Summer in Shoreham brings with it a range of local entertainment - the village fete, a garden safari, the horticultural show and lavender weekend to name a few. These have all been going for some years and bring a fair number of visitors to the village. This weekend a beer festival at The Two Brewers was added to the calendar of events.
We resisted on Friday, stoically staying indoors to watch England play. But by Saturday evening, the temptation of sampling strange potent brews was too strong to overcome.
It's not like we were drinking to drown our sorrows - the footie had been dismal, but we'd had a grand afternoon out, listening to Dan German singing in the park. And although we'd got soaked in a sudden downpour, we were still in pretty high spirits. We were also very wise - eating a good bowl of pasta before setting off - far too sensible and grown up to go drinking on an empty stomach.
When we got to the pub there were barrels of beer lined up on the bar, lovingly wrapped in dampened beach towels. I'm not a great beer drinker, so I declined the option of a pint of Roaring Meg, or a half of The Ginger Tosser, and settled for a peach cider - delicious, just like drinking the nicest fruit squash, but much, much, much stronger.
As the night wore on, we all seemed to be on fine form - laughing and chatting. I can't remember when any of us were quite so witty or erudite. I'm not sure exactly how or when the fish conversation started, but once it had begun, there was no stopping it - the fish puns flowed like the beer.
I'd had enough of perching on a stool, and felt a little tench, so we found a plaice at a table. There were enough of us to fillet. For a while, the conversation floundered, slightly off-bream, but Philip was a dab hand at it, so we got back to bassics and found our porpoise. By the end of the night, I was feeling quite eel, but we'd had a whale of a time.
When I was young, my Dad had a great way with words. In the cold light of a Monday morning I can almost hear him summing up our big night out.... 'what a load of old codswallop.'