Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Years Resolutions 2010

Taking a look at 2009 should give me a clue to 2010 thought i, but then again 2009 was a monumental year with so many preconceived thoughts turned on their heads that I think it will take most of 2010 to get some semblance of balance.
I changed my business plan 5 years ago lest recession hit again, as at the time my business owed the best part of £1 million in indemnified business loans. In 2009 this finally worked out through the system and we all cried a collective sigh of relief as a recession did hit and we now only owed about £25,000.
In my personal life the year pretty much ambled on as usual, several holidays away including one on a farm in a cottage north of north Yorkshire with no Internet. To say this was like spending a day in a locked room with Janet Street Porter would have been an understatement. I went to extreme lengths to stay in touch with my friends and fellow twitterers in an attempt to maintain my sanity which was falling apart at the time. Not everyone I know understood this and there lies another story!
One of the shocks of the year was when mum was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer which later spread to her Liver and she moved in with us around about last August/ September whilst she had treatment. They say its only when you have contact with the NHS that you realise just how good it can be and i can now say where we are, was fantastic to us through the whole process.
Sadly a miracle cure was not to be and mum passed away at home with us all around her, peacefully on the morning of December the 8th.
The funeral passed without problem on December the 23rd at Barham Crematorium although when one of the pall bearers caught his foot on a carpet she nearly arrived at the front of the chapel quicker than decorum would have allowed! I can't help but think she would have found that funny!
I can name most of the people who supported me this year but not all, so you know who you are and the part you played. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart!
During the year I have seen friends depart and old ones return, I have left friends behind, or they have left me and I have gained new ones. I value you all equally "but just remember a friend in need is a pain in the arse!"
So to 2010 what am i going to do:

1) I intend to help more people achieve what they want by lending assistance where necessary!
2)The fitness program will be stepped up to a new level and I will lose another 3 stone or slim trying!
3)Its impossible to erase the lines from my face but I resolve to remember how each one was earned and how many tears I cried getting them!
4)The difficult one will be writing a business plan for all my businesses and sticking to them not getting the 2010 plan out of a dusty draw in 2014 and saying "oh that's what i meant to do!"
5)I intend to learn to play the Guitar! As singing is not my forte even in the bath I'm not sure I will go the whole way but you never know if I find out I can play guitar I might learn to do a passable Lee Marvin "wandering star" impression.
6)I resolve to actually listen to others in 2010 even when I know they are wrong and make them feel part of the process.
7)When i am stressed because of something I can't control which isn't often I resolve not to take it out on an innocent party rather I will ensure I take it out on the person who has streesed me.
8)Finally I will strive to have my best year ever as "I have seen the future and it gets ever closer!"

All that remains is for me to wish you all a prosperous and successful New Year and please remember when you make someone else happier you feed a flame in yourself!

Play this to feel good

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Hoodeners Horse Beer Festival 18th to 25th December 2009

So its xmas again and with that time of the year comes the spirit of giving and this year we are giving you the chance of trying 20+ Real Ales obviously not all at the same time as we only have 7 Real Ale handpulls.

When one is finished another will be started and so on until we finish all 20 different Real Ales on offer. The more you drink the more we rotate the choice.

So the Real Ales on offer :-

Steingold by Saltaire Brewery (4.3%) A german style golden Ale

Lancaster Blond by Lancaster Brewery Ltd (4.1%) A Vivid Golden Bitter

Christmas Cracker by Wickwar Brewing co (4.2%) Smooth Amber Ale

Bearly Literate by Beartown Brewery (4.5%) Golden Pale Ale

Exmoor Gold by Exmoor Ales (4.5%) Single Malt golden Ale

Fireside by Camerons (4.3%) Mahogany coloured Ale

Wolves Ale by Newmans Brewery (4.1%) Refreshing session Bitter

Rocking Rudolph by Hardys & Hansons (4.2%) Full bodied Malty and fruity xmas ale

Christmas Steps by Butcombe (4.2%) Made with Phoenix and Bramling cross hops

Storyteller by Highgate Brewery (4.1%) Delicious light pale Ale

Winter on the Piste by Wyre Piddle Brewery ( 4.3%) Amber coloured premium beer

Proper Job by St Austell Brewery (4.5%) IPA brewed with cornish spring water

Wild Hop by WIld Hop Brewery (3.8%) Golden hoppy session bitter

Web Ellis by Willey Brewing co (3.8%) session bitter hoppy and fruity

Pride of Pendle byMoorhouse's brewery (4.1%) fine balance of malt and hops

St Austell Tribute needs no introductions.

Doombar by Sharp's Brewery an old stalwart in the pub

Adnams old Ale by Adnams (4.1%) traditional winter warmer

Haggis Hunter by Harviestown Brewery (4.3%) Floral spicy hoppy taste

Coronation St by JW Lees & co (4.2%) brewed with Northern Soul

Youngs Special by Wells and Youngs again a stalwart in the pub.

We hope to see you all to try the offering and the more successful this is the more times next year we will do the same so spread the word for us bring your friends and have a "Real Ale"

Incidentally Boxing day A Real Ale Challenge drink a pint from each of the real ales between 12-6pm and get your next pint free the barmans decision is final.

So all that remains to be said is "Have a merry xmas and a prosperous New Year!"

Saturday, 12 September 2009

A Walk in the Blog

Not sure where this is Blog is going today but stick with me and we will see where we end up!

First of all being ex-RAF I have the view that when some one enters Military service they have signed up to travel the world, meet new friends and as the old joke goes "Blow them up!" My eldest son is about to attempt to join the RAF himself, which I think will be great for him.

Although I'll worry he has just as much chance get mugged in the High St these days and stabbed by some brainless lout. I'm a firm believer in life, things happen for a reason and as we move from one part of our lives to another, so these changes are part of a bigger scheme of things we can never oversee.

So why today did I find myself, despite my view that service men and women are doing the job they signed up to do, feeling the time has come to withdraw from Afghanistan?

One thing that winds me up on this subject are the people who continually, every time a soldier dies carp on about the death saying its further truth that this is an unjust war and we shouldn't be involved. Well I don't know about that but its a disloyal approach as far as I'm concerned, leaving the troops to feel that those left behind at home do not appreciated their noble sacrifice.

What has changed my mind?

Its simple and related to the tragic death of one member of the armed forced rescuing an idiot reporter from his own stupidity! and the full list of fatalities up to and including the same operation can be found here

I have felt up to this point that despite conditions, lack of resources and the stupidity of our government, the men and women of our Armed Forces were doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. Its not that I feel the death of this soldier is different or somehow more important than the others, but that it was more needless.

Therefore if it isn't time to withdraw from Afghanistan then this week, the time got so much closer.

I was into wry smiles today when I saw some one I follow, draw attention to a report about how men react to pretty women and use that report in her blog quite effectively may I add! source:

Jennie beat me to the blog on this subject please go and look the report which does make interesting reading.

Guys it seems we go into overdrive trying to mate with every attractive women we meet. If only there were that many hours in the day sigh. I'm willing to lay money on the table that the researcher was a women.

Don't know about anybody else here but I own up that when i met my wife all I could think of saying was "I hope you make a good cup of tea," when what I was thinking was something not entirely different but something you wouldn't say, to someone you've just met and who was going to be your PA.

As it was I don't think she spoke to me for 3 weeks and come to think about it, not sure she has spoken to me since and we've been together 20 years now.

