Tag Archives: pubs

Morris Dancers

I was walking down the sidewalk in Brighton when I heard the jingle of bells. Yes, like jingle bells. But it’s May in England, so it wasn’t Santa. No, no, no. As I walked along the sound grew louder. I turned a corner and there they were — Morris dancers. In full regalia, congregated in front of a old Sussex pub, drinking beer, tuning their fiddles, and jingling.

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They were from Guernsey, and they knew their stuff. Beers down, they picked up their fiddles, accordions, guitars, drums and tambourines, and, jingle bells tied to their knees, they twirled and line-danced, flicked white hankerchiefs and bashed sticks in a centuries’ old English folk dance ritual hailing spring.

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The crowd grew, drawn by the music, and the shouts and growls of the forest monsters.

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Just a typical spring day in Merrie Olde Englande.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_dance

 

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English Country Pubs

I’ve spent a lot of very pleasant time in old English country pubs over the Christmas period, eating delicious hearty home-cooked food with very good rustic wines. Day lunch was enjoyed at the Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington, East Sussex…

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…where I savoured game terrine followed by roast guinea fowl with lashings of French red wine…

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…in the jolly (indeed!) company of my sister Tootsie, her hubby Wineguy and my nephew Hankenstein. A brisk stroll on top of the Devil’s Dyke in Sussex ended up at the Devil’s Dyke Pub…

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…where we warmed up with steaming hot chocolate.

Off to visit my friends Modman and Brewgirl and her daughter Socky in Kent led (naturally) to a quick pint (for them) and a gingery Whisky Mac for me at the Farrier’s Arms (circa 1606) in Mersham.

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The next evening we’d booked a meal at the Black Horse Inn which is basically in a field in tiny Monks Horton, Kent, and which ended up being truly memorable, with a bar billiards table to boot!

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The roast pheasant with peppercorn sauce was gamey and delicious, but, the Zuppa Inglesi (English Trifle Italian Style) was stupendous. Biscotti soaked in vermouth with a marscapone custard, cherries soaked in Amaretto, cream and pistachios — it was my dessert of the year.

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In Canterbury the next day, after a marvellous visit to Canterbury Cathedral we headed to The Foundry brew pub for delicious steak and ale pies and ale (for them) and red wine for me.

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You don’t need to be a beer lover (or even a drinker) to love English pubs. Or even human.

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http://www.thejollysportsman.com/

http://www.vintageinn.co.uk/thedevilsdykebrighton/

http://www.thefarriersarms.com/

http://www.theblackhorse.uk.com/

http://www.thefoundrycanterbury.co.uk/

Boxing Day in Sussex

After days of rain, the sun came out and the sky over southern England was blue. A fresh breeze rippled through the woods and fields, and we felt the call to head out into the rolling hills of the Sussex countryside for lunch at the Jolly Sportsman Pub http://www.thejollysportsman.com/ in East Chiltington. We headed down country lanes, through fields turned golden with the midday sunshine, past the red telephone box at the end of the lane (seemingly in the middle of nowhere), and turned into the drive of the pub, parking up next to the horse pasture. It’s innocuous, hidden behind a Sussex hedge… the kind of place you wouldn’t know was there, unless you knew it was there. No sign. No fanfare. A gem of a place. We couldn’t have chosen a better place to spend Boxing Day lunch.

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We settled down in the sun-filled conservatory and chose from a menu full of very tempting things…

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…and I chose the game and goose terrine with pear chutney…

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…followed by roast guinea fowl.

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…accompanied by fresh and apply La Croix Gratoit Picpoul de Pinet wine and great companionship in Tootsie, Wineguy and Hankenstein.

After lunch we headed out to the Devil’s Dyke in the South Downs for a walk in the waning afternoon sun. We had views from Brighton and the English Channel on one side to Surrey on the other.

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Kite flyers and walkers were out enjoying the fresh winter and walking off their Christmas dinners.

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The sun began its descent, streaking the sky with fingers of pink and gold…

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…and we headed back, stopping into the Devil’s Dyke Pub for a cup of steaming hot chocolate before heading home.

