a traffic light controlled crossroads) the Volunteer (like its roundabout subsumed into a three lane underpass) The Robin Hood (a branch of Lidl) the Hinds Head (closed early last year) and the Bull (last month I noticed it was boarded up, which I hope is only temporary but the trend is not good). 10 pubs closed and only one new one opened, the Lord Denman in Heathway.
Elsewhere my friend Gloria is guilty of dereliction of duty in failing to photograph the Pipers in Kettering so I have had to think laterally.
This is the Cat Cracker in Stanford-le-Hope near the Coryton Oil refinery. More pipes and tubes and distillation towers and alkylation units than you can shake a stick at, busy working at the process to convert crude oil into useful stuff and a curious cat (not a catalytic one) on top for good measure. Had I a helicopter and a camera that sees round corners I could have photographed this with the real refinery in the background. I like it as a modern example of a trade and work sign.
I was relieved at the time (1982) when my neighbour failed to get his daughter in to train as a drummer with the Dagenham Girl Pipers but pleased to hear now that they celebrate their 80th anniversary this year. Watch this space.