Change of venue

Last night marked a watershed in the social aspects of life in The Principality, namely, we’ve finally abandoned The Min. Thursday nights post-sport activity drink is now held at Willenhall Rugby Club where we were made most welcome. And they serve the local real ale and a decent pint of Guinness.

All-round a good move for us in the village and some money for the Rugby Club – and we’re drinking he local ale!

Have we been rescued?

Not a great start to a Monday

This morning I have a right headache caused by too much beer in Wednesfield last night. My own fault but the Banks’s Mild was so good in The Dog that I had an extra one, followed by a couple of Robinson’s in The Vine. I knew I’d had too much because I was rolling around when I walked in, and I’m having trouble focussing on the screen this morning.

That capped off a weekend in the pub really as I met up with my Cousin’s in The Great Western on Saturday lunchtime and it’s  a bad habit of mine to have too many with the family. A great Saturday out though in the family pub. It was even good watching Essington Vets Rugby beat Willenhall on the way back home.

Well, two paracetamol and somehow I’ve got to find the wherewithal to get my act together……

Scottish History

Just reading through some of the posts on the failure of the launch of the people’s republic of Alba, a question:

Isn’t Dave wrong about James VI / I ? The treaty of Union was 1707, with Anne as monarch. James was on the throne for the 1603 Union of the Crowns, but that was not the start of the UK as we now know it.

Or am I mistaken?
If we now get constitutional reform (unlikely with Ca-moron already backtracking like a UKIP pub landlord .. but who can trust a Tory?), then it will have been the best of all outcomes. But what a comedy of so-called “democracy”. 4 million people get to decide whether a nation of 60+ million gets split asunder. It could conceivably have come down to the vote of one nose-picking 16 year old scuzzie in Kircaldy… Another instance of the nation not being safe in the hands of this poorest of all generations of politicians.

And why now has Nicola Sturgeon not had the honesty to follow Alex the Ego and stand down? She too has had her whole political life’s purpose rejected by the electorate – she now has no relevance and is tainted.

Like Andy says though, wasn’t looking forward to applying for my visa when I go climbing in the Cuillins next year …

The Vine beer festival

This weekend was dominated by beer and wood. Or should it have been wood and beer? Anyway, after topping up the logs by a wood run to Stourbridge, JC and me descended to The Vine in Wednesfield to sample the ale on offer in their beer festival. As we rocked up on Saturday night, there wasn’t a lot left to be honest so we stuck to the stuff on offer in the bar.

The Vine is probably top of the pubs at the moment as not only does it offer excellent beer, but the landlord – Anthony – is really good at his craft – which is commendable for a chap not yet in approaching his 30’s. The people around him are also very pleasant which makes a good change from the cacophony at The Min these days. In fact, I returned with the Duffer and Wolfman the following night and counted 7 ex-Minervans in the bar.

I was glad of the rest this weekend and a chance to watch the Ryder Cup win. However, The Raiders badly let the side down……

 

Southport Air Show

IMG_2117Well a good weekend for a change as there wasn’t much in the way of housework done which was good. I’m in the middle of refurbishing the back of the garage and this has taken up a lot of time over the backend of the summer and more work needs to be done.

So work took up Saturday morning followed by a trip to the pub with Charlie Cardboard which was surprisingly good despite the fact that it took a big chunk out of the weekend. A meal with the parents was also welcome as I was done in by then.

So onto Southport Airshow which had as it’s main attraction, the BBMF with the Canadian Lancaster.

Now Southport is relatively “up the road” – in fact about 90 odd miles and myself and Major Orton got there in two hours. Not bad. We parked up and found our way to the sea front where we had to pay £9 for a view on the beach. Bit expensive but compared with Cosford, not bad. had to stand up for two hours though. And we missed the Red Arrows.

Considering it’s cost it was a splendid day and the aircraft dispIMG_2121lays were terrific, especially the Hurricane IIc which had pyrotechnics on the beach along with a great display by the pilot.

What was entering into the spirit of things was the Huey – complete with “Ride of the Valkyries”! Excellent stuff and for few moments, Southport could have been Vietnam.

The main event was of course the Lancaster’s which were big and lumbering compared with the accompanying Spitfire and Hurricane but it was probably the only time I’ll see two Lancaster’s together so a trip I had to do really.IMG_2134

If the crowd were lulled into a sense of boredom afterwards and the kids screaming even more, then the RAF Typhoon sorted that out. It was very loud with both re-heats on. And impressive display and just showing what you can do with numerous computers in charge rather than the human although the pilot with the Xtrem Air aircraft which did a lot of flying sideways. A lot of flying considering it’s a prop plane.

The only thing that marred the day – and the weather was superb – was getting home. 4 hours! 1 1/2 hours to get out of Southport and then the traffic was snarled up so bad between 20 down to 16 we had to divert via the A49 which prompt;y we lost and had to get the M6 back to 13 and pick up the A449.

