This is my original blog – all my blogs  since I started in 2009 - are here including those from The Ale Archive – all the beers I’ve sampled at home and on our travels since 2012.
Since 2012 most of our travel has involved a caravan. I now have a specific caravanning blog called (Get Your) Legs Down which not only documents all our trips but includes product reviews, site listings, storage locations, mobile service engineers and much more. It too is on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Great Newsome–Jem’s Stout

WP_20170518_20_27_51_ProWhat they say: “Dark mahogany coloured traditional stout. Complex aroma of liquorice, prunes & hop resin on the nose with a deep burnt coffee and liquorice on the palate.”

I do like a nice stout for a change and this was delicious. A lovely combination of flavours and at 4.3% A.B.V full bodied but not overpowering.

Robinsons–Pint of Thrones

WP_20170513_20_58_15_ProWhat they say: “The King in the North arrives in April and May! A traditional amber ale, full blooded, reliable & down to earth with a warm heart of spicy cedar.Level headed & big hearted that always wins the day.”

A visit to the Jolly Brewers is always a delight thanks to their ever changing range of cask ales. There was nothing wrong with this one – it just didn’t excite. Inoffensive but forgettable I found. 4.0% A.B.V

The Jolly Brewers, Milton, Cambridgeshire. May 2017

Church End–Gyle 5000

WP_20170513_20_58_26_ProWhat they say: “Church End Brewery’s 5000th brew! Could it be called anything else?! A deep amber bitter, malt driven, with a sharp hop bite, and lingering bitter after taste.”

A tad hoppier than my fussy palate normally enjoys but overall I like it. A nice pint and Church End’s 5000th brew. Well done. 4.0%  A.B.V

The Jolly Brewers, Milton, Cambridgeshire. May 2017

Franklins–Mama Knows

WP_20170506_13_45_18_ProWhat they say: “Our take on a British classic, Mama is the ultimate modern best bitter. A combination of US and UK hops give mixed berry flavours and a hint of papaya with a dry, earthy pine finish. A great all rounder.”

Not a usual haunt for us but after a busy open morning at the school this pub just around the corner was a welcome destination. The beer didn’t disappoint either – brewed in Sussex and very tasty. It went down rather too well. 4.1& A.B.V

The Ginger Dog, Brighton. May 2017.

Yates–Holy Joe

20170624_124819What they say: “Golden, with lots of citrus immediately evident in the aroma, and subtle malt emerging later. Plenty of bitterness features in the mouth along with slightly toasted, sweet malt flavours, pronounced tangy-citrus notes and spicy coriander. Bitter, hoppy, spicy and lightly toasted finish.”

The second from Yates to guest in our local and another very welcome one. Packed full of flavour but at 4.9% A.B.V, one to treat with respect.

The Rottingdean Club, East Sussex. June 2017.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Solwise - More WiFi options.

Many of you have read my review of the Solwise WiFi Booster Kit back in April. In fact given Trev the  Portly Partners’ enthusiastic activity on social media I would be surprised if you missed it! It’s been one of most popular reviews and a most useful bit of kit too. I wish I’d bought one ages ago instead of waiting for the opportunity to review one. It’s already saved us plenty in WiFi costs and I expect that will continue throughout the summer.

Talking of the summer I am excited to have the chance to evaluate two more products from Solwise, both of which are designed to pick up even weaker signals than even the impressive kit we reviewed. They do the same thing but what they can do it with differs, so lets take a look.

First up is the Outdoor USB Panel Antenna

DB-86WUUMAAAnSBThis connects to your computer or suitable router via USB like the Patriot that was in the kit we reviewed. A driver and utility disk is included but this won’t be needed if it’s paired directly with the Solwise router. Two jubilee clips are included for mounting on a suitable mast but I’m thinking that stout cable ties might be as effective. I have already bought his Vision Plus mast to give more height to our existing kit and the antenna should fix to that just fine.

This is a directional antenna so to perform to it’s potential it needs to be aligned correctly. Rotating the unit on the mast with semi-tight cable ties may be the way to go and I’m looking at ways to make alignment easier and avoid the sort of faffing associated  trying to align a satellite dish manually for example. I’m sure many have seen that carry on on site!

I’ve already had a play with this at home and whilst the environment is completely different to it’s intended use the results gave a clear indication of it’s potential once on site. First though I’ll explain my set up at home to put the results in to context.

My router – a BT Hub Version 4 - sits in the lounge of our flat and in the same room reports speeds of anything up to 72 Mbps download through Wi-Fi. 

My laptop is situated in the ‘office’ also known as the dining room, spare room, Legs Down HQ and caravan paraphernalia storage area! It's two rooms down along the hall from the lounge and there I can expect around 8-12 Mbps download. Nothing like the speeds several walls and a few metres away in the lounge but still something many could only dream of!

With the antenna connected via USB and driver installed results were certainly interesting. Having the antenna laying flat on it’s back on the floor made little difference to download speed. However, positioning the unit upright and directing in roughly towards the BT router speeds improved to 28 Mbps. Up to three times faster than without. Three  minor adjustments to the antennas direction brought speeds progressively up to 32 Mbps – and this was still through several brick walls.

Now, as I said this in no way simulating it’s intended use but it does show two things – it’s potential power in picking up weak signals and the importance of correct alignment to achieve the best results. I’m very much looking forward to trying this out on site and paired with the Solwise router that we already have as part of the kit reviewed in April.

In addition we will also be looking at the Outdoor Panel Antenna.

net-wl-ant010pn-1WP_20170331_13_03_34_ProThis has an N-type connector and a bracket at the rear for wall mounting if you wish. For those of us that already have the kit that I reviewed however, this can directly replace the omnidirectional unit included in that kit – shown here in action.

Again, this device though is directional – so to work correctly and pick up weaker signals it needs to be aligned accurately. And again, I will be looking at ways to make this easier.

We will be having a thorough look at both devices throughout the summer with a written and hopefully video review to follow.

For those of you that have read enough and are already interested, the USB Panel Antenna is available for a little over £40 HERE. If you have the Patriot Wi-Fi Booster Kit then the Outdoor Panel Antenna is an excellent value upgrade at a little over £20 and you can see that HERE.

My review of the Patriot Wi-Fi Booster Kit can be found HERE and the accompanying video HERE

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Marstons - EPA

WP_20170413_20_47_55_ProWhat they say: “The taste of EPA is unique. Zing from the citrusy hops we use - Pow from its fuller flavour - Phwoar from the crisp finish that leaves you ready for more. It’s a refreshing, lighter blonde ale - 3.6% abv.

Ok, regulars will know that, given the description, this would not be one of my faves. But I quite enjoyed it on a warm spring day. Chill it a bit more than you normally would for a real refreshing drink on a summers day. Nice and light too at just 3.6% A.B.V.

April 2017