Friday, 27 February 2015

Paarl Mountains by Boland Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Wine Review

We bought this wine last night from the local Co-op supermarket, and very nice it was too.

Paarl Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Many many moon ago during our first trip travelling around the World we visited South Africa, where among other things we enjoyed lots of South African wine.
This wine comes from the Paarl wine district which is North of Stellenbosch, and Stellenbosch is just one of the really lovely places we stayed during our travels, so it was pleasantly nostalgic for us to drink this wine.

Anyway, less rambling, more thoughts on this particular bottle of wine.
Paarl Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 was a very enjoyable wine indeed.
Mr.R and me thought it offered a great deal for the price, although I can't remember how much it was - haha!
It wouldn't have been expensive, because we don't usually spend over a tenner for a bottle of red, I think this wine may have cost about £6, but don't quote me on it.

Paarl Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Anyway, again, less rambling! More wine review.......
Paarl Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 was an excellent purchase from the Co-op. The wine poured a beautiful deep red colour in the glass, with aromas of black cherries and ripe juicy plums.
On the palate it was seriously rich and fruity with flavours of deliciously ripe dark fruits, spice, and hints of vanilla, with a pleasant amount of tannins and a decent long fruity finish.
This is definitely a wine we'd purchase again.

From the label -
For more than six decades Boland Cellars have been working in the Paarl region, time in which our winemakers have identified many different climatic zones. 
Paarl Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon takes its wonderful complexity from the blending of wines from each zone. 
The style is marked by a Mediterranean climate of warm summers and mild, wet winters. 
The influence of the nearby ocean, wind-protected river valleys and cool mountain slopes all contribute to the diversity of flavour. 
Aromas of blackcurrant fruit, herbs, and soft oak follow through to a well rounded palate. 
Enjoy with juicy red meats such as lamb, venison or beef or with strong cheeses such as goats cheese or mature cheddar. 

Paarl Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

We were enjoying this wine so much that I completely forgot to take a photo of it, and when I finally remembered the bottle was empty - and so were our glasses. Cheers! Hic! Hehe!
Have you tried Paarl Mountains by Boland Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013?
Delicious isn't it?

Guilt Snack For Our Lovely Lurcher - Pigs Ears

The guilt was ours, not the dogs.

We very rarely leave Barley, our lovely Lurcher home alone, it's not often necessary, and it doesn't seem fair to leave him by himself if we don't have to.
But yesterday Mr.R had to accompany me to an appointment, so reluctantly we left Barley on his own.
To say he was unimpressed is a serious understatement, he was a very unhappy boy - poor dog.
Thankfully we were only out for a very short time, and we popped into the local pet shop on our way back to buy him a treat.

Mmm! πŸ˜‹ #PigsEars #PigsEar #dogfood #food

I am seriously indecisive about, well, about pretty much everything, so as soon as we entered the pet shop Mr.R pointed the pigs ears out to me, grabbed a bag, paid, and we left.
Job done, and very quickly too.

Treat. #Lurcher #Dog #sighthound #rescuedog #PigsEar #dogfood #dogtreat #food

Barley was beside himself with joy at our return, literally; he was running around all over the place and watching him it was as though we had several Lurchers, not just the one. He was flitting about so fast, he seemed to be in many different places at the same time.
Anyway, once he'd calmed down a little bit he then became particularly interested in what we'd brought back with us - his treat.

Pigs Ear.

Barley obviously approved of our treat choice because he wolfed it down super fast. Burp!
I think it's safe to say he soon forgave us for leaving him on his own.
Do you give your dog pigs ears as a treat?

Internet Breaks, Reading, Beer, and Favourite Quotes

This afternoon, as I was looking through some of my old sketch books, which also have pages and pages of seriously hard to decipher writing in them, I came across this -
I like a good read myself. Nothing too laborious. I don't want to tamper with natural ignorance.


It seemed apt that I read the quote when I did, because as well as flicking through my doodles and scribbled handwriting, I was also reading a book.
Yep, I actually put down my gadgets, went offline, and read a book, with real words - hmm, and pictures.

You see, when I said I was reading a book, what I really meant was I was flicking through the pages, half-heartedly reading the words, of which there weren't many anyway, as I salivated over the pictures.

Salivated? Why?
Well, because the book I was reading was Craft Beer World by Mark Dredge
Well, what can I say, I love beer, and reading anything is still considered a break from messing about online - as least I consider it to be a proper break from the Internet.

Free book. Almost as good as free beer - but not quite. #beer #beerbook #CraftBeerBook
I added a photo of the beer book, to separate the text, as usual I've rambled on and on.......

Anyway, this blog post is not a review of the Craft Beer World book, although I'm sure I will get round to writing one at some time in the future, it is about that quote.
I read it, it tickled me, so I asked Google who said it.

Ah, yes, Google, obviously I had to go back online to find out where this quote originated. Not that you can believe that the information attributing quotes to certain people is 100% correct, but anyway, my search results indicated that this quote is from the 2004 film A Good Woman starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson.

I like a good read myself. Nothing too laborious. I don't want to tamper with natural ignorance.
I like this quote, what about you -
Do you like it?
What are your favourite quotes?

