Part one was the Bristol Beer Festival: notable for large numbers of inevitably rotund beardies and almost no women, except on our table, which was spectacularly even on the gender lines. Much haziness of consciousness, many things called ‘Old Morocco’ (my favourite) and the like, including a *bright green* beer called ‘A Sign of Spring’ – what ho,
Part two failed to follow King Alfred (he was busy cooking), but did involve a pleasant walk, albeit to a shut pub, hence the now traditional ensuing voyage to the home of the Stoat. Walk notable for two incidents in particular:
1. (The Scene: A parked car along a narrow lane contains about 5 Jack Russells barking their heads off.)
HATMANDU: ‘Barky barky barky bark bark.’
A VOICE: ‘Barky barky bark.’
The voice turned out to belong to a middle aged woman rootling around in a hedgerow, who said this with her back still turned to us. At last: an intelligent conversation with a local.
2. We were sunning our four happy, idling selves by the river, playing (1,3)* and generally lazing about in the remarkable warmth, when something off floated towards us. It gradually appeared to be a plank of wood. Fair enough: we’d just been playing pooh sticks, so maybe a competitive villager had decided to pull rank. But no: said plank (not the villager) was inscribed with things such as: ‘SELF PITY’, ‘DOUBT’, ‘FEAR’, ‘LACK OF CONFIDENCE’ and the like – clearly someone has been reading a self-help cognitive therapy book and has let their worries float down the river. While we watched, a brief hailstorm came down, then stopped as soon as we moved on. The plank got stuck in some weeds, so I freed it back into the main current – I hope it works, dammit.
But I do have really bad asthma at the moment, both of my parents are ill, and This Is Tiresome.
*(1,3) – this (copyright ME) is a version of I Spy where you have to come up with a spur-of-the-moment cryptic crossword clue for something in your purview. For example: ‘French bank right between two banks’ for ‘river’ – yes, yes, they don’t have to be very good.