An interesting question to ask, regarding the mad, sad, twisted old drama queen and former gay nightclub boss Simon Buckley. Although, I understand, since his days and nights on the gay nightclub scene he has decided that he prefers moose knuckles to the tradesman's entrance. Allegedly.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
How to find Caldicot Castle.Church Road, Caldicot NP26 4HU
From M4 take junction 23a onto B4245 to Caldicot.
From M48 take junction 2 for Chepstow. Follow the A48 towards Newport and B4245 to Caldicot.
Free car parking is available at Mitel car park a short walk from Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival.
Disabled parking is available at Caldicot Castle. Follow the signs for Monmouthshire Food Festival Event parking and then Disabled and Exhibitor parking into the Castle. Please have your badge ready.
This car park is only available for disabled parking.
Caldicot Halt is served by mainline services between Cardiff and Gloucester. If travelling from Bristol change at Severn Tunnel Junction. The castle is about a twenty minute walk from the station.
Bus services run to Caldicot from Bristol, Newport and Chepstow. From the Cross the castle is a five minute walk along Church Road
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Brains team cycle cask of beer 150 miles
A team of 13 from Welsh brewer and pub operator S.A Brain and Co Ltd are celebrating after cycling a cask of their current seasonal ale, Le Peloton, 150 miles from Cardiff to Bala.
The team, who cycled relay style, set off from the Cardiff Brewery at 1pm on Thursday 3rd July and finished 14 hours later on Friday 4th July (the day before the Tour de France) at the White Lion Royal Hotel in Bala – having carried the cask in the specially adapted baker’s-bike-turned-brewer’s-bike.
Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains and part of the cycling team, said: “We’re all keen cyclists but cycling 150 miles through some pretty hilly parts of Wales, weighed down with a cask of our seasonal beer – Le Peloton - was tough.
Le Peloton was developed to celebrate the summer of cycling, which this year started in Yorkshire. The beer is available now in pubs throughout the UK, as well as Tesco stores throughout Wales.
The Le Peloton bike ride also raised more than £1,000 for Wooden Spoon, a charity supporting disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The charity organises fundraising initiatives, spending money raised where it is most needed.
This weekend the Gloucester Food Festival is on in the Quays and as well as Gwatkin Cider being there, the local Gloucester Brewery will be holding a beer festival at their premises. The Food Festival is on for 3 days and looks a good one to attend.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Last month a new pub opened in Newport, on the old town dock, the Blaina Wharf is on the corner of Usk Way and the Southern Distributor Road. Owned by Marston's Brewery the Blaina Wharf is not there first pub in the City as the brewers have sat on the empty and derelict Westgate Hotel for years, however, this new build is a welcome development in an area of the town where a lot of the old pubs have closed.
This modern pub features three real ales from the extensive Marston's stable, a beer from Jennings Brewery of Cumbria was one of the ones on tap on my visit as well as a carvery and full pub menu. Situated in what is becoming a new residential area, this pub is sure to be a goldmine for Marston's, the junction on two main roads and a large car park are also helpful!
In the right-hand side of the photograph above the burnt-out remains of the former maltings of the Phillips Brewery can be seen. The pub was quite busy when visited and it's good to see a Newport pub thriving when so many others in the City are not.
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Thursday, 5 June 2014
Above: Looking East, the foundations of the priory can be seen in the lower part of the photo
Being situated close to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal (the address of the pub is given as Canal Parade in 1835), this seems to be prime territory for a pub, although it was described as 'Notorious'!
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
After lying derelict for a number of years, the King on Somerton Road, Newport has finally been demolished. First mentioned in 1872 as the King of Prussia, it was renamed as the King of Russia during the First World War but went by just the name of the King by 1923.
The pub sign in the 1990s still showed Frederick William III of Prussia on it though! The pub was owned by local brewers Phillips in 1905 and later Courage Brewery. The pub was once the headquarters of Newport AFC, no doubt due to it's proximity to the former home ground of Newport County, Somerton Park. The former football ground is now a housing estate and housing is no doubt what will be built on this site.
