Saturday, July 11, 2015

Coming for to Carry me Home the SIBA Beer Festival....

It's very unusual for me these days but this morning I am feeling somewhat hung over. For last night I had to taste around twenty different beers. All in the name of science you understand! At the SIBA South East Beer Festival there were actually around 150 real ales and ciders, from more than fifty breweries, to choose from. So you could even argue that I was a little reserved in only trying twenty! The event is still going on as I write so there's still time for you ale fans out there to get round to the rugby club on The Slade. Leave the car at home because you will be tempted to try out lots of different beers and some are wickedly moreish and a bit on the strong side. Last night there were at least a couple of hundred people (mostly men it has to be said) in and spilling out of a large marquee about fifty yards long and lined with barrels, three deep. The organisation of this festival seems to get better every year. One of the Tonbridge Juddians, who run the bar, advised that I only try about six tasters before deciding which one to commit to and supp. I'm afraid that I didn't take heed of this advice but elected instead to try as many as I fancied before eventually saying enough! These were my faves:

Top of the list has to be Flack Manor Brewery's Flack Catcher which is described in the blurb as golden ale, honey citrus aroma, zesty marmalade taste. That about sums it up for you did get a tang of all of those flavours. Absolute nectar I'd say.

Others were Hedge Hop by Flack Manor again, Plateau by Burning Sky Brewery; Thirty Three by Brighton Bier; N7 and N1 were proving very popular from Hammerton Brewery. So much so that the N1 ran out. Hopdaemon always manage to impress and this year I enjoyed a taste of Golden Braid and Incubus. Our very own Tonbridge Brewery again pulled off a beaut with Union Pale, somewhat stronger than the ones I usually favour but this was really lovely in all its golden, grapefruity, biscuitiness.

I love some of the cheeky and macho names of these ales like Hopspur, Naked Ladies and Iron Duke but was surprised to see that there aren't many real rugger bugger type ones. So I've suggested a few of my own. I've already applied for the trade marks so no copy cats please!

Sweet Chariot should be one for definite; then there could be Zulu Warrior and of course the stronger version Zulu Chief and then the most potent of all Carry Me Home!...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Say OXI to Gatwick expansion!

It was interesting reading some of the letters in last weekend's Courier newspaper about the opposition to expansion of Gatwick Airport. I for one have definitely noticed that the air traffic seems to have increased considerably over Tonbridge in recent years. As I lay in bed last night about 11-30, an early night for me, I heard at least six aircraft fly over low enough to be a sound nuisance by any sensible measure. Could this have been that they were all stacking up to get in before a midnight curfew? Possibly. But the fact remains that it has become a problem for the area.
The loudest voices in the local paper last week were those who lived in villages such as Hever who have, according to them, had more than their fair share due to the narrowing of the flight paths being a condition of the proposed second run way (still a strong possibility by all accounts, despite the knock back that Gatwick had with last week's decision.) This operational strategy seems sensible at first glance but not so much if you happen to be one of those houses right on the narrow flight path. For them I can only imagine it to be a bit of a nightmare and that's putting it mildly. Say you'd bought a dream house in the country 30 years ago and now you can't sit in your garden for more than four minutes without another super sonic jet coming in low for its landing approach. Not much fun and who'd want to buy that house when the time comes to sell up? So it's already a big problem for many and it effects the rest of us greatly as well. If the expansion goes ahead we might as well all move to Crawley! Actually Oxi to that, thanks.
One more thing as well. I do still have one burning question which must be resolved quickly: How the heck do you pronounce Oxi anyway?!

Comments please.....

What's happening in Tonbridge?

Well the Carnival went well enough. No pictures this year but if you scroll down for previous years they'll be much the same! Anyway, lots happening in Tonbridge at the moment. Summer has acumen in as they nearly say. I'm twittering/tweeting a fair bit and leaving posts on various newspaper web sites and still writing the My Shout page in the Tonbridge Town Crier magazine but, I do admit, I've ran out of steam a bit on this blog. Perhaps I need a holiday in Cornwall (other counties and countries are available) to recharge me batteries.
The window displays at Mr. Books continue to be praised by many passers by. We have a Teddy Bears picnic and summer garden scene at the moment if you haven't seen it. The Tonbridge Through Ten Centuries book continues to sell well and has been a great stimulus to trade in general for the shop. I wish the Historical Society would bring one out every month and then I wouldn't have to do anything else. 600 sold to date by Mr. Books and about 1,500 sold in total at the last count. At a tenner a pop, as the Americans say, you do the math!
I've been keeping fit largely by cycling and have been rediscovering the beautiful Kent countryside hereabouts. I even managed to cycle up Toys Hill a couple of weeks back. Okay it's not quite the Alps but have a go and you'll soon find out how your lungs are tightened.
Our new MP, Mr Tugenhat, almost unprompted, has offered to come to the shop for a brief visit and photo session which can only help business, unless of course you happen to be a Labour or Liberal supporter and the it might put you off. I'm happy to be a Tory supporter even if it's only for about ten minutes! He seems like a nice clean cut sort of chap, in fact I quite like the cut of his jib, and after all he does represent all of us including those in Tonbridge who didn't vote for him.
Always happy to hear views and comments especially from new readers....