11:35: We have arrived. Because we have tickets we are allowed to stand inside in a very hot corridor, instead of outside in the breeze, but we are not allowed into the venue proper. Still, organising these events is not what CAMRA is renowned for. It is a bit hard to tell what they are renowned for, it certainly isn’t standing up for drinkers or landlords. I renounced my membership several years ago.
12:40: I am sitting down, with most of a pint of the champion beer (Rudgate Ruby Mild) and a cornish pastie in front of me. Sweet.
Apologies for the fuzziness of the photo by the way. I’m not drunk yet, just didn’t have enough hands!
13:00: Just found the smoking area, and god was I gasping! It is in the same place as last year, but not where the map appears to say it is… Still, happy enough now! Think I’ll have another one…
13:30: “Wetherspoon themed drinking area” what a fucking joke! It’s just like a Wetherspoon, nowhere to sit at all, just standing-height tables.
14:55: Ok. I don’t know why I didn’t mention this before. In the smoking area, you can’t actually take your beer with you! So even at a CAMRA event, supposedly celebrating all that is good and traditional about beer, supping a pint while you enjoy a cigarette, even outside (surely very traditional) is denied to us. I must ask a steward why. It can’t be the dreaded healthnsafety, as you can bring an empty glass out with you. So why? It just doesn’t make sense. They just don’t get it, even when the smoking ban is killing pubs left right and centre CAMRA just go along with it.
15:10: Apparently, it’s because the building is licensed, but the external areas (in this case a fire escape) are not. Sounds a bit fishy to me… Surely Earl’s Court could have sorted that out by now, it’s an enclosed area like a pub garden, not the street or anything.
14:05: Well, we are leaving soon so I’ve decided to finish with a pint of mild. Mostly what I’ve been having all day. If I can string together a conclusion to this post I’ll do it on the train home. If not I’ll post this set of dis-jointed ramblings as-is. Ha!
19:41: well, I completely forgot until I got home that I still hadn’t sent this, so in brief conclusion, all I’ll say is it seemed on the whole a well-organised piss-up, and the addition of sexy librarian-style bar staff was a distinct plus this year. Also, there are far more normal-looking people and far less beardy weirdy types than you used to get, or at least it seems that way! I got to try all kinds of murky-looking brews from all around the country and I liked most of them.