The 30th of November saw me joining the picket line in Bootle at the crack of dawn - oh okay, 8.45am - on the great day of action on pensions. It was good to see friends again, and at ten the Cat and Fiddle (built in the ground floor of the office block we were picketing) opened early specially for the strikers. There were four real ales on in this formerly keg-only pub: the house beer, Cat and Fiddle (brewed by Tetley; £1.69 a pint), Tetley Bitter, and two guests (£2.30 a pint) from Liverpool Organic Brewery: Styrian and Jade. I had two pints of the Jade, a very pale, dry 4.4% beer, which went very nicely with the excellent full English breakfast. I never thought I'd do beer and food matching, but there you go.
Looking across the front of
St George's Hall
On to Liverpool to join the thousands marching through the city centre, with hundreds on the pavements applauding as we went by. I don't remember a demo of this size in Liverpool since the worst of the Thatcher years. I met quite a few friends there, some of whom I hadn't seen for years, including an ex of mine - we agreed to meet for a few drinks in the new year. You can see this politics isn't all just doom and gloom, as I'm sure the local pubs and shops would confirm.
I didn't check the shops myself, but after the rally, I went to the Ship and Mite on Dale Street, which happened to have a beer and cider festival on. It was several deep at the bar when I arrived, a combination of festival-goers and demonstrators, but eventually I got my pint of Cambrinus Lamp Oil, a full dark beer - I do like dark beers occasionally. This was followed by Flaky's 50th Festival from Phoenix, brewed to mark the fact that this was the Ship and Mitre's 50th beer festival; it was good, as Phoenix beers usually are. Burton Bridge Staffordshire Knott and Milestone's Little John were others I tried.
We moved to the Lion in Moorfields, home to my monthly singarounds that I sometimes mention here - in fact, there's another one next Thursday the 6th December (all welcome). Eight beers on: I chose Liverpool Organic 24 Carat Gold, a great beer I've had before and Steve chose the Higsons Bitter. This led to a discussion as to how it compared to the original, or indeed whether you could even remember a taste of a beer accurately after two decades. I think we agreed that you can't. Steve said was a good pint regardless.
We suddenly realised that it was twenty past eleven, so we disappeared in different directions for last buses and trains. The end to a day that had been great in many different ways.