- Tuesday 5th November 2019, 8:03pm
- The Lone Star State, United States
- 13,948 posts
I overshot my numbers a little bit, so it'll end up at 8% instead of 7.1%. That'll put some hair on your chest!
I overshot my numbers a little bit, so it'll end up at 8% instead of 7.1%. That'll put some hair on your chest!
A few pints of that and I would be ready to stagger home to collapse on my bed fully clothed. Anything over 5% is too much for me so I avoid premium lagers. If I stick to 4% like Foster's and Carlsberg I know I'm not going to get to the room spinning stage.
Quote: Definitely Tarby @ 5th November 2019, 9:48 PMA few pints of that and I would be ready to stagger home to collapse on my bed fully clothed.
The beer taps in my dining room are only 30 or 40 feet from my bedroom, so I won't have to stagger very far.
Quote: DaButt @ 5th November 2019, 3:24 PMIt was a request from my neighbor. Most of the English-style beers I brew only use 8-15 pounds of grain for a 10-gallon batch, but this one was almost 32 pounds. I have a 3.3% mild and a 4.9% stout on tap, so I have options for extended drinking sessions.
I'll try the mild first please, what time does the bar open?
Weekend Status 7 - Religious Angles on The Old Crocks Races (2)
So I had been meaning to get down to the A23 which is just a couple of miles from me on the first Sunday in November for at least three years so as to relive my early memories of the "Old Crocks Race". Each year I didn't do it. Too depressed, overslept, the weather too cold.....that sort of thing. All very disappointing. Ideally I had wanted my father to be alongside me as in the old days but even before the onset of his dementia he was doing an "I'll come if you like" sort of thing.
That meant he didn't like and there was no point in trying to force him to get out of bed at 6am. Of itself, it acted like a wet flannel. But some 30 months ago, I had managed to drag myself up and out on the first Sunday in May of that year for the Vintage Commercial run. The one with old fire engines and so on. On balance, I was pleased to have done so but more about that in a moment. It has to be said that he and I had only ever been to that one about twice even in the mid 1970s.
No. The nostalgia has always been with the Veteran cars. The cars that long predated him and were more the stuff of the era of my grandparents. Yes, The halcyon days when only the rich could afford to have a car and mostly people were still walking to the shops through an assortment of manure. Oh for the quietness of those times. I do feel fortunate in having at least experienced the 1960s when there were only 6 million vehicles on the road as opposed to today's 40 million but it was still too much. I really envy the very young in 2019 who will live a massive chunk of their lives under climate change in perfect peace, being without any ability to travel more than a mile other than on a horse. They like the late Victorians will be so much more privileged than my generation has ever been. I would even go totally vegan to swap their lives for mine.
Anyhow, apart from all of the other connections with the Veteran car rally mentioned, by a strange quirk of fate I live today in the same bungalow as a bloke who was second in command at the RAC did between 1969 and 1982. The RAC for a long time organized the event and seeing that my parents are in the bungalow next door as they have been for all of the last half century that is how I got a special private pass to the enclosures at the Hyde Park and the Brighton ends.
He and his wife should have been in a mansion as befitted his income. They had come to live in this hovel on the grounds that it would only be temporary. But they stayed for as long as they did because of the views and the fact that rightly or wrongly they thought my parents were fantastic as neighbours. It seems weird to me now. Whatever, the Veteran Car rally in that sense almost runs through the DNA of my bungalow so it is especially upsetting not to have attended it recently.
Weekend Status 8 - Religious Angles on The Old Crocks Races (3)
Last on the past, the celebrity angle. Certainly in earlier decades a lot of celebrities were in the cars. My father was always ludicrously star struck. He was far more keen to see which celebrities were in it than the cars themselves. He was actually quite good as a Dad in taking me to events generally but only as other blokes said to him "why don't you take Horse to x or y like a proper father". Otherwise, he would have been totally useless. To be frank, often adult men had to take him to things first so that he could be the boy before he took me to them and I fear I am a chip off the old block in that regard on one level although on another I pushed against it and really ventured out. That was even how I got to football early on.
