It’s a viciously cold Sunday morning here in the UK, we have had repeated flurries of snow that have failed to settle and take hold because of the easterly wind. There are a lot of wonderful things about living on the coast and especially this close to the sea, the easterly wind that blows unobstructed onto our shores is not one of them but from indoors it forms a fantastic vista as it whips the sea into such a frenzy that long strips of foam tumble along the beach.
I had a fantastic meal with Andrew and Helen on Friday, yes as odd as it is that my restaurant visits are as a threesome these days, good food, good company, we shall be repeating the experience. On returning home we carried out some taste testing on new ciders, hey what can I say it needed doing. Cider is an interesting and old debate between Andrew and Helen after Andrew moved to Strongbow and dropped the draught Blackthorn which Helen prefers. Now it turns out that neither Andrew or me actually drink or taste draught cider and so we started with a test comparing Strongbow with the new Carlsberg offering ‘Somersby’. I should have noticed the glint in Helen’s eye as we sampled the Strongbow, it is disgusting, I very much doubt it has ever seen an apple let alone had any used in its production. A taste of sweetness is followed by a chemical note and a lingering after taste of formaldehyde, this is not cider it’s chemical garbage.
At this point Helen is doing her sage knowledgeable face and saying “I told you it was rubbish” I think Andrew even conceded that the next brand debate they have should be supported by actual tasting. On to Somersby, a product recently launched to much fanfare by the mighty Carlsberg, the slightest hint of apple was detected almost ‘Strongbow with a hint of apple’ that’s a no as well absolutely revolting. We moved into the Bulmers range next, I am not a fan of their straight apple cider but nowadays I think that market is really captured by people like Aspalls and Stamford Press so its not a true reflection of their brand. Bulmers have two new varieties this year, red grape and black cherry, now each of these was a genuinely nice drink and will fly off the shelf in the summer months.
This got me thinking though, the draught cider staples of my childhood are about as artisan as cadburys dairy milk, our modern tastes expect more and I really have no idea how this is still sold except to older patrons and the traditional ‘cider and black’ crowd. There are some very good apple ciders out there but there is also a new market for adult fruit drinks and we may have finally realised that blue (a stable of the RTD market) is not a fruit, I for one am pleased about that. So our more mature tastes are seeking out real fruit names like black cherry and Forrest fruits, I hope the industry that responds is the fruit industry and not the same division of ICI chemicals that must make Strongbow.
Honourable mention to Helen for the cleanup, in the hospitality trade we often come across people that do not deserve to be shown any hospitality, in fact people that should not be allowed out of their house, whilst its all part of the job I do hope the person that did that to a toilet gets the help they need.
Many thanks to Wildcat for my new jewellery, sadly the knuckle duster arrangement is to heavy for an upper lobe piercing so will have to find its way onto eBay but the 6mm acrylic plug is proving a real challenge so that will keep me busy. For those that worry over these things the catalogue is safely in Helen’s care so out of reach to me…
In other news, technology is back on my side for the time being. I am writing this on my I Pad, my kindle is by my side and the beloved BlackBerry 9900 is safely in my pocket. The Kindle is actually pretty good, I have some 10000 books in my collection and the wonderful Calibre spent the night knocking on electronic doors and collecting meta data and cover pictures to fill any gaps, if you have an E book I thoroughly recommend Calibre. One thing that annoys me is that you can’t buy both formats, so if I have a paperback why doesn’t that entitle me to the E Book file? After all as a reader I have paid my royalties what difference does the medium make? E Books are in fact retailing a mere 50 pence below the hard copy price which hardly seems right. Commercial worries aside I love the E Book, its easy to read and you can get over the flashing as you turn pages but most importantly I have 50 books with me when I get on the train tomorrow and they weigh less than one paperback. I do like the fact though that when faced with a choice of 10000 books my colleague Andy was distraught “the kindle only holds 1100 how will I chose?” Bless him, I bet he has been running X Factor for books all weekend.
Some clarity for any of you that have heard the latest story regarding the accident, this one comes to me from Mallorca although to be fair it originates closer to home. Apparently stories abound that I upset some rather unpleasant people who took to me with iron bars and smashed my wrists up, now I actually prefer this story because it sounds very macho but sadly it has some serious flaws. The X-rays show clear compressive snaps of the ulna, you can actually see how my arms both shortened after the accident, to create this you have to absorb impact in through your hands, perhaps I could say that this was me defending myself? I hit them so hard that I broke my arms? I read a lot of books and I can’t see why somebody would want to break my wrists, if I owed you money how would I work to recover your loss? What heinous underworld crime causes you to lose your wrists? Answers on a postcard addressed to the gossips. Perhaps this is all the work of Mr(s)Smith generating a cover story to throw you off the scent when she makes her move, don’t be fooled.
One more honourable mention, to gorgeous Max, thanks for the kind words and I hope you enjoy reading, I will be checking the stats later to see how far you read.