Attenborough Nature Reserve cafe, Nottinghamshire, October 2016

A relaxed day today. After the shock of a week back at work, we had a quiet weekend at home. Yesterday we waved goodbye to our greenhouse, dismantling it and moving it on to a new forever home. Today we wanted a little stroll and a spot of bird nerding, as we’d enjoyed it a lot at Minsmere the previous week. Our local nerding spot is the Attenborough Nature Reserve, not too far over the border in Nottinghamshire. Several bird hides and lots of paths to stroll around. We’ve been here a few times for walks and bike rides.

We arrived at the cafe towards the end of lunch time, and soon found a table and then ordered at the counter. Simple things to choose from, sandwiches, soups, a stew, a choice of panini and some other bits and pieces.

A cheese and bacon panino for me, simple and tasty, and just the sort of thing you would expect from a nice little cafe like this. Token salad on the side, just enough to add some interest. I also had a packet of crisps, and they were “posh crisps” not just Golden Wonder cheese’n’onion.


Suitably satisfied, we set off for a stroll in the afternoon sunshine and around a few of the hides to spot some birds. Some of our best spotting came from the hide just outside the cafe, where lots of juvenile lapwing were sunning themselves on the shores of one of the lakes.

A lovely little cafe and a lovely day out. Only £2 to park for the whole day too.

Clwb Tropicana – drinks are free?

The time has come for the first brief review from the Needle & Pin craft beer club selection box, and we start with probably the best named one from the box, Clwb Tropicana, top quality punnage from Tiny Rebel.

After last year’s champion beer of Britain, they have kept on producing great beers. This “grown up fruit salad” is described thus:-

“as colourful as the most hideous Hawaiian shirt you’ve ever seen, super juicy and crammed full of fruity hop flavours that will have your mouth watering.”

You will know that’s just the kind of beer I’m looking for, packed full of American hops, amplified by peach, passion fruit, pineapple and mango flavours. Yes please!

Imagine a glass of Lilt, with the addition of hops. That’s Clwb Tropicana. Delicious dankness and more hoppy tropical fruit goodness than a kangaroo carrying a bag of pineapples in its pouch. If you want tropical hoppiness, this will do nicely!

#RainbowProject16 – beer #1 – Orange – Descent into the Maelstrom

Here it is, the first of seven posts from my #RainbowProject16 box of beers. Actually, make that eight because I’ll have to do a post ranking them all. #obvs

For more about #RainbowProject16, read my earlier post…

First to make an appearance in my Rainbow Project glass was a collaboration between Burning Sky Beer from Sussex, who are based about 10 miles away from where we spent many childhood holidays, although I’ve never had one of their beers, and Liberty Brewing Co, who are based about 11,500 miles away, north west of Auckland in New Zealand. I had one of their beers in March.

This collaboration was the colour orange, named Descent into the Maelstrom and described as a “borderless” ale aged in white Burgundy barrels with orange zest & pink grapefruit.

It can’t make up its mind what it wants to be. A sour wit (wheat beer)? A fruity IPA? Some kind of Belgian yeasty, winey thing? An interesting confusion. The fruitiness is there at the start and on the nose, and then makes a final appearance at the end of the finish. Not getting the hoppiness that you’d expect from a New Zealand pale. Kind of a zesty saison really, and I’m not sure I could taste much grapefruit.

It was good to be confounded by this one, but it’s not going to make it into beer of the month because their have been some strong candidates this month. Looking forward to more #RainbowProject16 beers…

The Hunting Lodge, Barrow Upon Soar, October 2016

What is it that you need after you’ve been away in Suffolk for a week, sampling a few Adnams beers. Another Adnams pint of course! A pint of Broadside to accompany a catch up with some friends from work.

The Hunting Lodge in Barrow upon Soar is somewhere that I’ve been a few times over the years. It has always been known for good food and drink, and that reputation continues. It’s always busy because of that. Plenty of things to choose from on the menu is just one reason why there are always plenty of customers in. There’s masses of choice on the a la carte menu, plenty more on the early bird and snack menu.

Keeping it light today with a BBQ pulled pork baguette with chips and salad. Another good pub pulled pork, staying away from sickly sweetness and tending towards gentle spiciness and stickiness.

A lovely spot for some food and drink and a catch up. Well worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Celebrate Halloween with “Screams of Whiskey”

Sometimes a vaguely interesting press release comes my way. Today was one of those times. You’ll note that the post title features the alternative spelling of whisky, as this particular press release features an Irish version of that spirit. It’s not one that you’ll find me drinking, but this sounds like an interesting use for it.

Once the trick and treating is out of the way, kick back and relax with a Screams of Whiskey cocktail, cheekily named after The Pogues’ 1984 song Streams of Whiskey . Featuring whiskey, rum and bird’s eye chilli, its little kick is sure to chase the ghosts away.


