Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rosso di Montepulciano 2013 - Wine Review

We purchased this bottle of Rosso di Montepulciano 2013, from Lidl, it cost £5.99.
It's a young wine, fresh and light with a pleasant plum flavour and a touch of spice.

Rosso di Montepulciano. Red wine. Wine. Italian wine.

From the label -
This wine is produced from the typical grape varieties of the Montepulciano area. This is a tasty modern style of red wine with fruit flavours and a well-balanced structure and body. 
Ideal as an accompaniment to roasted or grilled meat but also to matured cheeses. 
13% vol.

Rosso di Montepulciano. Red wine. Wine. Italian wine.

We thought this was a pleasant wine at a reasonable price.
Have you tried Rosso di Montepulciano 2013?
Did you like it?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cyber Monday 2014 - £650 Million Expected to be Spent Online in the UK

It's 'Cyber Monday' today.
And not just in America.

According to the news it's a big deal here in the UK too, with sales expected to reach £650 million today. That's £7,500 every second, or £451,000 a minute, or so the papers are saying, I'm crap at maths so I'll take their word for it.

Cyber Monday is yet another thing we have to thank America for. Don't you just love mass, mindless, consumerism?
I don't like this. I don't like the ever increasing ways Britain is adopting American ideals. I don't like the glorification of mindless spending. I don't like any of it.......
But then I don't particularly enjoy shopping. And maybe I'm just being a grumpy old lady?

Doodle. Art.

Cyber Monday, just in case you don't know, is a marketing term which started in the US to mark the Monday after Thanksgiving, making its first appearance on the 28th of November 2005.
Unsurprisingly the term was created by marketing companies to encourage people to shop online.

Anyway, I was just halfheartedly watching the BBC news headlines on TV when I heard that at an estimated £650 million will be spent online shopping today.
£650 million!
That figure got my attention, mainly because while flicking channels before I stopped to watch the news, I'd seen an advert about poverty in the UK.
So, although I know 'it makes an ass out of you and me...' I assume the 650 million quid is not being spent by the people who are being forced, by our corrupt government, to use food banks to survive.

The advert I'd seen about poverty in Blighty was for food banks.
Yep, food banks! In Britain! In 2014!
It's almost unbelievable isn't it?
Unbelievable that in a country as wealthy as Britain; yes we are rich, not poor as our politicians would have you believe, that people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.
It beggars belief that people have so little they can't buy enough food to survive.


Well, obviously not all people, because some people are splashing the cash with online shopping to the astounding sum of £650 million.

I don't care about people shopping, if that's what they want to do, good luck to them.
But it makes me feel sad that some people have so much, while others have so very little.
If you can afford to buy things you want, then that's great, good for you!
It just seems unfair. But that's life I suppose.
But in 2014 you'd have thought that in a so-called first World country like Britain, there would be less of a gap between rich and poor - unfortunately I think the difference is widening every day.
I know there are lots of people who can afford to splash the cash today, or any day for that matter, but what about the people who can't afford to buy things that take their fancy?
I wonder how they feel hearing that £650 million will be spent online in Britain in just one day?
That's assuming they have a TV on which to hear the news, or money for a newspaper etc.

And speaking of money, I wonder how much of that money is real money, as in money in the bank accounts of the shoppers, and how much is money they don't have - but credit cards they do?

I sometimes wonder about us humans.
I mean, we are seriously obscene sometimes aren't we?
While half the World is starving, the remainder shops for stuff they want, not need, to survive, like oh I don't know - food.

It was after listening to the sky high figures mentioned in the Cyber Monday news report that the little voice in my head said, 'Calm down, and breathe'. 
So I did, I took a lovely deep breath and let it all out.
After which I remembered my favourite Polish proverb,
'Not my circus, not my monkeys.'
Circus. Clown. #doodle

I can't do anything about the inequality, I can't ensure that everyone in Britain has enough good food to eat, I wish I could.
But I can make sure I don't join in with the craziness - if even just for today, so I won't be shopping online on Cyber Monday.
What I will be doing is taking some time to sit quietly and give thanks for everything that I have, that I am blessed to have lots of lovely food to eat, and that I don't have to use a food bank to survive.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

If, unlike me you are not uncomfortable about the mass consumerism and spending associated that Cyber Monday entails, and you want to read more about Cyber Monday here are a few links -
BBC News Cyber Monday: Online retailers hope for shopping surge
The Telegraph Cyber Monday: Busiest online day of the year
The Guardian Cyber Monday to kick off December retail spree
What do you think about Cyber Monday?
Good, harmless fun, if you can afford it?
Or obscene, considering people are starving?

