The Maldovarium

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    Craig @craig

    Welcome to the next stop on our lengthy pub crawl. We’re now in space, and not because of all the drinks (well, maybe partly).

    Somewhere for real life, non-Doctor chat including news, politics, sport etc. Basically a place of a more adult nature. Those who don’t want that, please avoid. So grab a drink and relax. Say “Hi” to our fat blue owner Dorium, and make a new friend, even if that new friend is the decapitated head of a Cyberman.

    The drunken ramblings from the last pub can be found here:

    The Maldovarium


    Oh well played, Sir!

    Craig @craig

    Cheers. *raises a glass* Feels good to be back. The Cloven Hoof is now on my list, as gonna run out of “Who” pubs shortly.



    Moved to ‘t pub

    Why, oh why, do some people carry on about racism?

    Probably because it is one of the great evils of society, and the antithesis of civilisation, which when allowed to fester results in the industrialised genocide of 6m Jews and 2m other minorities.

    Our idiot new Prime Minister got the faithful all excited by saying “citizens of the world” are citizens of nowhere. The Financial Times saw right through the subterfuge, calling it an attack on a ‘rootless international elite’. Unlike Theresa May(hem) the FT staff had paid attention at school. “Rootless cosmopolitan” was a Stalinist antisemitic slur, picked up enthusiastically by the Nazis. “Citizen of nowhere” sounds awfully like “rootless cosmopolitan”.

    People carry on about racism because it is a spitefully lazy way of thinking, which leads to people dying for the colour of their skin or the heritage of their parents.

    And you are old enough to know this, so knock it off.

    Anonymous @

    @pedant @missy

    <rubs hands with interest>

    Ah yes, the Jewish cosmopolitanism discussed at length with the intelligentsia in meetings with Stalin who claimed in the official minutes that the “foreign invaders were parasitic” not just “pernicious”.

    Where did we hear that before?

    In the works of  Adolf Hitler who was most fond of using the term “parasite” to describe the Jewish peoples.

    Anonymous @

    This is an interesting dialogue -from my point of view, anyway, as long, long ago in a galaxy far away I studied Stalinism and the new elites. Stalin went on to state that “we have fought against cosmopolitanism since the time of Lenin, a characteristic of the political leftovers of glorious revolution. The parasitic literary works are the influence of the West and the subversive activities of the foreign intelligentsia.”

    Dubcek’s reforms in Czechoslovakia were given a go, but ultimately, despite agreeing to remove them, the Soviet ‘machine’ strode right in during 1968. That sound of tanks was unique to that century -more a sign of that time than anything else: gun powder, music, aeroplanes, books of an “unusual and flattering” nature etc..

    The catch phrase:  “With the Soviet Union Forever” lasted a good while until Gorbachev eased the stranglehold decades later.

    I think because Australia is  seen as a lucky country some of us fail to remember the incidents of racism all over the world for the last millennia except any notion of us being “lucky” is a picture portrait of Australia in the 1950s with its picket fences, 3rd bedroom sleep-out and Sunday drives.

    Meanwhile, in the NT and elsewhere, politicians carved out legislation to remove indigenous peoples from their families in an effort to “breed out the bad seed, the Aboriginal dirty blood so that in two generations there’ll be no black skins left.”

    Photographs of indigenous people shackled by the neck were seen as late as 1955 -a whole decade since us Australians fought beside our allies to stop Hitler’s invasion and his fetid creation: Lebensraum.

    If we, as Australians, think racism is over, we’re being deliberately blind, lazy or willing to stay under-educated. It’s not good enough to think “it’s happening somewhere else and not here.”

    We’re all part of this -whether it’s the American Indian, the destruction of the Jews, the genocide of indigenous Australians -it’s on us, all the time, to make a stand.

    Others, though, have tried to fight it -whether it was a young black, pregnant, single woman on a bus in America or an American preacher in Montgomery. They “walked into the fire” for others.

    We can’t forget them and their efforts.


    Arbutus @arbutus

    @puroandson       Dropping by to check out the new pub and answer your question about the MLB, as this seemed like a better place than the music room and I haven’t been in yet! I see some more cerebral conversation has been going on, but I’ve already had a cocktail and a bit of beer, so I’m probably beyond that sort of thing right now. (I’ve been learning to make a proper Old Fashioned with rye whiskey, what a really nice drink! 🙂 )

    MLB= Major League Baseball. Almost entirely American except for our Toronto Blue Jays (who won the second of their best of five yesterday, although it was harder work than the first!). I confess I have entirely abandoned the great Canadian pastime of hockey for baseball, which I find on the whole to be a lot more fun, and it has a certain Zen to it which I like. It also has an astonishing complexity of rules for what would seem to be a pretty straightforward game (hit the ball and run). So the Jays just need one more win over Texas to move on up to the American League final. (MLB is divided into two leagues, American and National. The champions of each league play in the World Series.)

