Not Christmas Shopping with Nutbrook Brewery

It was cold. So cold that the Salvation Army band turned steel-blue and were accompanied by the Brass Monkey Eunuch Choir. I was supposed to be shopping for lunch, or tea, or supper, or presents. But as the photo belies, I was in a man-crèche.

The Derby Christmas Market is a fairly low-key affair. Someone nicked the festive lights and we've been left with the last-turkey-in-the-shop ones that even a third-rate shopping centre would turn down. The stalls are heavy on hats and light on anything else. But at least we had beer and pork.

Local brewers Nutbrook had what can only be described as a chalet, installed by the Useless Fountain in the Market Place. With these features in no particular order; a bar serving cask beer, a fan heater, a seat near the fan heater. And they were next door to fellow Oakfield Farm dwellers, um, Oakfield Farm who were selling big fat roast pork cobs with apple sauce and stuffing. And pizzas. Freshly made pizzas. Like chocolate pizza.

I've popped in a few times this week and today managed to lose two hours whilst slowly supping Nutbrook's sublime stout, Midnight. The Sally's brass section whipped through familiar Christmas favourites, head brewer Chris whisked up a brisk trade in gift packs and a succession of hen-pecked husbands gave me dagger-like stares as I read the paper and had another pint whilst they were corralled away into another consumer hellhole.

Not Christmas Shopping is a long-held tradition of mine. Rarely has it been as enjoyable as this, mind.