The Imaginary Interview - Part 2
HAVE YOU A FAVOURITE BEER ?
No. Not 'a' favourite ... but several ! I just love HOPS ... be it in Cask or Craft Keg form. Plus there's those absolutely gorgeous Belgian Brews, far too many to mention here !!!
AND YOUR IDEAL PUB ?
Here's just a few over the years ... hopefully they still exist ?
THE BULL'S HEAD - Craswall - Herefordshire ( 01981 510616 )
Ripped and stained wallpaper hanging off the walls, cobwebs 'n character oozing out of the walls. Not to be missed this one for its unspoilt decor and atmosphere. Real Ales (usually Wye Valley) and Cider / Perry on gravity & bottles, all in excellent condition. If ever I was a 'condemned man' I'd order the food from the 'Bull' to be sent up to me, it's really delicious and varied. Go see this place ... BEFORE someone decorates it !
THE WHITE HART - Llanddarog - Carmarthenshire ( 01267 - 275395 )
Home of the Coles Brewery. The pub serves up several of their excellent Beers - and nothing else in the form of Real Ale, there's no need to. They usually have on a choice of 3 or 4 Beers, and they are always in top notch condition ! A really varied & excellent choice of food here as well. The R.A.T.S. have made several visits here on the off chance & for 'Social Evenings'. It was here we celebrated our R.A.T.S. 11th Anniversary on 15th Jan 2005 and came back here for the 12th and 13th Anniversaries !. Don't miss this one, well worth a visit ... or three !
THE STAR INN - 23 The Vineyards, Bath ( 01225 - 425072 )
Serves up Bass in jugs, and the award winning Abbey Ales 'Bellringer' bitter. Is an outlet for all Abbey Ales Beers. Excellent sympathetically refurbished interior, the pub is now a listed building and appears in The Campaign for Real Ales Inventory of Heritage pubs.
THE FIGHTING COCKS - Oakengates, Telford, Shropshire
Friendly pub with excellent range of guest Beers
THE STATION HOTEL - Oakengates, Telford, Shropshire
Friendly pub with excellent range of guest Beers, used to hold a Pictish Brewery Beer Fest several times a year, now it's just assorted breweries Beer Fests.
CRESSELLY ARMS - Cresswell Quay, Pembrokeshire, W. Wales ( 01646 - 621210 )
Step back in time and find out for yourselves just what you've been missing ..... another gem of a pub !
Miss any of the next selection and weep ...
THE SALOPIAN BAR - Smithfield Road - Shrewsbury - Shropshire ( 01743 351505 )
THE NAG'S HEAD - 22 Wyle Cop - Shrewsbury - Shropshire (01743 362455)
THE THREE FISHES - Fish Street - Shrewsbury - Shropshire ( 01743 344793 )
THE ANCHOR INN - Bradford Street - Digbeth - Birmingham ( 0121 622 4516 )
THE BARTONS ARMS - 144 High St, Aston, Birmingham ( 0121 333 5988 )
THE WELLINGTON - 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham ( 0121 200 3115 )
THE WAGGON AND HORSES - 21 Stourbridge Rd - Halesowen - West Midlands (0121 550 4989)
THE THREE TUNS - 78 St. Georges Road - Bristol (0117 926 8434)
THE PORTCULLIS - 3 Wellington Terrace - Clifton Village - Bristol (0117 9085536) - When Joseph Goldsworthy was there.
THE SMALL BAR / ROYAL NAVAL VOLUNTEER / BEER EMPORIUM - All in King St, Bristol (the 'Beer-Muda Triangle')
and the list goes on .. and on ... etc
DO YOU BREW YOUR OWN BEER / CIDER ?
Yes I do - (or 'did') - 'dabble' in the art of home-brewing now and again and it started in earnest many years ago, (1996), when my missus bought me a small Mash Tun & thermostat, a Sparging Arm, a Wort Chiller plus loads of accessories. I have tried my own recipes from draught dispense ... but really do prefer it from a bottle !
