Tag Archives: real ale

Real ale and cider appreciation

I know this sounds like the easiest of assignments, investigating a local pub’s (the Half Moon) Best of British Beer festivals. But, one, leaving a fractious 6-month-old for the evening is tricky. And, two, I don’t much like beer.
The first was sorted by a lovely friend babysitting who didn’t mind watching Questiontime with the grizzly and very-much-awake Babycub.
The second, well, I may have learned a little better what to avoid. Hoppy? Yuck. Roasted? Ick. Mild? Yes, that’s about all I’m good for. It was also jolly to be out among the beery of Hitchin (mainly male, disappointingly few beards, surprising number of cyclists). My naive tasting notes follow:
Plateau (Burning Sky): golden beer, bitter, grapefruit, zingy
Blackberry Cascade (Saltaire): pale ale, blackcurrant, blackberry, yummy
Orchid (East London Brewing Co.): mild beer, weak, vanilla, spicy, my favourite
Decadence (Weird Beard Brewing co.): craft stout, hoppy, bitter, chocolate, too harsh for me
Lilly the Pink (Abrahalls): pink cider, like apple juice, easy to drink.



Fifteen years ago, at Newcastle University, I flunked joining any sort of club or society that would have broadened my interests, mainly so I could moon after my first boyfriend at the uni just down the road. Boo!

Amazingly, the boyfriend didn’t last, and I left university with a reasonable degree but without ever having left my comfortable pursuits of reading (alone!), watching films (might as well be alone!) and going for long walks in the company of my personal stereo (it was the 90s).

I’m not quite such a sad sack now. With two exquisite children (Toddlercub, 2.5, and Babycub, 5 months), a top-notch husband and a pleasant career on hold, I’ve lucked out. But I am still very low on the old hobbies and interests, and always needed to get very creative when doing that part of a CV (erm, learning Japanese/Spanish/Portuguese = just bought the ‘teach yourself…’ tapes; squash/khai-bo/football = went once; web design = just a lie, actually).

With 6 months of maternity leave left and a little more free time than hitherto, I’m going to put this right. I’ll take as inspiration the list of Newcastle University societies and add in a few other ideas as they occur. The idea will be to have some kind of experience of these clubs, either locally or by researching at home, and blog the results. And maybe add craft projects/other cheerful things.

The blog is for me primarily, but might also help people who are interested in making better use of their spare time and developing a hobby, or people in the Hitchin/Herts area who want to explore extracurricular activities in their environs.

Signed up for life-drawing classes at the Victoria barn and am investigating A Cappella and CAMRA. Internal battle being fought over pole dancing, sorry, fitness classes. Is it an empowering piece of gymnastics or the equivalent of becoming a sexual rotisserie? Or would I have the core strength to stay up long enough to navel-gaze about it?

Oh, and it’s ‘late-blooming’ because I’m getting round to this a bit late. And ‘Leo’ because I’m a Leo. But truly it’s because I could have spent the next 6 months trying up to come up with something cleverer and never posted a thing. Ta-ta!