Friday 3rd August. What on paper was a simple journey to collect some new casks and ingredients turned into an adventure of epic proportions. I say it was fun, Tom however disagrees. He will concede it was an adventure and by definition exciting but doesn’t believe that stretches to fun. You can decide for yourself.
Now, having done training to drive a minibus, it’s still been about 3 years since I’ve driven anything as big as a Transit van, but once behind the wheel of our beaten and battered hire vehicle it all came flooding back and was very comfortable. Tom’s comfort was soon disturbed by the lack of an AUX port on the stereo, but that was easily remeded by a pit stop at home on the way to pick up some CDs.
Once back on the road and heading for the M5 Tom’s horror was fully realised when the CD would not go into the stereo. The Stereo didn’t work! After a few tears and mutterings to God about why he would do such a thing to him Tom decided that the speaker on his HTC would have to suffice.
Making good time, Jane the sat nav, informed us it was time to leave the motorway. I’m not sure if we had told her we were in a large van whether she would have chosen us a different route, but the the next 30 minutes took us on what can only be described as roads suitable for rallying. Pretty views, but very bendy.
Feeling pretty impressed with my driving skills we finally arrived at what Jane confidently informed us was our destination. Now, I’ve been using a Tom Tom for long enough to know that they do not make mistakes, rather they can not be held responsible for user error. So, we are looking for a company called Brewery Plastics who manufacture plastic casks and clearly this would look like at the least a large industrial unit with a yard full of plastic products. We could not see this. So clearly we had made a mistake and were in the wrong part of a large industrial estate covered by a vague postcode. Therefore we did what any men would do and drove around aimlessly looking for unit 19 on the Urban Regeneration Park. To cut a long story short we couldn’t and ended up back where we started. Now, admitidedly it was called the Urban Regeneration Park but the only units were numbered 40 to 46 and were not the business we required. It was at this point that a chain of thought began to formulate in my brain that was not going to end well. I pulled over and looked at the large building next to the industrial units. I walked towards them and saw they were numbered, I saw unit 19, an office with the door propt open by a cask, made of plastic. I knew what was coming next and that Tom would not be impressed upon my return to the van.
Upon entering the office I was confronted by a man and woman, both on the phone and looking rather bored, but more importantly, confused to see someone in the office.It’s also worth pointing out that while there were lots of piles of paper there was not a stack of 12 new shiny plastic casks.
“Can I help you?” said the bearded man with a quizical expression.
“Yes, I’m from the Fownes Brewing Company and I’m here to collect my 12 plastic casks which I’m guessing are not here and I’m in the wrong place.” I say containing my frustration.
” You’re right, they’re not here. You need to collect them from the factory in Droitwich. You should have been told that.” was his reply not seeming anywhere near as bothered as he should have.
I should point out that at this moment I assumed error on my part but having checked all my correspondence this collection location was never mentioned or an address given. If it had I would not be relating this embarassing tale. Also, Droitwich is a damn sight closer to the brewery than Hereford which I’ve recently come to realise is the end of civilisation before entering Wales.
So, armed with an address and having to calm down an increasing irrate Tom (I am starting to understand his reluctance to accept that this day was fun as I retell the story), we decided that the next place we would visit was the ever charming and helpful folks at Charles Faram as this always puts a smile on our faces.
To be continued…