The Brits and their beers

I hadn’t intended to blog about the annual Bournemouth Beer Festival at all because I had agreed to go to it in a moment of distraction (while I was busy writing an essay or something).

Beer isn’t my thing.

In fact, drinking isn’t my thing. I don’t mean just alcohol. I mean the act of drinking any liquid at all. I am seldom thirsty and I don’t really enjoy drinking liquids when not thirsty because it’s unpleasant. (Like maybe trying to stuff a huge hamburger down your throat when you haven’t got an appetite.)

I do enjoy drinking tasty beverages when I’m thirsty or when I’m eating food at the same time, but drinking just by itself is a chore. Well, I can’t explain it adequately without veering off the point of this post, so you may just put this down on your ever-growing “Sheylara is weird” list.




The point of today’s post is something incomprehensible.

The beer festival was to start at 6:30 pm, so Piers’ friends had arranged to meet at a nearby bar at 6 pm, the reason being that they wanted to have a beer while waiting for the beer festival to start.


This makes as much sense to me as someone, say, making a quick stop at McDonald’s half an hour before going to a buffet dinner. (Keeping in mind that the purpose of the beer festival is for people to drink as much beer as possible from a selection of 200 types of beer, within five hours.)


Sheylara and Piers


After being in England for a year, I have concluded that the Brits have an internal trigger that shuts down common sense whenever the word beer is mentioned.

Still, they are very lovable people. Despite the fact that beer isn’t my thing, (and also risking the ire of my orthodontist because my Invisalign aligners were sitting in my handbag instead of on my teeth for the whole five hours), I did enjoy myself very much.

It costs £5.50 to attend the beer festival. For that price, you get a beer glass (which you can take home), a beer guide and £1.50 worth of beer. The beers cost £1.50, £2 or £2.50 for half a pint.


Bournemouth Beer Festival 2012


You basically use your own glass all night and keep going to the counter to refill your glass after choosing the beer you want.

Because there are 200 beer descriptions in the beer guide, Piers couldn’t be bothered to read them. He was going to choose his beers randomly, so I offered to choose for him, which meant I got to taste more of the ones I wanted to try! And, if I didn’t like mine, I would swap with him! Haha.

The first beer I tried was called Blueberry Classic Bitter. It’s award-winning and I liked it, the word “like” being used very loosely here since I am not a beer person. You can smell blueberries when drinking it and the aftertaste it leaves is blueberries!




But the highlight of my night was actually the pasty which cost a cutthroat price of £3.50. But I would have bought another if I had room left in my stomach. It was so tasty, like a giant curry puff, and actually as filling as a full meal.

I enjoyed it so much that I had Piers buy us pasties for lunch today. Now I’m convinced that they are very, very filling.


Giant Curry Puff


Back to the beer fest.

Piers had two giant hot dogs which earned him a lot of flak from all his friends, none of whom ate a single thing all night.

When Piers appeared at our table with his first hot dog, his friend Jamie actually looked astounded and said, “What is this, man? This is a beer festival, not a food festival!”

I’m not sure if Jamie noticed the crowd around the snack stand all night, where people were queuing up to shell out £3.50 for a hot dog or a pasty.

I really don’t know if Piers and I are the weird ones, or his friends are. Just remember that his friends are the same people who went for pre-beer-fest beers.

(Piers and I actually didn’t go for that because I had to wait a bit for Iron Man to finish his 4-hour training so I could put Black Widow on her 4-hour training before leaving home.)

((That’s me playing Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Facebook. It’s a great game for which I willingly gave up 4 other Facebook games to play, cos it takes more time and I don’t have time to play everything.))


Marvel: Avengers Alliance


Anyway, when Piers appeared later in the night with his second hot dog (all nine inches long of it), I think his friends were quite ready to put a straitjacket on him. (But maybe they are the ones who need the straitjackets to keep them from overdosing on beer. Piers, on the other hand, just needs to be locked up in a room with his Xbox 360 so that he’ll leave me alone to play Marvel on Facebook.)

After a pint of beer and a bit, I had to change to cider for the rest of the night. There’s a small cider counter with about 20 different kinds of cider, which was lucky. They were sweet, therefore more pleasant to drink.

But I kinda wished I enjoyed beer because there were many really wicked sounding ones I wanted to try because they sounded cool or cute, such as Diablo IPL, Empire Strikes Back and Rabbit Punch. (I tried Diablo and it was horrible, like really strong and bitter.)


Beer beer beer


Like all parties, it got more fun as the night wore on and people had more beer in them. People start doing crazy things, don’t they? Such as breaking a pencil with one hand and trying to karate chop one of the halves into two again.

