We went to another garden the day after we'd been to Heligan and Polkerris. This time it was a Japanese garden in St. Mawgan, which was very pretty. My brother bought a book on Japanese gardens to read and some wall hangings for his bedroom (he's very much into Japanese culture, and art). It was a beautiful little garden, I got a really good photograph of my little brother (he's about half a foot taller than me, but hey) silhouetted against some of the scenery and it all went very well. We tried to have a look at the Bedruthan Steps that evening, but it was decided that the weather wasn't suited to that sort of behaviour. We visited a pub called the Miners Arms in St. Agnes that evening, which served rather nice chicken stuffed with apricot, and had a couple of rather nice waitresses that kept the eyes occupied, too...
The Wednesday was given over to visiting some old family friends who lived in Peterborough before emigrating down to Cornwall around nine years ago. We'd only seen them once since then, so it was really good to be able to sit and have a coffee with them and see how they were getting on. As it turns out, extremely well! They were conveniently on the way to Goonhilly, which was our next port of call – it's reasonably good, but I really feel that it's aimed a little too young. There's absolutely no reason why a museum can't successfully appeal to the younger members of a family without being very patronising, and the film and exhibits at Goonhilly didn't quite manage to pull it off, which was a shame because otherwise it was awesome. There was also a model of a Sinclair C5!
The FutureWorlds exhibition at Goonhilly has a room at the end where the party make predictions on certain things – when humanity will colonise other planets, when we'll achieve time travel, what will be obsolete by 2050, stuff like that – and the results were quite interesting, but I'm not going to upload the photographs tonight (and my observations on said photograph might be worth keeping over to another entry anyway). Goonhilly is in the same area of the world as the Ship Inn at Porthleven, which is a brilliant little pub that you can't make reservations at and serves very good food. I rather wished I'd had the chicken instead of the ribs, but it was all very tasty.
The Thursday saw us do random shopping and suchlike in the morning, and the evening saw a visit to the Minack Theatre, to see a production of Third Week in August. With the exception of the skies opening and us all getting absolutely soaked, this was rather a good day, and the jacket potatoes were good!
Yesterday was the day that I got to go around St. Austell's Brewery, which is very well-known and well-regarded, and I sampled some excellent beers. They also sell a rum, 125 Navy Rum, that is 125 proof (71.4% ABV), which I would love to have bought a small sample bottle of. Unfortunately, they have discontinued the small, £3 bottles and now only sell it by the big bottle, at a healthy cost of £30.04. This is a bit much for me to spend on rum, since I'm not the biggest fan, so I plumped for a bottle of Walter Hicks Dry Gin at just over £11 instead – of course, I also got six bottles of excellent St. Austell beer and one of their Cornish Rattler Cyder (which, I believe, is done in co-operation with The Cornish Cyder Farm). In the evening, we had Mexican food as a special treat – Peterborough has no Mexican restaurants, so it's not often I get to have it.
Today saw me and my half-brother Dave drive from Newquay to Peterborough, which was fun and left me extremely tired. As some of you might have seen me tweet, we had supper at a bit of a rubbish diner on the A45 just after Wellingborough (going east). The parents had visited before but Dad said it had been much better the last time they went, he suspects it's changed hands. I spent a happy hour catching up with my girlfriend on the telephone, typed this (I washed my face and suddenly felt much less tired) and now I'm about to head to bed. Good night, all!
The night before last night saw an excellent meal at Harry Ramsden's, which was only improved by our South African waiter (we immediately deduced he wasn't Australian, he was smiling) and a family next to us featuring a stepdad who played everyone in the family off each other all night, castigated his girlfriend's children fir being rude before taking a phonecall and was generally a complete c--t.
Yesterday, we went to a place called the Blue Pool which is a very pretty place to walk around, and at which we also successfully ate a cream tea. This was the prelude to a lazy evening, in which we ate omelette and (finally!) got to go to the pub! There were ten ales available for us to sample:
( Tasting notes! )
We are now gearing up for breakfast at a local JDW, catch you all later!
Thwaites Brewery, Lancashire: Nutty Black - AN (A very good mild, eminently drinkable.)
Hall & Woodhouse Brewery, Dorset: Toad's Croak - AN/SO
Highgate Brewery, West Midlands: Red Rogue - AN
Mordue Brewery of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Autumn Tyne - AN/SO
Browar Namyslow, Poland: Namyslow Original Plum Beer - SO (A bit sweet but still very nice!)
