‘taking my coffee canister out of the cupboard, squinty 7am on a Saturday, I brushed away a tendril questing up from beneath the lower shelf. The water boiled (100C), weight checked (12 st 2), coffee scooped into the carafe (4). Tendril?
I reached behind the pans and extracted an enormous sprawling potato plant. The wrapper said Nov 5, so they’ve been growing in the dark for five months, finally bursting the package and seeking the light.
I didn’t have the heart to throw away something with that spirit, so dug a hole for her in the back yard, watered and fed, and wished it well.
It was an apt symbol for the day. Although rain was forecast for the afternoon, I thought that I could take in the Dorset Food and Vension Festival if i got an early start. It was a 15 minute drive over to Lytchett Minster and I found the Post Green mansion. But that was really it: the family was in and out, the trailer residents in an adjacent field were waking. The festival website had crashed, frustratingly. I fiddled, trying to figure where I went wrong
You won’t find it,a portly man offered, walking up beside the car. They took it all away last night when the forecast called for gale winds. He shook his head. We expected 2000 people, 150 vendors sent home. Maybe next year.
Okay: Plan B. The Wareham Easter Beerex, in the Masonic Hall five miles away. The entry staff refused to believe I was 60+; flattered, I took the regular entry and bought four half-pint tokens. Inside was a community hall with a wall of pony kegs and a stapled guide to the beers. It’s numbering bore no relation to the indexed pours. Attached was a ballot asking for my top fur picks of the show, suggesting that I’d need well in excess of my weekly limit just to fill it out.
“Something dark and strong?” I enquired hopefully, and got a half-pint of Black Bear Hotel Stout. Ruby coloured, roast and malt flavour, mellow aftertaste. Very nice.
“Another, different?” Black Rock Porter. Creamy, smoky, olive aftertaste. My lips got numb.
A local variation on a German beer band started playing a variety of oom-pah tunes. I parked on a vinyl couch and started reading the guide. A portrait of The Queen watched me critically from the far wall.
“Tart Pig Special?” Pale and strong, bitter to the end. A loser.
“Your favorite?” Smoky Joe, 5%. British and American hops, dark and roasty, coffee notes, oaky to the end. A nice way to wind up the hour.
The wind was rising, I went back towards Sandbanks to walk the gusty beaches. The lifeguards hustled to secure the flags; the restaurants were closing early. Out toward the Rocks, both sail and ferry boats were hurrying towards the harbour as evening fell. The rains began in earnest.