Current Newsletter


A party of 51 club members and guests enjoyed a perfect day out on our annual trip to France. We arrived at Coquelles shopping centre a little ahead of schedule, which allowed plenty of time for shopping, the wine tasting at Majestic and even a beer or two at the bar next door to Auchan. Our lunch at Le Blanc Nez restaurant in Sangatte was really good and the new starter option of shrimps in whisky sauce was, by all accounts, excellent. We spent a leisurely few hours at the restaurant with a number of our members and guests enjoying a cognac after the meal. Amazingly the roads were relatively quiet and we were able to catch an earlier Shuttle back home. A brilliant day out!


The Christmas party night began, as usual, with one of Les Bates’ challenging quizzes. At first it looked as if this year Les had given us an easy quiz, as there were only 3 groups of 10 short questions on “Things named after English counties”, “All about Kent” and “All about Essex”. However, once we began, we soon realised that Les had presented us with a real challenge this time. Our table thought “What is Yorkshire fog?” was a particularly tricky one. We guessed that it was a hangover! (Correct answer: a type of grass.) In the end we were begging for extra time. The winners, with a score of 40 out of 60 were “The Few”, a table of six. The quiz was followed by a sumptuous buffet supper and a bumper Christmas raffle.

This was a most enjoyable and well attended event. Many thanks to Les Bates for organising the quiz, Lin and Sylvia for co-ordinating the buffet supper, Tom and Marjorie for running the raffle and of course to all members for donating raffle prizes and contributions to the buffet table.


My Favourite Tipple. We will be extending the festive season at our next meeting by tasting an array of favourite drinks from a group of six members.


Quarterly: Dry red

(No wine of the evening competitions this month)


Christmas Present

Jan Powis treated us to these delicious clementine segments dipped in chocolate at the Christmas buffet supper. They are really refreshing and so simple to make.

Clementine Segments dipped in Dark Chocolate, Waitrose         

Melt some dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70% or more) in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water. Dip in the clementine segments and leave to set in the fridge.

Christmas Past

My cousin was recently recollecting his teenage years in late 1950’s Leeds when his father would buy a barrel of beer at Christmas time for making orange shandy. I had never heard of orange shandy and asked him for the recipe. Unfortunately I was unable to find any mild beer, which is a popular choice of beer in Yorkshire and have used bitter instead.

Orange Shandy

Half a glass of mild or bitter, small amount of orange squash, then top up with lemonade, cold water or tonic.

It makes quite a pleasant low alcohol drink.



2020 Dates for North Tonbridge HS Open Shows

Spring show: 4 April

Summer show: 20 June

Autumn show: 29 August (liqueur class only)

Spring and summer show classes: Dry White, Dry Red, Sweet White, Sweet Red

A good bargain from Waitrose

Waitrose are offering a bottle of Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat at £9.99 (37.5 cl) reduced from £12.99 until 2 January. It is recommended in Waitrose Weekend as a perfect sweet wine to drink with Christmas pudding. The wine has caramelised fruit smells and lovely honey notes. On its own there’s dripping barley sugar and ripe spicy fruits and then with the pudding you suddenly get a burst of oranges. I just can’t wait to try our bottle on Christmas day.


Another Surprise Visit from Mr Smith

Daily Mail: In the April 2019 newsletter I included an article about Mr Humphrey Smith, the proprietor of the Samuel Smith pub chain, going into his pubs incognito to check that his staff were enforcing his ban on mobile phones.

This month Bob has given me a cutting from the Daily Mail about Mr Smith visiting the Fox and Goose in Droitwich. The pub had only been open for 7 weeks, but was becoming a popular venue with the locals and then suddenly it was closed down the day after Mr Smith made a surprise visit. Apparently Mr Smith heard a customer using the F-word while telling a joke and subsequently closed the pub as he felt this was lowering the standards that the original Samuel Smith had set when he founded the brewery in 1758. Eric Lowery, the landlord, and his wife are now both homeless and jobless. Tony Haycock, a local, said regulars were “well behaved” and that Mr Smith “seemed happy” when he made his visit. He added: “He’s shut the pub for one swear word.” I just wonder whether there is more to it than meets the eye.

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)

A Glass of Double Fermented Beer is Good for You

Daily Telegraph: The October 2019 newsletter contained an article on red wine being good for you, as it creates a healthier gut microbiota, which helps support the immune system and metabolism. Now we have something for the beer drinker:

Recently it has been discovered that gut-friendly bacteria present in yogurt are also found in some beers. Researchers found that beers that have been fermented twice, once in the brewery and again in the bottle contain probiotic microbes, which provide many health benefits such as combatting obesity and getting a good night’s sleep. These beers include strong Belgium beers such as Hoegaarden, Westmalle Tripel and Echt Kriekenbier. The second fermentation uses a different strain of yeast to traditional brewer’s yeast, converting the sugars in the grain to alcohol, but also making acids that are poisonous to the bacteria that can make us ill. Prof Eric Claassen, a gut bacteria expert from VU Amsterdam University said: “In high concentration, alcohol is bad for the gut, but if you drink just one of these beers every day, it would be very good for you.”

A Wet Dog Bouquet, but what Breed?

Daily Mail: Anthony Barton, a wine producer in France, has commented on the term “wet dog” as a wine odour in a letter to the Daily Mail. Mr Barton questions this term as there are so many dog odours. He pointed out to a prominent person responsible for compiling acceptable terms to describe wine odours that the smell of a wet chinchilla is quite different from that of a Labrador. The compiler thanked Mr Barton and assured him that he would correct this in his next edition. Consequently, there may be an additional 15-20 smells listed – all doggy.

(Article kindly supplied by Jan Powis)


"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don't clean it up too quickly."

(Andy Rooney)

A merry Christmas to you all from the committee.

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13.03 | 12:56

anyone interested in 4x 50 litre wine carboys. I stopped making wine about 15 years ago. open to offers.

16.01 | 20:27

Same you only allow 160 caricatures on your site I would like to wright more !!!

16.01 | 15:40

Thank you for your kind comments. You are more than welcome to join us at one of our meetings - the first Thursday of each month.

16.01 | 15:26

Hi There I have just come across your website ...and very impressed, you seem to be a well organised club with monthly events and good membership BRAVO

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