|Iain - sadly departed and much missed|
We're already a quarter of the way into September, and it hasn’t exactly been the best start to the month so far. Let us trust things will start getting better as time goes on.
September began with family, friends and colleagues bidding a final goodbye to our recently retired branch chairman and long-standing committee member Iain Dalgleish, who was known affectionately as the “Kentish Scot.”
Iain succumbed to an illness which he’d fought off a decade ago, but which unfortunately returned last year. Despite a brave battle, second time around, he sadly passed away in the middle of last month, leaving a grieving widow and many equally lamenting friends, of whom I am one.
West Kent CAMRA will certainly feel his loss, as for many years he was a tireless driving force behind the branch playing a pivotal role in the successful beer festival we run in conjunction with local Heritage Group, Spa Valley Railway. His computer skills and knowledge of data bases came into their own with the publication of the award-winning Gateway to Kent Guide; a joint venture with Maidstone & Mid-Kent, plus Gravesend CAMRA branches. His spreadsheets and data interpretation abilities were also to the fore at GBG selection time, particularly when it came to analysing the NBSS scores submitted to WhatPub.
It is his personal qualities that we will miss the most though, as Iain was an amiable, good-natured and kindly person who lived life to the full, never missing the opportunity for one last drink, or a sneaky visit to the pub on the way home from work.
|Gateway Guide award - Isle of Man 2010|
A true "bon-viveur" would be an apt description, and that is how we remembered him as we said farewell, in a manner which I’m sure he would have appreciated, at the Royal Oak, Tunbridge Wells, last Friday, immediately after his cremation. A packed gathering at the funeral service, and afterwards at the wake, was a measure of the esteem in which Iain was held, by all who knew him.
The presence of several licensees, as well as a couple of brewers, showed just how highly regarded he was by the licensed trade, and the donation of two casks of beer; one from Kent Brewery and the other from Pig & Porter, made sure the afternoon went swimmingly and passed off in more than a slight alcoholic haze.
The start to the working week was pretty straight forward, but on Tuesday I had the remaining bottom right molar removed from my jaw; a procedure which wasn’t helped by the tooth fracturing into three pieces during the extraction. It is only today (Saturday), that I have felt anything like my normal self as, although returning to work the day after the extraction, I was popping pain-killers at the appropriate times and generally feeling under the weather. As an indication of this, I have not had a drop of beer since Monday evening, although I intend to rectify this later this evening.
|Windmill - beer selection|
The weather too has not been good recently, and certainly not conducive to enjoying the great outdoors. There is a CAMRA social tomorrow, at the Windmill in Sevenoaks Weald. There is the possibility of walking there, but with squally showers forecast later in the day, it might be a case of a walk there and then the bus back.
The Windmill, of course was branch Pub of the Year for three years on the trot, and only narrowly missed winning the award for a record fourth time this year. There will be plenty to look forward to beer-wise, at this tastefully renovated village pub, and it will be good to catch up with landlord Matt under happier circumstances, as the last time I saw him was at Iain’s funeral, last week.
|Regensburg - old town|
Finally, we have the prospect of a family holiday to look forward to in a few weeks time, and a return trip to the lovely city of Regensburg, in eastern Bavaria, should help lift all our spirits. With four breweries, plus a brew-pub, operating in the city, there should be plenty to keep us entertained on the beer front, and if the weather turns out the same as last year, it should provide a much better end to the month than September has been so far.