I would like to start with an apology to regular reader The Divine Mr M*, as this blog will come as a shock when it appears in his inbox. While I did give him advance warning that there would be no new musings this week, a few beers while watching le Tour got me to thinking and, at 10pm on a Friday night, here I am (or technically, there I was) – the life of a newly single middle-aged man is surely one of diversity!
Anyhow, the blog goes under the auspicious title of Beer and Quizzes, which sometime in the dim and distant past I considered to be a clever take on the Roman mob control of technique of Bread and Circuses. It has been noted (mainly by me and not from the last tranche of international new readers – welcome to those of you who have recently happened here from Greece, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and South Korea) that I have been quiz heavy and beer light (as opposed to Lite Beer, which is just wrong – if you want lower calories, drink water. Lite Beer = watered down beer).
Therefore, this week I shall mostly be concentrating on beer. But first, the results from The Royal Blokes* quiz jury:
Quiz: Second, breaking a run of four consecutive wins.
Even with the return of Iron Man* and the addition of Black Widow*, we lost by three points. However, we did stuff Quiz Pants 69-57, despite them merging with The Gingers this time around (see The Eye of the Tiger).
Back to beer. As well as partaking in quizzes, I also brew my own beer, which I suppose is in a semi-self-sufficiency way. Hence the name of this week blog, which refers to Briers not Bennett, and certainly not West.
As Lucy hasn’t done any ‘sexy Land Girls’ type photo shoots, we had a long discussion about me getting the camera out again and going for a Felicity Kendal / Barbara Good snap to add to this weeks blog. This did, of course, mean she’d had to do the gardening.
However, it turns out “we don’t do that type of fantasy”, so you’ll have to settle for Lucy not doing Felicity Kendal instead.
Good job I never mentioned anything about photographing her as another 70s sitcom character.
I’ve been brewing my own now for a good many number of years – probably going back to the age of 10 or so when I helped my parents with their apple wine (carton of concentrated apple juice + bag of sugar + water + yeast + demijohn + about six weeks = six bottles of fairly reasonable and very cheap alcohol). My first attempt at beer was at about the age of 15, when I produced 40 pints of truly awful ‘lager’ – I use the word in the broadest sense, even cooking lager would have been better. (Yes, I did say 15 – life was so much easier in the late 70s / early 80s. Well, if not easier, then certainly less regulated).
Nowadays, it’s a far more professional affair, with proper malted beer kits, brewing sugar (dextrose rather than the sucrose we used in the apple wine) and actually introducing hops is as part of the brewing process. I restarted in earnest last year, and this year I’m already up to 120 pints brewed with 40 more on the go and a further 40 awaiting the equipment to become free. I could brew more, but I’m limited by a lack of bottles. Unfortunately this means I have to drink them as I go, a hardship to be sure. I’m also in the process of stockpiling mineral water to use instead of tap water in my next attempt – a Golden Ale kit from, of all places, Wilkos. I’ll let you know how that works out.
The other advantage of the mineral water is the one gallon plastic containers it comes in. These are ideal for filling with damsons, sugar and gin, and putting them in a dark place ready for Christmas. Cpt America* recommended actually cooking the surplus (and gin-soaked) damsons in a crumble, which sounds like a job for Lucy. She can also use the apricots and plums I intend to steep in Brandy from mid-August onwards (separate containers other of course). Hopefully the winter solstice will be unmemorable for all the right reasons.
I’m also seriously considering making my own cheese as well, as my local brewing supply shop sells starter kits. I might have to get a goat then, so I have a regular supply of milk. If I did, I have to call her Geraldine though.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate The Engineer*. In the 20+ years I’ve known him he’s the only one to have (pretty much) lost all of his hair and he now looks more like his Dad than his Dad did. He emigrates to the USA in the next few months, having finally secured a visa. However, the bald pate will be a definate disadvantage once he starts his new life in the Deep South – he’ll soon learn the real reason behind the name Redneck.
To finish, I’d like to revisit the Song of the Day competition (see The Rules). It was been noted by myself and Penzance* that Stunni* had a stunted musical education when he declared his complete ignorance of Three Little Birds, after this was suggested. Over the next week or so he about to receive a Punk / Post-Punk / New Wave tirade of suggestions until, at the very least, he lies and says he’s heard of some of them. Clearly the next working day will open with The Boomtown Rats (which is, of course, one of the most recognisable intros anyway).
This resulted in a conversation with Penzance about lyrics, and I would like to hereby declare my three favourite lyrics of all time:
#3 – “I want the doctor to take a picture, so I can look at you from inside as well” – The Vapors
#2 – “I will give you my finest hour, the one I spent watching you shower” – Blondie
#1 – “Early morning when I wake up, I look like Kiss but without the make up” – Robbie Williams
Footnote: The reference to being newly single clearly relates to Mrs Grumps and not Lucy. If you’ve not clicked on this weeks numerous links, Geraldine was the name of the goat in The Good Life. Penzance is also a fan of the Vapors, but she prefers the line “no sex, no drugs, no wine, no women”. This fact may or may not be related to the fact her wife has just had a bionic knee fitted, so she is now designated driver.
Note to Sir Dave Brailsford, who I will admit knows more about cycling that I do – still think the decision to drop Wiggins for this year’s Tour was the right one?
Finally, never compose a blog on a drunken Friday night – it only results in the need for a Saturday morning rewrite.
*see Cast List