Thursday, 26 February 2015

'Jihadi John' Reportedly Named as Mohammed Emwazi

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I try not to read the news or watch the news on TV - it's always so depressing and it's never impartial. Manipulating the masses.......

But today I have seen some news on TV. It's always reported as 'Breaking New's' whether it's being screened now, or 7 hours from now.......
Anyway, todays big news is all about 'Jihadi John' being named as Mohammed Emwazi - reportedly.
He's said to be a British born man in his 20's from West London.

I say reportedly because I don't know if that's true.
Right now, as I type this blog post CAGE director is rambling on and on on the BBC News saying, 'I have known Emwazi since summer 2009.......'
Research Director of CAGE Asim Qureshi is basically saying that the Mohammed Emwazi he met and knew would never hurt anyone, so he's not Jihadi John the baddie.

Before I tuned into the BBC News just now, I wouldn't have known Asim Qureshi if he stood up in my soup, so I'm not exactly sure what I think of him, except to say he is very aggressive, and arrogant.

As for Jihadi John, or Mohammed Emwazi.......
Well, I don't know.......
I don't know what's wrong with everyone.
What is wrong with us? Humans!
Why are we so violent?
Why so much hate?
Why can't we all just live in peace? Please! For the love of God, Allah, Victoria Fecking Beckham - or whoever your 'God' is. Why?

Doodle.  Doodles.
Peace Sign - because I don't own any photos of terrorists to accompany this blog post

Changing the subject, but only very slightly, from ignorant, misguided, evil, terrorists.......
You know when there's one of those doom stories in the news, about how a meteor is about to come dangerously close to earth and possibly wipe us all out, or how global warming will kill us all, or that there's too many people and not enough food.......
Well, you get the gist, we're all doomed.

Well, some days, like today, more specifically right now sitting listening to all this bullshit hypocritical chat on the news about terrorists; like Western governments have never committed acts of terrorism, with everyone being ever-so-careful not to say the wrong thing, namely anything that may upset a Muslim, I truly think that it's exactly what we, humans, deserve - to be wiped off the face of the earth.

I mean, after all, we are parasites.
We spread such hatred, we murder in cold blood, we continually engage in war.......
And what for?
Cynically, I say, for money, power etc.
But I'm not even sure that's true.
Maybe deep down we are all evil and better off dead.

Gloomy opinion eh?
Well, that's why I said, some days....... because most days I truly believe that basically humans are good. Basically we are decent, law abiding citizens who care about each other, and that's how I like it, which is why I try not to let too much news into my life.
The 'news', which I'm sure we all realise is not really ever new, is dangerous, it only takes a minute or so before it drags you down, but that's the way the powers that be want it isn't it, to keep us all scared and inline.

So, I'll ask again, why can't we all just live in peace?
Apart from the fact that governments want and need wars, for various self-serving reasons, why can't we all just relax?

I would truly love to live in a World where we all live in peace.
Where streets, villages, towns, cities, countries, and continents are full of all different types of people, all nationalities, all religions, or non-religions, everything and everyone all living in harmony.
Not segregated, not at war. No hate, only love.

Does that sound like some hippie-dippy clap-trap to you?
Well, shame on you! Shame that people would rather live in a war torn World than admit to wanting to live in a hippie 'love your neighbour' planet.

It could work.
I seriously believe it.
There's no real reason why we can't all live in peace, live and let live as the saying goes.

Imagine, don't worry I'm not going all John Lennon on you.......
Imagine a road where one house is home to Christians, the next house has a Pagan living there, then there's a Jewish family, then a family of agnostics, then Catholic, then Muslim, then atheist....... You get the picture.
I'm not saying I see them being best friends, not necessarily, or spending the holidays together, and having dinner with each other, unless of course they feel like it, but they could all live together without hating.
They could just live their lives, be polite, say 'Hello!' occasionally, or not, may be just a nod of the head, but no trouble, no violence.
Jews living next door to Muslims, living in peace, they don't have to like each other, but they don't have to personally attack or hurt each other either.
I'm not singling out Jews and Muslims, they were the first people who sprang to my mind - I blame the news for that, for manipulating my innocent mind. Ha!

Can you imagine us all living in peace, whatever our beliefs or way of life?
I can imagine how the governments would be very unhappy with that scenario.
If they couldn't continue to turn us against each other, they'd know that it'd be easier for us to rise-up, rise-up against them.......

So, that's me finished. I've run out of steam for now.
As usual I have wandered off of topic slightly, from Jihadi John aka Mohammed Emwazi - reportedly.
Do I feel better for rambling on and on.......?
I'm not sure.
I am sure there will be lots more 'breaking news' about this story over the next few hours, days, weeks.......
What do you think about the 'Breaking News' about Jihadi John, Mohammed Emwazi?
Or about anything I've rambled on about in this blog post?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts. 

Beach Fun With Our Rescue Lurcher

We often take Barley, our Lurcher, to a local beach where he enjoys a good run, which is exactly what we did last week.
That's one thing we like about living in County Durham - we have really lovely beaches on our doorstep.

This blogpost is simply about me posting some of the many photos that I took of our gorgeous boy - with a bit of rambling about our morning on the beach.
As you can see the weather was dull, which is why the last two are photos from another day on a different beach - gotta have some bright sunny shots too.
I'd like to upload the video I shot too, but I can't figure out how to get if from my phone to this blog - oh well, maybe another day. I'll ask Mr.R to show me how to do it, he's the clever one on our family.

