This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular, in the hope that something may strike a chord with you, whether it be graphic design, football or real ale.

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Tuesday 31st May 2011 10:02

Had a rather strange request today, to create an artwork (and cut vinyl) for a UK registration plate. I remember some years ago when everyone seemed to be driving around with creations other than what the law allowed, making some of them illegible, either due to font character, font weight or point size.

Since I wanted to stay on the right side of the law, I picked up my investigatory hat and delved into the world of the internet. Several seconds later, I had found the information I required, and although boring to some, this sort of thing sticks in my memory, so I thought I'd brainwash you with it too.
The standard font for all UK registration plates is called 'Mandatory' (Apt name - Ed) and has to be 79mm high, with a stroke width of 14mm. As well as this, there must be an 11mm spacing between each letter or number, and 33mm between the groups of letters.

images number plate

As you can see, I've created a bespoke design of my own, although the left hand graphic wouldn't be allowed, although you have the option of including the country of origin, if need be. The plate I've used isn't available, only I just wanted to create something quirky for today's blog. If you have a spare £150,000, you could always buy the plate, 'ORG 45M'…
Anyway, if you're wanting your own free copy of the 'Mandatory' font, please click on the number plate above.

Monday 30th May 2011 07:41

Yesterday, I was working on another pump clip design for Irving & Co. Brewers Ltd, this time it was for their 4.5% ABV summer ale, 'Spinnaker'. I'd submitted several designs, based around the colours that were previously used, yet the main part of the design was totally different.


Since it was a summer ale, I felt the colours and design needed to reflect that, plus summer to me oozes relaxation and holidays, so I thought a beach scene would be the way to go. I'd also tried including Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower within the word 'Spinnaker' but it just wasn't doing it for me, and Malcolm confirmed my doubts, thankfully.
After a couple of further suggestions, I submitted two modified designs, one with a bucket and spade added, the other, including a half-drank pint… Malcolm choosing the bucket and spade… and so the design was complete.
For further information about Irving & Co. Brewers, please click on the approved pump clip above.

Sunday 29th May 2011 15:54

Tanya went down to PC World with Damien today, and since I had quite a bit of work to do, I opted to stay in and do it. I've really no idea how long they were both out, all I do know is that they came back with a rather nice surprise… two bottles of beer that I'd never had before, by a brewery I hadn't even heard of… now that IS special.
So, I guess you want to know more? Well, the two beers were 'Jaipur IPA', a 5.9% ABV India Pale Ale and 'Kipling' a 5.2% ABV South Pacific Pale Ale, both brewed by Thornbridge Brewery, based in Bakewell, Derbyshire. Strangely enough, and I cannot recall this, the brewery was featured in the first episode of 'Oz and James Drink to Britain'… shows how much attention I must have been paying.

thornbridge brewery

Their award-winning beers were first brewed back in 2005, originally brewed by Martin Dickie and Stefano Cossi, although just two years later, Dickie went on to form BrewDog, who I have mentioned in my blog on numerous occasions. He was replaced with Kelly Ryan , and a few months mater, David Pickering also joined the team. There have been several other changes since then, but more importantly, since it first opened, the brewery have won more than 130 awards, namely the Gold Medal for Strong Ales in the Great British Beer Festival in 2010 for 'Jaipur IPA'.

With all those accolades, I suppose you now want me to tell you what I thought of both ales? Well, I'd say 'Jaipur IPA' probably had the edge over the other, although I'd be reluctant to say there was an overall winner.
'Jaipur IPA' has a smooth taste, crisp, with a honey-sweet taste, yet a crescendo of hoppiness which then creates a powerful and very pleasant bitter finish. Definitely a summer ale, although the 5.9% ABV tag discriminates it from being session status.
At 5.2% ABV, I'd say 'Kipling' falls into the same category with regard to its sessionability (Great word - Ed) and it has a distinctively different taste. Here we're looking at an ale comparable to a dry wine, even with the strong fruitiness that accompanies it. This golden blonde beer tastes of passionfruit and gooseberry, whilst it has a wonderfully sweet mango aroma. This was the first beer in the UK to be brewed with New Zealand's 'Nelson Sauvin' hop and the initial sweetness of this full-bodied ale are balanced with a lasting grapefruit taste, reminiscent of many BrewDog ales.
To find out more about this award-winning brewery, please click on the very masculine logo above.

Saturday 28th May 2011 19:45

Since Saturday night television is diabolically bad, it made a refreshing change that ITV were televising the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final, taking place at none other than Wembley Stadium tonight. Both Manchester United and Barcelona had both previously won the competition three times, United in 1968, 1999 and 2008, whereas Barcelona had in 1992, 2006 and 2009. This was the first time that the new Wembley Stadium hosted the event, having only opened in 2007; previous to that, the old Wembley Stadium had hosted the finals in 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978 and 1992.

champions league final wembley

Not for one moment did I expect any result, other than Barcelona beating Manchester United comfortably - and that's exactly what happened. In fact, I don't think United actually bothered to turn up, they were embarrassing at times, their simple passing game letting them down on more than one occasion. Both teams and the attending 87,695 fans experienced a rather humid night and it took just 27 minutes for the Barcelona side to carve open the United defence with a relatively simple goal, assisted by Lionel Messi, for Pedro Rodríguez to slot past Edwin van der Sar. This goal seemed to be a wake-up call for United, and in the 34th minute, there was some superb link-up play between Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, Rooney scoring what could only be described as a wonder goal… maybe my pre-match assumptions had been wrong?

The teams began the second half on level terms and I was expecting a proper battle to commence, yet United were allowing Barcelona to play their own game and match it like for like, rather than trying to come up with their own mix of tactics. Sure enough, United's defence was carved right open once again, with a superb piece of individual play, this time from Man of the Match, Lionel Messi. They all seemed to stand still whilst Messi literally ploughed through, striking the ball past Nemanja Vidic who did little apart from block van der Sar's view. All very embarrassing, if you ask me.

To make matters worse, especially as Barcelona had enjoyed 67% of possession throughout the whole game, David Villa scored a sublime curving strike in the 69th minute, leaving United little chance of salvaging any dignity… after all, Barcelona had produced 19 goal attempts, 12 of which had been on target, as opposed to United's feeble and dare I say it, disgraceful 4 attempts, with only one of those (the goal) being on target.
Pathetic really, when they're meant to be the best in the country. Game over, 3-1 to Barcelona.
To find out more about the competition, please click on the logo above.

Friday 27th May 2011 14:14

Bollocks. That's the first one in quite some time. Why? Because I'm suffering with the stresses and strains of being back on the mainland again, namely the fact that I decided to sort out paying for my tax disc (I'd received a reminder in the post before we went away), so that meant sorting out my Motor Insurance certificate and, of course, my MOT… and that's where the bollocks came into play, it had expired whilst we were away. Thinking about it, that probably deserves more of a "fuck" than a "bollocks".


