Wednesday 24 December 2014

Tilting at windmills

Young Amerikaans: spritely enough, but
I've had my fill now
Brought to you by Mike Widdall

They say you should never look back, but sometimes that’s just exactly what you need to do. Worked a treat this morning.

Yet again I managed to wake up at 3am and find it impossible to get back to sleep. In the end, I just gave up and watched an episode of The Good Wife till the Today programme started on Radio 4.

Joyously, listening to that implanted a ‘Let It Go’ earworm that’s been a bugger to shift all day, so eventually I crowbarred myself out of bed and got ready to come in to work for the most pointless few hours imaginable. That it was drizzling thick and heavily outside was no surprise. I felt like shit.

Then I remembered who today’s beer sponsor was. I’ve known Mike since schooldays and have many hazy memories of reasonably drunken nights out in our hometown of Oldham. And in mid-November, we got the chance to reminisce about some of these as I was staying over before heading out on a mushroom-picking expedition in the New Forest the next morning.

I didn’t make the forage, unsurprisingly. Woke up too late. We went out for a curry – something of a tradition that started at the Noor Jahan in Oldham and has continued ever since – then returned to drink beer, listen to music, play guitars increasingly badly and talk utter bollocks.

Among many of the things we remembered – and something I again recalled this morning – was a night we’d been to see a local band called Lemonade. Both of us had played in this band on one occasion or another, so we went to see them an awful lot. But one night in particular stands out.

We’d had ever so much to drink that night – as was usually the case when seeing Lemonade as the lead singer positively encourages you to drink. But for some reason, we’d decided we hadn’t had enough (we clearly had), so went to the Chadderton Tavern after hours and persuaded the landlord who we both knew that it’d be a good idea to let us in for more beer.

It most certainly was not a good idea. We sat down at a table, whereupon I began talking and ranting about who knows what. When a suitable interval had been reached – me pausing briefly to take a long slurp of beer – Mike piped up as he, quite reasonably, assumed it was his turn to speak.

Now I have no recollection of this, but apparently I just sat there swaying slightly, drinking the beer and looking ever more queasy as a result. I’m told there was a look of bewilderment on my face that was beginning to turn to irritation as Mike continued his monologue.

Then it happened. I ralphed violently and copiously. The sick splattered onto the polished table, then scooted off the other side as if it were skating across a frozen pond. A lot of it landed squarely in Mike’s lap. Again, I don’t remember, but he wasn’t best pleased as you’d imagine.

Apparently, you could see the anger rising as his face reddened and he looked into his lap, then me, then at his lap again before eventually barking out something along the lines of: “You’re out of order, mate. I can’t believe you’ve just done that. Bang out of order.” He was quite justifiably furious as the vomit continued to dribble from the table onto his shoes.

I still have no memory of this, but apparently my response – and bear in mind Mike was utterly seething at this point and covered in sick – was: “Well, you will witter on.”

Remembering this had me chuckling, then cackling, then actually snorting with laughter as I trudged down the stairs at Honor Oak Park to catch the train. I’m sure the ragtag band of fellow commuters heard, but I didn’t care.

And on that uplifting note, it’s time to drink the beer. I’d like to thank everyone for reading, all those who chipped in to the Kickstarter campaign and anyone else who’s helped with moral support and encouragement. I notice I didn’t manage to mention Rob Crowther yet, so I’ll make amends now. Special thanks to Simon Green, who went a long way to ensuring I hit my target within a day. Hope you enjoy the beers.

Now, one last foray into beery meanderings before I hang up the bottle opener for another year. Cheers!

Beer: De Molen Amerikaans
Strength: A delightfully restrained 4.5%
Smell: Pine cones crunched underfoot in a continental evergreen forest
Tasting notes: In all honesty, I can't really taste anything. After the amount of beer I've had this month, I seem to have become inured to bitterness, which this feels like it has in spades. Everything now just tastes like milk. And I don't like milk. If I had to hazard a guess, loathe as I am to do so, I'd posit it has more than a sneaking suspicion of the wine gum about it. But all I'm getting is a grey-suited civil servant carrying a manilla envelope full of forms that I have to fill out, then lick the envelope gum so I can seal it and take to an office on the other side of town. There's more than a hint of needless bureaucracy about drinking this, but I suspect that's in part due to the fact I'm pretty much done in.
Session factor: Probably quite high under normal circumstances, but right now all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and sip mineral water. Which is a shame as it's doubtless got its time and place.
Arbitrary score: 221,214
Sponsor: Mike Widdall

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