August Newsletter


Good news everyone, the Angel Centre is re-opening!!! Our AGM will be held on 2 September.

It has been a long time since the club last met and we need to know how members see the club’s future. Therefore, please can you let me know, either by telephone or email, whether you will or will not be attending the AGM and also if you will be continuing with your membership. It is essential that we are quorate in order that the AGM can proceed.

The agenda and 2019-20 accounts are attached with this newsletter. Short accounts for 2020-21 to be distributed at the AGM. There is no charge for the meeting, but please bring along your own drinks, glasses (new requirement) and donations for the raffle. If applicable, please return any cups won in 2018-19, for the 2019-20 presentation of awards.


Ye Ancient Druids was located at the top of Pembury Road on the opposite side to the Primrose Inn (more about the Primrose next month). Originally this area was a hamlet known as Primrose Hill, just outside the Tonbridge boundary. The premises were built around 1880 as two separate cottages before being converted into a beerhouse in the early 1890’s. However, there is reference to licensee John Steele of the "Ancient Druids" at Primrose Hill in 1871, so there would have been an earlier property here at that time. Kenward and Court brewery of Hadlow bought the pub in 1896 and named it the "Druids Inn” and later the "Ancient Druids Beerhouse". The Order of Ancient Druids used to meet at the Bull Hotel, but there is no evidence that they had a connection with this pub. In 1910 the pub was valued at £1,250 and let to Jak Chalking at a rent of £18 pa. It was described as having “a Bar, a Bar Parlour and Smoke Room together with two Cellars”. Charringtons later acquired the property and it remained trading until October 1971. It is now a private house. Interestingly a friend viewed the property in the mid 1980’s when it was on the market and told me that features of the Charringtons bar still remained in place. Even today the post that supported the pub sign still stands outside the house, which now bears the name “The Ancient Druid”.

(Acknowledgements: Dover Kent Archives, Steve Greenhill)


This is a refreshing cocktail to enjoy in the garden on a sunny afternoon. I find opening a 200 ml bottle of prosecco is ideal when making cocktails for two.  

Gin Sangaree

50ml gin

25ml elderflower cordial

2 dashes of orange bitters (optional)

12ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ice, for mixing

Thinly sliced lemon peel to garnish

Prosecco to top up (optional)

Add the gin, cordial, bitters and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.

Strain into a Martini-style glass and fold or twist the lemon peel over the top, dropping it into the glass.

Alternatively, divide the gin mixture between two flutes and top up with prosecco.


August is the month for picking blackberries. Pears, blackberries and fudge make a perfect combination for a tasty crumble. Suitable for freezing.

Pear, Blackberry and Fudge Crumble, Tesco Real Food

4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, chopped

200g blackberries

100g all butter fudge, cut into pieces

100g cold butter, cut into cubes

125g plain flour

50g demerara sugar

50g rolled jumbo oats

50g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7.

Put the pears into a 1.4 litre shallow ovenproof dish.

Scatter over the blackberries and half of the fudge.

For the topping, put the cold butter and flour into a food processor and pulse until it resembles crumbs. Tip into a bowl and add the rest of the fudge, sugar (reserving 1 tablespoon), oats and hazelnuts; mix together.

Scatter the topping over the pear mix, then sprinkle with the reserved sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, cream or hot custard.



Champagne Harvest damaged by Heavy Rain

Daily Telegraph: Approx 20-25% of the champagne vineyard has been damaged by a deadly mildew fungus due to heavy rain in early July, which have led the grapes and leaves to dry up. Apparently, devastation on this scale has never been seen before.

It is believed that about half of the harvest will be lost this year due to both the fungus attack and losses caused by frosts earlier in the year. Maxime Toubart, deputy chairman of the drink’s lobby CIVC, said: “It’s terrible, we got too much rain just at a time when we needed hot and dry weather”.

Despite the significant damage to the grapes, the good news is that this will not impact upon the number of bottles available for sale, as there is a good supply available from previous years that can be used. It is quite common practice for champagne to be made from a mixture of several vintages. Winegrowers can keep a reserve of past years’ output that can be used when there is a drop in output or an unpredicted extra demand is required. Mr Toubart assures clients that they will “find their bottles of champagne and there will be no spike in prices”.

Not just a Canned Mojito, an M&S Canned Mojito

Daily Telegraph: M&S have been voted as producing the best canned mojito in consumer watchdog tests. Which? carried out a blind tasting of five premixed mojito cans from Aldi, Asda, Bacardi, M&S and Tesco. The M&S mojito gained top marks with tasters praising its punchy flavours. Four of the 13 tasters even said that the M&S drink was better than a homemade mojito. This canned Cuban cocktail retails at £2.10 per can.

Duke of Edinburgh Centenary Ale

Sunday Times: The Royal Collection Trust has launched a £5.95 bottle of beer to commemorate the life of Prince Philip. It is brewed with water from the Hampshire chalk hills, with a hint of tangerine. Apparently, Prince Philip acquired a taste for beer while serving in the Royal Navy.


A Winemaking Tip

Why not freeze some of our abundant seasonal fruit for later use. This avoids crushing it to break up the fruit and separate out the juice when preparing the must. Remember defrosted fruit will be too soft and juicy to wash, so it must be clean and in a fit state for use with bruises cut out, stalks and debris removed before freezing.

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richard everitt | Reply 07.09.2020 09:09

would the lady in hildenborough supply me with a demijon i live in hilden borough

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Latest comments

31.03 | 15:44

Hello, We have some demijohns and fermenting buckets, they are free of charge.If anyone would be interested please contact me.
Thank you

09.11 | 20:18

Thank you for your kind offer of the wine rack. Unfortunately Rainham is rather a long way to travel, as many of us live in Tonbridge.
Best wishes,

09.11 | 19:34

Hello I was a wine maker many years ago and have a 90 bottle wine rack for FREE if anyone can collect from Rainham Kent

09.09 | 18:31

Looks yummy! You list garlic in the ingredients list, but I don’t see where you add it to the recipe. I would guess that you add it to the partially sautéed oni

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