There is a state between awake and asleep that can be so enlightening: sometimes wonderful, at other times quite scary, cast adrift on the choppy sea of my imagination. I drank too much rosé at wine circle last night and woke up at dawn (circa 0430) with a bulging bladder. Some time between snuggling back into bed on return from the bathroom and when I eventually arose to make Maeve’s coffee at 0615, I borrowed a pair of my ex-boss’s trousers and bought a large motorcycle (it may have been a Guzzi Le Mans but I’m not sure). Thereafter, I took up panning for gold in North Wales. It’s a lot to cope with before breakfast.
Maeve organised a trip for the Wine Circle to Springhead Brewery, Laneham, North Nottinghamshire (http://www.springhead.co.uk/)
We had a fantastic time: good food, interesting tour, marvellous beers. I commend a visit to any who have not been. I think that, if I live a good life, Springhead might be where they send me when I die.
My only negative observation is that they’re far better brewers than photographers.
Barry can feel another argument is upon him. He takes a deep breath and adopts his “calm and reasonable” persona.
“I haven’t spent any time with the lads for months. Why would you object to us having a poker night?” He’s worried this sounds a bit whiney.
Karen spreads more mascara and tears across her cheek, and supresses a sob.
“I don’t object to you spending time with your mates but you don’t need to be gambling.”
He can see she has calmed down a little but is still unsure of his ground.
“You like a flutter on the lottery. What’s the difference?”
Woof! It’s like he’s lit the blue touch paper. Immediately, she is ranting again; her face twisted, like she’s in pain and jabbing her finger at him.
“I don’t invite a bunch of drunks here when I buy a lottery ticket, do I? Are you fucking stupid or what?” She’s glaring at him; challenging him; daring him to argue some more. But Barry still doesn’t understand.
“So it’s not the gambling you object to?”
“No” she barks.
“Well, I know you like Kev and Andy. You’re happy enough in their company in the pub on a Friday night. And Micky’s alright: you’re OK with Micky aren’t you?”
Karen gives one of her pained sighs that’s supposed to tell him that he’s an utter moron, bereft of all reasoning power. She takes on the long-suffering parent tone.
“It’s not for me to choose your drinking mates. For what it’s worth, I have no problem with any of them: I think they’re a good bunch of lads.” Barry is even more confused. Is she being deliberately obtuse? What on earth is she getting at? He tries one more time.
“Well, what is the problem then?”
“Do I need to draw you a picture or something?” she sneers, sarcasticly “I don’t want them here. This is my home. This is where I shut the world out. This is where I feel safe. I need a haven from all the crap out there. If you want to play poker, then piss off down the pub.”
We had dinner with a six friends from the wine circle at the Royal Oak in Aubourn on Saturday night. After a fine repast, I was stuffed to the gunwales with piggely pie, loitering in the bar area, finishing my pint of Black Sheep best bitter. Sid called out to me “Rob, help me”. I turned to find him slumped backwards across bar and bar stool, looking decidedly dodgy. I rushed to him and caught him as he began to slide to the floor. His usually pink complexion had turned greenish grey, he was sweating profusely but felt cold, whilst losing consciousness. Now I knew Sid was diabetic, so I guessed he was suffering a hypo, wrestled him back onto his stool and asked the barmaid to call an ambulance. “Not nice but no cause for panic” thought I. As an afterthought, I checked Sid’s pulse: nothing. Checked the other wrist and carotid: still nothing. Forget the “no need to panic” comment: Sid is dying.
I shouted Maeve and Elsie, Sid’s wife, over and we dragged Sid onto one of the padded bench seats. Still no detectable pulse, but he was breathing and wandering in and out of consciousness. So I called for quiet and listened to his chest. His heart seemed to be thumping away at a reasonable pace: so why didn’t he have a pulse? I no longer thought Sid was dying but I couldn’t make sense of the symptoms he presented.
Ten minutes later, Sid was waking up and regaining some colour, as the paramedic arrived. She had him hooked up to ECG and tested for blood glucose (9.7 mmol/l) in minutes. She gave us her diagnosis: Sid had suffered a vaso-vagal event. The silly old sod had eaten and drunk so much as to put his guts into shock. This had caused his body to divert virtually all blood circulation to his guts, accounting for his blanched complexion, undetectable pulse and loss of consciousness. Given his diabetes and previous heart attack, she recommended that he be taken to Lincoln County Hospital for a thorough check-over, but he was not in any danger. He was discharged at 01:00 next morning.
Alcohol tax is a strange thing. I’ve never really understood why the cost of administering a country is more heavily borne by those who like a drink, than those who do not. This state of affairs is not likely to change significantly any time soon however, but fortunately, there is an opt out: make your own.
Home brewing used to mean murky brews of dubious provenance, but not any more. Modern kits are so easy to use and the results are dependable. I can make a bottle of wine of equal quality to that which sells for £5 in Asda (Walmart) for £1.50, and beer £2.50 per litre compared with for £1. It is really easy to learn and the kit required is quite modest.
Inevitably, there is a downside. You do need patience and some space. Also, there are those for whom the cost of booze is a welcome limitation: problems may ensue when they can afford three times as much. But it’s easy to get hooked on a hobby that saves you money. If anyone would care to give it a go, I’m willing and available to offer any advice I can. If you happen to be in the Lincoln area, there is a friendly club you can join too.
OR….I just found this alternative whilst bimbling around the net:
An elderly Irish woman visited her physician to ask his advice on reviving her husband’s libido.
‘What about trying Viagra?’ asked the doctor.
‘Not a chance’, she said. ‘He won’t even take an aspirin.’
‘Not a problem,’ replied the doctor. ‘Give him an ‘Irish Viagra’.
It’s when you drop the Viagra tablet into his coffee. He won’t even taste it
Give it a try and call me in a week to let me know how things went..’
It wasn’t a week later when she called the doctor, who directly inquired as to her progress.
The poor dear exclaimed, ‘Oh, faith, bejaysus and begorrah!
T’was horrid! Just terrible, doctor!’
‘Really? What happened?’ asked the doctor.
‘Well, I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee and the effect was almost immediate.
He jumped straight up, with a twinkle in his eye and with his pants a-bulging fiercely! With one swoop of his arm, he sent me cups and tablecloth flying, ripped me clothes to tatters and took me then and there passionately on the tabletop!
It was a nightmare, I tell you, an absolute nightmare!’
‘Why so terrible?’ asked the doctor,’ Do you mean the sex your husband provided wasn’t good?’
‘Freakin’ Jaysus, ’twas the best sex I’ve had in 25 years!
But sure as I’m sittin’ here, I’ll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again.
We moved to Newark Road, North Hykeham, in December 2003. One of the first pubs we tried was the Centurion, also on Newark Road. We were with Maeve’s pal Tracey and her two boys that day, and we popped into the Centurion for a bite to eat. “No children” we were told, so we went elsewhere. Eight years later, none of us has ever been back, even though it’s less than a mile from our home.
Pubs are going bust at a prodigious rate all over the country. The sign suggests times must be tough and management at the Centurion can’t afford their anti-child stance any longer. Somehow, I still don’t think we’ll go back.