    So I’m all about baseball right now, Mr. Arbutus is watching the progress of the New England Patriots in the world of American Football, and Arbutus Jr. is monitoring his various soccer clubs, including Liverpool F.C., Borussia-Dortmund, and A.S. Roma. We have interesting conversations over dinner. 🙂

    Missy @missy

    @pedant: Stone me! I wish  I hadn’t asked! *rolls eyes*

    I’ll leave this discussion to the experts methinks.



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @cathannabel. Just caught up with your blog, that @puroandson brought to our attention.

    Brilliant piece on cosmopolitanism! I have only dipped into some of your other entries, but plan on going back. Wonderful stuff. It sounds (reads) like you are embracing retirement really well. Something I am having a few challenges with, actually. But reading your blog has already given me a few ideas on that front. Thank you.

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @blenkinsopthebrave Thank you so much!  Re retirement, I’m still working out in many ways how to do it.  I had to be so fearsomely, fanatically organised all my working life to do the stuff I did, that I didn’t want to carry that over into retirement, but I do now need to plan my time a bit more, so I’m trying to find the right balance.  Having said that, I haven’t regretted it for a nano-second, and having more time to read and write stuff is a job.  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on retirement – I started drafting a blog piece about it ages ago but realised it was too early in the process so I might revisit that at some point.

    winston @winston

    @craig   Thanks for the new pub.  It looks like a great  place to meet space people. I was going to say “spacey people” but that looked like a Kevin Spacey family reunion. Cheers!

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @blenkinsopthebrave Just spotted a typo that entirely changes the gist of what I wrote above (#54185) – what I actually meant to say was ‘having more time to read and write stuff is a joy‘!  Can’t even blame auto-correct…

    Anonymous @

    @cathannabel @pedant @missy etc

    The issue of racism struck me again when I re-read an article by a good friend. Actually, his politics made me his enemy as it turned out but one thing which struck me in our recent discussion was the one of “fault”.

    George Watson (as an apologist) said that “failure is always easier to bear if it’s somebody else’s fault, and the wickedness of the whites is a good line.”

    I damned him for that and for a lot more but I can see and understand how others, perplexed by the anti-Watson brigade, would find such a phrase comforting.

    On another lighter note I was watching the 10 best insults on you-tube and Princess Leia in Star Wars referred to Nerf Herders.

    My god, I actually thought the band Nerf Herder just randomly chose this name.

    See? There’s stupidity everywhere. But not by unanimous consent 🙂


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    As I look back on much of my email correspondence these days, I think I am reaching that stage of life where I always blame auto-correct as a way of preserving my self-dignity…(not that it necessarily convinces the recipients of my emails, of course).

    Anonymous @


    hah! No, I don’t think so. Mr Blenkinsop you are one of the most articulate individuals I’ve …met (this virtual world needs a new word for ‘met’ as ‘read’ wouldn’t work, exactly).

    However preserving one’s dignity is always helpful 🙂

    But you have it in spades, Mr B.

    Kindest, Puro and Son.

    Anonymous @

    @blenkinsopthebrave I agree that you would enjoy @cathannabel‘s regular Blog.

    She is rather laid back regarding her achievements and her ability to write beautifully is something I’ve noticed from the Passing Time Blogs (I think that you started them last year Cath?).

    Having said this, young Puro admires the writing of the Bigs on this Forum (those are his words) as the blogs of @pedant are wonderful. The writing of which Puro speaks was that associated with the police negligence during a soccer match and the ensuing pandemonium and tragedy. This article was used by him in an English comparative oral assignment. The students were very interested -most are soccer players and English analysis isn’t their strong suit.  Young Puro is lucky that way. Years of me forcing him to read good books and watch excellent telly means he can parse a sentence.

    Additionally, during a Drama sequence, he chose a Blog by @jimthefish on the Buffyverse which was also well loved by the teacher, who, despite her years of experience, had never heard of Joss Whedon (this is the same teacher who inclined students to “make like a tree” for an actual weighted assignment: since then young Puro has no interest in continuing ‘drama’ studies and I don’t blame him!).

    Then young Puro chose the Blog of @bluesqueakpip about which theme was Time, and the concept of fixed points vs. ‘wobbly’ elements. This was initiated by a creative physics teacher who asked the students to choose something of interest: Time/fixed points was one of those to crop up.

    So, little Puro likes the writing here -he will buys “youse” a round of ice-cold beer (none of that warm British stuff) or a very good red for Mr @blenkinsopthebrave ^-_-^

    Puro and Son.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    he chose a Blog by @jimthefish on the Buffyverse which was also well loved by the teacher

    You’ve no idea how chuffed that makes me. (And is that ‘make like a tree and bark’?)

