Saturday, 25 January 2014

Black Sheep & Theakstons Breweries

We are nearing the time when we ought to be out of the UK to avoid any bad weather. I know in recent years snow, our biggest enemy, has fallen with a vengeance in november but feel we are taking the mickey staying this late in to the winter. A sharp frost these last few days has started to make me nervous and hope we can avoid the worst until we depart

To enhance our stay we decide to team up with the 'Outlaws' on a CL near Masham in North Yorkshire
Not because of the lovely countryside but because its home to two of the country's best breweries

On the Northbound A1 I decide to check tyre pressures and get quite a shock when I notice this recently used fuel pump
This was of course one of the lorry pumps but can you imagine this bill on a regular basis!

Next day we are taxied in to Masham and dropped off at this fine place

The Black Sheep Brewery has it nailed down in our opinion
We took the one hour tour, best booked in advance, and settled down for an excellent meal in their restaurant accompanied by free tasters and several extra 'snifters' of their top quality real ales

Terry, my father in law sporting a cap named after my favourite Black Sheep ale, Riggwelter

A quick look around the shop buying T shirts and yes, beer and it was off for the tour

What our guide didn't know about her ales and the brewing process wasn't worth knowing

Open vented pine roof to let out the steam

Today's lesson children is all about beer



These are the kinda signs that men won't ignore
You are spoilt for choice here as there are at least two reasons to visit Masham
Only fitting that we give the Theakstons Brewery a go later that afternoon

For many years this has been one of my favourite ales, at 5.6% ABV it will give you a kick in the head next morning. My 'session' beer here would be XB, another long time friend

The Notts drinking team at 'The Black Bull in Paradise' located within the Theakstons visitor centre

OK, which did we prefer, Black Sheep or Theakstons?
Our jury polled a unanimous vote for the Black Sheep Brewery as we felt it had a much better atmos and the food and beers were excellent

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Pat, Jane and Tramadol

Every once in a while my back decides its time to give its owner some major grief in the form of excruciating pain…
A good time to get it is when we have two days planned in Doncaster & York respectively needing lots of walking round the town so Nina gets her retail therapy. Looking many years older and humped over I accompanied her on her numerous forays in similar style to a zoo keeper leading round a chimpanzee (this was her actual comparison…cheers)
This was our second full day in Doncaster in recent times and I can't wait to return to this rich, vibrant, cultural heaven….
A call to the dealers close by in the late afternoon revealed the fact that the additional solar panel was now fitted and would I like to return to give them some big money and collect the van?
Within nanoseconds we were on the bus back………
Next day we were in York as its years since either of us had been there and we were impressed with the city, what a sharp contrast to the previous day!
Returning back down south we pay a visit to Pat & Jane who both worked previously for Notts Fire & Rescue Service, like me, but have at least a 5 year start on us in the 'life after firefighting' game as they both now have other professions that they somehow manage to hold down in between touring in their van. Their exploits can be seen here

Pat was very good letting me try to burn my clutch out on his steep drive and did not get annoyed when I confessed later to thinking I was about to plough the van through in to his living room at any moment
I think with auto gear boxes you get one go at the incline then they decide you're taking the mickey when you then try unsuccessfully to move a yard to the right..
Pat was amused anyway, particularly by the pungent smell wafting up from the engine area

So this was our very enjoyable soirée in and around the fine pubs of Bingham
Fine real ales, good food, good chat and me screwing my face up every so often when the back pain kicked in
Jane, bless her, took pity on me and gave me some Tramadol to take which I thought would knock me out completely given the cocktail of painkillers and real ale in my system
No such luck, I never felt them

Undeterred by a common sense approach to drinking/drugs we carried on throughout the night and in to the very wee small hours back at Pats' and gave it another go with Jane's pain relief, same effect…

This is by far the best anaesthetic I've come across
Brewed only by monks and described as 'the best beer in the world"
Pat went to great lengths to acquire his secret stash of the prized beer and I was honoured to have a bottle with him as it must have took great courage to pour the stuff and then watch it consumed by someone else!
Well done mate, you are a good man...

After passing out in the van at some time between 3 and 4 in the morning we awoke to see this crazed individual staring through bleary eyes at us
A quick look in the mirror showed me he surely had a twin brother…
Thanks you two, that was a really good night...