Monday 31 March 2014

Book tour day nine - Washington

I awake on Saturday feeling a bit strange. And full of diarrhoea.

Jamie suggests we go to the Pancake House so I can work off my bacon deficit. Outside I feel worse. A lot worse. Soon the contents of my stomach are splashing all over Jamie's lawn. Just as well I was outside.

Breakfast is definitely off the menu as I head back to bed. With a bowl beside it just in case. It turns out my caution was well founded. My listless sleep is occasionally punctuated by bouts of vomitting.

This is worrying. I have an event later. I'm supposed to be talking later and I can't even really stand. A real bummer.

I can guess the cause of my illness. It must be something I ate at that Golden Corral. Fortunately niether Jamie nor Paul ate any of the same things I did. They're both fine.

It had been planned for me to do some book-signing a couple of hours before the event, but that's cancelled. It gives me a little more time to recover. We drive over to 3 Stars in the late afternoon. I'm still not feeling great and doze in the car for an hour until it's showtime. It does me the power of good. I'm almost feeling human.

I do a little light book-signing and chatting. I'm not feeling great. Just about good enough to function. My stomach is behaving itself just enough for me to be able to take the odd sip of beer. That's good. Because it's sort of an integral part of the event.

We only work out what we're going to do just before it starts. It's a 30-second conversation between me and Jamie. BURP (Jamie & Paul's homebrew club) members have brewed six beers from the book. I put each of the beers into historical context, then the brewer says a little about how it was brewed.

It's a neat format. It gives me a rocky ledge from which to dive into the ocean of historical beer. From that fixed starting point, I wander randomly into the past, pointing out interesting sights as I go. It takes an hour or so, with me talking most of the time.

Once I'm done, I immediately feel totally exhausted. I struggle to chat, though there are plenty who want to talk to me. Including Catherine Portner, descendant of the family that once owned the largest brewery in Alexandria. With her sister, she plans opening a brewery making recipes from the original Robert Portner Brewing Company. It's an interesting project.

I really have to force myself to keep talking. I'm dead on my feet. Just as well I'd been able to sit down during the event.

Back at Paul and Jamie's, I have a bowl of turkey soup. It's the only thing I've eaten all day, other than a handful of crackers.

Let's hope I feel better tomorrow when we're off to Baltimore for the trip's final event.

The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer

The Original Pancake House
7703 Woodmont Ave.,
Tel: 301-986-0285

3 Stars Brewing
6400 Chillum Pl NW,
Washington, DC 20011.
Tel: +1 202-670-0333

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