Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I have woken up ill!

I am confined to my bed, with a neat stack of paracetamol and ibuprofen near to hand.

As a professional beer drinker, I do not suffer hangovers and must therefore have caught a terrible life-threatening illness or, even worse, Man-Flu.

It’s strange that I should get this the morning after drinking industrial amounts of beer at the Beer and Cider Festival, but it’s a funny old world and one should never discount ironic coincidence.

My alarm clock bleeps. Bastard.

I consider food.

I reject that thought.

I have heard that these aforementioned illnesses can leave you confined to bed for weeks and I wonder if I should ring Imp and get her to come over and nurse me back to health?
I would ring NHS Direct but I can’t remember the number and besides, they always tell you to ‘get thee from thy bed and walk’ in the direction of the closest surgery; whereas Imp is much better at being concerned and does things like gets me cold drinks and, she whispers and kisses my forehead and stuff.
My doctor is crap and I think I can honestly say, he has never done that.

I make a mental note to complain about the state of the National Health Service.

I have to get up for work in a minute! I moan, quietly, so as not to disturb my head.

I have contracted a fever!
In fact, I remember seeing a mosquito in my flat a few days ago. I could be stricken with malaria. I try rolling my eyes in a feverish malaria-infected way.
It doesn't seem to help.

I consider stuff. Again.

This could be serious. I’ve only got enough body fat to nourish my body for about 437-439 days (give or take a month or so) and it is about 9 hours since I last ate (apart from the midnight chips, but they don’t count) and so I am in serious danger of missing breakfast...

I sip some water and wait, to see if anything bad is going to happen.

Nothing bad happens.

Encouraged by the Nothing that happens, I feebly text Imp. “Hiya my lov. Hope u ok. I bt wors 4 wear. X”
I think she will spot the hint and drop everything, in order to be by my bedside.

In the meantime I clasp my head and try groaning.

Groaning helps a lot. I don’t know why.

I wait about another 30 minutes while my body wastes away (quite) slowly.

Imp texts. She is very busy doing impossibly important things like being a parent and a headteacher and turning up for work on time and, sends her love.
I think I detect smugness.

Defeated, I stagger from sickbed and make myself a (veggie) sausage sandwich.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I scan my beer-booklet.

There are about 40 breweries here and this is going to take a scientific decision.
I am not at all scientific, but luckily, when it comes to matters of beer, I can extend my skills quite satisfactorily.

I scan again, in a manner of great scientificness.
It is a fine balance. Obviously the name of the brewery is crucial, as is also the name of the beer, type of beer, its ingredients and lastly (but not leastly), the alcohol percentage.

Beaver Beer? (of course), Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout? (nope), Clouded Yellow? (definitely not), Dark side of the Moose? (absolutely!), Windy Miller?
What a wonderful dilemma.

The bar stretches into the distance, hazy with beery loveliness and crowded with big, bearded, beer-bellied CAMRA paramilitaries.
We blend right in; me with my beard and my brother with his er.. no beard.

I grin boozily at Ickle Bro who boozily grins back and, devoted, we head for the far end of the bar, grasping our special-issue pint glasses and our dog-eared beer-booklets.