    Sorry, I’ve not been around much but I’ve taken the lurch back into full-time further education again and it’s been a surprisingly rapacious devourer of time (which in itself sounds like the title of a dodgy piece of fanfic).

    Good to see some much-loved faces on the site again though. Hi to @cathannabel — loved the blog btw. The entry on Theresa May was brilliant, really encapsulating the concern that I think a lot of people are feeling about the dangerous lurch the country is taking at the moment.

    And also good to see our esteemed emperor @craig back with us. Hope you’re well on the mend.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    that warm British stuff

    What is this of which you speak?   If, as I fear, you are referring to cask conditioned ale, then you have uttered blasphemy 😯  It should be served at cellar temperature – i.e. cool, but not ice cold, since refrigeration kills the taste – and the beer also, for that matter, since it is not pasteurised.  Of course, if you do not like the taste, then you might want it killed, but then it would be a waste of good beer 🙂

    In the Moldovarium  Pan-galactic Gargle Blasters are no doubt freely obtainable for those who seek a blissful, if temporary oblivion; otherwise I’m more than happy with a pint (or three) of cask conditioned bitter from a good local brewery in a pub where the cellar man knows his job 🙂

    Anonymous @


    I have made a dreadful error! Warm beer is not what you drink, then? Is it that us Ozzies drink such icy beer that we don’t understand how anybody doesn’t?

    Having said that I had some beer maybe thrice in my life. Once, at a pub at the age of 18 and before that, tiny sips from dad’s glass as a youngster. Sips were enough mind you 🙂

    Still, the temps here are at over 30 degrees everyday for 6 months (not kidding). Occasionally, it might drop to 26 degrees but the humidity rises. No-one drinks anything tepid: iced water, iced OJ, iced white wine…all the way.

    It’s why I only have red in the so-called Winter. 🙂

    Good to see you about Mudlark, it’s all very quiet here.

    @jimthefish Ah, och, no, he’s the chuffed one.  Well, young Puro is young and somewhat diddly-headed receiving his first D in Maths yesterday for an assignment the now sacked teacher said “hmm? No, I can’t teach Parts D, E, F” so nobody completed them and the new teacher failed half the class. I imagine the rest of the group googled the answers for the aforementioned parts. 🙂

    University life is excellent: meeting of minds, thoughtful colleagues, desirous pay, thrilled students, rebel activists..

    Or not.

    It IS an abuser of time, however. You’re quite right.

    You may not remember this but you wrote once about punctuation -the comma specifically. I recall that you mentioned your boss spoke about what is inherently necessary in journalism pieces (for want of a better expression) and you agreed with him-in the end.

    Young Puro read that (this was in the time before Puro and Son) and from that moment on, understood the use of the comma and how to write (in class at least) diligently and using the comma accurately -if you’re in doubt don’t use it.

    For me this means he’s forever pointing out “hey that comma there? You don’t need it, Mum. Edit Edit Edit.”

    From then on, every time I place a comma I think of Mr Fish. I am an overly zealous user and abuser of the comma. But I am learning. I also over use the italic button.   🙂

    There are other writers here who are utterly brilliant: I missed @mudlark in young Puro’s mentions. He always reads Miss Mudlark’s words. Others too -but they’ve slipped my mind. I believe he also enjoyed @phaseshift‘s writing with the dashing humour that accompanied it.

    Ah, yes, the fan-fic reference. Where would we be without fan fiction? 🙂

    Cheers to all in the new pub.




    @puroandson @cathannabel @mudlark @jimthefish


    The writing of which Puro speaks was that associated with the police negligence during a soccer match and the ensuing pandemonium and tragedy.

    This above sentence is one that would only be used outside the UK (maybe even Europe). Britons and many Europeans would just say “Hillsborough” know exactly was was meant. Iconography (or whatever its metaphysical equivalent is) is really context sensitive. But there’s something else.

    Some of you will know this:

    Aberfan is a village in Wales at the heart of what was once the huge South Wales coal field. Over it loomed gigantic slag heaps, the waste material from decades of mining. On 21 October 1966, after days of rain, what I believe is called a second-order transition happened, and the slag heaps essentially liquefied and became thick slurry. About 1.2m cu metres of slag flowed down the valley sides  40,000 cu metres of which, 12 metres (39 ft) deep, crashed into Aberfan’s Pantglas Junior School, which had just started classes. It killed 144 people, of which 116 were children aged 8-12. It was the last day before half-term holiday.

    It’s the earliest memory to which I can put a specific date, because of a specific image of a rescue worker (in my head a soldier, but almost certainly a miner) giving a hot drink to a young girl.