Anyway, so, we were off to the beach, but this day we decided to go to a different beach from the one we usually visit, which turned out to be an excellent decision.

Perfection. 🐢❤️☺️ Last shot for today - I promise. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #ILoveMyLurcher #beach #sea #rocks #HordenBeach #CountyDurham #England

We'd spoken to a neighbour about this particular beach, he has 6 dogs, Bull Terriers, and he was saying how it's been tarted-up a bit recently. Well, not the beach so much, but the car-park and woods before you get down to the beach.
We'd attempted to take Barley to this beach once before, but the road was seriously flooded so we couldn't get anywhere near. After that, we'd forgotten all about this beach, until the neighbour mentioned it.

Running around all over the beach. Happy boy. πŸΆπŸ’¨πŸ˜Š #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #ILoveMyLurcher #sea #beach #HordenBeach #CountyDurham #England

Anyway, bright and early one morning last week, all three of us jumped into the car and off we went to the beach.
It's only a few minutes drive from our house, in fact we were going to walk there, but the weather wasn't looking good so we changed our minds and drove. That also turned out to be a good decision, as although it's not far, the walk from the car-park down through the woods to the beach was a little longer than we'd expected.
And on a dull cold day, after running, playing, and generally having lots of fun on the beach, having the car waiting to take us back to the house was much appreciated. I doubt our legs could have carried if we'd had to walk, but I'm sure Barley would disagree as he's always happy for more exercise.

So, we parked up, and enjoyed the walk through the woods down to the beach.
We were not particularly expecting to be able to let Barley off of the lead, we thought there's be other people and dogs on the beach, and as yet Barley is not a fan of recall - despite obedience training and lots of hard work, he still likes to do his own thing.

Sit! Stay! Smile! Nope - he ran at me. πŸΆπŸ’¨πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #ILoveMyLurcher #beach #sea #HordenBeach #CountyDurham #England

As soon as we got on to the beach we could see it was completely empty, and the sandy part beyond the rocks was much wider and longer than we'd thought it would be.
We let Barley off the lead. He was off! Zooming around all over the beach, a very happy boy.

Mr.R stopped every now and then to take some photos, not that the weather was doing anything to enhance the dark drab colours of the sea and sand.
I also took some photos and shot a bit of video.
But mainly we were playing with Barley, which consisted of me running up and down the beach with Barley running after, and at me, almost knocking me off of my feet on several occasions.

Unfortunately for Barley, because we hadn't expected to be able to let him run free, we hadn't taken his football or tennis balls, or any of his other toys with us - which is why he had to make do with me running about like a loon.
He wasn't bothered though, he was more than happy, running, sniffing, nipping, and generally having a blast to care about absent footballs.

Since we adopted Barley, about a year and a half ago, we have seen him run full-pelt in the local fields, and on the beaches, or so we thought.
This day we saw what full-pelt really was. Barley had been zooming about for ages, and he was quite tired, which meant he'd take the occasional short break and stroll nearer to us. It was after a short minute or so break, that I saw something had caught his attention, and before I had a chance to react he was off.......
He ran so fast, my eyes could hardly keep track of him. What was he running after? A seagull!
Obviously, as seagulls fly, Barley didn't catch it, but he got seriously close to nabbing it before the seagull took off skywards.
Man, watching his run is such a wonderful thing to see, it's breathtaking the speed, his muscles, and then the joy on his face. Absolutely marvelous!

Waiting for me to run with him again - he doesn't realise I'm not quite as fit as he is. πŸ˜‰πŸ‘΅πŸ˜‚ #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #sea #beach #HordenBeach #CountyDurham #England

After the seagull incident, we all continued to mooch about on the sand, and as time went on Mr.R and I were getting further apart from each other, which meant Barley was zooming from one of us to the other like a dog possessed.
It was when he'd been running circles around me that he suddenly shot off towards Mr.R. This was also when I spotted a figure with a dog far off in the distance.
Oh dear!
I shouted to Mr.R to call Barley. He did. Barley was obviously temporarily deaf at this point, as he ignored Mr.R and ran full-pelt towards the figure, which I could now see was a man with a Lurcher.

Happy boy. πŸΆπŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ’¨ Running from hubby to me - in he blink of an eye.

I started running after Barley, that may not be what the 'experts' recommend, but I know my dog and this was the best thing to do at that time.
Anyway, I was running after Barley calling him, but apparently he couldn't hear my voice either, and Mr.R was calling him too.
He was seriously close to the man with the Lurcher, when suddenly he stopped, literally skidding to a halt.
The man hadn't said anything or done anything, but Barley had stopped, and then he turned around, looked at me and Mr.R and began running back to us. Phew!

I like to think that he had heard us calling him, and was responding to us.
But Mr.R thinks he just changed his mind about wanting to play with the man and his dog.
I'm still convinced I'm correct - Barley and recall are becoming friends. Hehehe!

