It was cold, wet and dark when I woke this morning; it turns out that this might be something to do with the fact that summer has well and truly gone. Already the advantages of longer days in northern climes at June's solstice have been negated and those southerners already have about 6 minutes more daylight1 than us. As yet another year moves into the final quarter it has suddenly made me realise how much has changed for me in the last 3 years.
It was on this day 3 years ago that I started Dave's Beer Blog. I was reminded by the author of this blog's twin, Pencil and Spoon, of the anniversary, and without Mark prodding me I'd have certainly forgotten this important date. Although there are many influences that have got me to this point in my life I, this blog is the most significant catalyst to have made it happen. It is perhaps perverse that the main reason for starting to write this blog was a frustration in having insufficient control over my own destiny. At that time I was running a pub in a remote corner of the country and had simply run out of ideas for making the business sustainable. Moreover, there was a real risk of a nervous breakdown, a relationship failure or even my physical health being severely compromised. I am now happily in the position that, although these risks are still present, far more control is achievable and I have a business that is developing without the constraints imposed by a 16th century building in an inaccessible part of Cumbria. However, I now write much less, and when I do it feels less creative which is a fact that upsets me quite a lot.
More than all of that, this blog has put me in touch with many great people. This blog has won me a nice tankard that sits on my mantle piece. I now sit on the committee of The British Guild of Beer Writers giving me an excuse to visit London far more often than I'd otherwise have reason to. Probably most importantly it has given me a significantly broader knowledge of beer, through those many people I have met, than I would otherwise have gained.
I now run a growing brewing business that is exploring new and diverse areas of the beer market. These developing and exciting prospects are unnerving many, but for us we know it is the right tack to follow. To us, to make beer that is no different to the many hundreds of others that are out there makes little sense.
8 years ago I loved good food, good pubs, drank Guinness, had a reasonably well paid job with holidays and everything. I sought to remove myself from the humdrum and pension certainty by looking for a business. I chose to buy a pub, which as it happened served a lot of cask beer. I changed from Guinness drinker to cask beer drinker to brewer and finally, mainly as a result of this blog, to fully confirmed beer geek.
The combined effect of being a little more contented about my fate, and being really quite absorbed with the task of building this brewery, reduces my time and inclination to write. Despite this I do like writing, so here's to another year of this blog and me finding the temporal flexibility and cerebral stimulus to punch the keyboard a little more often.
Meanwhile, I do hope we have a white winter again. I know you guys in the south hate the snow but up here we love it. A bright snow laden fellside is a perfect offset for the slightly shorter days compared to the grey-brown slush that clogs up the capital. Besides, the sledges just don't get out often enough.
1In the summer we get about 45 minutes more daytime than Londoners. In the middle of winter it goes the other way. Whether or not that is a good thing is a matter of perspective.