Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Belloc and Beer

Since it's October (Oktoberfest) I thought that a post on beer would be appropriate. So, with a nod to our German friends (in Bavaria and Austria), here we go.

There is no doubt about it Belloc was interested in beer from both a cultural and practical perspective. More specifically he was interested in real ale and if CAMRA were to have a patron saint it should be him. Belloc went so far as to openly defend real beer in the House of Commons. On the very odd occasion when I am drinking real ale in the very reasonably priced House of Commons Strangers' Bar I  am reminded of his prescient attitude towards traditional brewing  methods.

Anyway let the great man speak for himself. Here are a few references to beer culled from The Path to Rome:

Pages 1 - 10 of 10 in book for beer.
Page 34
Those great men — Marlowe and Jonson, Shakespeare, and Spenser before him — drank beer at rising, and tamed it with a little bread. ...
Page 75
Or she would put her head in and say — “I can recommend our excellent beer. It is really preferable to this local wine.” And my neighbour, a tourist, ...
Page 98
said I. “Beer,” said she. “Anything else?” said I. “No,” said she. “Why, then, give me some of that excellent beer.” I drank this with delight, ...
Page 121
For my part, I sat silent, crippled with fatigue, trying to forget my wounded feet, drinking stoup after stoup of beer and watching the ...
Page 122
... which are so many yards and so many yards, . . .“ &c., and so forth . . exactly like a mill. I meanwhile sat on still silent, still drinking beer ...
Page 130
... we separated; I had no time to preach my full doctrine, but gave him instead a deep and misty glass of cool beer, and pledged him brotherhood, freedom, ...
Page 154
Let him (said I) drink red wine and white, good beer and mead — if he could get it — liqueurs made by monks, and, in a word, all those feeding, ...
Page 187
THE GOOD SAVAGES 187 there ordering beer for myself and for a number of peasants (who but for this would have me their butt, and even as it was found ...
Page 317
... will return to the simpler life, and there will be dogs, and beer, and catches upon ...

[and finally] -

She showed me my bed then much more kindly, and when I woke, which was long after dusk, she gave me in the living room of the hut eggs beaten up with ham, and I ate brown bread and said grace.
Then (my wine was not yet finished, but it is an abominable thing to drink your own wine in another person's house) I asked whether I could have something to drink.
'What you like,' she said.
'What have you?' said I.
'Beer,' said she.
'Anything else?' said I.
'No,' said she.
'Why, then, give me some of that excellent beer.'
I drank this with delight, paid all my bill (which was that of a labourer), and said good-night to them.

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