Sometimes someone offers up an unimportant comment or anecdote. You think little of it at the time but it subsequently proves to have a lasting and enduring impact upon your life, often without you even realising it. Albert was one of those people…
Fond memories of the old bugger were reignited the other day whilst bashing out my recent blog post… Dry January In Booze Britain? But I’m not referring to the German-born physicist here or indeed his theory of relativity, interesting as he/it may be.
The Albert I refer to, although less famous, was also just as important in many ways, at least locally. This veritable Methuselah and regular source of interesting tales amusing anecdotes and advice, be they requested or proffered without warning was a veteran. Someone who had been through two World Wars and actually lived to tell the tale. The archetypal ‘Old Soldier’, Albert was a widower and had no family. His sole enjoyment was his daily trip to the pub. A couple of hours each day where he could sit and read his newspaper, or chat with other people of varying different ages.
Albert was one of those people who’s wrinkled face often proved to be the route-map to an infinite source of information, history and experience. Despite his advancing years, failing eyesight and dubious health, he was still mentally bright as a button. A regular customer at my Father’s public house in Skipton and at the time, I couldn’t really imagine knowing anyone any older than Albert. Being a veteran of two world wars I expect Albert witnessed and was involved in many situations that most of us would find hard to cope with but, you never heard him complain about anything, let alone the wars. I hope you’re getting a clear picture of this wily old character.
So what was Albert’s morsel of lifelong enlightenment? It was a reply he offered when he was asked why he always drank half pints of beer, he said… “There’s nowt clever in suppin’ ower much strong drink lad” and he was right. Drinking to excess is the root cause of so many health problems, social issues and criminal acts. It’s not big and it certainly aint clever!
Despite being a drinker who like his beer, Albert’s watchword is something that has stuck with me for life. If I ever get to that stage when I’m starting to lose my cognisance and/or physical capability, I remember Albert’s words. Thanks old chap I hope you’re at peace, wherever you may be.