I also own up to knowing how to get rid of a potential job applicant to whom I would have found it difficult to say no. I calmly pointed out that as she would be working with my wife and a fellow director of my company who was female they would have the final say! That's right you guessed it she didn't get the job roflmao. I was well aware of the affect the person concerned was having on me and the trouble it was going to cause.

So what does this man do when faced with a women that makes him drool and go weak at the knee's? Heed this advice well run a mile, don't turn around and above don't look back in case you turn into a pillar of salt!

Finally (of course that means I have a third of the blog still to go), I draw your attention to a little known fact that I am a voracious reader and digester of facts useless and worse than useless.

I particularly read Carla Carlisle on the back inside page of each weeks "Country Life" because of her style and remembrances of a life left behind never to be recaptured. The people she has met and known during her life sometimes leaves me in awe and brings in focus my own life whilst inspiring me.

At a complete tangent i also read Liz Jones in the back of the "You" section of The Mail on Sunday because she makes me wince and want to go and find a corner to hide. She regularly lives her life out in the open, warts and all, for all to see.

When she divorced and moved to Exmoor I thought perhaps she would have learnt her lesson but no!

I know she lives her life and earns money by writing about things happening to her, but her style which is to pretend her writing is invisible to those she writes about, I would imagine could be deeply upsetting to those involved.

So is it any surprise that recently the locals on Exmoor near where she lives have turned against her and someone has discharged a shotgun at her mailbox? Yes they still have a postal service!

All the time this is going on she claims to be completely innocent and its always poor little me.

So will I read her column tomorrow yes I will. Why I don't know perhaps its a lesson in someone getting out of life what they deserve, because she really doesn't understand how other people think and feel. She seems to believe they are just there to be used for her own benefit.

Incidentally I also read the problems page in the Sun when I can for the first laugh of the day "Sad innit!"

Thursday, 3 September 2009

HoodenersHorse Marketing

Its CanterburyGeeks night tonight I have blogged my talk as I would hate you to miss it.

Last year the Hoodeners Horse pub at Great Chart had a great year until the recession hit in the September.I realise this was later than most people At this point we rained in spending and costs as much as possible but a number of things were beyond our control.

1) Beer Tax & price rises from brewery companies.

2) Cost of utilities & power.

3) Fresh Vegetables.

4) Transport.

Suddenly we were seeing people who had eaten 2-3 times a month with us only coming out once a month. Having made it through to the New Year we had some respite due to some costs falling such as vegetables and meat. However beer tax and brewery prices continued climbing.

Our food offering is mostly cooked fresh from local ingredients where ever possible and we have gained an excellent reputation for the quality of our food. We therefore choose not to discount our food as others have done. Being a small venue(40covers) we couldn't have gained economies of scale to allow this.

The cost of drink however kept rising and we chose to deal with this differently:-

1) No pub 1/2 pts in peoples pint glasses.

2) Retrained the staff to cut wastage when pouring pints.

3) Changed the cellar to incorporate real ale tilts to cut wastage down when dispensing the last part of the cask.

4) We are just about to sign up for an EPOS system and dispense monitoring to further cut wastage.

These measures enabled me to reduce a pint of real ale to the customer by 20p a pint and the other beers by 10p a pint. We also reduced the price of the spirits and went back to 25ml measures.

Within a few weeks whether by luck or judgement, turnover started to return to 2008 levels so the reduction in cost to the customer meant they actually spent more.

One of the master strokes occurred in May 2009 when thanks to Perry Mayer at the Pub & Bar Network I was bullied into first looking at Twitter and then joining. To tell the truth i spent 2 days looking at the joining screen thinking now what do I do?

Brilliant I entered a name and password and had my twitter account in a "Blink of a Twitterers eye!" Before I had a chance to change screens I'd gained 2 followers. This isn't difficult I thought, until I saw the followers and to this day I don't like Britney Spears especially not with a corn on the cob in her mouth. Note to self get eyes tested.

In a flurry of righteousness and panic, as my children use my Desktop occasionally, I took my account private and thought up my next move.

What was the reason I was using Twitter and what did I intend to achieve?

I decided that I wanted to make people aware that the Hoodeners Horse existed and still did Mexican food although differently to when it used to be part of a chain of Hooden Horse pubs!

In fact one of the most annoying things for us, is when a customer tries our pub for the first time! Having previously used one of the other ones that used to be part of the chain and says "We tried the Chilli/Fajita/wraps at such and such and it was awful hope yours is better! Your part of the same chain aren't you?"

So People The Hoodeners Horse is not part of a chain unless I decide to expand and open others, the food is fresh and the Real Ale Real!

Back to the plot.

I wanted people to know how good the food was and that we did real ale.

I wanted to get the message out to people in Ashford and close by to attract in new customers.A business without customers is not a business

I wanted to achieve this at minimal cost!

My first mission then was to identify local potential customers and Perry pointed my at which proved a god send. I quickly identified 120 people using Twitter in Ashford and followed them all, naturally my copious output did not suit them all and I faced Twitter rejection from one or two.

On the whole though I made some contacts and by talking on Twitter started to make progress and connections although I'm not see the Hawaii followers will be in too often. We do now have Twitterers in most days for lunch or an evening meal .

One lunch time recently I was talking to @suvvo & @canterburygeeks via Twitter from my office in Sellindge only to realise 10 mins later they'd both been sitting feet apart, twittering to me without even realising they were talking to the same person. This was made possible by the fact that they didn't know each other via Twitter .

@babssaul was in the those early days a great encourager of Hoodenershorse and in fact still is although I'm not sure if its me she is encouraging or my Homemade chips? During one online conversation she suggested a tweet lunch and I obliged. Its been years since Ive been asked out even if its my own pub. We were joined by @niftyknits and @kent_it.

The Lunch flew by and we all agreed to meet the next month. To my surprise the three of them spent the afternoon twittering how good the pub was and how good the food was! Is this the power of twitter?

The next lunch came and we had 10 people,and of course the famous @canterburygeeks who it turned out has been drinking most of his adult life at a pub who shall remain nameless here at least. The point of explaining this is because I drink there with friends on occasion and had never met him.

This same pub can't see the point of Twitter and can't see that if you help people to Network and relax then you can achieve your own aims as well. "It is not what you can do for yourself but what you can do for others that is the measure of a man!" I'm sure someone famous said that just don't ask me who.

I look forward to these lunch's now, to meet the people I now regard as friends and because I enjoy the atmosphere they create.

The third lunch came and we had 20 people, the last ones leaving at gone 4pm and they all went back and twittered about the food and the service and I didn't have to pay them to do it!

I must say, some very clever people come to network at those lunches and to a man or women it makes me proud to know them and more than a little humble.

By this time I'd spread my following net to Folkestone, Canterbury, Hythe and Faversham and currently follow 690 people, on the follower side I have around 500 it changes daily depending which side of the bed I get out of.

Due to requests from Twitterers we are now going to have a Twitter meet up evening once a month as well and other opportunities have arisen in addition, that are still in the planning stage.
My next step is to master Facebook, which is a little less dynamic and more suited to leaving messages for your customers. I realise that there will be some overlap between Twitter uses and Facebook users but I hope to be able to go through our client base of 260 names and identify who uses Facebook.

Then I can add those to the 89 fans of Hoodeneners horse already on facebook and see what happens.

With the combined power of reaching our customers through Twitter and Facebook as well as the other mediums we use I would hope to drive the business forward at minimal marketing cost.

