It was on a chilly, mid-week evening this week that I found Blackpool Cricket Club unexpectedly packed.
In the downstairs lounge, fans were engrossed in a soccer match on the big screen. Upstairs, local footballers were learning first aid while, in a snug adjacent bar, there was a meeting of the Honourable Order of Bass Drinkers.
It was just as well the first-aiders were close by, as some of the Order’s older members looked shaky even before a drink.
For those who sadly don’t know of such matters, Draught Bass is the premier ale from Burton, where the best of Britain’s brewing has traditionally taken place since Victorian years.
The H.O.B.D. is an eccentric forerunner of the Campaign for Real Ale and more often meets in Manchester. However, it has a dedicated following on the Fylde.
I had strolled from Edmonds Towers in Great Marton, where She Who Knows was watching dance DVDs and home and beauty programmes on the telly.
Other gents at the meeting no doubt had still better reasons for attending, some having travelled from as far as rustic Ramsbottom and Cheshire’s salubrious suburbs.
Although the Order is sufficiently ‘with it’ for a page in Wikipedia, it is traditional in outlook. This was a men-only meeting.
However, the ladies were definitely on our minds – in the nicest and healthiest way.
During a break in proceedings, we were joined by charming representatives of the Hug In A Bag charity, which helps breast cancer patients. They were there to collect a generous cash contribution to their deserving cause.
But, also, they were a reminder of why we would all later be cheerfully returning home – after our meeting, first-aiding or soccer watching.
That is, of course, because we all need each other.
It gave one a warm feeling on a cold night – as did, naturally, our Draught Bass.
* Visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com for more and for books.