Somethings never really change

Picture shows The  “Old Bird” and her flock in Derby .

Somethings never really change!  I courted the “Old Bird” many years ago, when she was a young bird – slim, blonde and very attractive.  We would go out to a local hostelry, often by car but sometimes on foot.  When driving, I would ask for a pint and a half of beer.  The bar person would always put the pint in front of me and the half in front of the young bird.  This was followed by a hand moving across in front of me and picking up the pint (so justifying her comment in her first article in the “Tiny Pint” – “Girls like pints as well”.)  As a result of this, I was left with the half!  This was probably a good thing, even though it was before the Drink/Drive laws.  Over time, the situation has not changed, though sometimes she would have the half and drive and I had the pint.  (Occasionally the world smiled on me.)  On foot, I used to ask for 2 pints – 1 each!

She has a very good palate such that I ask her what she thinks of a beer’s condition if I feel that something is not right (including me – sometimes a beer doesn’t taste “right” but it is my taste buds that are wrong.)  However, it used to make me so proud, and still does, when I see her with a pint!

Nick Holford The “Old Bird’s Beau” – her posh name for a miserable old b****r like me!



Four Go Dambustin’


Starring Jon Whowell, Dave Laughton, Russ Hibbitt & Jon Watson.

The four intrepid adventurers passed our County border, at 11.00am on Saturday 17th February, bound for the Lincoln and Newark areas on a mission to return empty casks and collect or swap ales for the Empingham CSC Beer Festival.
First stop was the delightful Dambusters Inn in Scampton. The pub is full of memorabilia from the Dambusters Squadron formerly based at RAF Scampton and also from the Red Arrows, current residents of the base.

Here, we sampled Scampton Ale and Dambusters Ale brewed behind the pub by Landlord, Greg Algar, in the center of the above picture clutching his Tiny Pint.

Greg is passionate about both the memorabilia and his ale and provided enlightening information about photos, medals and ensigns that adorn the walls. We swapped a cask for a cask of Scampton Ale. How will I get my empty back? enquired Greg. Don’t worry Greg, we will be back!!

Onto Lincoln’s Jolly Brewer to swap ales from Horncastle (Wicked Blonde) and Ferry Ales (Wodewose and Spirit of Jane). Ales sampled here were Great Newsome Stoggy, Welbeck Abbey Henrietta and 3 Piers Golden Smiler, all were in good order.

A lunch of exceptional value was consumed and we were joined for lunch and a pint by George Hibbitt, a ‘poor’ Lincoln University student and newly renewed Rutland CAMRA member. (His Dad paid for that too!!)

Next stop was to be Beermats Brewery near Southwell. However, they delivered to Empingham on the previous Thursday, so a visit to Just Beer micropub in Newark town centre was hastily substituted into the itinerary. A gem of a place supplying us with Hill Top Golden and North Riding US IPA. Deciding against a second pint here or a walk across the road to the Flying Circus due to time constraints, we moved on to our final venue outside of Rutland, the Cross Keys at Upton.

Landlord and brewer at Mallard Brewery, Steve Hussey, was delayed by an unexpected afternoon nap. So, whilst waiting, the 3 adventurers tried his Mallard Golden Duck and our Pubs Officer chose Mallard Drake. Again all beers in fine fettle! Empties returned and with a new Golden Duck and Nottingham EPA on board, we pointed the vehicle South on the A1 and after an hour pulled up outside the Green Dragon at Ryhall for our last tipple of the trip.

A lovely day out and a great adventure. All the venues are worth a visit but if you choose just one, please make it the Dambusters Inn. You will not be disappointed!


Russ Hibbitt Rutland CAMRA Drayman



John Wood

A man of Real ale, cider and Morris Dancing – a legend passes on.
John Wood, a stalwart of the Rutland CAMRA branch has gone to the great brewery in the sky. His funeral was on Wednesday 8th of February at Belton in Rutland, Belton There were over 60 Morris dancers and members of CAMRA from many parts of the East Midlands
A colourful, larger – never lager – than life character who was at the forefront of real ale production in the Country. He established Oakham Ales, in Oakham in 1995 and soon a beer was launched that has become one of the most recognised reals ales available today – Jeffery Hudson Bitter (JHB). This was soon followed by another of John’s successful brews – Bishop’s Farewell – brewed to commemorate the departure of the Bishop of Peterborough. A firkin of JHB was supplied at John’s Wake as a token of their regards. The Wake also saw 18 Morris dancers pounding their sticks on the floor and songs and tales were also a tribute to “The Woodster”
John’s tipple of choice was real cider and he extolled its virtues at the drop of his Morris Dancers top hat. John was a member of the Rutland Morris Band where with his striking white hair and beard was easily recognisable.
Rutland CAMRA will name its cider bar, Woodsters, in tribute to John at their festival in Oakham 28th Jun to 1st July where many a tankard will be raised. It is hoped Oakham Ales will produce a special in his name.
He will be very missed by so many people in Rutland and across the UK.
John Whowell Chairman Rutland CAMRA Branch

Pic shows: l-r Jon Whowell, Chairman Rutland CAMRA; John Wood, Beer Royalty