25/26/5/19 Thirsty Magpie Beer Festival, He Drinks A Bitter Drink, He Drinks A Cider Drink

I know I tend to give anything technology wise, a wide berth, but I have to admit, it’s got its benefits. Otherwise, thanks to Dave, I wouldn’t have found out about the beer festival. Fleetingly, I’d hoped to pack a lot more into the weekend, but due to a whole raft of reasons, (Some of them, ridiculously eccentric) I was left with the beer festival, and in all honesty, wasn’t going to blog about it, my nephew convinced me otherwise, so it’s his fault for this, I apologise on his and my behalf. I got the train up to Chorley, changing at Preston, touching down just before 9:30. Resisting the pull of a breakfast and a pint at Wetherspoons, I walked through the, now familiar, streets of Chorley. I may have resisted the temptation of Wetherspoons, as I walked past the market, looking for a shop to get a lottery ticket, I did investigate to see if Bob Inn was open, I was too early, it wasn’t. I got to Dave and Stephs, saying hello, and catching up. When in Lancashire, do as the Lancastrians do, I took up Stephs offer of a bacon barm. Me and Dave walked the 10 minutes it takes to Victory Park, it felt strange walking through the open gates of the ground, walking in the club house, the first thing we were struck with, they had the F.A.Cup size playoff trophy on display. After paying our entrance fee, Camra member discount for me, buying our tokens, picking up our festival glass and programme, we went to the bar, set up with the stillages behind. There was a five-a-side tournament going on, on the pitch, and unconnected, there was a stage set up for the musical entertainment that had been put on. Chorley football club is extremely laid back and friendly. When it’s stated that a football club is the hub of the community, then Chorley f.c. is a perfect example. It’s as comfy as an old pair of trainers. Both me and Dave are football addicts, we couldn’t help but take the opportunity of walking round the perimeter of the pitch. As I wasn’t going to post anything about the festival weekend, I didn’t take any photos, but I could’ve, and probably should’ve, clicked away like your typical Japanese tourist. Victory Park is a substantial non-league ground, one that will be hosting Wrexham, Stockport, Chesterfield, Halifax, Hartlepool and not forgetting newly relegated Notts County. Clubs that have all had long periods of time in the football league. Here we were, walking anywhere we wanted, that wasn’t locked, unopposed. At one point, we sat on what is, and definitely will be for the bigger support, away terracing, and speculated what needed to be done, and at what cost, to improve the ground, potentially bringing in extra revenue. It’s true to say, that if either of us were to match 6 numbers on the lottery, we would be looking to invest and not be bothered about return. We completed our circuit, choosing a different ale, before watching the Wigan Ukulele Band. 30 years ago, I wouldn’t have appreciated the ensemblè, these days, I much prefer it, to the rubbish that passes for chart music. It’s not that I’m getting old, as each decade has produced some good music, even music from before I was born, this decade that we’re living in at the moment though, is well and truly awful. I’m looking forward to when it’s over, and next decade brings a wave of better stuff. I’d spotted a familiar face amongst the festival goers, Dave confirmed it, as wide eyed, he spotted Jamie Vermiglio, the Chorley manager, too. Choosing our next ale, and Dave pointed out Ken Wright, the Chorley Chairman out to me, a bloke that if, unlike my nephew, you didn’t know, you would’ve thought he was just another real ale fanatic. One thing that the festival wasn’t doing, was showing the Scottish cup final, so it was back to Dave and Stephs. If I’m being totally honest, I was expecting Celtic to smash Hearts out of sight, I couldn’t suppress my delight when Hearts went 1:0 up, and I apologised to Steph, as after causing her to jump out of her skin, she had to stop what she was doing, to put it back on again. The inevitable penalty would be given against Hearts at some point, and it was. 1:1, though through my rose tinted spectacles, it hadn’t been a penalty. As extra time was dusting itself down to make an appearance, Celtic broke away, and with what seemed to be a serious case of noxious body odour, the winning goal scorer had the space to do exactly that, score the winning goal. After having Lancashire hotpot and chips, (Rude not to, in Lancashire..blah blah blah) the kids baby sitter turned up, and it was back to the festival, this time with Steph. Unfortunately the cider had ran out, informed supplies would be there for Sunday. Steph had a vodka which had been specially brought in for the festival. Jamie Vermiglio was still there though, chatting to anyone and everyone who wanted to talk to him. Chorley f.c. is a club that sucks you in and gives you a great big hug. It’s your favourite Aunt, always pleased to see you. That teacher at school, that would go the extra mile for you. We dragged Steph (Not literally) round the ground. Steph made use of the dugout, I stopped myself doing the ‘fan’ thing by joining her, or even walking on the pitch, though I could’ve. We left the festival well before dawn came up, and told us to go home, in fact, none of us were in danger of turning into pumpkins either, as we left way before midnight. Dave and Stephs baby sitter is closer to my age than she is their age, instead of sneaking her boyfriend round, for something to do, like the stereotypical teenager would, she makes use of her o.c.d., and does the housework, it made me wish that she’d been around, when L.J. was a kid, and I needed someone to look after him, she even scolded us for coming back too early, as she hadn’t finished. In the morning, Steph spent time trying to work out where Rachel had put things. It was back to the festival again just after it reopened, to be told that because we’d paid the previous day, we didn’t need to pay again. Both me and Dave making use of the new cider supplies, trying every single one that was available, none of your fizzy stuff, that you’d sprinkle on your chips here. Time was vanishing rapidly, to the point where it would’ve ruined dinner and those amazing roast potatoes, that Steph specialises in. Once dinner had been demolished, I headed off, shepherded down to the station by Dave. I’d worked out enough time for me to go to the Piccadilly Tap, when I hit Manchester, both the Tap, and the station had a steady stream of United fans going through, back from the 20th anniversary game between United and Bayern Munich, made up of players from 1999. I can’t see the point of watching pre-season friendlies, at best, there’s only ever one team trying, mostly, neither, but I like testimonials, ex players triggering memories. Ex players trying to entertain, a visible respect and camaraderie. You learn absolutely nothing as a supporter from a friendly, dress it up with excuses of new signings and tactics, but it really is because there’s no domestic football during the close season and you’re desperate for a fix. It’s like you’re making do with a burger, because you’re too impatient for the steak to arrive, you’ve slated your hunger, but ultimately, you’re disappointed. I got the train back to Brum, putting up with an irritating group of lads, noisily trying to chat up and impress a group of girls, until thankfully, the girls escaped at Macclesfield. The rest of the journey back to Brum passed smoothly.

4 thoughts on “25/26/5/19 Thirsty Magpie Beer Festival, He Drinks A Bitter Drink, He Drinks A Cider Drink

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