Whoosh! πŸΆπŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ˜‚ #beach #CrimdonBeach #Lurcher #dog #runningdog #sighthound #rescuedog #ILoveMyLurcher #CountyDurham #England

The man we'd seen was obviously hoping to let his dog off the lead too, so we put Barley back on his lead and began a slow walk back to the car. All three of us were exhausted.
Once we'd got off of the sand and up on to the rocks we saw the man had let his Lurcher off lead and was using a whistle to train him to stay, return etc.
Typically when Barley heard the man use his whistle he was all ears, paying keen attention. It's a shame Barley isn't as interested in our whistle - maybe it's not working properly and only humans can hear it. Hahaha!
If you're a human owned by a dog, do you have a beach where you enjoy running, playing, and having fun together?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Durham Brewery Evensong Traditional Ruby Ale - Beer Review

Evensong from The Durham Brewery is one of the beers we purchased when we visited the brewery, and like the other ones we've tasted, it was delicious.

Evensong Ruby Ale pours into the glass a beautiful jewel red colour. It's made with a grist of five different malts, combined with Challenger, Goldings, and Fuggles hops.
The aroma is mouthwateringly fruity, on the palate there are pleasant malty flavours, and it tastes of toffee and dried fruits, with a decent medium bitter finish. 5%.
Evensong is a very good ale indeed.

The Durham Brewery, Evensong, Ruby Ale. Beer. Real ale.

From the label -
Five different malts including crystal and amber make a rich cherry/toffee flavour. Earthy Fuggles and Goldings hops combine in a smooth English character with hints of kiwifruit and toffee.

Food match: Dark meats and strong cheese. Sunday roast.

Gold winner at CAMRA Great British Beer Festival 2005.

Contains water, barley, wheat, hops, and yeast.

Suitable for vegans. 

This ale is bottle-conditioned.
There is live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character.

Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve at 10 degrees C.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 5a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Durham DH6 5PF.
Have you tried Evensong Traditional Ruby Ale from The Durham Brewery?
Did you like it?

Friday, 13 February 2015

The News This Week - Lighthearted, No Death and Destruction

I was going to write a blog post about the stories that dominated the news this week, but then I thought that was way too depressing.
So after a quick search online, I found some stories that are not as serious as the usual mainstream news.
There's no news about the general election, no Samsungs 'Spy' TV, no politics, no war, and there's nothing about the economy, banks, or the NHS.

Geese migrating. Sunrise.
As I'm keeping things light, here's a shot of some Geese flying South

Here's a few news stories that you may find interesting.
  • Coronation Street super fan tattoos his wife with the faces of all his favourite characters. Read more on the Coronation Street blog
  • BBC News interview a dog, Bounce the Labrador. Read more on BBC news
  • Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon actress, accepts marriage proposal delivered by drone. Read more on Sky News
  • Caolan Robertson says 'Slaughter cocktail' is rare treat - pigs blood ingredient. Would you drink it? Read more here in The Telegraph
  • Ashley McIntyre to marry Danny Robinson, the stranger whose life she saved when she donated her kidney. Read more in The Independent 
  • Victor Van Rossem travels 5,000 miles to meet Neal D Retke - a friend suggestion via facebook. Read more here Huffington Post
  • And finally because it's Valentines Day tomorrow, here's a story about a Chihuahua born with a heart birthmark. Read more in the Mail Online  
They were far less depressing than the 'proper' news, weren't they?
I hope you enjoyed these light-hearted news stories, and that you have a lovely weekend. 

Louis Dornier et Fils Brut Champagne NV - Wine Review

We recently had a bottle of Louis Dornier et Fils Brut Champagne NV.
That may sound nice, but it was horrible, so bad in fact that it was undrinkable, well, almost undrinkable - but we persevered.
Why didn't we chuck the Champagne down the sink? For one very good reason, we had no red wine in the house. Hahaha!

Champagne. Thankfully it was free, because it was rough. πŸ™Š

Thankfully we hadn't spent our hard earned money on this bottle of Louis Dornier et Fils Brut Champagne NV, it was a freebie sent to Mr.R.
We're all about being grateful, but this was not a gift that naturally induces gratitude.

Champagne. A freebie. Horrible. πŸ™Š

This Champagne sells on Red Letter for fifty quid. Yep, I said £50!
It sells for about a tenner in the shops. But even at £10 it's way overpriced, I'd say 10 pence would be a more suitable price, 10p isn't a bad price because you could tip the Champagne down the sink and then use the empty bottle as a candle holder. Voila!

Champagne. Champagne cork.

From the label -
Louis Dornier is a classic Champagne using the three traditional grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grown in the chalky soil of the Champagne region of Northern France.
Aged for a minimum of two years in the bottle in deep underground caves during which time the wine develops a fine sparkle or "mousse" and a delicious taste, this wine should be served lightly chilled. Open with care. 12%vol. 
Have you been unfortunate enough to have tasted Louis Dornier et Fils Brut Champagne NV?
Horrible isn't it? 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Grim Reaper - There Are No Winners In War

There are no winners in war, only losers.

Whilst scrolling online lately, one picture I've seen a lot is the image of the grim reaper with 'I support everyones troops' written across it.

It's obviously very popular at the moment, and is being shared a lot, especially on social media sites like twitter and facebook.
I decided I'd share it too, so I did a quick doodle of it.
I don't particularly like the colour green, except for trees and food, I don't like that there's any such things as war either, so I thought a green background was appropriate.