Any Questions and there were 4 questions in total which must prove people were awake and I gained 5 new followers as a result of the talk.
If you want to risk the video of the whole thing filmed on an Android phone the link is here via@canterburygeeks Wow - 55 views clocked up of last night's video of CGN#4. I wonder if any has watched the whole 2 hours?

Monday, 24 August 2009

I have to ask myself if this blog lark is wearing off, as its nearly a month since I last blogged.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your view I have to say no its not. Since I last blogged have made a concerted effort not to do my usual rant at the convoluted way the country is run or whatever had taken my fancy that day.

However the repatriation of the "Libyan Bomber" I'm sure everyone remembers Lockerbie is a case in point as to why we need an urgent change of government. If anyone is under the illusion that the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) acted without Labour saying it was ok, in my opinion they would be mad.

Lets look at the facts Labour are out at the next election squeezed all the way back to the Highlands of Scotland where the SNP is the only serious threat and what better way to make them look stupid and unfit to govern! So there you have it's "Let's stitch up Alex Salmond week"

Moving on at a fair rate of knots and noticing we have just won the Ashes back, by the way if you haven't noticed yet you may be having a problem breathing.

We seem to be in that curious area of summer where Football and Cricket share the calender and we are deluged with sport to watch. Winter will be here soon enough and for the sensible sport becomes something to be watched in front of a good fire.

At the Hoodeners Horse pub in Great Chart Ashford you know the spiel Twitter @hoodenershorse we do Mexican food, Real ale and home made chips call 01233 625583 to book a table we have continued to run our Tweet meet lunch's the last being far more successful than i'd expected with 20+ people there on the day. A special thanks to the following people @Abaddonspit@babssaul@canterburygeeks@directassist@JennieLichfield@jododds

Also a thanks to those that let me know they might or could not make it. Looking forward to meeting you all next time!


Under comments I see that Mr Anonymous posted Again! Again! Again! I know who you are and if you bang on the desk like that in future you'll hurt yourself.

Unexpectedly 2 blogs were written about the day which approached the subject in different ways. The first one by @Abaddonspit was about the pub and this has been posted on the staff notice board so they can see the effect they can have on the business when they work hard.

To read @Abaddonspit Blog follow this link

The second Blog was written @Vatark and was about using Twitter as a marketing tool,this was blogged and Twittered as far as I can tell to nearly 10,000 people. Exposure indeed and I sincerely hope they don't all turn up at once or we will have to say there is a 20 mins delay on food due to the volume roflmao.

To read @Vatark blog follow this link

All that's left for me is to thank my bloggers, my attendees and please follow them if you use Twitter they are all real people well I think they are, and to announce the date of the next TweetLunch at the Hoodenershorse.

The next lunch will be at HoodenersHorse on friday 18th of September numbers will be tight sign up here

Friday, 24 July 2009

Follow Friday and twitter subjects

Its that day again #FollowFriday where everyone goes mad and recommends the people they have found most interesting in the last 7 days. Its a wonderful concept but hey sometimes it just becomes a list of names with no thought put into it.

When you think about it #FollowFriday is like a mini Honours List where the naming and giving,is in our own remit.This is unlike the real honours list which is packed with lots of undeserving people and sometimes the occasional worthy.

So why would I recommend someone to #followfriday another tweeter?
  1. Someone has been helpful during the previous week.
  2. I've enjoyed their tweets.
  3. I agree with what they are doing.
  4. Their service is one I would want to promote or help them promote.
  5. The person has become a friend.

I'm sure if you are reading this you could add to the list at least another two or three reasons and perhaps that might make a suitable comment at the end of this blog.

So the crux of #followfriday is for me the act of giving and or recommendation and to help someone achieve an aim. Not a bad thing as so much today costs its good when we can do something with no thought of gain.

The main drawback to # followfriday has however become 140 characters as its impossible to list all the people you'd recommend and say something about them. This Friday I thought id do my definitive list and let you all pick it over.

1)@pubandbarnetwork Perry and Linda extremely hardworking on behalf of pubs and totally to blame for me getting involved in Twitter.

2)@FletchMcgull @Carolinechambers @babssaul These were 3 of my first real local followers & followed made me feel welcome and helped me integrate into twitter and i've seen them look after lots of people in the same way.

3)@niftynits @Kent_IT for being themeselves and supporting the Hoodeners Ashford meet.

4) @suvvo @ Keith_lynn whilst both are fairly local they hadn't really heard of the Hoodeners Horse but were up for a twitter and a pair of nicer guys you couldn't wish to meet, not of course you understand that i've met @suvvo but some people you just know!

5) @markhorner one of life's gentlemen and good company almost as hard working as I pretend to be and a much appreciated supporter.

6) The Trumpettes 1 & 2 these two lovely young ladies deserve much encouragement and assistance,as they have made the Twitter board a place that seems quiet if there not twittering.

7)@Pannage who I have met once at a Hoodeners Twitter lunch. He couldn't make the first one but unlike most he went out of his way to say that he couldn't. Doesn't Twitter much that I've seen but always pleasant to chat too.

8) @yummit one of the first foodies to follow us and who we followed back always interesting.

9) @tomaitkins celebrity chef and alround great guy took the trouble to respond to a question I had of him.

10)@canterburygeeks He attended a Hoodeners tweet lunch and we discovered we drink in the same pub at different times of the day 20 miles away and have been doing so for 14 years and never met.

11)@TheSourceress This is one busy lady always doing something. Here is a typical Dm from her "I have published my list of tweeting restaurants, thank you for taking part. You can see it here:"

Hey if i've missed you off the above list then I apologise in advance as its not easy being an author. lol

The Tweet lunch at the Hoodenershorse had a record attendance last Friday and the next one can be accessed and you can put your name down by going to this link! Friday 21st of august I look forward to seeing you there. Its an amazing phenom as every one makes a tremendous effort to get on with each other.

My visit to Lords last Monday went extremely well as England won before lunch and we had a couple of beers to boot. My experience of the high speed train from ashford was brilliant except in future will not 3 trains morning & 3 trains afternoon waiting 2 1/2 hours for a train defeats the object even if the journey only lasts 37 mins.

Ok so that it for this edition comments may be welcome I'm not sure till I read them If you like what you've read please Rt the blog address for me! If you don't like it dm me with suggestions (polite)!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A broad mix

What a day Friday promises to be this week in the first instance we have a mini Tweet meet at the Hoodeners Horse Great Chart Ashford Kent Lunch Time 12:30 - 2:30pm all welcome within reason. This is the 2nd one we have done and looks to be going to be attended by at least twice as many people, at the first meet last month June there were four of us.

The Roll of Honour Babssaul, Niftynits,Kent_it & myself.

I think you always ask yourself what is this going to turn out to be like and I can honestly answer it wasn't too bad, meeting strangers is always fraught with potential for embarrassing pauses, but when you feel you know them from talking on twitter it becomes real time face to face twittering. Well I think it used to be called talking but this is the 21st century c'mon catch up!

So we got the introductions over and done with and settled down to a bite to eat. The Homemade chips lived up so I'm told to expectations and as often is the case the size of the portions surprised. However what with Food, Real Ale and banter no sorry Twitter the time flew by and we left swearing we would meet again next month and that we had made new friends.

So to this month people should arrive around 12:30 doesn't matter if they arrive early I know a joke and can tell it 15 times if I have to. After which I expect introductions of the "Much Mwhah MMWhahing kissy kissy variety" ,just thought perhaps i should shave tomorrow. Anyway we will then get drinks decide on a bite to eat and get to know one another over a period of time. I must admit I'm looking forward to this one.

