Post Beer Festival Ponderings #1: This Year’s Style

2017-03-26 10.25.59

Blackfrairs: Thirteenth Century Friary and home to the annual Gloucester CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival

As heavily plugged in my last blog, it was the Gloucester CAMRA Beer Festival last weekend.

As usual, it was an excellent event and I enjoyed the weekend enormously from both sides of the bar.

The visitors also seemed to enjoy it: they certainly drank a lot of beer!

The unofficial figures that I heard banded about suggested that around 90% of the 100 casks of ale and over 90% of the 35 pins of cider were consumed over the two days: impressive going.

What surprised me though was the clear indication of beer preference – and the equally clear indication of those styles that are less popular. Continue reading

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Beer Appreciation

2017-03-27 16.32.14I’ve been thinking about beer appreciation this week.

Perhaps this is not surprising as I have spent several days setting up the Gloucester CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival which starts this Friday.

However, the beer festival is only peripherally responsible for my beer-related thoughts.  What really got me pondering was a t-shirt. Continue reading

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The Van With No Name


Excitement is mounting in the Kirby household.

After many months of planning, searching and waiting, we anticipate taking delivery of a new camper van at the weekend.

Buying a camper van is not a small undertaking: there are many decisions to be made.

One of these decisions, apparently – and bizarrely – is what to call it. Continue reading

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Equal Rights to Civil Partnerships

imag0434Last week the BBC reported the news that a heterosexual couple had lost their Court of Appeal battle to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage. I think this is very disappointing.

It is a while now since same sex couples won the right to civil partnerships and I was disappointed when they continued to fight for the right to get married; a fight which they finally won in 2014.

I was not disappointed because I am a bigot who disapproves of same sex relationships, but because I felt that this was a backward step. Continue reading

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Snowdrops in the Snow

Snowdrops at Rococo Gardens, PainswickGloucester is a great place to live.

Aside from the great city itself, it is well located to visit a wide range of places, with the Forest of Dean close at hand on one side and the Cotswolds on the other.

One of these great places, right on our doorstep, is the Rococo Garden in Painswick.

And one of the best times to visit is now, when the snowdrops are in full bloom. Continue reading

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Zombie Apocalypse – Act Now to Avert Disaster


I am concerned that we may not be properly prepared to respond in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

One day last week, as I was headed into work, I found myself behind a Zombie Outbreak Response Unit vehicle. I know it was a Zombie Outbreak Response Unit vehicle because it had a sticker on the back telling me it was, and if you can’t believe a bumper sticker what can you believe? Continue reading

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Rock: The Next Generation


Better Than We Look at the Cafe Rene, 8 February 2017

Last night I was in the pub.

This is more unusual for me on a school night than people often suppose, but I was tempted into the Cafe Rene to see a band.

This is the second time this week that I have enjoyed live music – a few days ago I blogged about seeing Black Sabbath perform their final gig at Birmingham.

In that blog I bemoaned the fact that our musical heroes are not immortal. The bands I loved in my youth are all getting on a bit and are gradually breaking apart, stopping touring or dying. The question is, who is going to replace them.

Well, having seen last night’s band I am now more confident that we have a new generation of rock stars waiting in the wings.

The band was called “Better Than We Look”, they played some great rock music, and they were all around 14 to 15 years old. Continue reading

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