This afternoon I met my brother Neil in my favourite pub, The Alehouse in Chelmsford. Just for 50 minutes or so, to catch up.
I have enjoyed so many enjoyable hours in this lair, as the trains to and from Liverpool Street rumble overhead along the viaduct. Never less than a wonderful choice of real ales and craft beers, and a great set of single malts. Nicely mixed crowd of all ages, with many commuters popping in for refreshment on the way home. Have had some hugely enjoyable conversations here with John Devane, and Martin Clark, the best ones spread across long summer evenings.
I hardly drink beer now, unless the occasion begs hard, or the fare is irresistible. However the most gorgeous pint slipped down my neck. Choosing Procrastination, from the Wilde Child Brewery in Leeds. A fairly weak 3.2% pale ale, but so fruity and aromatic. It had to stand for a couple of minutes to clear. The wait was worthwhile.
The picture of Neil is slightly blurred. Do we look like brothers? According to one of our very vocal New Jersey relatives, we simply cannot be related. What a great brother though. Utterly generous and reliable and trustworthy.
A decade or so ago, cycling back from Littley Green to Chelmsford, my bike sprang a puncture. He offered me his, on the grounds that he could run alongside, and so build up his fitness. So we chained mine to a fence and run he did, for six miles.
We had a second drink this afternoon. A Bowmore single malt for me. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to carry on.
To drink through the evening, looking out at the crowds and twinkling lights, slowly drifting out of time.
But obligations called. I bussed it home while he went to see Eric.