Danny’s Christmas Blog!

Xmas opening hours

We will continue with our current opening hours of Monday 9-5, Tuesday-Thursday 9-1, Friday 9-5, Saturday 10-1 until and including Thursday 24th December. We will then be CLOSED from Friday 25th-Sunday 3rd January. Back to normal hours from Monday 4th Jan.*

  • If  you are desperate for beer when we are closed, Martin has said that his mobile will be on (07766558215), with huge orders welcomed!!

Hello all and welcome to my Christmas blog. When I was writing blogs in late spring and early summer I, like everyone else in the UK, hoped that we would be getting some sort of normality back in our lives. I hoped that the pandemic would be contained and we would be approaching the festive season full of hope, and looking forward to a Christmas surrounded by those we love(and some distant relatives that we can just about endure for an hour and a mince pie, before showing them the door, waving them off and shouting ‘see you soon’. You know full well that you won’t, and that is how it should be! There’s a reason you don’t see them, you don’t like them!)Bah, humbug!

Anyway, recent news has been dominated by the emergence of several vaccines to combat this awful virus, and whilst it is clearly not going to rid us immediately of covid it is hoped that in a few months time, we can return to the lives we had in early March.

So what’s been happening…..

The roaming panther

Since the last update, we have continued to provide you with the liquid nourishment needed to get through yet more ‘Cash in the Attic’ repeats. Our online and phone orders have continued to be a lifeline for us through these troubled uncertain times. When I appear in the Panthermobile and approach the door carrying your essential supplies the look of relief on your faces is something to behold! After a brief hello and ‘enjoy your beers’ I vanish into the distance to bring more malty, hoppy pleasure to another Panther fan! I’m not sure why I normally say enjoy your beers, you clearly will and hence why you have bought them! Some of you enjoy them a little too much….i swear I heard a bottle cap coming off before I had got back in the van last week!!! A common household conversation during these times has been ‘is it too early to have a beer?’ Normally, we all try and put it off until early evening or it gets dark. The good news now is it gets dark so early!!!(Please drink responsibly!)

The arrival of the Panthermobile is usually met with happy customers and smiles from the general public. However, on a recent trip to pop some beer into the brilliant Beautiful Beers in Bury St Eds, I noticed that my arrival there was less welcomed and quizzical looks followed me as I wheeled the supplies into the shop. As I walked through the door, Rene the South African owner greeted me with a warm hello, followed by ‘you’re brave wearing that!’. As I looked myself up and down, I couldn’t see what item of clothing he was referring to. Just before asking him who are you, Gok Wan, I realised my error. Those who have read previous blogs, would know that I am a long suffering Norwich fan…yes that’s right, I was resplendent in my newly acquired Norwich City facemask! I had entered enemy territory…Suffolk! Never has a sizeable delivery taken so little time! As you read this, you will gather that I made it back to the safety of Norfolk unharmed, aside from another couple of glares from Tractor Boys fans!

The increase in home deliveries has also resulted in a growing knowledge of some of the lesser known areas of Norfolk. Villages that previously I would have driven through to deliver to pubs and shops, I am now braking (recently fixed) and appearing on a doorstep near you!

Please continue to support us through these times, we will get through this and your loyalty is very much appreciated.

Christmas Cheer

If this was a normal year, I would never, ever grant it but this year I will! For this is not a normal year, it’s been an awful year that has brought pain and suffering to millions across the world so for this year only I am going to forgive you….you CAN put up your Christmas decorations early!!! Make them as over the top and tacky as you like, for this is a special year when we can forgive those who want to turn the front of their residence into something that Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation would be proud of. You can have as many lights as you like, threatening the National Grid for all I care. However, the caveat to this is this is a one year free pass, so use it wisely, because next year I promise to spend the month of December cussing at how early the festive season starts and why do people go to such lengths and thirdly why, once Christmas has gone, Easter eggs are on our shelves!

TV News

Television at Christmas is generally a time for continuous repeats of Morecambe and Wise, The Great Escape and Mary Poppins. However, brilliant as Eric and Ernie’s double act was, if you watch nothing else this Christmas try and catch the Festive edition of Gone Fishing as Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer lark about like giddy children on a riverbank. This one hour special sees Bob in his hometown Middlesbrough where he no doubt will continue his struggles with gravity and provide Paul with some questionable ‘heart-healthy’ meals. Their chemistry is something to behold and I find it the most uplifting and heart-warming show on television. With the emphasis very much on their bromance, and not so much on the fishing, the series has appealed to a broader spectrum of people than would have been the case( just as well as they do not exactly threaten to empty Britain’s lakes and rivers of fish with their efforts!) The excitement in Bob’s face when he does catch something though is worth the licence fee alone!