I went there when young as he had been taken by some bloke in the office who had then said "now you should have the confidence to take your own son". Then he took me about twice. While raised in poverty in a council house, he didn't like it that men alongside us were using the f word. I understand that. Incredibly, and in contrast, we somehow went to the Veteran car thing on about a dozen occasions. He spent all of one night drawing a Blue Peter flag which was brilliantly artistic only for a frosty faced Valerie Singleton to ignore it as she came through Coulsdon. Don't believe the hype.
She really was a bitch on that day. But more happily I recall vividly the moment when Les Dawson came through as a passenger. Dad got so over excited he stepped out in the vehicle's path with an "alright Les, alright Les" and his thumbs up, turning around to everyone else on the pavement and shouting "it's Les Dawson". From what I recall, he was completely blanked for this revelation but didn't appear to care or notice. The vehicle had to swerve dramatically not to run him over. Les said nothing but made the effort to gurn lugubriously. I was impressed by Les's effort under duress.
These days though my father has no senior guide, being nearly 89 himself, and the last person on earth he would take the lead from is me, a boy, especially in an age when most of the celebrities he would recognise have long gone or else just wouldn't be in a veteran car. It's sad really but then so much of this fading country has turned bloody miserable all round. That poster featured the Blue Peter boat and the way that he drew it. It was truly wonderful in its accuracy and it was not the only time in my life when I sort of realised that he had talents that by virtue of his background and personality weren't really recognised or could be fulfilled. Arguably it was visually the equivalent to some of the best music of the great 1970s.
"Love and Understanding".
That was two songs dovetailed into one. Its evocative way outstanding even for that decade. How it drew the rockists and the ballad lovers and the whites and the blacks together. How it utterly stands the test of time. We looked at the posters of a young Ms Armatrading from the windows of the 68 bus up to the Walworth Road, not knowing her initially from Adam. One day, I said to myself, I would go to loads and loads of gigs of people with interesting names and voices as if I am investigating rare species in desert and jungle. Later I did, And I always made sure when the revelations about VS broke not to have my immense enjoyment of that record ruined by one sour De Dion Bouton (or whatever) moment:
Weekend Status 9 - Religious Angles on The Old Crocks Races (4)
So anyways, and this is of course a mere sleep on from the fireworks, I did finally get there this time round. I got the bus so as to be down there well before 7.30am and the first coming through and we were all blessed by the weather. But wait. It obviously built on the managing to do the Vintage commercial thing two and a half years ago. Then, I had watched the vehicles coming along and it was all good for an hour or two. After that, I had decided to walk to the bus stop to get on a bus before the last of them. But this had been delayed by a guy older than me who was walking in the opposite direction with a knapsack (and I use that word advisedly because it was natty unlike a man's rucksack). He was short and rather pixie like but very solid in himself. Think Tony Robinson on one of his walking ventures but with a strong Irish accent.
And he asks "where is the best place to see them?" and I say "well, anywhere, but I think you have missed most of them" although a lot were actually still coming through. So he said he would stand with me and he started chatting about his life. Friendliness is not often forthcoming so I decided to go along with it and miss the bus. He was waving to each vehicle in a way which at about the age of 20 I would have decided was not the way of the mature. Rather sheepishly, I started waving as he waved. They all waved back. I felt like a fool but it was quite enjoyable. And he says to me "do you like football?".
So I said "well, yes." He asked then what team I supported. I said it is complicated. Mainly I am for Arsenal. He says "William likes Aston Villa". I recognised immediately he meant Prince William and responded "yes, I know, I like Villa quite a lot too." He then reels off a lot of celebrity names and the teams that they support. "I've written to all of them and have always had replies" he says "but William's was the best." As I was trying to process this, various vehicles passed and we waved and waved. "I do woodchip football signs with a religious message" he informs me. Well, don't we all. Not. "I tell you what" he says. "I like you. My car is just over the road - I've got an Arsenal and I want to give it to you free to thank you for your company.". OK, I say as he walks away and I'm thinking "he must be a nut - lord, let the bus come quick.".
