After getting married in September 2010 we decided to do the opposite of settling down; so we packed up our life, stuffed it in our parent's attic and hit the road for what is essentially an extended honeymoon! We started our trip on 29th December 2010 spending 4 months travelling overland through Europe, Russia and Mongolia to China. After many a train and bus journey we caved-in and flew from Western China to Malaysia, and worked our way north to Thailand and Cambodia. The time came for us to replenish our bank accounts, so we headed to Western Australia for work in July 2011 and lived in Fremantle until February 2012. After a couple of months back home seeing our families and friends, we headed back down-under. This time we headed for New Zealand and we are currently living in Wellington. Our blog started as part of an elaborate wedding present from two of our very good friends. The idea was that on our trip we should blog from every country we visit, detailing the sights, sounds and smells and most importantly, the beer. We have certainly had fun writing it - but moreso, living it!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

First post, at last!

Evening one and all. This is our first foray into blogging so bear with us. For starters I am not sure where to use our/we or my/I. I’ll mainly go with the latter as Charlotte is currently asleep on the settee (after a few after work pints!). I suppose we are pitching this blog to people we know, but as this is a world-wide t’interweb publication I suppose I should fill in some blanks, in case somehow this blog becomes interesting to anybody else… or indeed anybody who would like a refresher on recent events!
We have recently got married after almost 10 years together, and had a most excellent day getting married at the beautiful chapel in Little Longstone, and having a good old knees up at Townfield Barn in Shatton. Having grown up a mere few miles apart, we got together at high school and have never looked back. University brought us to Sheffield, hence getting married in the Peak District.
As per the beer blog agenda, I should mention that we had some very lovely ale at the wedding in the form of Farmer’s Pale Ale. This was a key moment in my beery education as despite working in various pubs I had never been entrusted with any cellaring duties so it was an interesting, exciting and slightly nerve-wracking experiencing sourcing and preparing the beer for my own wedding. As it turns out it was a case of picking up the keg a couple of days before from a friendly local brewery, whacking in the bung, knocking through the air hole and attaching the tube to the hand-pull; much easier than it sounds. After tapping the keg on the morning of the wedding, and having a cheeky taster with Mark (best man) it was certainly a happy moment, aside from the obvious I was definitely pleased to be providing such a tasty brew to our guests.
The beer seemed to go down well on the day, it was served by the bridesmaids and best men in lieu of the traditional champagne toast. It certainly didn’t last long into the evening reception and we were in high spirits once the band came on (Jungle Lion – awesome band). I had planned for the beer shortfall and made sure to have a few bottles of my favourite lager/pilsner/lovely fizzy cold stuff (delete as appropriate) Pilsner Urquell. For myself at least, I think everyone else brought their own Cooking Lager. (oh dear – already with the beer blogging in-jokes).
After we got married we went on our honeymoon to Anglesey Reg, the orange 19726 VW Campervan we hired as our wedding car. This was a lot of fun, despite the van being pretty wild to drive. I will never forget first driving it, no practise run or anything, just “here’s the keys, go nuts”. It was near impossible to get into first gear and certainly made the various roundabouts on the 2 hour drive back up towards Sheffield interesting to say the least. Thankfully people are very patient when seeing such a brightly coloured, friendly-looking vehicle, even in rush hour it seems. At first driving it was a bit like driving an toy town car, designed by Noddy himself (I can’t imagine he is a particularly adept mechanic). Eventually I got used to its nuances and it became a pleasure (a somewhat stressful pleasure, admittedly) to drive. Well except when the ignition didn’t work and I broke down on my own somewhere near Bakewell, late for my own wedding (rehearsal, thankfully!). But the AA very kindly fixed it later that evening, in the form a screwdriver to stick into the dashboard every time it needed starting!
In the actual timeline of events I had jumped back to before the wedding, but I am now reverting back to the honeymoon… we had a brilliant time driving around Wales, staying at first for a couple of nights in Snowdonia near Canearfonbefore pushing on to North West Anglesey to stay in a beautiful, windswept campsite at Church Bay. We were the only people staying there (apart from the first night, where some poor lowly campers (sarcasm alert!) were wildly blown around in their tent – they were gone by the morning!). The weather was hit and miss, but we had a brilliant time living and breathing the campervan dream. We also spent a night in a converted windwill not far from Red Wharf Bay, as a surprise for Charlotte. Truly fantastic setting and accommodation, certainly very romantic and an ideal honeymoon spot! Again, back to the beer blog agenda, I took with us a case of Brewdog Punk IPA (which we gave away as presents at the wedding with customised labels, Punk Wedding IPA of course) which went down a treat all week. In a fairly rock ‘n’ roll sounding moment, it was even enjoyed in the hot tub in the garden at the windmill. In fact we sampled a few drinks in the hot tub, some kind of sparkling wine went down a treat in the afternoon, but the real lesson learnt here is don’t drink Jagermeister in the hot tub. There’s just something wrong about drinking something so sweet and sickly in a hot, bubbling environment, even if it was ice cold. Don’t try this at home, kids.
Punk IPA is definitely a favourite of ours at the moment, so much so that a year ago we took up the offer of shares in the brewery that makes it, Brewdog. Admittedly we were probably suckers to pay the way above actually share value for them, but the point was to be part of a community which holds shares in a product we all believe in and love. We are heading up to Aberdeen next month to the AGM, so that should be interesting. Watch this space for the full goings on!
After the wedding I managed to slip in yet another stag do (after an excellent pre-wedding trip to the Sheffield Brewery Company, tasting some great beers and having an interesting tour around, before it all got a bit messy in Corporation – the local scuzzy but awesome rock club). This time we went to Munich and of course Oktoberfest, and had planned to since time immemorial (well it felt like that way – in actuality it was February earlier this year. Although in a way it was a long time coming for most of us. Oktoberfest is definitely a rite of passage for any self-respecting/abusing beer drinker!). I won’t bore you with the details (mainly because the details are hazy!) but we had a ridiculously awesome time time sampling the local brew at the beer gardens and halls, getting our rock on to punk rockers (and all time favourites of mine) Dead To Me; before having yet another debauched day at Oktoberfest itself. You really can’t put into words how brilliant Oktoberfest is. On the face of it, to many people it might sound the opposite. Lots of boozed up people (including many English) getting drunk and being boisterous. But it is so much more than that. There is such an amazing friendly atmosphere (what the Germans refer to as Gemutlichkeit – roughly translated as, according to our new German acquaintances, ‘a relaxed atmosphere’) and despite the copious drinking it is not really threatening or tacky (well, to be fair it has a boozy Blackpool feeling to it, but not in a bad way as that implies). Our time was mostly spent in a tent full of Germans, and they were very friendly, but definitely knew how to party. Charlotte and I went last year and even as a couple on our own had a brilliant time.
Almost done, almost done. Don’t worry, you can get back to work or whatever it is you are avoiding by reading my ramblings. One last thing I wanted to say is that despite this supposedly being a beer blog, it is ironic that the fuel for this writing has actually been a nice glass of red wine. This statement would surprise even myself only a few weeks ago but I have discovered that red wine is in fact bloody lovely. To make myself feel not quite as bad about betraying my beloved beer I do actually drink wine out of a beer glass, but really it’s a beer snob over-sized wine glass anyway, so in a way it sort of brings things full circle…
That about rounds up my/our first foray into the world of blogging. If you have got this far; I commend you for your patience. I think I’ve had a bit too much to summarise for one blog and hopefully future entries will be more focused and succinct!

No comments:

Post a Comment