The Historian of the Docklands

“My home is next door, but this is also my home.”

She’s calls herself a historian of the Docklands. Her name is Andie Byrnes and she has been living in Canada Water near the Docklands for about 20 years.

“I live next door and I eat the same dish, the Scampi, each time I come here. Even though the pub has been refurbished I sit at the same place.”

She sits in her favourite spot at The Moby Dick pub as she talks to me about her recollections.

“When I first moved here the pub wasn’t a very nice place. There were very different personalities in here but about ten years ago Joe and Terry (the owners) took it over and it became a very nice pub.

“You can see that there are lovely views and all the locals are really nice people and it’s got a really nice atmosphere,” she says.

There’s a scraping noise as two chairs are pushed back, and a pair of elderly women change their table for the third time during our conversation, as if they’re playing musical chairs without music.

Andie tells me that once this area was very desolate, mostly derelict, and this was one of the first developments in the area that came up, starting the transformation of the area into a residential zone.

“We’ve had some good parties. It’s always good fun at Halloween and Christmas,” Andie goes on. Meanwhile everyone inside the pub is gazing past the huge windowpanes where a bride is having a photo-shoot by the dock.

She bought a house next door after she started coming to this pub frequently. She takes great pride in being the part of the pub, which was built around 23 years ago.

The sun is shining on London after several stormy afternoons, and Andie points out to the window to where ducks are swimming right outside the pub."

The bride is still posing for the camera, the ducks are near the bank, the old women change their tables again only this time the bartender plays some music on her iPad.

Reporting by Shefali Saxena

Behind the Story : I don’t drink alcohol. This was the first time I was going to a pub in my life all by myself. The idea was horrifying me. Sitting at ‘The Moby Dick’ in South Quay, near Canada Waters, I mechanically munched potato wedges. Two old ladies, who seemed to be playing musical chairs without music, were definitely not my targets. The pub owner told me that journalists from the Daily Mail used to come in the pub and hire interns from the there. I was about to leave, when I met the historian of the docklands who narrated the 23 years of her life and association with the pub. The black bulldog of the owner (I’m Cynophobic) and the old ladies were enough to distract us, but I somehow succeed in taking her picture. It was indeed one of the biggest achievements of my life.