I usually take my car into Petersfield, as it's convenient to drop it off and have them do an MOT whilst I'm working, however that wasn't the case today because we were still on holiday and there was no point travelling all that way for no real reason. Since Tanya's been using a local garage in Emsworth lately, I thought it best to do the same, especially as they're probably one of nearest ones around, if not the nearest.
I quickly found their details on the internet and 'phoned them… I was majorly in luck, they'd either test it at some point today or definitely tomorrow morning. Excellent stuff.
So, if you live locally to Emsworth and want an MOT, I recommend Lillywhite's Garage, at the bottom of Queen Street in Emsworth - please click on their logo above to find out more.

Thursday 26th may 2011 09:10

Last night, whilst in the Tavern having a scrumptious meal called Leasky Lemon Lamb (a family called Leasky, who frequently visit the island won a competition to provide the Tavern's restaurant with a new dish, this being the overall winner), we heard murmurings that the boat would not be sailing tomorrow, due to adverse weather conditions, and the we check in on the Tavern by 09:30am for a further update.
Since it was incredibly windy, I suggested I walk up there myself this morning and report back, rather than all four of us traipse up there for no real reason. There was a sign propped up against the bar which read as follows…


Having not particularly enjoyed the journey over to the island, had we been sailing back, I had a good idea it wouldn't have been as smooth as the journey there, especially as the island was encountering Gale Force 6 winds. Knowing that we'd be leaving the island via helicopter had me both excited and filled with dread, after all, I'm not the best when it comes to flying, and luckily Kevin had given me enough assurance that helicopter flights were safe and very enjoyable. When I saw him later this morning, I did say how appropriate it was that we'd been allocated No. 2 flight, as that kind of described the angst my body was going through. So, I reported back to base and we were all incredibly excited about the prospect of leaving the island via a form of transport that none of us had experienced before. A befitting end to what had been a terrific holiday.

We arrived at the Tavern in good time for our flight briefing, conducted by Lundy's shopkeeper, Nigel. It's great how all the staff just muck in on any job, nothing's too much trouble. He explained the safety procedures in great detail (albeit very humorous - he's a very funny man with plenty of opinions. Digressing a moment, bearing in mind, the shop in the village is the only one on the island, a woman said to him, "I'm sorry, but I just don't like your attitude", to which he replied, "Well, if that's the case, shop somewhere else". Classic)
Anyway, we had all been grouped together for the second flight off the island, there being seven in total, including the ferrying of the passengers that were coming to holiday on the island.

Despite the journey taking an estimated seven minutes from the helipad close to St. Helena's Church to Hartland Point on the mainland, it did mean that we would all be in for some wait, a good hour or more. Nevertheless, it was worth its weight in gold really, because had we been sailing, we would have only been departing at 16:00, so whichever way you looked at it, we were going to be home far sooner than originally planned. Even better for my parents, for it meant they'd be travelling back to Bolton in daylight, all the way.

agusta 109

So, our turn had come to 'board' the aircraft… a twin-engine Agusta 109 (pictured above) to be precise. It is light-weight, eight-seat multi-purpose and manufactured by AgustaWestland of Italy. First flown as the Agusta A109 as far back as 1971, the craft has proven itself in light transport, medivac, search-and-rescue, as well as military roles. This particular helicopter is owned by Castle Air, a company conceived in 1979, specialising in aerial filming, making its most famous debut with the hit series, 'Treasure Hunt'. Since then, they have their pilots and craft featured on the BBC One indent where a helicopter lands on top of Bishop Rock Lighthouse, first aired on the 1st January 2008. One of their 'fleet' is also regularly used in 'Torchwood', the Doctor Who spin-off… so they're a rather famous company now.
Anyway, to find out more about Castle Air, please click on the logo below.

castle air

I suppose you want to know what the flight was like? Well, since it was the first time that Tanya, myself and my parents had ever been in one before, we all felt that it had to have been one of the most exhilarating experiences of our lives… wonderful. Once at Hartland Point, we had a good hour or more's wait before the coach departed with everyone on, dropping the Bideford passengers off first, before heading to Ilfracombe. So that was about it, our Lundy experience was over and it was just the small matter of driving around 200 miles back home. Sad that it all seemed to end so soon.

Wednesday 25th May 2011 10:40

Before I start today's blog… Happy Birthday, Abbi x
Another relatively late start to the day, but we'd accomplished what we'd set out to do, so today was just a case of finding other areas we hadn't already explored. That doesn't mean to sound complacent in any way because Lundy has a huge amount to offer and we'd only really touched the surface of it on this holiday.

In the Tavern last night, I'd been talking to Kevin, one of the staff there who we'd all befriended… it turns out that although he has what would be classed as a Devonshire accent, he was actually born in Bolton and followed the team, so that made him an instant friend. Anyway, whilst I was chatting with him, I asked him about Lundy and where his favourite spot was… it turned out to be The Battery, another building where the remains of now stand. I took several shots whilst there, two of which are featured below.

the battery cottages the battery fog signal

This was purposely built in 1869, to augment the Old Light and provide warning by firing cannons in adverse weather conditions to the shipping in the fog. It was decommissioned in 1897, once the North and South Lights were in use. Quite often, the island becomes shrouded in fog, so The Battery discharged rockets, later the guns, at ten-minute intervals by the resident watchmen. Despite the many efforts of warning such ships, 137 have met their fate since the first recorded one, 'Marie', as collier that was lost in 1757, right through to the most recent, 'Kaaksburg' in 1980. Obviously wrecks are far less common these days, since navigational aids have improved considerably.
The most famous wreck was that of 'HMS Montagu' in 1901, a ship that cost one million pounds to build. Weighing 14,000 tons, she had seen less than three years service when she hit Shutter Rock at the south west corner of the island.

Whilst at The Battery, I was lucky enough to capture a shot of a Rock Pipit (see below) and also managed to see my sighting of a Puffin near Dead Cow Point (Lovely name - Ed) but it was too far away for any real detail to be seen within the photograph. I then made my way back up the incredibly steep incline, taking a couple of shots of some Soay Sheep along the way. We then sat down and had a snack whilst watching numerous Guillemots flying in and around Jenny's Cove.

rock pipit VC quarry

After that, we then made our way along the Halfway Wall and along the east side of the island, Tanya taking a new higher route, whilst I opted for the coastal path so I could take a look at the numerous quarry faces along the way, namely the VC Quarry (pictured above) named for the memorial tablet erected there. It was created by members of his family to commemorate the bravery of John Pennington Harman, son of Martin Coles Harman, who was posthumously awarded the VC after a heroic act in 1944. The quarry had been one of his favourite places on the island.

feral goats quarterwall cottages

I then met up with Tanya right near the Quarterwall Cottages and she pointed out some Feral Goats, another animal commonly found on the island (see picture above). The goats on Lundy are the result of 18th century sailors releasing them on to the island giving them a convenient source of ready milk and meat when they were in harbour. In addition to that the quarry workers of the time kept goats and the various kinds interbred, which is why there is an eclectic mix resident.
The Quarterwall Cottages, also pictured above, were built to house the surgeon, engineer, foreman and employees of the Lundy Granite Company which was established on the island in 1863, encouraged by the island’s then owner William Heaven (father of Rev Heaven who constructed St. Helena's Church). The quarry company employed up to 200 workers at the height of the operation which continued for five years, but due to mismanagement and difficulties of transporting the granite stone to the mainland the operation ceased.

lundy island

On our last journey back to the south of the island, both Tanya and I had the satisfaction of visiting this enchanting island and do hope to return one day. I felt I'd experienced life how it once was, no cars, no hustle and bustle, just a place full of friendly like-minded people. I suppose it's a island you'd either love or hate, for us two it was definitely the former. I could talk about the place for days, it really is that special.
If you're interested in your own 'Lundy Experience', please click on the logo above to find out more, or even book your own stress-free break.

