dimanche 27 février 2011


I thought England were a bit lucky against the French yesterday and my euphoria after the hammering of Italy two weeks ago soon dissipated after such a promising start. It seems that gone are the days of an England steam-rollering, so reminiscent of the early 1990s.

Still, France are a much better side than Italy and just before half-time, I was saying goodbye to the Grand Slam. The England v. Ireland game should be interesting as Ireland slotted three tries in against the French. Not so sure now that the boys can win the World Cup, unless handling and discipline improve....

Even though the French may not really like les rosbifs, they're not all bad! Alsacians can certainly brew a good litre of malty lager, as well as make some of the finest, best value, white wine in France. No, it's not all sweet either! But please don't tell your neighbour! Otherwise my annual jaunts to Colmar to stock up on wine and schnapps may be wrecked by the eternal Brit abroad.

Snow forecast here next week. Woke up to a light dusting last Friday morning, but it soon melted. Thankfully, our 5 square metres of logs delivered last May aren't yet depleted. Probably, 21 days' worth left. Then the Ice Road Truckers will have safely returned to their homes and be tucked up in their nice warm beds in air-conditioned homes!

Fancy driving blind, and on ice?!? Must be mental!!!

lundi 21 février 2011


And anyway, beer is 90% water, but the next time you're waiting to order at the bar, I wouldn't mention this to your landlord if I were you! So the brewers, like the petroleum companies, are just glorified tax collectors.

A really excellent bottle - conditioned real ale - which my brother-in-law and Chef John King once described as 'like drinking anaesthetic' is Brakspear Triple. At 7.2% ABV this is a real winter warmer with generous malt and citrus hopiness to be savoured on a Friday night by a roaring fire, or, in our case, woodburner. Don't drink it on any other week night as you may not be able to do your work the next day. The cheapest I've seen it is at £2.05 in Sainsbury's but my Uncle Keefe - yes, another real ale homebrewer - tells me it's available in Morrison's for less than this. Under two quid for a pint of draught beer in a bottle? - that's what I call value!

So with all this revenue coming in from exorbitant excise duty on alcohol and fuel, why are the public finances in such dire straits?

Fighting a war on two fronts. Now that does cost dear!

dimanche 20 février 2011


Just can't believe that a pint of beer in a pub is almost £4, close to the hourly minimum wage.
No wonder, the UK's pubs are closing. But it's no better in France though some excellent bargains can be had in the French supermarkets, that is if you like Leffe and Grimbergen.

When I used to brew real ale, from barley and hops, in the 1990s in a freezing garage in Wiltshire it worked out at under 5p. a pint. Okay, so it took 8 hours, but after 8 hours I ended up with 40 pints of nectar, which at today's prices would cost £160.

So, you spend £2 to make £160 worth of real ale. That's what I call value. Watching the mashing of the malt is amazing as it looks like porridge and smells heavenly!

But don't tell any of the big brewers I said this!!

mardi 15 février 2011


I can't believe that those who cause damage to public buildings, as happened in the recent demonstrations in London over the changes to the Student Grants' system just receive a custodial sentence.

Surely, members of 'rent a mob' would think twice before wielding the hammer if they had to pay for the damage they caused.

As a person with a long-term physical disability, I was also horrified to see the police drag a young man from his wheelchair. Shades of krystal nacht?

sign of the times!

There's not much to shout about if you're a Blues (Chelsea FC) supporter. The new signing failed to move into second gear last night against neighbours Fulham. Wonder if he's related to Miguel Torres, who produces some truly excellent wine in the Penedés region of Spain?

For those who endured it on Sky Sports, perhaps you'll hope that you never hear Glenn Hoddle's mundane platitudes again. Bring on Motty!!! At least the Hammers secured the Olympic Stadium as their home ground from 2014. My late Grandfather would have been pleased as is my brewing dynasty friend, Chris from Oakhill! Scandalous to have allowed Spurs to go in with the bulldozers. Did you retaliate also when you heard his lordship on BBC Breakfast tv last week with the cry of , ' Shut up Sugar!'

Raining in France/ Switzerland today. Colder weather on the way for the end of the week! They had to make the snow for the Wrorld Skiing Championships, which were held near here last week. Is there yet a sting in the tail of the global warming myth?