    A couple of days ago ITV showed a documentary focussing on the mothers of the dead (probably region-locked, alas) which trended on Twitter to massive acclaim. But what fascinated me was the number of not-that-young British tweeters who has never heard of Aberfan. They were amazed and appalled, but ignorant (in the most technical sense).

    How is that possible? How is it even permissible?

    Anonymous @


    Good morning!

    You’re right. I should have said “Hillsborough” but aware that many of the usual subscribers weren’t about and knowing of one or two Aussies who may not know of the incident, I chose to use general terms.

    And that isn’t right and I apologise. +++edit ahead: At this point I sent the post. When I read it again (for the dreaded spelling errors) I felt angry at myself and foolish. I must again apologise profusely. I was dumbing it down. I was paring it away and that’s wrong by any standard of correctness. Edit ends+++

    After all, @mudlark and @jimthefish were mentioned in that post and as you say they would have known immediately to what I referred.

    Still, in this little corner of the world of high school students, a class of 30 learnt something in 2016 about Hillsborough and it was then discussed further by Puro the Younger on Parade where 1300 students heard. Some discussed it with him later. Our local MP was present on this day.

    Interesting that the incident you mentioned above (Aberfan) I knew of. It had a large editorial following at the time -I was to learn about it in more detail later (in the early 80s) and also through a lecturer and friend, Dr Ray Evans who specialised in social history (a rare thing in the mid 80s).

    Indeed, it’s not permissible to allow such ignorance.

    But by having a meeting of minds,  whether in the phenomenal universe or the sublime, we share our sadness and perceptions of critical events so they remain extant in ‘common’ memory.

    There is a balloon of silence that falls upon certain events as time passes and it should be punctured without equivocation. Social isolates need to be assisted to memory by a stirring national conscience. Bob Manne in writing about the loss of historical memory would state that the judiciary’s decision regarding police negligence at the upper levels during the Hillsborough incident redefined the so-called cranks “with a passion for justice” into respectable main-streamers. Their courage received a belated but fitting recognition.

    If a 15 year old soccer kid with fairly ordinary grades ignites a class, others with erudition can too. I would add “we can only hope” but that’s defeatist. We must not forget. We must maintain our rage. We mustn’t foreclose on our history.

    Just as the ‘day’ becomes interesting I look at the clock -g’night all. <*\*>




    Apology not required – it was an empirical observation, not a criticism.

    (And @mudlark is entirely correct on the matter of beer. Remember, the human body is a machine for turning English beer into American beer)

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @puroandson Started the blog over four years ago – it’s somehow turned out to be a lot more political than I envisaged originally!  I blame Events.  Anyways, thanks all for kind comments, @jimthefish et al.

    It’s so brilliant that Son is getting so much out of this Forum, above and beyond the Who content.  The notion that, thanks to discussions here, he is now informed and informing others re Hillsborough and Joss Whedon and all sorts of stuff, well it inspires me.

    Have to back @mudlark up re ‘warm beer’.  Lager and suchlike need to be served cold but as they have no real flavour anyway, there’s no loss.  Proper beer should be at cellar temperature, to allow one to truly appreciate the subtlety of the flavour.  Personally I like it up to room temperature (my father in law used to warm his beer up on the hob, which even as a teenager I thought was pretty weird).

    Re Aberfan, like Hillsborough, a single name that conjures up a whole world of horror.  I was 9 when it happened, and I do remember the news reports. Now, as an adult and a parent, the impact of it is so much more intense.  There are parallels with Hillsborough – the fact that the disaster was eminently foreseeable, that those in authority tried from the outset to wriggle out of their responsibility for it, the callousness displayed towards the bereaved (can you credit that Charity Commission staff considered whether to insist that before any payment from the relief fund was made to bereaved parents, each case should be reviewed to ascertain if the parents had been close to their children and were thus likely to be suffering mentally?).  But the one thing that is  different of course is that no one attempted to claim that the Aberfan victims had themselves caused the disaster – something that commentators below the line are saying to this day about Hillsborough, despite the clear outcomes of every inquiry since Taylor.







    Anonymous @

    something that commentators below the line are saying to this day about Hillsborough, despite the clear outcomes of every inquiry since Taylor.


    Seriously? Still?

    I’ll be damned. I try to not go BTL (unless it’s youtoob vids) as the infernal anger I feel starts spewing.


    Someone once said that to not name a thing is to cut it lose from our memory. Kafka I think or Vaclav Havel.

    Hence the apology.

    Anonymous @

    Beer. Oh Jeepers. Warm beer, I just …nope, I can’t.

    So it’s true Aussies roaming the world over always say “bloody warm British beer”.


    Why would they complain when the very thing they’re after is the hops?

    Unless what they are really searching for is getting drunk on ice cold beer?