After the dust settles I have a little time to get ready for the 20/20 Hoodeners Horse vs Great Chart Cricket Match in the evening at which the pub normally gets beaten but everyone swears they have a great time. Normal food service continues at the pub whilst the regulars are just down the road hitting the little red ball. Weather forecast is horrible for Friday perhaps this year we can get a draw.

On other fronts the prospect of Swine Flu coming to a place near you looms ever larger and with over 10,000 diagnosed cases and assumed 100,000's of people infected the predictions of 100,000 new infection daily from September looks frighteningly realistic. A Vaccine we were told is weeks away but 60 million doses have been ordered.

Today it materialises that to be effective two doses need to be administered and that means half the population will be unvaccinated. The priority cases being the elderly, those with asthma , the emergency services , those in the health service, those in government et cetera I'm sure you get the picture. The fact is I'm more worried about what swine flu will mutate into as that is likely to be the deadly one.

On the gym front yep still going and had lost some inches around my middle, discretion and modesty and the fact its hard to tell prevents me from saying in excess of 4" and as a result I bought some new trousers. It was getting embarrassing walking around the golf course holding my shorts up with one hand and trying to swing the club with the other.

So evidently although I have been slow to get onto the weight loss path it is clear I'm now there as having gone out and bought 3 pairs of trousers of a lesser waisted variety (smaller that is), at certain points of the day those seem to be vertically challenged in the way a Brian Rix English Stage farce would be. In other words I can't keep my trousers up.

Yes its 8 months now even the gym can't believe it, food retailers are going out of business because the new me eats less a lot less and wait for it several major lager brewers are thinking of further redundancies due to an unexpected downturn in trade. A one man recession that's me.

All in all I'm extremely lucky I've decided because ignoring for the moment the obvious family comments which some people use to try and make their selves seem like well rounded people, I work when I want, do what I want as I like my work ( self employed), have trusted friends and no one could convince me that i would be able to earn money doing what I do for a living.

The Secret and what works for me was I told myself early on I was lazy and would have to work harder to achieve what others seem to achieve routinely. However when the evidence is weighed up I often find I'm working twice as hard as other people but not noticing as I regard it as the cost of Success. Interestingly it gives me a margin of error at times that other people don't have because if I have problems I work harder to solve them.

If you've just read this and are still awake please read the real ale blog below and come and visit us at the Hoodeners Horse.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Hoodeners Horse Real Ales August to October

Real ale is a throwback to a previous time when beer had less chemicals and was served warm. It has spawned many and varied local breweries all trying in the current climate to survive. All said and done a well presented, well kept Real Ale is as much a part of what makes Britain Great as seeing the England Football Team lose on penalties at some tournament!

To get a feel for Real Ale Brewing in Kent, I went looking for some information on micro breweries and this is what I found This lists 12 open breweries in Kent although I believe there are more and 19 that have been closed or merged. This shows that in an era of ever greater industrialisation and the concept that bigger is better the micro real ale brewer still survives.

Camra that supporter of Real Ale beers and Old pubs has recently started a campaign for pubs to use Micro brewers as much as they can and now runs an accreditation scheme for pubs that support local brewers . The following link is to our local Camra web site which is looking much improved these days. Well done guys.

However because of beer ties some pubs can only buy in what they are offered from their pub Co and at the Hoodeners Horse Great Chart, thats the position we find ourselves in and where ever possible local breweries are used .

We signed up some time ago for Finest Cask which generally gives us a choice of 26 ales each quarter from various breweries and the skill is sorting out which ones could go well in the pub as well as getting the price right.

The Beers on offer over the next quarter in addition to our regular beers ( London Pride, St Austell Tribute & Bombardier, will be chosen from the following list and tasting notes will be available for any one who signs up to this blog as a member.

Bearskinful (4.2%) Beartown Brewery
Black Cat (3.4%) Moorhouses Brewery
Eye opener (4.5%) Stonehenge Ales
Ginger Pig (4.4%) Sprinhead Brewery
Heligan Honey (4.0%) Skinners Brewery
Meantime London IPA (4.3%) Meantime Brewery
Morland Original Bitter (4.0%) Morland Brery
Piddle Artist (4.2%) Wyre Piddle Brewery
Samba (3.7%) Leed Brewery
Samson (4.0%) Maxim Brwery
Sharp's Cornish Coaster (3.6%) Sharp's Brewery
Smiles Liquid Gold (4.2%) Smiles Brewing Company
Yellow Hammer (4.2%) o'hanlons brewing company

Look for further information nearer the time as to whats on and when by following "Hoodenershorse" on twitter.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

July Already

Over the last couple of weeks I have almost blogged 5 times as gems of ideas formed in my head about blog subjects and then flitted away in the same manner to which they arrived. You know what they say though that eventually a good idea wins out so here is the good July idea blog you've all been waiting for.

Swine Flu seems everywhere at the moment and the authorities seem to be allowing it to spread without check. Apparently the first few Tamiflu resistant cases are materialising and that doesn't bode well for the Autumn and Winter period when the Pandemic could hit big time and at the same stage already have mutated into something more deadly.

My own theory as to why the spread of Swine Flu in its current weak state is being allowed is that in the 1919 Flu Pandemic when millions died a similar pattern of infection was observed. A number of infections occurred spring and summer with the people who originally caught it not avoiding reinfection but having some immunity against the final full form of the Pandemic when it hit!

Today on Tweeter I saw somebody actually voice upset with the numbers of "Success" coaches on the system trying to flog life improvement courses, can't help but feel its their life we'd improve, oh and their bank balance.

Seriously though in investment terms when people invest so heavily in something its called a "Bubble" and its only a matter of time before everyone has a life coach in a cupboard at home as they are already Ten a Penny. I'm thinking of bringing out a book 101 useful different things to do with a Life coach!

For example how many life coaches does it take to change a Light bulb? Answer " Please follow this link and I'll show you how we made money by changing thousands of light bulbs a day" The light bulb of course remains unchanged and fused.

A Blog at this time would remain incomplete without a mention of Michael Jackson, a man who at the end resembled a sad broken person. A song writer of great genius, a dancer beyond compare who changed the face of modern music. A flawed individual who should never been allowed to control himself.

He was just about to face the greatest challenge of reinvention possible at age 50, to take part in a tour again and rise to the occasion, however his dependence on drugs was to be his downfall and put paid to any chance of that.

It would be wrong to ignore the preoccupation with children when talking or writing about Michael Jackson because whether or not there was something more to this than meets the eye, it was silly to put himself in such a stupid position. A position that marred his life and others. I for one hope that the concerts go ahead with the remaining Jacksons and other starts and video footage as a tribute.

Finally you might think I've left Labour alone this time but you would be wrong with the announcement that they will not issue spending plans prior to the next election they once again set themselves up for criticism.

What is it with these people? We know about spending cuts so don't lie about yours be honest and start to face Political redemption, lie and face political Wilderness!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Lazy Sat all day

What a week 3 mornings in the gym, played golf, worked and then went on the Tenterden steam Railway Friday for a charity do. The charity was Dave Lee's children's charity always one I try and support given the chance.

Incidentally The Dave Lee Classic Amateur celebrity golf competition plays again this October the 4th which is a Sunday at The London Club near Brands Hatch In fact "The European Golf Open" was recently played their so you may have seen some of the course on Television. The course is split into 2 18 hole courses designed by Jack Nicholas and will punish the golfer who doesn't hit a straight shot.