Tuesday 24th May 2011 08:11

Today was the day we'd decided to venture to the very north of the island. Three miles doesn't sound much, I know, yet it still needed preparation, such as making sure we had food and water with us, as well as packing certain clothes for any eventuality, especially as we'd experienced how changeable the island's very own micro-climate could be.
We'd also decided that making our way up along the main track was the best option, since it was the most direct and would ultimately mean we'd arrive there relatively quickly. We knew another boatload of 267 day-tripper tourists would be arriving today, so we wanted as much time to ourselves as possible, so our peace and quiet wouldn't be ruined. After all, this was our island now.

lundy ponies quarter wall

We soon arrived at the Quarter Wall and a herd of Lundy Ponies were grazing right near the farm gate so it was a good opportunity to take a photo of them (see picture above). The Lundy Pony is a breed of pony first developed on the island in 1928, when the owner of the island, Martin Coles Harman, introduced over thirty New Forest pony mares, eight foals and a Welsh Mountain B strawberry roan stallion. Bizarrely enough, the Welsh stallion died after just a year of being on the island but managed to sire one foal, a colt called Pepper. Luckily, the first 'Lundy Pony' grew into an upstanding stud stallion, creamy dun with a black mane and tail. Ever since then, they have lived on the island.

due north trumpeter finch

From there, we continued to head north towards the Halfway Wall, making it the furthest we'd been on the island so far; it was all very exciting. We'd heard from many of the Twitchers who regularly visit the island that there had been an incredibly rare sighting of a bird that is usually found in the Canary Islands, across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia… but not on an island such as Lundy. This bird was the Trumpeter Finch and we were absolutely certain that it was enjoying posing for us, as you can see from the photograph above.

looking south tibbetts hill

We both found ourselves turning back round to look where we had walked and turning back around to see where we were walking to. As you can see from the photograph above, the Old Light looks miles away. As we preceded to walk north, we arrived at the island's second highest point, Tibbetts Hill, which also has the most northerly accommodation on the top of it. Tibbetts was built in 1909 and was originally used as a lookout by the Admiralty. Constructed of pale granite, the property doesn't have electricity but does have gas and running water.

As we continued our walk, I almost squashed a fledgling Meadow Pipit or Skylark. Despite a hoard of Twitchers crowding round me later in the day, when I mentioned the Trumpeter Finch, none could give a positive ID of the fledgling, so I won't post it for the time-being. The North End was now well and truly in sight, it almost felt like we'd conquered the island for the first ever time, a feeling of true satisfaction as the Threequarter Wall came into view. Despite it being very sunny, the wind was still quite strong, so we found shelter at the remains of John O'Groats House and enjoyed the sandwiches I'd made earlier as well as have a drink of water.

north lighthouse north east point

Tanya then chose to chill out in the sun whilst I became a Mountain Goat for a good hour, clambering across rock faces and taking a trip down to North Light (the lighthouse at the most north westerly point of the island). I walked all around the premises, taking heed of all the warnings that were displayed in and around the property. Once I'd had my fill, I then took the 206 steps back up to the North End plateau… a good test of your fitness, I can tell you. I took a shot of the North East Point before we started to make our way back to civilisation. By the time we did, we started to see many of the day-trippers who'd come across on the MS Oldenburg and suddenly we felt as if our island was being invaded.

sea thrift sika deer middle park
south lundy marisco tavern

On the way back, I managed to take a photograph of some Sea Thrift (see above) and also capture quite a nice shot of some Sika Deer in the Middle Park, just before the Halfway Wall (also see above).
I also explored the area known as Earthquake on the western side of the island, the name given to a series of narrow fissures running along the west side of the island. It is believed that they were formed by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 but modern geological opinion suggests that this is unlikely. Their origin still remains a mystery but weathered faulting of the granite seems most likely; with the possibility that early mining activity may also be the cause.
We then found a rocky outcrop to rest against and fell asleep in the sun for about two hours!

lundy at dusk castle cottages

Once we'd decided we were baked enough, we headed back to the Marisco Tavern via the western side of the island (both pictured above) and had a quick drink, before making our way back to our accommodation for a shower. It was then a case of back to the pub for our evening meal… I had something with lamb in it again, which was very tasty indeed and we finished off our evening by taking some sunset shots and a shot of the Castle Keep Cottages, ours being the one facing, whilst my parents were staying in the one on the left.

Monday 23rd May 2011 11:00

Having been up so early yesterday morning, we actually didn't get out of our accommodation until about 11:00 - not that we should complain, after all, it's a holiday.
We started this morning's walk by going straight up the main track that runs right the way from the castle in the south to John O'Groats House at the north end of the island. We'd decided to head that little further and go to the remains of the Old Hospital (see picture below), stopping at the Quarterwall Cottages for a revisit, despite it being incredibly windy. At times it was a real struggle to walk in it but it was superb exercise. On the way up there, we passed many of the domestic sheep, found south of the Quarter Wall, two were braving the wind head-on so I had to take a photo (see picture below).

old hospital braving the wind

After we'd spent some time there, we made our way back to the Old Light and, in particular, the cemetery at Beacon Hill, which has a handful of gravestones, some of which are Celtic, their inscriptions having been dated back to the 5ht or 6th Century AD. It was excavated by Charles Thomas in 1969 and was originally enclosed by a curvilinear bank and ditch, still visible in the south west corner. They were discovered when the Old Light was constructed in 1819, although only a small area of the cemetery was uncovered, and it's been estimated that there could be anything up to one hundred ancient graves there.

felix w. gade top deck

One of the graves belongs to Felix W. Gade, M.C. (see picture above) who was an agent on Lundy between 1926-1971. He acquired the post of agent after hearing that his old friend and childhood neighbour, Martin Coles Harman, had purchased the island and needed a resident agent. He was originally appointed on a trial run of three months and, apart from the Second World War years of 1945 to 1949, he lived there ever since. After Gade retired in 1971, The Landmark Trust generously allowed him to enjoy his years of retirement living on hose beloved island until he died on Lundy on the 28th October 1978, aged 89 years.

the landmark trust

The Landmark Trust is a building preservation charity, founded in 1965 by the late Sir John Smith and Lady Smith. It was established to rescue historic and architecturally interesting buildings from neglect and, when restored, they were given a new life by letting them as places to stay and experience as holiday destinations.
To find out more about the organisation, please click on the logo above.

