June Newsletter


Our guest speaker, Peter Clare, a great enthusiast of ferns and a member of the British Pteridological Society, gave a most enlightening talk on garden ferns. Peter brought along many examples of ferns. It was amazing the see the diversity of varieties from the delicate and feathery lady fern to the strong and robust male. We were informed that the “lady fern” and “male fern” are folk names, given before people understood how ferns reproduced. In reality, ferns produce spores, which when dispersed, grow into an entirely different looking and TINY plant from which new ferns arise.  My favourite was the tatting fern, which resembled an intricate piece of needlecraft.  Peter showed us a selection of slides and drew our attention to the beauty of the young silvery fronds emerging, almost flowerlike, from the ground in spring. We were given practical suggestions for planting ferns, such as planting them among snowdrops, as once the snowdrops begin to fade, a new growth of ferns start to appear. In hanging baskets, the Polypodium variety make a good display of greenery during the winter months.

I am sure we all gathered a wealth of information from Peter’s talk.

Recommended supplier: Fibrex Nurseries Ltd www.fibrex.co.uk   tel 01789 720788  

Peter displaying a tree fern stem, approx. 50 yrs old


English Style Grape (Jock Franklin Cup)

1st Tom Rix, 2nd Cathy Rishman, 3rd Tom Rix

Wine of the Evening

Dry: 1st Cathy Rishman, 2nd Bob Dye, 3rd Tom Rix

Sweet: 1st Cathy Rishman, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Bob Dye

Judges:  Madge Cooper, Yvonne Franklin and Bert Scott


Local historian, Pam Mills, will be visiting us on 4 July to give a talk on Tonbridge during World War One. Last year I went on one of Pam’s guided walking tours and gleaned a wealth of information on Tonbridge during the 1st World War years.


WoE (dry and sweet classes)


This event will be held on 22 June at St Philip's Church.

Classes: dry red and white; sweet red and white wines.



We are planning on running the French trip on or around Thursday 21 November. We do not have a firm price yet, but it is expected to be in the region of £56 per person. Please let me know at the next meeting if you would like to go on this trip.


The combination of lemon and elderflower brings out the fresh tastes of early summer in this recipe.

Lemon and Elderflower Loaf Cake, Waitrose Weekend

Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 45-50 mins

125g unsalted butter, softened

175g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

175g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

4 tbsp milk

100g icing sugar

4 tbsp elderflower cordial

Lemon zest, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a 1kg loaf tin and base line with baking parchment.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar for about 4-5 minutes with a wooden spoon or electric beater until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and lemon zest.

3. Add the flour and salt, stirring until the mixture is well combined, then add the milk.

4 Spoon into the prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until risen, golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

5 Mix together the icing sugar with the elderflower cordial to form a runny icing. Drizzle over the hot cake, top with lemon zest and leave to cool before slicing.



Tonbridge’s best kept secret


John Angell, the jewellers, sadly closed down last year, but the good news is that it has been replaced with a bar, the Beer Seller. It is a really pleasant place to visit for a reasonably priced drink. However, that is not all! Upstairs lies the secret place, the Hidden Seller, where every 3-4 weeks English wine and cheese tasting evenings are held. A selection of 5 English still and sparkling wines from local vineyards are paired with 5 local artisanal English cheeses. The tutored tasting lasts for around 2 hours and costs £35 per person. These evenings soon become fully booked and the next available ones are on 22 August and 12 September. Also gin evenings at £25 for 4 new gins first tasted neat and then with tonic and a selection of garnishes will be held on 2 August and 6 September. For further information follow this link https://www.thebeerseller.co.uk/wine-evenings or tel 01732 666336.


(Many thanks to Gerald Priestley for providing the leaflet on the Hidden Seller)


The Artisan Restaurant

Geoff and I attended the Spanish Evening last month, along 6 other club members. On arrival we were offered a complimentary glass of sangria and then sat down to an excellent meal, alive with flavours of southern Spain. The restaurant has been nicely refurbished since the days of our annual dinners.

There are only another two themed events this summer, a quiz night on 20 June and street food served cantina style on 27 June (5-7 pm), however the manager assured us that they would be back in full swing again in late September.


A Biblical Pint

Daily Telegraph: Scientists in Israel have made history by brewing beer using extracts of ancient yeast. Microbiologists and researchers at the Israel Antiquities Authority and Hebrew University extracted microscopic specimens from several ancient beer jugs that dated back to 3,000 BC. They then cleaned and sequenced the full genome of very specimen, before handing it over to brewers to produce the beer. Apparently, the yeast was similar to that used in traditional African brews, such as Ethiopian honey wine and modern beer yeast, The Tablet reported. The Associated Press said the beer was “champagne bubbly and dry, with a hint of green apple”. A panel of tasters, including certified tasters from the International Beer Judge Certification Programme, said the beer was high quality and safe for consumption. The Israeli researchers stated that “great powers were attributed to beer in the ancient world, particularly for religious worship and healing properties”.

An Accidental Bargain Wine

Daily Mail: A group of diners at the Hawksmoor Restaurant, Manchester ordered a bottle of Chateau Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac 2001, a Bordeaux at £260, but were accidently served a bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001 worth £4,500. The diners then ordered a second bottle, no doubt because they were most impressed with the wine, and it then became apparent that a serious mistake had occurred. Discretely, the member of staff taking the order steered the customers in the direction of another wine, to avoid disclosing the error. Later the restaurant magnanimously tweeted: “To the those who got given a bottle of Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001 last night – I hope you enjoyed your evening! To the member of staff who gave it away, chin up! …. Mistakes happen.” Apparently, the wines were in similar looking bottles, which caused the trainee manager to make the mistake. However, the Daily Mail commented that a wine of this value should have been kept under lock and key to avoid such errors occurring.

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)


Enjoy a Pint and Boost the Memory

Daily Mail: The FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) reported that iso-a-acids or IAA’s found in hops increase levels of the brain chemical dopamine in mice, activating the vagus nerve, important in memory. Researchers at Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan, noted an improvement in spatial and object recognition memory when the mice were administered IAA’s. They said foodstuffs containing IAA’s may be a safe way to improve cognitive function.

(Article kindly supplied by Bob Dye)


Another Winemaking Tip

Two pints of rose petals are required for making just one gallon of rose petal wine. In order to avoid denuding your bushes, gradually collect some petals when they are in full bloom and freeze them in a freezer bag. Keep adding to the freezer bag until you have sufficient petals to make one gallon of wine. Remember: scented petals only.


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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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