Lexie has just one concern: “Will we be in Balderton in time for the chip shop?”
“Of course, Lexie. And if we look like being late, we can phone Uncle David and ask him to get us those piey and chippy thins.”
“I’m not a toddler, Dad. Talk properly.”
“Fuck off, Lexie.”
“That’s not any better.”
Twisting the kids' arms, the 10:46 train to Sheffield is on.
"What will we do there?" Alexei asked me.
"There are pork pies, scratchings and all the beer you can drink."
"But what can I do there?"
Andrew is sold, though. Especially the all the beer you can drink bit.
“It doesn’t look that industrial and depressing.” Lexie says, talking of Sheffield after looking on Google maps. He sounds disappointed.
“Go into 3 D maybe it looks more miserable then.” I suggest.
“We’re leaving from pier D. Do you know what that means?”
“Yes Dad. I worked here, remember.”
“I know, Andrew, but I like to keep things ‘spannend’ as you say in Dutch.”
“Just speak English, Dad. It sounds weird when you talk Dutch.”
“Is that weird in a good way or a bad way?”
“A really bad way. Just stop.”
“Guess what we can do at pier D?”
“Go to the Irish pub. That’s what we always do.”
“You don’t want a beer before getting on the plane, then, Lexie?”
“A pint of cider, Dad. As usual. You can’t remember shit, can you?”
I can. I had one just this morning. Thankfully, in the toilet and not in my undertrolleys. But I remain silent. The cheek of kids nowadays. I feel like a bit of fist-shaking at the general state of the world and the specific state of my kids. I had to endure the three-day week for you bastards.
On the way to the pub, I drag the kids into the duty free. I’ve a 25 euro voucher that Dolores printed out. Not going to waste that. As the malt whisky is all stupid prices, I get a litre of Jim Beam.
“Then you can share it with me, kids.”
“Yes, Dad. As if we’ll get anywhere near it before you’ve gulped it all down.”
“What do you want to drink, lads?”
“I’ve already told you, Dad. A pint of cider.”
“And you Andrew?”
“The same, Dad.”
“A half Stout and a double whiskey for me. Are you getting them in, Andrew.”
“Fuck off, Dad.”
“I’ll take that as a no.”
Weird. I don’t recognise any of the bar staff. I’m through here so often, I usually know at least a couple.
The whiskey is full of whiskeyey goodness.
“Stop talking crap, Dad.”
Did I say that out loud?
“Yes, Dad. Stop talking crap.”
Lexie is wonderfully to the point.
“Daad, don’t say out loud everything that’s in your head.”
“Was I speaking again?”
“Yes, Dad, it’s really annoying. Just shut the fuck up. And I’ll have another cider.”
He got though that one quickly. I’ve hardly touched my half of Stout. Though the double whiskey is long gone. Odd, that.
“What about you, Andrew?”
“A pint of Stout this time.”
“What do you think I’ll be getting?”
“More whiskey, Dad. It’s always the same.”
He’s totally wrong. (Not.)
We’re in lots of time for our flight. But Alexei says: “Hurry up, Dad. We don’t want to miss our flight.”
“They haven’t even called our names yet.”
The impatient bastards. We troll over to our gate. Just as well I invested in those three miniatures of Famous Grouse.
“Dad, can’t you wait?”
“I’m not supposed to take them on the plane. I have to drink them now.”
“You could just put them in your bag. They wouldn’t notice.”
“Stop being so fucking logical, Andrew. It’s really annoying.”
“You’d know all about being annoying, Dad. Can you stop with the drinking for a minute?”
“Fuck off, Lexie.”
We understand each other so well, me and the kids. I think it comes from me looking after them so much when they were small. It did mostly consist of me taking them down a pub. No surprise, then, that they feel at home in boozers.
The flight is like all flights are: dull and cramped. But at least it’s short. And on time. That’s about all you can hope for.
The great thing about Robin Hood airport is that it’s tiny. At least the terminal is. The runway is one of the longest in the country, having been intended for nuclear bombers.
We emerge from the terminal and soon see someone waving his arms at us. It’s our taxi driver. That’s how small this airport is: it’s easy to meet someone with even the vaguest of arrangements.
There’s a cask waiting for us at my brother’s. Just a pin this time. But it is EAP, the beer to commemorate my late brother.
The chippie is still open. We trail over there. And get three pies, one large chips and 3 portions of mushy peas. Between the three of us we just about get through the chips. But it is a struggle.
The EAP is drinking nicely.
We end the evening by introducing Dave to Trailer Park Boys.
A 1 Fish Bar 234 London Rd, Balderton, Newark NG24 3HD, UK Tel: +44 1636 702679
For a mere 25 euros, I'll create a bespoke recipe for any day of the year you like. As well as the recipe, there's a few hundred words of text describing the beer and its historical context and an image of the original brewing record.
Just click on the "Birthday Recipe" button below.
Guilt button - brewed my recipe commercially? pay me 100 euros. It really is the least you can do.