    In that case it’s a waste. 🙂

    <Warm beer, blimey>

    Anonymous @

    apologies for posting 3 times in a row here. Who else does this? 🙂

    Okay, so lager is beer to us. Beer is lager. Except clearly it’s not!

    Lager. Right. Got it.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @pedant I was only a child in 1966 so I can’t comment on news coverage in Australia at the time but I certainly never heard it mentioned as I was growing up. I first learned about the tragedy relatively recently through my own personal research and naturally read up on it. Everyone knows of the horrors of the Soviet gulags, (though generally not that they were instigated by the Tsars well before the revolution) but so few people know of the horrors committed by capitalism, likewise the incidents of genocide in Central and South American countries, (how many people have heard of El Mozote?) East Timor and more pertinently in Australia the “Frontier War” against the Aboriginal people. Another thing that really annoys me, (may not be such an issue in the UK) is that the younger generation know more about U.S. history than that of their own country or any other part of the world for that matter. I constantly battle with my boys over the use of “Americanisms”. It is a cultural encroachment that really concerns me.

    Anyway getting off my soap box and packing it away for a while, Hi to all. I like the new Pub, interesting decor but with the weather warming up, finally,,, I hope they import some decent South Australian sparkling Shiraz. (S.A. summers are not favourable to the imbibing of red wine and so the chilled, sparkling version has become very popular for those lazy afternoons when the mercury is stuck well above 30c, maybe tipping 40c, or these days of planetary warming stretching up over the killer 45c, the air is heavy with red dust and the flies swarm over every surface.)





    but with the weather warming up,

    Now you’re just taunting us.

    Anonymous @


    The Frontier War is now studied by all students from Years 4 to 10 in the state school system with units varying between 5 and 11 weeks. The private schools which History lessons average 6 hours per week (yes, six!) study this more frequently.

    Any units on American History must be part of the Substitution course at the end of either Year 9 or 10.

    There are units on History of the States during the Civil War combined with music -yours truly – but these have been reduced from 12 weeks to four weeks. Some teachers will teach the bus strikes of the ’60s with those occurring in Australia as a comparative theme for evaluative purposes.

    The units on the Renaissance, the Fall of Rome (now called the Transformation of Rome), the Industrial Revolution as well as Medieval History occur between Years 7 and 10. Medieval art is another random unit of 12 weeks at the end of the two year Ancient History course and yes, @mudlark it isn’t Ancient History but some nut decided “well, we’re not getting enough of it in ‘middle school’ so let’s pop it somewhere.” And so they did. 🙂

    I agree, though, Janette, that there’s almost nothing about South Africa, the African Continent and the Indian subcontinent anywhere in History studies. It’s a question of time.

    Something always gets chucked. The general knowledge level of history teachers in this country is bloody appalling.

    About two years ago I was discussing with another relatively new teacher the poetry of the South Americans and the conquest by the Spanish of the West Coast of North America. Another teacher (who had taken over my Ancient history course when I’d moved back to university life) whispered “oh wow, you two know SO much, I feel embarrassed.”

    She was fishing. And I swam away. She had no dependents and in seven years relied on nothing except my own prep from years previously. I understood she also taught English (heavy on the marking) but considering her and her pals said “I hate Shakespeare” I was ready to blow up the building and institute an entirely new staff all over 45 with some basic grasp of facts.

    If I mentioned Tennyson (as I recently did in preparation for a friend’s funeral) they’d say: “Who?”

    Not kidding.

    Kindest, Puro <Janette it’s only 22 degrees today and the last few have yielded less heat than normal for October. But I agree: iced wine. Sad but necessary. Did we invent the Shandy? Or was it t’Brits?>

    Anonymous @

    okay pub people. Serious question. Spawn is travelling to England for a school thing (also Spain) and the uniform request list states:

    3 sets of expensive breathable long john underwear (they’re $120 per set)

    thermal gloves ($85)

    scarf, beanie (which I’m fine with)

    several long t-shirts (yes, normal)

    several turtle neck jumpers (to which Spawn said “f*ck no”)

    Honestly, this isn’t the arctic so are thermal gloves really necessary?

    He’ll have a buck ninety pair of gloves AND a wind proof jacket and his Doctor Who scarf so surely that’s enough?

    Obviously I’m wide awake but you’re all asleep so maybe you could advise me on the morrow?

    @whisht what do you think? Gotta get you out of the Music thread!  You’re suffering agoraphobia. Jump to another thread, mate, grab my hand and put one foot in front of the another! 🙂

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @puroandson     That list seems like overkill to me – as you say, this isn’t the arctic.  On the other hand, people used to a warmer climate might tend to feel the cold more.

