On Saturday I added another weapon to my armoury as a "beer ambassador" when I undertook my first engagement as an after dinner speaker.
I had been asked to speak at the annual dinner of The Old Cryptians Club, London branch. The Old Cryptians are a school old boys club from The Crypt School, Gloucester, one of the country's leading grammar schools. The request was for a talk on the historic pubs of London and I was delighted to be asked to do it.
I was able to start the talk with some general campaigning about CAMRA, its history and about pub heritage and protection.
As the dinner was held at The George in Southwark, that was a good starting point on a hypothetical crawl around some of London's historic pubs. In the next 20 minutes I then took the room to The Princess Louise, The Red Lion, St James and The Black Friar briefly discussing each pub's history and describing its notable features.
I kept within my time slot - unlike the headmaster who followed with tales of Ofsted inspections - and I think most of the room heard enough to want to visit one or two of the pubs mentioned.
I was able to give a plug to the two CAMRA books on the subject, Bob Steel's, London Pub Walks and Geoff Brandwood/Jane Jephcote's London Heritage Pubs and also handed out copies of London Drinker magazine together with a handout of the pubs' addresses etc.
Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable evening, in good company with good food and beer.