Bye Bentley

Few Clouds, 13°C

Bristol, City of Bristol,UK

Bye Bentley

After 18 years we finally put Bentley to sleep yesterday: very upsetting.
He had a lovely day in the sun in the garden with Michael, and the vet and her assistant were lovely and held him while he passed away. It was very dignified and lovely. Bentley was very dignified and stoic cat: he hardly let us know he was in pain and having problems in the last year and it was starting to get a bit too much fo us to watch him. His legs gave out last week and he was really distressed abd crawled into the kitchen with his back legs not working.

Lovely photo of him enjoying the sun in the back garden: but his gummy eye from his tooth infection is a bit visible.

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The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

Went to the cinema with Duncan last night to see a live streaming of this Opera at the Showcase Cimena. http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/rise-and-fall-of-the-city-of-mahagonny-by-john-fulljames From the Royal Opera House in London, who has just had power restored after a major fire in London.

Loved Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s opera: and the staging using excellent projections onto cargo containers was fantastic. Some of the pieces were a little repetitve, but then maybe Mahagonny was too! Very clever staging for a great modern opera.

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Swan and Hammersmith

Swan and Hammersmith

Met Michael at Paddington and we spent from 10:15 to 16:00 in the Potchester Spa. Really lovely. Now in St Pauls hotel in Hammersmith. Amazing red brick building. Had lovely Thai dinner at a Fullers pub, Latymers, 50 yards away. Now at the Swan, passed it by loads of times on way to the Fitting Out lunch. Pleased to be here finally having a pint. Michael’s doing well considering he flew overnight from Boston.

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Cycling from Sherborne to Bristol

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14 MARCH 2015, 19:22
We were using up a 50p leg of a return train journey that we’ll do at easter, and cycled back from Sherborne to Bristol with Paul. Long ride: 61 miles, with a couple of Garmin of routing mistakes (went into Glastonbury, and went wrong at Chew Magna). It was a cold and windy day with a brisk NE wind. Cycling into a 9 mph wind across the top of the Mendips wasn’t fun.

Managed to get home in the last of the daylight. Michael headed off at a faster pace from Wells after lunch to see if he could meet up with Tony and Gemma: he made it back 45 mins faster than I did!

Exeter Winter Ale Festival

Popped down to Exeter to the CAMRA Winter Ale Festival. Lots of lovely beers.

For Friday, Graham:
Hanlons Snowstorm,  5.0%, sweet and bitter at the same time.
Willy Good, Hopadelic, 5.0%, not as hoppy as I’m used to, but still hoppy
Three daggers, Exmouth Brew, 5%, deep red banana with Christmas pudding
Stanway, Lords a Leapin, 4.5%, yeasty toffee caramel.
Wylam, Flannel Hammer, 7.2%, a bit too dark and bitter for me. Burnt treacle. The caramel is redeeming.

Michael:
Holsworthy, Smoking Santa, 5.5% dark and smokey
Yeovil, YPA, 7.3%, peachy!
Topsham, Devil’s Walkabout, 8.0%,  bitter almond and you can tell there’s a lot of alcohol in there
Moor, Old Freddy Walker, 7.3%, dark, sweet and strong. Toasty.
Teignworthy, Russian Imperial Porter, 10%, delicious concentrated cooked fruity flavour, liquorice. Long indeed!

The fish and chips was a bit ropey. Had a fun chat with Tom and John about their history PhDs. 

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…and a shorter visit on Saturday, because the beer was running out.

Graham:
Concrete Cow, Winter Ale, 5%
Kennet & Avon, Bruce, 4.8%, chocolate malt.
Coastal, Erosion, 7.5%. Dark, rich.

Michael:
Driftwood, Alfie’s Revenge, 6.5%
Gyle59, Starstruck, 6.6%, very dark with loads of aniseed
Hunts, Cider, 6.0%

Good atmosphere with lots of students (free entry for them after 5pm)

Anniversary Meal at the Pony and Trap

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Michael was a little under the weather with a cold, but we still managed a two hour cycle to Stanton Drew, via The Bath cycle path, Saltford and Pensford. Lovely clear sunny day, but very cold and we had patches of ice on the way over.

We checked into Tithe Barn and had a warm welcome. Then explored the neolithic standing stones, which were impressive. Good leaflet on site too. Drink in the nice local then a rest at the hotel.

In the evening the owner of the Tithe Barn ran us over to the Pony and Trap for dinner. Celebration meal for our 24th anniversary. Michael had duck breast, followed by trio of pork with trio of celeriac. I had mussels in cider with lovage and the lovage was beautiful. The goose breast which was served pink and with lovely pressed potatoes and red cabbage, with sprout tops. Puddings: cheese and tawny port for Michael, sticky walnut pudding with salted caramel sauce and stout ice cream and a glass of Madeira. Then cognac and calvados.

Back at the barn, we saw three shooting stars in 5 mins as part of a shower that came through overnight. Lovely

Rainbow Project at the Small Bar

Waiting for Michael for a great looking evening of beer at the Small Bar. Seven beers on a rainbow theme from a collaboration of 14 breweries.

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I’m a bit early so, oh dear, I’m having a quick 2/3rds of Highland Island Hopping to get me started.

The Beers

Siren and De Molen – Violet, Empress Stout – Imperial Stout – 8.5%

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Buxton and Omnipollo – Yellow, Yellow Belly – Peanut Butter and Biscuit Imperial Stout 11%

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Magic Rock and Evil Twin – Red, Pogonophobia – Dry Hopped Flanders Red 7%

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Partizan and Mikkeller – Blue, Cognac BA Quad 10%

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Beavertown and Napparbier – Orange, The Sun Also Rises – Sherry BA Saison 9%

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Wild Beer Co and Toccalmatto – Indigo, Indigo Child – Sour 8 %

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Hawkeshead and Lervig – Green, Green Juniper and Hemp DIPA 7.5%
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And my Island Hopping:
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Best beers of the night: Sun Also Rises and the Empress Stout.

Cycling from Gloucester to Bristol

Porridge makes a great fuel, and we left at 10 with me stoked up on it. Much flatter route than yesterday with a fun meander through the Docks at Gloucester and canal paths on the way out. Tea and cake at Shepherd’s Patch by Slimbridge.

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We almost had lunch  at the White Hart at Littleton, but diverted to the Anchor Inn at Oldbury, where I had a lovely pint of Bass served on gravity, and some food too.

My legs were painful after lunch and by the  time we got to the big hill close to Almondsbury I was starting to walk the hills, all the way into Bristol and home. Luckily there were only a few on that route.

45 miles today, so we’ll have cycled about 110 miles over the weekend.

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Blogging from a cold bath, which is bliss for my abused legs.

Cycling to Gloucester

60 miles to Gloucester from Bristol; following the Wye Valley and having a look at Ross-on-Wye. Quite hilly! We left at 9 and arrived about 5:30, with a tea and teacake stop at Chepstow, lunch at the Orepool Inn at Sling, and a double gin and tonic and double spa bath at the Wharf House Restaurant in Over near Gloucester.
I’m stiff this morning!

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