keeping warm st. helena window

From the cemetery, we then made our way back to the Old Light, where I attempted to scale the 147 steps to the top… this time I succeeded and have proof by showing the photograph I took at the top… two humorously-placed green stripy deckchairs. From there, we then made our way back across Ackland's Moor (the area of grazing farmland, south of the Quarter Wall), where we saw two lambs huddled against their mother as protection from the wind (see picture above).
Once back in the village, we waited in the Marisco Tavern for my parents to meet up with us and enjoy our first meal in there. I had a Lundy Lamb Balti (Don't you have a heart?! - Ed) which was delicious and unfortunately, after Tanya had eaten her Chicken dish, she felt very ill… nothing to do with the meal I hasten to add, the sickness had been brought on by over-exerting herself and she had to go back to our accommodation. After that, I just finished my pint and made my way back with my parents to make sure she was okay.

old light sunset lundy sunset

On the way back, I took a few shots within St. Helena's Church, one of which is shown above. Once back, I sorted out a hot water bottle for Tanya before my Mum and myself headed off out for a quick walk back up to the pub to post a couple of postcards and buy some bottled water before making our way over to the Old Light to catch the sunset. The wind had become even more ferocious by this point and both of us found it a struggle to stand up, nevertheless, I managed a shot or two, a couple of which are also shown above.

Sunday 22nd May 2011 05:20

Before I start today's blog, I know that the images here are very small, with the text being barely legible - I shall be creating a gallery of my Lundy experience.

landing jetty st helena's church

I guess the excitement of being on an island we were dying to explore woke me up this morning - and what a beautiful morning it was, albeit quite windy. I opted to stay relatively close by to where we were staying, mainly because I wanted to share the experiences of being on the island, rather than just plod along and be all selfish about it. The early morning light was catching the sea all around the south east point of the island; it was beautiful (see picture above). I then walked along some of the coastal paths towards the village, realising that the plateau of the island wasn't as flat as I'd imagined it to be. This was a good thing by the way, I'd much rather be encountering hills and steep climbs on a walking holiday, rather than there be no variation.
As I walked around the rear of St. Helena's Church (see picture above), on to another coastal path, I caught my first glimpse of the wild Sika Deer that live on Lundy. There are approximately 100 in total and the Japanese breed, introduced in 1927, now live completely wild on the island and are one of the few populations in the world that haven't interbred with the Red Deer.

From there, I continued to walk around the castle in which we were staying and found Benson's Cave (see picture below), a cavern that had been excavated around the 1700s, supposedly by North Devon's most notorious smuggler, Thomas Benson, for the purpose of storing merchandise. Subsequent excavation, some years later, revealed that graffiti on the walls of the interior dated as far back as 1726, making it more likely that the cave was tunnelled out during the tenancy of Richard Scores, a previous occupier who had also been charged with smuggling on Lundy Island in 1721.

benson's cave cousin it
old light quarter wall

After going back to Castle Keep East (the property we were staying in) and having some breakfast, we headed off out again, opting to explore south of the quarter wall. Lundy is divided into four sections, not all equal in size, the quarter wall being the extreme south of the island where the village is located. We had a good look around the interior of St. Helena's Church and then took the west side of the island past Rocket Pole Pond at South West Point and up to the Old Light lighthouse. It was incredibly windy, as the shot of Tanya with her hair flying everywhere will testify (see picture above). Whilst on our way up to the lighthouse (Lundy has three, the Old Light being the only one that is disused), I had my first relatively close sighting of a Wheatear, a lovely coloured meadowland bird.

The Old light (see picture above) was built in 1819 at a cost of what would be £36,000 nowadays. The light was first used on the 21st February 1820 but the 96ft high structure was deemed to have been built too high, making it almost impossible for sailors to see from sea level. I tried to attempt to climb the 147 steps to the top but bottled it… I'd marked it down for a revisit… I wasn't to be defeated.
As a matter of interest, the Old Light features on the logo of the Lundy Field Society, an organisation that was founded in 1946, originally concentrating on the study of the island's birds. Its headquarters were in the Old Light for many years, hence the use of the building as their logo. The society is now a charity and the study of Lundy, in particular its history, natural history, archaeology and the conservation of its wildlife and antiquities are all part of its aim.
For further information, please click on the logo below.

lundy field society

We then carried on along the west side until reaching the Quarter Wall (see picture above) and then made our way across to the east side of the island, with our first proper sighting of some Sika Deer and some Soay Sheep (see pictures below), another animal introduced to the island and one that occasionally appears on the menu at the Marisco Tavern, Lundy's only pub.

sika deer soay lamb
lundy experience oystercatcher

We then explored the remains of the Quarterwall Cottages whilst taking in views of the dramatic south east of the island where Rat Island and Mouse Island can be seen. We were dying to explore further but we still had plenty of time to do that, so rather than do it all in one hit, we made our way back to the village and enjoyed a pint of 'Lundy Experience' which is a relabelled 'Dartmoor' by St. Austell Brewery (see picture above). After that, we headed off back to our accommodation for a snooze before making our way down to Landing Beach where the MS Oldenburg dropped us off. Here we walked on the beach and explored some of Rat Island and an area of exposed rock called Devil's Kitchen. We caught a glimpse of several seals although they were too far away to take photographs of. On the way back up the 400ft climb to the village, we spotted a Pied Oystercatcher that seemed to be more than happy to pose for a few photographs, the one above being my favourite.

Saturday 21st May 2011 01:51

One of the earliest starts for us in a long time, if not THE earliest. Today we were heading off to Lundy Island, situated approximately 12 miles off the North Devon coast, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel. The granite outcrop, three and a half miles long and half a mile wide, has nothing between it and America and in relation to the hubbub of everyday life, the island is peaceful and unspoilt.
The188-mile journey took us along the M27, M3, A34 before the A303 took us past Stonehenge, just before 4am. We eventually arrived in Bideford for around 06:40, with plenty of time to spare, so much so, we had time for a cup of coffee at the B&B where my parents were staying.

On the way to the port at Bideford, my Dad developed a stitch, so we lagged behind Tanya and my Mum… this wasn't helped by witnessing a crow trying to eat a baby blackbird in front of its parents. I'm fully aware that you shouldn't intervene with nature but I couldn't help it, after all, crows have enough things around to eat, without having to feast on live prey. I shooed it off and it hung around, only to make its way back down once I was at a safe enough distance. I returned to shoo it off once more, by which time a woman who was walking her dog in the park had also noticed what was going on, and had found a box to put the distraught fledgling in. Whether we had done the right thing, who knows, the shock of trying to be eaten alive may well have taken its toll.


We finally arrived at the port and the queue of both day-trippers and holiday-makers had already taken shape, nevertheless, our ship, MS Oldenburg wasn't going to leave without us. It was due to depart after 07:30am and there were several holiday-makers' cases to load before we were allowed on. My Dad was still in considerable pain. The journey was an estimated 2-2½ hours so we had time to chill out and grab a second lot of breakfast (we'd stopped at Tiverton Services on the M5 for a coffee and a bite to eat earlier on).
Despite the bill for two cheese and ham toasties and two coffees coming to £13.81 at Costa, I shall still provide a link to the Moto service stations website - please click on the logo above to access it.


