It’s worked. I stayed up long enough yesterday to sleep right through until morning US time.
That’s my usual plan. Get acclimatised as quickly as possible. Not that I’m in any rush this morning. I’ve arranged to meet my man in Holland, Kevin Hilgert, at 13:30. Being incredibly lazy, I choose Big E’s Sports Grill. It’s on the ground floor of my hotel. In my defence, it does offer 80 draught beers.
Kevin’s a little late, but that’s no biggie. There are plenty of TVs for me to have a staring contest with as I slowly assimilate a beer. There’s even a Premier League game showing.
Kevin arrives and gets himself a beer. “Would you like to try some other spots in town before the event?” he asks. To be honest, I’m happy enough staying here. My schedule for the next couple of days is pretty demanding. No point making it any harder than it needs to be.
We don’t have a huge amount of time, as my event bullies off at 16:00. We have a couple of beers and some food then take the long walk to the New Holland brewpub. It’s all of one block. I told you Holland wasn’t a big town.
Appropriately enough, some tulips decorate the street. In a few weeks there will be far more when the Tulip Time festival takes place.
I’m talking on the patio, as Americans like to call their beer car parks. Or fag-smoking spots, as they often are in reality.
There’s a decent enough crowd. Thirty at least. Unless everyone is just out here for a crafty smoke. I’ve tweaked the presentation since its first outing in Macclesfield and Manchester. Fewer slides and a faster pace. Shouldn’t last more than two hours. Or so.
I rattle through it in what I think is an hour. What I hoped for. So that must be right. Though my sense of time does go walkies when I'm talking.
Once I’ve batted away the questions, it’s time for some beer. I try to have a glass in my hand while speaking. But that’s mostly to stop myself absent-mindedly scratching my bollocks. I’m too busy talking (when no-one can easily interrupt me) to do much in the way of drinking.
Me, Kevin and a couple of others brave the long trek to Our Brewing, another brewpub. Not a block, just a couple of doors away. (I told you, Holland isn't a big town.) A long thin single-shop unit stripped back to its brick bones.
I’m getting tired. I’ve a complicated, if not that long, journey tomorrow. Involving a doughnut house.
“Going down to the doughnut house, gonna get me a chocolate éclair” sings in my head as I head off to snoozeland in my coptormobile.
Big E’s Sports Grill
121 E 8th St,
Tel: +1 616-582-8585
Our Brewing Company
76 E 8th St,
Tel: +1 616-994-8417
Buy my new Scottish book. It's why I was in the USA.
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