This day is a chance for the amateur golfer to sample as near to playing a pro competition as practical, there can be 8,000 people on the course on the day. From experience this is not a day to be wayward or to forget how to hit the ball. If you can imagine a par 3 green with 300 spectators literally sitting on the banks around it, then you can imagine how nerve racking it can be for the ordinary person.

If I remember correctly we have done 5 Dave Lee Classic days, enjoying the company of Jack Shepherd (Wycliffe) Peter Duncan (Blue Peter) Butch (Barron Nights) & John Pratt (ex Tottenham & England Footballer) twice. Poor John still not sure if he has recovered, what he'd done to deserve to play with us twice?

We have had some fantastically memorable days at this event and always had a good time. From the year where the following happened :
  1. A flock of birds flew across the road in front of the car on the way to the course (Chart Hills).
  2. A dog in the road
  3. I uttered the comment that with our luck we'd go round the next corner and a cow would be in the road and it was.
  4. A sign I said, I know where we'll start and what will happen I said.

We'll start on the 17th an island green surrounded by water as it was to be a shotgun start, everyone tee's off together but all on different holes. I bet I put my ball in the pond go to the drop zone and chip to 3 foot across the pond and sink the put for a 4 in total (not too bad).

We arrived checked in and sure enough we were off on the 17th, the ball went in the water and I chipped to 3 feet from the drop zone. I sank the put for a 4 and we had a good days golf but the power of thought is fantastic and sometimes spooky.

Another time one of my team members asked me to tell him the distance to the nearest ditch off the tee and to club him (not what you think). I suggested a 5 iron as he couldn't possibly put it into the ditch. However sure enough he hit a screamer which did indeed go in the ditch. He recovered the ball and hit his next shot into some trees on the right. The next question was what was in the trees. I explained it dropped down to a dried lake bed, he would find his ball but wouldn't have a good shot.

Team member was wearing white trousers,went into the trees muttering the ball would come out, get onto the green and he would get a point which it duly did. The ball flew out of the trees from off the lake bed and the Team member materialised covered head to toe in mud, dried lake bed was not so dried. Team morale for 2/3rds of the team went up. for 1/3rd went down and the crowds thought it was amusing as well.

Wondering what the next few weeks hold for the world as the events in Iran will effectively destabilise further the area. The regime in charge are desperately trying to hold onto power but I get the feel it is slowly slipping away from them. It's a shame that people have to die to achieve freedom for the many. A big thing on Twitter is to change your twitter picture green in support of the opposition parties in Iran, a small enough thing to do I hear you say, I'm not sure as I think I'd sooner donate to the humanitarian relief that will be needed if and when it all goes wrong.

Gordon Brown says he has had a bad week, wake up and smell the coffee Gordon, the people have been suffereing for years because of you. A bad week indeed I hope you have many more all centered around thinking what a wasted opportunity the last 12 years have been and how sad that at least something couldn't have been achieved.

Up early tomorrow to drive to Woodall Spa for a two day golf competition, the same one where I ended up last year being carted off the course due to knee ligament damage caused when my dog ran into the back of my right leg. I couldn't walk more than about 250 yds for nearly 3 months without anti inflammatries and even now if I overdo the gym I have to spend time taking it easy,hence the title of the blog today.

I woke up this morning which is always an advantage, could you imagine not waking up, don't go there. Knee was telling me it was 80 years old which was not good as the rest of me is only 5o and I've rested it and taken anti-inflammatries all day. Its finally settling down. I remember as a 10 year old thinking in 1969 that I'd be 20 in 1979 and 30 in 1989, come on you can do the sums.

In 2009 I'd be 50 but no one prepared me for bits that drop off and joints that ache.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Here we are again another friday, have had several chuckles this week but the most embarassing was during a run on the treadmill weds morning. This i can assure is something akin to the sight of a Bull Elephant in full charge, with added wheezing.

Anyway to be blunt my belly had a terminal collission with the emergency stop button during a run at 8.5km per hour which resulted as you can imagine in an emergency stop and I now realise what the riders at Badmington horse trials must go through when their horse refuses a fence. I don't think im going over the top when i say that!

Deliberate lie of the week falls yet again to Gordon Brown who at least he is consistent about something. Speaking at the GMB conference he said that after the elections the Tories if in power would make 350,000 state employees redundant. It seems no one told him he'd already committed to do that himself in his latest spending proposals. D'oh

Down the gym gets worse as during an after Gym coffee, up walked someone from the golf club, who when asked how long he'd spent in the gym remarked not long but then he didn't need to.I like to think that after 6 months of purgatory trying to get fit, there would come a time when i wouldn't need to try hard and then I remember that anyone eating a piece of cake in the same room as me causes me to have a 3 pound weight gain per mouthful.

Formula 1 seems to be ending up in tears today with a lot of the teams electing to breakaway next season. It is a shame but Max Moseley and co do seem as though they could slide into the ruling Iran Government at a moments notice if they needed a job. This is absolute tosh as what is being said is that the teams must limit their spending in a sport where spending vs technology equals results and too much meddling spoils the end result for the fan.

I can't imagine Max Mosely saying to Sir Alex Ferguson for instance that you can spend £60 million on a new player or pay a paticular player wages of over £150,000 a week even though Football is the very sport that does need to reign in the spending.

On Football Stuart Pierce shows his fangs as U21 manager last night with his masterful mental handling of Theo Walcott, by using him as a sub he put the team first and inspired a display from them all which beat the tournament favourites Spain. I had Stuart Pierce down as a 2nd rate manager up to now, a sort of Tony Adams like character who was too nice to cut it whist deserving total support.

Its too early yet to proclaim Stuart Pierce a future England Manager however the FA definetely have got right the cross fertilisation of personel between the England management sides well done guys!

On the business front an interesting wek and I'm about to set off for The Hoodeners Horse for a meeting with 3 or 4 fellow Twitterers, what will I make of them and more importantly what will they make of the pub and me. Oh well not to worry must remember to clean teeth, smile a lot, not pick food up of plate with fingers when eating soup and not to pass wind in public.

The Mp's expenses scandal rumbles on and on, not sure any further good can come out of this, perhaps there is a dearth of news out there that is more interesting. However they don't deserve a £15k per annum pay rise, we must expect them to do the same trick with expenses again at some point int the future as soon as people forget.

Got to go now expect another update next week and hopefully there will be something different to talk about other than MP's Expenses!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Reply from Perry Mayer City Pub Life

Tried to leave my twopenneth but it wouldn’t let me. Don’t know whether you want to add it.


Excellent article. It's taken me eight years to encourage licensees to a) get a website and b) keep their websites up to date. Our new challenge is to get them to join twitter without really knowing whether it works or not.

Us twitterers are pioneers my friend. You have already discovered that many followers in the Colorado Rockies and beyond are unlikely to pop in for a pint of Bombadier on Sunday afternoons so your tweets are wasted and the amount of followers are in danger of becoming an ego trip.

What we need are tools to purge them from our database in addition to finding those twitterers who are a) local or b) likely to add value.

I wonder how many posts these "Twits" - who claim to be following 30,000 other twits" - actually read.

I'm new to twitter and still learning but here is my strategy for what it's worth. (I'm twittering as a business not from a personal perspective). I am only interested in people who want pub and bar information, I don't care what they had for breakfast as I'm sure they don't care what I had either.

1. I have been using a number of tools to help me. tweetdeck. tweetspinner and buzzom to name just three.

2. I follow those that match my keywords and, from today, those that match my target location. example (pubs UK)

3. I unfollow those that do not follow me. I simply don't have time to go through their posts or profiles.

4. My "following" list is manageable and I can read the posts that interest me and will manually delete those that continually irritate or annoy.

