the best way, I find, to prepare for a leaving do is to go to the pub first. This applies even when said do is in the pub. But don,t worry, it doesn't have to be the same pub, you could go to two. So it was that myself and Miss N prepared for Doctor Bozzer's do with a couple of pints.
Robenbacher (for it was he) had warned us to arrive about half 7 so that he could guarantee to remember our being there. At 19.25 I strode into the Malin Bridge Inn for the first time ever to meet Goth John, Dev, Miss N Matty and Chris for a catch up and a drink. The do was at Shakespeares. The plan was already unfurling. But there was ale to be drunk so I didn't care.
The Malin Bridge Inn used to have an old Smiths window if I recall correctly and although now lost, still retains a traditional layout with separate rooms and furnishings. It sells two real ales, Deuchars at 2.95 and Doom Bar - I went for Deuchars. The front rooms are the smarter and the back room had music on and the gang were sat outside enjoying the warm air. I settled down with my surprisingly good Deuchars to listen in and join the conversation and to catch up with Miss N. The atmosphere was good, the landlady friendly and overall this was a good first visit, and it won't be my last.
Up into town we headed down to Shakespeares near 9pm to find Robin reasonably sober. We sat down with pints of the excellent Marble Earl Grey IPA and watched the crowds build up until Robin was given a presentation of some beer bottles and persuaded to do a speech, the finer details of which have been obliterated by several pints of Earl Grey IPA at 6.5% or similar. It was, very, very nice though.
The half of Hopcraft mosaic or citra stout wasn't up to their usual standards and Miss N felt a little unwell so I bought her a gin and tonic and more Earl Grey before we finished on a Boon perfect marriage geuze with stuff in it for about a fiver a bottle. This was a great blend of sour flavours which finished the night brilliantly, and as we sneaked into the taxi before Robin and Dave W and others headed off for late drinks, it was time to say a heartfelt goodbye.
Robin is to work in the brewing industry for a local producer, maybe tinkering in the tun,and I think its obvious that despite having helped Shakespeares win pub of the year in 2013, he would never have imagined working in the brewing industry if he hadn't helped me and others brew Pilcrow Porter (the people's porter, you may recall) at Blue Bee in August. I mean, yeah. Probably that.
A big three cheers to Robin then, and I wish him all the best.