Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bits'n'Bobs (Formerly Ciderhouse News) - January

It's no secret that we have a 'Mole' inside the Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival organising committee. She (or indeed He) goes by the code name of 'Susan', aka SueSusie, The Suse-let etc. depending on what disguise she (or he) is working under. Information can also occasionally comes to us via her (or his) intermediary, 'Paul' aka 'Susans Husband'. Now I'm not at liberty to reveal any more than this, certainly not her (or his) role in the organisation. Suffice to say that our Mole is very close indeed to the inner sanctum of the organisation, and has a key role in the drinks orders, though not necessarily anything to do with the beer... or soft drinks. I can't say any more.

Anyway, Susan has already supplied us with a few nuggets of information ahead of the event, on the strict understanding that we carefully 'leak' them here. So I can now exclusively reveal, that subject to all the usual issues of supply, this years cider bar will feature a whole bunch of local Ciders (and a Perry), as well as a whole bunch more ciders and perries from elsewhere. It's hoped that over the weekend the following producers will be represented in one form or another, including rather excitingly the current top three East Midlands producers as judged by CAMRA at last years Nottingham Beer Festival:

Bottle Kicking Cider Co - Leicestershire
Charnwood Cider - Leicestershire
Rockingham Forest Cider (Silver Medal Winner) - Northamptonshire
Scropton Cider (Bronze Medal Winner) - Derbyshire
Thirsty Farmer Cider - Leicestershire
Torkard Cider (Gold Medal Winner) - Nottinghamshire

If I've got any of these details wrong, I can only apologise. Sometimes the intelligence can arrive in a 'scrambled' southern dialect. One other snippet of information: Cider Bar in New Stillaging Shocker! - Folk singer already booked to lament the old ones...

In other breaking news, the Rockingham Forest Ciderhouse Pub Games Collection continues to grow, with the recent acquisition of a vintage Rings Board and accompanying collection of Tatty Hoover Belt Rings. Once a very popular pub game, but now mostly confined to Ireland and the Ventnor area of the Isle of Wight, this handsome board will take pride of place on the ciderhouse wall ready for the entertaining of visitors. A lovely old Mahogany Cribbage Board has been secured for the scoring, though lacking lovely-pegs as yet. We're still on the look out for a Sussex Toad in the Hole, though heaven knows where we're going to put one...

It's always nice to get a bit of feedback on this blog, nice and usually a surprise since we know our readership is usually quite slim (in numbers, not necessarily girth!). It was a genuine delight to receive the following message from across the water in Ireland, and on a subject close to my heart. The famous Anna McKean Christmas Pudding which I'm pleased to say we enjoyed again this year:
Hi, I'm Jane from near Rateen, St Johnston and Anna McKean was my grandmother......I can't tell you how delighted and pleased I was for my wonderful Granny when I saw your mention "tip of the hat to Anna's plum pudding". She was a very hard working farmers wife who spent her whole life rearing children - my Mum being the eldest - and cooking, cleaning and best of all baking for those around her. Many people over the years have said what a wonderful baker she was - her shortbread and Christmas cakes (wedding/christening etc cakes) where second to none. Oh and how could I forget her delicious chocolate sponge cake - oh man that was so good. She passed away in Sept 2006, I miss her still. It's heartwarming and deserving for my Gran that she gets some tiny taste of fame for her baking even though it's too late for her. My mum, Joan, and her sisters Mary and Anne are all good bakers too and it was Aunt Mary who discovered this website when she googled Rateen. Thanks again, Jane
Proof, should it be needed, of the wide demographic spread this blog enjoys, thanks for that Jane, the pleasure is all ours. Now, if only we could attract a few more cider enthusiasts to the blog...


RichR said...

That's an excellent old ringboard -- it even uses the old numbering system. Good to know the Isle of White is a hotbed of ring-flinging action. Next time I'm in the area....

Rockingham Forest Cider said...

I did wonder about the numbering, there seem to be a few variants including 1-15 on the IOW and Essex. The beauty of this game is there's absolutely zero chance of any hitherto unknown local rings experts coming out of the woodwork and spoiling the fun for hapless beginners like myself... or is there?