Saturday, 18 May 2013
A simple guide, now that I'm out of the pub trade and can say these without them being misconstrued on any local business. Just my thoughts as a local...
1) Roads are for cars. Not pedestrians. Walk on the pavements, same as you do when you're at home. You'll understand this a bit more in a minute.
2) Expect to wait. Food in pubs around here can take roughly 20 minutes to come out normally - none of the pubs do microwaved crap, but proper home-made food. When 40 meals have been ordered before yours, don't expect it out within 10 minutes. Definitely don't tell the staff you've got a show to go to and expect this to magically make your food hot quicker. It won't. Refer to #1 - that car you were holding up by not walking on the pavement? That was the shopkeeper/chef/guide. Now you see why holding them up will bite you on the arse.
3) Children. They are yours. Yours only. YOURS. You might be at a show you want to watch, or want to browse the shops, or a quiet pint. Don't expect other people (on the street, shop workers, waiters etc) to look after your children. Hell, put a sodding lead on them or strap them to your back if you have to. Little Timmy might run around your local Sainsbury's or Waitrose while you shop, but not in Hay!
4) Prices. Hay is bloody expensive all year round. Huge rent and rates are just two reasons why. Don't moan, and sure as hell don't make a sarcastic quip to the staff when you have to pay. We all pay these prices all year round. The staff have heard it before. 100 times. They can't change the price, they don't set them. They are just doing their job.
5) Be polite. Something like 100 000 people visit Hay in 10 days, less than 2000 people live here all year. That's a huge influx of people, and the vast majority of people who live here are lovely and enjoy festival and all it brings. Those in the service industry especially work amazingly hard over those 10 days, and the odd thank-you and smile makes all the difference, it can literally brighten up someone's day.
6) This isn't the same as home. We love that we don't have a massive supermarket on the doorstep, that we get our meat from the butcher, veg from the greengrocer and ale in the pub. But if you're particular loaf of bread or size of tomatoes aren't available, venting or stressing about it isn't going to solve anything.
7) Stupid questions - leave them in the hotel room. One I've heard in previous years is 'is the back garden in the same place'. If you've come in the front door, best bet is to head for the back door and look for the massive sodding green space. If nearly every table in the coffee shop is eating, don't ask 'do you serve food'. We've all done it - go on holiday and leave our brains at home, but take a second to think.
8) I've left the most important one until last. Enjoy yourself! Smile, relax and embrace Hay! It's a beautiful town, some great architecture, fantastic independent shops and people that really make it special. It can be a nightmare at festival when everywhere is busy, but if we all chill out, appreciate everything is going to take longer (car journey/served at the bar/walk to the site) and smile at each other it's such a better vibe. The worst festival was one where it rained nearly none stop, everyone was grumpy and nothing was good enough for everyone. Bring wellies. Bring bin bags. Wear them if necessary. Don't if not. Simple.
9) Buy me a pint...
Friday, 26 April 2013
Alongside Sue, the Brewster from Waen Brewery, I'll be found in Cardiff's Fire Island on Sunday night, talking about the range of beers from Waen and items from their BBQ menu that would mix nicely. It's going to be fun, with a couple of speciality beers such as the Chilli Plum Porter and Sick & Twisted, an Imperial Stout with a little coconut and cocoa in it.
|Sick & Twisted is limited edition & I couldn't get hold of any in bottle!|
Friday, 19 April 2013
I'm thinking about the bars. Personally I like good beer, no matter how it gets in the glass. Bottle, keg, cask, direct from the F.V. - as long as the end result tastes good to me I'm happy.
But when it comes to venues, I prefer comfortable, cosy, traditional style. Will the two ever meet? Have they?
The recipe for a craft beer bar at the moment appears to be:
Stripped out large building, preferably ex-industrial
Bare brick wall somewhere
Wooden or flagged floor
Uncomfortable wooden seating
From what I can gather, this is a style that works both sides of the Atlantic. And I'm not knocking the style - the bars I've visiting like this have all been busy when I visit. I haven't been to a lot I'll be the first to admit. But think of any Brewdog bar, Jolly Butchers (one of my favourites but haven't been in nearly a year!), Zero degrees (Cardiff), the new Fire Island in Cardiff.
Not all craft bars are like this - Craft in London is a bit more traditional, but still minimalist.
The Grove Inn, Huddersfield, appears to be what I'm after (only going off photos I've seen on the internet, it's on my to do list though), and the Sheffield Tap has a more traditional style.
I wonder if this minimalistic style is just a faze and will die out, or if it's here to stay. Obviously a pub or bar is a lot more than just how it looks, but can 'craft' survive in a traditional setting. Just because the beer is 'urban' or 'hip' or whatever word the cool kids use, does that mean the bar selling it has to be?
Or can it be sold in a comfortable, traditional style. Are the beers cool enough to sell anywhere, or does the whole package have to be cool?
I'm going to be travelling a lot more this year, getting back into the beer scene so to speak, so hopefully I'll find more examples of both. Until then, any recommendations of places to add to my 'to-do' list are more than welcome.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Friday, 3 August 2012
I'll post later about where I've been this year, but in the meantime somethats quite important to me: charity.
Basically I'm running 10k in October to raise money for Parkinsons. It's called the spooky sprint and is my first 10k. I'm hoping to build on this to run further and raise more for Parkinsons, but this seems a good place to start. I'd really appreciate it if you'd take a couple of minutes to donate a couple of quid here
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Otley Brewery - I'm not allowed to describe them as the Welsh version of a Scottish brewery, and to be fair that wouldn't do them justice. They think in terms of beer evolution, as opposed to beer revolution. I've just taken out Erdinger in favour of their O7 Weissbier on the kegs, and I'm deadly serious about putting their CreosO on instead of a Copenhagen beer if they ever keg it. The best thing about these guys is they really do let the beer do the talking.
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
|The process to submit a motion|
In the example above, be against web conferencing by all means, but at least have the decency to explain why!