Over time, maybe a year or more, I will keep my followers enthralled with up to date, interesting information and the bulk of those will, hopefully, be those who want to carry on receiving pub information and will RT to their followers. Those I am following have the same challenge, enthrall me, keep me interested or I click the unfollow button.

Thank for the post and good luck with your tweetmeet on Friday.


Perry Mayer
Managing Director
0871 288 2458
07951 776 435
Skype id: citypublife
Skype phone: 0121 288 5486

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What did we do before Twitter?

Its official I'm now a twitterer and I'm not even sure the word exists? Lets face it if web2.0 is the millionth word in the English Language can any one tell me where Twitterer ranks?

The real question is what social purpose does Twitter fulfill and whats in it for all the individuals who Twitter on it?

Bulletin boards have been around for a good few years now and as such seem to have been restricted to groups of people interested in a specific thing like "Share Investment" or "Bell Ringing" although I wonder what the default sound of someone posting on a "Bell Ringing" Bulletin board would be? Perhaps the 1812 overture for hand bell ringers or even "Big Ben" doing the entry to "News at Ten" I have a strong suspicion I'd turn off the sound after a couple of minutes due to lack of novelty.

Twitter brings together diverse groups of people with different technological backgrounds and creates a forum through which they can meet and converse. Of course if someone if really not your type you can switch them off or Block Them. Daydreaming here of Wii console with Block button that expires some ones computer everytime they annoy you on Twitter. Not such a good idea, expect would need to replace my computer too often.

The different types of people on Twitter can join groups or "Twibes" but this doesn't really seem well thought as I'm then not sure what supposed to happen next with a Twibe is it meant to be a Facebook ripoff? Anyone think the designers of Twitter sat there one night and thought up the idea of Twibes over a couple of Beers.Perhaps I've missed the point?

On the subject of followers, whats the point of having a load of followers who live in brazil if they all speak a foreign language oops geordie is a foreign language isn't it "y i bouy". On the other hand I've always harboured a secret desire,steady, to learn to speak and be conversant in french, but google have solved that with instant translation pages French - English et cetera. So tell me recently when I used it why did it translate correctly every word but one. Naturally it was the word I didn't know.

Twitter is strange I swear I can detect the gulf in humanity across the age ranges and races of the world or am I like the people in the recent article about how people can't really, despite everything tell the emotions of their dogs? Apparently we impose human emotions on dogs that they don't really have, come on if you start from the basis that the dog has done something wrong you'll be right eventually.

That reminds me of two people, one whose Blog you are reading that used to sit in the Back Bar of a certain Sandgate Hostelry around the Millenium drinking Green King IPA swearing that the Millenium bug would cause a property crash and a recession. We drank a lot of IPA before that prediction came true!

However I digress, I admit to blocking Twitterers who have followed me but really don't seem to be a fit for my mentality. You may think that leaves me with few followers but hey only 2 people can play Chess at a time. I also block people for gratutious swearing so there.

As I Twitter as "Hoodenershorse" what is the point? It is purely and simply that I wanted to broaden the appeal of the business by reaching out to people socially active in the Ashford area and encourage them to come into the pub, trying the food, we cook mexican cuisine rather well even if i say so! In the few weeks since I started I've learnt a few things and had a lot of help from people who probably didn't know they were helping, thank you,thank you!

A quick mention here for Pub & Bar Network and Perry / Linda who have both been instrumental in us using Twitter as well as helping us to promote the Hoodeners Horse. Please follow the link which should take you to the Hoodeners Horse on the Pub and Bar Network. Whilst your there why not look around lots of good locations/pubs to visit.

Friday coming the pub will entertain a few, as I have no idea how many, twitterers who I will endeavour to convert to devotee's, at lunchtime. I can feel a charm offensive coming up and may have to shower that day as a precaution.

FletchMcgull who if've got that wrong will probably never forgive me asked today, has anyone got business from Twitter and I'm not sure I can answer that but I can say this:
  • I'm connecting with some customers on a more personal basis and making sure the staff look after them.
  • The staff are therefore raising there standards re client handling.
  • I've achieved a more direct feedback from those people that are in contact through tweet with me.
  • As a result of Twitter the business will make contacts and grow.
  • Finally because of the connection through Twitter I hope its making the visit for the client more special due to ability to give direct feedback if something was right or wrong.

In life if we make other people's dreams come true somewhere sometime your own will flourish.

What did we do before Twitter? I can't remember.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Sunday morning marking time

Sunday is such a great day, but why do we always ask on monday where did the Weekend go? I naturally have some thoughts about that.
  • When we go out friday night, have too much to drink and wake up the next day, we find its monday and obviously the calender fairy has stolen 2 days.
  • Time as Einstein correctly described does not flow in a linear manner (on sticky ground did Einstein say that?) Therefore its obvious to me that at weekends time travels 2 or 3 times as fast.
  • Alternatively time during the week slows down and its only at weekends that times speeds back up.

What ever the answers simple, time runs faster at weekends when you've got nothing to do except look after yourself.

When Neil Kinnock was thrown out as Labour Leader we all thought we'd got rid of him and his wife Glenys, wrong people. It appears the chancer had seen that the Brussels Gravy train was worth more than being UK Prime Minister and that the money was over there to be had. Boy has he had the money over the years millions of it in fact and he and his wife have even claimed double housing expenses whilst living in the same house.

We now know that the expenses scandal has been going on for a long time and should henceforth be called by this Blog the "Kinnick Manouver!"

I blame my wife (for most things) no seriously when the boys were young she used to play games with them in the car, about which cars they could spot and new number plates. My eldest is a car nut in every way and if ever "Top Gear" need a new presenter I have first refusal over his management contract, I'm no fool I've seen what Clarkson is paid. So over a period I've found myself discovering Top Gear in a way I never thought I would it all helps that the presenters are overgrown kids.

James May article in The "Mail on Sunday" today, was more of an interview, about a person that comes over with a great deal of humour but also down to earth. If you get a chance to watch the three series on drink he has done with "Oz Clark" they often repeat on the Sateillite channels then do so. One series was made in America, another in Europe and the third in the UK.

Later in the year we have hired a cottage "up north" and during the UK series Oz & James featured a railway trip where 3 stations had buffets run by the same company each buffet featured up to 10 real ales and all were different. No problems with transport you just catch the train. I can see it now, monday morning on holiday, just going out dear I'll be back friday, no of course I won't be drinking.

The final comment on Mr May was something I'd like to qoute from the article which made me laugh and no telling what it will do to anyone reading this. " If you hit Oz Clarke with a cricket bat he would tell you something about the flavour of the wood as he went down!"

I see that the England team from 1966, you know the reserves have finally got medals overdue sadly. Everyone seems to have forgotten the people from 1066 and the "Battle of Hastings" who were never rewarded for their good deeds on the day, Ok so it may be a bit late for them but what about the last two survivors of the First World War who both have been honoured by the french.

It's so rare for the French to get it right that I'm sitting down typing this. So Henry Allingham and Harry Patch last two surviving British veterans from the "Great War" have not been honoured in the Queens Birthday Honours List, not much time to get this one right!

In recent years these 2 men with their quiet dignity have found themselves thrust more into the 21st century than they would have expected to be at 100years old +. I know there have been others that have carried the torch along the way, these two are left as the last reminders of a time in our History we must not forget!

