Friday, 27 March 2015

1994 Imperial Pale Stout, 20th Anniversary Brew, The Durham Brewery - Beer Review

One good thing about living in County Durham is that The Durham Brewery is a short drive from our house. Hehe!
We popped in to the brewery a while ago, and purchased a few of their beers, one of which was the 1994 Imperial Pale Stout, 20th Anniversary Brew - it was seriously good.
This white stout is 10.2% so the alcohol hits you from the very first sip, then comes the lovely hoppy flavour followed by pepper and fruit.
Mr.R and me shared the bottle we'd bought, and it didn't last long, it was so good we found it hard not to quaff it at speed.
Once we emptied the bottle we both said we wished we had another bottle - or two.
It was a really delicious and moorish beer, and one we would most definitely love to drink again.

Seriously good pale stout. ������ #blog #blogger #blogging © #TheDurhamBrewery #DurhamBrewery #ImperialPaleStout #PaleStout #Stout #RealAle #ale #1994ImperialPaleStout

From the bottle -
A celebration of 1994
20th Anniversary Brew

Peachy aroma, full-bodied bitterness packed full of Columbus hops with a spicy kick of pink peppercorns. 
750ml 10.2% ABV

Ingredients:- Malted barley, hops, yeast, wheat, pink peppercorns and orange peel.
Allergy advice:- Contains gluten 

Maximum units as recommended by UK Chief Medical Officer:-
Men 3-4 units per day.
Women 2-3 units per day.
This bottle contains 7.7 UK Units

Cheers! Strong, and lovely. ������ #blog #blogger #blogging © #TheDurhamBrewery #PaleStout #Stout #realale #ale #beer #bottleconditioned

The Durham Brewery,
Unit 6a,
Co Durham,
DH6 5PF.
Have you tried any of the beers from The Durham Brewery?
Have you had a bottle of 1994 Imperial Pale Stout, 20th Anniversary Brew?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Be Still - Rumi Quote

Be still. The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand.
- Rumi

I like this quote by Rumi.
And I like being by the sea.

So good to feel the sun on our skin. �� #beach #sand #sun #clouds #sky #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England #noedit #nofilter

I shot this photo last week, when all three of us; me, Mr.R and Barley our Lurcher were having fun on one of our local beaches.
Bring by the sea always raises my spirits.
It was really good to get some exercise, breathe in the fresh sea air, and to feel the sun on our skin.
What do you do to lift your spirits?
Do you like Rumi?

Friday, 20 March 2015

Solar Eclipse 2015 - County Durham, England

This morning, me, Mr.R and Barley, our Lurcher decided to pop out for a short walk by the sea in the hopes of seeing the solar eclipse.
Well, I say we decided, but in truth Barley didn't voice an opinion about watching the solar eclipse, he was just happy to be going out for a walk. Hehe!

Anyway, we'd arranged to meet a friend and one of his dogs, a beautiful Bull Terrier, overlooking the sea by our house.

The three of us, me, Mr.R and Barley arrived at about 9:10am, our friend arrived a few minutes later. The solar eclipse was to occur at about 9:30am.
When we walked up to the pit cage (a monument for the closed down coal mine) there were a few other people waiting and watching the sky.
We'd chosen this place as it's the closest high point to out house, and as it's open countryside overlooking the sea, it seemed like a good place to view the solar event.

Very cloudy here, but the Universe blessed us with a small gap in the clouds. ������ #eclipse #SolarEclipse #sun #moon #clouds #sky #CountyDurham #England
Solar Eclipse 2015 - County Durham

Anyway, as I said there were a few other people there too; a couple of blokes with cameras set up on tripods, and a lady with her two dogs.
Me and Mr.R stood chatting to the lady, and our friend as we all waited, hoping the clouds would clear enough for us to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse.

Thankfully the Universe answered me; I'd been standing asking for a good view of the sun, and the clouds parted, leaving a small gap through which we saw the sun, and a decent amount of the actual solar eclipse.

The last time Mr.R and me experienced a total solar eclipse was when we lived in London and we were standing in Trafalgar Square watching it. I think it was August 1999, but as my memory is not good, I may be incorrect. Amnyway, it was a surreal moment, as everything stopped, even the birds were silent, and as the day darkened, there was an eerie atmosphere - but in a good way. It was a wonderful experience.

