The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS








We were firmly instructed to meet  at The Gallaghers Quarry, Hermitage Lane at 1.30pm and everyone was there

on time to get kitted out in high-viz jacket and hard hat and on the coach provided.


For lovers of broken up pieces of Kentish Ragstone the details of the quarry are below......


We were then driven down into the massive quarry to stand and watch the 2.30p.m blast and learn at the feet of quarry-master Ian.
He certainly knows his stuff, because at 2.30 there was a muffled roar and several thousand tons of crap slumped into a loose pile.

Seconds later several massive machines rumbled past to scoop up said crap and squirrel off with to God knows where,

actually to another part of the quarry to which we were shortly to become acquainted.


Once we had seen the blast it was time to see the other parts of "Quarry-World". Pat Gallagher's answer to "Digger-land".

And most impressive it was too.  A well oiled, if slightly dusty, machine turning the aforesaid crap into regular and ordered piles of everything from

the type of small gravel that costs 20 a sack at B&Q, up to massive rocks big enough to bury a GASS member under.



Here are some shots of the actual event....



First of all the blast, obviously it would have been more impressive from much closer,

but apparently there are rules, health & safety gone mad if you ask me!





Next was the obligatory group shot.

Hugh told us all to fold our arms to look hard, and it worked, for those that folded their arms.

Gary took a more effeminate approach with the arm draped round Ian in a loving way.

Andy's hat blew off.





The next stop was on high ground where we could see the quarry processing the stone from the blast. most impressive!





The finally the shop.  Everywhere has a shop at the exit where you buy souvenirs.

The quarry was no exception to that rule and here you can see Brian standing on top of his purchase.

A five ton slab of Ragstone destined to be his headstone in 30 years time.

So this shot is of Brian standing on top of the headstone, the next time you see that headstone the situation will be reversed!






After the tour we returned to the Quarry car park for our introduction to the TESLA model S

Hugh has arranged for two cars to be there for us to test drive, as in actually drive them.

Sadly due to an accident there was only one car, but it was lovely to behold.

An all electric, top of the range, luxury car with every possible extra.




So obviously we needed a beer before we could appreciate it.

Instead of using the quarry as the base for test drives we decided to make the base the car park out the back of The Hengist, just yards from the bar.

Mark and Lester, the guys from Tesla, were great, they managed to take 23 people for test drives right up until the car had just 19 miles of charge left.


Don't forget this is no hybrid, it is 100% electric, 350 miles range, and all used up.

Did this worry Lester, the hell it did, he simply planned to drive the 19 miles to Clacketts Lane Services and charge the thing in under an hour.

(for all we know he is still parked by the side of the M20 at West Malling, but at least he had confidence).


The other issues he had to contend with were the TWO accidents on the test drive, yes, TWO.

Quarry-Master Ian managed to clip the wing mirror against an oncoming horsebox, and guest Rob managed to kerb the wheel and rip the tyre.

Any guesses on costs?  Lester was too polite to say.  Guesstimate:  Wing Mirror = 150, Wheel = 500, Tyre = 300, a grand in total?

Why Lester was still smiling when he left is anybodies guess, if it was mine I would have been weeping - and I drive a shit Discovery!




See the wonderful car right here....



After the test drive it is off for DINNER at the newly re-opened HENGIST in Aylesford.


Ian had agreed the excellent price of 17 a head for dinner, so with no charge by the Quarry for the visit,

just the coach to pay for,  this was looking like a cheap meeting, 

that was until the CHEESE!


During the meal (which I remind you was just 17 a head) the MD noticed plates of cheese sneaking out. 

Now being a restaurateur by profession he knows just how much gets loaded on the price of cheese, so he politely requested a halt to the cheese epidemic.

This was in the interests of the GASS budget, not simply because he hates mice.

Sadly, he was ignored - another flurry of cheese boards arrived.


FINAL MEAL COST (and remember this was 23 at 17) = 1208!


CHEESE  =  152

NUTS  =  24

BEER  =  136

FOOD  =  391

WINES  =  505


Thus making this the most expensive meeting since FLYBOARDING!


The main loser was poor Tony, he had his son Rob as a guest.  Had Tony had the sense to pay the guest fee on arrival he would probably have got away with 40.

As it is the cost of the whole meeting was 1358, divided by 23 is 59, so cough up Tone!




On a sober note, we don't actually know how much we have in funds (Ron does but he won't say) so we will have to slot in a real cheepy.

This will be in July as we have another expensive one in August, Penny Farthings and dinner at The Castle Club.

The likelihood is this will be PILLOW FIGHTING so we need a pub with a garden and a tolerant landlord.

We will have two beer barrels, a plank and two pillows.  Fight to the death.



Under the official "Share the meetings Fairly" policy this would be held in either Maidstone or Sittingbourne, so somewhere in-between would be good.

Any pub suggestions welcome.