The MS Oldenburg, owned by Lundy Island and the Landmark Trust, sails from either Bideford or Ilfracombe about three times a week, usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with additional sailings on Wednesdays during July and August. The Oldenburg was first built and registered in 1958 in the German city of Bremen and has been sailing to Lundy since the replacement of her engine in 1985. It was built by Detlef Hegemann Rolandwerft GmbH & Co. KG and can carry up to 267 passengers. On board there is a licensed bar, a buffet, shop and information centre and the vessel is also available for private charter. On tomorrow's blog, I will go into more detail about Lundy Island, so for the moment, I'll include a link to the company who originally built the MS Oldenburg.

The crossing was very choppy indeed and I honestly thought that my stomach wouldn't be strong enough for it, yet I ended up being the one who felt the better by far as the Island came into view. My Dad had began to feel that ill during the journey, he'd actually vomited on numerous occasions… I have to say, I've never witnessed him look so ill, I was actually thinking the very worse, he was that white. Luckily though, I arranged for him to be driven up to the top of the Island, rather than face the half mile-long, 400ft climb to the village. So, we'd finally arrived, and it looked idyllic…

Friday 20th May 2011 16:07

Tomorrow, we are due to head off to Lundy Island for a five-day break with my parents, so it meant that I had a few things to tie up before going, one of which was a four-page brochure for Straightpoint (UK) Ltd.

calibration brochure

Some time ago (last September if memory serves me correctly), I'd taken shots of each machine that Straightpoint own, as part of their Open Day celebration. The shot, showing the beast in all its glory, also has the Class I test machine towering next to it.
For more information, and to view the PDF of brochure I created, please click on the image above.

Thursday 19th May 2011 17:36

Before I start, happy eighth birthday, Rhianna x
Since starting my 365+1, I've had a plethora of unusual requests for photographic subject matter, none more so than today… a Renault 19. Now then, a Renault 19 is a fairly rare find these days, mainly because they were produced by the French car manufacturer between 1988 and 2000, although it was only sold in Europe until 1996, continuing with the South American market until 2000.

langley motor co

So that was my quest for today, to locate one. As to how reliable they ever were is another story, for I've never owned one, nor do I know anyone who ever did. Luckily, Tanya found one for sale at a motor company in North End, which is a district of Portsmouth, so off I drove to the Langley Motor Company.
I used our SatNav to find its location but there just wasn't any where close enough to park, plus the majority of the cars were within the actual grounds of the place, rather than on any sort of forecourt, so I ended up being defeated. Was so annoyed.
Anyway, if you live in or around the Portsmouth area and are looking to buy a used car, please click on the logo above.

Wednesday 18th May 2011 18:27

Last week, I talked of a superb series called 'The Shadow Line'… what's even better about it, is the accompanying theme music, a haunting melody entitled, 'Pause'. Since both Tanya and I acquired great apps for our phones that allow you to identify virtually any song played on the radio, television, or wherever for that matter!

emily barker

Anyway, Tanya used her app, 'Sound Hound' (the iPhone equivalent is 'Shazam') and it identified the song as being 'Pause' by Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo. Emily Barker comes from Bridgetown, Western Australia and is most definitely a compelling songwriter, with a knack for intertwining meaningful lyrics with almost hypnotic melodies. Together with her band, The Red Clay Halo, she has recorded three albums and seen her song, 'Nostalgia' become a Bafta-winning theme tune to BBC One drama, 'Wallander'. Impressive eh? Well not only that, the band's albums are entirely self-financed and released on Emily's own imprint, 'Everyone Sang'.
To find out much more about her and The Red Clay Halo, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 17th May 2011 12:42

Had a dreadful night's sleep, mainly because too many things were whirring around in my head, and I desperately needed to sort some of them out. One of them was a logo design for South Downs Investments Ltd. I hadn't been given a brief as such, other than the fact that they wanted it to look like it was part of the South Downs, rather than anything orientated toward money or finance.

south downs investments ltd

After doodling many designs, particularly with the letters 'S' and 'D', for obvious reasons, I finally came up with an idea which seemed to work, only it needed adapting here and there. I was happy choosing a grass-coloured green and a sea-coloured blue, and had also tried various sans serif fonts along the way. All in all, I probably designed around ten different logos and finally settled on the above. Someone will be more than happy to learn I used Calibri as the font… one of the only PC fonts that ever had any credibility.

Monday 16th May 2011 11:10

How many times have you thought, "I wonder what to do today?", well, many of your questions could be answered with a great site I discovered today. I actually discovered it whilst trying to locate a logo and thought that this was a great website, and not just if you're looking for somewhere to go for the day… it's a goldmine for graphic designers too. Oh, and I think their logo is brilliant too, so it's a win win win site as far as I'm concerned.


The site, 'daysoutleaflets.co.uk' provides its visitors with a huge range of tourism leaflets, available to either view online or download in a PDF format. This means that you are able to enjoy great days out visiting a wide range of interesting places across the UK, from indoor and outdoor activities to historic locations or just plain family fun. The website has the UK split into regions so you can search for popular attractions near to where you live, or alternatively, you can search for particular ones that interest you.
As a designer, such a website means that many of these downloads will contain vector-based logos of these attractions, often including adverts of local businesses and even logos of the local town councils… as I said, it's a goldmine of valuable and often essential information for a designer.
To find out more, please click on the aesthetically pleasing logo above.

Sunday 15th May 2011 16:00

I didn't exactly feel rough this morning, but I certainly didn't feel my best either, it has to be said. So much so, that neither of us did anything apart from watch the two Premier League football matches that were broadcast on Sky Sports 1, the first of which was Arsenal v Aston Villa.

arsenal v aston villa

Although Villa's status within the Premier League was relatively secure, they needed a win to confirm that, whilst Arsenal were very much in-the-running for securing a second-place finish, especially if Newcastle could do them a favour against Chelsea, later on in the day. Unfortunately, for the Gunners though, that wasn't going to happen, and within the first quarter of an hour, Darren Bent had scored twice, the first in the 11th minute, with an inch-perfect chip from Kyle Walker, Bent controlling the ball on his chest and stretched to place a volley over Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
The second goal came just four minutes later with Ashley Young passing the ball through for Bent to simply side-foot his second into the net, leaving Arsenal in disarray. Despite Arsenal enjoying 67% of possession and 15 attempts on target, as opposed to Villa's five, it took until the 89th minute for Arsenal to claw back a consolation goal, scored by Robin van Persie, but it was all too little, too late. Final score 1-2 to Villa.

chelsea v newcastle united

The second of today's Premier League fixtures was Chelsea v Newcastle, a point was all that was needed for The Blues to secure a second-place spot, since Arsenal had scuppered any chance of doing so earlier in the day. The first goal came within just two minutes of kick-off, Branislav Ivanovic volleying in a left-wing corner, taken by Frank Lampard. Newcastle certainly weren't prepared to defend for the rest of the match, and although their equaliser in the 10th minute was more than fortuitous, it was still a goal, all said and done. Ryan Taylor's 20-yard driven free-kick took a major deflection off Jonas Gutierrez, leaving Petr Cech almost stood still.
It all appeared as if the game would remain at 1-1, that was until the 83rd minute when Brazilian defender Alex powered in a free-kick from the left flank, Lampard the provider once more. So, it looked like Chelsea would be victors of their final home game of the season, yet Newcastle had other ideas, Steven Taylor nodding in a corner from Ryan Taylor, in the second minute of injury time. The game ended 2-2 with both of today's fixtures leaving bitter tastes in the mouths of Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti.

