faustus: (Default)
( Jul. 2nd, 2013 04:05 pm)
Saturday I got up at daft o'clock to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my driving test - I caught the 6.00am train to Victoria, breakfasted in the Regency Cafe and was the first person through the doors of the Lowry exhibition. Imagine! Having the whole exhibition to yourself! After doing something similar for Lichtenstein and Hirst, I'd imagine crowds, but I had the place largely to myself - there were no more than four people in the same room as me at any time. A fantastic show, although light on biographical context.

And I am still pondering whether his liking of Pirandello might explain him somehow.

You could buy flat caps in the shop. But not, as far as I could see, whippets.

I also did Caulfield and Hume - shows rather light on explanation, and I rather bounced off.

I'd planned to do the Psycho show at Pace, but ambled first to the Pace at the rear of the RAA where I saw a Robert Irwin show (presumably not the same Robert Irwin...).

At this point I ran into and - against a certain degree of cynicism - watched half an hour or so of Pride. I confess and would like to risk expressing mixed feelings. It's the first one I've seen.

The theme this year seemed to be marriage and I can see the if-it-quacks-like-a-duck argument for extending civil partnerships, enshrining equal rights, clarity of medical decisions and access, inheritance of property etc. On the other hand, I have reservations about marriage as an institution for anyone. I'm also torn between the seashift of corporate attitudes that means people can now march as workers with Tesco and on the other hand the question of whether, say, BP and Barclays are in a position to gain positive PR from this. (I realise Apartheid is over now. I still have a distrust of Barclay's). I was all for the scattered placards complaining about the commercialisation of Pride, but on the other hand these were branded Socialist Worker.

On the other hand, it is good to see public displays of commitment, across the QUILTBAG spectrum.

On the other hand, whistles still annoy me...

Were there people marching for themselves or with partners who weren't under a brand? Or do you have to be part of a gang? (I suppose I should have been marching with my colleagues, had I chosen to, although I didn't recognise anyone there.) Was there a group of miscellaneous marchers at the back? If so I moved on before I saw them. The old visibility problem, perhaps. Where are the banners for people with no banners save their own visibility on the march?

Several of the crowd didn't remember - pace the placards - Lucy Meadows. I'm ashamed it took a couple of minutes to place the context.

It was hot in the sun. I was beginning to dehydrate. It was all rather moving.

It took a bit of wandering to locate Pace, proper, and it required an entryphone to be negotiated. I passed, for now.

Then a long wander up to a pub I like in Finsbury. On the other hand, I've twice been when Whitstable IPA was one of the choices and I can get that locally. Not all the beers taste great. And there was only one choice this time. I rapidly moved onto Clerkenwell and the Craft Beer Co, where there was only one beer at 4%. The rest was 7% plus. I settled for a 7% Thornbridge/Dark Star collaboration and a Sirens at 11.4%, but only a half. £10.50. Ouch. On several levels.

That left a stagger down to Temple, and the train home from Victoria.
faustus: (Default)
( May. 22nd, 2012 01:08 pm)
ETA: Clearly a work in progress - as the Lympics occur I imagine trips to London will be curtailed and I will venture aross the border into Sussex. This is shamelessly plagiarised from a CAMRA page, but tidied up into my obsessive compulsive gottacatchemall format of a list in alphabetical order. A few of them are about to go into production; others will fall be the way side.

