Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Green real ale, or is it blue?

Went to visit family in Ipswich on Saturday and got the chance to go the 25th Ipswich Beer Festival.

We are spoilt in Norwich as the Beer Festival every October half term (most of CAMRA members in Norfolk are teachers I am told!) is brilliant and is held in the grand cathedral-like setting of St Andrews Hall. Serious setting for serious drinking.

As it was lunchtime and I would have to drive later, I was on strict orders to only have one pint. This meant two half pints of course as it would be a big mistake to sample only one pint of over 200 real ales on offer.

The Corn Exchange behind the Town Hall in Ipswich was fine as a venue. Small but well organised. The festival was supporting St Elizabeth's Hospice, which was established in 1989 to meet the needs of those living with an incurable illness in East Suffolk. Needless to say, I donated my unused tokens to the charity.

Being an Ipswich Town Supporter, I had to try some local stuff and had a great half from St Judes Brewery. The St Francis Pale Ale and Gypeswic Bitter were great.

For those who are interested the name Gypeswic or Gippeswic, meaning a city on the Gipping, and is the old English name for Ipswich. I bought a bottle of both and I have to warn you that the St Francis is quite fizzy and was a bugg*r to pour, so my pint had a head on it as if it had been served at the Rovers Return in Coronation Street!

The brewery is a micro brewery and tries to be as green as it can. That is great but I would like to warn them against pursuing their blue beer fantasy.

Apparently their Suffolk Blue Punch (Suffolk Punch is a breed of horse, also on the badge of Ipswich Town FC), is a blueberry beer introduced mostly for women and the alco-pop market.

Don't get me wrong, blueberries are great. We have a small blueberry bush that produces lovely berries each year. Blue beer though? Fruit in your beer? What's that all about? I had a tiny taste and is was revolting.

I wish St Judes Brewery well and will buy their real ale when I can. You can buy it online.

One last thing though...

Green brewing, yes.

Blue beer, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The real cost of milk - more price rises from the Co-op

We get our milk delivered by the Co-op. Seems like a good idea. Supporting local farmers and dairies with the convenience of having the milk brought to your door.

The milkman left us yet another note saying that the price per pint is to rise yet again by a whopping 4p per pint from next month!

The note said that the price rise is as a result of increased demand for milk in the Far East and the rising cost of animal feed. Over the last 6 months, raw milk prices for the Co-op have risen 32%.

I think this is a bit of a wakeup call that we have been shielded too long from the real cost of food in general.

At least with the Co-op you can find out where your milk comes from, unlike other supermarket chains.

You start to think, is this service worth paying the extra for?

We just about think so, although I might have to learn to drink black coffee. ;-)

Friday, 21 September 2007

Free blog headers from "The green fingered photographer"

When I work out how to do it, I'll be changing my blog header with one of the free images from The green fingered photographer.

This is a great blog with some excellent photos. The wildlife ones in particular are amazing.

If this interests you, why not check out the blog owner, Mark Eccleston's Dragons and Damsels Wildlfie Photography site?

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Killing time, not the planet, and save a few quid!

If you haven't read it, do try to buy or borrow a copy of "The Rough Guide To Ethical Living" by Duncan Clark from the library.

Some good discussions, facts and thought provoking ideas about how to change your life for the better.

Here's a simple idea and change we have made at home.

We have a wall mounted clock in our kitchen/diner and yet we have one on the microwave as well.

After reading this book, what a pointless waste of time, electricity, natural resources and money.

This clock used to be on permanently and that amounts to about £7 per year, as in this standby state, you still use about 98% of the power required when it is used for cooking.

Apparently, this amounts to an approximate saving of 29kg CO2 from switching off.

We forget sometimes but for the past year, we usually switch off the microwave after use.

In our house, this £7 extra will get spent and probably on the mortgage repayments! ;-)

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Focus on life - Pentax and Organ Donation

Recently I was lucky enough to have saved enough to buy a Pentax K100D. It is great and I'm really pleased that I can still use my old K-mount lenses.

What suprised me most about the camera was that inside there was a leaflet called "Focus on Life", which was an invitation to join the NHS Organ Donation Register.

I'm assuming that it was Pentax that have decided to support this excellent scheme rather than Curry's Digital, where I bought the camera.

What a great idea and well done Pentax! How much effort is it to include such flyers for good causes inside the packaging for products? Of course, not much at all so why don't more companies do this?

An amazing statistic is that when asked, 90% of people say they support organ donation, but only 22% have registered their wishes.

I've been on the NHS Organ Donor Register for years and carry a Donor card. My family also know my wishes.

It's not morbid and don't put this off.

Register now and do an amazing posthumous act when the time comes, make sure you give someone, if not several people the gift of life. How fantastic!