As previously recounted in Worthington’s Creamflow at the Rose & Crown, I quite appreciate having a pub close to my hostel that provides cheap beer and football. One would have thought that £1.85 pints of Worthington’s a mere 354 feet away would have been unbeatable, but that was before I moved to York, where they seem to have a pub in every building. And at this particular hostel, one need only walk 118 feet to find the cozy confines of the Nags Head, which coincidentally also happens to be a Craft Union Free House just like the Rose & Crown, and therefore offers £1.85 pints of Worthington’s. Dear me, at this rate I’m never going to try any new beer!
Last week England played Wales in Euro 2016 at 6 AM, and so I excitedly got up early and prepared tea, bacon, eggs, and toast for the morning meal. Oh ya, that day was also my university convocation, and so my parents duly came down from the Okanagan to watch me walk across a stage for about thirty seconds. The ceremony itself wasn’t a big deal to me, but the chance to watch the match with my father and to later go for a picnic on the beach made the whole thing worthwhile. Whilst at the beach, my father and I shared a Merridale Scrumpy.
I have long had a fascination with all things from the British Isles, with those originating in England striking the deepest chord. One of those things has long been cricket; that very British of sports, queer, elusive, incomprehensible, yet indispensably appropriate if one is to understand the antics of P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, or the gentleman thief A. J. Raffles of E. W. Hornung fame.
And so a sport that had merely elicited British stereotypes in my mind slowly transformed from mystery into a sport that I knew and loved: first during an eight hour One Day International at the MCG in Melbourne, 2013, and more recently during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. After that I was hooked; I needed to play cricket. In the summer of 2015, the best that I could do was to practice one time with the Kelowna Cricket Club, but in the summer of 2016 I did one better!
One week ago, the Belgian football club KAA Gent, or La Gantoise, became Belgian league champions for the first time in their history after 115 years of trying! Having lived in Gent for eleven months, I became a supporter of the team and have followed them ever since. I freely admit to experiencing one or two tears of joy as I watched the jubilant scenes unfold before me when I snuck away from work to stream the game online, and that night I persuaded (not that it was difficult) my parents to join me in some celebratory Belgian beers.
This year on Valentine’s Day, my friend Ian and I spent the evening watching the ICC Cricket World Cup, drinking caesars, and generally grumbling about our lives. You see, there were girls that we wanted to meet, but could not, and contacting them was a rather delicate situation. Let them know via handheld telegram (text message) that we were thinking of them on such a commercialized holiday and risk seeming unoriginal and more attached than one should be at our respective stages, or ignore them at our own peril? So we decided to do what many men in need of self medicating and a change of disposition should do: head downtown for a change of scenery and a pint in an attempt to leave behind our depressing states of mind. Hopping on the bus, we set our sights on James Bay’s own Bent Mast.
During May and June of 2014, I was employed as a tree planter in the southern interior of British Columbia. I quickly learned that while the occupation was not for me, the lifestyle wasn’t too bad the rest of the time, with ceaseless eating and substance (ab)use around the campfire being a rather pleasant way to spend one’s free time. We all tried many different varieties of beer, whisky, cigarettes etc. in a communal consumption designed to forget the pains of our labour. Every two weeks we would get two days off instead of one, always falling on a weekend, and during one of these longer breaks I decided to take a little trip down the Okanagan Valley into the Okanogan Valley, Washington State.