The Ammonyte's Big Day Out

Every once in a while the Ammonyte decides it is time to gird up his tentacles and risk a trip to the Big Smoke. Such an occasion arose yesterday, and the point of the occasion was The Great British Beer Festival.

So the Ammonyte sauntered down the cinder track following the original roadway to Slough, which pre-dates the modern A355 by several centuries. Initially under leafy overhangs, then through housing estates featuring suspiciously large “garden sheds”, the purposes of which, it is alleged, are to house migrant workers, originally from the Indian Subcontinent, and more recently, from Eastern Europe. At Slough station, the shell is parked on platform 3 to await the fast train, which has two advantages, (a) air conditioning and (b) it only takes 15 minutes to make the journey to Paddington. The approach into Paddington station is now dominated by shiny new office buildings with glass facades and occupied by women with short skirts who really shouldn’t sit that close to the windows.

Disgorging from the train on platform 8 in the bowels of the station, which is still in the throes of renovation, the Ammonyte emerges into sunlight and bimbles off southwestwards down through the moneyed streets and mews of Bayswater and Lancaster Gate and across Hyde Park with it’s legions of under-dressed Eastern European nannies and vaguely lost tourists. Down Gloucester Road with rich Mews houses cheek-by-jowl with unexpectedly cheap and shoddy shops and onwards through quiet backstreets to Earls Court. Shunning the delights of the Dr Who exhibition, the Shell trundles into the main hall, collecting an engraved glass and a programme, before descending upon the Peak District stand to slake thirst with half-a-pint of Unicorn.

Experience has taught the Ammonyte to shun the macho desire to down pints, in favour of enjoying a wider range of ales in smaller measures. In aid of this, the engraved commemorative glass is inscribed with 1/3 and 1/2 pint measures, as well as the full pint (plus plenty of space for a head). In addition, the 1/2 pint measures poured can also be described as “generous”. In anticipation of a long evening food is ruthless hunted down from the array of interesting purveyors, and a tasty Springbok burger gives up it’s life for a noble cause. There is never enough seating, so a spot on the floor in a quiet part of the vast concrete cavern provides a location to park the shell and peruse the programme.

Some time spent roaming trawling the sundry stands and three more halves later, Andrea and Gary turn up, work finished. At least they have had time to de-suit unlike a large number of the BSD’s who loudly swagger around. They (G&A) too have started at the Peak District stand, so we compare notes and wander off, Gary the Gourmet looking at the foodie stands. After another drink and a plate of bangers and mash, it is decided to torture BritInCalifonia with a series of texts and photographs. More drinks and more shopping, Andrea and Gary are tempted by the T-Shirt stands and spend waaaay to much time looking at the baby clothing range on the Twisted Twee stand. The Ammonyte decides to join CAMRA, because their “join at the exhibition” deal offers more in the way of free drinks, than the membership actually costs.



The tour of Great Britain and Northern Irish ales continues with a visit to NI in recognition of Andrea’s ancestry, before a final very hot Thai curry that requires more ale to cool.

Dr Pooh

Dr Pooh

The T shirt is based on this online Story, The TARDIS at Pooh Corner.

Mucky D’s lawyers to standby for this item:-

X rated T shirt

X rated T shirt

By 10 PM common sense kicks in and the party disperse, G&A back to the underground, the Ammonyte bimbles back to Paddington, a longer route which skirts the now-closed Hyde Park, and the slow train back to Slough, arriving at 11.30 PM followed by a further bimble back up the cider track in the dark. All the scary guys have got scared and gone home, leaving the Ammonyte as officially the scariest thing plodding around in the dark, and arriving home with the final score of 10 miles walked and 10 half-pints consumed. Job Done.

~ by @mmonyte on August 8, 2008.

6 Responses to “The Ammonyte's Big Day Out”

  1. There be pooh bear t-shirts at a beer festival??? *shocked*

  2. You can see their full range here 🙂

  3. That is just soo not fair now I’m going to have to go pet a lion or something

  4. What a great tale! I held my breath until you were safely home at the end. 😉

    Pray tell, what were the contents of text messages to our mutual friend? Come on, you know you want to tell us!

    Funny how the camera doesn’t focus as well after one has inbibed. I think it is due to a vast right-wing conspiracy!

  5. Oh childish things really along the the lines of “we are drinking lots of beer and you aren’t”. The best he could riposte with was “Well at least it is warm and sunny here”.

    It was pointed out, with some enthusiasm, at the festival that Real Ale can save the planet. It’s you yanks (and sundry lager drinkers) who insist on chilling your beer and using all that extra energy, who are killing the rest of us. Get used to drinking warm beer and save the planet.

  6. Words of wisdom from the shell

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