This is my original blog – all my blogs  since I started in 2009 - are here including those from The Ale Archive – all the beers I’ve sampled at home and on our travels since 2012.

Since 2012 most of our travel has involved a caravan. I now have a specific caravanning blog called (Get Your) Legs Down which documents all our trips and includes product reviews and pubs! It too is on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

521: Mordue - Radgie Gadgie

20180323_203936The Brewery: “Mordue Brewery is one of the UK’s most successful craft breweries of the last 20 years. Mordue Brewery have a history of winning national beer awards commencing with our very first ever brand, Workie Ticket, which went on to win Champion Beer of Britain shortly after we started business. We brew craft beer to the very highest standards and have done from the first day of brewing 20 years ago. We started with the express intention of brewing beer better than the beers that were available at the time. Our commitment to innovation and improvement hasn't wavered in the subsequent years - this is why we continually win awards for our new beers. This means that we are both established, yet at the cutting edge, our brewery is based just east of Newcastle and is equipped with state of the art equipment.”

The Beer: “Premium strength northern ale balancing leafy hops, berry fruit and malt.”

Reminded me of one of those ales that appear around Christmas time but that’s not a bad thing - to my palate anyway. A nice drop. 4.8% A.B.V. March 2018.

Friday, 13 April 2018

519: Dark Revolution - Elektra

20180322_170128What they say: “We use the finest floor malted grains, fresh hops and multiple strains of fresh brewers yeast and microbes. Ingredients are chosen simply for their contribution to the product rather than the effect on bottom line. Our beer is then handled as carefully as possible with the minimum of processing to create the best beer possible. We constantly strive to improve. Looking to modern peers, ancestors and our own experimentation. Beers that evolve and change over time. Embracing new ingredients, technology and innovation.”


The Beer: “Deep red colour with dominant fruit and malt aromas. Heavy late hopping with Amarillo and Citra lends a delicate orange and lemon aroma to balance the deep malt character.”

Didn’t really work for me to be honest. I found the flavours a bit confusing. having had a look at their range though I’m looking forward to further ‘research’ into Dark Revolution’s product when the opportunity arises. 4.4% A.B.V.

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh. March 2018

Monday, 9 April 2018

An Eastern Adventure Part 7

And the final part, to the relief of many no doubt! Yes, our Easter holidays getaway has come to an end. The washing machine can just be heard in-between frequent exasperated sighs as I chase letters around the keyboard in an attempt to bring you up to date with what’s been happening.

Well, in sightseeing terms - not a lot. However it’s been an eventful week or so, so here goes.

Saturday and Sunday were near total washouts weather wise. I caught up on some blog stuff while Trev did a bit of ‘house’ work. Sunday afternoon, with nothing in - well there was but neither of us was about to cook it - we ventured out for a late lunch. We lucked out at our first choice - the Kings Arms - as everyone else seemed to have the same idea. We missed out by ten minutes at our ‘local’ the Delaval Arms so ended up at the Melton Constable - which turned out to be a very very good third choice and better than our previous visit during the week.

Monday saw us drag Patsy through the Tyne Tunnel and down the A1 to Yorkshire. The weather improved a little as we went but it was nigh on freezing packing up and my hands felt like blocks of ice as I attended to the water, waste and so on.

Around midday we arrived at Naburn Locks Caravan Park just a few miles south of York. Easy to find, a friendly welcome and an attractive looking park with nice big pitches. We got sorted then later had a meal at the local The Blacksmith Arms in the village. My Cajun Chicken with rice and garlic bread was awesome. Trev’s burger sadly not.

Whatpub.com had listed another pub very close by so we thought we’d have a trundle to have a look. Close it was - if had a boat or fancied a swim - as it was the other side of the Ouse and entailed a long trip around to cross the river. After what seemed like a lifetime - or one of our Sunday Night Natters at least we found it - the car park being across the road and adjacent a dangerously high Ouse river. It was nice enough but turned pump clips suggested it had been a busy day on the real ale and the only one left tasted like it was on the turn too.

