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Well, it all happens this week. Everything has been made and installed - the stillage, bar, lights, hops. Sadly the hops have really dried up, which surprised me as I thought those in the warm bar would dry out quicker. But at least there's something up - it's not just a marquee full of beer. Although when I read that back, there's nothing wrong with a marquee full of beer anyway.

All that's left is to pick up the cooling system, kindly supplied by Wye Valley Brewery, and install it on all the beers. All that happens tomorrow - 52 beers arrive (1 of which is a pin of a Brewdog beer I'm sticking in the cellar as a thank you to all the staff). I'll be honest, I've got no back ups. All 50 (I'm presuming 1 won't clear/will be off/won't be useable) will go on sale Friday 5pm. They're all in firkins. So if everyone drinks the same 3 beers Friday night, once they're gone they're gone. I'm going to try and reserve a bit of the beers that the Ale & Food pairing requires. Seeing as it's sold out, it seems reasonable enough to ensure the beers Melissa Cole picked are still there.

I've also changed my mind on the pricing. It's still £5 to get your glass, but that includes the programme/beer list and £2 is refundable, making it a very reasonable £3 entry fee. The ales were going to range from £2.70 a pint up to the Otley O8 at £3.60, but the debate over tokens VS cash was going round in circles. So all drinks will be £3/£1.50/£1 (pint half third). Life will be easier all round. To speed things up, we'll have a change desk where customers can get £1 and 50p pieces. Because there's going to be no change given at the bar - correct money only. The reason for this is I just don't know how busy we're going to be. The weather forcast is cautiously optimistic (calm down, we are in Wales, that just means the rain might stop for 5 minutes!), and with the line up we've managed to book we could have a few hundred thirsty people turn up at once for a beer. With somewhat limited staff (about 8 per shift) service needs to be as quick as possible.

The same is true on the food front. BBQ each day and evening, selling home-made burgers and fantastic award-winning sausages from Abergavenny. The pub will be serving a simple specials menu of fish & chips, selection of sausages and mash, wild mushroom risotto and probably our steak & kidney pudding. Again, it's all in the name of speed.

Beer & Book MatchingHighlights of the festival? Well for me the having visited a couple of pubs in London with them and seen their natural banter, Tim Hampson Vs Adrian Tierney-Jones on which is better - North Vs South Wales brewing, should be extremely entertaining (no pressure gents). Friday, 8pm. On Saturday it's a bit of a tie for me - Zak Avery talking us through some more unusual styles of ale (straying slightly from Wales it has to be said - but then I struggled and failed to find an IPA on draught!). It's something I've been trying to educate myself on since learning that there is such a thing as an IIPA (google it and buy a bottle, you won't be disappointed!). Melissa will be doing her thing with the Ale & Food pairing, which stupidly I've sold all the tickets for without making sure there was a space for me. So the highlight that I'm going to make sure I'm free for is a bit of book and beer matching with Pete Brown. Since actually being able to find and buy his books, I've had my nose buried in them. It's amazing just how much of a fantastic history Britain especially has with beer. Yet when I studied the industrial revolution (9 bloody years ago) the fact that brewing was the second largest industry to cotton wasn't mentioned. At all. Similarly I now know where the phrase 'taking down a peg or two' comes from and why companies have 'brands'. So at 4pm on Saturday you'll find me taking a break for 20 minutes or so.

I keep getting asked if I'm worried about the festival. I need quite a few people to come and spend quite a bit of money to make it break even, but then it is the first year. Next the marquees would have already been paid for, for example. Given that I've already got half the line up of authors for next year, I'm not overly worried.

You'll have to excuse me, it's time to carefully take down a shed that's rotting away and repair it. I can't replace it as that would need planning permission. So every piece of wood will have to be 'repaired'. Amazing the world we live in.