The kids knock on my door at 8:30, as arranged. I’ve slept the sleep of the just. Or the smashed. One of the two. Hope that’s reset my body clock.
“Our room is freezing, dad.”
“Are you complaining?”
“No. It was great.”
We head down for breakfast. It’s a disposable one. Without bacon, sadly. Just weird warmed-up cubes of ham. It’ll do. Just.Andrew is having a coffee breakfast again. The scary number of sugars will be his only morning intake of calories.
“Your sons are tall.” a man on the next table remarks.
“I hadn’t really noticed. We live in Holland. I’m considered short there, and I’m six foot two.”
The kids seem pretty happy. It's odd having people with me on a trip like this. I'm used to travelling alone. Quite a nice change having the kids along.
Jim is picking us up later, but first we drop by a Safeway for some essential supplies: crisps, water, cola and bourbon. Two bottles of that: one for me and one for the kids.
The traffic is really bad again. Jim is going to show us around town a little. It takes forever to reach our first destination, the Freemont Troll. He drops us off to let us have a closer look the massive concrete troll statue under a road bridge. It’s quite impressive. As we get out of the car, some other people try to get in. They think it’s their Uber.
Children of various ages are clambering onto the troll and having their photos taken. And some adults, too. It’s a weird tourist attraction, set as it is in a nondescript residential area.
We drop by Maritime for some beer and food. Well, cola and food for Alexei. The lack of beer possibilities doesn’t seem to be annoying him too much yet. On the way we drive past the Lenin statue again.
“That’s a bit mean, Andrew. Someone has poured paint all over Lenin.”
“He’s not a universally popular figure, dad.”
The Jolly Roger, as Maritime’s pub is called, is fairly empty. And also familiar. “I’ve been here before. I can remember eating battered, deep-fried bacon.” I remark to Jim. Obviously, we order a portion of that. With sliders as main.
“What do you think of the deep-fried bacon, kids?”
“It tastes as good as it sounds.” Alexei replies.
"Full of bacony goodness, dad."
“I’ll take you to have a look at the fish market.” Jim says. “They throw the fish around. It’s really cool.”
main indoor market in the centre of town is pretty impressive. I always
like cities that retain their old central markets. This one is more
than just fish. That’s just one section. There’s also fruit and veg and
all sort of other stuff.
The plan was that Jim would
drop us off, give us 20 minutes to look around, then pick us up again.
It all works out perfectly. Even though he’d only gone around the market
once, the traffic was so dense.
We can’t hang around too long as we need to get back to Bothell so Jim can set up for tonight’s event. Which is drinking six No. 1 Barley Wines: three from William Younger and three from Truman’s Burton brewery. With some additional bullshit from me.
Foggy Noggin is very unusual. The brewery is in a shed behind Jim’s house. And the taproom is in his garage. He’s allowed to do this in a residential area because his house sits on a 2.5 acre plot. No neighbours nearby. Plus he’s left most of the trees, which form a natural screen. It’s a lovely, peaceful spot.
People gradually arrive and I chat with them a little. Before launching into the show. Quite a few attended my last talk here, four years ago. It’s all pretty relaxed and quite interactive. The one Younger beer, with over 40% grits, is a bit of a surprise for people.
Jim has got pies from a British bakery. They’re rather nice and obviously made the proper way, with suet. I get stuck into one in the short break between the two sets of beers. The kids, obviously, partake enthusiastically. They’re big pie fans.
When the structured part is done, I flog a few books and do some chatting. It’s nice to meet Lisa Grimm, who I’ve known on the internet for a while. Being an archivist, we’ve got plenty to talk about.
By the time we wrap things up, I’m feeling knacked. Jim drives us back to our hotel. Where we drink a little beer and watch some TV before crashing out.
Sleep rushes up like a ghost-riding truck.
Maritime Pacific Brewing
1111 NW Ballard Way,
Seattle, WA 98107.
Tel: +1 206-782-6181
22329 53rd Ave SE,
Tel: +1 206-553-9223
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