Saturday 14th May 2011 10:16

What a day! It was another one spent at a beer festival, this one being the 22nd Yapton Beerex, situated near Barnham in West Sussex. We'd bought tickets for the Saturday afternoon session, 11am until 3pm, so we had a relatively early start, especially as we had arranged to meet Jamie at Havant Station for around 10am. Amidst a little confusion, all went according to plan and we were finally on our way there.
The train journey only lasted about twenty or so minutes and the festival was clearly signposted once off at the station. For Saturday's afternoon session, a vintage bus service was organised from outside the Murrel Arms in Barnham, right to the Village Hall in Yapton, costing only £1… saving a walk and considerable time.
Once there, it was the simple procedure of handing over our tickets, collecting our free Yapton Beerex glass and programme with Damien and myself then collecting £1-worth of free tokens for being CAMRA members… we were now all set for our day of beer!
To find out more about the festival, please click on the Yapton Beerex poster below.

yapton beerex

With 66 real ales to pick and choose from, it was a tall order (Just like all the other beer festivals you've been to then? - Ed) and first up was one called 'Citra', a 4.2% ABV citric golden ale brewed by AllGates Brewery in Wigan, Lancashire… rather than clog up the blog® (rather like the sound of that), I'll create another tasting notes sheet as I did with Winchester, including our marks out of ten. Nevertheless, I shall include links to virtually all of the breweries we tried beer from.
So, second one up (or down as the case may be) was 'Cheshire IPA', a 4.7% ABV from Cheshire-based Dunham Massey Brewing Co., followed by one of my favourite beers ever (had bottles of it before), 'Pale Rider', a 5.2% ABV pale ale from Kelham Island, in fact, we loved it that much, we sampled another beer called 'Rider On The Storm', a 4.5% ABV from the same brewery.

allgates citra dunham massey brewing co - cheshire ipa elland brewery - albino kangaroo saltaire brewery - south island pale

Our fifth beer was 'Pale Moonlight', a 4.2% ABV pale ale brewed by Phoenix Brewery, based in Heywood, Lancashire preceded with 'Albino Kangaroo', a 4.8% ABV pale ale by Leeds-based Elland Brewery. At some point, we stopped and bought a hot dog, since neither Tanya nor I had eaten anything particularly substantial for breakfast… we both ended up wolfing them down, we were so hungry.
Next up was 'South Island Pale', a 3.5% ABV pale ale from West Yorkshire-based Saltaire Brewery, followed swiftly by, 'Southern Cross', a 5.7% ABV amber ale from another Leeds-based brewery, this one being Ridgeside Brewery. The next beer was another I'd had a bottle or two of before, 'Harvest Pale', a 3.8% ABV pale ale from Nottingham-based Castle Rock Brewery.
After all these ales, it was quickly approaching the close of the Saturday afternoon session and there were so many we wanted to sample, just didn't have the time to… although we did manage to slot two more in before it was time to go, the first of which was probably the worst we'd ever tasted, 'Weapons Of Mouth Destruction', a cloudy 4.5% ABV pale ale from Sheffield-based Steel City Brewing… in fact, it was that bad, we just had to get another one to dilute the taste, and that was, 'Stateside IPA', a 6.0% ABV chestnut-coloured ale from Saltaire Brewery, whom I'd mentioned before.

ridgeside brewery castle rock brewery - harvest pale steel city brewing - weapons of mouth destruction

Since it was still relatively early on in the day, we decided to find the pubs within Yapton, the first being 'The Lamb Inn' where we tried our best to drink a pint of Sharp's Doombar, although we all felt slightly wrecked from the afternoon session and I do recall struggling to keep my eyes open at one point, as did Jamie. We also managed to catch the last half hour or so of the FA Cup Final between Stoke City v Manchester City, the Manchester side winning by just 0-1… gutted about that, I really thought the Potters could do it.
From there, we then had rather a long walk (or it certainly seemed it) to 'The Maypole Inn' where we had half a pint of some beer, I really cannot recall what it was though, I was actually more concerned about stuffing my face with a large bowlful of chips to be honest.

From there, we had the slightly sobering walk all the way back to Barnham, stopping off for a much-needed pint of 'HSB' at the remarkable 'Murrel Arms' pub. Inside it, it's filled to the brim with a totally unique collection of local memorabilia. There are clay pipes on display and cask ale is still served from barrels behind the bar. I really cannot begin to say just how much we all loved this pub… definitely worth a revisit.

Friday 13th May 2011 21:53

Now then, I could be predictable and talk about friggatriskaidekaphobia - Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning the fear of the number thirteen, but I won't. (i'm sure you just did?! - Ed)

words with friends

What I will talk about though is another iPhone app called 'Words With Friends'. There is both a free and a paid app available via iTunes. Released in July of 2009 and published by Zynga, Words With Friends is a multi-player word-orientated mobile game, based on the popular board game, Scrabble. You can either play against friends or find random opponents on devices running either Android and any iOS and it's that popular, it's one of the top ranking games in the iOS app store.
To download your free version (you have the option of paying as well, thus eliminating the annoying adverts) please click on the app logo above.

Thursday 12th May 2011 21:00

Seems to be a very television-based theme this week, for I'm about to talk about another programme which is superb. Aired at 9pm on Thursdays, 'The Shadow Line' has to be one of the best dramas the BBC have produced in years. Tonight's was the second episode of the seven-part sinister plot which includes a both a detective, suffering with amnesia, after receiving a bullet in his brain, and a villain whose wife has Alzheimer's and they're trying to piece together their lives and why someone has killed Harvey Wratten, and this is whilst various pressures exert themselves from varying parties.

the shadow line

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston, Sir Antony Sher and Stephen Rea, this noir thriller was written, produced and directed by Hugo Blick and explores the morality of these characters as they negotiate the repercussions of Wratten's death and attempt to navigate the fine line between right and wrong… the thing is, as the web of intrigue unravels, you begin to question which side of the law you would stand on. This series really is a must and you still have time to catch up before the next thrilling instalment next Thursday.
Please click on the image above to view via iPlayer.