The bus doesn't come quickly. The fire engines continue to come through. I find I am exchanging waves with every one of them. And his car isn't just over the road. He has gone so far into the distance that I can hardly see him. But I am a reasonable sort. I thought "I will give this 20 minutes but then I think I will have to go". Ultimately he returns. Actually, I have the woodchip thing here. It has been in my living room ever since. Let's have a look at it now with fresh eyes.
It's rectangular. To be honest, it's great. The way it has been carved is no mean feat. Outwardly it says "Arsenal". The surface of it is white but at a deeper level it is red so that the lettering of the Arsenal word is in red. But on the back - the part you can't see - there is a sticker across the length of it with some wording typed : "Father God, I want to say sorry for my sins. For all those things I've ever said, done or thought that were wrong. I choose to turn from those things. I believe Jesus died to take my sins upon Himself so I could be free to know you. Right now, Jesus. I ask you to come and live inside me by filling me with your Holy Spriit, to change my life forever. Amen." William got a similar one saying "Aston Villa". I think he said Robbie Williams got one for his team. A hundred "celebrities" in all. Everyone wrote back. Yep. A tad unusual.
I offered him money for it. He was deeply offended and wouldn't have it. He just said "let's try to meet here at the same time next year". I didn't get there, nor the year after that, and felt both disappointed and slightly disturbed that it hadn't happened. But on that day, the bus then did come along. I got on it and suddenly felt euphoric. It wasn't the hard religion per se although I think the religious dimension fed into it a little. It was the unexpected friendliness and sheer bizarreness.
I'm guessing that with many folk he finds them just walking away. But I am hugely attracted to weird juxtapositions in life. The kind of stuff that just happens and no one however imaginative they are as a writer could ever have naturally invented it. I thought "wow, Horse strikes gold again". I am known by people for whom nothing ever unusual occurs to have an uncanny knack of it always happening. It has been an absolute feature of me throughout my lifetime and it is seen as a key part of my personality. Maybe it's in my face which is a little odd. Some of it must be about a bigger ability to be receptive. I don't like much of myself but I do like that uncanny part. The way characters always cross my path to give me a story.
Weekend Status 10 - Religious Angles on The Old Crocks Races (5)
So seven months later I was on one evening in a church. Probably the first time I have been in a church for more than ten minutes for several decades. They were having an amateur opera thing. I had never been into opera but was starting to think maybe I would give it a go and seeing that it was taking place just ten minutes up the road from me I did it. I quite liked it. Since then I have been to three proper operas in London and really liked them although I know it is a bit fringe for me and I am not going to turn it into a lifestyle. On leaving that church, I noticed that the fish and chip shop was still open. It is not the one that I normally use. My preference is for the one run by the Chinese people. But this is the one which gets all of the publicity. It is supposed to have won many awards. I have always been doubtful. It seemed about the right time to put its reputation to the test. It's busy. The first thing I notice is that the guy is really, really cocky. Obnoxiously so.
Clearly fancies himself as a ladeez man although he is middle aged so I was left to wait until loads of young girls had been served and chatted up before me. So I'm looking at and surveying the entire joint with an "I'm an opera person now, moi" crictical eye thinking "he's definitely from somewhere in the EU" and way behind hime right at the back where the fish were frying I see something I can hardly believe I am seeing. It is a woodchip thing which says "Arsenal" and it is identical to mine. Bear in mind here again that I had just come directly from a church. So when he eventually does have the temerity to serve me - ie when everything in a skirt had disappeared - he goes in a gruff offbeat manner " yeah mate, what you 'avin?". I said given I had waited so long "erm, I'd like to spend a few moments discussing something entirely different first". He sort of blinked with irritation. ""That Arsenal thing. Where exactly did you get it? You tell me. Then I'll buy."