Friday, 28 November 2014

The North of England is Not The Mediterranean

I know it's very English to talk about the weather, but I am English, and I am obsessed with the weather.

Today we were once again reminded that we no longer live in the sunny South of France.
We no longer live right by the Mediterranean.
And that we do in fact live in Blighty.
In the North.
Right by the North Sea.

Grim. I wish we didn't have to live in blighty. ☔️���� #blog #blogger #blogging © #rain #raindrops #tree #window #glass #blackandwhite

It's been pretty crappy lately, the weather, and I read that this Winter is predicted to be a very wet one. Yuck!

Alfred woz ere. #blog #blogger #blogging © #birds #rooftops #chimneys #telegraphpoles #telephonewires #blackandwhite

This morning it was miserable, as it has been all week, dull and damp.
So, what did we decide to do?
We decided to go to the beach - of course!

Grim. #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #sea #NorthSea #blackandwhite

For a change from our usual beach, we drove to Seaham to a beach called Vane Tempest Beach - sounds lovely doesn't it?
The drive to the beach was not particularly pleasant, mainly because of the thick fog, which meant, sensibly, that most of the other cars on the road had their fog lights on, but as I had a headache my eyes weren't happy about the extra bright spots of lights from passing cars.
We also had our fog lights on, and the heater was on full blast to keep the windows clear, as they were seriously steamed up when we first got in the car.

Nippy up North. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England

Anyway, a few minutes drive from the house, and we were at our destination.
As we pulled up in the car-park above the beach we were surprised to see that there were quite a few cars, and people wandering about.
It seemed we weren't the only eejits out in the fog, wind, rain, and cold weather.

Nippy up North. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #fishingnet #driftwood #sea #waves #NorthSea

We got Barley, our gorgeous Lurcher, out of the car, out his coat on him, and then walked down the steps to the beach.
There was a lady and two children walking down in front of us, and as we reached the stones on the beach we could see a few more people along the beach.
The wind was blowing, the waves were crashing against the shore, and it was really noisy.

Nippy up North. ��❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #sea #NorthSea #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound

We strolled along the beach, stopping every now and then to take some photos.
Barley stayed on his lead, as did most of the other dogs we saw.
It was seriously dull, but we always feel good when we're by the sea, and despite the crappy weather, it was quite pleasant walking along the beach.
This. #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach  #wood #metal #bolt #sea #NorthSea #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England

Once we'd had enough sea air, we returned to the car, and drove back to the house.
Barley snoozed in front of the fire.
I relaxed on the sofa editing the photos and video I'd shot.
And Mr.R got busy in the kitchen making our lunch - seriously succulent and delicious lamb.
What did you do today?
And more importantly, because as well as the weather I am obsessed with food - what did you eat today?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Beach Day with Barley the Lurcher

Barley, our lovely Lurcher loves zooming about on one of the local beaches we take him to.
There are a few beaches that we go to, but one in particular is his favourite, and ours too, because unlike the other beaches, it is sandy. It's also very quiet, with hardly any other people using it, even in the Summer.

We especially like the fact that the beach is quiet because Barley and recall are not very well acquainted. It's a work in progress, but I can't imagine a time when Barley ever comes back to us when we call him. Hehe!
But because there are so few people, and more importantly dogs using our favourite local beach, we can let Barley off his lead to have a good run without worrying too much that he'll get distracted and do a runner. Pun intended.

Anyway, Mr.R drove us to our usual favourite beach a few days ago, and we all had a good time, especially Barley who had a seriously good run.
After we'd all had enough beach time we headed back to the car, then on towards the house, stopping off on the way at another beach.

