as previously mentioned (possibly?), the primary reason for my self enforced abstinence this week is recognition that I have somewhat overdone May so far. Having been out almost every night for two weeks even I had the remaining brain power to surmise that actually I'd been very silly. Not that I hadn't enjoyed being very silly. Its rather fun, I tend to find.
Anyhoo, this shaky procession of dry hours gives me the chance to catch up on some news about said events, which I hope to accurately convey hereafter.
Wednesday (not today, keep up!) was Wanderiains day, and since it was switching between sunshine and pouring rain so it seemed only sensible to walk to the Gardeners Rest. This time we broke with tradition and settled in the snug on the left, taking with us pints of Long Itch Light relief for me and a weaker offering of theirs for Mr P. Neither were exactly accomplished beers, but were refreshing, so we quickly dispatched them and moved onto a pint of Pennine Test match for Mr P and a pint of Blue Bee Brown Ball for me. And yes, it really is the bitterest brown beer in Sheffield.
A quick walk round to the Ship followed but in our haste we had arrived early so decamped to the Wellington for halves of Little Ale Cart Sir William something with an A in it (my notes offer Blake, Sage and Gage - chances are its none). Then we nipped back over the road to find the footy on in the Ship, where I had a pint and a half of the Deception and Mr P a surprisingly palatable Bradfield Rhubarb bitter. It was nice to sit in the left hand side watching the sun stream through the windows, and it was a shame to leave to be honest.
I finished in Shakespeares where I chatted to Keith and big Ron about pubs and supped a pint of Rat Brewery Light Mild and Hop Studio Black IPA, both of which were in good nick.
Thursday was supposed to be my "day off" but a wall of brain achingly complex work and a weird text from Christingpher about 16.00 heralded another reckless night of refreshments. We met at Shakespeares and I started with a pint of Mallinsons Bramling, which was every bit as good as I'd expected, and went to sit with Christingpher in the beer yard. Alas, the warm sunshine had deserted the area hours ago and before long it was raining so we headed inside, where we both had pints of the same.
Next we traveled to Commonside to visit the Closed Shop where we bumped into Mr Stephens (hardly surprising) and also Dave, AKA Closed Shop Kate. As you know, I;m a big fan of humour by repetition, so in only two years I'll definitely have tired of referring to Dave as Dave. Instead of Kate....
Here there was more glorious beer talk as well as a decent smattering of noise on the jukebox. Christingpher was very sensibly on the Raw Majjic Mild whilst I had two pints of the also excellent Welbeck Abbey Cavendish, before we undertook the rather lengthy but downhill walk to the Ship at Shalesmoor.
So began my second ever proper session in here, ensconced near the jukebox and putting away an ominous number of pints of the Bradfield Rhubarb Bitter. Three hours passed with conversation ranging from random events from our childhood, to classic arguments we'd had with friends. In some ways, a drinking session with some one you've known 35 years is hard to beat. In the end, it was only my ongoing employment that brought this festival of slaking to an end.
Friday I was going out with my dear friend Middlemarch but alas she caught a debilitating illness that meant she didn't even want to go out drinking. So, instead of leaving early for pints I diligently stayed at work til late - then caved in and ran away to the Closed Shop for beer and solace. Luckily, I bumped into Vinnie and Daniel who I'd met at Pete Green's birthday the other day and so ended up gatecrashing their get together.
Here I was on a mixture of Raw Dark Peak Stout, and Blue Bee Blue Ball (not in the same glass you understand) as we got through many hours of chat and numerous pints. It was great getting to know Vinnie and Daniel, along with Mark, Leila, and Steve, and catching up with Father O'Matic and Kiri, but eventually, and unfortunately, it became something past one and I had to go home.
My last night out of this post (there will be a separate one about another Manchester area crawl to come) saw me out for the unofficial Carlos' birthday night out. To be quite honest by this time I was starting to sense that I was pushing my luck living-wise so decreed to meet as late as possible and leave at a sensible time. In the end everyone was late, as befits a Carlos do, and I made the last bus.
We started in the Hop and I had a pint of Green Jack Trawler Boys, which tasted fine but by the end had developed a detectable compost bin nose, so I moved onto Abbeydale Devotion next. We sat upstairs with Jambon (for a bit), Carlos, Mole, Angie, Wee Keefy and Toastie, before the band started playing, and the situation with the blocked men's urinal started to tell. One final pint was supped in here, Ossett Challenger, which was the best so far, before we headed to the Washington.
The Washington is the default later on destination of virtually everyone my age. Its always had a place in my heart and I've had many fab nights there. Plus, the eclectic crowd and somehow always palatable cloudy Moonshine wins it many plaudits. However, it seems to be fast securing a place in my mind as one of the stranger pubs in Sheffield. Its like it was 50 when I first visited 20 years ago (it actually opened in 1839, but lets not confuse my metaphor) and now its a much loved, slightly doddery place where flashbacks and confusion abound.
On Saturday we got in about 22.00 and it was not too busy (I mean, no-one goes in before midnight, right?) and having secured our pint of surprisingly ace Moonshine we ventured into the "Deep End" i.e the two rooms to the right with the glitter balls and DJ in. The room was virtually empty and it was easy to imagine why.
It smelled like urine and cat food. A man who thought he was Bez shambled ambidextrously between the bar and an imaginary cliff edge near the seating, while a selection of weird but oft enjoyable surf rock and other poorly recorded oddities blasted distortedly out of the straining speakers. Yep. This was to be our night mapped out. Significantly more Moonshine would be required....
Wherein lies, of course, the trick, since before I knew it I was having a bloody great time as I should have remembered I always do in the Washie. Great friends, great beer and the amusing irregularity of its disheveled features made this, and continues to make this, an excellent venue.
So concludes my round up of a thirsty week. Not a plan of action I recommend you try and copy, but on the other hand, if you are going to take 5 days off the grog, it may as well be for a good reason.
Your very best health