Pints of Innocence and Experience

Ghost walks

Innocence: That first drink


Aged 16 on holiday with my godmother,
holiday cottage with her sons, niece and brother.
‘Take the boy away from grief and memory,
a break from stacking shelves and paper delivery.’


The boys were sporty types: members of the sailing club,
And so, the women and I thought - let’s walk to the pub.
The pub was on the water’s edge with water bright and clear;
but would I have the courage to order my first beer?


The pub, all thatched roof, flagged floors and low beams,
but I was more worried that I looked the age I seemed.
What to order? I looked along the shelf,
Knowing that I just needed confidence in myself.


Should it be a barley wine or even a Mackeson stout?
I needed to show the barman that I was in no doubt.
A bottle of brown ale would be my drink of choice
I ordered in a weak and trembling voice.


The barman didn’t give me a second glance,
I had finally managed to take my chance,
My first ever public alcoholic drink,
but what would my boyish palate think?


Would I even like this dark beer, brought up on Tizer,
my only alcoholic drink having been a crafty sip of cider?
I took one sip, rich and sweet and just couldn’t stop
and for years after enjoyed a brown ale top.


But oh, how it could have gone so wrong,
with a brew that was too strong,
which would have made my young head spin.
But that brown ale made a man of me, at the Pandora Inn.