Saturday 20th was hot, but high cloud kept it from being uncomfortable. We had decided to book a couple of day trips with a local outfit called M&M Tours. One of the Ms is a friend, I’ve not met the other M but the mailing address is his and its a pleasing walk up and over the hill to the west, so I decided to deliver the booking by hand and foot.
The destination is also good for the Craft Beer pub, so, doubly incentivised, I set out. Victoria Street is a well kept street, nearly every house is recently painted, each has a clear front door number – nobody’s relying on a neighbour for their own ID. And not one door has a little note saying ‘Bell not working, please knock loudly’ (a sure sign of a poorly maintained rental). Outside one house there was an old man (and I say that as a man of 63 years young). I knew where I was and where I was going , but I stopped and asked if I was in Victoria Road. I just sensed he was looking for an early conversation – so we talked. After a couple of minutes he told me I needed the house three doors down and I thanked him and left.
The Craft Beer pub was playing Supertramp, ‘Crime of the Century’. They always have music I like in there, I’d been playing another of their albums over breakfast – ‘Crisis, What Crisis?’. Plenty of interesting beers so decided on three halves:
Marble’s Pint (an unlikely name for a beer, made odder by the strapline, ‘cask conditioned beer produced to standards’ – but what standards I wonder?) But a great hoppy pale ale of character.
Hawkshead’s Windermere Ale, a gentle blonde beer.
and Fynebank’s Peat Smoked Golden Ale – a pleasing light beer, but not much sign of peat smoke.
The barman is a homebrewer. We talked of my recent wheat and coriander beer, and he recommended a speciality yeast, which I will try (White Labs Wit II yeast). More usefully he suggested one beer that failed might have been because I fermented it at too high a temperature – the nasty nail varnish remover (acetone) taint was a giveaway, he said.
Whilst sitting and gazing out the window I saw three buses pass. Like many Brighton buses they all had names on them, people with Brighton connections. The names were Ida Lupino, Alfred Feld and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I knew of Alfred Feld, met him once, he was a Councillor for the town and a local hotelier. I knew Ida Lupino was an actress and had been in Hollywood, and of course I knew of I K Brunel, but in Brighton??
Checked the bus company website later – both went to school here briefly. Brunel left school here (at 19) and went straight to take over management of his father’s big project – the first ever tunnel under a river – the Thames at Rotherhithe. More on Ida here.