* 1648 Brewing Company (East Hoathly, Lewes, East Sussex - www.1648brewing.co.uk - The Kings Head)
Adur Brewery (Shoreham-by-Sea/Steyning, West Sussex - adurvalleycoop.com)
Anchor Springs (Littlehampton The Crown - www.thecrownlittlehampton.co.uk)
Arundel Ales (Ford, Arundel, West Sussex - www.arundelbrewery.co.uk )
* Ballards Brewery (Nyewood, Petersfield GU31 5HA - www.ballardsbrewery.org.uk
Baseline (Small Dole, West Sussex - www.baselinebrewing.co.uk)
Bedlam (Albourne, Hassocks, West Sussex - www.bedlambrewery.co.uk)
Beachy Head Brewing Co. (East Dean, Eastbourne - www.beachyhead.org.uk/brewery – mainly bottled)
Black Cat Brewery,(Groombridge - www.blackcat-brewery.com)
Brighton Bier Company and Kemptown (The Hand in Hand pub, Kemptown, Brighton)
* Dark Star (Partridge Green - www.darkstarbrewing.co.uk)
Edge Brewing Co. (and Franklins) (Bexhill, East Sussex - www.edgebrewing.co.uk www.franklinsbrewery.co.uk )
Fallen Angel Microbrewery (East Hoathly, East Sussex - www.fallenangelbrewery.com – bottles)
* Filo Brewery (Hastings, East Sussex - www.thefilo.co.uk)
Full Moon Brewery Ltd (Battle, East Sussex - www.fullmoonbrewery.co.uk)
Gribble Brewery (Gribble Lane, Oving, near Chichester, West Sussex - www.gribbleinn.co.uk)
Hammerpot Brewery (Poling, Arundel, West Sussex - www.hammerpot-brewery.co.uk)
* Harveys (Lewes, East Sussex)
Hastings Brewery Ltd (St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex - www.hastingsbrewery.co.uk)
Isfield Brewery, Maresfield
Kissingate Brewery (Lower Beeding - www.kissingate.co.uk)
Kitchen Garden Brewery (Sheffield Park, East Sussex - www.kitchengardenbrewery.co.uk – bottles)
Langham Brewery (Petworth - www.langhambrewery.co.uk)
Long Man (Litlington East Sussex - www.longmanbrewery.com)
Pin-Up (Stone Cross, Sussex - www.pinupbeers.com/about/ - moving from Essex)
Rectory Ales (Streat, East Sussex).
* Rother Valley Brewing Co. (Northiam, East Sussex)
Southdowns (Small Dole, West Sussex - www.southdownsbrewery.com)
Turners Brewery (Ringmer - www.turnersbrewery.com)
* W. J. King & Co (Horsham, West Sussex - www.kingbeer.co.uk)
* Weltons (Horsham, West Sussex - www.weltonsbeer.co.uk)
faustus: (Heaven)
( May. 22nd, 2012 12:01 pm)
I thought I'd posted this sort of list already, but I can't find it and here it is. Brewers in Kent or just nearby. I've ticked a few more off, and add more.

Abigale Brewery (Ashford) [keep missing this at The Unicorn]
Black Cat (Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells) [I reckon they don't want to sell them - here's their website www.blackcat-brewery.com/. Maybe it's only festivals.]
* Canterbury Ales (Chartham, Canterbury)
* Canterbury Brewers (Canterbury)
* Goachers (Maidstone)
* Hop Fuzz Brewery (Hythe)
* Hopdaemon Brewery (Sittingbourne/Newnham)
* Kent Brewery (West Malling)
* Larkins Brewery (Edenbridge
* Millis (South Darenth, Dartford)
Moodley's Brewery (Penshurst, Tonbridge) [Bottles only?]
* Nelson Brewery Company (Chatham)
* Old Dairy Brewery (Cranbrook)
Old Forge Brewery (Farrier's Arms, Mersham, Ashford) [brewpub? http://www.thefarriersarms.com/]
* Ramsgate Brewery (Broadstairs)
Ripple Steam Brewery Ltd. (Dover) [not yet commercially available - http://www.ripplesteambrewery.co.uk/]
* Rother Valley (East Sussex, so doesn't really count)
* Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewing Co. (Tunbridge Wells)
* Shepherd Neame Ltd (Faversham)
Swan on the Green (West Peckham, Maidstone) [brewpub?]
Tír Dhá Ghlas Brewery (Dover) [brewbistro]
* Tonbridge Brewery (Tonbridge)
* Wantsum Brewery (Canterbury)
* Westerham Brewery (Edenbridge)
* Whitstable Brewery (Maidstone)
faustus: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2012 09:43 pm)
Having done much walking of late, I've felt very inspired by (and jealous of) the artist Hamish Fulton, who has said "If I do not walk, I cannot make a work of art", and lives round these parts. Most of his art are posters (or, rather, large areas of paint with vinyl lettering) recording walks - from coast to coast, from source to sea, across mountain ranges, along the Pilgrim's Way - and there is something about them that I like. There's a show at the Turner Contemporararararary - alongside the Turner - which is paired with a show at the IKON Birmingham, which I'm convinced I've had a brief look round before.