Wednesday 11th May 2011 21:00

Last night, the new series of The Apprentice started and, to acquaint the viewers with the contestants of this year's show, they showed the second instalment tonight. I will, no doubt, talk about the series in weeks to come so rather than go through what the show is about (I'm sure the majority of you will know exactly what I'm talking about), I thought I'd talk about 'talkbackTHAMES', a British television production company, part of a division of FremantleMedia. It was formed in 2003 by the merger of Talkback Productions and Thames Television, the former ITV network franchisee for London.


TalkbackTHAMES have some notable productions under their belts such as, 'The Bill', 'Escape To The Country', Grand Designs', 'Green Wing', 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' and 'QI' (in association with Quite Interesting Ltd). They've also produced some utter shit like 'The X Factor' and 'Britain's Got Talent'… never mind, you can't have everything.
To find out more about the company, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 10th May 2011 20:00

I've been meaning to talk about a television series that has been broadcast on BBC2 for the past three weeks, and since it's the last one this-coming Thursday, I thought I better had, before it's too late (Don't you think it already is? - Ed). Called, 'The Animal's Guide to Britain', Chris Packham examines Britain from an animal's point of view, choosing an elite group of five animals, each of which, sense the world in a different way.
This Thursday's episode covers coastal animals and why the waters and coastlines of the UK are the most popular places in the world, particularly for two of our species; the grey seal and the Manx shearwater. As well as this, he defends the much misunderstood British gull and also talks about two animals that have extraordinary ways of sensing Britain's coastal environments.

the animal's guide to britain

It really has been an eye-opening series, plus you just cannot beat the enthusiasm of Packham. What has surprised me the most though, is just how many animals you can actually associate with Britain like many species of the bat, foxes, badgers and red squirrels. Not quite sure what you can and can't catch up with online, but there's always iPlayer than often keeps such programmes available for viewing for quite some time after they have been broadcast.
Please click on the programme logo above to find out more.

Monday 9th May 2011 06:03

Google's homepage was graced with not just one, but 17 different 'doodles' today… in celebration of two events, both linked to the same man. That man is none other than Roger Hargreaves… creator of the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters. This year marks the 40th anniversary of when the the very first publication of a Mr. Men book was available on bookshelves… that character being Mr. Tickle. Later that year, Mr. Greedy and Mr. Sneeze, along with three other characters, were published that year.

mr. men

So what else is special about this day? Well, it would have been Roger Hargreaves' 76th birthday today, sadly though, he died of a stroke on the 11th September 1988, at the age of just 53. In total, 48 Mr. Men issues were published, the majority of which were in the seventies, and that's when I remember first becoming fascinated with them, developing many of my own on a huge piece of paper that I blu-tacked to the wall outside my bedroom.
To find out much more about Mr. Men and the Little Miss characters, please click on the logo above.

Sunday 8th May 2011 16:10

Well, it's my Dad's birthday today, so Happy Birthday! Spent a good while on the phone to both my parents before deciding it was time to head off to Morrisons to buy the usual list of things, as well as buy a cooked chicken… none left. I then frantically drove to Tesco in Havant… none left there either. My final resort was the Co-op in Emsworth… looked like everyone wanted cooked chickens today.

I just about managed to get back home in time to watch the much-awaited Premier League clash between league leaders, Manchester United and the team that are hot on their heels, Chelsea. It's been a strange old season, by the middle of next week, there will be just two matches left and neither the champions nor the relegated teams have been decided yet. If Manchester United sealed a victory today, it would mean that they'd require just one remaining point from their last two fixtures.

down to the wire

My chicken hunt meant that I missed the first minute or so since the two teams had kicked off… that was enough to mean I missed the first goal, scored by Javier Hernandez within 30 seconds… oh dear, Chelsea's wishes may well have been scuppered. It was end to end stuff from then on, Chelsea creating more of the chances and shots on target, but not possessing the finishing quality usually associated with them. Sure enough, the 23rd minute saw the second United goal, a header by Nemanja Vidic but this didn't mean that Chelsea were defeated, they still ploughed on… but that's how the scoreline stayed as they went into the interval.
Chelsea did continue to battle away in the second half and created some fine chances, yet the resilience of the United back four and Edwin van der Sar proved impenetrable, that was until the 67th minute, after Frank Lampard poked in a volley from the edge of the six-yard box. From then, it looked as if Chelsea had the impetus to go on and win the match, but it ended up 2-1 to the Red Devils.

Saturday 7th May 2011 15:45

We almost didn't bother going out today, however, Tanya need to nip into Havant to pick up another pair of glasses that she'd ordered… she nearly chose not to do so until it dawned on her that they were free. Since we needed to go out, I took a look at my list of 365+1 requests and had decided that I was going to choose 'Communication' as my subject for today, especially as Tanya's trying to stick to a retro theme throughout her new year of photography. So that was it, I remembered an old red telephone box that we'd photographed some time ago, especially as it had red letterbox in close proximity.


Once we'd been there, we went to Emsworth for a walk around the Mill Pond. Unbeknown to me, if you park at the bottom of Queen Street, you have two hour's-worth of free parking, as opposed to just three quarters of an hour in and around the main square. Anyway, just thought I'd mention that fact, if you ever decided to come to Emsworth.
Since it was such a lovely day and neither of us felt it was time to go home, I suggested that we enjoy a drink in the Lord Raglan, a Fullers-owned pub at the bottom of Queen Street. More often than not, we can walk into a Fuller's pub and there be no new ales to try, although 'Seafarers' is usually on and is one of our favourites… not the strongest ale by any means, but it's certainly quaffable.
Anyway, I spotted a new ale immediately… 'Spring Sprinter'. Upon reading the information on the pump clip, it was a must… "Light, refreshing and bursting with zesty hop flavours… 4.0% ABV"… it sounded the perfect ale to enjoy whilst sat in the beer garden at the back of the Lord Raglan, looking out across the Slipper Pond.

spring sprinter

'Spring Sprinter' is a brand new seasonal beer for April and May and questionably holds the George Gale & Co. Ltd branding - maybe Malcolm might be able to answer why this is so? Why do Fuller's continue using the Gales identity when it was them who chose to close the brewery down? All seems a bit odd if you ask me.
I digress… Spring Sprinter is brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and has subtle lemon and gooseberry flavours, balanced perfectly with the smooth malty caramel sweetness that accompanies it. An absolutely cracking ale… one that I could have easily sat and drank all day.
Please click on the pump clip to find out more.

Friday 6th May 2011 04:16

You may recall me talking about the Real Ale Hunter app earlier this month… well, I really liked the block serif font used for their logo, yet it wasn't familiar to me, so I decided tottery and find out what it was, and even My Fonts' 'What The Font' wasn't recognising it, so I posted it on there to see if any of the 'cloak-draped enthusiasts' would be able to help me. Sure enough, one did.

the league of moveable type

It's called 'Chunk Five' and is available for free, along with a handful of others, on a website called The League of Moveable Type'. As they clearly state here, 'No more bullshit. Join the revolution.' They're done with the tired old fontstacks of yesteryear and they're wanting to raise the standards rather than having to cope with the limitations of the web. Like any revolution, they aim to make progress, but need help too. So, if you're wanting to become part of their free, open-source type movement, join them and contribute.
To find out more, please click on their logo above.

