Category Archives: Consumer

Japanese Gin

Right now Suntory the Japanese drinks company seem to be having a bit of a promotion into the UK market. Not only are there several of their whiskies on sale in UK supermarkets, but their Roku gin is on promotion in major UK supermarkets. Now I am a whisky lover and I like a decent gin too. I have not tried Japanese whiskies yet but I know the Japanese have a mature and educated whisky market so I would expect their offer to be of quality. Meanwhile I was intrigued to try one of their gins Roku.
Interestingly roku is the name of a very effective Chinese acupressure technique for toothache, but that is not what it means in Japanese. In Japanese it just means the number 6 – because the gin features 6 special botanical ingredients.
Now I did not serve it exactly as the recipe on the bottle suggests – I served it with ice-cold Fever-Tree mediterranean tonic and a tiny tiny dash of Fever-Tree ginger beer.
The result I have to say is nothing exotic in say the ambit of Opihr gin . It is actually a very classic London Dry gin flavour. There is a distinct and very welcome pink peppercorn flavour, but other than that is simply a top-drawer dry gin.
All in all my first serious venture into trying Japanese spirits is proving worthwhile and enjoyable, as I might have reasonably expected bearing in mind the maturity and well-established relationships Japan has with British and American spirits, especially Scotch Whiskies. Although UK and Japanese cultures are in many ways far apart, there are some things, like Scottish scenery, Whisky and golf where we agree wholeheartedly, and that it seems may now include Gin.
I get nothing out of reporting on Suntory or Fever-tree products and have no relationship with them whatsoever other than as an ordinary consumer. I am simply interested in telling people about something I found nice and interesting. The photography is my own.

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Coal Yard Couture

Ho ho ho here I am in chi chi chic Coal Yard London, so hipsterly couture you need fingerless hands in your fingerless mittens to fit in. It is so shallowly pointlessly hard-stoop erstatz inspired it gently appalls. My father owns the sheep on a thousand hills and as regards the rest, well I lived in real designer land for 30 years, so for me their fabulous Tomorrowland is so passé. This place is gentrified to the point of desertification. The Kingdom of Heaven on the other hand, is the real thing, whereas this place is just the sad worldly imitation.

GastonoME Bury St.Edmunds, UK

The popular and chic GastonoME bistro in Bury St.Edmunds, UK has just relocated to larger premises on the fashionable Abbeygate Street.

Bury (as it is known locally) is a fine and fashionable market town with a wide range of private individual businesses such as jewellers and boutiques, a large Saturday market and a good selection of national chainstores including Debenhams and M&S. There are are also extensive historic public gardens. It’s perfect for a sunny summer Saturday. There is also a great arts venue and a gallery with music and art festivals regularly held. Pay a visit if you want a more relaxed alternative to crowded Cambridge.

I took my wife to GastronoME in Bury for a spot of Saturday lunch and was suitably impressed. We had always liked the ambience and high quality food of GastronoME’s original venue, and they have translated it perfectly into their more accommodating premises. The cafe was crying out to be upgraded to something more spacious and the new situation is spot on.

The design at the new property has the right blend of quirky je ne sais quoi and a reassuringly practical layout that compliments circulation, sight-lines and comfort. The food quality is quite simply 5-Star and the service and friendliness of the proprietor Michael and his staff is second to none. They really do have the savoire-faire to produce a sociable and convivial eating experience that will bring you back. The menu is pitch-perfect, not over-reaching itself, being mettre au point to an accessible modernity that still respects your pocketbook. Chic, yummy, and good for palates of every age.

No one has asked me to write this or paid me in any way for doing so at any point. I just like to share what I find is good with you.

They are good so they will get busy. Do use the booking form on their website at https://www.gastrono-me.co.uk

 

 

New Mac – old story

Oh dear, the new Mac Pro desktop is a lovely machine. No really it is and I would be happy to have one if I had silly amounts of extra cash and actually needed something that can do all that the new Mac can  However, the advertising for it is stuck in the usual hidden-in-plain sight satanic imagery rut that nearly everything is subjected to these days. Yeah, I know, its a sign of the times.

Demons erupt from someone’s body, tentacles come out of a book, freemasonry style platonic solids float around and alarming creatures aggressively fall to earth like lightning à la Terminator.

Is there not something more wholesome Apple could suggest people can do with those powerful computers? Do we have to use them to render nasty evil and satanic images? Come on Apple, nice product but how about leading on the spiritual front as well as on the design and technical eh?

(Screenshots above are from the Apple official films site) https://www.apple.com/imac-pro/films/

Catatonic Catalunya

I have visited Catalunya three times. Each time I stayed in a big hotel in Malgrat for two weeks. I am not a club or beach tourist. I saw some of the tourist sites of course, Barcelona, La Rambla, Picasso’s place, Sagrada Familia, the architecture of Gaudi. I got pickpocketed, probably by one of the many Somalian pickpockets in the area. I liked the people apart from the thieves.

Now here’s a thing.

The Catalan people seem to want to be separate from Spain but Spain apparently does not want to let them go.

Last year poor young Catalans were demonstrating about not having jobs, and were blaming the Spanish government.

