I can’t remember the last time I participated in #TheSession and for no particular reason if I’m honest, I think a couple of topics didn’t grab me and over time I simply forgot until it was too late. This months host, Steve Lamond of Beers I’ve Known, got the mind whirring away though and I thought why not, after all he’d agreed to remind me with a daily countdown so I had little excuse. 😉 This months topic is “Beery Yarns” tall tales and recollections.
When I actually got to think about this properly I was pretty much stumped for a while, but as I was looking through some old photographs the other day, I stumbled across some from way back in my late teens/early twenties. In those days my hair was long and at times my belt was longer as most of my spare time was spent either biking or drinking beer, and I wasn’t that fussy about the latter.
Although there were a few of us in the rabble that used to travel to bike rallies and such, there was a core group that would think nothing of taking a snap decision to head off to Devon or Cornwall at half nine on a Friday evening at the drop of a hat (or helmet). Of that smaller group though there were three of us that were pretty much as daft as each other, Bob, Abbots and myself. We’d spend hours just ripping the piss out of anything, everything and everything, talking bollocks and generally entertaining folks around us (or not). Either way we didn’t really care, we laughed a lot and I’m pretty sure it’s where most of the crap I talk these days was born, I haven’t changed that much as some of you will no doubt testify…
One of the “HILARIOUSLY” entertaining things we invented were “The Roy O’s”. Which basically involved us turning up at bike rallies dressed as Roy Orbison, (which in reality was turning up wearing a black shirt and dark glasses and that was it), then performing a rendition of Pretty Woman during the bands interval. When I say performing, between us I think we knew the lyrics “Pretty Woman, walking down the street, pretty woman, the kind I’d like to meet, pretty woman” and more or less sang or slurred that repeatedly for the duration of the song. Strangely though, through a mixture of drink and no doubt other things, folks loved it (or at least we thought they did) and we did the same time and time again..
Another of the capers we came up with was “the Vanessa Paradis appreciation society”. There were three card-carrying members (you guessed it), and the only rule was, you had to carry your membership card at all times (this card was actually a laminated picture of Vanessa Paradis holding a cocker spaniel, cut out of The Sun). With that though came the challenge. If you produced your card and showed it to any of the others at any time, they had to have it on their person and show it to you or they bought the next round, no arguments? Simple yes, well…no, when someone pulls that card from their motorcycle glove and pulls alongside you manically grinning through an open faced helmet as you hurtle down the M1 at stupid MPH, things then become a little tricky…
Anyway I digress and back to the title. This takes me back to one of those wonderful days we spent in Cornwall, it was one that caught my attention on those old photographs, the place Zennor, the pub “The Tinners Arms.
We’d purposely camped nearby so as to spend an afternoon in the Tinners Arms having being told by friends with us of what a cracking place it was and as we arrived, with perfect timing, the weather was glorious. Blazing sunshine, not a breath of wind and a cloudless aqua-marine sky.
One beer sticks in my mind that day, Hicks, and it flowed as well as the time itself as we supped it, drinking in the beauty of this lovely little place.
It was during one of my many forays to the bar that day when it first happened, or on the way back at least. For no other reason than blatant stupidity or acting the goat I popped the full pint into the top of my shirt as I returned to the table where we all sat, where I was met with the “oh god, what’s Hardy doing now” type reactions.
“Getting a pint down me neck, obviously!” I replied, and from then it stuck wherever we went. At least for a while anyway. (I bet you are all rolling around the floor unable to stem the fits of historical laughter at this point). Look, it was funny at the time right?
ANYWAY on a slightly more serious note, when thinking about this yesterday I began to wonder about whatever happened to Hicks (as well as my sanity) and asked my good and Cornwall residing friends Boak and Bailey about it.
St Austell HSD, blimey, after all these years it’s HSD (Hicks Special Draught) or as I now have found out since looking, in the West Country, “High Speed Diesel”. I suppose you could say it is obvious, but only if you know the history, which unfortunately I didn’t, but I’ll never look at a bottle of this beer in the same way again.
Annoyingly though this has still left a question hanging as I definitely recall drinking something from a cask set at the back of the bar rather than on a hand pull. Could this have been Hicks or have the years and beers played tricks with my memory. I suspect it is the latter, but would welcome any feedback from anyone who drank in there around twenty years ago? Also, is the recipe the same as it was back then, any Cornish beer historians in the house??
Cheers to Steve for hosting this, I think that I have strayed “just a little” from the brief, as in telling this now, you probably think I’m bonkers, never mind trying to explain it all in another twenty years as a wizened old man sat around a pub log fire. But thanks for the memories..