Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Intermission #3

I was going to leave it until the next tour to write a post for the blog but then felt perhaps I should do a nice quick intermission update as there are pieces of “tour related” news to bring you up to date on and also seeing as we won’t in all likelihood be touring until the end of next week, three weeks without an update is probably too long for even the most casual of blog visitors. Oh yeah, and a Happy New Year to you all of course………………….

Firstly you’ll remember I ended the last post asking the question as to whether two days later at the firm’s Xmas party we would get anything approaching decent beer made available for us. Extremely sadly but also extremely predictably the answer was a resounding, no, there was nothing approaching decent to drink in the beer stakes. This year we were at least allowed to drink beer at the “champagne reception” stage of the evening but even the charming smile of the uniformed waiter who answered my question as to whether there was anything else than the bottles of Becks with a “no, sorry” failed to lift my spirits.
Happy BGC with Becks. The breeches behind me used to belong to Kenneth Williams. It's true!

Now some of you will have cottoned onto the phrase in that paragraph of “champagne reception” and will already be ticking the box next to ungrateful tosser in your mental list of BGC attributes, and do you know what? You’re right, 100% hit the nail on the head right. I am an ungrateful tosser. Here we were with an all paid for party, hosted in the London Film Museum in County Hall on the banks of the River Thames, with a three course meal to look forward to and all colleagues looking their smartest best in black tie, or their beautiful-est (yeah, scrubs up all right in fact) in party dress and I was moaning about the beer.
But although I’d admit to being a moaning tosser (or was it ungrateful) I’ll still contend that my moan was legitimate. Caterers have to face facts here; it really isn’t hard to put on a half decent beer now. You don’t need a qualified cellar man or trained bar staff to achieve this, just instead of sticking a pin in the list of crated lager your supplier is offering choose something else you can chill in a bottle………oh and whilst we’re at it, supply some beer glasses next time, not all of us appreciate swigging from a bottle. If I have to respect you enough to wear a black tie to go to a party, you can bloody well respect me enough not to have to act as if I’m sitting on a park bench.
Anyway, we leave the rants and raves of nasty bottled lagers and return very quickly to the Cask Marque tour in a little fashion as when selecting a pub for a pre-party drink the usual gang (Charlie, Ed, Pete, Jayson, Rob) chose a couple of very nice beers in The Red Lion near Parliament Square which we toured in during the Whitehall Square visit. We then scampered over Westminster Bridge to just behind County Hall for a quick one in The Slugand Lettuce on Chicheley Street. Amazed as we all were that this chain of pubs actually has some Cask Marque accredited places, we probably shouldn’t have expected to find the Cask Marque certificate whilst there (we certainly struggled find any beer) but it did give us the opportunity to take a photo for prosperity and send it to Cask Marque’s Magical Trevor to add the scan to our scores. Trevor it seems has been given Xmas holidays (shock!) but Ali did reply saying there was special Xmas prize for anyone scanning in a Slug and Lettuce…………..I detect some sarcasm!
The oldest and most inappropriate boy band turn up at The Slug & Lettuce

And in anther fantastic link, we jump from photos for Cask Marque to, well, photos for Cask Marque as the boys in Cask Marque Towers have been badgering Pete and I to get a photo taken in our 50 scan polo shirts. Eventually I got around to doing it, on Xmas Eve of all days, just after picking up my holiday beer from the West Berkshire Brewery (who I have to add kept my taste buds tingling (in a good way) right into the new year) and stopped in a lovely Arkells pub, Ye Olde Red Lion in the nearby village of Chieveley. Spotting the certificate propped by the entrance door window, I paused my first sip of Arkells Xmas offering, Noel Ale, and got my co-pilot, SlowPoke Sam to snap my ugly mug with pint, polo short and certificate all aligned like a celestial eclipse. The moment was only spoilt when settling ourselves for a second shot (I think the first shot captured my bad side) when the landlord rather tetchily warned us that the sign right behind me was in fact Wet Paint. Well, I know nothing about running a pub, but perhaps putting freshly painted wet things by the main entrance to your premises is not a good idea…………but what the heck do I know? Anyway, I emailed the picture off to the boys and have then discovered that the Cask Marque website has been refreshed and no longer contains a “rogues gallery” of Cask Marque Ambassadors! I will have words with the management about this…………………….
Happy Xmas!

And this leads me on to my final subject in that the day after Xmas Eve is of course Xmas Day and I was luckily enough to receive two pub guides as presents. And just any old pubs guides, but more specifically pub guides to London no less. Firstly there was Peter Haydon & Tim Hampson’s “London’s Best Pubs” a very nice, photograph laden book and then there was Bob Steel’s “LondonPub Walks” a slimmer more wordy guide, but both welcome additions to my bulging beer book collection. “London’s Best Pubs” covers a total of 117 pubs and I was rather shocked to discover that I’ve only actually visited 16 of them and a similar analysis of “London Pub Walks” shows I’ve done percentagely the same amount (nearly), covering only 23 of the 186 pubs mentions (albeit some of them twice)  - So no prizes for guessing what New Year’s Resolution #1 is  - I will report back again next year!
And finally finally finally, I wish all blog readers, re-tweeters, followers and likers (that’s likers, no lickers Ed) a hale and hearty Happy New Year and look forward to having you all join me again for the next episode of the tour. It promises to be a good one! Leicester Square no less, I have 7 pubs lined up and a lead on some new tour personnel…………all will be revealed!