    Statistically speaking, the range of temperatures encountered in southern England in November is likely to be between 7 to 11 degrees C, and in December 2 to 8 degrees.  Further north it tends to be slightly cooler but not drastically so unless in the highland areas.  Occasionally in November we get daytime temperatures in the high teens or below freezing, though the latter is becoming increasingly rare.  The coldest weather tends to be in January – February, although even then thermal underwear is rarely necessary unless you live at altitude or work outdoors in exposed conditions.

    Re ‘warm beer’ :  It is likely to become warmish if you sit nursing it for too long in a warm room instead of drinking it 🙂   Whether cellar or room temperature, I find it infinitely preferable to the mass produced American and Oz lagers I have encountered and now avoid,  but chacun a son gout.  Warming the beer on the hob, as @cathannabel ‘s father-in-law used to do would produce something approaching mulled ale, which was a traditional winter drink; another way of heating it was set a jug of ale by the fire, heat a poker to red heat and then thrust the poker into the beer.  For a more luxurious version you could add a little brandy and some warming spices such as cloves and cinnamon.

    As for shandy, I think we invented it, or else it was invented independently in more than one place.  Speaking of which, in August 1946 we were spending a holiday in Wales, where the extended clan had rented a large bungalow on the coast of Pembrokeshire by way of celebrating the first post-war summer.  One hot day my father was drinking a ginger beer/ale shandy and I asked to try it.  He gave me a sip, thinking I would put me off alcoholic beverages until I was of a more suitable age (I was not yet four).  ‘Ooh, nice’, I said, ‘may I have some more?’  And so I can blame my father for starting me on the beer  🙂



    Anonymous @


    Thank you Miss for the information. I really appreciate it. Every kid going on this tour (nd it’s 3 weeks in the UK nearly) is panic buying. Parents are freaking out and spending huge amounts of dough.

    Mum went to the second hand store for old t-shirts and jumpers for $4. Well worth it. Should I lose it no worries.

    I handle the real cold here pretty well. Frequently when I leave for school in July at 7.15 its about 9 degrees and Im still wearing formal shorts with just a jumper. By midday I pull of the jumper if it hits 15 degrees -which it usually is.

    I would think Feb is colder because Feb here is hotter -if that makes sense.

    So, yes overkill.  expect to pay $10 (five pounds) for a meat pie though! I’ll need three!

    Thank you very much,

    Puros Son




    You need normal clothes  – jeans/ shirts/ sweaters, a decent pair of trainers – and a warm coat. He is male and, therefore, does not need multiple anything. Everything he needs, bar shoes and coat, can easily find in a 55 litre rucksack and a carry-on bag.

    Thermal underwear is only needed is he has some weird autoimmune disorder, and I am guessing you would have spotted that by now.

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @puroandson Re BTL comments on Hillsborough, things have improved markedly since the Review and the inquests.  For many years virtually every comment would be blaming ‘drunken, ticketless, late arriving Scousers’ for the disaster.  What I noticed since the inquests was some bright sparks who haven’t bothered reading the coverage of the findings saying ‘of course the fact that lots of fans turned up late, drunk without tickets MUST have been part of the cause’ when that has been completely debunked.  I did respond to one of those recently – in a fairly measured way – and noted that I got a lot of support.  But you’re right about BTL in general – rapid onset of rage, followed by what is even worse, despair…

    Yes the lager/beer distinction is of deep import to me and many Brits.  There is a huge variety of beers out there, with really distinctive flavours (if not killed by over-chilling), and one can be just as much a connoisseur as with wine! Lager to me is a thirst quencher on a hot day rather than a drink I would savour, and I can’t tell one from another.


    @mudlark @puroandson

    True story.

    In late 1962 or early 1963 (so Winter) my mum was clearing out the larder in our not-centrally heated council house. It was cold, so Dad made her a Whisky Mac (whisky and ginger wine) in a small tumbler. She took a sip, no doubt thought “oh that’s nice” and went back to the larder.

    A few minutes later she turned back and found the tumbler almost empty, a Dad-sized shot of scotch and 3-to-1 ginger wine gone.

    Two-year-old me was found sitting in front of the fire in the living room and every time anyone came near me I went “Go ‘way”. At no time did I lose consciousness and, this being the 60s, nobody thought to rush me to hospital.

    For some reason I have no memory of this, but @sirclockface‘s dad can verify.

    Next up: Cousin John’s Dolgellau wedding (possibly with amusing photo).


    Anonymous @

    @pedant :\

    very funny indeed. I can see that picture clearly! Yes, no-one back then dialled 999/911/000 or rushed ‘ailing’ child to the hospital.

    Thing is, at two, you were able to drink out of the tumbler.

    Two year olds here drink from sipper cups and bottles. No wonder they have an oral fixation when they’re 12!

    Thank you re the clothes. It’s a relief. No, no autoimmune diseases. 🙂  He says “I’ll put me hands in me pockets, innit?”

