I apologise in advance if this year’s report is barely to do with beer.
I also apologise for not doing a CAMRGB Beer Of The Year for 2019.
The thing is, to misquote The Queen of some years ago, 2019 has been a horrible anus.
My intention was to get back in the saddle and start organising and attending events, meeting people and building the CAMRGB gang, but what has actually happened has been pretty hideous.
My relationship of fifteen years ended and I have gone from main carer for my two youngest children to only seeing them once a week.
As a result I have had to leave my family home and find digs.
My emotional and mental health have suffered as a result and for the first time in my life I started to self harm.
i was never trying to end it all, it was just a way of gaining some control in a world that seemed to be slipping from my grasp.
I have had bereavement counselling to try and come to terms with losing the contact with my children, but managed to hold onto my job.
And so I find myself nearly fifty, living as a lodger and carrying a massive personal financial debt that means I have less to live on each month than I pay in maintenance for my children.
I’m not asking for sympathy, I just need to get all of this out and you lot, whether you like it or not, are the ears that I bend.
Usually it’s about beer, good or bad or indifferent, but this year it’s about how close I have been to complete nervous breakdown.
For a few months I was on the Leicestershire NHS Crisis Team List with a hotline to a support worker should I need it.
Some of the things and people that have kept me going need to be thanked because without them I may have slipped into the abyss.
My brother Chris (@titwillars) has a been a constant source of strength and the extraordinary human being that is Stu McInlay of Yeastie Boys has proven to be a very special friend.
David Martin and Ian Brewchap, Trev Pop’n’Hops, John and Becky Art Brew, Brothers Paolo and Darren, and a whole host of others have been solid friends throughout.
And so I am looking at 2020 and hoping for better.
Or at least more stable.
An old friend of mine, a marvellous artist and musician by the name of Simon Morris, found it all too much and took his life a week before Christmas this year and though I understand why he may have made the decision that he did, what he did adds further fuel to my determination to make things better in the new decade.
And so the biggest question is this, and I want your honest answers please.
Is there any need for CAMRGB to continue with its reviews etc and if so, can you help organise events like the ones that we used to hold when all of this was fresh and new?
If this is the natural end of CAMRGB then I think that we as a gang created something very special and helped move the world of beer along, that the world of beer in the UK may not have been quite what it is without us.
However I also know that as a movement we need to know, unlike a certain other Beery organisation, when to call it a day.
Regardless of where CAMRGB or I or any of us go from here, I send you all my undying love and gratitude, my love and good wishes.
The world is fucked so please let’s at least promise to try and look after each other a little bit better.
Yours in friendship and in beer.
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