Organic lunch at Gravetye Manor

As part of the Ashdown Forest Food Festival, we headed off to Gravetye Manor for an 5 course organic lunch accompanied by organic wines.

We arrived slightly early, and so settled down in the lounge. We started with a glass of Richmond Plains, Nelson 2005, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc served with olives and radishes. This was probably my favourite of the wines, and is the only full glass I had, being the designated driver.

We were called into the dining room, and started with an espresso cup full of Cream of organic celeriac soup with italian truffle. This was a really flavoursome soup, and if it wasn’t going to be followed by an additional 4 courses, I could have imagined myself happily eating my way through a large bowl of it.

The next course was Seared fillet of organic salmon served over creamed leeks and tomato butter accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Sur Lie 2005 Domaine St Paul, Vin de Pays d’oc. The salmon was lovely, and the tomato butter was amazing and very rich.

We then moved on to a glass of Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2003 Cotes de Rhones to accompany an amazing 3rd course of Roast Loin of Tablehurst farm pork served with fondant potato, Autumn savoy cabbage and apple sauce. The pork was incredibly flavoursome and the gravy was amazing. This wine was Richard’s favourite of the meal.

The penultimate course was Lightly poached pear with vanilla yoghurt ice cream and light San Zemo sabayon accompanied by a glass of San Zeno 2003 Riciota de Soave. The pear was wonderful, the wine was nice, but too sweet for my tastes.

Our final course was a tasting of three organic cheeses, my favorite was the Scottish Criffel which was a ripe semi-soft cows milk cheese. The other two were Perl Wen white rinded cows milk cheese from Wales and Mature Cheddar from Plaw Hatch Farm.

And to finish, coffee (or tea for those of us who don’t do the coffee thing). After this we managed a quick wander around the grounds before heading back to Brighton.

London Metro Ski and Snowboard Show 2006

We spent this afternoon at the London Metro Ski and Snowboard Show 2006 at Kensington Olympia. We didn’t have much to do today, so thought we’d go and take a look at the show. Overall, I’m glad we did. At £14 per adult, it wasn’t the cheapest day out, especially when you add the £12 parking, but we got some great ideas for trips for our next few years. We found out more about snowboarding in Japan (apparently February is the best time to go as it is the time of the snow festival, and there are lots of ice sculptures and ice caves created), and also another company (dreamski) offering guided trips to Chile and another company offering ski weekends.

ice climbing

Ice climbing at the show

The Skill Slope

The Skill Slope did great business today, lots of skiers – no snowboarding today though 🙁

upside down skiers


another boarder

Skiers and snowboarders performing on the Quarter Pipe

We also found the SportsDo gps system, making use of a java enabled or windows mobile phone using a bluetooth connection to an external gps unit to record journeys of all kind – drive, walk, run, ski, cycle etc. Sounds like a great idea, now to see if it works!

Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns

We went to the last of our comedy events for the festival yesterday – Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns. To be honest, I’d expected more talking about the films, but what we got was three silent films shown in their entirity.

Charlie Chaplin in The Cure, Laurel and Hardy in Big Business and Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr. All of these were accompanied by Neil Brand whose timing was excellent. A great afternoon of entertainment, and a foray into a genre of films I know very little about not to mention a reminder of just how amused I am by Laurel and Hardy.

blogged over at jane

I blogged over at about my success at getting the booklist running off tags. This morning I had a bit of a brainwave, and decided to do the same with snowboard resorts. So, with the addition of a couple of new tags of “riddenat” and “torideat” I’ve got a list of resorts (and I’ve added country tags too) by country that I’ve been to, and a simple list of ones to visit in our next trip (to Utah).

Ross Noble and Jo Caulfield

We managed another couple of comedy events as part of the Brighton Comedy Festival. Last Sunday we saw the excellent Ross Noble at the Dome. Very funny, and judging from some of the reviews, he improvises a lot, changing a lot of his material from show to show.

Last night we saw Jo Caulfield at the Pavillion Theatre. Her show is all about things that make you angry and annoyed, allowing for amusing rants about argos, familes and leaving time to take audience suggestions – a lot of people in Brighton seem to be annoyed by cyclists!! She’d done her research about Brighton, being able to name various landmarks and appreciate the difference between Brighton and Hove (actually!) which is always a good sign. I thought her idea for a range of greetings cards were great – “Congratulations on your marriage, remember the gift I bought you for your first wedding? Good” :-).

Both of these have been “laugh out loud funny” for me. This afternoon we’re off to see Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns which includes a full showing of Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business.



Last weekend I was in Zurich with work. Lots of partying, a bit of business. We were there with 500+ other EurotaxGlass employees, but I have to confess that I didn’t spend much time with our european colleagues, instead I spent time with some of our Weybridge colleagues that I deal with on a day to day basis, but rarely spend any “out of office” time with. It was a really good weekend, with even a bit of sight-seeing thrown in for good measure amongst the drinking and partying.

We went to see

We went to see Marcus Brigstocke‘s show at the corn Exchange on Monday. A surprisingly flat evening: the performance was fine, there was some good material, but…. meh.

Also annoying was one of his ideas for Atheist Airways, which ended with pun of the pilot not saying what the cruising altitude was because he wouldn’t commit to anything. Which is fine, except it’s confusing atheists with agnostics, and even then an agnostic might actually say that the cruising altitude was something that couldn’t be known. You know what… it’s best not to analyze jokes.

For anyone who’s familiar with his rants on The Now Show, you’ll know about his problems with BT. So it was fun to see two large BT trucks parked right outside the theater at the end of the show, with some burly engineers standing around, maybe waiting for someone…

Economist free for day

Economist, free for a day

The Economist are doing something quiet interesting at the moment. If you go to their home page, you may be given the opportunity for a free day pass to the site, in exchange for watching a short Nokia advert. It’s worth it, as you get full access to all the archive. Cool. Now if only they could stop recording their audio content in a toilet…