After a recent daytrip to Nottingham - to see Thomas Demand, which I suspect I've failed to write about - I booked tickets to and from Birmingham, and plotted an itinerary from New Street via various shops and coffee places to the bookshop to IKON to the BMAG and to a reportedly good pub and back again. I didn't do anything useful like print out a map or anything. This may have been a mistake.

The journey there was uneventful, aside from a new walking route from St P to Euston, avoiding Euston Road, which is unpleasant in differing ways, and to time, although I see that they are (still? again?) improving New Street. They've done something to the Pavilions which I can't put my finger on, and I got a little lost in my search for Digbeth. I did find a rather useful secondhand bookshop, where I bought a volume of the Sturgeon short stories - five volumes down, eight to go - for two quid. I forebore to purchase anything else, and then got lost via the market (and an illicit pork pie) in search of local cheese (fail) and Brindley Place. I have Googlemaps on my phone, but the instruction HEAD NORTH is no use without a compass on a day when the sun is obscured by cloud.

Thus it felt like a forty mile walk to the gallery - the signage is erratic - and I managed to plot a coffee bar free route (although there was a Costa in the square and if I've realised there was wifi, I would have used the cafe in the gallery). I climbed the steps to the top of the gallery and had a look round the exhibition, which, to my relief, was rather different from the Margate one, although along similar lines. I was rather taken by a couple of the acrostics -




(rare to have five letters rather than seven in these acrostics).

Alongside the Fulton were various rooms of Sarah Browne's "How to Use Fool’s Gold", not an artist I knew, and it includes a couple of crystal radios, pictures of flowers, a vodka still, photos of Icelanders in knitted jumpers. Sculpture, I suppose, in the widest sense, and usually collaborations - brewing, knitting, printing, electronics, writing, weaving. Intriguing, although I'm not clear what it all means...

On the back stairs were various "postcards" by Japanese artists - actually larger than usual postcards - which I wish I'd spent longer looking at. And there was a Martin Creed piece in the lift.

I'd almost found the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery by accident when looking for the IKON, so it was relatively easy to find. I had about 45 minutes, so I had a quick look at the Staffordshire Hoard, and spent a little longer on the Pre-Raphs and the twentieth century stuff. I'm getting better at recognising British artists. I wish I'd had longer.

By then I was feeling the lack of coffee (I don't think I'd had one since Euston), and I accidentally found a Caffe Nerd whilst in search of a Caffe Nerd - I suspect not the one I was looking for. It was pleasingly close to the Wellington, the pub I had in mind to visit, so that avoided getting lost. I fear the glory days of Birmingham beer are over - local breweries having been taken up and moved, and not the same level of microbrewing as, say, Nottinghamshire. Subsequent research reveals three local microbrews - ABC and Beer Geek in Ashton and Two Towers (Tolkien reference?) in Hockley - which demand a subsequent visit I feel. The Wellington has sixteen hand pumps, each with a different real ale, each replaced as the barrel empties. There is a screen telling you what is on and the ABV, and you are meant to order by number. The bar was predictably busy, but long practice meant I was served both times pretty well straight away.