Here is a picture of Nick (on the right) holding out a shortened pencil in his hands and Lewis (on the left) helping Sarah perform a flying kick at the pencil.


Pencil bullying


I regret to inform viewers that a pencil was harmed during the photography.

But that’s life.

We move on from mourning the pencil to showcasing another bit of tomfoolery performed by the noteworthy Rich, whose life purpose is to prank people.

He was telling me how he had no qualms at all about walking up to a total stranger to have a chat for no reason at all, maybe to show that he’s very confident or something. Then, he proceeded to prove himself by suddenly dragging this bloke over to our table and making me pose for a photograph with him.

Apparently, he had told the bloke that I was the one who had sent Rich to get him to come over and have a photo with me. What a cheat!

Here’s Rich (on the left) and his victim, Alex, who turned out to be really nice; it was near closing and he had a whole stack of beer coupons left so he gave them all to us.




Not that anyone needed anymore beer, is my opinion.

It is probably a good thing that I don’t really enjoy beer. One can always do with fewer fattening vices in one’s life. I already have too many of such vices, as it is (cream, butter, chocolate, fried chicken…).




But I’ll probably go to the beer festival again, next year. The Brits may get really silly around beer, but I guess that makes them quite fun to be around with.

As long as they don’t come near my apartment to sing drunken songs in the middle of the night while I’m trying to sleep.


Group photo


Partying in England

I’ve been in England for about three months accumulatively and only just had my first party night out on Saturday.




That’s partly because I’ve developed an aversion to hangovers, but mostly because it’s been too cold in England to be out gallivanting in little party dresses in the middle of the night.

Even during the dead of winter, girls walk about the streets in tiny black dresses, high heels and little handbags. No coats, no scarves, no gloves. And the temperature would be about 0°C.

They would hang around in the cold, outside clubs and pubs, waiting for friends or just being seen, I don’t know.

I would see them while walking home with Piers after a late night movie. I would be bundled up in 5 layers of clothes, face hidden in a hood and scarf, and freezing, and think that the party girls must all be robots or vampires or crazy.

Seeing as it would be uncool to go to a club looking like an Eskimo, but there was no way I was going to subject myself to hypothermia otherwise, I never said yes to a night out.

Until last Saturday, that is.




Piers’ best friend’s sister’s best friend was having a farewell party because she’s going off and getting married in Scotland.

So we went out and had a party in her name but the darnedest thing was that, the entire night, I only saw her once for like half a minute because Piers doesn’t really know her that well.

It was about 10°C that night but warm indoors. I brought a coat to put on during the times we had to walk about, like getting from Club A to Club B. It was cold even then.


Sheylara and Piers


We had originally planned to eat out and then go to the party but Piers had a craving for dumplings when we went to a Korean supermarket in the evening.

We ended up getting a huge bag of groceries because he said, “Get anything you want cos we might not come back here again for some time.”

So I got tofu and and luncheon meat and rice. Yes, NORMAL rice. Fortunately, they have small bags of Thai jasmine rice in the store. We also got kimchi and raspberry wine and the dumplings.

On the way home, I said, “Where shall we go for dinner, then?”

And he said, “I don’t know. All I feel like eating now are those dumplings.”

So we went home and cooked.






Tofu with crispy pork floss and garlic


Meat dumplings


We didn’t go to the party until almost 10 pm.

It was great. I got to meet more of Piers’ friends.

And I discovered the people who had been making fun of Piers in my blog comments. Piers had suspected it was his friends but they had vehemently denied their mischief until recently.


Teasing comments



Teasing comments



Teasing comments


I find it all quite funny, though. We had suspected it was someone he knew, very likely his close friends, because it was just the kind of thing they would say to each other in real life. I think slagging your friends off for fun is a great British past-time.

So, this is them, the naughty people.


Piers' friends
(From left: Rich, me, Sarah, Piers, Jamie, Stan)


They were really nice and friendly to me but I wasn’t surprised because I’m sure Piers wouldn’t hang out with nasty people.

Yeah, but now their secret is out, they can’t make fun of Piers anonymously anymore.

The night life here is very much like in Singapore. Just a lot of drinking and dancing and yelling in each others’ ears.

Piers and I also spent half the night getting drinks because the bar was neverendingly busy and you had to wait ages to be served. We were drinking cocktails all night so finished them fast and had to keep going back for more.

It was a nice night out. But I would probably be happier partying during the summer when I don’t have to worry about hypothermia.

Maybe one day I will get used to the weather and be able to walk out into the cold practically naked like one of them robot vampire party girls.

Hard to imagine that ever happening because I so hate extreme cold, but who knows?