Because I am writing a book on Gloucester pubs, people often assume that I spend half my life in them; unfortunately, this is not true. Well, normally it’s not true. This week, however, I have spent two evenings in the pub. This is not necessarily a good thing.
There was once a time when I could go to the pub on a ‘school night’, have a good few beers, get home late and still manage to get up relatively bright and breezy the next morning. This is no longer the case. Nowadays I wake bleary eyed, with a headache the size of Wales, feeling like my stomach has been put through a blender and a small furry creature has crawled into my mouth and died.
I can’t put my finger on exactly when this change happened, and I’m not sure whether it’s due to getting older or just lack of practice. I’ll keep practicing and let you know if it gets any better.
There were good reasons for my being in the pub. On Monday night, fellow Gloucester author and well known ghost lady Lyn Cinderey had a book launch in Café Rene. Called Paranormal Gloucester, the book covers not just the well known and documented ghost stories, but also less well known hauntings from Lyn’s own experiences as a ghost researcher.
The book contains stories from a number of Gloucester pubs, including the Café Rene, and I have already warned Lyn that I will be ‘borrowing’ chunks of it for my own book.
When I was a kid I was fascinated by ghost stories and absolutely convinced that they were real. Now I’m older I find myself more cynical. Some stories, for instance, concern ‘orbs’ unseen by the human eye but captured on film. I can’t help thinking that these look suspiciously like flare on a dirty lens. Other stories, however, are harder to dismiss. On balance I feel that in time we may understand it all, but at the moment it is beyond us. In the words of Fox Mulder ‘The Truth is Out There’.
My second excuse for being in the pub this week was the Gloucester CAMRA sub-branch social meeting. This month’s meeting was in the Pig Inn the City, Gloucester CAMRA’s pub of the year. It was no accident that the Pig was chosen for this month’s meeting: it is National Cask Ale Week and to celebrate they are holding a beer festival.
The Pig always has a good range of real beer, but this week it is exceptional – and they are all local. There is even a beer brewed especially for the pub, called Pig Inn Ale. The landlord, Martin, is keeping the identity of the brewer a closely guarded secret: even the bar staff claim not to know where it comes from.
Needless to say, I was not bright and breezy this morning!
And finally, words of wisdom to my fellow authors: “If you steal from one author it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many it’s research” (Wilson Mizner, 1876-1933)