I bought - (in 2004) - a small Cider Press and fruit crusher to make my own Cider.
On May 28th 2005, I entered the Welsh Cider & Perry Championships held at the 'Clytha Arms' near Raglan, and won not only 'Best Newcomer' ... but joint 'Silver Medal' for my Swan Cider - 'Cygnet' 5.2% ABV
Around 2005 / 2006, I purchased a Varez 'Shark' electric Mill and a Vigo Rack and Cloth Press.
Sadly in 2013, I sold the lot as I couldn't lift the full casks (hernia !!!)
ARE YOU A CAMRA MEMBER ?
No - not any more. I cancelled my membership in June 30th 2006 after approximately 18yrs
ARE YOU A WELSH PERRY & CIDER SOCIETY MEMBER ?
No - not any more. I cancelled my membership in January 2013
WHAT ARE YOUR MOTIVES FOR CREATING THIS SITE ?
To hopefully create some interest in our group, to meet others at festivals, crawls etc, to have a laugh, a meal, & most important of all, to have a couple / few / half dozen or more decent pints of Real Ale somewhere in the UK with like minded people !
( "and MORE food" ... ZEB )
( "Parp" ! ... Mike )
ANY ... UM ... SECRETS CONCERNING THE R.A.T.S. ?
No, not really ..... apart from our logo of the rat on top of a barrel ..... you see it's not a rat at all ! It's actually a MOUSE ! I couldn't find any clipart of a rat anywhere, so I stretched and altered the mouse ! It's affectionately known to us as "The Stretch Limousine Mouse". The logo was designed in Serif PagePlus DTP by me and is used on our letterhead and was once turned into a pewter R.A.T.S. supporters badge by M& L Engraving of Derby ... we used to see them, (Colin & his wife), at most large Camra Festivals.
In April 2001 I updated the design of the R.A.T.S. Badges. I re-ordered more from 'Beck 'n' Call Promotions', but they never sent me any badges or a refund ... except for £30 !
The latest design is now supplied by Andrew Sneddon of the excellent Black Dragon Badges.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY MEMORABLE DAYS ?
Well .... apart from being 'over-bloody-joyed' when someone actually turns up for a day out somewhere ... here are just a few examples.
I actually ended up drinking in rounds with Mr Keith Brennan, the Lord Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough, at the excellent Shrewsbury beer festival September 1996, 'cos I sat on 'his' table by accident ... AND he bought me lunch ! A great afternoon with a great guy !
Or the time that 'Zeb' wanted to go to the toilet, and put his money in the slot to enter, and the rotating turnstile caught him between his very long dangly legs and lifted him off his feet ! The more he struggled the more hilarious it was. People leaving the toilets were struck dumb and stood there open mouthed watching this 6ft 4in blur of arms and legs flailing about !
Or, when he was 'beaten up' on the train on our way home from the G.B.B.F. ... by two 4yr olds who thought it would be a good idea to stop the "funny tall man" from going to sleep ! 'Zeb' has since stated that he doesn't intend to start a family of his own !
Or, when I did my good deed for the day and physically helped two elderly ladies onto the train with their luggage at Hereford station only to find out that the second lady was only there seeing the first one off ! This was BEFORE a drink I might add !
Or, when in the 'Hornblower', ( a 'bikers' pub in Newport ), several years ago, I spotted a new Reckless Eric brew ... ( all the brews started with the letters 'RE' ... REjoice, REtribution etc ). On noticing this brew, and failing to get the barmaid to hear me over the jukebox, I stated in a loud voice, ( exactly the same time as the loud music stopped ), that I'd like to have a couple of 'RECKED EM's' ! ! ! ... Now as soon as I had said it I realised what it sounded like ! There was a shuffle of leather clad bodies and I had images of being dragged up the main street behind a 'Harley' !