Tuesday saw the arrival of friend and fellow caravanner David who would be joining us for a couple of days. After Trev sated us with some delicious bacon baps we had a wander down to the Naburn Locks - just a few minutes walk through the site. Blimey, I knew there'd been some rain but just how much clearly evident as we surveyed the scene in front of us. The lock gates were hardly visible and I would estimate that the water was around 7-8 feet higher than normal. This should have rang some alarm bells - but it didn't!

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Wednesday saw us in Bradford - we’d been invited to the Pro-tec factory to have a look around, chew the cud and devour some sandwiches. For the uninitiated Pro-tec make covers for caravans - all over for storage and front covers to protect your ‘van when towing. They’d launched  anew product at the February NEC show which had generated a lot of interest, it’s unique selling point being that it zipped up the middle, could be quickly fitted by one person and was competitively priced. We got so see their team in action - including some very skilled seamstresses - and also a scout around the new factory which they would be shortly moving into.

We’d put out a call on social media for questions we could put to Paul the MD about his products, the new towing jacket in particular and caravan covers in general. Paul agreed to go on camera and Trev in his best Paxman voice asked the questions. It was informative, entertaining and the video will be out real soon. A big thanks to Pro-tec for inviting us over, for showing us around and of course the sandwiches!

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Back at the site things weren't good. Some of the pitches were now under water and we we urged to move onto the higher area as soon as we could - with the rain still failing and water levels rising it was the only sensible thing to. We didn’t contemplate any further grief and made it to the pub for dinner and back without having to resort to the breast stroke.

In the morning however the water had risen further and the main road through the site - and to the exit was now well under water - along with our original pitch. With an lunchtime appointment at our next site in Cambridgeshire we wondered how on earth we were going to get out.

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Fortunately the site owner had a wide er, back passage and soon after eight we trundled gently out and were soon on our way down the dear old A1.

Our final destination was Stroud Hill Park - an adults only site under the Tranquil Parks umbrella situated in the village of Pidley. Out three nights here would give us time to catch up with friends and family and do some sorting out before Patsy goes back in storage for a few weeks. We were also due to meet with Cover 4 Caravans boss Richard for a catch up. As many will know we provide both written and video content for their website in the form of exclusive Site Reviews and a series of videos on caravanning for beginners.

Catch up we did, first in Patsy where Trev served up more delicious bacon baps then over in the on-site bar - now you know why we chose this site! With plans for further collaborative projects hatched we said our goodbyes under a rare but extremely welcome blue sky.

Friday was catch up day with friends and family then Friday evening dined at the on site restaurant  - and what a meal it was. A special occasion too as it was our twelfth anniversary. Good food and good company made for a very enjoyable evening.

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Our last full day in the ‘van for a while saw a brief incursion into Huntingdon for fuel. This trip has been a tough one for old Rosie, dragging a tonne and half of Patsy around in all weathers. She is starting to show her age - and mileage - but still performed well, if a little thirstily at times.

With packing up nearly complete we headed to the bar to record the latest Sunday Night Natters. Came back, went over for dinner the recorded it again after discovering the lapel microphones were on the blink, much to the amusement of our fellow diners.

Sunday saw, as usual an early start for the 3 hours or so back to the south coast. Our visit to Stroud Hill Park had been brief - too brief in fact. It is a lovely site - generously sized full serviced pitches, pristine and spacious ensuite facilities and the ever welcome on site bar and restaurant which served up some mighty good food too. There will be a Site Arrival Video and Site Tour out at some point and we hope to be able to squeeze in another visit in the summer. It’s a handy stopping off point for our trips up north.

Right, that’s it. The New Forest is next at the end of May which we’re really looking forward to - along with - I hope some better weather too! So, until then,

Thanks as always

Rich & Trev




Friday, 6 April 2018

An Eastern Adventure Part 6

Thursday and another bright sunny, if somewhat chilly day. An ultimately enjoyable one too although it did go a bit pear shaped late afternoon. Newcastle was still on the to-do list but we decided instead to get the train across to Carlisle. I’d pondered this a couple of times and the ‘dentist’ at the Beamish Museum helped make our mind up, commenting on what a lovely trip it was.