Thursday 5th May 2011 23:35

You may or may not have noticed that I've decided to continue with taking a photograph every day for a year, only this 'year' will actually be a leap year, for it will finish on the 30th April 2012… February of that year has 29 days.


The 365+1 as I've called it, has a significant difference this time… yes, I've decided to do it on a request-based basis. Why I decided to do it that way is anyone's guess… the requests I've had so far have been very interesting indeed, and very testing as well. So let's see if I can do it… after all I love a challenge!
To view the new gallery, please click on the logo above.

Wednesday 4th May 2011 23:05

Now then… the thing I'm going to talk about today has been around since I was just ten years old. Back then, flares were very much in fashion, as was the whole 'not washing' scenario. Whilst all of this was going on, a company called Golden Wonder were creating a new idea.
34 years later, they're still very much at the forefront of quick and easy snacks, eating a staggering 155 million of them every year, whether that be with spoons, forks or even their fingers… yes, you've guessed it, I'm talking about Pot Noodles.

pot noodle

Up until today, I can honestly say that it had probably been just short of 30 years since I tried my first one. I remember thinking it was indisputably disgusting and never touched one since. Two 'Bombay Bad Boys' were given to me, so I could hardly refuse, especially as they were effectively a noodle curry… how could I resist?
Well now, I have to say that it was absolutely delicious, even though they had sweetcorn in them, and I shall no doubt be buying some for myself next time.
To find out more, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 3rd May 2011 23:12

I'd better warn you now, there's every chance that I might bore you all senseless with my app obsession at the moment! Nevertheless, I want to share three more that are as good as essential, one way or another, or at least one of them should be.

crown colour match thetrainline tv guide

Despite the first app having mixed reviews, I actually think it's rather good. The Crown Colour Match app allows you to take a photograph of something you may see, which you like the colour of and then zoom and crop until you can pinpoint the colour you like. Colour Match then instantly recommends the nearest shade of Crown paint, along with a complementary and contrasting colour.
From there, it then locates your nearest stockist, as well as give you directions as to how to get there.

Next up is 'thetrainline' app, the UK's leading independent train ticket retailer that sells tickets for all train companies to all national destinations, and can be bought quickly and easily in just a few taps. From there, you can then collect your tickets from self service ticket machines at over 900 stations..
The official app is perfect for anyone who wants to view UK train times or buy tickets on the move, giving the user the option to download timetables and refer to them anytime, whether your iPhone is online or not.

Last up is an app called TVGuide (for the UK only) and this allows the user to browse through a simple list of every available channel in the UK to see what's on now and next, as well as view the full-day listings. Every programme that's broadcast on Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat is listed on these app.
You can also program it with alerts for particular programmes you don't want to miss, so it's pretty much everything the telly addict will ever need.
Please click on the relevant app icon to take you to the iTunes store… Android alternatives are available for all, only find them yourself, I can't be expected to do that sort of work for nothing you know...

Monday 2nd May 2011 14:03

Boo-hoo, it was the last day of our 11-day break! Where did it all go? Why can't time just back off a little? Ah well, one thing that can be said is we did have some excellent days out and had ample opportunity to relax, so it can't be all bad, can it?

We had thought about doing little today, and that's pretty much what we did, although I knew I needed to go out and buy the odd bit of stuff, namely some eggs and some filter coffee, so Tanya joined me in going to Emsworth. By 'eck was it windy! Nevertheless, we did enjoy a blustery walk around the Mill Pond before going into the Co-op and buying those few things.

the happy egg co.

I opted to buy some Happy Egg Co. free range eggs, since I was making another quiche tonight. Their packaging is fun although they did at one stage have a disclaimer stating, 'Allergy Advice: Contains egg' printed on it… you don't fucking say?!
Whilst researching the company, I did find out some shocking evidence about the hens not being all that happy at all and we're only talking about very recent coverage too… this Spring. I had every intention of providing a link to their site, and have decided not to, for I'd rather direct you to a web article by Viva! instead… please click on the logo above to find out for yourself. Needless to say, I won't be buying any more Happy Eggs in the future...

Sunday 1st May 2011 15:20

Rain had been forecast tomorrow, so we chose to make the most of today, albeit quite late on before we did. Tanya randomly opened one of our pub walks books and chose the walk featured on the page she opened... so that was it, we were off to a pub called The Stag Inn, located in Balls Cross, just outside of Petworth in West Sussex.

pub walks

As a matter of interest, the book we were referring to is called, 'Pub Walks in West Sussex - Forty Circular Walks Around West Sussex Inns' and it's written and compiled by Mike Power. There are some fantastic walks within it, some of which we've already covered and lengths of walks range from a 2½-mile one that is at the Country Inn in Bepton right through to an 8-mile one at The Blue Ship in The Haven.
To order a copy of the book, please click on the book cover above.

Our walk today covered approximately 4 miles and was a mostly level walk, usually muddy in places, but easy-going across farm land and through the largest bluebell woods we'd ever seen, although they were very much on their way over, which was a great shame. Apart from the beginning and end of the walk, the rest is entirely on bridleways, which meant there were no stiles. It was a beautiful walk and all the better for knowing that there was a pub at the end of it. What's even more special is the fact that it was the first ever pub to win the Peter King Memorial Shield, awarded by CAMRA.

badger ales

We walked in there, having got rather sweaty from our walk and ordered two half pints, I'd opted for 'Sussex', brewed by King and Barnes, a local Horsham brewery, whilst Tanya plumped for a 'Firkin Fox' by Badger Ales. Both were excellent ales and I'm hoping I can make more of a feature of them here, if Hall and Woodhouse Brewery reply to an email I sent them.
I had an idea that Kind and Barnes were no more, since the 'Sussex' ale was featured on the Halland Woodhouse website, however, Malcolm at Iriving & Co. Brewers has since confirmed it for me, stating the following... "Just noticed a bit of an error on your blog, unfortunately King and Barnes 'Sussex' is no longer brewed in Horsham due to a similar Gales type closure by Hall and Woodhouse, K&B which was a superb brewery closed well over ten years ago (1999 I think) in fact it's so closed that there have been blocks of flats on the site for well over seven years! However Horsham does now have three fine micro-breweries 'Kings' (set up by the former MD of K&B, but sold on), 'Hepworth' (set up by the former head brewer of K&B) and 'Weltons'. Having worked for six months part-time at Hepworth's I'm biased as to which one is best!
For the moment though, please click on the Badger Ales logo above to visit The Stag Inn website.

real ale hunter

Later on in the day, I discovered yet another superb iPhone app, this one being 'Real Ale Hunter'. It says exactly what it is… it helps you locate the ultimate pint either by finding the nearest pub to where you are or search for a specific pub. Once you've keyed in the details, it then gives you all the information you need, including the pub location on a map, contact details and ratings, so you have real local knowledge. You can also add pubs on there via their website. Probably the best app in the world.
To download it for yourself, please click on the logo above.


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