17 December 2010 (Friday) - On the Beer

Work wasn’t as dull as usual. Seeing it’s only a week till Xmas, we thought we’d decorate the windows. One of our number had never made snowflakes before. She’s clearly had a neglected childhood. She did claim (in her defence) she was born in sub-Saharan Africa, and only saw snow for the first time three years ago. But she was a fast study.
Management weren’t keen on the snowflakes; I would have thought that people who already start work early and go home late might be spared (less than) two minutes to make a snowflake. It’s a shame that management don’t seem to be big on staff morale.

And then home. A number of us were going for a curry to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. One of our chaps lives in the Medway towns, so rather than him going home, we thought we’d have a quiet half of shandy before the curry. We started off at home to have a trial run of the two batches of home brew that should be ready.
The stout was a bit flat. The secondary fermentation hadn’t been all that I might have hoped for. But never fear – the Manky Brewery has the technology to deal with flat beer. I applied the “re-gasser”, and the stuff now is amply frothy. And the wheat beer’s not and either. Still perhaps a little young, but definitely a success. So far I’ve made three home brews, and all three have been successes. Even if I do say so myself.
But we had a curry to get to, so we set off. After fifty yards we found the Locomotive and popped in. I’ve been looking for beers from the Old Dairy Brewery for ages, and the pub up the road from my house sells it. So we asked for pints. Disaster – the barrel run out just as the first pint was nearly pulled. So we settled for a pint of mild, and I cheekily said that if the barmaid was going to throw away the pint that had nearly run out, I’d have it. So she gave it to me. Nice one!
Suitably refreshed, and now in a mood for revisiting old haunts we slipped and slided out way through the snow and ice to the Riverside. Once my favourite local pub, once a noisy youth club, the place has had a major refurbish inside, and they’ve got rid of both the jukebox and the Sky TV. I may well start going back there. We polished off a pint of “Rocking Rudolph” before slipping, sliding and staggering our way to the Fat Fiddler. Which is now closed! Could you believe it? Surely a sigh of our times that the pub right next to the railway, potentially any town’s busiest pub, is now closed.
Another of our number drove past at that point, so we hollered abuse as she drove off into the distance and we decided to give The Swan a miss and go straight to the County Hotel. Adnam’s Xmas beer “Yule Tide” was nice, and then the birthday boy arrived. I’d bought him a special pressie. And I’d left it at home. He can have that on Monday.

By now we were a tad peckish, so fourteen of us sat down at the Curry Leaf in North Street. Aloo chat made for a good starter, and in a fit of foolish bravado I plumped for a chicken vindaloo. A good time was had by all, and compared with a lot of places in which I’ve eaten, this place was remarkably reasonable in price.
And so home, with a rumbling tum. I’ve put a toilet roll in the fridge. We shall see what happens….

Meanwhile the cat has been playing in mud and needs to be scrubbed.
Her next door” has taken the cat into the shower, and is amazed at the response she received when she asked if any of her friends would like to help her wash her pussy….

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