Very cloudy here, but the Universe blessed us with a small gap in the clouds. ������ #eclipse #SolarEclipse #sun #moon #sunrays #sea #seaview #countryside #NorthSea #clouds #sky #CountyDurham #England
Solar Eclipse 2015, sunrays on the sea - County Durham

Anyway, today the solar eclipse was a lot more than we were expecting simply because the sky was almost all clouds, so we didn't really think we'd be able to see anything.
But the Universe blessed us and we did get to see the spectacle in the sky.
As the weather was so very cloudy we didn't have such a good view as some areas of the UK and it didn't go particularly dark at all, but we were happy that we'd decided to go out to see the solar eclipse.

Unusually for me, as I always take hundreds of photos of everything, I didn't take any photos of the solar eclipse, not a single shot.
Why? Because I was too engrossed in talking to the lady with her two dogs. Ha! Typical me, a compulsive chatterbox.

When I'd first see the two men with the tripods I thought to myself that I'd take their photo later, because they were in silhouette, sitting inside the pit cage monument. It would have been a good shot, but as I didn't take the photo, you'll just have to take my word for how good it would have been. Hehe!

Solar Eclipse 2015, short video - County Durham

Thankfully Mr.R is the strong silent type, so he wasn't chatting, and he shot lots of photos and some video too - which I've borrowed for this blog post.
The video is silent, Mr.R had to strip the sound off - it was full of me, the lady with two dogs, and our friend all chatting. Hahaha!

I messed about with the two photos I borrowed from Mr.R, but if you want to see more photos and video here's a couple of links to todays newspapers -
Solar eclipse 2015: highlights - The Telegraph
'Breathtaking' solar eclipse witnessed by millions - BBC News
Did you see the solar eclipse today?
Did you make a special outing to see it, or were you lucky enough to see it from wherever you were?

Graves de Vayres Bordeaux, Chateau le Tertre 2012 - Wine Review

We drank this wine, Graves de Vayres Bordeaux, Chateau le Tertre 2012, one evening last week.
I intended to write a wine review blog post about it the following day, but as usual I didn't get round to it, but despite my bad memory I do remember that I liked this wine.

Chateau le Tertre 2012  Bordeaux

The wine poured a beautiful ruby jewel colour in the glass.
On the nose were ripe red and black fruits, plums, a little touch of spice, and vanilla.
On the palate Chateau le Tertre 2012 had a strong earthy flavour, with graphite, black cherries, raspberries, juicy plums, tobacco, mocha, and vanilla.
Graves de Vayres Bordeaux, Chateau le Tertre 2012. 13.5%vol
Have you tried Graves de Vayres Bordeaux, Chateau le Tertre 2012?
Did you like it?
Would you buy it again?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Beach Fun With Our Lurcher, And His Friend, A Bull Terrier

Yesterday morning, Mr.R, Barley, our lovely Lurcher, and me, all went to one of our local beaches.

We'd arranged to meet a friend there, who brought one of his dogs with him, a gorgeous Bull Terrier called Mandy.

Happy boy. ����☺️ #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #beach #sea #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England

The weather was dull, but that didn't stop me taking lots of photos of Barley and Mandy.
I couldn't resist, I am obsessed with our gorgeous boy Barley, and Mandy is a sweet girl.

Mandy! ���� #BullTerrier #dog #beach #sea #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England

Unfortunately, because the sky was all clouds, and everything was so dull, the shots I took yesterday are not as punchy as they could have been, but I like them - despite the lack of sunshine.
And because neither Barley or Mandy were still for more than a nano-second it wasn't easy to actually get any shots of them at all, so I'm happy with what I did manage to snap. If any part of them was actually in the frame I was pleased. Hehehe!

Legs. ��������⚽️ #BullTerrier #beach #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England

All five of us, three adults, and two excited dogs, had a really good time walking along the beach for a couple of hours.
By the time we'd all walked back to the cars we were feeling quite exhausted, but in a good way.
I love being by the sea, breathing in all the salty fresh air, and getting some extra exercise.
My right thigh felt particularly tired after I'd spent most of my time, when I wasn't taking photos of Barley and Mandy, kicking the football for the dogs to chase.

Friends. ������ #BullTerrier #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #beach #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England

I'm no David Beckham, but I think the dogs appreciated my footballing skills, as they continued to run off after the football every time I kicked it. Bringing the ball back to me seemed to be asking too much from Barley and Mandy. So not only did I get to kick the ball for them, I also had to run and retrieve it, so I could kick it again. Hahaha!
They did bring the ball back to me sometimes, just not every time.
And it wasn't long before Mandy proved just how sharp her teeth are - the football didn't stand a chance. Ha!
But even after the ball was punctured, and full of seawater and sand, I still managed to kick it for them to chase.