    He’s on board

    Anonymous @

    Ah, wedding in Snowdonia. Very very cold there I expect 🙂



    Not in August!

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Wow, I turn my back for a few days and the pub is filled with interesting conversations! My current obsessions (baseball playoffs, my son’s new 3-piece suit, classic cocktails, memorizing Hoagy Carmichael songs, etc.) have kept me preoccupied for a few days.

    @puroandson      his virtual world needs a new word for ‘met’ as ‘read’ wouldn’t work, exactly     I don’t think a new word is required- I feel that I have met you all!

    @puroandson @pedant @mudlark @cathannabel

    The problem in North America is with the concept of “cellar temperature”. Your average beer-drinker here doesn’t have that option, especially in the summer. It’s either warm or cold. Also, even with the craft beer explosion here, I’d say that the vast majority of beer being sold is lager, and crappy lager at that.

    I confess to drinking more beer than I ought since our discovery this past spring of three excellent microbreweries within walking distance of our place. We haven’t bought bottled beer in that time, but take growlers of various sizes and fill them up with something appropriate. I’ve also been learning to cook a lot of Latin-American food over the past few months, which cries out for a nice beer (west coast pale ale works pretty well!).

    @pedant    When I was 14, my mom remarried, and my sister, three years younger, got memorably drunk by going round the room and draining people’s abandoned champagne glasses! My mom couldn’t understand why she was so sleepy at 5 in the afternoon (I knew perfectly well what was going on!)

    Alcohol in varying amounts has been a part of our son’s life since he was small-  little bits of wine and beer earlier on, glasses of wine with dinner later, and now that he is 17, a cautious intro to the world of hard alcohol. In the spring, he will graduate, and he and his friends are planning to spend a few weeks backpacking around Europe in the summer. Hopefully, as alcohol won’t be new to him, he will keep out of serious trouble!

    Regarding punctuation, I won’t go too much into my obsessive love of the semi-colon; however, I try very, very hard to guard myself against overuse!  🙂

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Ah, the winter of 1962-63, the coldest of the 20th century in the UK, and one of the coldest on record and another landmark in my memory, when in some places even the water mains froze and water had to be brought round in bowsers.  A whisky mac would definitely have been in order.

    It was my second term at university in Edinburgh and I was lodging in one of the 19th century tenements near The Meadows.  My room had high ceilings, no double glazing, and the only heating was a double-barred electric fire on a meter which gobbled shillings – a heavy drain on my student grant;  I think I ended up wearing every pullover I possessed at once and looking like a fuzzy chrysalis.  At least I had a student grant to live on, as well as tuition paid.  We didn’t realise at the time how very fortunate we were.


    I see the difficulty.  In the UK most if not all pubs have cellars in which the draught beer is kept and from which is pumped up to the bars, though at one time the barrels would have been in the tap room and the beer drawn directly from them.  Bottled beers are ideally, though not always, kept at the correct temperature in chill cabinets.

    Thinking back, of the five houses we lived in during my childhood and teens, three had cellars (they were relatively old houses). In one of the other two the water supply was from an artesian bore with a constant overflow into a cistern in the garden.  The water temperature was constant and, since we did not have a fridge, anything we wanted kept cool in  summer, such as butter and milk – and beer, was put in the cistern.  Some people thought this arrangement a bit strange.




    from which is pumped up to the bars

    A pedant writes: pulled up to the bars, ie drawn – hence draught.

    The stuff that pumped up under pressure is keg beer and, to quote Roger Protz, gnats piss.

    PS @puroandson – I quite like VB, even though it is clearly not bitter.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    A pedant writes: pulled up to the bars, ie drawn – hence draught

    Exactly so. You tempt me to release my inner pedant 😈

    I’m with you wholeheartedly on the subject of keg beers.  I vividly recall the reaction following the introduction of the disgusting Watney’s Red Barrel: a triumph of popular activism, and who remembers Red Barrel now?

    I’ve been meaning to add some observations on the subject of memory becoming history and what is lost in the process; but I’m a bit rushed at the moment as I have visitors arriving on Monday for a week’s stay.  Recently I’ve been concentrating on getting the garden back into some kind of order and letting all housework go hang, but I would rather they didn’t find the flat a complete tip when they arrive. As it is, I suspect they think me a complete slattern.


    Anonymous @

    @arbutus @mudlark @pedant

    My God, you know about beer. A real lot as Puro the Younger would say.

    Draught/bitter/VB (there’s a great ad about VB), barrels, cellars, temps, I’m astounded.

    “Not in August”.

    Yeah pedant but what is “cold” to you is flippin freezing to the ozzies and 19 degrees isn’t hot! (Well, OK it’s perfect for me as by the time it reaches 24 degrees I’m swimming). Snowdonia. I was there …in July once and I wore a blazer the entire time. 🙂

    I was young. It was the early ’90s.

