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CARLOW - LONDON TRIP (16-22 May 2005)

Introduction: a tale of star-crossed lovers.


He was an aged hero from a war long past. She was a much younger woman looking for...well, that's not for us to say, now is it? He called her "Missy;" she called him "Angus," for that was his name.

Their paths crossed in the most unexpected of places and the chemistry was immediate. But could their torrid May-December romance survive in a cold, hard world perhaps not quite ready for such as they?

Some suggest the answer lies in the photo on the wall behind them. For now, I can only promise the photo's secrets will be revealed, along with much more, as the account of Your Humble Scribe's recent sojourn to Carlow, Ireland and London, England unfolds.

Ah, the tales I have to tell...

Tales of someone known and beloved to us all who went tumbling ass-over-tea kettle down a muddy hillside in St. Mullins Cemetery in Co. Carlow to heap humiliation upon himself.

Tales of a man who claims to have 400,000, yes, 400,000, "beer artifacts" in his home and is most certainly the sort of man you'd believe entirely capable of such a thing.

Tales of double-decker busses in the rain, of wandering the late night streets of SoHo with a man in a pin-stripe suit, of superb beer and immortal art and of, almost but not quite, Paris.

All that, plus the one and only (real) Michael Jackson defending American beers and the sordid tale of how Mr. Kerry J. Byrne, founder and president of the Byrne Foundation for the Advancement of Beer, Football, Wild Game and the American Way (whatever), was caught outright in a heinous and unprovoked theft of (what else?) beer and thus brought shame upon us all.

Did I mention the high-ranking member of the Conservative Party in the House of Parliament who partied with us all night (except when he was sleeping)?

The truth shall set you free...and the parts I've, um, "enhanced" (it's the Irish way) ain't half bad either.

Promise.

The gang.


Our six-day trip was under the aegis of the wonderful folks at Distinguished Brands International. That's the traveling party-plus in the photo above, which was taken on the members' terrace outside the House of Parliament on the afternoon of Friday May 20. The photo is a scan rather than a jpg so it's naturally dark and I've left it that way so you can see the giant London Eye ferris wheel which towers over the city in the upper right corner.

The three people in the center are, (left to right) Fuller's PR manager Georgina Wald; Nigel Evans, MP, vice-chairman, Conservative Party, and Fuller's North American export manager Stamford Galsworthy. The rest of the motley crew, (left to right, front to back):

The Lovely & Talented Sheryl Barto (© 2003, Liquid Diet Online), enabler; Col. Dave Snyder, DBI; Dave Geller, sales manager, Heidelberg Distributing, Cincinnati, OH; Steve Westley, sales manager, All Star Distributing, Reading, PA; Joe O'Grady, vice-president sales, DBI; Some Guy with a Beard; Gary McGowan, Blue Badge Tour Guide, London (partially obscured); "Beer Dave" Gausepohl, sales manager, Bryant Distributing, Owensburg, KY; Paul Manning, sales manager, NWS Corp., Chicago, IL; Randy Cook, sales manager, Heidelberg Distributing, Cincinnati, OH; Tim Cameron, sales manager, Columbia Distributing, Seattle, WA.; Kerry Byrne, journalist; Lee McConnell (pretty much obscured; hey, she's married to Kerry, it's only logical that she's hiding, innit?); Gregg Glaser, journalist; Steve McGarry, sales manager, United Liquor, Ltd., Braintree, MA; Dave Foley, sales manager, United Liquor. Ltd., Braintree, MA

Missing from the photo: Peter Reid, editor, Modern Brewery Age.

And so it begins...
With the players in place, allow me to direct your attention to Newark International Airport, Monday, May 16, roughly 5 pm. I do believe I see a familiar face or two walking toward me...

Next: The Longest Day

2. Slip-Sliding Away

3. A Discovery in London Town

4. Parliament Days, London Nights

5. We'll Always (Almost) Have Paris

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