My LIfe as a Boozy Oaf

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Woking 2004

First off an apology. Due to a number of issues including technical problems, holidays and a vacationing simian I have been away for the last few weeks. The technical problems are hopefully solved, I have returned from my little holiday-ette and I have no wish to discuss the monkey. I think I shall talk about my trip instead.

Once again I, along with a rag tag bunch of survivors from my student days, went to Woking Beer Fest. This involves flying four hundred miles to drink Beer. But not any old beer. This year's highlights, that I remember, included Ca'Canny, a lovely chocolaty winter beer inspired by our very own Toccata, and Czar Peter Imperial Russian Stout from Belgium, thick, dark, glorious if confused in its origins.

As I once lived in Woking there is always a chance to meet people I used to know. This year was an absolute jackpot. I met practically everyone I ever knew in the area within the space of four hours. Including ex-work colleagues, drinking buddies and incognito beer experts. I also drank a lot and so have little memory of anything else worth relating.

Slowly recovering on the Sunday myself and Toc made our way to Nodnol. We had arranged to spend a few days in the Imperial Capital taking in the sites and shopping. We got ourselves a wee B&B by Gray's Inn Road within walking distance of the British Museum and went exploring.

First on our list of interest we saw was the Tate Britain. A huge
collection of British art including Toc's favourite The Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse. I have to admit that to see it in the flesh, so to speak, was stunning. There is a depth of colour which no poster print can convey. Also to take my fancy were a set of Turner seascapes. I am a fan of stormy paintings and Turner seems to have really had the knack of painting the life of a violent sea.

We also popped into the Victoria & Albert museum. Ostensibly this was so that Toc could find a picture of Queen Victoria to put over our fireplace. Sadly she had rejected my suggestion of a four foot portrait of my good self. Inside was tons of stuff. This is a technical term used to describe the sort of item that, on its own, would awe and amaze but, crammed in along with several thousand others just leaves you with a vague feeling of having not paid enough attention as you eat your cake in the cafe afterwards. I highly recommend the V&A but be prepared to lose all sense of scale by the end.

Escaping from the V&A we went looking for dinner near our hotel. We ambled quite a way and eventually entered a pub called The Citie Of Yorke. Having just left the museum of Stuff we totally failed to appreciate the interior and just lamented the lack of tables. Which was a pity as it looked seriously old. Any old shoes, there we were looking lost when a voice yells: 'Munchkin!'. We look up to discover that it is a guy I only ever met for the first at the Beer Festival three days before. There he is, sat with his City friends who are all laughing loudly at the fact someone actually answered to the name of Munchkin. He meanwhile is slowly realising what he has just shouted in this busy City pub and is desperately trying to explain. To save him any further embarrassment I simply sat hello, reveal my favourite badger name, and take my leave. What has the world come to when I can't walk into a pub in Nodnol without being mobbed by drunken stock broker fans?

Any hew next day we spent at the Tower. Oh is it big. And old. Sadly a bit more military than Prague castle which is the closest similar place I have been. However it does have some very shiny jewels. I've never really been a fan of jewels but the Crown Jewels have changed that. I was somewhat in awe and had to go back for a second look. There is a very good exhibition on the jewels as well. From that I discovered quite how much they have been recycled and also quite how unique some of them are. I think I have a repressed magpie streak somewhere.

The last attraction we attended was The Globe Theatre on Bankside. This is the recreation of Shakespeare's theatre built at the end of the last century. And very impressive it is too. Of course it was built by an American who felt it was odd Nodnol had no Shakespeare monument which is a wee bit sad. Not sure they should go on about it so much though. That said it is a very impressive building and I shall definitely be looking to catch a play there some summer.

Next Week: It's not an obsession, it's a hobby of life consuming proportions.

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