Saturday, March 31, 2007

The London Drinker 2007

Hey folks, just back from a sneaky lunchtime sojourn to the London Drinker Beer Festival at St Pancras. Managed to slam down a good six half pints and a couple of snags in bread while I was there. Got some photos of proceedings here.

Fashion in the beer hall: You hafta love the CAMRA lots of holsters hanging off your belt look..see illustration.

A CAMRA festival is a true rite of passage for anybody in the UK.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My work birthday card

A classic. Just had to share.

A Snowdonic Odyssey.

Katie and I trekked off to NW Wales last weekend. We stayed at Mount Garmon View, a very good B&B (room 8/10, breakfast 6/ black pudding!) in Betws Y Coed, the accomodation centre of the Snowdonia district. Whilst we didn't do much trekking on Shanks' Pony, we certainly covered a fair few miles in the faithful Peugeot and checked out a shedload of stuff, eg a Slate Mine (interesting, but a bit twee), Conwy Castle (amazingly well preserved...crazy castle, crazy tour guide) and The Snowdonia Valley (spectacular). Not to mention the former Butlins Holiday Camp at Pwellhi where Dad was a Redcoat in the sixties. It's now an onsite caravan park.

As it was my birthday on Sunday, we went out for a slap up feast of Welsh fare at Bistro Betwys Y Coed. Some delicious lamb (see illustration) was the order of the night.

And, extra bonus, the weather was beaut!

Oh yeah, the cheese! Discovered a cheddar called "Black Bomber", which is the absolute don of cheddars....creamy but still very sharp. Haven't been able to find it in London yet. Also a mouldy soft one that the deli owner tried to stop me buying. I dug it, Katie wouldn't let it stay in the room, and it rotted the greaseproof paper it was wrapped in. Awesome!

Some pics of our adventures can be found here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The potential tragedy for John Howard

By Michael Field:

"To understand why John Howard could become a figure of tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, his life story needs to be understood. The Liberal Party has been John Howard’s life. He joined the party about the time of his eighteenth birthday in 1957, and so he will have his 50th anniversary this year. The best indication of his commitment and that of his mother was an action taken by them in 1968 when he was still living at home. Howard was endorsed as the candidate for the state seat of Drummoyne. In order to enhance his chances, his mother sold the family home in Earlwood and rented a house with him at Five Dock, a suburb within the electorate. When his bid failed, John Howard and his mother returned to Earlwood, moving together to a house in the very same street that he grew up in.........."

Read the full article on Tasmanian Times

Friday, March 16, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

Euroblather boards Greenpeace's "Arctic Sunrise"

One of the three vessels in Greenpeace's fleet, the "Arctic Sunrise" is currently in London, as a visual reminder to MP's of how they should be voting on Wednesday, when the legislation for the (seventy six BILLION POUNDS' worth of) replacement of the Trident Nuclear Missile system is being debated. The ship was boarded and impounded last week in Scotland by The Ministry of Defence, and all crew detained for a couple of days. A few days later, the Sunrise is berthed near Tower Bridge, and was welcomed by the Mayor of London, amongst others.

Anyhow, the ship was open for inspection this weekend, and I took the opp for a lazy cycle down to show my support and check the boat out. There's a few more photos here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

jarvis + ditto = temptation

Beth Ditto of The Gossip and Jarvis Cocker do a balls out version of Heaven 17's "Temptation" at the recent NME Awards in London. After she left the stage, Ditto apparently necked a bottle of whisky while standing on a table in the middle of the auditorium. The Gossip are doing a free gig at HMV on Oxford Street this afternoon. Think I may have to slope along to it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Maxine Factor

Federal Politics: The Maxine Factor By: Andrew West
Wednesday 28 February 2007

It doesn’t take much. Far from being a calm and confident — one might even say, relaxed and comfortable — leader, John Howard is often rattled by those who challenge him...............

Read the full article on the New Matilda website.

Virtual Newington Green*

Just found these mouse-controlled virtual tours of Newington Green. Our street doesn't quite make it...we are closest to the first linked view. Good to see where our council tax is being spent.....

*Watching for too long could induce nausea.

Tassie Whisky is the bollox

ONE of the world's foremost authorities on whisky has brought a Tasmanian distillery to the attention of whisky connoisseurs worldwide.

In this year's edition of his Whisky Bible, UK whisky guru Jim Murray is effusive in his praise of the Tasmania Distillery, at Cambridge.

He rated its six-year-old Sullivans Cove Bourbon Cask an impressive 95 points out of a possible 100, describing it as "sensational, truly beautiful and brilliant".

Murray said the result was the "biggest Australian comeback since Larwood and Voce taught them how to bowl", referring to England's Bodyline cricket series bowlers.

Murray tasted 3600 whiskies before rating them for the Whisky Bible, with just three Scottish whiskies rating 97 and another 25 given 96 points.

Distillery manager and part-owner Patrick Maguire said yesterday the high ranking was great news for Tasmanian whisky producers.

"There are three distilleries operating in the state and another two coming on line this year and I believe we all make excellent whisky," he said.

The Tasmania Distillery was established in 1996 by Robert Hosken and was originally located on Hobart's Gasworks site, between Macquarie and Davey Sts.

Mr Hosken later sold the distillery and it went into liquidation in 2003.

Ironically, it was the whisky made by the former owners that Murray rated so highly.

Mr Maguire's group bought the stock and plant and relocated it to Cambridge.

He said half the flavours and all the colours came from the cask.

"We use American oak casks previously filled with bourbon, or French oak casks previously filled with port," he said. Other Sullivans Cove malts were also rated highly by Murray, with the six-year-old Port Cask scoring 90 points and the Double Cask rated at 88.

Outlets that do tastings and sales of Sullivans Cove whiskies are the Barilla Restaurant, the Tasting House at Richmond, the Forest and Heritage Centre at Geeveston, the Tasmanian Scottish Centre at Ross and the Gourmet Delicatessen in Elizabeth Mall.