What Badger Groups Do
Dave Witherspoon, from the West Kent Badger Group, gave us a talk on this enchanting beast on 4 May. They probably colonised Europe from China about 10,000 - 12,000 years ago. Their black-and-white colouration is a bluff
to other creatures to avoid this "dangerous animal". Dave assured us it was not true. These remarkable creatures have poor eyesight but their nose is 700 times as sensitive as ours! They feed on earthworms: about 200 a night; and they are members of the stoat
and weasel family. Dave arrived with two stuffed specimens: one of which was an albino. It looked like a miniture polar bear! We were told that albinoism is not uncommon in badgers. They are very clean animals and their first task each night is to scratch
and deflea themselves! Loving water, they are excellent swimmers - and their non-retractable claws are extremely good for digging. In fact, one way of elucidating that a badger has passed by during the night, is to look for the characteristic 5 scratches on
tree bark. They are extremely territorial and do not mix well. Their setts display a rare case of non-human understanding of physics... There is always a hump near the entrance. This is not to prevent flooding - but to increase ventillation. The venturi effect
causes stale air to be replaced by fresh air - eat your heart out Bernoulli! So, why do human beings have such a poor opinion of the animals? It's all to do with the (unproven) notion that badgers carry bovine TB. Dave assured us the evidence for this is most
unconvincing! Sadistic examples of our species' ability to inflict cruelty and pain - for pleasure! - come in the continuing tradition of badger baiting. No - it's not been confined to the dustbin of history (where it belongs) - it is, unfortunately, still
practised today. In a recent example, £46,000 changed hands, just so 26 people (including 6 women) could witness dogs tearing one of these beautiful creatures apart.To make it "fairer" this unspeakable pond life broke the badger's jaw first! Thank you
Dave - it was an interesting and sobering talk. We were left with a feeling of admiration for the work you do - and a feeling of revulsion for those sick baiters who dare to call themselves "members of the human race".
That's The Spirit!
I first tasted Slivovitz - the Serbian Plum Brandy - when following the Bosnian war in the 1990s. The odious Željko Ražnatović otherwise known as Arkan was busy with his paramilitary group the "Tigers". It seemed they
were always very drunk on Slivovitz (Šljivovica - in the Serbian tongue). Slivovitz is produced all over Eastern Europe but it has a special place in the hearts of the Serbs. They begin, and end, each meal
with plum products and šljivovica is served as an aperitif. Boy, can it be strong! Recently, I bought some that would give Absinthe a run for its money! Cathy refuses to drink it. And me? Well, I can only do so if I dilute it 50:50 with chilled water.
Tastes nice though. The Serbs have a saying: "F*** the coke, f*** the pizza, all we need isšljivovica!" Nice people - the Serbs!
And A Little Treat To Accompany It
Sacher Torte. This rich Austrian chocolate cake is traditionally eaten with a glass of slivovitz. For the cake: 5oz unsalted butter, 5oz caster sugar, 1 x 150g block of dark chocolate
(melted), 6 eggs (separated), 5oz plain flour. For the icing: 1oz cocoa, 3-4 tablespoons hot water, ¼ pt double cream, 5oz icing sugar. To finish: 1oz dark chocolate (melted). Cream the butter and 3oz caster sugar till
light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate and egg yolks. Gently fold flour into mixture. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites to a foam. Gradually add remaining sugar till stiff and glossy. Fold whites carefully into chocolate mixture in 2 batches. Turn into
a deep 8" lined round cake tin and bake (350oF, 180oC, gas mark 4) for about 1½ hrs till a warm skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack. Whilst cooling, make up the icing: mix cocoa and water to a paste. Whip cream and
sugar till stiff; fold into the cocoa paste. Spread icing all over the cake. Spoon melted chocolate into a fine nozzled piping bag and write the word "Sacher" on top of the cake. That's optional: write what you like - but DO have a glass of slivovitz with
Champagne Vs Mouthwash
Bob passed this cutting on to me (Mail - April 17). It concerns an analysis of supermarket prices - which show that a price war has led to champagne being sold for less than the price of mouthwash! Tesco normally sells
a 750ml bottle of Delaunay champagne for £12 a bottle. However, it recently cut this to £9. This works out at £1.20 per 100ml - less than the cost of Corsodyl! Asda's Louvel Fontaine champagne costs £1.33 per 100ml while Lidl and Aldi
also sell their bubbly for the same 1.33 per 100ml. Meanwhile, Listerine Advanced Gum Treatment Mouthwash costs £1.40 per 100ml. Topping the bill though, is Corsodyl Mint Mouthwash - this retails at £1.67 per 100ml! Personally, I've always preferred
perry to champagne - but I think I'll go upmarket now and swig Corsodyl - it tastes better than some of the horrors listed earlier!
