Apparently, I have been ignoring the whole weblogging business recently. Which, to be fair, is only half true. There are a multitude of posts in draft. And what, therefore, has stopped me posting them? You know, mostly the choice of picture to go with them. Believe it or not, there is some, although not much, admittedly, thought in these here ramblings.

So I decided I had better put forth on the Winter Beer Festival, as that is where I spent yesterday in the company of the Usual BeerFest Suspects, plus a few guests whom we hope will become Usual BeerFest Suspects. And, for an added bonus, I thought I would bring in one of the draft posts, because it has been swirling about in my head.

I haven’t, in the past, ever even considered my age. During school, I was the youngest in the class, due to the oddball way Norn Iron decide on such things. (Editor’s note: This oddball scheme meant we had two months of summer holidays. In your face, Englishers!) I am not sure why, in these past few days, it has started to play on my mind.

We have A Plan, you see, and we have refined it, stuck to it and enjoyed it over the past few years, both at the summer and winter beer festivals. Although it did come somewhat unstuck this time round, in that the final finishing off of the eve, Yippee Noodle Bar, didn’t happen.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons it might: My youngest reaches double figures this year, I pass the tipping point towards my 40s, my eldest is almost the size of me, but for whatever reason, it has started to niggle. Niggle, not quite the oh-Jeebus-I-am-too-old-for-anything that may hit me, but you know, niggle it does.

There was also less beer drunk (by me), due to the fact it got to a point where I just couldn’t imbibe any more liquid. Not beer, nor water, nor whiskey. Which I don’t like. Everybody knows that. I think this was due to the pint of stout over lunch.

There is an age which you are most eligible. And I mean that economically. Probably early-to-mid 30s. You know, long enough out of college to have a bit of experience[0], but not too old to be past it. I have, or am on the verge of, getting out of that comfort zone.

Much as I enjoy sharing meals and chat with people, sharing glasses of fine ale is also most excellent. And, it being the Usual BeerFest Suspects, there were puns aplenty, obvious jokes, laughs and groans. What did we talk about for near twelve hours? I don’t know. Nonsense, more that likely. But that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter at all. Because it is the company that matters.

There is an age when you have gone beyond doing all those things that others do that, for one or more reasons, you never did, never had the chance, never took the risk, never managed, never asked, lots of boats missed and nothing to show, not even regret. No kinks, no tricks, no ins and no outs.

And what of the beer? I have our marking sheet in my jacket. But it did show a disparity. I like Porters and dark(er) ales, which you do get a lot of at this time of year. But the bitters where also rather good. A few disappointing ones (mostly in the evening session, but that might be down to the stout-over-lunch issue again, I don’t know) but overall it was above average. Or so the statistics say.

So, then, what has happened to The Fun™? I haven’t engaged any seriously unhinged types in an age, my scams and schemes have dried up (replaced with an unremitting anger at The State, forever chipping away), there is a routine, but it isn’t a soul-destroying one. If it sounds like I am ungrateful, and, well, it probably sounds like that, but I amn’t, really, I amn’t. (Just working through my thoughts and self here, move along, nothing to see here.) Something is missing, something has changed, and the considering my age has triggered it. Although there has been some rampant (wanting to indulge in) materialism lately, that will pass, as it always does, as it always has to.

There also seemed to be more people there this year. Especially in the dedicated-alky sesh, the morning. Although, to be honest, we did it in an opposite way from last year. Last year we started downstairs, and finished upstairs. This time, we started up, and ended down. Which is sorta obvious, as I did say we did it in an opposite way. There was a serious showing for the straw-and-sticks-in-warm-beer, beards and sandals brigade (look, I don’t wear sandals, so don’t lump me in there), and the usual women that accompany them. Oh, and I only saw three people I know.

It is always a fear that I will descend into a rut, give in to the pressure and become just another drone, just another normal. Wage slave, desk jockey. But come on, I do lots of things, it isn’t a standard slump in front of the idiot box’s cathrode ray glow in the evening. But I feel a disengagement. No, that isn’t right. I feel more of an engagement, and more of a need to be involved in escapades. I still dream of Africa…

As ever, though, it was a fine day, from start to (not-expected) conclusion. A few drunk chavs on the bus on the way home (ugh, the hideousness and shallowness of late teens/early twenties tottering around town is a post for another time) but nothing too bad. Kicking out time is a wave of desperation and hopelessness, of short skirts and shorter tempers. To tie it together, I am so long out of that I don’t even remember it at all.

What next? I don’t suppose I want to be poking binary bits around forever, and it isn’t as if I have been doing that forever, but who knows? Certainly not me. The night needs a hero. The country needs rebuilt. Or ignored. From a distance.

No, there is no need to tell me. Yes, I know.

[0]You don’t have twenty years experience. You have one years, twenty times.

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