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He was right too. Beautiful landscapes and very appealing towns and villages made for a very pleasant hour and half although the sun had done a disappearing act as we arrived in Carlisle.

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I don’t know why but I didn’t have great expectations of Carlisle. It’s never been recommended by any fellow caravanners or travellers either on line or over a pint so we were pleasantly surprised. Lunch was first of course, then an amble around the old town and cathedral area. We didn’t get to the castle but both agreed Carlisle was worth another visit. The journey too - passing through the likes of Hexham and Haltwhistle has inspired us to explore further west when we’re up here next.

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It was whilst sitting awaiting the train to depart on the return journey that things started to go wrong. There’d be an accident along the line in Brampton which had resulted in a car upside down on the line. Information was scarce but eventually any hope of returning by train was abandoned by Northern Rail and a coach was summoned, which would take us to Hexham where we could re join the train. Two hours later we left Carlisle on the coach.

It wasn’t that unpleasant a journey. Although the A69 runs alongside the railway some of the way we did get a different perspective as we dived into villages to drop people off. So far so good. Until we got to Hexham. As instructed we piled off the coach and headed to the platform where the display told us a train would be due in a couple of minutes. Then came the dreaded announcement that a rail replacement bus would be operating instead. Christ! The bus in question was actually the coach we’d just got off and the driver could be seen having an animated conversation with someone on the phone and it was some moments before he opened the doors and let us back on. It was clear to me that he’d been royally stitched up and initially told he’d only have to go as far as Hexham.

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To cut a long story short we got to Newcastle eventually. Those who lived locally had to give directions to the stations in their villages and I fired up my satnav to get him to the Gateshead Metro centre, the penultimate stop. The moment I lost faith though was when someone advised him to watch the speed cameras approaching a village and he replied that they didn’t think they worked at night!

So it was nearly ten o’clock when we arrived back at Whitley Bay Metro and retrieved our car. From someone’s driveway. The free station car park was not surprisingly chokka in the morning and whilst there was plenty of on street parking that was proving far more problematic than need be. Pay machines were scarce and the only one in sight helpfully didn’t tell you how much you needed to pay to stay all day. I tried to coax the rarely used parking app on my phone which promptly locked me out when it couldn't remember the  right password! However with the phone in danger of serious injury an old lady appeared and said we could park on her drive. How kind. Anyway, not wanting to disturb her so late we popped a little gift through her letterbox before heading back to the site and to bed.

Yeah right. The bag of crisps and bar of chocolate from the vending machine at Hexham station had partially sated our appetites but we were both hanging for a pint so I dropped Trev at the pub by the site entrance and deposited the car and put the heating on in Patsy before scurrying back.

The pub was in full swing with a quartet of guitarists knocking out some crowd pleasing favourites including the inevitable - given where we were - Fog on the Tyne. It went down well - as did the ale and ‘just a quick one’ became quite a few more. A great finish to a rather topsy-turvy day and ironically, had we have got back from Carlisle on time, we would have called in for a bite to eat, a pint and probably missed out on all the fun. Every cloud it seems. Well some of ‘em certainly!

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The weather Friday had turned again and all thoughts of going into Newcastle were abandoned - and looking at the forecast our opportunity had passed. So I got caught up on some blog stuff - Part 5 I think - and in the afternoon when the skies cleared a little we had a wander around Tynemouth and a refreshing late afternoon pint. It was then that I picked up a voicemail on my phone from the wardens at Thirsk cancelling our booking there due to site conditions thanks to the constant rain there. Not good. We were due to leave our current site on Easter Sunday so we needed to get something sorted out sharpish.

Right, that seems a good point to call a halt. There is more to come including a factory visit, friends re-united and an evacuation. It’s certainly been an eventful trip!