25ml The Pogues Irish Whiskey
25ml Navy Rum
25ml freshly squeezed orange juice
15ml fresh lemon juice
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml agave syrup
1/4 of a red bird’s eye chilli


Shake and dump (do not take this too literally, I think it means “empty into drinking vessel”)
Garnish with orange, mint sprig and chilli
Serve in a pewter tankard


The Pogues Irish Whiskey is available at select bars across the UK and in 70cl bottles from online retailers including Amazon, Drinksupermarket and Master of Malt priced around £30.

All brands featured are manufactured and/or distributed by Halewood Wines & Spirits, the UK’s largest independent alcoholic drinks manufacturer.

About Halewood Wines & Spirits (

Based in Merseyside, Halewood Wines & Spirits was founded by the late John Halewood in 1978. Today, still owned by the Halewood family, Halewood International Holdings PLC is the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor, with a turnover of £231 million, selling over 21 million physical cases each year and exporting to 75 countries.

Employing 1,000 “drinks specialists” worldwide, the Halewood Wines & Spirits group has five operations outside the UK – South Africa, China, Thailand, Ireland and Romania. In addition to global brands Red Square, Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Lambrini (shudder) and Whitley Neill, Halewood International offers full service support for Agency Brands in the UK and international markets.

Unique amongst these markets is Romania where they own and operate several vineyards, producing and bottling their own wine. Halewood Romania also bottles their own spirits and RTDs, distributing both their own products and agency brands to on and off trade outlets, including twelve retail outlets owned and operated by Halewood Romania.

This next bit should be read really fast in the style of those bits at the end of radio adverts, or American pharmaceutical adverts that have a disclaimer of “may cause anal leakage”. And yes, that is a thing, we saw it on telly in Las Vegas. And those two words are going to bring in some interesting hits for this post!

Drinkaware ( provides consumers with information to make informed decisions about the effects of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles. Halewood International is a funder of Drinkaware and an active supporter of the “Why Let Good Times Go Bad?” campaign.

Drinkaware’s public education programmes, grants, expert information and educational resources help create awareness and effect positive behaviour change. An independent charity established in 2007, Drinkaware works with the medical profession, the alcohol industry and Government to achieve its goals.

One of the flagship initiatives of Drinkaware is “Why Let Good Times Go Bad?” – a £100 million campaign running over five years to challenge the social acceptability of drunkenness. Run by Drinkaware in partnership with the drinks industry and Government, it is targeted at 18 – 24 year olds. The campaign encourages people to adopt “smart drinking” tips, such as eating before drinking and pacing alcoholic drinks with water, to prevent a good night from going bad.
Drinkaware has recently launched ‘My Drinkaware’ an easy to use on-line Drinks tracker to help adults understand the impact of alcohol on their lives and lifestyles.

All this talk of whisky has reminded me that we really need to organise another meeting of the cabal, as we haven’t met since June 2015, although we’ve come tantalisingly close on a few occasions!

Southwold, a MOFAD kind of town

We’ve been away for a week, staying in Reydon, just on the outskirts of Southwold in Suffolk (I have to mention the county since most people that I mentioned this to didn’t know where Southwold was). After our previous visit in August 2015 (part of the East Anglian Epic Adventure with regular MOFAD companions Hazel & Matt), we decided that we had to come back.

We’ve had a great time. A mini beer festival on Saturday (self curated by the three participants), a takeaway, a return visit to Adnams Cellar & Kitchen, the local pub, pubs with sea views, attempts to get in to the Lord Nelson for dinner, a quiet village pub, a pub quiz without a quiz, bird nerding at Minsmere again, a very strange pub, a posher hotel, another one by the coast, a fair bit of fish, triple pork nirvana, and several Adnams pubs (utterly unsurprisingly!)

I now have a total of 44 posts in draft, including 14 posts from the Suffolk stay. Lots to report on because Southwold has plenty of options to choose from, including lots of Adnams pubs, and also a few free houses in the surrounding area. There’s also a large haul of beer after a visit to the supermarket, a couple of visits to Adnams and also beer shopping at Snape Maltings.

If you like your food and drink, Southwold (and the surrounding area) is certainly worth a visit.

TPN 2016 #19

A holiday is always a good opportunity for triple pork nirvana. However, I have passed up the opportunity a few times this week, because there has been a lot of lovely fish to tempt me, and I do like some fish beside the seaside. The day started as usual with some bacon and egg rolls to fuel our forthcoming cycle ride.

Today, the power of pork was compelling. We had a lovely ride over from Snape to Orford, parked our bikes in the beer garden of The Jolly Sailor, popped in to reserve a table for lunch (it gets busier than you’d imagine for an October lunchtime), had a quick stroll around the village, and then came back to eat. A very nice Cumberland sausage baguette, onion marmalade, salad and vegetbale crisps.


After a lovely lunch in a lovely seaside pub we carried on with our ride and popped in to Snape Maltings when we had finished, to stock up on some food and drink goodies at The Food Hall – well worth stopping by if you’re in the area.

We drove back to Reydon for a quick shower and change, and then out into Southwold for dinner at The Sole Bay Inn. This pulled pork burger proved to be a perfect way to achieve triple pork nirvana today.


A well rounded nirvana today and a very tasty one. It’s about quality not quantity.