There will also be a Christmas special of one of my very favourite shows, Taskmaster. Too bonkers to explain to those that haven’t watched it before, simply tune in and allow your mind to forget the world we are in and watch celebrities make complete fools of themselves for your enjoyment.

Football news

Regular sufferers, sorry, readers of these blogs, will have gathered that football is important to me and provides much banter at the brewery. I have in recent weeks been much more willing to discuss the weekend results, in sharp contrast to last season when I would have been keener to be stuck on a desert island with Katie Hopkins than examine the latest pasting Norwich had received, as they lurched from one disastrous performance to another. This season has offered hope that Norwich could, dare I say it so early, mount a promotion challenge with a return to the elite of the Premier League distinctly possible. I fear I am getting carried away, and in a few weeks time, following losses to such footballing powerhouses as Rotherham and Wycombe I will be clinging to the hope that Norwich could scrape a play off berth! Paul, the assistant brewer is a keen Wolves fan and they continue to impress in what is proving a very unpredictable Premiership season. Annoyingly, their performances have left little room for my teasing and I am hopeful that next season Paul and I will be doing battle in the top league! Martin’s roots are from the London area and his team is Fulham, who at the time of writing are struggling a little near the bottom of the league. They appear to bear a striking resemblance to Norwich in that they are struggling in the Premier League but put them in the Championship they would be strong candidates for promotion. Discussions on their manager, and former(albeit very briefly on loan) Norwich player Scott Parker have been common, with worries expressed from my side that whilst he looks very smart, rather more time should be spent on the training pitch with his defenders than in front of his mirror deciding on which cardigan to wear. Just because you wear a cardigan it doesn’t mean you are Pep!

To finish the footy section, for those of you strange folk who dislike the beautiful game(shame on you) I wanted to mention the recent passing of Diego Armando Maradona. Viewed by many as a cheat for his ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Maradona polarised opinion, regarded as both a saint and a sinner. Those of us disgusted at his cheating could only hold our hands up and admire his second goal against England in the same match, as he pirouetted past two of our players on the half way line, and then slalomed his way through the rest of the side before sliding the ball past Shilton. He was and is my favourite player of all time, he pretty much won a World Cup on his own and for a few years was miles ahead of the rest. Strong as an ox, nimble as a ballerina, the ball seemed glued by some sort of industrial adhesive to his left foot as defenders tried to scythe him down as he danced towards them. Sadly, controversy was never far away, failed drug tests, cocaine addiction, weight problems and links to the Mafia, life for Maradona was never, ever dull. For all his many weaknesses and foibles, hopefully many will remember the joy he brought on a football pitch and forgive him his faults. No one, even Pele, has won a World Cup single-handedly(he very nearly repeated the feat in 1990). He is regarded by many, myself included, as the best there has ever been and watching archive clips of him recently evoked the same feelings they did in me as a twelve year old in 1986 when it justlooked like he was playing a different game to the rest. RIP Diego and thanks for the memories.

Social Media updates

 If you are a fan of our beers(and if you are reading my mindless waffling you must be!), please keep an eye out for our social media posts on all platforms(Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as we try and keep you up to date with goings on at Planet Panther. Recent posts include a pair of wellies and a missing assistant brewer so take a look!

 

Christmas certainties

 

Every Christmas there are certain things you can rely on. They are things that happen every year at this time and pretty much frame our festive season. There will be repeats of films and tv shows you have seen a thousand times before, you will inevitably be disappointed with most of your presents as those close to you appear to not know you at all, and finally that Aunty Jean will become a bit squiffy after her second sherry. We all have an Aunty Jean, but sadly this year it may be that she has to pour herself a sherry at home and slur at you on Facetime. Depending on your ‘bubbles’ it looks like Christmas will be a bit different this year. But please stay safe, enjoy yourselves and look forward to a brighter and healthier 2021. Cheers and raise a glass of Panther to 2021.

Danny

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