Political Uncertainty and Voter Anxiety

votingWarning: I am about to write about politics.

I know this is not wise. I will probably regret it. But here goes anyway (I rarely listen to my own good advice)

Later this week we are being asked to vote for a new PM.

Whoever wins the election will form a government that will hold office for the next five years.

This is likely to be a very trying five years as we navigate the uncharted waters of Brexit and seek to make our way in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable world.

This is important stuff.

Of course I will vote: people died to give me the right to take part in the democratic process. There are people around the world still fighting and dying for this right. It is more than a right; it is a duty.

The problem is I’m not sure I’m qualified for the job. Continue reading

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Further Adventures in the Van With No Name: Fun with Awnings

2017-05-03 10.30.54_edited-3Last week we went off on our longest outing yet in The Van With No Name: a week in St Ives.

I will blog further about our visit once I have sorted out my photos (which as usual may take a while), but for now suffice to say that we had a great time: the weather was mostly kind and the van worked beautifully as our lodging for the week.

Living with the van for a week also meant that we learnt some more lessons, especially as it was the first time that we tried using an awning.

I may have mentioned that I was reluctant to become a camper van owner, but I was won around by a number of benefits.

One of these turns out to be apparently untrue; the other is largely negated by the awning. Continue reading

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Beer for Breakfast

It is 9:30 on a Saturday morning and you find yourself in the pub; what are you drinking?

Let me clarify:

This is not a special occasion such as a wedding, when you may be expected to indulge in a little celebratory bucks fizz.

This is not an airport bar on the way to your holidays, when drinking is pretty much mandatory whatever time of day it is.

This is not a club where you are still out partying from the night before.

No, this is an ordinary bar, in an ordinary town on an ordinary Saturday morning.

So, what are you drinking? Continue reading

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Porlock in the Van With No Name, Easter 2017

Coast path to Porlock Weir

Last week I blogged about our early adventures in The Van With No Name. The latest of these adventures was a few days in Porlock over Easter.

I promised to blog more on the subject, with photos, and now here I am, only a few days later and barely a week since the event, fulfilling that promise. It must be some kind of record!

Porlock is a great place to camp.

The campsite we stay at, Sparkhayes, is right in the village. It is only a small village, so there isn’t really a huge amount to do, but that is part of the charm: not much to do and all day to do it in. This results in a nice leisurely pace – at least it does when you’re with the group of friends that we go with. Continue reading

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Early Adventures with The Van With No Name

P1060680It is now about 6 weeks since we took delivery of The Van With No Name.

We had expected that we would have had several weekends away in it by now, but last weekend was only our second trip.

The problem is it has been a busy 6 weeks one way and another – not least with working at the beer festival and visiting the Prescott Bike Festival, neither of which required overnight camping.

However, so far we have mostly enjoyed our experience with the van, but we are definitely on a learning journey. Continue reading

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Eccentricity and Engineering Genius Alive and Well at Prescott Bike Festival

Blood Bikers ready to open the trackWhat possesses a man to look at a supermarket trolley and think “you know what that needs? A jet engine!”?

Or to look at the monstrous 8 Litre V10 Viper engine and think “that would be great in a motorcycle”?

Or to look at a motorcycle and think “that’s pretty good, but it’s got too many wheels – one is enough!”?

This combination of eccentricity and engineering genius seems to be deeply ingrained in the British psyche.

I don’t know why that is, but it probably explains why the Industrial Revolution started here, and why so many world-changing inventions originated from this small nation.

And I am pleased to say that it is alive and well and was on full display this weekend at the annual Prescott Bike Festival. Continue reading

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Post Beer Festival Ponderings #2: The Four Stages of a Beer Festival

2017-04-05 18.43.46In my last blog I pondered the changing fashions in beer styles, based on the admittedly limited sample of one beer festival.

Fashions for beer styles come and go: light and hoppy one year, dark and rich the next. One thing that doesn’t seem to change, however, is the clear stages that a beer festival goes through over the weekend.

The Gloucester CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival doesn’t formally break down into sessions. You can turn up for opening at 11:30am and, if you have the inclination, stamina and beer money, you can stay right through to closing at 11pm.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there are not clear demarcations throughout the day. Continue reading

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