The Government has decided that it will be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops from 24 July. This has raised a number of questions about timing (has the horse already bolted?) and enforcement (is it the job of police or shop owners?), but my concern is more fundamental: will it help?
I am no expert on the subject, so if the science has led the Government to conclude that this will help slow the spread of the virus then I will do as I’m told, but I can’t help feeling it might actually make matters worse.
Today I did two things for the first time since the beginning of our long Covid-19 imposed lockdown. The two things were related: I went to the pub for a pint of beer, and in order to get there I went on a bus.
The pub felt quite safe and well managed on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the bus not so much.
Today has been labelled Super Saturday: the day that, after more than 3 months of lockdown, the pubs are finally allowed to re-open. It is a day of excitement and celebration across the country, so why am I not joining in? Continue reading →
One happy outcome of the current coronavirus crisis is that for the first time I have been able to spend some time working from home. I am lucky because I have what I grandly call an office, which contains everything I need: a desk, a comfortable office chair… and my old vinyl collection.
I have just finished re-reading Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by the brilliant Douglas Adams. It is many years since I originally read it and I once again enjoyed it enormously. It is brilliantly written, funny and, of course, completely barking mad.
Reading the book again got me thinking. Not about the genius of Adams’ writing style; not about the complexities and moral dilemmas of travelling through space and time; and not about the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. No, it got me thinking about something much more mundanely baffling. Continue reading →
My taste in beer is pretty broad – I like light beers and dark beers; hoppy beers and malty beers; session beers and strong ales.
But until recently, the one over-riding consideration was that they are cask ales, not keg.
Lately I have been challenging my prejudices around this and increasingly trying craft keg ales – and often they are very good. However, there is something about the whole craft ale craze that leaves a bitter taste. Continue reading →
It may come as a surprise to those who know me, but I quite like beer.
As a rule, my preference is for traditional cask ale, but I am aware that this makes me a bit of a dinosaur in this age of craft beer. I therefore decided I should broaden my horizons and experiment more in this ever-growing pool of possibility; see what I’ve been missing.
To this end, earlier this week I attended the Rebel Beer Club at Tank in Gloucester, the bar owned by Gloucester Brewery.
It was an extremely enjoyable evening, but it got me wondering – when is a beer not a beer? Continue reading →
Quireboys on the Riverside Stage at Upton Blues Festival – Category A
It’s been quite a week.
Last weekend I was at Upton Blues Festival. This meant I missed the start of the Gloucester Blues Festival, but I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since and have been in town enjoying the music – and beer – on offer every evening this week.
During the week I’ve decided that when watching live bands there are only four meaningful categories of music. Continue reading →
For the past several weeks my mum has been very ill following an unsuccessful cancer operation. As the weekend approached her health deteriorated rapidly and, with my brother and his family, we took turns to keep vigil, trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.
At some point over the weekend I found myself sitting with my two nieces aged 17 and 21. The eldest of them is just about to embark on the exciting new adventure of getting her first flat.
There are some events that mark a milestone in the year: events that you look forward to from one year to the next; events that you plan your life around so that you don’t miss them.
For me and many beer and cider drinkers in the Gloucester area – and indeed for some from far flung corners of the country and even the world – one such event is the annual Gloucester CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival
It is back again for its sixth year on the 27 to 28 April, and is once again at the historic Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester.
There has been much debate about the price of craft beer recently.
Although some craft beer is undoubtedly very good, I generally don’t tend to concern myself with it too much. The whole concept of craft beer seems to me to be too nebulous, often pretentious and, ultimately, not that important.
However, I’ve found the recent debate about making craft beer more inclusive interesting. As usual, I don’t have any clear answers or insights, but I do have some thoughts I’d like to share. Continue reading →
There are a lot of home remedies and old wives tales out there.
Name an ailment, any ailment, and someone will have a never-fails cure that they heard about from their mother, grandmother, ancient aunt or local witch-doctor – someone with dubious medical qualifications at best.
Of course they are all nonsense. Ridiculous. You’d have to be a fool to put any store in them.
And then you have an ailment and suddenly they seem less ridiculous. It has to be worth a try, right…
Toothache has to be right up there with the ailments that will drive you to such cures, and guess what – I have toothache. Continue reading →
This week sees the demise of the Gloucester Citizen as a daily newspaper. It will move to a new weekly publication from 12 October. It will retain its on-line presence, but nonetheless this is a sad day for a Gloucester institution which can trace its origins back almost 300 years to the Gloucester Journal.