IMG_2137

Scotland Decides

I’m surprised Nige hasn’t had a blast here to be honest but as the Scottish referendum approaches, this could be a pivotal moment  in our Island history; or more like putting things back 300 years.

I’ve listened to a lot of the debate North of the Border and the thing most people miss is that the system of governance in the UK is outdated now. Something I campaigned for real back in 2010. What we really should have is  the UK tied together for defence and foreign policy. Other powers would be better devolved down to more regional or distinct countries.

Another thing I’d like to say is to echo Nige’s letter in The Guardian last week – will one vote decide a nation? Is this right? Also, as Dave and me have always said, is less than a 95% turnout representative? Should this vote have been compulsory?

This is a big deal make no mistake about it. It could even impact my small company as I have Scottish clients. I’ve worked there on and off since 1989 as well so I’ve had close ties with the place, especially Edinburgh.

However, I personally feel powerless down here in having no input into th8is debate as it really is out of my hands. But that’s not to say that people in England don’t care. They do and there are strong emotions here too. Some too unprintable for even these pages.

If things do go”Yes” it will be strange having to use my passport for real to go to The Orkney’s next year.

 

My Early Life

WSCBy Winston Spencer Churchill first published in 1930.

My copy which I got from Shrewsbury, is slightly battered and was published in 1941 no doubt as Churchill had become prime Minister the year before. It was originally published in 1930 when Churchill had just ceased to be Chancellor after the Tories lost the 1929 election so some of the memories are a bit rose-tinted.

The book deals with Churchill’s early memories as a child and as a young man and is written not without humour. Indeed, his comments about Maths and exams mirror my own experiences with these subjects – not good. However, struggle as I did, I didn’t have to put up with Greek and Latin.

It’s odd reading about Churchill’s experiences at Sandhurst, when I have worked there relatively recently ( and the Major got an MBE for it!). To have walked where Churchill walked is really touching history.

Anyway, his recollections about India, The Sudan and South Africa and the Boer War do make exciting reading as Churchill is such a good writer – that’s what he got his Nobel prize for. However, the language would probably upset some of the PC brigade.

What is interesting is Churchill’s use of contacts to get him where he wanted to be. Only Kitchener half stopped him in the Sudan. But you have to say that Churchill did put himself in the firing line on more than one occasion and that’s a good reason to admire his spirit even if it did mark him as a glory-seeker.Any other person would have been content with playing Polo but not Churchill who seemed a man on a mission.

I would heartily recommend this book as a way of looking at Churchill’s biased viewpoint obviously, but also as an insight into the attitude of a Victorian aristocrat.

 

Beer

This past week I haven’t felt too well. I think I’ve had some sort of curious virus that had made me listless and lacking energy, especially over the bank holiday weekend. I think this may have accounted for my poor performance around Bilston last weekend with the Stymaster. It could also have been too much cottage pie though. As much as I enjoyed The White Rose, the other two Bilston pubs we went to weren’t great, especially the refurbished Horse & Jockey.

This weekend though, I’ve felt much better and a trip into Wednesfield with JC and his neighbour was just the ticket; The Zoo, The Dog And Partridge and then the Vine. All excellent pubs with great beer.

And I’m off there again tonight.

More tomorrow.

To The Horns of Queslett

IMG_2090

Damiler Fleetline

This weekend I have spent a very fruitful weekend, despite the best endeavours of the weather to spoil things. Friday night I was with JC, June and The Duffer in The splendid Vine in Wednesfield imbibing some different ales which meant a headache the next day. Not good but Charlie cardboard helped me move the dishwasher into the kitchen so now I have the luxury of being able to put all the dirty dishes directly into it without a few trips in and out of the garage. Domestic Bliss.

Sunday was a day spent with that well known bus geek from Walsall Wood. Yes it was Aston Manor’s running day. I’ve never been to this before so off we trots.

IMG_2097

Bristol VRT

It’s a sign of getting old when you sit on a bus and things look very familiar – spookily familiar as if things were still really there –  what did Buck Rogers think when he woke up? So the little boy’s wish to sit on a Damilar Fleetliner ended up as a trip relating stories about what had happened and when on this particular type of bus as it was so intertwined in everyday life back in the 70’s and 80’s. And that’s the thing. I used to catch 4 of these a day sometimes (or the Bristol VRT) and climbing on board again brought that rush of memories of Poly and school flooding back.

In the end, we did all three free bus rides around Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and one to that far off land – The Horns of Queslett. A romantically named pub surely named out of a J R R Tolkein book in some Middle earth adventure.

I can well recommend the museum – and the bus rides. It only cost a fiver and it was splendid to see to the look of delight on the little boys face when the Gardner 6LX fired up. Another day sniffing diesel.

Later on Sunday, I was out with the Essington Regulars on The Wednesfield crawl so we ended up in The Vine again. Over the course of 48 hours, I had in actual fact moved a mere 4 feet to the table the other side of the fireplace. But today – no hangover!

IMG_2089

Look at the joy on his little face!