A year ago I decided to start my blog, over 80 posts, 5,000 views and 70 followers later I have never felt more accomplished than I do right now.
I must once again place my thanks on record to my friend Jaki Jelley whose similar minded approach to her blog gave me the final push I needed to start my own. So what has happened this year and have my random ramblings really entertained my readers or drove you to despair? I’d personally like to think it’s been a mixed ride with many different topics covered.
So what have been my highlights? Well this year I’ve written about Leeds United on quite a few occasions, I am still hopeful that I will get a piece published by one of the fans pages this season. I’ve had some fun adventures and holiday trips with my awesome fiancé, mainly involving the tent.
I’ve written about my travels, gardening and nature stories including our ever so near attempts to get a blue tit nesting in our garden right through to creating a hotel for our bee to lay it’s eggs in. I’ve cooked pickled Beetroot, attempted to grow tomatoes and even written up a couple of my favourite recipes.
I’ve managed to get an article on the Autumn Towcester Beer Festival published on the about my area website and have written further blogs about my love for local ales. There have been some exciting pieces on Music Festivals including the surreal In The Woods Festival.
I’d like to thank you all for taking that little bit of time out of your busy days to read my blog and I promise that this second year will see even more stories from my crazy world and the life I lead.
On one final note I’d like to share some awesome news with you all. I secured my promotion at work and have finally become a Branch Manager. This is something I’ve wanted these last three years and from the beginning of August I’ll finally be there. This is a big deal for me and I am so proud of myself and also would like to place on record my thanks for the support my fiancé has given me throughout my career.
So as we embark on another adventure this weekend in Snowdonia, I can already feel my next piece formulating together in my head. Here is to the future and the exciting times it promises to bring.
This weekend saw the much anticipated Towcester Beer Festival return to Towcester Rugby Club. The annual event is into it’s 5th year and the weather didn’t disappoint for those joining in. The event has grown in popularity because it gives those keen to try new real ales the opportunity to do so and with over 60 types on offer it is unmissable.
Crispin “The Festival Man” Slee brought 60 real ales to the table with the addition of 30 real ciders. There was also an opportunity to try some local bottled ciders on the Saturday and Sunday. There was a fine selection of Food on offer as well and the Gurkha Curry once again went down a treat. The Sausage Sarnies and Burgers were also a success as those requiring some ballast to keep them going were looked after in style.
Friday evening generated a real buzz of excitement amongst the crowd there who were keen to start early. Despite the nip in the air as the sun went in there were those brave enough to sit out on the open area neatly laid out with tables and benches. By Saturday this area was awash of people all enjoying the combination of drinks and sun.
Saturday and Sunday also saw live music from local musicians including the Rock School as well as bouncy castles and face painting. There was a lovely atmosphere with those enjoying the sunshine that graced the Rugby Club.
Back to the Ales and our friends at a Towcester Mill Brewery were showcasing their Blonde number Mill Race. This 3.9% ABV Ale is brewed using Pilsner malt which gave it a pale blonde appearance whilst delivering a grapefruit and herbal finish. We started with this and it didn’t disappoint and ensured the tasting session started in a positive fashion. Towcester Mill Brewery opens in May so it’s not long until we can grace their new bar to try some of their other Ales.
There were many different breweries to try from, some local and some not so local. We enjoyed in particular Crazy Daze, a Golden 5.5% ABV ale from Potbelly brewery in Kettering, Northants. The Local Whittlebury brewery also had a presence and my favourite Amber Ale was called Green Dragon 4.4% ABV which offered a strong bitter finish created using a combination of Sovereign and Challenger Hops. Silverstone brewery offered a lovely Golden Ale called Skidmark which delivered a fruity, floral aroma with a citrus taste. This came in at 4.2% ABV using a mixture of three hops, which was very nice.
In conclusion the Towcester Beer Festival has once again been a resounding success. I am truly grateful that as locals we have the opportunity to attend something this exciting on our door steps. The venue was well set out and the variety available was so diverse. It was clear from the 2,000 + people who attended over the three days that it was enjoyable and the sunshine capped it off well.
Please add me on Untappd my username is markyjb to check out my reviews of Ales tried so far.
Saturday saw my first visit to Franklin’s Gardens to watch Northampton Saints play Bath in the Aviva Rugby Union Premiership. I was treated to use of the Travis Perkins Box for the day and took some customers and colleagues along for a truly amazing day. The weather was perfect for the Sold Out match with a clear, bright, sunny day providing the pleasant backdrop for the near 13,000 crowd. Northampton Saints and Bath were 2nd and 3rd heading into this game, with the possibility of taking top spot depending on Saracens result.
Part of the day involved a tour around the stadium which was pretty exciting. We got to walk around the ground and have a look in the players tunnel as well as the Home Changing Rooms. We were not allowed into the visitors changing rooms because apparently there were private confidential game plans on show! Either way this didn’t spoil the opportunity to look at parts of the ground many people could only dream of doing. There is a plaque on the wall by the Home changing room which lists by caps, the most capped players at the club in Saints history. This dates back to 1895 which is where all the records that weren’t destroyed by a fire are available to. There are some pretty impressive capped players with over 400 caps. I was also really grateful to get a photo taken by Pisi’s shirt, he is one of my favorite Saints players!
As we looked around the bars and the trophy room we were also shown a wall which had all the photos of players past and present who have been capped by their respective country. This is when I discovered that Gregor Townsend who is my favourite Scottish player, used to play for Saints! A little bit of trivia as I like to educate my blogs followers, Franklin’s Gardens is the only English Rugby Ground to have a War Memorial Situation within it. I think this photo shows it off nicely.
The food in the box was spot on and the drinks were flowing. Everybody was in great spirits ahead of the promising match that awaited us. Now I’m not one with great knowledge of Rugby Union, but Saints found themselves 0-13 behind after 10 minutes and staring into the possibility of being left behind. Bath were reduced to 14 men and in that time, 2 tries for Saints saw them take a lead that they never relinquished. The game saw Saints score six tries in total and claim a 43-25 win which was full of entertainment.
There was one final twist as I discovered that I’d be presenting the Travis Perkins man of the match award to Christian Daly at the end of the game. There was also an opportunity to shake hands with North who played well and get right close to the team huddle at the end of the game. There will be a better photo to follow but this one shows me on the pitch. One funny moment is when I turned up to the box we were in during the game from the pitch, to see all the guys waving and chanting my name, awesome effort guys!