Footprints in the sand

Posted on April 7, 2011


So much has happened since I lasted posted. I stayed with the Goat in London and enjoyed a Belgian Guinness or two – Belgian Guinness is rather like normal Guinness except it tastes nice. I went out for a lovely ride with the Medicine Man where we encountered a kestrel, climbed a few hills and went down a few too, and finished off with a sausage roll and a cup of tea. During our ride the Medicine Man revealed to me that his wife had taken the time early on in their relationship to point out that he couldn’t dance. He doesn’t know why, it just happened. The things you learn when you’re on the road.

A few days later I spent a full day touring the wilds of Cheshire with Mad Frankie O’Brien a.k.a. the Emir of the Emerald Isle. The Emir confided in me that he was happy to have something new and a bit lighter between his thighs, and he quite liked his new bike too – boom, boom!

On Saturday I went on a national cycle route around the Wirral and other posh places that premiership footballers like to inhabit. A quite magnificent ride especially as the sun had his hat on and the countryside was wearing its ‘Sunday Best’. I cut through Inglewood on the way; didn’t seem that rough to me so why does Dre always banging on about it in his songs.

Before I get onto the last beer review, I wanted to show you an email offer I received a couple of weeks ago. It’s for The Mother’s Day Beer Case.

You still haven’t found the unique Gift for your mother? No worries, BeerHere have organised the perfect and exclusive present to show your appreciation for your Mum on Mother’s Day. A special Beer Mix for Mothers has been created including Belgian fruit beers, Belgian ales and a French lager.

Certainly a unique gift, that’s for sure.

The beer under the spotlight today is McChouffe – the Scotch of the Ardennes – from the The Achouffe Brewery.


McChouffe, the Scotch of the Ardennes.

In one word – Scotland

If this beer were a song – Take me out by Franz Ferdinand. An obvious nod to the beer’s Scottish roots and it will, given half a chance, take you out as it weighs in at a not insignificant 8%. Or this which is the beer’s official theme tune. Time, hands, too much etc….

If this beer were a person – it would be James Bond, as played by Sean Connery, with a dash of Hercule Poirot as a nod to this drink’s mixed Scottish/Belgian heritage.

What I like about this beer – It’s rich, dark, caramely and rather boozy. Only the Belgians could take something this heavy and fruity and put it in a champagne style bottle then stick a picture of a dwarf replete with tartan trousers and a jaunty red cap on the label. Apparently, it is actually an elf and it appears because elves and goblins most well-known characters in myths and legends of the Ardennes, where the brewery is based. Ahh, that’s nice.

Needless anecdote…

As I poured my drink I looked out the window at the watery sun hanging low in the sky. If Bond and Poirot were friends what would they talk about….

The pianist gently teased the keys of the baby grand piano. Her soft notes seemed to enhance the feeling of opulence that defines the Bar Car on the Orient Express; a place where a decadent cocktail is but a polite cough away.

They made for a strange pairing at the bar. A slab of prime Scottish beef in shrink-wrapped tuxedo perched next to a constipated penguin.

“Why the lengthy face, James?” enquired Monsieur Poirot.

“I just don’t understand them, Hercule.”

“Ah, the eternal mystery, James, and one, perhaps, we shall never solve. Now what has Mademoiselle Galore done this time?”

“Pusshy has run off with a chap, and a dwarf at that. The name’s McChouffe.”

“Oh, that is not cricket. Mon ami, would you care for a drink? Garcon!”

“Oui monsieur?”

“One Creme de Menthe, and a Vodka Martini for my British friend.”

“Hercule, this is no time for a friggin’ cocktail. I need something comforting. Waiter, do you have good, honest Scotch ale, one from Edinburgh perhaps?

“Oui monsieur.”

“Hercule, will you join me in sampling possibly the city of Edinburgh’s finest export?”

“How do you say? It would be rude not to!”

The Waiter returns.

“Get yer laughing gear round this, Hercule.” growled Bond as he puckered up to take that first, unforgettable sip.

“Laughing gear, James?”

“Yer kisser, yer gob, or your boosh as you would say, Hercule.”

“Bou-che, James! Now tell me about this Scottish dwarf fellow Ms Galore has absconded with.”

“Aye, you don’t expect that from a fellow Scotsman. He lives in your neck of the woods, Hercule, and he is known as the ‘Scotch of the Ardennes’.”

“I have heard of this fellow. A renowned intellectual, a polygot, but what does Ms Galore see in him that she did not already have in you?”

“Je ne sais quoi is the label Pusshy put on it.”

“Oui, that certain something, I have heard it said of him.”

“Let’s not talk about his ‘certain something’ which Pusshy informs me is about as long as a docker’s tea break.”

Bond turned away from Poirot and in doing so noticed the two blondes that had just positioned themselves at the bar.

Hercule sit quietly on his stool. He must make some kind of profound statement to help his friend, he thought; something about getting back on the horse perhaps. Non, too coarse. Maybe… women are like maps, easy to unfold but not so easy to fold up… merde, merde, merde cursed Hercule. He was stuck for inspiration. He took a sip of his beer. “Mmm … warm, dark, mysterious… and is that liquorice I taste?” Poirot said to nobody in particular. Bond would have replied but was now in deep conversation with the blondes.

Poirot took another long sip. A picture began to form in his mind. “Eureka!” he exclaimed as he jumped out of his seat. “For heaven’s sake, Hercule, you’ll scare the horses.” whispered Bond as he vigorously nodded his head in the direction of the blondes but Poirot was already on his feet, ready to begin. “Mon ami, on some we leave an indelible mark on their soul, to others we are just footprints in the sand…”

But Bond was lost and lost to lust at that.

“Ladies, do you want to see my PPK? I’ve got a license to kill.” said Bond, as he slid across an empty stool over to the blondes. “ladies, that is.”

This is the last blog before we go to Flanders. I’m just about to catch the train now. Bye.

Posted in: Beer, Cycling