They are regarded fondly I would suspect by most people in the country regardless of Race,Creed or Religion and at an age when they expected to be in a dark corner of a nursing home, seldom seeing the light of day, they find themselves Celebrities. Not for them the fleeting Celebrity of Big Brother with its constant exposure of "trash brittania!"

So that leaves the Question just who advises the Queen on the honours list hmmm?

All that leaves for this blog is to post a link to this 8min video on The Last Post ceremony at Ypres and a hope that you follow the link

Friday, 12 June 2009

Its been a while!

To be precise 7 days during which I haven't blogged. As in all things in life you have to take stock of what your doing and try to improve it from time to time. Note to self advoid going to pub 1 day a week and listen to self.

Up to a couple of weeks ago I had never dreamed I would write a blog, nor had it occoured to me someone might want to read it. So what makes an interesting blog?

For me the answer has to be something written from the heart which makes reading it easy but involves the reader and with all due respect to a number of people, not something which promises online millions if you sign up for the free(non-free) 3 minute course.

Most of my good blog ideas are fleeting and I must remember to get a notebook and write them down as my memory is not what it used to be. Alternatively i'm just not funny any longer if ever I was? Answers on a postcard to Johnathon Ross marked "Don't p off Andrew Sachs in future!"

On the subject of Johnathon Ross, good news this week as pay cuts all round at the Beeb means his next contract will be for less money £2.5 million less. Ronaldo I hope your reading this. My view of the Great Woss is that he should have been put out to grass and summarily sacked, if he comes on any medium now I turn over. My eldest son is more forgiving however and I must admit when the Woss lets the interviewees speak instead of thinking he is the star, he is not bad.

The real star of The Johnathon Ross show on the BBC has to be "The Piano" as in "Four Poofs and a Piano" seriously those guys are either very good actors or they are living a dream where they rub shoulders with top stars who the everyday person might idolise. Imagine the Job description "Sing Musical Entry for (star???)" try to be funny, pick up pay cheque. Long may it continue.

The government out thought me this week as whilst I predicted the conversation about Proportional Representation I didn't predict the minister going off message and admitting taxes would rise under Labour to pay the bill! Now there's a suprise. Hey look peeps we are in a mess and its wake up time soon, hope we have all got deep pockets.

Gordon Brown seen in rehearsals for Oliver the musical,Rowan Atkinsons needs an understudy as Fagin. " Got to pick a pocket or two boys!" You can imagine the music for yourself but with a scottish lilt and sucking of lower lip before telling next lie!

On the subject of money I try not to envy people who earn massive amounts of money because in an ordinary market phase where people are employed and not struggling, its all relative but I do find the Ronaldo issue a bit off.

The transfer fee for Ronaldo could buy all of the 63 teams in the top 3 divisions of non-league football or build a 40,000 seater football stadium. Just think what Gillingham FC could do with that? The weekly pay is stupendous and I liked the cartoon of Gordon Brown in the Times sitting on a football in football strip saying something about a £2 Trillion transfer fee. When though will the ordinary fan stop going through the turnstiles funding this Roman orgy of extravigant spending.

Another recurring theme this week has been how good we are at football, come on Jermain Defoe scored twice against Andorra, lets get real they were part timers and we should have scored 10.

Finally taking a look around the world today I notice that despite everything else the Sky hasn't fallen in and Life goes on. Not a bad message to remember if and when things go wrong.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Just A Jaunt

Yesterday saw the predictable quick day trip to France & Belgium which gave some relief to the never ending tales of woe that materialise in England via the press daily. The sun shone, well mostly but it was a bit windy and so when sittiing outsine in the sun it was important to get the right position or end up with a sore neck.

P&O deserve a mention as we went over from Dover on "The Pride of Dover" and enjoyed breakfast in Langhams restaurant onboard, which whilst still not packed due to the recession seems to be seeing a recovery in trade. Porridge, Toast and a cooked breakfast meant I walked on the boat and waddled off at least 2 stone heavier. It was then agreed that perhaps lunch could be postponed until another day and the next meal of the day wopuld be an early supper. I thought just as well.

On arrival to Calais we headed for Adres, just outside Calais 10mins, first of all where a friend has a wine shop called "The Wine Collection". Guy "Twitters" very occassionaly under the name "Boursots_Wine" and to see his website and offers visit this address, if in the Calais region always worth a pop in to see whats new. I sampled a lovely Minervois yesterday at the bargain price of £1.90 a bottle.

All too quickly our visit came to an end and laden with wine and sober, I'm sure you understand we set off to Adinkerke in Belgium and Tobacco Alley the cheapest place to buy Cigarettes around. As a non-smoker in a car full of smokers I felt distinctly out of place but was able to grab a couple of pints of Stella to make up for this as the others were buying cigarettes.

The prices in Tobacco road seem to be exactly the same so not much shopping around to do.

Find a place go there and use it again if you feel comfortable. When there recently we have gone to The Pub between the garage and the roundabout , they give tokens for a free coffee or beer with every purchase. I keep meaning to try the breakfast there as well.

Time to move on and a visit to Ypres was in store, as one of the occupants of the car had not seen the Menin gate it was decided to make a detour round Ypres to enter the town through the gate. The Menin gate is alwaysa moving experience as it lists tens of thousands of 1st world war soldiers whose last resting place has never been found. Each night at 8pm a ceremony takes place to commemerate the fallen with the "Last Post" being played, not a dry eye in the house and very atmospheric.

The whole town goes into hyperdrive around armistice day November 11th each year and the hotels are booked several years in advance around this date.

In february when we last visited the area all was very depressed but people are out spending money in the sunshine again and the local economy is recovering still far too expensive for me personally. The upside however is that people are daytripping to Kent from the region as we are so cheap in comparison, whether this will continue as the pound recovers against the Euro its difficult to say! Petrol is much more expensive but diesal looks to be cheaper so be aware of this if going over and intending to fill the tank.

Whilst sitting in the Vivaldi restaurant in the main square in Ypres I spied someone who looked familiar and was suprised to see Richard and Carol who I know, sitting just four tables away, a long way to go to bump into someone you know but it is a small world. They'd spent the last four days in Ypres after a car rally and had one day to go before coming home.

You always know when you've started to outstay your welcome in a Restaurant because a Reserved sign goes onto the table and the Bill turns up. After a while we made our way back to Calais by way of a diversion for roadworks which left us tight on time to catch our ferry, however just making it we headed for club class (extra £12 a head each) and home.

As my fellow travellers were both driving and had to refuse their champagne it was only right that I assisted them with its disposal (Hic) and so to bed!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Down the gym

Late this morning, why is it this week going to the Gym is causing me such problems ah yes younger wsd (Working Sheep Dog) went on walkabout but luckily responded to my calls and gave away where she and our Border Collie were getting through the hedge when they decide to re-enact the film "The Great Escape". Have you ever seen a dog ride a motorcycle like Steve McQueen?

As I was rounding the last roundabout a text arrived declaring my cup of Tea was getting cold, as I previously explained can't do fitness without at least 2 cups of Tea inside me, I'm sure its an age thing.

The current theme this morning is the Question someone should ask of Gordon Brown, "Mr Brown who is that behind you?" and when he says "No-one" the reply would be "Exactly". So when the bloodbath of elections tomorrow is over who will be left standing in the labour party to don the mantle of PM? Will they also claim no General Election will be needed.

Lets take a quick look at the tricks the ruling party of this country could pull to keep power.

