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Being a CAMRA Chairman is a mixed bag; some pleasant, some mundane and some downright like drudgery. But its my "job" - a labour of love - a calling if you like and therefore not one that I expect great plaudits for. Of course small things mean a lot when they do occur.

There is a lot of talk about how the trade resent CAMRA to varying degrees. That may be so in some places, but as my branch has never been swayed by freebies (rarely even offered any) and seems to have good relationships with our publicans, maybe we are doing something right. Those publicans that actually care about beer and what they do with it and want to keep their businesses vibrant seem to like us. I am struck particularly by the number of requests I am getting lately for advice. It seems that real ale, cask conditioned beer, is a must have to drive business for a lot of publicans and equally there are a lot of good pubs that have fallen from grace by a series of bad luck or incompetence, or more often, due to the greedy Pub Companies that are now ending up in the hands of people with some nous and less debt round their necks. I have two such cases on my books at present.

Thus it was yesterday I went to a pub beer festival that I had given some advice on. The pub landlady had thought it through too, choosing the Royal Wedding Day to launch it and then with beer to sell, had worked out in advance that the local home team would fill the pub today and live football would help tomorrow. Coupled with good advertising, banners outside, local press coverage and CAMRA advice and with Bank Holiday Monday to finish it all off, Bob should be your parents sibling. I certainly hope so, as she has done all the right things. It was also good to talk about the future and her determination to get the pub back to its glory days. She saw CAMRA to be key in this, which is the gratifying bit I referred to earlier. It is always good to work with people that actually care about what they do and of course, to be appreciated.

Another interesting snippet I picked up was how supportive Punch Taverns had been. They had allowed her to buy out of the tie to get interesting local beers in for the festival and would work with her to make things better in the future. A light at the end of the tunnel perhaps? Let's hope so.

So, a good day "work" wise. Nice when that happens.

A neat touch was the open cellar where you could view the cask beers being prepared and see how clean it all is. Great call that.