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

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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

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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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