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Food and Views from Victoria to Nanaimo

Another quick trip down to Victoria yesterday with Jamjarjude and Ralphie to pick up my new Canadian passport and see our Auntie Bee, ninety-four and as spry as either of us. We had a lovely lunch of Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches (pastrami on rye with mustard and a side dill pickle for JJJ and me, and blinis for Auntie Bee) at The Village Restaurant www.villagerestaurant.ca and picked up some delicious cupcakes at Crumsbys www.crumsbys.com across the street…

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…then drove along the beachfront to walk Ralphie and smell the fresh salty air…

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…where Ralphie cooled off in the sea.food! 038

We dropped Auntie Bee off and headed back to Nanaimo, stopping to admire the view from the summit of the Malahat.

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food! 051It was supper time when we reached the outskirts (we got caught in the Victoria rush hour) so JJJ suggested a light supper at the Crow & Gate Pub www.crowandgate.com in Cedar, one of our favourite spots. A veritable English Pub in the BC countryside.

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The evening was so lovely we decided to sit in the lovely gardens (although the interior is a cosy place that looks like it is straight out of a Dickens novel).

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JJJ enjoyed a Smithwick’s Irish ale and I had a A-class gin and tonic with lime. Then we decided on a Stilton ploughman’s which was perfect.

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Afterwards we walked around the idyllic gardens bursting with the flowers of early summer…

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There were water irises…

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…roses fragrant with scent…

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…paper-like Oriental poppies…

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…eryngium (sea holly) like fire crackers…

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…my favourite blue delphiniums…

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…giant alliums like puff balls…

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…rabbit-eared French lavender…

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…and flowering thyme sending its pungent scent into the evening air.

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We didn’t see any crows but there was a pretty tree swallow with brilliant blue feathers perching in front of a bird house.

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The Crow & Gate — not just for beer lovers.

Meandering in Chemainus

Fieldpoppy and I spent a pleasant, if rainy, afternoon the other day in Chemainus, BC with Princess Ralphie. After following our noses into the Saltspring Soapworks shop www.saltspringsoapworks.com  for some of their fabulously fruity Body Gelato sea salt scrubs (I got Mai Tai, Yay!)…

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…we stopped to admire some crocuses (croci?) at the local park…

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…bought some sweeties at the Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Co., https://www.facebook.com/HanselandGretelsCandyCo …

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…and then made a small dent in the tour of Chemainus’s (Chemaini’s?) 40 famous murals depicting the town’s history.

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Chemainus is rightly proud of their murals, and more information on the murals and their artists can be found here: http://www.chemainus.com/arts/murals/Chemainus-murals.htm

Every where we went we saw posters for the Buddy Holly Story musical play at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, a big draw on Vancouver Island http://www.chemainustheatrefestival.ca/ .

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No Buddy Holly for us this trip, but a visit to the theatre is now on the list!

Meandered back to Nanaimo via Cedar where we stopped in for a hearty lunch (is there any other kind?) at the Crow & Gate Pub www.crowandgate.com — the closest thing I’ve seen to an English pub outside of Sussex.

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And, although, unlike England, there were no dogs in the pub, Ralphie enjoyed the drive and just being one of the girls. Have doggie bed will travel. (Don’t worry, she got lots of walks too).

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Pub Night

Jamjarjude is in town again and that means a night out on the tiles. YAY! We headed off to our local, the Black Bear Pub for some supper (fish and chips for me, salad for her) and KENO. 

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 I followed my usual system for choosing my numbers, i.e., selecting the first four numbers that popped into my head, and Jamjarjude did her usual methodical selection of numbers meaningful to her. pub night 008

I had to dig around the bottom of my purse for the change, eventually giving up and dumping the contents of my purse on the table. Guys, so you want to know what a woman carries around in her purse? Here it is…

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…and here’s my purse.

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We paid our $6 each and watched the KENO numbers come up on the screen. Well, guess what? All four of my numbers came up (I knew they would)! And I won $100! We played a second round and three of Jamjarjude’s numbers came up and she won $10, and the third time we played two of my numbers came up and I won $2.00. So, all in all we hauled in $112! Subtract our initial investment of $12 and we were quid’s in! So supper was on me. 🙂

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After supper we thought we’d go stretch our pool legs (no not swimming pool) and we played two games…

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…which I won. Looks like my luck is changing. 🙂 🙂

P.S. Jamjarjude has just challenged me to cribbage. I’m in trouble now.