For the record:
Purity Mad Goose 4.2% (Gt Alne, Warwickshire)
Hobsons Twisted Spire 3.6% (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire)
Slater's Top Totty 4% (Stafford)
Ossett Excelsior 5.2% (Ossett)

I manage to find my way back to the station via a Tesco for sustenance without getting lost, although I found a shop I'd been trying to remember to look for earlier. I sat opposite two people - a couple? I'm not convinced - who'd been drinking in the Old Post Vaults, which has eight pumps, and who supplied me with a real ale map of Birmingham. I think I have a cunning plan to deploy in due course...
The plan was to spend a week (well, five days) in the library of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection, and, because I'd noted that I've never been to Betty's* and there was an exhibition of Ettys, a couple of days in York could follow, since Liverpool and York are so convenient for each other.** Because it would would be good to get away from the term from hell, the hellest one since I last spent time with my brother in the winterval period.*** Ettys and Betty's, what could go wrong?

At about this time I recalled the Alice exhibition at Tate Liverpool, and thought wouldn't it be a shame I'd miss it. Eventually I realised that I wouldn't have to miss it, but I would have a short window to get from Lime Street to the Feathers to Albert Dock and look round. This I did, and once I've read the catalogue I should be saying more on an interesting if coy collection. But, hey, a Thom Demijohn book in the Tate!

So, a week reading up for the next book. Only, the reader's report has reemerged for the seventies book, and stuff needs sorting, and there's that deadline for an article on Jan 15th, plus the Survivors thing... Put it this way, Plan A didn't get much attention.

Wandering back from Whitechapel Caffe Nerd, I passed Doctor Duncan's, a Cains pub which looked very interesting, and which I planned to revisit, but at this point there was a Chicken Bazooka with my name on it. Have a nice relaxing week - catch a movie at FACT, have a drink or two in the Phil, but mostly watch those DVDs and read those books I'd brought with me.

Monday night was film night - the cheery Another Earth, watched from a sofa, and which has the virtue of being shorter than Melancholia. I'd arranged to meet someone Tuesday night, but they blew me out, and so it was on my own that I went to the Ship and Mitre, a pub with at least ten real ale pumps. Ooops. Although it has a reputation for serving locals before strangers. H'mm. I walked back towards the hotel, past Doctor Duncan's - as I'd allowed for calories for two pints - and for once bore right up Renshaw Street rather than up Mount Pleasant. I turned left at Oldham Street, which I assumed would go through to Mount Pleasant, and then right as I felt this should go through, and passed the Roscoe Head. This was odd, since I'd just been at the Roscoe Arms and wasn't clear how they'd join up,**** and interesting as it declared that it was one of the Magnificent Seven, the seven pubs which have appeared in each of the editions of The Good Beer Guide. I hit Leece Street and turned left, then felt sure that I needed to cross the road for Rodney Street. This brings you out at a very big church, the one which looks like Tate Modern rather than being Paddy's wigwam, and not where I needed to be. A left turn took me onto Hope Street, to said Wigwam, and the hotel and bed, although the hotel oyster card failed twice, necessitating the three flight of stairs to be navigated five times.

The Roscoe Head clearly needed a visit, but was clearly closer than fifteen minutes' walk, indeed seemed likely closer to two. Assuming I could get unlost in the same way. So I went there on the way to the Ship, and took advantage of the third pint servings to try three beers. Then a circuitous route to the Ship and more beers. At least I was drinking halves. Getting lost is the theme of the week.

The next day saw more research into the magnificent seven, which didn't yield the other six, but revealed a microbre - The Baltic Fleet, opposite Albert Dock. But first a meeting with an editor, in the Cambridge, and an attempt to drink a pint of Mansfield for the first time since... well, maybe even the 1980s - it was off, so I went for a pint of (I think Banks) an had a conversation which might have consequences, but certainly rewrites. I walked via the hotel (and the bookshop) to Caffe Nerd in Liverpool One, then found my way to the Baltic. I tried a few halves, before taking a long, circuitous and not at all lost route to Doctor Duncan's, where I tried a couple of Cain's beer. Feeling sufficiently mellow, I needed a fix of Chicken Bazooka.