There are no winners in war.  Grim reaper.  Doodle.

It's true, there are no winners in war. 
I often wonder why we (humans) are so stupid.
Why do we continue to fight, and kill each other?
And then I remember that if you take away the emotional side of it, it's all about power and money and oil - not necessarily in that order.
Sad but true.
What do you think about us humans? 
Seriously stupid sometimes - aren't we?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Co-Op Fairtrade Shiraz 2014, from South Africa - Wine Review

As the Co-op is our local supermarket, within walking distance of our house, we buy quite a lot of wine from there.
This 2014 Fairtrade Shiraz from South Africa was one such purchase.

We really enjoyed this wine, it had a lovely aroma of ripe red berries, and on the palate there were blueberries, raspberries, bramble, and an interesting tang of coffee beans. 
A very nice wine, which we'd definitely purchase again.

Fairtrade Shiraz, Co-Op. South African wine. Red wine. Wine.

From the label -
Situated in one of the most magnificent wine locations in the world, nestling against the slopes of the Groenberg in the shadow of the Limiet Mountains near Wellington, South Africa, lies Bosman Family Vineyards. As part of a unique project supported by The Co-Operative, this wine ensures the workers from these vineyards receive a better deal, including the Fairtrade Premium to invest in projects which benefit them and the local community. This full and well-balanced wine has beautiful expression of raspberries, blackberries, and spice, with fine tannins, wonderfully complemented by robust meat dishes and succulent stews. 14.0% Vol. 
Have you tried Co-Op Fairtrade Shiraz 2014, from South Africa?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Opinion, Fact, Perspective, Truth - Marcus Aurelius

I'm sure I've said it before, (bad memory) but I like quotes.
Lately I've been drawn to the words of Marcus Aurelius, and this quote is definitely one of my favourites.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” 
 - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

πŸ˜‹πŸ·πŸ˜Š #blog #blogger #blogging © #redwine #wine #plonk
Wine photo - because, well, I've nothing relevant, and why not?

This quote is a far more pleasant quote than the other one about opinions that springs to my mind, 'everyone has an opinion, they're like arseholes.......' or something like that.
I can't remember, as I said I've got a bad memory.
Are you a fan of the words spoken by Marcus Aurelius?

Wat phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Reminiscing about Thailand.
I feel the cold.
I'm more or less always cold, even in the Summer.
Today I'm sitting here in the North of England, it's Winter, so obviously I'm feeling cold, which is why I started daydreaming about our World travels in warmer climes.
That's the first place that came to mind. Actually it wasn't, it was the first photo I saw as I scrolled my flickr account.
So, if like me, you are feeling cold, here's a couple of photos of warmth - courtesy of our Thailand travels.

Wat Phra Singh, or to give it its full name - Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, is just one of the many, many, many Buddhist temples we visited when we travelled in Thailand.
It's in Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, which is such a lovely place that we found it hard to leave. So we didn't, we simply kept extending our stay.

Wat Phra Singh is an active temple. It is also known as 'The Monastery of the Lion Buddha' or 'The temple of the Lion Buddha'.
Hundreds of monks and novices live there.
The temple dates back to the 14th century, when Chiang Mai was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom.
Wat Phra Singh is considered to be one of the finest examples of classic Lanna style architecture in Northern Thailand.
The main chedi is the oldest structure of the wat, it was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to enshrine the ashes of his father. Since its construction in the 14th century, it has been substantially enlarged.

This reclining Buddha is in one of the smaller buildings. The figure on the bottom right of this photo is a carving on a door.

Gold. ✨ Wat Phra Singh. Temple. Buddha. Door panel. Wood carving. Chiangmai. Thailand.

There were lots of beautiful murals, like the one below, at this temple. Lovely isn't it?

Mural. Art. Tattoo. Wat Phra Singh. Chiangmai. Thailand.

I'm not going to bang on about the history of this temple, that's what Google is for.
And now I've written this blog post, I can only find these two photos relating to it - typical, both of which have been over-edited in various iphone photo apps. I spent a lot of time messing about with various apps during our travels, well, it was something to do on long bus, train, and 'plane journeys.
I do have some more photos, so I'll update this blog post, when, or if I find them.
Have you visited Chiang Mai, in Thailand?
Did you go to Wat phra Singh?

Ringwood Brewery Forty Niner - Beer Review

Mr.R bought this Ringwood Brewery bottled beer quite a while ago, but from what I remember it was a decent enough brew.

Ringwood Brewery, Forty Niner. Ale. Real ale. Craft ale. Beer.

It's a golden coppery colour, with a thin white head, pleasant maltiness, aromas of caramel, earth, malt, herbs, and a hint of perfume.
On the palate is had flavours of biscuit malt, spice, citrus and a slight floral taste. It's sweet to start with a slightly bitter finish.

The name Forty Niner is taken from the strength of the beer - 4.9%.
It's brewed using English hops including, Challenger, Goldings, Fuggles, and Progress, and Marris Otter malt.

Ringwood Brewery, Forty Niner. Ale. Real ale. Craft ale. Beer.