    Anonymous @


    erm> “it’s not bitter”. What’s bitter? in terms of beer. VB isn’t bitter? Is it a thing they do to the hops or is it a flavour that comes from the draught (the pulling up).

    I never knew the bit about “pulling it up” as it were. How do you all know this stuff?

    Mind you, I know the Romance chord of Wagner . Haa, ha-hi Haa, Haa.

    Obviously that is utterly useless knowledge.

    I’m checking the canon page now (prepare for Mac 10 -you know, the flying thing. Beyond the speed of sound. It occurs to me I have little idea about a lot of stuff including Mac-10 or Mac 5 or whatever it is)



    It’s the brewing method and the way the yeasts are used (top or bottom fermenting). VB is a lager (so bottom fermenting)  – a method that comes from Germany,  but it also uses cane sugar to take the edge off, which is a bit naughty. Still nice beer though.

    It is not only lagers that aren’t bitter – Porter, stout (eg Guinness), India Pale Ale are all good beers that are not bitter,  but are ale (as opposed to lager).

    The point with draught beer is that the only gas (ie fizz) in it is a natural product of fermentation, which does not produce enough pressure to push it out, hence the need to pull it. But that means they need expertise to keep. So brewers try to get away with using injected CO2 in ‘dead’ pasteurised beer served from pressure kegs

    Then the most successful consumer campaign in British history stepped in.

    (Alive-ness is nowt to do with fermentation style – good German, Czech, Belgian and French beers are also very much alive. But top fermentation is peculiar to the UK.)

    Anonymous @

    LOL. Mum is on no meds and she sounds off her head. “Literally”.

    Jane Fonda says “literally” very well. I could listen to that voice all day. It reminds me of Katherine Hepburn. I know her from a film with John Wayne which I really liked. Also Kevin SPacey does a great mimic of Hepburn and everybody else. If you have time check out the wheel of impressions on the Late SHow with Spacey -and some silly interviewer.


    Puro Son

    Anonymous @


    Well I didn’t know any of this. I get it. Sort of.

    So, most beers are beers but not ale -they’re no longer fermenting and they’re filled with some type of preservative to enhance their taste?

    So, when you go to a pub and the dude “pulls the beer”….OK. don’t think I’m entirely stupid here but where is it “pulled” from?

    What I mean is, is the term “pulled” (the process associated with the pressure -or lack of gas except that which is produced naturally) the same as when the bartender “pulls” the beer/ale?

    Is it somewhere ‘down in the cask/cellar area’ and ‘pulled up’ or is it placed elsewhere so when the customer says “hey, pull me a beer” it’s been transferred elsewhere?

    Cripes. Do you get what I mean? @pedant  -do not kill me! @mudlark you also have patience  -but you may be asleep being a morning lark!

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus you’re awake (you have better things to do than talk with an ale-ing woman about beer -thought I’d add that ‘joke’)

    Do you know what I mean about “pulling”. Is it the term associated only with the process of having to pull rather than push it or b) is it also about the bartender “pulling” a beer as they pull a gin and tonic?

    Seriously. I’ve heard people in bars ask: “pull me a gin and tonic”. In Oz, of course, we’re all immature “deludes” here.

    This leads to my confusion.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @puroandson      Joke received and duly laughed at.  🙂  I’ve always assumed “pulling” referred to pulling the lever on the tap. @pedant may well know better than me, though! But over here, our tap brews are definitely not coming from the cellar. In the microbreweries near me, in fact, you can see the tanks in the back. Maybe “pull me a gin and tonic” refers to the fact that the tonic is on tap, so again, you would pull the lever? We also talk about “pulling an espresso”. Again, levers are involved (in the high-end machines in the shops, anyway; ours at home has switches).

    @pedant    North American craft brewers have fun making beer in all kinds of traditional European styles, and thus we do see top fermentation here from time to time. There is, literally ( 🙂 ) beer for every taste here nowadays.

    Son of Puro… Katherine Hepburn is one of my very favourites! I especially love The Philadelphia Story, and some of her great stuff with Spencer Tracy. Years ago, I used to love one called The Rainmaker, with Burt Lancaster. I have to admit that the wisdom of years tells me that the two of them overacted to a stunning degree, but I loved the story, and my second cat, a personable Siamese, was named “Starbuck” after the Burt Lancaster character.   🙂

    winston @winston

    I am embarrassed to admit that although I was a bartender for quite a few years and that beer is the national drink of Canada  that I do not like the taste of beer. I have tried many different varieties in my travels and never aquired a taste for it. Or for that matter wine and whisky . A little vodka hidden by huge amounts of fruit juice and lots of ice on a hot day is my favourite.

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