The next day I was due to go to York, but I had a couple of hours to kill, so wandered into the city centre and had a coffee, and did some editing, and then emerged to sleet and snow and rain. Losing my bearings, I took forever to find Renshaw Street, and got lost again, cutting through to Mount Pleasant. Eventually - half an hour into a ten minute walk - I found the hotel and my rucksack, and set off back down the hill to Lime Street. It was a good job I'd booked a seat, as the train was full, but I did some editing. The snow was coming down until we hit the Pennines, and I was rather bemused to note that we appeared to be arriving in Bjork.

I took a taxi to the hotel as I was On A Mission, and the driver warned me about how alcoholic the owner was. It turns out he was thinking of a different hotel, and that I had a better idea of where it was than he did. I checked in and then yomped into town to a certain shop, then to the far end of town to the City Gallery where I saw Filth! in the shape of Etty nudes. This provoked some daft criticism from the critics of the period and some dubious curatorial commentary - "the artist was praised for the depiction of voluptuous female nudes, which many in the period believed encouraged immorality. In contrast the male nude was considered to be highly moral, as it was often associated with heroic acts."

One of the heroic male nudes:

Amusingly, the catalogue also prints it turned through ninety degrees anticlockwise.

Filth, I say.

Then from Ettys to Betty's, and a queue for an overpriced but nice cream tea. R. texted and phoned me whilst I was in there, but you aren't allowed mobiles, so I secretly texted him back and agreed to meet in the York Tavern, not the pub I thought it was, it turns out. Almost every where else was heaving, but the Swan on Goodramgate had standing room, and yielded a couple of pints. On my way back to the hotel, I inadvertently found myself in the Tap and Spile for one more. When I came out, I crossed the road, and headed in the wrong direction.

I have lost my mojo.

I got up on the Saturday with a sense of something having gone wrong, and slid into town on lethal black-iced pavements. I got the Apple Fascists at Stormfront to fix my iTouch, and after a coffee and editing, and a long walk up Micklegate, went back to finish off Etty and buy the catalogue. I also had a pasty and gravy, before heading for editing in a coffee shop. R. texted me, and arranged to pick me up. We had an Indian meal, and he drove me back to the hotel. No booze, to some relief.

And then back to the station, where my train didn't exist - it had been retimed, and then delayed, much to my annoyance. On the other hand, I got to St P in time for the Faversham train, having managed to miss the change at Ashford one which would have required a taxi home.

Back home for a nap by 3pm - and a cat who clearly missed me. A productive and emotional trip - I just have to find the other six pubs now.

* I feel this is a title that someone should use. For what, I don't know.
** I travelled between the two during the SFF Masterclass. Clearly I had forgotten the travelling time.
*** What can I say? My irony comes in cycles? I never learn from mistakes.
**** They don't.

faustus: (Default)
( Dec. 15th, 2011 06:10 pm)
I'd planned to do a bit of work tonight, but the walk home seems to have intoxicated me. My sense of direction wasn't good, either.

Sampled (half pints) tonight:

Hydes (Manchester): Owd Oak 3.5% http://www.hydesbrewery.co.uk
a kind of sticky Guinness; tastes a bit like the smell of loose change

Dow Bridge (Catthorpe, Leics): D. B. Dark 4.4% http://www.dowbridgebrewery.co.uk
initially thought evap milk, but it's a very weak fruit pastille. How lousy are my taste buds?

Big Bog (Waunfawr?): Bog Standard 3.6% no information I can find...
Hits back of tongue and top of mouth; kind of a high pitched taste, hardly citrus, minor fizz.

Raw (Chesterfield, Derbys): Edge Pale Ale 4.5%: http://www.rawbrew.com/
gets you on the upper front jaw first then a long aftertaste on the edges of the back of your tongue. A kind of Seville marmalade taste.


Castle Rock (Nottingham): Preservation 4.4%: http://www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk/
bland and flat on first taste, but it has a long toffee aftertaste. Back and side of tongue fizz.

Robinsons (Manchester): Build a Rocket Boys 4%: http://www.elbowbeer.co.uk/#
Back and side of tongue fizz.Robinson is thicker and sourer - sherbet flavour, with a buzz on the bottom lip. Apple flavour. (Something to do with Elbow)

Castle Rock (Nottingham): Snowhite 4.2%: http://www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk/ as citrus as you'd expect an IPA style - though it's off yellow. Top/back of throat tickle.