From the label-
We take two things seriously at Ringwood Brewery - our beer and leisure time.
Along with creating quality craft ales, we are relaxation enthusiasts.
Our motto is to ''Visit the Winding Downs'' - a place to enjoy some quality time with friends.
Our premium golden craft ale, Fortyniner, is bright and full of rich flavours. Great with a charcoaled sausage, mates, and a bit of banter. 

Ingredients: Water, malted barley, hops and yeast.
4.9% Vol. 500ml. 
Have you tasted Ringwood Brewery Forty Niner?
Did you like it?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Green and Blacks, Maya Gold, Organic Dark Chocolate with Orange and Spices

I like chocolate.
During my life I've eaten my fair share of chocolate, in the form of traditional bars from the newsagent, but I rarely eat that type now. I haven't eaten it regularly for many many years.
Yes, occasionally I'll crave a particular bar, and always, without fail, I regret buying it - because they are all overly sweet, sickly, and low quality. Unfortunately that's just how chocolate is in the UK.

The type of chocolate I prefer is proper chocolate. 
Good quality, preferably dark chocolate. I usually eat chocolate that is 70-80% cocoa, so it's strong and slightly bitter.

I had a bar of Green and Blacks Maya Gold Organic Dark Chocolate a while ago, and having purchased Green and Blacks chocolate before I knew it would be good quality.
The wrapper said, 'Infused with a twist of orange and delicate spices. 55% cocoa'.

Tasted funny. Not funny haha. Just not that pleasant.    #blog #blogger #blogging © #greenandblacks #organic #chocolate #MayaGold #darkchocolate #cocoa

The description sounds nice to me, so I was expecting to enjoy this bar.
I didn't enjoy it. It had a peculiar taste, it was like eating perfume.
I only ate one square, and then the chocolate bar was shoved back in the fridge, where it stayed for a long time. Then one day, out of sheer desperation; we had no other chocolate in the house, and I had a serious craving for some, so I opened the pack and broke off a piece of the Maya Gold chocolate, hoping that the first time I'd tasted it there was something wrong with my taste buds, and this time it would taste delicious.
Unfortunately it was as unpleasant as the first time. This time, I didn't bother putting the chocolate back in the fridge, I threw in straight in the bin.
And that's something I don't ever remember doing before. Throwing away chocolate? Doesn't sound likely for a true chocolate lover does it?

Anyway, that was that, and although this was probably the only product I wouldn't like, the experience has put me off a little, and I haven't purchased any Green and Blacks products since.
Are you a chocolate lover?
Do you like Green and Blacks?
Have you tried Maya Gold Organic Dark Chocolate? Did you like the flavour?

Antony Gormley's The Angel of the North

I haven't seen The Angel of the North, the huge sculpture by Antony Gormley, up close and personal.
But, when we first moved up North, I did manage to shoot a photo on my phone as we whizzed by on the A1.

I'm sure you know of The Angel of the North, but if not here's a bit of info about it (courtesy of Wikipedia so don't blame me if it's incorrect) -
'The Angel of the North is a contemporary sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley, which is located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. 
Completed in 1998, it is a steel sculpture of an angel, 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177 ft) across.
The wings do not stand straight sideways, but are angled 3.5 degrees forward; Gormley did this to create "a sense of embrace".
It stands on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell, overlooking the A1 and A167 roads into Tyneside, and the East Coast Main Line rail route, south of the site of Team Colliery.'

Concept -
'According to Gormley, the significance of an angel was three-fold: first, to signify that beneath the site of its construction, coal miners worked for two centuries; second, to grasp the transition from an industrial to information age, and third, to serve as a focus for our evolving hopes and fears.'

Construction -
'Work began on the project in 1994 and cost £1 million. 
Most of the project funding was provided by the National Lottery. The Angel was finished on 16 February 1998.'

Angel of the North. #AngeloftheNorth #sculpture #AntonyGormley #steel #copper #Gateshead #TyneandWear   If you see this sculpture, your life has gone horribly wrong. You are no longer in the South of England. You're oop norf!

It's not a bad photo, considering I shot it through the car window, and over my shoulder after we'd past it, as we drove along the A1. Mr.R was driving not me.

If you're interested there's lot more info about The Angel of the North, on Wikipedia, and elsewhere on the internet - obviously.

I'm not interested enough to ever bother going to see it properly, but I would like to see Another Place - which again, I'm sure you know, is the 100 cast iron sculptures of Antony Gormley's own body, which
stand staring out to sea at Crosby Beach, Merseyside.
Have you seen The Angel of the North by Antony Gormley?
And what about 'Another Place', have you seen those figures?
What do you think about the work of Antony Gormley?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Muriel Rioja Reserva 2009 - Wine Review

Mr.R purchased this Muriel Rioja Reserva 2009 from Lidl, it cost £6.66.
It's a very nice smooth wine, aromas of liquorice and vanilla, and with flavours of dark cherries, and liquorice on the palate, and a pleasant oaky finish.
Tempranillo grape.

We really enjoyed this wine, and will no doubt buy some more bottles.

Muriel 2009, Rioja. Reserva. Spanish wine. Wine. Red wine.

From the label -
A lovely ruby red with tawny hues. Complex and intense to the nose, with a blend of fruity and toasty aromas. Well-balanced, full-bodied and elegant in the mouth. 13% Vol.
Have you tasted Muriel Rioja Reserva 2009?
What did you think of it?

