To begin at the beginning:
The Royal Navy dispensed rum to their crews for over 300 years. Affectionately nicknamed "Nelson's Blood", the daily tot of two gills (half-a-pint) was an essential aid to crew morale.
And the BBC tells us:
"The British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson is famous for the line, 'England expects every man to do his duty'.
[He was} mortally wounded at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, ... .
Ships travelled slowly in the great days of sail; so legend has it that, after he died at sea, he had to be brought back to London in a barrel, his body preserved with Royal Navy Rum. Some say he was more likely preserved using Gin or Brandy, but that ruins the story.
By the time the barrel reached London, the rum was gone. As he was transferred with all due ceremony from one ship to the next on his way back to land, the sailors all had to have a little bit of the rum... along with a little bit of Nelson's Blood.
Since then, any rum or grog, and Pusser's rum in particular, have all been known as Nelson's Blood. However, there is a drink ... served in the British Virgin Isles (and probably elsewhere) that has been given the name as well. "
And, apparently, the Nelson Brewery at Chatham Dockyard in Kent, also brews its own "Nelson's Blood Extra", at 7.1% ABV
Which brings us to another Little Egypt sob story.
As the author would have it:
"It is a tale of bravery, fortitude and outright drunkeness."
So here goes.
What happened on the Night of the Pimm's and Nelson's Blood.
The night in question was the 8th June, and it was one of those really heavy, sticky and balmy summer evenings. The type of evening where just pressing a button on the TV remote control broke you out in a sweat. And so it was, that evening was Practice Night and there was Euro 2004 footie on the telly.
I thought that the troops might need some refreshment to encourage them in their efforts, so I provided a bottle of Pimm's and a drop of lemonade. Well, the Pimm's was good, it was too hot to dance and Squire ran out of enthusiasm and adjourned us to the pub early.
That was the first night that Ian and Jackie had got Nelson's Blood Extra on tap, and at 7.1% ABV we were not going to let a chance like that go to waste. We sat outside quaffing and then two remarkable things happened.
Firstly it was suddenly half past midnight, and secondly, Squire, NuNu, Cleverdon and I couldn't stand - we must have lost a leg each, just like Nelson.
Ed's note: Actually, I thought it was an eye and an ARM, but why spoil some good story telling?
The next day, I tried to send out an e-mail about new orders for hats but couldn't focus on the computer screen until lunchtime.
Squire told me his head fell off when his alarm went off at 0610 hours, NuNu made it to work - just,
and both Mrs Squire and Cleverdon threw sickies.
Ed's note: I think that last bit is just thrown in for dramatic effect.
I wouldn't believe it.
Er, just a minute ...
Yes: I would.
What did we learn from that evening of revelry? Don't have a Practice Night when it is too hot to dance.
Thank You, Mr M. Dancer. Your secrets are safe in our hands. I'm just surprised Jukes wasn't there as well ...