I was walking home from my new writing room the other afternoon - and when I say writing room, I mean the public library in Rothwell - having just finished a commission about ordinary brown beer for Off Licence News. True to form, there were various problems with various breweries getting in touch in time to be included in the article. This was, I would guess, a combination of idleness, disorganisation and breweries employing PR companies who don't seem to know anything about the breweries they PR for. But I digress.
Walking back from my new writing room, feeling happy and tired, I thought I might drop into the pub for a pint. Sadly, all the pubs in Rothwell seem to major in John Smiths cask or Tetley's, and ironically, given that I'd just finished an article on ordinary brown beer, I didn't fancy either. In the end, I went to the supermarket, bought a bottle of Bateman's XXXB, and after ten minutes in an ice bucket (hey, you can't take the ponce out of me, even with ordinary brown beer), I sat and had a reflective glass of beer.
I reflected on the fact that I was having a beer in the middle of the afternoon, and how great it is to have a job and a lifestyle that allows this. Drinking beer for me has always been partly about a delineation of time. If I'm having a beer, then that means I've discharged my duties for the day, and I can relax and fritter away a few units of time in a way that I find relaxing and enjoyable. Reflecting more on it, this makes me sound vaguely like an alcoholic, but so be it. I like to work hard, and I like to have a couple of beers. In my world, this is quite normal.
In times past, before being nearly married, and before parenthood, I'd think nothing of going to a pub on my own with a book, or a newspaper, and while away a couple of hours reading, with a few pints and a comfy armchair. Lately, I'm more likely to stake a claim on the sofa, fire up the netbook, and open a beer. Years ago, when I briefly dabbled with smoking, a roll-up would be like a punctuation point in the day. These days, the paragraphs are longer, and the punctuation is beer. Either a new paragraph in the middle of the afternoon, or the end of a chapter mid-evening. As well as loving the tastes, and not objecting to a little mild intoxication, a beer means I'm having a bit of 'me time'. Please don't think that I use beer in order to get 'me time' - that would be a sign of a problem. But conversely, these days I rarely stay in the pub until closing time - in fact, I can't remember the last time I had a night out where the bar stopped serving.
And so, I'm curious - does this ring any bells with anyone? Is there a point where you think 'ahhh, that's that taken care of, I'll have a beer'? Or do people pop to the pub for a couple after work, and then not drink at home? Or do you generally go home and then go to the pub for 'lasties'? (that used to be my favoured mode). As I ask in the title - how do you drink yours?