He goes "oh that's Des. Why?". Ah yes. It came back to me. The guy at the fire engines on the A23 indeed called himself Des. This at least told me that it wasn't all some weird scam and the stuff hadn't been imported to this part of the Croydon borough from China. Anyhow, it turned out that Mr Woodchip had been a regular customer at the guy's previous shop many miles away and felt that as a lone Gooner in a place full of Spurs fans he too needed spiritual guidance. On getting to the Veteran rally this year, I rather hoped to bump into Des again but he was nowhere to be seen. Two years and more had passed and it was not the right event. Our paths had collided at the Vintage one. I spent most of the time with a bloke who was originally from Blackburn. I suppose in his way he was friendly but he was a dour 70 who spent a lot of the time in between taking photos complaining about the Muslims especially in their impacts on what had been his home town.
He was that frustrating sort of person who approaches you with the mission to chat incessantly, albeit with a frosty expression, and then cuts away to talk to other people in the vicinity at every moment you yourself try to say something. After several rounds of it, I assumed he regretted having approached me and decided to walk further along the road. But this prompted a mad dash on his part to catch me up with the question "why are you leaving?" All a bit embarrassing potentially so I said that I was just going to get a coffee and would be back. I then kept to my word until it happened yet again and then I did leave him very quickly, not that I had the intention of actually leaving the event itself just yet.
Weekend Status 11 - Religious Angles on The Old Crocks Races (6)
I was interested to discover in this walk just how many people were watching the event in the heart of the town. Sadly the numbers were extremely small. When young, I recall the road having been lined with people two or three rows deep. But there was a slightly emotional moment when one of the larger cars was driven up on to the pavement beside me.
Two of the six passengers got out, thanking the driver for the ride. And getting on in their place was a young businessman and his son. The similarities with what had happened to me were as obvious as the differences. Unlike my father he was full of excessive confidence and had pre-arranged it all probably having paid. His son was not nervy and excited like I was. He had a scowl on his face and he didn't even bother to lift his eyes from his smartphone. It just wasn't a big deal for him.
Once they had gone, I thought I would get the next bus that came through towards home. Cars were still coming through but I had done two hours of it and was more than satisfied with my modest achievement. It was then that I walked straight into the woman from the Jehovah's Witnesses. She spotted me from their stand many paces away and rapidly made her way towards me greeting me like a long lost friend and saying that she had called several times recently but I had been out. Couild she come round on Tuesday? Ah, so here it was again. My odd inadvertent religious angle to the Veteran Car rally. Say what you will about these people but we get on really well and she is not what I would call typical of them. She's the only one who I noticed for the first time on Tuesday when she did turn up is a wearer of Doctor Marten boots.
We are not in the slightest in the realms of butch here but rather the conservatively trendy. Once on the bus I looked at the vehicles behind us through its rear windows and rather ludicrously waved to the one I could see clearly. The clock on the bus said 9.32am. It was a godly enough time. At around 10am a car crashed at Hooley some way to the south of Coulsdon and its 80 year old driver was killed. Was it the driver I waved to? I will never know but two things struck me.
One, if it was, I might have been the last person who ever waved to him. Two, it is probably just as well that I got there this year as health and safety will have probably banned it by November 2020. Mind you, the same is true about almost everything these days. Carshalton might have continued with the fireworks this year but Merton and Wimbledon have both already ended theirs in favour of so-called laser light shows. That will inevitably in turn dwindle to nothing. Politicians eh. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light........and they will reign forever and ever.
Just to say how much I enjoy your musings, AH.
Quote: beaky @ 7th November 2019, 8:12 PMJust to say how much I enjoy your musings, AH.
Oh thank you beaky.
That's very good of you to say.
Quote: chipolata @ 5th November 2019, 9:52 AM
Hello chip, I think I miss you the most x
I ship it.
Halfway through my move back home! I've been in Redhill, Surrey for a few years but now going back to Sutton. Travelling to work will be a bit of a problem but I should get a free Oyster card soon.
Quote: Chappers @ 10th November 2019, 8:25 PMHalfway through my move back home! I've been in Redhill, Surrey for a few years but now going back to Sutton. Travelling to work will be a bit of a problem but I should get a free Oyster card soon.
You still work (!?), and isn't it a bit awkward carrying your school crossing patrol sign on the tube?