I came home to a mixed bag of messages yesterday.
The first was a request for me to appear on the BBC Gloucestershire breakfast show. They were running an item on the fact that five pubs have closed down so far this year in Gloucestershire – including the India House, which I blogged about last week – and they were seeking my thoughts on the matter as a local ‘pub expert’.
I like the idea of being regarded as a pub expert and the publicity is all good to raise my profile as local author and hopefully help with the sale of some books. I am, however, less enthusiastic about actually appearing on the radio. It is far too easy to sound like a right Wally, something I can usually manage quite easily without the additional pressure, and 7 am is far too early to try to sound lucid. Nonetheless it seemed to go okay.
The other message that stood out from the crowd was the result of a food intolerance test that I had taken. Now I know what at least some of you are going to say: food intolerances are all nonsense. I must admit that I have some sympathy with this view: it is the view that I held myself until recently. However, things have got to the stage where my symptoms (which, you’ll be relieved to hear, I won’t bore you with) are bad enough that I feel something must be done. Since the normal medical profession have been about as much help as an ashtray on a motorbike on the subject it has to be worth a go doesn’t it?
So, what did it say? Well, what I feared the most was that it would say I’m intolerant to brewer’s yeast – obviously that would be a disaster. However, a quick scan showed that this was okay – brilliant! There was an awful lot of stuff in the red zone though and it’s going to be a nightmare trying to give it all up. But at least I can have a beer, right? But wait, what’s this? Barley…. OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh well, you may be thinking, there’s always wine. And this is true; I’m rather partial to a red wine. However, somehow I can’t see me propping up the bar in one of Gloucester’s fine hostelries sipping a nice Merlot – it just feels wrong.
Nonetheless, despite the undoubted hardships that I will face, I’m going to give it a go. This means abstaining from all of the forbidden foods for three to four months. Hopefully it’s not all nonsense and in a few weeks my symptoms will all be gone, my body will have a chance to recover and by the time summer’s here I’ll be back on the beer again. If nothing else at least I should lose some weight!
The question is though; can I still be taken seriously as a pub expert if I’m giving up beer?