Picture a small lake with sunshine dancing on the surface of the water. Or picture ten petrol tankers proceeding along the slow lane of a motorway. What you are also seeing is how much beer I have drunk in my life. Gallons of the stuff.
My relationship with beer began in "The Hare and Hounds" public house in the village of my birth. At fifteen going on sixteen I drank brown ale with a dash of blackcurrant. Yuk! But before too long I advanced to traditional bitter.
In the past, when you entered a pub in Yorkshire there were really only two sorts of beer you could order - bitter or mild. You could visit any pub in the country and simply ask for "a pint of bitter" and the barman or barmaid would pull your pint with no further questions asked.
Nowadays it's different. If you go into a pub and say "A pint of bitter please" the staff behind the bar will be confused. Sometimes they will say, "Which bitter?" and in other pubs - especially Down South they may not even know what you mean by "bitter"! Crazy.
In the late sixties a pint of bitter would cost you around one shilling and sixpence - or 12½ new pence. Today in my local pub a pint of bitter costs £3.60 which is around twenty eight times more. If I could retrieve all of the money I have spent on beer I could purchase a brand new luxury car.
When I pause to reflect upon it, I could devote several blogposts to beer. Mostly it has been a friend to me, something that has lubricated many happy times. I have drunk it from South Africa to Fiji and from Washington State to Alloa in Clackmannanshire. I have drunk in several "Red Lions", "The Foaming Quart", "The Black Boy", "The Farmer's Arms", "The Nag's Head", "The John Snow" and a thousand other pubs and hotels.
Mostly beer has been a friend but in my youth it occasionally led me into bad behaviour and bad situations. There are several things that happened which even to this day I am reluctant to recount. Please don't ask. Let sleeping dogs lie I say. I can still hear them snoring away.
All English pubs are closed right now as we proceed through Lockdown Mark II. For some reason, I decided not to have any beer during this particular lockdown. I had my last three pints the night before it started. Two pints of "John Smith's Best Bitter" and a pint of "London Pride" in "The Robin Hood". That was on November 4th.
Ten days without beer. It's not been too hard so far. After all, I mostly associate beer with pubs, other beer drinkers and pub conversations. Avoiding beer will help me to lose a little weight and give my liver a well-deserved rest but this wasn't a conscious and properly articulated decision. I just drifted into not drinking beer. I expect that when Lockdown Mark II is over I will hook up with my old friend again. After all, we have come so far together.
I have visited that lake in your photo. It is certainly a beautiful spot and, I suspect, a prettier colour than if it had been filled with your second-hand beer.ReplyDelete
Do you mean urine JayCee? ...By the way, I did not realise that you had been to Alberta... home to the famous Canadian bloggers - Red Kline and Lily Cedar.Delete
I have been around, YP.Delete
I know that JayCee. I understand that you have even been to The Point of Ayre.Delete
Now I remember where I saw thee, lad.ReplyDelete
Thou were in't Bobbing John, best public house in Alloa.
I were stood well down bar, happen you didn't notice an ald octogenerian like me.
*I'll have a pint of Old Peculiar,* I heard thee say, *and have one for yourself, Miss.*
*Thank you, Sir, I'll have a Babycham and Brandy,* said barmaid. *Nice to see a tourist in Alloa. Are you from Lancashire by any chance?*
"Nay lass. Ahm no from t'****ing Lancashire. Ahm from God's own county!...Pssst! Who's the old fella at t'other end o t'bar? I thought Eamon Andrews were dead!"Delete
Colin Welland said people who did not know the difference between Lancashire and Yorkshire were not to be taken seriously.Delete
As regards the two counties, I am like a bigamist who loves both his wives equally, and keeps one in Clitheroe and t'other in Halifax.
Sounds like a lost Stan Barstow short story.
No wonder Stan lost that particular story. It was clearly heretical.Delete
If a chap honours both his wives, what's the problem, lad?
Let's say I kept Joanna Lumley in Leeds, and Stephanie Beacham in Bradford, none would be the wiser, would they? Christmas Day would be my only dilemma. I'd have lunch at Joanna's and dinner at Stephanie's, problem solved.
John Braine told me that the hangman in Bradford divorced his wife for a younger woman. After his heart attack his first wife moved back in again, and both ladies looked after him in his final days. I think he mentions it in his second novel, The Vodi.