  1. They could naturalise all illegal immigrants in the UK over night giving them the vote and hoping that they vote for the party that gave them citizenship.
  2. In a last ditch attempt to advoid wipe out at the next election, they could bring in proportional representation something the Liberals have been clamouring foryears for!
  3. How about a national coalition for these troubled times with the Liberal Democrats with Vince Cable as PM and anybody else who will sit down round the table as long as they aren't Conservatives.
  4. Finally if all else fails how about a coup on the basis that it would be unfair to the Labour party if their collective snouts were to be removed so roughly from the troughs before they have made enough money.

I had a discussion some weeks ago after a fitness session where i said that "Call me Dave" Cameron should try the "David Davies" manouver and tell his Mp's to resign on mass and try and force an election, now it seems that the Liberal Democrats are touting the idea around although I can't see them doing anything but losing seats if they dare try. Even Richard Littlejohn of the Mail was yesterday putting the same idea around, I'm starting to wonder if the guy on the next table when we put the world to rights with a notebook is working for the Daily Mail or The Sun?

So that just left the football world to put right Stevie Gerrard finally confirmed yesterday all the years of being the only world class Liverpool player has, has gone to his head, when he declared thatLiverpool should re-sign Michael Owen who incidentally I do feel sorry for, as I hate to think what it must be like to be so good and have injury after injury, steal it away from you. I'd like to think I'd have repayed some of my wages as a forfeit for not being able to play often enough.

Premiership clubs please take note if you want a slow player who can't play anywhere on the pitch cost £120,000 a week and who will be available due to injuries, a smattering of times over a 3 year period for cameo last 15 minutes where he will not get out of breath or make a blind bit of difference to the result please call me!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Dieting A personal Journal

A little background information :

  • Every ten years or so during my life I have had to lose weight and dispense with the excesses of the previous decade.
  • I have reached the 50 milestone heavier than ever
  • Weight is harder to shift as you get older (fact)
  • The less mobile you are the less mobile you become.
  • The heavier and older you get the more issue's like blood pressure and things like diabetes raise their head. ( I don't have Diabetes)

Going forward this leaves me say 7 stone overweight, 50 years old, with a mental age of 14 ( perhaps i should reread the Diary of Adrian Mole again I might understand it now i've matured.) In addition because of the weight I was feeling lethargic and lacked enthusiasm, oh and I should mention that I have a policy of never leaving a bottle of wine opened with some in it!.

Not a good picture that one, overweight 50 year old with a drink problem who makes the royal family ( TV show) look positvely active and well groomed.

The situation started to resolve itself last december when someone who I regard as a good friend suggested going to the gym together for 3 months to try and improve our respective fitness levels, so we set off early Monday, Wednesday & Friday each week for our torture experience and the result is we both 6 months down the line are substantially fitter and hooked.

The real problem is that obviously the last decades excesses were cumalative and are proving hard to shift. Fat it seems converts to muscle before you lose weight and ive now got a lot more muscle. I had more chins than a chinese telephone directory although some of those chins seemed to have been cut off and are no longer visible. Ive got a Thinner face in case you didn't get the Joke. I've probably lost 3/4 of a stone and can take most things in my stride.

In the afternoons when I needed a nap I now continue through most things and am back to working 12 hour days when last year I could only manage 3 hours. Thats a hell of a turnaround and I'd like to think so but I haven't got time to rest on my laurels, incidentally I only started to weigh myself in kilo's so I wouldn't understand how heavy I was.

  1. When I look in the mirror I see a thin person and I must focus my mind on becoming the person I want to be.
  2. Intake should be balanced against calorie expenditure very difficult to do unless you actively try hard.
  3. If you must have 3 meals then do so but cut the food across 3 meals to be the equivilent of what you'd normally eat in 2 as a first step.
  4. Learn to be hungry but don't be a slave to it, find something to do to occupy yourself rather than eat.
  5. Walk the dog more often if not the dog get a lead for the cat,hamster whatever but become more active slowly at first, if you are really unfit find a suitable program to offer support.
  6. Remember cutting down intake by itself works slowly, doing more exercise speed up weight loss

These are really just notes to self on the things I've discovered re weight loss in the last 6 months when I've really had to think about it. I eat and drink normally no fad diets for me but do try and reduce portions and say no to alcohol more often and sooner.

Righto just off for something to eat, well to stare at something to eat and perchance to drool.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Down the gym

After yesterdays little foray into the world of blogging I decided to plan out how to approach today and guess what, nothing went to plan. The game plan was to go to the gym this morning talk through the stories of the day, see what I had an opinion on and comment accordingly.

Well to start with my golfing buddy who I attend the gym with texted me at 10:45 last night(sunday) to say meetings in morning had to be in gym by 7am, no tea before hand and off to work for 8:30am. Now this may seem hurried to you but to me it was like running a marathon, not even sure if my alarm clock has a place on it for 06:30am but it does 06:35, so i set off and even remembered to get dressed first.

Arrived at gym body clock all over the place and system protesting, that i should even try to do a session on the treadmill before I'd had 2 cups of tea at the very least, one needs to work the alcohol out of one's system first don't you know. It didn't go well, if Jo Brand had been on the treadmill next to me I would have made her look sleek and fast. Eventually the torture was over and with the temperature in the gym causing me to sweat whilst watching other people workout I headed for the showers.

Most mornings i get to read perhaps 3 papers but today only The Sun so todays opinions may be slightly biased. The conversation over tea after the gym centered around Ancelotti for Chelsea Manager or was it Abramovitch for Pope I can't quite remember.

However I did get to see some of the Brown (PM unelected) interview on one of the news Channels please please Labour don't get rid of him he is a positive benefit for all the other parties, this morning only 3 muckups that I noticed as follow:
  1. He claimed to be shocked by the expenses of nearly 620 elected MP's who have milked the system for years, so once again we hear it was someone else, but he is the man who can put it right. Get real Mr Brown if you didn't know about it, your not fit to be Prime Minister in the first instance.
  2. That he would not call an election until he had solved the recession and budget deficit, not call me an old fool if you will but I thought he had to call an election by the start of may 2010. Whats he going to do this time ignore everyone again and refuse to go to the country?
  3. Finally he seems to regard the BNP as a target of opportunity for the European Elections and I can't help wondering if this is because he can't score points anymore off, of the other main parties i.e. Conservatives, UKIP & Liberal Democrats. For heavens sake he seems to be saying that he is fighting for 4th place against the BNP in the local and eurpeaan elections is this the man to lead the country?

Nearly enough said just wanted to say I hope Subo gets better soon and is allowed to go back to her old life without being thrust into the public domain which painfully or so it would appear she may not be able to cope with.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

You've got to start somewhere.

Seems as though i'm finally catching up with the 21st century, quite amusing really as I used to be a prestel user (old BT system really old) and was using that system in the 1980's. From Prestel I became an AOL user with a direct dial modem that made snails look fast and then a user of various financial websites but ask me about that some other time.

Can I now call myself a blogger, perhaps it's time to sit down whilst I "blog" as the laughing is becoming hysterical really can't believe my two digit typing will drag me through, my first question is obviously where is the spell check?

How do I decide whats interesting and as I think I'm only the life and soul of the party after 8 pints of Real Ale do I need an excuse to drink every day any longer? Perhaps I commit to an interesting Blog daily.

So now for the truth a friend at least i think he is a friend got me twittering 2 weeks ago and I hold him directly responsible and so I expect will you too! For information I "Twitter" as Hoodenershorse.

Thats all for now, more tomorrow who knows someone somewhere will surely read it.