Friday, 30 May 2014
Once again, the Hornblower pub in Newport has shut. This time around it managed to stay open for about 10 months, something of a record given the recent history of the pub. The last owners failed to get things right from the very start with poor quality beer and indifferent staff who were more interested in stuffing their faces with crisps behind the bar than in making sure customers had decent pints of beer to drink. The pub was also competing with a nearby Wetherspoons and the Talisman pub, the latter has successfully cornered the market for the pond-life of the 'Port who are not catered for elsewhere.
So what's the future for the Hornblower? Not a good one as I doubt anyone would be stupid enough to take this once-popular bikers pub on. It's heyday was in the early 1990s when it boasted 5 real ales and was the spiritual home of Reckless Eric's Brewery. Although after that the pub went down hill with a succession of bad tenants including one alcoholic and one who had an interest in photography which raised the interest of the local rozzers. Hardly the type of people to attract customers to the pub?
The building to the right of the pub is also empty but this being Newport it is doubtful if any store will move in, especially with the new shopping centre under construction elsewhere in the city centre. So more dereliction for Newport.
Friday, 23 May 2014
Kingston Black Medium
Stoke Red Medium
Biglis Farm Sweet
Orchard Blend Medium Sweet
Hendre Huffcap Perry
Raglan Cider Mill
Boris’ Brainbender Medium
Hanky Panky Spirit cask Medium K
ingston Black Dry
Eaters & Cookers Medium Dry
Barn Owl Perry Dry
Snowy Owl Perry Medium
Bit of Rough Dry cider
Blush Sweet Perry
Divine Medium Perry
Nice Boys Dry Perry
Laughing Juice Perry
Sweet Burgundy Perry
Rosie’s Triple D
Triple D medium
Wicked Wasp medium
Black Bart sweet
Twisted Oak Dry
Vintage Oak Dry
Sunset Medium sweet
Blakeney Red Perry Sweet
Naughty Horsey medium
Very Naughty Horsey, medium dry
Williams Brothers Cider
Harley Gum Perry Hellen's Early Perry
Painted Lady Perry
Silly Ewe, Dry
Medium Rum Cask,
Medium Game Cock,
Sweet Stoke Red,
Squeal Pig Perry
Farmhouse Perry, Medium
Olivers Cider & Perry
Medium Making Hay,
Dry Classic Perry,
Medium Classic Perry,
Monday, 19 May 2014
There will be special one-off brews available, including some that have been matured in wooden casks for a year and were not wanted at the bigger festival opposite!
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today mounted renewed pressure on the Government to act now to save Britain’s struggling pubs, with a petition delivered to Business Secretary Vince Cable calling for vital large pub company (pubco) reform. The petition gained over 30,000 signatures in just 5 days and surpassed the 42,000 mark ahead of it being delivered to Vince Cable today. As well as the delivery of the petition, over 100 campaigners, pub-goers and licensees gathered outside Parliament to rally behind Vince Cable’s pledge to end the Great British Pub Scandal.
CAMRA says it is essential that Vince Cable sticks to his guns and makes an announcement in the next few weeks, to allow action before the upcoming General Election.
“It is absolutely vital that the Government disarms the ticking time bomb threatening the nation’s pubs. CAMRA is demanding the introduction of a Pubs Watchdog to rule on disputes between licensees and pubcos, plus a guest beer right and a market rent only option for tied licensees. These measures are essential in order to create a level playing field for licensees, ensuring those tied to the large pubcos are no worse off than those that are free of tie.” Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman.
It is now well over 12 months since the Government launched its consultation and despite several assurances of action, including a recent letter to CAMRA from Vince Cable stating that “We intend very soon to publish the Government response to our pubs consultation and to announce the next steps”, the Government has so far failed to make an announcement.
Currently tied licensees must purchase their beer and other products from the pub company at an inflated rate, which is often at least 50% more expensive than the market rate. As a result 57% of tied licensees earn less than £10k a year.
“The reforms CAMRA are seeking will enable publicans tied to the large pub companies to make a decent living and invest in their business, protecting thousands of valued pubs and creating a thriving industry. The current model is weighted far too heavily in the favour of the pub company at the expense of the licensee and it is essential the Government acts now to redress the balance, before thousands more people lose their livelihood.” Colin Valentine added.