Or, on 1st May '96 on a day out to Gloucester I ended up at the 'Whitesmith's Arms', Southgate Street, near the docks, talking to a complete stranger by the bar about how the landlord, (then Burt Matthews), kept his beers in excellent condition and how good the quality of all the Arkell's beers were, the stranger only turned out to be Mr James Arkell himself, Managing Director of the Arkells Brewery ! He gave me a case of 'Peter's Porter' for my comments, and although not a Real Ale, it was very welcome none the less !
On the 2nd May 2002, I received a registration certificate as I was successful in registering the name of our society as a Trade Mark, so we're now known as the ... Real Ale Tasting Society - R.A.T.S.® I'm *well* pleased ! On November 14th 2011, the renewed Registered Trademark kicks back in for another 10 years !
On a more serious note, we have also done the following walks for charity and they have a definite 'feel-good' factor about them. They obviously involved calling in at various pubs along the walks, but only for future reference mind you, honest !
a) A sponsored walk from Pontypool to Brecon along the canal towpath in November 1996 when, (Chairman), Mike and myself raised a total of £760.30p for the MACMILLAN CANCER RELIEF FUND. To read the original write-up about this walk, please click on the link at the bottom of this page.
b) A second walk, ( SOLO ! ... Where were all you others ? ), along the Kennet & Avon canal on May 15th 1998, starting at Bath Top Lock and ending up at Bradford on Avon, in Wiltshire, next to Widbrook Bridge on the K. & A. where by some quirk of fate the 'BEEHIVE' pub was situated, ..... the money raised once again for those very nice people at MACMILLAN ... the total amount this time being £716.00p, thanks to all who sponsored me !
c) On 18th November, Mike Peart, Mal Brook and Myself did another walk along the Kennet & Avon canal (as above) for 'Children in Need', and raised £302 - (a further £100 was raised by Mal, but this was not from the R.A.T.S.)
d) In June 2006, I contacted Macmillan HQ to find a charity shop near me that would be interested in having my collection of approximately 230+ Beer Festival Glasses I collected over the years. The 10 boxes were collected and were put on sale in a Macmillan shop in the Porthcawl area of Glamorgan. The sum raised will not be known ... but hopefully some cash will be raised for this worthy cause !
e) On Saturday 30th November 2013, at our visit to the Grey Trees Brewery in Cwmaman, Aberdare, we collected £153.85p for the Welsh Bone Marrow / Anthony Nolan Leukaemia Trust. Our thanks to Head Brewer & R.A.T. - Ray Davies - for not only the visit and some really great Beer, but yet another chance to 'do some good' for someone else !
YOU CHANGED EMPLOYMENT ?
Yes, on the 13th December 2002, I took voluntary redundancy after almost 23 years at the Royal Mint. I hadn't been happy in my work for several years and basically I took the money and ran ... well, only running after they upped the leaving amount several times !!!
I started work as Bar Manager and Cellarman at the 'Boar's Head' in Tylagarw near Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan on 16th December 2002, but left in April 2004 following an accident requiring surgery later that year.
Since 2008 and to the current day, I have not had any full-time employment. I decided enough was enough and 'retired' on my 60th birthday ... Have bus pass (Old Farts Card) ... will travel !
STOP PRESS !
While employed there at the 'Boar's Head' pub, I'm very pleased to say that it not only won the Mid Glamorgan Camra Branch 'Pub of the Year' 2003 ... but also Mid & South Wales Camra 'Regional Pub of the Year' 2003 ... I must've been doing something right ?
On April 8th 2003, I passed my exams for the National Certificate for Licensees Level 2 at the S.A. Brain Brewery and the course on Cellar Management and Hygiene.
FINALLY, A TWO PART QUESTION ...
a) DO YOU OFTEN SIT IN FRONT OF THE PC AND TALK TO YOURSELF ?
Yes I do ... don't We ?
b) JEEEESUS ! ... IS THAT YOU, OR IS MIKE 'RAT-ARSE' IN THE ROOM ?
It's probably Mike !!!
NB: If you want to read about our very first Charity Walk please follow the link here ... Macmillan Cancer Charity Walk
Or head back to : Site Links Page