WENT in search of the lesser-spotted Brammy yesterday.
The Bram, you see, is a creature of habit which hates being removed from its environment.
You can't just set your clock by its movements, you can actually fill out next year's calendar, for example - June: Abergavenny Steam Rally, have only ice cream of the year while again finishing runner-up in the classic car competition with the moggy minor. August: Visit Brecon Jazz. Get in free by helping to set out chairs at the venues. Rant about how "it's not as good as it used to be" and threaten to never go again. Following year, forget about earlier rant and attend Brecon Jazz.
The Bram's world was thrown into chaos recently. His reliable drinking haunt, the Old Scroat, shut down for a month for refurbishments. The best way to refurbish the Old Scroat would be with a wrecking ball, I reckon, but the Bram sees it differently.
The annoying break of routine has left him shuffling around looking morose, trying to find a replacement establishment in which to imbibe a good, cheap pint of beer.
He's tried the Goat Major, which he was distinctly unimpressed with, and The Yard, which is too expensive and only sells a decent pint of lager. In the City Arms he was accosted by Barflies. This wasn't people acting like Micky Rourke in the film of that name, but actually flies buzzing around the bar. I reckon they just followed Bram there, but he's having none of it.
Then there is the mouldy old county club, which has good cheap beer but the atmosphere of a morgue.Last night we knew he was on the look out again, and tracked him down to the Model Inn which, he reliably informed us, was the first pub visited by Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army. Bram knows this, of course, because he was 21 at the time of the English Civil War and just happened to be drinking there were Olly and pals turned up.
When we arrive Bram is one of two people in the pub. Sat across the table from him is a terrifying drunk who is raging against the world. Bram, who is regular found in the company of madmen and ne'er-do-well's because of his habit of drinking in seedier old establishments, is sat across from him, nodding obediently like a rather grey old pet dog. He is the picture of calmness as the whirlwind across from him finally blows itself out and slinks out of the pub to head for home.
Then Bram joins myself, Withers and Becks at an adjoining table. "Nice bloke, John," he says, indicating the raving nutter who is making off down the street. "He's a bit of a fighter, though, used to be in the army (new model one, no doubt)."
As the night progresses I point out that Bram's waistline is expanding at an alarming rate. Before I know it we are in a beergut comparing contest with Withers and Becks as judges. Apparently while Bram is more rotund (to my mind he looks like he's swallowed a beachball these days) I am wider. That's just being big boned, really.
Finally, the Bram sneaks off to its nest in the wilds of Newport, and Withers and I totter off home. Too inebriated to cook, I open a bag of pretzels. Next thing I know its four in the morning and there is a pretzel mountain on the bed.