Sunday, May 27, 2018

Victory for a humanity

Delighted for the "YES" campaigners in the Republic of Ireland who achieved a land-slide victory yesterday, just the North to sort out now..


Spend a delightful day in Oxford yesterday with some good friends. We met up at the Grand Cafe at around 11 am for a spot of coffee and cake and then had a bit of a wander around the covered market. After that we headed over to the Cherwell Boathouse restaurant where we had a splendid "fine-dining" lunch, I had a pork filet with charred cabbage (essentially burnt to a crisp with a blow-torch) sounds terrible, but it was a great contrast, also a nice cold Macon La Roche to wash it all down.

After lunch we headed out again into a glorious sunny day. Oxford town centre was packed and so the boys in the group decided to forgo the obligatory "shopping" excursion and headed down the Cowley road to the local Brewdog bar where we whiled away a couple of hours putting the world to rights over some nice craft beer. Fortunately the guest brewery taking over a couple of their taps was "Wiper and True" of Bristol, who are on top form at the moment, I had some of their Quintet IPA which was just singing.

Then it was time for home. Back to the station and a fast train to Reading, tucked up in front of the telly by about 9 pm, this is how Summer should be.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Catholic correlations

The people of the Republic of Ireland vote tomorrow to decide whether or not to repeal their draconian abortion laws. Currently in that country it's illegal to have an abortion for any reason at any time unless  the life of the mother is in danger, reformers claim that even this caveat is very difficult to prove and trigger, and in some cases leads to the unnecessary death of women having difficulties with their pregnancy.

Most other western democracies have long since implemented more flexible laws around abortion. Using the best scientific evidence available, limits are typically put on aborting fetuses by age, 24 weeks in the case of the UK. A case of changing our laws to reflect experience, evidence and the well-being and pragmatic choices of human-beings in impossible situations. This way of creating and refining law seems to me to be far superior than more old-fashioned ideas that stem from institutions like the Catholic church, where what seems more important is dogma, compliance and a slavish subversion to authority, laws being made to be immutable unless they prove inconvenient to clergy or subverted by greasing the right palms.

Any country that has laws that are so easily subverted by people (who have the money) travelling to neighbouring countries for particular medical procedures needs to ask some important questions of itself. Questions like why so many people who can travel to get treatment do? and questions like who is actually running your country, the elected Government representing the will of the majority, or some unelected ancient religious sect that's accountable to no one and hell-bent on defending it's own parochial interests?

No system is perfect of course, every country has it's issues, just look at the fiasco that is Brexit, but when it comes to such sensitive and human issues I would certainly try to vote on the side of maximum compassion for all the people involved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Not really..

New J&M up today. I almost always respect people more if they are willing to change their views based on evidence, I often think it says something about their character and perhaps indicates a lack of intransigence and/or arrogance.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What to brew?

Came across this today, perfect remedy to my problem of being hopelessly indecisive about what to brew this bank-holiday weekend. So, an ice distilled, no hop stout aged on wild raspberries then... (I don't think so)

Lazy weekend syndrome

Not much enthusiasm for work this morning, need to get back into gear after a very lazy weekend..

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Trying to book a Summer holiday at the moment and came across this little meme - made me smile.

Coffee break

Since it was such a cracking day yesterday (Sat) we decided to pop over to the Siren Tap-Yard for an hour before eating to see what new beers were pouring. We weren't disappointed, they were officially launching "Project Barista" which is an initiative aimed at making coffee flavoured beer for a festival in London (they didn't make one, they made four!). In the middle picture you can see "Affogato" which is a coffee and Ice cream pale-ale flavoured with a Brazilian roast, it was marvellous, silky mouthfeel, hardly any bitterness and a very creamy (alcoholic) coffee milkshake-like taste. On the right you can see a red beer called "CapHeine" which is a kettle soured beer flavoured with coffee from Costa Rica and Hibiscus flowers, it wasn't too sour but just enough to make it distinct, very well balanced, nothing too jarring and a nice beer although I preferred the Affogato. 

On the left-hand side you can see a picture of one of the bottle fridges at the Tap-Yard, a complete selection of all of Sirens recent beers, must be over 40-50 different beers in there including the latest coffee flavoured efforts a positive treasure trove for Siren fans. I've got two more of the barista beers to try, "Breakfast Shake" and "Cold Brew", an excuse to have a re-match next Saturday perhaps :)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Becoming an Atheist..

Friday Smirk

I love the way that "Theology" (or as I call it "the study of the unknowable") is the biggest "we have no idea" on the chart. 

I once challenged a mate of mine (a Theology graduate) to name one (impactful) question that the study of theology has answered that a) wasn't already known or simply a description of human nature, b) isn't just in the sub-set of history and c) is testable and hasn't yet been obliterated by science; I'm still waiting for an answer.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The rise of craft

Back in 2015 (left) I was very excited to find a couple of bottles of craft beer from my nearest local brewery (Siren) in Waitrose (it was only distributed in Waitrose stores locally). In them days the closest thing to craft was a bottle of Chimay, certainly much more interesting than Budweiser or Fosters but still pretty large-scale corporate brewing! 

Fast forward 2 years and look at the same shelf in the same Waitrose, bursting with beers from small independent breweries from all over the world, UK, America, New Zealand, Belgium and many others, an embarrassment of beery riches that fills my heart with joy. If you'd had said to me 2 years ago that I could simply walk down the street and pick up a can of Beavertown's excellent Gamma-ray pale-ale  to enjoy on a Friday night then I would have called you a dreamer, but, such is the power of market-forces!

Playing tennis without a net..

New J&M today. I love it when Christians criticize the doctrines of Islam for being inherently violent and Muslims respond by saying "but the Bible is just as bad" The bizarre thing is that this tit-for-tat position seems to satisfy both parties; they seem content by calling it a draw and moving onto more pressing questions, like, whether or not an imaginary character in a 2000 year old collection of myths was actually the offspring of himself and how all credible 7th century Arabian warlord's should own flying horses.

Tap heaven..

Some people would see this and feel intimidated, but, most bars these days let you sample a beer before you buy it, so this is the kind of tap selection that I (and many people) actively seek out!