web analytics

I hereby declare de holidays be on

How much is a bottle of Jack where you are? I picked up one for £15 today — about $22.50 — which is pretty good for here. That’s 70cl. A fifth is about 75 cl. Do they still sell liquor by the fifth in the US or have they given in to international peer pressure?

I grew up about an hour from where they distill Jack and it’s always a taste of home. My favorite was green label, which was almost impossible to find outside Tennessee. When the distillery guys tasted a year’s batch, the stuff that wasn’t up to snuff got sold off in a bottle identical to Jack Black, but in dark green. It was harsh as shit, but cheap and plentiful and I loved it. The folks back home tell me they don’t sell it any more.

Boo. I wonder where it goes now.

Anyway, I think this is the first time I’ve bought a bottle of Jack in the UK. There are so many fantastic whiskies on offer, as you might imagine, it didn’t seem terribly pointful. But, here goes — let the Crimbo festivities begin!

December 17, 2013 — 12:18 am
Comments: 51

Happy Hallowe’en

Man, I can’t believe I got all jammed up and didn’t carve a pumpkin this year. I have failed Hallowe’en 🙁

I am, however, about to drink some of this:

King Goblin is hand crafted from roasted chocolate and crystal malts, with a timely infusion of fuggles, sovereign, styrian and cascade hops to produce an indulgently rich, full, smooth beer of exceptional quality and character.

Screw it, it’s really nice beer. Also, 6.6% alcohol!

Hobgoblin calls itself “the unofficial beer of Hallowe’en” and is ubiquitous about now. Wychwood’s marketing is effing twee but they make awesome beer.

Happy Hallowe’en! Please don’t get runned over tonight.

November 1, 2013 — 12:11 am
Comments: 19

Happy Fourth!

We had a cookout! I drank wine! G’night!

July 4, 2013 — 8:45 pm
Comments: 21

Miracles of modern technology

This is geeeeenius. I give you, as it is known in scientific circles, the 360 End™ beverage can technology. The whole top of the can pulls off, turning it into a glass.

*swoon* thump

First brewery to adopt it is Sly Fox (never hoid of ’em).


July 2, 2013 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 30

Bad season for heroes

Annnnnnnnd….there goes Ray Bradbury! (Nope, nobody had him in the dead pool this time, though he’s been a popular pick in the past).

He deserved more honor as a pure writer than he ever got; I’m sure because he wrote science fiction. Anyway, he got all the praise available to a science fiction writer. It’s probably thirty years since I’ve read Bradbury, and I’ve sat here remembering story after story.

Fittingly, I just finished this CSM science quiz when I read the news. I got a disappointing 69. Why don’t you go see if you can kick my ass? Do it for Ray.

And let’s have somebody I don’t like and admire die next, K?

June 6, 2012 — 10:16 pm
Comments: 35

Can you spot me?

Okay, okay…these are just some random old biddies for the BBC News site, but we had our village street party today and it looked just the same. It went well. Something about drinking alcohol at noon makes me feel delightfully wicked and debauched.

Then we had us a little nap and totally forgot the lighting of the beacons tonight. Yeah, that whole Lord of the Rings ancient-signal-beacons-on-the-hills thing? REAL!

They’re all over this county, to warn us of pirates and Frenchmen (BIRM).

Did y’all watch any of the flotilla on Sunday? It doesn’t get much more British than that. Her Maj and Phil the Greek stood at attention in the prow of the lead boat for four hours in the lashing rain (poor bastard’s in the hospital tonight, but he made it through) with a thousand little historic boats floating behind. Then, at the end, the London Philharmonic (nice and dry inside a barge) played the standards while the poor choir stood on deck in a soaking, sheeting downpour singing Land Of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, and God Save the Queen.


June 4, 2012 — 10:33 pm
Comments: 22


Water main break on Weasel Street! Our neighbors — poor bastards — look like they’ve got an ‘orrible mess to clean up.

We’ve been without water all afternoon. Uncle B informs me that, in the absence of water, an Englishman drinks champagne. That I can live with. Yessiree.

It’s been the first really hot day of Summer and we’ve been out in the garden drinking and cavorting about and I am unfit to operate heavy machinery. See you tomorrow…!

May 22, 2012 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 9

G’night, folks

Tonight we went to supper with the neighbors and drank a great deal of wine. A great deal of wine was drunk. Also, wine.

In lieu of post, please enjoy this photograph of the cat, what Uncle B took yesterday morning. She’s sleeping in a drawer. Because, cat. And, drawer.

August 3, 2011 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 17

Harvested the last of the driveway…

Blackberries, the end of the harvest. Now I have to cut those suckers back ruthlessly, before they take over the planet.

Today’s batch is still in the primary fermentation vessel. Those are secondary fermentation vessels, of course. Elderberry, blackberry, elderberry/blackberry, and some abomination I made out of all kinds of fruit that had been taking up room in the freezer for too long.

I only make wine so I can say shit like “secondary fermentation vessels.”

Speaking of which, I ordered a couple of extra demijohns at the local hardware store. Their supplier told them it’ll be a month or more. I guess everybody’s got the same idea this year.

In the Olde Countree, we sold out of milk, bread and eggs whenever a snowstorm was coming. When a financial shitstorm is predicted, looks like people buy laying hens and make wine out of junk from the hedges.

October 7, 2010 — 10:10 pm
Comments: 25

My hops. Let me show you them.

September is the time to harvest the hops. Next door in Kent is big hop-growing country, and has been since the 16th Century. Before then, lots of different herbs had been added to beer to make it bitter (to counteract the sweetness of the malt), but hops have a preservative, plus a slight antibiotic effect which makes conditions more favorable for brewer’s yeast.

Of course, they didn’t know shit about antibiotic effects in fifteen-hunnert-something. They just knew beer made with hops turned out better and lasted longer.

It took a quarter of a million workers to bring in the crop, about a third of whom were vacationing London families from the East End. A hell of a vacation that must have been, sleeping in crappy little hopper huts and working in the fields all day. But the money was good, it was out in the country, and it seems to have been pretty sociable work.

Fresh hops were then taken to oast houses, which are giant drying kilns. In the 19th C, oast houses took on a distinctive shape: round towers with conical roofs — usually in two or three in a cluster. The roofs have a little flange that catches the breeze and moves a vent to face the wind.

Or did. All the harvesting and drying is done industrially now, of course, and the oasts have been converted to housing. Tons of them around here.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on some hops for several years. In old houses and pubs with low beams, it’s traditional to hang strings (or “bines”) of hops along the beams like curb feelers, to warn people off smacking their noggins. They look and smell great. But you have to get them fresh, before they go brittle and dry, and they disappear into the beer trade very fast.

We stopped at a fruit stand for some plums and another customer pulled in, the back of his car full of freshly-picked hops. I mugged him. He’d picked them for some other middle-class pretend-farmer’s-wife country wannabe, but weasel got there first.

Somewhere in England tonight, a woman named Tallulah or Cassandra or Jemima is thinking of lost hops and crying bitter tears.

September 23, 2010 — 11:02 pm
Comments: 33