Good Morning! Beach 2. �� #blog #blogger #blogging © #driftwood #beach #sea #CountyDurham #England #noedit #nofilter

We stopped at Blackhall Rocks, a beach we'd never been to before.
The weather was very cold, well, it was for us 'Soft Southerners' but we did see one lady walking on the grass above the beach who was wearing a t-shirt as she walked her dog.
Mr.R and me were bundled up in Winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, and Barley also had a coat on.
It was seriously cold, honest!

We wandered down to the beach, which was deserted, just me, Barley and Mr.R. Lovely!
It's not a sandy beach like our favourite, but covered in stones. Still, it was nice to stroll somewhere different for a change. And Barley had fun sniffing at everything in sight.

Here's a few more of the photos I took of Blackhall Rocks Beach.

Cold. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #caves #rocks #rockpool #beach #sea #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Rubber. Glove. #blog #blogger #blogging © #glove #rubberglove #beach #rocks #sand #sea #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Crab. #blog #blogger #blogging © #crab #crabshell #beach #sea #stones #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Sniffing. Something interesting in the air. ��❄️☀️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #ILoveMyDog #ILoveMyLurcher #sun #sunrise #sea #beach #CountyDurham #England

And here's a couple of shots I took several months ago, when it was sunny, of Barley on his favourite sandy beach.



We love living by the sea, even if it is the North sea and not the Mediterranean. Hehe! 
Do you live by the sea?
Are you a fan of the beach, or do you enjoy walking your dog on the beach?

Lidl Merlot Veneto 2013 - Wine Review

A new day, a new wine review.
This time it's a bottle of Merlot Veneto 2013 from Lidl.

Plonk.  Merlot.  Red wine.

Lidl is where Mr.R purchases a lot of the wine we drink, and this Merlot from Italy was another Lidl buy.
It was larger than the usual 75cl bottles of wine, and that's about all I can remember about it, hahaha! Other than it cost about eight quid, and tasted like red wine.
It obviously wasn't particularly memorable, as I can't remember drinking it, which means it was probably decent enough; not excellent, and not disgusting.

Plonk.  Merlot.  Red wine.

From the label -
This French grape variety is also commonly found in the Veneto region of Italy. 
This soft red wine is an ideal accompaniment to roasted and white meat dishes. 
Once opened, consume within 3 days. 
Have you tried Merlot Veneto 2013 from Lidl?
Did you like it?

Gratitude, Prayers, Thanks

Someone else is praying for the things you take for granted.

Someone else is praying for the things you take for granted.   Grateful.  Thankful.  Gratitude.  Prayer. Praying.  Doodle.

The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. 
Be thankful.
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral - Beer Review


Mr.R opened a bottle of Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral, and I had a sip.
I only had a sip and no more because I didn't really like it. It's not something I would rush to try again, but I think Mr.R enjoyed it.

It comes in a clear bottle, it poured a lovely amber, burnished gold colour, and was quite lively with lots of head, which took a while to subside.
This ale had a pleasant aroma of hops, baked barley, and roasted malt.
It was refreshingly sharp with the strong flavour of the hops giving it a nice bitterness and citrus taste, also a touch of sweetness from the malts, burnt and woody notes, and overtones of vanilla, caramel, and toffee.

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral. Bitter. Beer. Real ale. Ale. Kentish ale.

Having said all that, it was a subtle tasting beer which was light and not particularly memorable. I think it was only 4.5%.
It was cheap, and so we can't complain about it too much.

I forgot to take a photo of the actual beer in the glass before Mr.R had drank it, hence two very similar looking shots of the empty bottle.

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral. Bitter. Beer. Real ale. Ale. Kentish ale.

From the label -
When Nelson was killed at Trafalgar his body was preserved in a cask of brandy during the long trip back to England. Legend has it that thirsty sailors snuck drinks from the brandy cask carrying Nelsons corpse. This gave rise to the phrase for illicit drinking ''Tapping The Admiral''.
See - Golden
Smell - Toffee, Spicy, Roast
Taste - Brandy, Sweet, Rich 

I wonder if there's any truth to that little tale? It's a nice idea adding a bit of folklore to booze bottles.
Have you tried Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral?
What did you think of this ale?