23 July 2010 (Friday) - Canterbury Beer Festival

There was a problem at work last night so I went in for an hour or so to get the thing going. I don’t mind going in to help people out – I did night shifts for twenty years, and they can be horrible: stuck on your own, everything going wrong and no one to help you. I was home an hour or so later, but couldn’t get off to sleep, and when I did I was woken shortly afterwards by the delicate sounds of the first fruit of my loin quietly going about his daily round. I expect my loyal readers in Arkansas and the Philippines heard him too; he was that quiet.
Having had a plate of peanut butter on toast, we set off to to the Gorge for second brekkie - this time for a full English brekkie. Whislst there we met up with more of the day’s protagonists, bringing our number to seven. With second brekkie scoffed we set off to the station and the 10.22 to Canterbury. The journey to Canterbury was relatively uneventful, but as most readers will realise, in my world anything less than full scale carnage can probably be classified as “relatively uneventful”. Once in Canterbury, third brekkie was a lamb pastie from the pastie shop, and then we confused the nice man who was selling river tours. He was probably used to polite refusals, but I really threw him by telling him that we were planning a day on the p*ss, and he was welcome to join us.
We soon found the rest of our party who had started the queue for the bus, we got out our benches and waited for the bus in comfort. And we waited. And waited. And in the end got to the festival in three taxis. It transpired there had been an accident, and the bus chartered to run people to and fro was stuck in traffic. But eventually we arrived at the festival, got our glasses, got some beer and started the party. Drinking by the half-pint I sampled ten different ales:
  • Old Dairy Blue
  • Faversham Creek
  • Whitstable Ruby Mild
  • Bateman’s Mild
  • Goacher’s Dark Ale
  • Westerham’s “Special”
  • Old Dairy Gold
  • Nelson’s Master Mild
  • Summer Perle
  • Oyster stout (saving the best till last!)
We also had the obligatory flavoured olives, but having overdosed on breakfast I didn’t feel up to the curry. Instead we stuck cocktail sticks into our heads (because we could). In the past we’ve left the festival at about 3pm to be sure of a seat on the bus back to Canterbury. This time we stayed drinking till well after 4pm, and still had no problems getting on the other bus.
To the Hobgoblin where we enjoyed a pint of Everard’s Tiger – a cheap pint due to the wonders of student discounts and after a quick round of the French dice game, five of us went to church. And not just any old church – the Cathedral. A friend was chorister-ing at evensong, and so we went to watch. It was suggested that I might want to take the cocktail sticks out of my head, but I didn’t want to. They hurt enough going in, they might as well stay put. I got one or two looks from the congregants, but since when have the opinions of the normal people ever bothered me? As we walked into the nave (I know all the words!) I mentioned in a not excessively loud voice that I wanted to sit at the back or everyone would stare at me. A couple of normal people quickly turned away; their faces red with embarrassment. A vicar-type told me off for taking photos, but I got away with it by smiling sweetly.
As evensong progressed I read the psalm book, and noted (with pious wonder) that God smites his enemies with frogs. Personally I thought that the Almighty would command more respect if he were to smite with something a bit more fierce; sharks or tigers for example. I wasn’t overly impressed with being smote off of a frog. But I expect that Big G knows what he’s doing. Another psalm said that the iniquitous get smote on the hinders, so with the threat of a frog up the chuff I sat quietly with the most recent fruit of my loin, and neither of us giggled (much!)
Evensong was over in forty minutes; I was actually disappointed when it finished so soon – musically it really was one of the best shows I‘ve been to in a long time. Meeting up with our musical mate we set off to the Dolphin to find the ungodly members of our party who’d skipped church. I was grateful for t he cocktail sticks in my head at this point – when the sinners got smoted off of frogs, I would have a ready made anti-frog defence. A pint of Seasider (from Gadds of Ramsgate) went down well in the beer garden, and then it was time to think about going home. Only think about it mind. We stopped off at the Wetherspoons for a jug of Purple Rain for the girlie-types and a pint of longstrider, and then at the Bishop’s Finger for a pint of Bishop’s Finger.
A minor hiccup at the railway station. With more police than sense, the place was heaving with the Old Bill, and I couldn’t find my train ticket. I had a couple of coppers holding the varied and assorted tat from my pockets whilst I rummaged about, eventually finding my ticket in the pocket where I’d put it for safe keeping. And so home, for a fried egg sarnie and an early night. For some reason I was rather tired….


  1. So, you are on the "other bus" now I see.

  2. Well actually its the "quire" but nave will do.