Captain Cook (Stokesley): Discovery 4.4% http://www.yourround.co.uk/Brewer/Stokesley/Captain_Cook_Brewery/Beer/Discovery/TS9_5BL.aspx pear sherbet, very bitter aftertaste.

Rebel (Penryn): 80 Shilling Ale 4.1%: (or 5%) (http://www.beermad.org.uk/brewery/4853)
- long after taste, a bit liquorice

Abbeydale (Sheffield) Gothic Stout Porter (http://www.abbeydalebrewery.co.uk/index.html): 4.2
I really like the stout. At first I thought strawberry - it's fruit - but it's Muller Fruit Corner Black Cherry Yoghurt.

Cottage (Lovington) Mini Cooper (4.7%): (http://www.cottagebrewing.co.uk/about.html)
a limey fruit pastille - long aftertaste which goes to the back of the throat.

faustus: (Default)
( Oct. 23rd, 2011 11:37 pm)
I believe I have drunk something from all the starred breweries below - which seems to be a complete list of the breweries in Kent, of which a third have proabbly been set up since I moved to Kent. I should probably try to collect the others by visiting Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Maidstone (probably the Flower Pot?). Maybe a visit to The Elephant in Fav or The Lifeboat in Margate would help. Or possibly The Butcher's Arms, although the webpage's logo are distinctly unkent.

Dr Kneale?

Abigale Brewery (Ashford)
Black Cat (Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells)
* Canterbury Ales (Chartham, Canterbury)
* Canterbury Brewers (Canterbury)
Farrier's Arms Brewery (Mersham, Ashford)
Goachers (Maidstone)
Hop Fuzz Brewery (Hythe)
* Hopdaemon Brewery (Sittingbourne
Kent Brewery (West Malling)
* Larkins Brewery (Edenbridge
* Millis (South Darenth, Dartford)
Moodley's Brewery (Penshurst, Tonbridge)
* Nelson Brewery Company (Chatham)
* Old Dairy Brewery (Cranbrook)
* Ramsgate Brewery (Broadstairs)
Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewing Co. (Tunbridge Wells)
* Shepherd Neame Ltd (Faversham)
Swan on the Green (West Peckham, Maidstone)
Tonbridge Brewery (Tonbridge)
* Wantsum Brewery (Canterbury
* Westerham Brewery (Edenbridge)
* Whitstable Brewery (Maidstone)
I am struck today that many businesses - especially artisan businesses - do not have websites. It might be that your business does not suit mail order - bottles and the post are no doubt expensive. But maybe a website that shows me a bit of ankle so I try to track down your farm shop would be kewl?

And if you have a website, well done, but if you are trying to sell me something, a large button marked BUY would probably be useful. If I click on SHOP and get a drop down menu, I'm likely to be distract by those drop down menus, each of which seem to presuppose I've ordered something already. If one of those pages has a link to a shop page, let it take me to the shop page. I don't want 404 dead link.

If you have a shop - say a shop that has all your beers and lots of European beers too - a decent map and directions on your website would help, with an optional link to Googlemaps, and showing public transport. (Your leaflet gives no indication of scale, and whilst it has a bus stop marked, how about a route number?)

Trying to be unchained here, and hitting the fail.

Edited to Add: I think being told a webpage works when this morning I could not work how to get through to your stock list is a little... well... Of course it's evident to you, but you've lost the trade from idiots. Thanks for at least thanking me for pointing out the deadlinks but, well, it's not as if there are that many pages on your site...
I think this was my fourth Whitstable Brewery Beer Festival - first time was with friends, last three the first day on my own. I was later than planned getting there - inexplicably walking to the bus station rather than catching the bus at the station stop, and delayed by a conversation with a colleague and his partner.

