A text that morning informed us that the northern boy was still on his Easter break (no change there) so lucky for MG we then had a spare ticket. Half an hour on the train to Surbiton and with a couple of walking wounded we did not even think of the half hour walk and on leaving the station opted for a taxi rather than the very frequent buses.
On showing the taxi driver the beer festival ticket, he had never heard of Verona Drive and was tempted to join us but he declined and guided by our tour operator for the day KO we had no problems finding much to the surprise of the taxi driver the very large Hook Scout Hall. On the drive there KO informed us of why he had travelled the route before and the purchase of the tickets, something about sending money to a place with no address?
In-fact we did not require presales as there were plenty at the door. Once in there seemed to be more helpers than punters and around 39 beers plus ciders. Yes it was there first beer festival and good on them. All the beers tasted were in top condition (at 2 pound a pint) with a large hall and a seating area where we settled down and waited for the rest of the crew. KO informed us that they had just left the station and were waiting for a bus. I expected to see them in about 15 minutes, what he did not tell me was they had just left Kingston station and turned up after about 40 minutes.
We all settled down to the beer list and conversations about beer, the Amazon, family trees and the Grand National (heard over the radio) yes a normal Saturday afternoon talking Bullocks (as we heard that Pat likes the way they (cows) flutter their eyelids).
The plan was to finish around 5 when it closed and head downtown to watch a bit of Chelsky and as we worked out the number of tickets we had left and the time to go before closing time the word in the hall went out “We are not closing at 5, we will close when the beer runs out?” looking at the number of barrels and punters left it would be a long session although we did notice that Pat’s last half was more like a pint and a good portion duly went into KO’s glass.
We were on a mission and the number 71 beckoned, it even waited for PC to hobble on. The bus stopped near the station and the normal question was asked where is the nearest pub? Vi said there was one back round the corner or as the bus moved one straight across the road. A no brainer and yes it was full of Chelsea fans KO was at home. A pint of London was had, PC and RN went MG and RO stayed for one more and then left KO and the rest to relive old times in the jungle.
PC, KO, RN, MG, RO plus Elaine, Pat, Vi and Suzy