Perhaps the hangman also had a braine!Delete
Oh, the hangman's job was much envied, since many would have volunteered to do his work without pay.Delete
John Braine said that folk in Bradford often knew when a hanged man was being cremated. You can imagine the exchange between a couple getting on in years.
*They must be dispatching that Rotherham strangler, Seth, I can smell his bones on't wind.*
*Happen he's be burning in hell, too, Grace.*
I did a month of no beer in October. I'm making up for it now.🍺ReplyDelete
Slow down Dave! Save some beer for other folk!Delete
Nae beer fur a month, Northsider?Delete
De ye waant a medal, pal?*
Life is boring when you're sober and knitting creature is next to you and it's throwing it down. Time for Tish time? Not long now.ReplyDelete
How ungentlemanly to refer to your beloved spouse as "Knitting Creature"! Sounds like a Superhero film.Delete
I would do well to give up my beverages of choice for awhile. Don't see that happening. But good for you, YP!
Over on your award-winning blog, I do not recall you referring to liquid refreshment of the alcoholic variety. Now I am picturing you grasping an empty bottle of Jack Daniels every night and singing "I Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" at the top of your voice.Delete
Beer triggers migraines for me. That was one of the few things that my exhusband liked about me as it turned out. He could put his beer in the fridge, and know that it would be there when he got back.ReplyDelete
I can appreciate his romantic outlook. You don't want your woman drinking your beer. That would be too much. Even so I am sorry to hear about your beer migraines Debby.Delete
It's probably a good opportunity to "dry out"! (And the opposite of what many people have reported during lockdown -- that they actually drink more.)ReplyDelete
It's incredible to think a pint of beer used to cost the equivalent of 12 pence!
I like a pint when I go out, but I never drink beer at home. For some reason, my drink of choice here is wine.
You are forgetting the martinis Steve! Maybe that is what martinis do - make you forget!Delete
If you want to lose me altogether, go right ahead and devote several blogposts to beer. I was not attracted to beer. I would never drink something that looked and smelled like it had been through a horse first.ReplyDelete
You mean like a lance in a jousting competition?Delete
Aren't you bragging a bit about the lake? And the tankers? (10 petrol tankers ~= 800,000 pints or about 42 pints per day). But now you've joined teetotallers anonymous: "My name is Neil and I just drifted into not drinking beer." Will you be getting a trumpet for Christmas, and a Sally's Army uniform?ReplyDelete
No I will be getting a beer tanker and having it plumbed in to replace our household water supply.Delete
I've never been much of a beer drinker. I think it's because I've never worked on developing a taste for it. On the rare occasion an ice cold beer can taste good, but I'd much rather have a cocktail 99% of the time.ReplyDelete
Going to bars in America is probably nothing like going to a good English pub. I could probably count the number of times I've been in a bar on one hand. (Not counting restaurants with bars attached, of course). Gregg, having been a drummer for 20 years prior to us getting together, has had more than his fill of bars to last a lifetime!
If I ever visited Florence I would make a beeline for The Wooden Nickel on S.Irby Street. Gregg could come too then we would roll home at midnight and you would say, "What can I fix y'all to eat guys?" And I would say - "A real American hamburger with fries please Jennifer!" And you would hurry away to the kitchen to get busy while Gregg and I watched sport on the TV with Marco.Delete
I don't like beer at all. I've tried it twice in my life but just didn't like the taste. I rarely drink anymore, even though I always enjoy myself when I do drink a glass of wine. There are too many bad memories associated with alcohol for me.ReplyDelete
That photo of Moraine Lake is beautiful. I've been there a few times and stood on that rock pile to take that very same photo. You have to go very early before the hoards of tourists arrive.
Don't worry about not liking beer Lily. I have been dinking your share for you.Delete
I'd much rather picture that beautiful lake than the petrol tankers! I've never been a beer drinker as I actually don't like the taste.(gasp!) I will drink wine or a few different liqueurs such as amaretto. Tom enjoys German or other European beers but not really the American brews. It will probably do you good to take a short break from your favorite beers. Just think how much you will enjoy and appreciate them when you go back to drinking them again!ReplyDelete
Life has different phases. Maybe my romance with beer will be brokenDelete
I occasionally drink cold lager in the summer if I am thirsty but I prefer wine. Apparently beer is the same as lager, I always thought it was something different.ReplyDelete
The recycling fellows in your area are well aware that you like wine Sue.Delete
They say that if you always drink with friends and/or family and never alone, your drinking will never become a problem. Except for the weight, of course.ReplyDelete
How I love Canada, especially Alberta (which is so like Colorado and the Dakota's. And, PEI and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
Clint will be so angry if you even THINK about another automobile. Oooooo, you will be in trouble, for sure!
