We caught the 10:53 to Aldershot and bar a fleeting chat with John Hopps in his smart new Lichtenstein shirt on his way to find other Loidlanders on the train, we arrived without incident and on time just before noon.
At Aldershot station we met John Grey and Rich Parker who'd managed to get down to London before the torrential rain in the north had disrupted train services between Darlo and York. Seemingly some people took over three hours to travel to York from Darlo and services back north had been suspended.
As we walked from the station to the recommended pub, the rain started to get heavier and so we were rather damp by the time we reached the White Lion.
The pub is owned by the Triple fff brewery in nearby Alton and had four of their brews on offer (after some changing of barrels - very busy the night before apparently). Normally there are a couple of guests as well but according to our friendly local, the pumps were US.
I went for a pint of Pressed Rat whilst the others all had Alton's Pride. My pint turned out to be the last of that barrel but was fine - a very nice mild with plenty of flavour.
The concensus on the Alton's Pride was that it was OK but no great shakes - we're not sure how it got to be Champion Beer of 2008 but it's preferable to GK IPA.
I moved onto the Moondance - a fresh barrel - and this was the best pint of the day despite having a slight haze - similar to the Alton but hoppier and with a nice bitter edge. I stuck with it for the rest of the session.
The pub started to get a bit busier - as happens to league new boys (or returnees in this case), a few folk had come along to tick off Aldershot for their 92 league grounds. This included Ginge Stimson - a Colchester fan with two of his friends plus a couple of Wolves fans who were combining football and real ale to good effect.
Local DAFTS Paul Brown and Iain Swalwell dropped in too - they'd brought along their Fijian friend who was wondering why they'd brought him out in this awful weather.
All too soon it was time to leave the comfort of the pub and head onto the Recreation Ground. At least it has stopped raining...