Visit the Student Brewer site

I've recently been musing a lot about the past couple of years. Throwaway comments make you stop and think: 'where has the time gone?'. How much time have I lost due to a digital screen as opposed to living real life. I posted months ago about not having time to play rugby or get on my mountain bike. I still don't - I spend more time staring into a 2" blackberry screen then I do watching my son grow up.*

What's changed over the past couple of years? I've got more unfit, more grouchy and drink more at home.** I'm not sure if these are linked, buy the repetitive nature of life has taken it's toll on me. We still haven't got a receptionist. We still haven't got a chef. I still haven't got a brewery. We still have the same discussions. For every step forward there's a step back.

In the wider trade, the same old debates are still going. Sparkler or no sparkler? CAMRA right or wrong? The beer tie. Yawn, quite frankly. I appreciate that to some, some of these debates are extremely important. But as an example, I haven't read the Morning Advertiser website in months. If the story isn't about the tie, you can guarantee the comments will be.

Perhaps it's the time of year, but once again I find myself looking at facebook and thinking 'if I click that delete account button I'm free'. This time I'm actually going to do it. Rather than tell others about my life or comment on theirs, I'm going to go and live mine.

How far have I got in my life in 2 years? It feels like nowhere. I've learnt a lot, I can promise you that. What I've learnt a lot of, at the moment, I couldn't tell you. So I'm going to start making a few changes. I really enjoyed my time in London recently, attending an event with the British Guild of Beer Writers. I learnt a lot about beer (mainly that I really like a strong dark beer that I still can't remember the name off despite being told several times by the people I was drinking it around, and that London, as the capital city of England, dies a death at midnight). I'm keen to get into brewing, to explore the science around it - I find it fascinating that such seemingly innocuous variables can make such a difference to the finished product.

I think I've developed as a manager. I'm certainly more aware that different people have different ways of seeing things, and to get the best out of your staff you have to be flexible in teaching and directing. That's not to say that some days I don't have an overwhelming urge to bang my head against the wall.

But I want to end by sharing a fantastic story I read last week. I'm sure it's been doing the rounds for years but I hadn't heard it before. It gave me a clear idea of where I want to get to:

A visiting dignitary approached the man sweeping the floor at NASA.

'What is it that you do around here?' asked the official

'Sir - I'm helping to put a man on the moon' came the reply

Whether true or not, or how twisted from the original I've got it, it's a lovely sentiment.


*By the way this isn't neglect - he's in nursery 5 days a week and gets home around 6ish, by which time I'm back in work.

**As in I rarely used to, and if I did it was just a bottle of ale. Now I find myself as often as once a week having a beer at the pub and taking advantage of the take-home cartons.