I've been offline for a few days while visiting my brother. His is one of the three remaining houses in Europe without an internet connection.
It was interesting to watch my kids cope. Of course, having smart phones, they weren't as offline as me. The three drillion TV channels my brother receives went some way to mitigate the lack of wifi.
"Why is Dutch television so crap?" Lexie asked me.
"Because the government hate us." Though really it's UPC's fault.
The net-free days taught me something: that I waste a lot of time pissing around on the web to no great purpose. Following idiotic forum discussions. And don't get me started on social media. Mostly just time-occupying bollocks. It was relaxing to read a newspaper and watch TV with the kids instead. And visit the odd pub, let's not forget that. Not much point in going to Britian if you're not going to down a few pints.
Now I only visit once a year, the changes to Newark are all that more obvious. Some are incomprehensible. Like the axing of all buses after 6 PM. Or the ten houses they're managing to cram onto the car park of the former Turks Head. Others pretty neutral: the arrival of a Pound Pub or the Crown and Mitre becoming the Flying Circus. Even ggo ones, like the Horse and Gears reopening as a Blue Monkey pub.
Best is that now both kids are over fifteen, I can take them into pretty much any pub during the day. Makes my life easier and means there are options other than Wetherspoons. Not that there's anything wrong with Wetherspoons. It's just nice to have more options.
Best of all, it was dead easy to avoid that craft keg shit and drink proper, low-carbonated, full-flavoured cask beer. And cask beer of all sorts. Despite what the more doctrinaire and destructive end of the crafterati might hope, cask beer is holding its own. Even in the modern, trendy sorts of places. Lots of handpulls and plenty of beer in decent nick.
Away from the pub there was lots to drink. Henry, a schoolfriend who plans on opening a brewery, brought me a crate of various homebrewed beers. Pretty well all from historic recipes of mine. Good stuff, though I couldn't manage to get through it all.
Anyway, I'll be boring the kecks off you for a few days with my holiday tales of little import. Then it'll be back to the numbers.
Notable Pubs: The Rhubarb Tavern, Barton Hill, Bristol - The Rhubarb is a rare survivor – an old backstreet pub that hasn’t gentrified or closed down, where locals still drink. It’s one we’ve had on our #EveryP...
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