The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Nottingham, Robin Hood Beer Festival

Beer, beer, we want more beer.

If you’re ever considering a visit to Nottingham or thereabouts and you like a pint or three of the old amber nectar you might be interested in this. The Nottingham Beer Festival has a thirty-one year-old vintage but is having to be re-housed due to the original building being closed and demolished. Fortunately some imaginative people have decided that the Nottingham Castle grounds would be a suitable venue.

The event at the original venue was a huge annual success year upon year with people queuing around the block for long periods to gain admittance. Once inside the popular event, drinkers could listen to some decent quality live music whilst taking their glasses around the scores of trestle table adorned with a wide array of real ales and ciders.

My one and only foray into the festival was admittedly many years ago. This is partly due to the difficulty of actually gaining entrance to the old Victoria Baths where it has been traditionally held for all those years. It was an eventful night (at least from what I can recall!). I fatally chanced across a Nottingham institution in there whilst trying a few different drinks (did I say few?) The Nottingham ‘Fish Man’ was a gentleman who would tour around Nottingham’s pubs every evening selling shellfish from his large wicker basket. Adorned in his famous white coat with the legend ‘Kershaws’ on the back, he was a familiar site. An elderly chap himself, he looked around 129 years of age and now appears to have relinquished the prestigious position to what I like to believe is probably his nephew, looking a sprightly and dapper 79 years old or in that vicinity.

To the point. Yes you guessed, I availed myself of a few prawns and cockles from the wicker basket. If that wasn’t bad enough considering how many different half pints of ale and cider I’d already ingested I then proceeded to thirstily slurp at the vinegar in the bottom of the ‘pokey’. For this I was later to pay dearly…

As I recall there was a bus stike happening on that particular evening and it was decided to walk the five miles home back to the Kingdom of Redhill. I made it half way home before some strange things began happening to my body. I’ve never actually been poisened by strychnine (yet) and it’s associated muscular convulsions but this must have been pretty damned close. I inadvertently doubled up in pain and confusion to the mirth of my pals. Luckily it was close to the Grosvenor pub on the main Mansfield Road leading out of the city. I rushed inside for sanctuary and found the cleaners vacuuming the pub after hours. Sneaking through their midst I found just the place to lie down and die quietly.

“George, can you get me a bucket next time?”

That was then but this is now. The castle grounds will be a much greater sized (indoor and outdoor) area. Live music will be presented in the old bandstand and there will be marquees for the drinkers on the lawns.

For anyone that doesn’t know the city, the castle is very central just two minutes walk from the Old Market Square and a million pubs and clubs. At the foot of the castle rocks lies the bonus of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – the pub made from caves. Football (Forest and Notts) (for it is a handy accompaniment to beer) is a mere couple of miles away.


The new venue – Nottingham Castle grounds (Right)

Castle to host Robin Hood Beer Festival

Robin Hood Beer Festival


May 4, 2008 - Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , , , ,

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