The life of a pet mouse is short and so is the life of a dog. I am sure that Clint is perfectly aware that Hyundais do not last forever. You seem to know Canada pretty well sis.Delete
Here there are 99 kinds of beer . You wouldn't know what to order. So in the old days when there were only 3 or 4 brands of beer it was easy. By the way , what's a bitter beer....heavy lager?ReplyDelete
Please read this Red:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_(beer)Delete
During our lockdown the pubs were closed but the "bottle shops" ( think you call them "Off licence shops" over there )were not as you can not purchase alcohol in supermarkets in Queensland . From what I hear a LOT of alcohol was consumed over those couple of months. Fortunately for us, Queensland has not seen a case of Covid for more than 60 days and life for us is nearly back to normal holed up here on our island, cut off from the world.ReplyDelete
You may be "cut off from the world" Helen but you still managed to get this blog comment through!Delete
By the way in English pub quizzes there are always arguments when this question crops up: What is the biggest island in the world? If one says Australia someone is bound to pipe up with - Australia is not an island, it's a continent!
Oh my god, YP, just when I thought I'd enough swirling on my plate to think about, you bring up the question of the LARGEST island in the world. What's the smallest? As I don't deal in superlatives it's of no interest to me. And then there is the fact that humans are largely made up of water. And what do you think of the rather senseless "No man is an island"? Don't fence me in, is my answer to that. And if the definition of island is "being surrounded by water" then every time I go for a swim I am an island. Hand me a towel. Thank you.Delete
Never mind tankers. You didn't mention TANKARD (there is a German metal band of same name). Even if you don't like the music to watch the main guy (singer) on stage, so effortlessly unselfconscious, you get the German spirit of fun. Meike will disagree with me on this one, but then there are always exceptions to the rule.ReplyDelete
Neither did you mention Reinheitsgebot. Which is fine. However, am scandalized that your resident encyclopaedia (Hamel(d)) hasn't mention it. To spare him the effort: It was introduced a LONG time ago. Adhered to to this day. Amazing, don't you think, that there was a time when it was safer to drink beer than water.
Your lake is a beauty.
I stopped drinking bitter (and, indeed, beer) when I came to live in the beer wilderness that is Scotland. When I first went into a pub when I moved here in '75 and was about to ask for a pint of bitter I was suddenly given a lesson on Scottish 'heavy' and the benefits of the various lager and similar drinks. It reminded me of going into a pub on a Liverpool Council Estate in my youth and asking for a pint of bitter and being given a pint of Bents. You're probably lucky enough never to have drunk it. I couldn't.ReplyDelete
I should add a post script that these days there are many bars particularly in touristy areas where superb craft bitters are sold.Delete
A pint of Bents ! A brand unknown to me, and not one to sample, judging from your reaction, Graham. I wonder if Bents are still in business, or have they rebranded? Scottish *heavy* I drunk in my youth like lung tonic. Now the waterworks won't be overloaded. So I sip my *craft beers* (no more than two half pints) as modestly as a deacon sips his Madeira.Delete
Once I chance public transport again, I look forward to good ale in Cirencester, Stow-in-the Wold, and Gloucester.
Sipping modestly? Deacon? Madeira? Not quite how I imagine you, Hameldy.Delete
Don't knock the Madeira, Tasker.ReplyDelete
My late father liked his ale and single malt whisky but never after he had eaten.
My late brother-in-law in Cheltenham persuaded him to try a post-prandial Madeira, which the old man began to enjoy while watching a movie en famille.
In later years my brother-in-law introduced him to a late-night Gaelic coffee, served in a thick glass: coffee, whisky, warm cream, brown sugar.
The old man said single malt was too good to waste on Gaelic coffee, distilled whisky was good enough.
His favourite single malt was Macallan. I visited their distillery in Bannfshire, which my father never did, though he took my mother, a lifelong non drinker, to the distilleries in Islay.
Pa liked his malt with a little sparkling water. He only took ice with a blended whisky, Johnny Walker Black Label being a favourite. He drank any whisky with a *pony* of beer: a small glass.
My late brother George, who lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, said guys in bars would come in and say to the barman: *Johnny Black. Rocks.*
My father who never visited the States laughed at this. He liked American patter.
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