Monday, 2 February 2015

Lurcher Love - Photos Of Our Rescue Dog

Adopting Barley, our lovely Lurcher, was one of the best decisions we've ever made.
I know I'm biased, but he truly is a gorgeous dog, he has such a wonderful nature, which is all the more amazing considering he was a stray.

I'm a little obsessed with Barley, and with taking photos and video of him. I can't resist, he's just so beautiful.
I have millions of photos of Barley, that's only a slight exaggeration, and as I've written blog posts about him several times already I can't remember what photos I've uploaded to them.
So here are a few more of my favourite photos of Barley, hopefully not ones I've already shared.
What am I talking about, every photo of Barley is my favourite.

Fun in the sun on a local beach

Beautiful brown-eyed boy

Jaws!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #dogtoy
Playing with his beach find

He's very happy because he's sprawled out on the whole of the sofa - I am 'sitting' on the edge.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #ILoveMyDog #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #sleepingdog
Grinning and dreaming

Mmm, thank you! Treat time!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #food #beefknuckle #dogbone
Ox knuckle, treat from the butcher

Lurcher. Dog. Rescue dog. Sighthound. Beach. Sea. Sand. County Durham.
He loves the beach, and playing with his ball

Homemade lamb flavoured popcorn. 🐢 #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #ILoveMyLurcher #ILoveMyDog #popcorn #dogtreat #food
Mr.R made lamb flavoured popcorn for Barley

Lurcher. Dog. Sighthound. Rescue dog. Beach. Sea. Black and white.
Sniffing the sea air

Cold nose. Warm slippers.
Sniffing slippers

His favourite read.  #blog #blogger #blogging © #dog #Lurcher #beer #CAMRA #CampaignForRealAle
Snoozing, after reading about boozing

Looking proud of his writing. ✏️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #beach #sea #whitleybay #northumberland #tyneside
Another day, another beach

We live by several local beaches, with more just a short drive away, all of which makes Barley a very happy boy, he loves zooming about all over them.

If you're interested in the rescue charity where we adopted Barley, you can view their website here Stray Aid
Have you adopted a rescue dog?
Wonderful aren't they?

The UK Government is Very Generous - To Other Countries Via Billions Of Pounds In Foreign Aid

The UK Government Hand-Outs List
Or to put it more accurately - theft!
Our government makes us pay a very high amount of tax, then they tell us the country is broke, and then they give billions of pounds away to other countries in 'aid'.

It's not just one of the political parties, it's all of them, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats.......
All of them constantly tell us we've got no money, they say, we're "broke" and can't help our own pensioners, ex-armed forces, orphans, homeless, NHS etc.

In the past few years the UK has provided aid, in the form of cash to all of these countries - 

        Country              £ Million

  • Congo             £359,000,000
  • Egypt              £397,000,000
  • Ethiopia           £981,000,000
  • Haiti                £1400,000,000
  • Hamas             £351,000,000
  • Iraq                 £1080,000,000
  • Jordan             £463,000,000
  • Kazakhstan      £304,000,000
  • Kenya              £816,000,000
  • Libya               £1450,000,000
  • Mexico            £622,000,000
  • Mozambique    £404,000,000
  • Nigeria             £456,000,000
  • Pakistan           £2000,000,000
  • Russia             £380,000,000
  • Senegal            £698,000,000
  • South Africa    £566,000,000
  • Sudan              £870,000,000
  • Tanzania          £554,000,000
  • Uganda            £451,000,000
  • Zambia            £331,000,000
        TOTAL          £14,933,000,000.00

Yep, that's a total of £14,933. Literally Billions of Pounds!
Proving money can't buy you friends, as the majority of these countries hate us. 

Our retired pensioners are living on a 'fixed income'. 
Do they get any benefits from our government?
Or are they struggling to survive, going without adequate food, and sitting in cold homes because they can't afford to turn on the heating?

Our government and religious organisations 'donate' hundreds of billions of pounds, and tons of food to a long list of foreign countries.
Yet we have more and more people being forced to used food banks just to feed themselves, their families, and to survive.

We have hundreds of children in the car system who are waiting to be fostered and/or adopted, but their needs are being ignored in favour of adopting orphans from foreign countries.
Why? Because our government makes it so difficult for prospective parents to give these children a permanent loving home. 

It defies belief that we give away so much money to other countries, when in the UK we have homeless people without any shelter, children lacking the basics like clothing and going hungry, the elderly going without food, essential medication, or fuel to heat their homes, and mentally ill people being left to fend for themselves aka 'care in the community'. 

All of these things are happening, that's a fact.
There's proof that we aren't looking after our own people, and yet we still allow illegal immigrants to come to our country and not only do we not send them away, we welcome them, give them food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, education etc.

I'm a nice person, I'm all for helping those in need, but not before we help our own people first.
Charity begins at home. Doesn't it?

Wouldn't it be nice if our government, who work for us, and are paid by us, gave us the same support and care they willingly give to other countries?
Even when a foreign country says they don't want our aid money, we still give it to them. Why? Because as with everything in politics, it's not really about helping is it? It's about power, and money.
All politicians care about is power and money, money and power.