O'Hanlon's Brewery, Devon: Goldblade - BD/SO
Greene King Brewery, Suffolk: Bonkers Conkers - SO/AN
Everards Brewery, Leicestershire: Equinox - AN (It's an Everards beer. 'nuff said.)
Hilden Brewery of County Antrim, Northern Ireland: Hilden Molly's Stout - BD (I don't like stout. I tried it anyway but it still wasn't brilliant.)
Caledonian Brewery of Edinburgh: Smokey Pete - SO
Brains Brewery of Cardiff: Top Notch - BD/SO
Exmoor Brewery, Somerset: Wild Cat - AN
Woodeforde's Brewery, Norfolk: Norfolk Nog - AN
Barons Brewery, Australia: Black Wattle Original Ale - AN
Robinson's Brewery, Cheshire: Old Tom Chocolate Ale - SO
( Cut for those of you who aren't ale drinkers )
So, that's one piece of out-of-date reporting out of the way, and onto the second - Zombiecon! Well, let's just get one thing straight - if you didn't go, you missed a cracker. ( And now, the rest of the report )
It was a really, really good con. I got to meet new people, I got to become better friends with people I'd already met, I got my copy of Hunter's Moon signed, I got an awesome tie with skulls on it, I got a hanged Lego figure, I got a Necrocard to tell the doctors to let my body be used by necrophiliacs when I die, and all in all, I had an awesome time.
Also, one last thing - the hotel. I just want to say that this is my first time at the Novacon hotel, and I confess that I don't think the evening meal was optimal (it was edible, and it wasn't nasty, it just wasn't as good as it could have been). However this was the only real problem I had with the venue - otherwise, the room was good, the swimming pool was clean and nice to use (according to Fran, this is an improvement, I think), the breakfast was made of win, and the butties available at around midnight in the bar were absolutely brilliant (probably the best evening food I've encountered at a con). The hotel, on the Sunday night, having not been contracted to do the bacon/sausage/chip/cheese butties for that night, came and asked the Undead Dog Party whether we wanted them to do it later in the night - since only about thirty people were still around and most of us had eaten already, not expecting the butties to be available, the consensus was no, but it's the principle of the thing. The hotel staff were consistently really friendly, quick to respond to your needs and facilitating, which is not always the case. If all else fails and you really do hate the hotel, there is a hotel just the other side of the roundabout, but I felt the hotel was perfectly adequate for the purposes of the con, and the breakfast was absolutely brilliant. The hotel wasn't as nice as Chester, but it's probably the second-nicest con venue I've been to so far, so I'm at a loss to explain all the negativity.
( Cut for those of you who aren't ale drinkers )
"Good afternoon all.
Just a quick note to provide you with an update.
Paul Hook (proprietor) has been advised that the Councils planning meeting due to be held on 18 March 2008 in connection with the North Westgate Planning decision has been postponed.
The meeting has been postponed as the council has announced that it needs more time to look at certain issues in greater detail. We are of course all hopeful that this is a positive move and that consideration is being given to securing a place in the North Westgate Scheme for the Brewery Tap.
Once again we would like to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting the Brewery Tap."
"Upon reading Jeff Evans' column, 'Ruby goes bananas for better beer' (Beer, July 2007) I felt compelled to write a letter to your column about it. I took a chum of mine, Richard, to a proper Indian restaurant near to me recently and whilst he ordered lassi, a traditional Indian drink, I ordered Cobra, which earned me a funny look.
"Later on in the evening, he explained to me that the waiters at a restaurant called Chamelee, in Leicester, which has won numerous awards for its food, advised him that in India, the drinking of alcohol with a meal is an extremely rare occurence, and that one should not drink beer or wine with any food whilst in an Indian restaurant. This is backed up by the Wikipedia article on Indian cuisine, which clearly says, "However the practice of drinking a beverage with a meal, or wine and food matching, is not traditional or common in India."
"In the light of this, I would advise him to try drinking lassi, or perhaps Indian tea, with his curry, as it will match the food he is eating better than the beers he sampled will."
Oh, and Dax is a legend, glad to have met him.
I will definitely be partaking in their curry night on Thursday, I just hope I get there in time to have a curry - I finish at half past ten, unless I beg my managers to let me go early.
In other news, I've just looked through the selection of beers that Springhead produce, and only one is not named for an English Civil War theme - I'm not quite sure why they named all their beers except Springhead Bitter for Civil War buffs, but it would appear to be the case.