Thursday, 21 January 2021

Immigrants or expats?

My two-year Swindon sentence served, I returned to Amsterdam. A free man.

Aware that we would be returning to Holland and that renting would be stupidly expensive, we bought a flat in De Baarsjes. An interwar bit of the city, about a mile from Dam Square.

We didn't have a great deal of furniture. Not even a bed, sleeping on an inflatable mattress.Before we'd had chance to properly furnish the flat, I was off expatting again. Around the other side of the world, in Melbourne. 

We rented a place in Carlton, fairly close to the City Centre. Close enough that I could walk to work. And walk home again. Sometimes, when it was over 40º C. Luckily there was somewhere on the way to cool off. Corner pub on Swanson Street called the Canada.

It had Coopers Sparkling Ale on draught. That would usually have been my choice. Not here, though. As they also had Coopers Stout on tap. A lovely thick, roasty Stout. With plenty of oomph, too. 6.8% ABV. 

The Canada sold it in schooners which was brilliant. A couple of those was enough to cool me sufficiently to continue my journey.

Stout was reasonably easy to come by in Melbourne. Carlton brewed two: Abbotsford Invalid Stout and a stronger one which wasn't available all year. Can't remember the name of that. They were OK. Better than having to drink muck like Carlton Draught, with its weird green apple flavour.

Quite a few pubs had draught Coopers Sparkling Ale. Always served far too cold. I'd buy two glasses on entering a pub. By the time the I'd drunk the first, the other would have warmed a bit.Before I drank that, I'd get a fresh beer. So it had a chance to reach a temperature that didn't quite freeze my gums and rattle my teeth..

Being in Australia on a contract, it was never meant to be a permanent move. The last couple of weeks we even lived in a holiday let in St, Kilda. You can't get much more temporary than that. Or more expat.

When would I get to be an immigrant again? Back in Amsterdam, where I wanted to be.


Chris Pickles said...

Letting the Coopers warm up would just about define an expat. We immigrants drink it cold.

James said...

Ahh, Coopers Stout, always a treat, underrated is Suffolk Stout out of west end (shame) - crow eaters make good stout. Was it Sheaf Stout you were thinking of? The other from CUB that is. The beer options have improved in Melbourne these days, but 40c in the inner north is still pretty rough.

Steve N said...

Love these reminiscences Ron. An old friend of mine told me he used to buy two pints of Guinness each time he visited the bar - one to drink at his seat, and one to drink on his way back to his seat.

Martyn Cornell said...

Cooper's Stout was one of my life-savers as an ex-pat in Abu Dhabi, being available in the bottleshop in the centre of the city – blacked-out windows, no sign of what it actually sold, show your licence from the police to buy alcohol to the man at the paydesk. Lovely beer.