A couple of John Connollys from the second hand shop - but I need the fourth Charlie Parker book before I can read them, and nil from the charity and remainder shop. Lunch from a bakery on the beach, watching a penguin lecture children on Noah's flood. I avoided the cheese shop, and walked around the harbour and back on myself to the Continental Hotel's bar/restaurant. Expecting tickets, I stood uselessly, before realising you just buy beer.

  • Brentwood Spooky Moon (3.8%, Brentwood, Essex) - a nice dark brown and fruity finish - grapefruit.
  • Dark Star American Pale Ale (4.7%, Ansty, Sussex) - I enjoy Dark Star and a good IPA. This was a bad example of what is clearly an excellent pint; too cloudy to serve.
  • Gadd's Seasider (4.3%, Ramsgate) - lovely
  • Whitstable Kentish Reserve (5%, Grafty Green) - the home champion, and very quaffable.

A pleasant afternoon, but it's always too windy on that beach, and I mistimed the bus home, again. I don't take it personally that the chap I got talking to fell asleep.
I'm forever hearing about the Kent CAMRA Beer Festival too late - usually from people who don't usually drink real ale and were surprised they didn't see me there. Invite me, you bastards, is the silent plea.

So, getting ahead of the deal for once (but not enough to get a ticket to see Steve Hillege and Gong the week before), I arranged to go with the Guinness Crew on the Thursday. (Actually these days they drink Whitstable IPA, but the Bay Boys isn't the same.)

We met at the Doves, where the IPA was off, and walked up the hill to the hospital, and cut across country to the farm. Fortunately it's a tarmacked cycle path, but you bear off across the rugby pitch and over the main road, until you find the farm. It's free in the sense of no ticket on a Thursday night, but you pay to get in, and pay a deposit for a pint glass (which I kept).

Beer is arranged around three walls of a cow shed, with some food in the middle, and a stage and more food on the fourth wall. A Blondie tribute act entertained us until the lightning blew the fuses once too often.

For lo! it rained, it rained a lot, and the water poured off the ceiling and through the ceiling, and forks of lightning stabbed the city. Then we walked back through it, though the rain was mostly gone by then.

I'd spotted one of my students in the distance, and they apparently stalked me home, but they didn't see me take part in the launching ritual of the Guinness Crew, thankfully.

Beers supped:

  • Millis Ginger Freak (4.1%, Gravesend) - a little disappointing, not that ginger, but a half would have been ample.
  • Butcombe Blond (4.3%, Bristol) - for the comedy value
  • Kelham Island Easy Rider (4.3%, Sheffield) - very nice indeed
  • High House Auld Hemp (3.8%, Newcastle) - no memory
  • Valhalla Auld Rock (4.5%, Shetland) - no memory

I think there was one more, but I can't remember.

I'd go again, but would be tempted by the bus...

A couple of months ago Ollie mentioned a festival he was running at Badlesmere. Beer and bands, and did I mention beer? Camp over night, there's a barbecue, oh, and beer. Clearly knowing the way to a man's heart, he persuaded me to file it away in the check it out nearer the time mental box. I looked up the place on the net - not helped by the pronunciation not quite sounding like it was spelt, and failed to find more details, or at least details for 2007. Talking to others I found out it was near Faversham - but not exactly near public transport. But it sounded as if it were in the manner of an invitation, so I could blag a lift to here.

The months went by, and I bought myself a two person tent (on the grounds it was cheaper than a one person tent) from ASDA and a sleeping mat from ALDI. (I'm considering only buying stuff from shops with four letter names.) I got round to testing it in the back garden, on about the only dry night this month, and it seemed to work, although I can't say I got a lot of sleep. Then I phoned Ollie to arrange the lift, and I was to meet Becky at the Carps at 9.50.

Pick Up )

The Barbecue )

Sumo Wrestling )

Ozzy Osbourne )

The Music )

TV's Ben Mills who Came Third on X-Factor )

The Drink )

The Rain )

The Fire )

The Puddle )

Striking the Camp )

The Cause )

Edit: It turns out we made a profit of £600 on the barbie - which is enough to send a child to school for a year. We done good.

Edit 2: Final total for the event: two grand.



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