North Tonbridge Horticultural Society
Dry White: 1st Madge Cooper, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Bob Dye
Red: 1st Duncan Oakley (TW), 2nd Cathy Rishman, 3rd Bob Dye
Sweet White: 1st Tom Rix, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Bob Dye
Sweet Red: 1st Duncan Oakley, 2nd
Cathy Rishman, 3rd Bob Dye
Thanks to the judges: Peter Seach and Bert Scott
Next Month's Competitions - June
Dry: 1st Les Maskrey, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Cathy Rishman
Medium: 1st Cathy Rishman,
2nd Les Maskrey, 3rd Bob Dye
Sweet: 1st Tom Rix, 2nd Cathy Rishman, 3rd Les Maskrey
Quarterly - Dry White
1st Tom Rix, 2nd Cathy Rishman, 3rd Les Maskrey
Thanks to the judges: Les Bates and Sylvia (WoE) and Gerald (quarterly)
North Tonbridge Horticultural Society
Will take place on June 24 at St Philip's
Church. There are four classes: dry and sweet white; dry and sweet red.
Next Month's Meeting - June
Rodney Reeve will be presenting "Country Wine". Rodney - an ex member of this club, and an active member of TW - wins many competitions. His wines are superb; this will definitely be a memorable evening!
French Trip 2017
Wyn and Cathy are making plans - details to follow shortly.
A Day Trip Down The Orwell
Day Trip To Ipswich & River Orwell Cruise - Tuesday 15 August.
A scenic boat trip down the Orwell estuary from Ipswich along the Shotley Peninsular to Felixstowe and Harwich
Harbour. There will be about 1½ hrs free time for lunch in Ipswich. Price: £69 - but 10% off if we get a party of 6 or more together. This price includes guided coach tour from Tonbridge (return), 3½ hr return boat cruise and cream tea.
N.B. The coach is already ⅔ full. If you are interested in this trip please contact Cathy for further details ASAP.
Watch This Space
The worm has turned. We have become (sadly) used to pubs being sold off as residential living spaces. However, in a welcome twist, this unfortunate demise will not befall the Nelson Arms of Cromer Street (off Barden
Road). Contrarily, the pub, which has been empty since March, will not be sold off by Shepherd Neame for residential "development". Following a campaign by nearby residents, Tonbridge and Malling Council conferred the status of "Asset of Community Value"
on it. ACV status means a premises cannot be sold for up to six months. Shepherd Neame have now confirmed they will be selling it as a pub. The brewery are in negotiation with a potential buyer who plans to refurbish the pub and open it this Autumn. It will
specialise in real ale and quality Belgian beers. This photograph was taken on Saturday 27 May. As you can see - the pub sign has gone (it used to hang on the pole at the extreme right of the picture) - and the stamp of decay is all too evident. To the new
buyer, whoever you are, please hurry and get on with it!
Oh! The Pain!
The endurance of deep personal pain has its rewards in creating the perfect, virtuous and non reproachable person: the lycra clad, banana-headed, light-flashing, ever-so-healthy cyclist. This has to be the
reason: otherwise there can be no explanation for the grim faced, grunting, sweating, goggle-eyed apparitions we encounter daily on roads previously considered to be conduits of transport - but which are now racing tracks. These, ready to be shut, at a moment's
notice, for some essential "cycle event". You have to feel sorry for them: they don't appear to be enjoying themselves at all. Maybe the poor things should take up a less strenuous hobby - like playing cards or dressing dolls.
Do they see the countryside as they hurtle along? Legs oscillating like pistons - up and down in a furious frenzy - eyes glued to the tarmac just in front of their handlebars - no: all they see is grey road - and a vision of perfect beauty - themselves!