It was rather pleasant to go to Liverpool for the ferry rather than Manchester Airport for a flight and it set both me and E wondering why we hadn't gone by boat in the first place. " Time" we recalled, time, but given the mill pond nature of the trip, the speed, the CAMRA company and things like that, it was a good option. The Mannannan is a former US Navy Fast Response Ship and it flies. 28,000 hp from four massive water jet engines propelled us over the Irish Sea in just under two and a half hours.
Douglas was looking spruce and continental with its palm trees and lots of people made it despite the volcanic ash - approx 500, though I understand around 200 didn't. There was good beer to be had and even though prices were London like, it was fun. We injected a few bob into the Manx economy of course. The Villa Marina, the venue, has been refurbished and was wonderful as a location. The quality of the debate was high, with some good speakers. I had the chance to speak a few times too.
The atmosphere was friendly and constructive.
So what was passed? Motion 5 which I drew up and seconded, calling for a "fit for purpose review" of CAMRA was passed overwhelmingly, though with the word "independent" being replaced by "objective." We'll watch out for how this is intended to be progressed. There was a distinct mood of dissatisfaction about some of the issues pervading the hall and the National Executive got a few kickings, particularly over the dumbing down of What's Brewing, our newspaper, but more generally over communication. Mike Benner the CEO gave a very capable speech in which he outlined the many successes, but the feeling was these were not widely enough known or understood by either membership or trade. I believe that this was acknowledged as an issue (certainly by Mike Benner to whom I spoke at length afterwards) and I'll be pressing for action on this, hence my withdrawing motion 13.
So a successful and enjoyable weekend with beers of the trip being Bushy's Bitter, Dr. Okell's IPA and Holdens Golden Glow. Pub of the trip was Bushy's Rover's Return.
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