Its a balmy friday, so I’m off to the pub. Ah, before you assume my grip on the wagon has relinquished and I’ve fell gin-sodden back onto the rough road to ruin, think on. I’m off to work. Beestonia Work. Its Nick Palmer’s Thank You Very Much For The Help Even If We Just Lost It Party.
I arrive at the Boat and Horses, formally my next door neighbour when I was a Rylander, the first pub in the North if you follow my belief that the Trent effectively bisects both hemispheres. A lime and soda is purchased,and I move out into the beer garden, and into the function room where a packed crowd are watching a choir belt out some tunes.
Theres a buffet, which I add to with a pack of shop cake. I have also a seven pack of Crunchies. These, I forget to lay out. Forget. Yeah. I soak up some of the litres of lime and soda sloshing in my gut with some of the millions of sausage rolls, crudités and cake that festoon the table.
Dr Palmer makes a cheerful and amusing speech, laced with just the tiniest tartness towards his election rivals. Then, I somehow find myself being part of a group photo to celebrate the night. This might dent my glowing credentials as the World’s Most Impartial Blogger, but at least I resisted the combined efforts of a colleague and Kimberley Labour Party to become a party member.
Heres the pic. Spot me for a £1 prize..
I drink more lime and bloody soda, chat to so many people who I really, really want to quote on several things but promised it was all off the record and possibly litigious, so will keep mum.
Theres an auction, and bottles of booze signed by the last two prime ministers are bid for, then a raffle. Ominously, the two sets of tickets are yellow and blue. Evidently a deeply satirical point about how the coalition will sell off, err, stuff. Yep. Swiftian. I win two prizes, a bottle of merlot which I’ve put in my cellar for that day the straight and narrow gets too straight and too narrow and I fall off at the sides. I also win a book, The New Machivelli ( by H G Wells, not a leaked copy of Mandelson’s inevitable memoirs). Its quite good, I am making notes.
The night ends eventually, and I decide to chat to Dr Palmer before I leave. I ask him if its true he is signing on, and yes he is, more as a way to get an insight into the system than check the options on warehouse operatives and Lidl cashier positions. He also assures me that he intends to stand in the next election, if the local party decide to elect him. On the turn-out and general good feeling of the evening, I’d say that was pretty likely. I give him one of my precious, oh so precious Crunchies, hop on my bike and pedal out of Rylands. If parties are this good after defeat, I savour the one that follows victory. It will be no doubt like Studio 54 on New Years Eve: fireworks, monkey-butlers, fire-eaters, etc.
Roll on November….
Some good news. After one too many binges, I finally kicked my Crunchie habit, and now am down to three bars a day. However, I have got hooked on Skips. The crisps that aren’t really crisps. Seven packs today. I must try and get addicted to broccoli, or something equally healthy. I’m turning puce.
I had a very enlightening chat with Cllr Steve Barber at the party, and rather than remember it (all the citric acid from the lime and sodas rots the memory. Its why drinking tequila slammers leaves you unable to recall the nights events the following day), I asked him if he’d mind sending me the story by email, and he did, so I thought I’d print it verbatim. I’m off to bed, so its over to Cllr Barber, and a rather touching story that contains one of the least appropriate acronyms in the history of acronymaging:
Reclaim ChilwellAt the height of Maggie Thatcher’s rule in 1984 the country was getting ready to accept American Cruise missiles. At times of conflict these would move from their base at Greenham Common throughout the country and get ready to fire nuclear missiles on to Eastern Europe, thus making the entire UK a target for Soviet weaponry. Chilwell became a servicing depot and at first it was denied that the US had a presence but soon when GIs were seen on the streets of Beeston it had to be admitted that they did.Enter BANG – the Beeston Anti Nuclear Group. We used to meet surreptitiously in the upstairs room of the Vic; which in those days was a desperate, back street pub.
From there we plotted to re-occupy Chilwell USAF base, send the Americans home and reclaim the land for housing. One hot and sweltery July day about 2,000 surrounded and occupied some of the site with a huge police presence. The miners strike was about to start and this was seen as a warm up by the authorities. The protest was entirely peaceful from our side but a friend was beaten up by the police who illegally detained about 100 protestors and he eventually got £500 compensation for injuries received (his foot was broken).
Over time our aims were met and years later as a builder I had to repair a garage on Ablard Drive. Some old rusting barbed wire prevented me from getting the ladders in and I had to cut it out the way. A job which I’d started 15 years earlier now completed.
Quote me if you want. I’m sure there are plenty others with memories.
Cllr Steve Barber