Come on human, kick the ball! ����⚽️ #BullTerrier #Lurcher #dog #beach #sea #CrimdonBeach #CountyDurham #England #ILoveMyLurcher

We'd also taken a tennis ball for Barley and Mandy to run after, but that also suffered a fatal puncture wound. Hehe!
Burst balls, aching legs, fresh sea air, lots of exercise, and two very happy dogs - a perfect morning.
Does your dog loves playing fetch?
Do they bring the ball back to every time?
And how long do your footballs or tennis balls survive?

Friday, 13 March 2015

Don Pelayo Tempranillo Garnacha Reserva 2008 - Wine Review

It's always a good time for a glass bottle of wine!

A couple of days ago we enjoyed a bottle of Don Pelayo Tempranillo Garnacha Reserva 2008.

Don Pelayo Tempranillo Garnacha Reserva 2008. £6.98 reduced to £4.37 at Asda. ��

Mr.R purchased this wine from Asda, it was reduced from £6.98 to £4.37.
Tempranillo, Monastrell. 11.5% vol.

Don Pelayo Tempranillo Garnacha Reserva 2008. £6.98 reduced to £4.37 at Asda.

This wine pours a rich deep cherry colour in the glass.
The aroma was of ripe fruits and oak.
On the palate we tasted raspberries, chocolate, a hint a spice, subtle vanilla, oak, and it was pleasantly smooth wine.
For under a fiver, it was a decent red.
Have you tasted Don Pelayo Tempranillo Garnacha Reserva 2008?
What did you think about this wine?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Top Gear Presenter Jeremy Clarkson Reportedly Punched Assistant Producer Oisin Tymon

Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC2 programme Top Gear is in the news headlines, again.
This time it's for reportedly punching assistant producer Oisin Tymon.

The BBC have reportedly suspended Jeremy Clarkson while the incident is investigated.

As I write this blog post 300,000 people have signed a petition supporting Jeremy Clarkson, asking the BBC to reinstate the presenter.
The online petition was set up by political blogger Guido Fawkes. Hahaha! I'm laughing at the name of the blogger, not the fact there's an online petition to Save Jezza! 

I've spent quite a while online today reading about what the BBC are calling a 'fracas' and what has reportedly been confirmed as Jeremy Clarkson, 54, punching Oisin Tymon, 36, in the face.

From what I've read it all seems like Marmite, there doesn't seem to be any grey areas as far as the general public are concerned.
There are people who have voiced their opinion that Jeremy Clarkson is the best thing since sliced bread, that violence is funny, and that Top Gear wouldn't be Top Gear without him.
And there are people who have said Jeremy Clarkson must be sacked, and that violence is not O.K.

I realise that Top Gear is a serious money-maker for the BBC.
It's syndicated World wide, is incredibly popular, and that jeremy Clarkson is also much loved by a lot of people, and considered by many to be excellent at his job; presenting Top Gear.
I don't agree that without Jeremy Clarkson there'd be no Top Gear.
Yes, initially the programme would be different without him, and people don't always like change, but after a while, presuming the beeb gets the right presenter Jezza could be replaced.
Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond all bring a certain something to Top Gear, but if any of them left the show, their replacement would soon become as popular.
Things change, maybe it's time for a change at Top Gear?
Maybe Jeremy Clarkson will be offered a great new deal with ITV or Sky, as has been reported in the news.
Who knows?

But if Jeremy Clarkson does lose his job presenting Top Gear, then I think Vicky Butler-Henderson would make an excellent replacement.

I am in no way a hater of Jeremy Clarkson.
I have always enjoyed his presenting style, it's refreshing to hear somewhere say what they think without constantly checking themselves in the ever-increasing PC World we live in - but...........
But, as far as punching a colleague is concerned, that's taking things too far. Way too far.

According to the news the reason Jeremy Clarkson punched Oisin Tymon in the face was because he was hungry.
Jezza punched a colleague in the face because he was hungry.
What a Prima Donna!

The media reports say that Jeremy Clarkson had been busy filming, it was late, he was hungry, there was no food for him to eat; a catering problem, and so he punched Oisin Tymon.

I often feel grumpy when I'm tired and hungry, but I've never punched a colleague in the face.

Jeremy Clarkson  Doodle

Doodle of Jeremy Clarkson - not sure about his hair. Haha!

As soon as I read the news about Jezza thumping his colleague, I immediately saw in my mind, how I thought the whole thing would play out. It went something like this, but necessarily in this order...........