Now poor young Catalans are demonstrating against tourists because they say they don’t get the money but it goes to AirBnB owners, pushing up housing costs and all the jobs go to East Europeans.

The poor young Catalans have had no luck with protests against their government, so they are now scapegoating the tourists.

So here’s what I think. I am sad that I am no longer welcome in Spain/Catalunya, but I saw Spain/Catalunya before it became an unfriendly country. As usual, once again (as per history – civil wars, Basques etc etc) Spain is tearing itself apart. Fortunately I don’t need to go back there – I’m looking outside the EU for my holidays – maybe South Africa, China, Canada, Japan.

I think the people demonstrating in Spain are wrong, because the money the AirBnB owners get is spent mostly in the Spanish economy and pays Spanish taxes. I also think Spain is wrong because it lets Europe allow cheap labour to flood its market unlike Britain, that has said it will leave Europe so it can stop that problem and control the labour supply to the UK.

British tourists react very quickly – think of Tunisia. The IS attack in La Rambla has frightened some away. Spain’s attitude to the EU negotiations and Gibraltar is making more Brits think of boycotting Spain. The anti-tourist protests and attacks on tourists that are spoiling British, German and Dutch people’s holidays really are the last straw.

I think that maybe many British tourists, and maybe German and Dutch ones as well, might teach the foolish anti-tourists a deep hard lesson and very few at all will go to Spain as a tourist for many years. Then I think the East European cheap labour would go away from Spain as there would be no jobs in the empty hotels, bars and restaurants. There would be no income to all the AirBnB properties to be spent in Spain. There would be no taxes from the hotels, bars and restaurants and tourist shops. There would also be no subsidy from the EU to support Spain any more as the EU would be supporting all the extra jobless East Europeans that Spain would have created, and would be doing that without a third of the EU income – only Britain, Germany and France have any money, and Britain is taking it’s money away.

Perhaps the Spanish anti-tourist protesters would be left dirt-poor with no jobs to even compete for against the East Europeans, their rich class having no income from the AirBnB to pay tax for their welfare system, so their government would have no income to help the poor, the EU would not be able to help them and there would be not even jobs in fishing (because Britain is taking back its waters). These protesters would be left to share their country with their unwanted guests, the Somalian pick-pocket gangs. Maybe Germany could lend them some money then become hated as has happened in dirt-poor Greece. Meanwhile the drug dealers who lost their most valuable asset, lots of tourist customers for the clubs and bars, would probably be looking for the heads of whoever drove their customers away. Britain won’t even buy salad from Spain if the EU exit is not favorable. Britons can buy some nice salad from Africa and help to develop some nice new tourist places there, in the Commonwealth.

Catalunya could become a broken torn-apart land populated by poverty-stricken people, angry drug dealers and Somali pickpockets. Tourists would not want to visit, anti-tourist protesters would have got their wish.

So then it would be Hasta la vista Catalunya – oops I mean – a reveure Catalunya.

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The Bridge Cafe, Oban, Scotland

No, not at the bridge above, the cafe is in Oban town, a few miles further on from the steel edifice pictured over the title.

The cafe is a complete hidden gem.

Lovely town Oban, but the cafes in town are tourist places and frankly not so all wonderful as they might be.

However hidden away in the unprepossessing environs of an industrial estate that borders on urban-explorable in parts, beside a little green=painted iron bridge near the back of Tesco, is a delightful little cafe.

The owners have created a chic friendly cafe where the discerning will know they have stumbled upon L’Ecosse Profonde (Urbain) – i.e. the “Real” (Urban) Scotland – and can enjoy great value tasty cafe food and drink. No pretensions (unlike my prose), just clean, lightly assembled design from simple components. Excellent. They also have toilets one need not be afraid to use – no really it is a real plus marks.

So, 100 percent recommended. Go out of your way to this less obvious place and get a decent repas instead of tourist-priced auto-fodder. Enjoy living like a local and watching ducks with the Mums.

See the webpage here http://www.bridgecafeoban.co.uk

Trip Advisor apparently calls it a hidden gem – well, YES IT REALLY IS!

It is at
3 Soroba Ln, Oban PA34 4HX
Phone 01631 566697
Opening time on the website – its a daytime place.

I have no commercial connection with the cafe and gain nothing from posting this other than the good feeling that I am telling people about a lovely business that deserves lots of nice customers.

Google stuff about it here https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Bridge+Cafe/@56.4095754,-5.4705996,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x81d13b63895b882!8m2!3d56.4095754!4d-5.4705996

 

Tail wagging dog since November 20, 1985

The thing I hate about Windows is the amount of constant attention it demands for updates, fixes, and just sitting waiting while it boots or hangs.

I want to turn it on, have it start quickly, and then I get on with whatever I want to do. Then I want to turn it off and have it shut down quickly. I want all updates to happen quickly and automatically, with no need for any input from me.

After 32 years of development, Windows still cannot do this.

I wrote this article on my Mac.

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Like Radio, Hate Ads?

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If you use a foreign proxy server to listen to your favorite internet radio station, chances are you will be served audio ads for the country the proxy is located in. So chose a country that you cannot understand the language of. That way you still get ads but they are in a language you can’t understand for products you never heard of, that you cannot buy. Hooray now it just sounds fun exotic instead of brainwash annoying.

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