Gude ale keeps my heart aboon!


Last year, 2012, was all about change in our house. The goal of that change was losing weight, and although I’ve achieved what I was hoping to, I’m determined not so slip back into old habits and undo all that hard work. That’s made easier, of course, by the fact that Gem still has weight she wants to lose, but we’re both viewing the changes we made last year as being a permanent, rather than temporary, state of affairs. This was never so much about a “diet” as it was a lifestyle change.

One of the changes we made was to drink less alcohol. Not that we were ever heavy drinkers, you understand, although I bet everyone says that. But a cheeky couple of beers on a Tuesday night here, and few glasses of wine there soon adds up. I suspect many people, like us, consumes more than they’d like to admit. And the calories in those drinks tend to go uncounted, making it all too easy to pile on the pounds while maintaining a pretty healthy fruit and veg laden diet. I speak from experience.

Beer is a particularly bad offender, so it was definitely something that required a change. Step one was stopping buying boxes of whatever American or European lager was on offer in the supermarket – those beers are just too easy to drink, because not only are they relatively inexpensive, but because they don’t really taste of much. Rather than denying myself altogether, though, I decided to indulge my taste for better quality craft beers and real ales, but in more limited amounts.

Essentially I swapped quantity for quality, and I have to say it wasn’t that difficult a change to make. Not when the range of quality beers available these days is pretty good. And it’s getting better all the time, with new craft breweries, craft beer pubs and specialist beer shops springing up all the time.

Of course it’s always tempting to stick with the things you love. Once you find a beer, or a brewery, you love, it’s easy to stop trying new things. And so, at the start of the year, I made it my aim to try as many new beers as possible. So far, this year, I’ve drunk 22 beers that I’d never had before. They’re listed here, if you’re interested. Most have been decent, a few outstanding, and only one or two being a disappointment. However…

Whilst I’ve kept a record of which new beers I’ve tried, and for reasons unknown even to myself have taken photos of pretty much all of them, I’ve not kept a note of what they were like.

I think this needs to change, so beginning very soon, probably next week, I’m going to try my hand at reviewing beers here on the blog. This is something I might be absolutely rubbish at – I know I’m not very good at writing about music, something else that I love. but I’m going to give it a go anyway. How bad can it be?


Incidentally, the beer pictures at the top of this post was one I had at the weekend, and was one of the aforementioned disappointments. Alba Scots Pine Ale by Williams Bros is one I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Maybe it was a bad bottle, but it didn’t pour well at all and lost any head it might have started off with very quickly. The beer was syrupy tasting, pretty flat beer with only very slight hints of the pine and spruce that had been used in its brewing. I’d give it another go, right enough, because the rest of the internet seems to love it. But I won’t be rushing to do so. Which is a shame, because I’ve loved everything else I’ve had from Williams Bros.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

A change is gonna come…

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about this blog and what I really want to do with it. The catchups I did earlier in the week reminded me why I started it in the first place – to document what I’ve been up to, and particularly the ups and downs of fatherhood. I want somewhere I can record all the daft little things that Heather and Megan say and do, the things that in twenty years (or even twenty days!) time will have been forgotten about because our brains aren’t wired to remember them, they’re too insignificant.

Well, I don’t want them to be insignificant. I want to remember as much as possible about how my girls grow up, because they’re changing all the time, and sooner or later this moment, this time, will be gone forever.

At the same time as I was mulling this over, Susan Mann tweeted about her nominations for the 2012 MAD Blog Awards, something she was understandably excited about. So I clicked through and scrolled down the list of nominees, and the further I got, the more I noticed all the nominees had something in common – they were all mums. Which seemed a little… well, odd, given that MAD stands for Mum and Dad. So where were the dads?

I put the question to Susan, who pointed out there are lots of dads up for awards in the BiBs, and suggested I start up my own daddy blog. Which struck a real chord. And then she retweeted me a link to Tom Briggs’s excellent post about the lack of dads in the MAD awards shortlists. If you read the post, and then the comments at the bottom, there’s a real sense that dads are under-represented in the blogosphere, and those that are there need to up their game to compete with the mums. Nice bit of role reversal there!

Anyway, all of that sounded like a call to arms to me, and I’ve decided to step up to the mark, and make a few changes around here. I think the clincher in all of this was thinking up a new name – I’ve never been 100% happy with “Lunch Hour Waffle” anyway, it was just the best thing I thought of when I started up a year and a half ago. So I won’t be sad to see it go.

Not that I’m revealing the new name just yet – first I need to register a suitable domain, and hopefully get all the rubbish I’ve already spouted transferred over. I just need to decide whether or not to include the “the” at the start in the domain – if anyone has any advice on the matter I’ll gratefully take it.

And then, hopefully, I’ll be inspired to post around here much more regularly. Will it happen? Who knows – but I know that if I don’t change anything, all those “kids say/do the funniest things” moments will continue to drift away into the ether, forgotten forever. And that makes me sad.

Watch this space…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!