  • Jeremy Clarkson would be 'told-off' by the BBC
  • BBC employees involved in Top Gear would be told to keep schtum - or else
  • Jeremy Clarkson apologises - or not - depending if he feels like saying sorry
  • The BBC play-down the whole thing, saying something like, 'it was a simple misunderstanding...'
  • Oisin Tymon is 'encouraged' to make light of the assault, understanding that to take it any further would damage his career.
  • In the not-too-distant future Jeremy Clarkson gets a pay rise to keep him sweet

My ramblings may sound as though I'm not a fan of Top Gear, or Jeremy Clarkson, but that's not true at all.

Both Mr.R and I liked to read the weekly columns written by Jeremy Clarkson for the Sunday Times.
And we enjoyed watching Top Gear for many many years.
Top Gear was our favourite TV programme.
Was! Yep, I said 'was', we used to really enjoy watching Jeremy Clarkson and his fellow presenters James May, and Richard Hammond, having fun, travelling the World, and messing about with cars.

But that was then and this is now - now we don't watch Top Gear.
We didn't stop watching because of any of the previous headline making things said by outspoken Jezza - we just went off the motoring show.

Some of the things Jeremy Clarkson has said which reportedly caused offence include -
Calling lorry drivers serial killers.
Saying Mexican food is 'sick with cheese on it.'
And as The Telegraph helpfully reminded us, 'Allegedly claiming that staff at Hyundai - a South Korean car company - had all eaten dog, and that a particular car's designer had probably eaten a spaniel for lunch.'
You can see more so-called faux pas made by Jeremy Clarkson in The Telegraph

As this is a developing news story here's some more from just before I published this blog post -

  • BBC faces multimillion-pound bill from Jeremy Clarkson's suspension - The Guardian
  • Jeremy Clarkson suspended: Top Gear presenter 'considering leaving BBC anyway' even if he's cleared - The Independent
  • Jeremy Clarkson suspended: Top Gear presenter 'may quit BBC even if he is cleared over fracas with producer' - The Telegraph 

Obviously not everyone is going to agree about what should happen, if anything, to Jeremy Clarkson after this, some want him sacked, some want him saved.

I think he should be sacked.
As far as I'm concerned workplace violence is unacceptable.
I mean it's not as if Jezza was fighting for his life, from what I've read it wasn't self-defence.
From what I've read, it was an unprovoked act of aggression, and definitely not something that Oisin Tymon should be expected to put up with.

Top Gear logo  Doodle

Doodle of Top Gear Logo - excuse wonky lines. Hehe!

I wasn't going to write a blog post about this, but there's been so much news coverage, and it's also been mentioned on various other outlets too, that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

For example, Matthew Wright spoke about it this morning on The Wright Stuff.
He seemed to think similarly to me, that what Jeremy Clarkson has done is out-of-order.
But two of the panel guests, Lowri Turner, and Terry Christian seemed to think it's funny, with Terry making several jokes about it, and Lowri saying that she understands how long working hours, hunger etc. meant Jezza lashed out, and that it was acceptable.

I think that says a lot about the kind of people Lowri Turner and Terry Christian are - but that's changing the subject too much, so I'll say no more.

The fact that 300,000 people have gone online to to sign the petition; BBC Bring Back Clarkson - makes me very sad.
Presumably that means 300,000 people think it's perfectly alright to punch another person in the face, that there's been no wrongdoing, and that the perpetrator should not lose their job.

What does it say about the UK (assuming that's where the majority of the signatures are from) that we condone violence?
Nothing good - that's what.
And it's news like this that shine the spotlight on what a violent country we are, and how violence is being viewed as less and less serious, and more the norm.
Sad times.

I'm sure the BBC are closely monitoring what's being said about Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear, in all of the social media networks, and no doubt they're in serious talks with their legal team etc. They'll want to make sure they don't do anything to damage such a lucrative relationship; Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear, Worldwide syndication etc.

Who know's what will happen?
I guess it's just a matter of time before all will be revealed.

But whatever happens to Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson, I hope Oisin Tymon is not forgotten, after all he is the victim, he was seriously assaulted.
Jeremy Clarkson is not a victim - he doesn't deserve any sympathy, and he's most definitely not getting any from me.

Right, well, that's just about it for now -
Except to say, I'm not writing this as a PC obsessed hater of Top Gear or the BBC.
As I've already said, I was a serious fan of Top Gear, and I've had many a laugh at the non-PC ramblings of Jeremy Clarkson, but speaking your mind, and physical violence are two very different things.

If the BBC do what they have a history of doing; covering things up, I doubt any of this will affect Jeremy Clarkson in a negative way.
And knowing how us Brits love an 'underdog', it'll probably be spun to make Jezza appear as the poor victim.
Do you watch Top Gear?
Are you a fan of Jeremy Clarkson?
Do you think Jeremy Clarkson should keep or lose his job?