With the UK general election only a few months away, politics is obviously being heavily reported in the media.
I wish all of the political parties would stop acting like two-year-olds, blaming each other for everything that is wrong with this country, stop slagging each other off, and start telling us what they're going to do for Britain, what they're going to do for us.
I think our whole political system needs a shake-up. It's crazy the way it works at the moment; we have a general election, a party wins, and then they are in charge for the next 5 years.
They never do what they said they'd do - not that any of them are saying much about that at the moment.
Or worst still, we have a coalition government, as we do now; Conservatives and Liberal Democrats - who are in power for 5 years.
Five years! of being governed by a government that not one single person in the country voted for.
How can that be right? How is that democratic?
It's not, it's not democratic, which sadly is not a shock - as we don't live in a democracy.

Once a political party has won a general election they should be made by law to carry out all of the plans they said they would in their manifesto.
And during their 5 years in power, we the people should have the power to kick them out of they step out of line.
After all, they work for us. They want us to think they are our bosses, but they're not.

One last thing, slightly off topic; but then I've rambled from billions of pound in foreign aid, to general elections....... so I've already wandered slightly.......
The current government seem obsessed with painting all benefits claimants as lazy workshy scroungers, which is seriously outrageous considering that, as I've said in other blog posts, the majority of benefits claimants are actually employed people, not unemployed. They are working, but they're not being paid enough to live on, so they have no choice but to claim benefits.
And the biggest benefits scroungers in the UK are without doubt the royal family, closely followed by the politicians.

Phew! That's it!
Rant over!
I'm not sure I feel any better having got that out of my system, I think I probably feel even more pissed-off with the eejits in power.
How do you feel about our country? 
Our government?
The politicians?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts, just post them in the comments. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Please Don't Worry

Do you ever think, or maybe a better description is feel, do you ever feel there's something looking after you?
I mean, despite the troubles of the World, daily struggles, and whatnot, do you, deep down know that everything is going to be OK?

I don't always feel like that.
We all have off days, but if I take the time to stop, be still, and just feel, I honestly feel a protection of some sort.
I feel as though everything, the good and the not so good, is as it should be. Like there's something bigger than me that is watching over me and keeping me alive.

This may sound like a load of nonsense to you, or it may sound similar to your own beliefs.
Both of which are fine, we are all different, but at the same time, not so different.

Anyway, the point of my rambling, if I can call it a point, is that I saw this quote a while ago and I liked it - so I thought I'd share it on my blog.

Please don't worry.
I've got you.
- The Universe


Some days I'm obsessed with quotes, I go on Instagram, twitter, and Google just to spend time reading loads of quotes. And I mean loads, I can happily spend an hour or more scrolling online soaking up all of the positive, inspiring quotes that are out there.
They seem pretty harmless, and they make me feel good.
Other days though, I don't specifically go looking for quotes, but they seem to be everywhere, and I ignore most of them, but I can't help reading a few. And then I think to myself, what a load of crap. A lot of them make no sense, and if you interpret them in a more literal way, they aren't even remotely true.
That's me - contrary. Haha!
So, there you have it. I love quotes. Usually. I think they are nonsense - occasionally.
Do you like reading quotes?
Have you got any particular favourite quotes? 
If you feel like it, you can share them in the comments. 

The Durham Brewery, Temptation, Imperial Russian Stout - Beer Review

We bought a couple of bottles of Temptation, Russian Stout directly from The Durham Brewery, which was a good choice because it is a seriously nice stout.

The Durham Brewery, Temptation, Russian Stout. Stout.

I'm a big fan of stout, ever since I developed an appreciation for the taste during our World travels.
I especially enjoy strong stouts, Temptation Imperial Russian Stout is 10%, and a particularly nice brew.

From the moment we purchased this stout I looked forward to tasting it, and I wasn't disappointed.
As it's poured into the glass it look luxuriously thick, with fruity aromas.
On the palate there was a pleasing richness of flavours; delicious dark chocolate, bitter coffee, and taste bud tingling fruitiness.

The Durham Brewery. Temptation Russian Stout. 10%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

Just writing that description of this stout is making my mouth water, I wish I had a bottle right now.
Absolutely divine.

The Durham Brewery. Temptation Russian Stout. 10%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

It's not surprising this lovely stout is an award winner -
Winner, Real Ale in a Bottle, Durham CAMRA Beer of the Year 2010

There's more information about Temptation Imperial Russian Stout on the website - The Durham Brewery

The Durham Brewery, Temptation, Russian Stout. Stout.

From the label -
Temptation is a Russian Stout: a style that was exported to Imperial Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Massive body supports oily coffee, liquorice and chocolate flavours. The alchemy of Goldings hops and roast malts make a complex aroma of anise, caramel and blackberries. 

This ale is bottled-conditioned. 
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Food match: Dark chocolate.

Contains water, barley, wheat, hops, and yeast.

Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve at 10 degrees C.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening.

Suitable for vegans. 

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 5a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.
Russian Stout
As we live close to The Durham Brewery and have enjoyed all of the beers we purchased there, I'm sure we'll be popping back again soon to restock.
Have you tasted Temptation Imperial Russian Stout from The Durham Brewery?
If you haven't, and you enjoy a decent stout, this is definitely one to buy. Enjoy!