Here is the tale of how I was dealt a knock-out blow by five Bishops Fingers at the Bishops Finger pub in London.
But before I get on to that, let me just get some preliminaries out the way first.
The pub is located near to several others in a small quaint corner close to Smithfield Market.
As is the case with many a Shepherd Neamepub, it’s well maintained and decked out in the brewery’s colours of red, cream and navy blue.
The walls are lined with pictures of bygone times and the pub is tidy with a traditional feel. There is an upstairs dining area which can be reserved for private functions and on this occasion a Father Christmas convention was in full flow.
But there is a backdrop to how a simple night out turned to disaster.
The last few months have been huge on the booze front.
I’ve had weddings to attend, numerous stag parties, milestone birthdays, trips abroad, oh, and I lost my job, which meant spending a lot of time in the boozer wondering where it all went wrong.
Along the way I’ve got wrecked in Reykjavik, mullered in Madrid and hammered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Yep, there really have been some right old boozathons.
A Saturday in York was the biggest booze-up, I think, with 15 hours of drinking.
However, it was a seemingly innocuous five-pint haul of Shepherd Neame’s Bishops Finger alewhich left me feeling a bit green around the gills.
There’s nothing wrong with the ale of course, it’s a tasty tipple and, sadly for me, a rare treat. But, it was my schoolboy approach to the evening which brought about my downfall.
No, I don’t mean I walked to the pub with a satchel on my back wearing a baggy jumper, a pair of shorts, a plaster on my knee with socks around my ankles and scuffed shoes, it wasn’t that kind of schoolboy approach. It had more to do with the build-up to this pre-Christmas sozzle session.
I made the classic mistake of not having anything to eat prior to hitting the boozer, but even so, I’d expect to come out of a relatively quiet night’s drinking unscathed.
But, there were two other contributing factors; I was suffering with a heavy cold and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I chose to get lashed on an ale which weighs in at 5.4%.
The result was carnage.
The following morning I awoke to find my bedroom spinning out of control. I couldn’t even face my regulation morning cup of coffee. I staggered over to my favourite armchair like a Neanderthal and sat, slumped, moaning, groaning, huffing and puffing for the best part of an hour.
I knew I was in trouble when I started foaming at the mouth.
I thought watching the morning edition of Deal or No Deal might help take my mind off my predicament, but the snazzy shirt being worn by presenter Noel Edmonds only made me feel even more queasy.
There could only be one outcome, pass me the sick bucket. Ooops, too late…
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE BISHOPS FINGER, 9-10 West Smithfield, Barbican, London,
ATMOSPHERE: *** Fairly busy with an early evening crowd all avoiding their Christmas shopping. If in doubt, hit the booze…that’s my motto.
DECOR: **** Classy and traditional.
SERVICE: **** Pleasant and efficient barmaid.
SELECTION: **** The usual array of Sheperd Neame ales including Spitfire,Master Brew and, of course, Bishop’s Finger.
PRICE: ** I’m not being a Scrooge, but £3.95 is flippin’ expensive.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: It can be difficult to get a table once a few punters turn up.