October Newsletter


No further news has been received from the Angel Centre regarding the re-opening of meeting rooms and now that the government has introduced the “rule of six”, it has been decided by the committee to cancel all remaining meetings in the 2020/21 programme. We will keep you informed either by newsletter or email/snail mail of any changes. It is our intention to carry over membership subscriptions received for 2020/21 into 2021/22. It is with great regret that we have lost a full year of club events, but there really is no alternative during the current situation. I hope you are all faring well throughout this pandemic.


Photograph reproduced by the kind permission of Shaun Jeffery

On the site which was occupied by the post office for most of the 20th century we now have “The Humphrey Bean”, a JD Weatherspoon pub. However, long before the post office was even thought of there stood a pub called “We Three Loggerheads” – and Humphrey Bean was the landlord!

It is interesting to speculate who the real Humphrey Bean was. Perhaps he was the most imposing of the three aproned gentlemen; the one standing in the doorway... Incidentally, this doorway is of the adjacent property. Maybe the landlord lived here? Or maybe they just shuffled down the road a bit to present a better picture. We will never know... Humphrey Bean was born in 1850, in Mayfield Sussex. His father, George Bean, was a shoemaker. George had several siblings including a brother, Humphrey, who was his elder by 10yrs. Thus our Humphrey had an Uncle Humphrey who worked as a farm bailiff. Humphrey’s grandparents (George’s parents) were William and Mary, both born in 1791, making them 50 years old at the time of the 1841 census. In the 1891 census, Humphrey, described as a “Licensed Victualler” was recorded as living at “84 High St, Tunbridge”. Interestingly, by 1901 his address was 23 Colebrook Road (Southborough) – and his profession listed as “Tailor”...

Now, if you are wondering why the sign only shows two loggerheads... That’s a joke. Guess who the third one was! Apparently, it was meant to be oneself. The Loggerheads was owned by Bartram’s Brewery. (See August and September newsletters for further information on this brewery.) Sadly, the Loggerheads was demolished in a road widening scheme in 1908.



Now is the time for picking sloes to make sloe wine.

SLOE WINE, TV Times - Make your own Wine

3 lb sloes                            3 lb sugar

6 pints water                      Pectic enzyme

Bordeaux yeast                   Nutrient

Over-ripe sloes are best for winemaking. Put the sloes in a fermenting bin and pour on boiling water. Cool then crush by hand. Add the pectic enzyme and leave to soak for 24 hours. Then add sugar, yeast and nutrient. Leave in a warm place for one week, stirring once or twice daily. Strain through a muslin cloth and squeeze gently. Then pour the liquor into a demijohn and top up to the neck with water, if necessary.  Fit an air lock. Keep the demijohn in a warm place for one month, then sample – if too bitter, add a little more sugar and ferment out. Rack and bottle; keep for one year before drinking.

For a richer wine, add 8 oz raisins to the must, then add 4 oz extra sugar just before putting the liquor into the demijohn. Use a port yeast.


An Aussie cocktail this month from Queensland.

The Coral Sea

30 ml gin

20 ml blue Curaçao liqueur

15 ml lime cordial

1 dash orange blossom water

Tonic water to top up

Orange wheel to garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice and add your ingredients. Stir quickly, garnish and serve.


How did you get on with the hawthorn berry chutney last month? We opened a jar last weekend and served it with ham and a tomato and bread salad from the Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure cookbook. The chutney was absolutely delicious and well worth the hard work.

The recipe this month is for another chutney, but one which is much gentler on the fingers!

Green Tomato Chutney, The Penguin Book of Jams & Chutneys

2 lb green tomatoes        ½ tsp cayenne pepper

8 oz onions                     ½ tsp dry mustard

8 oz apples                     8 oz sugar

4 oz sultanas                  ½ pt malt vinegar

1 tsp salt

It is best to skin the tomatoes before using them. (It is not necessary if they are very small.) Chop the tomatoes and put them in a preserving pan with the peeled and chopped apples and onions. Add about half the vinegar and cook gently until the tomatoes and apples are soft, keeping the mixture well stirred. Then add the rest of the vinegar and all the other ingredients and continue to cook steadily until the chutney thickens. This should not take longer than 15 minutes. This chutney has a tendency to dry out, so make sure you don’t overcook it; pot while it is still slightly runny and cover.



Juniper Disease threatens our Gin Industry

Daily Telegraph: The gin industry, currently worth £3.2 billion in the UK, is being threatened by an invasive disease which is killing juniper trees in Scotland.  Phytophthora austrocedri, an aggressive, fungus-like pathogen, has been spreading through Scotland’s juniper trees, where 70% of the spirit is produced in the UK. Experts at the Plant Health Centre and Professor Fiona Burnett from Scotland’s Rural College warned that other spirits, such as whisky, could also be affected by disease.  Prof Burnett said: “Whisky is equally at risk as gin through barley diseases which slash crop yields.”

It is believed that the pathogen has entered Britain through the plant trade and may have got into juniper woodlands through well-intentioned planting schemes. It lives in the soil and spreads in earth and water, infecting juniper roots and killing large numbers of trees, especially on wet sites. Although gin can be produced from spirits derived from other grains, it relies on juniper berries for its traditional and distinctive flavour.

Researchers in Scotland have found some junipers are resistant to the disease and it is hoped natural regeneration will allow populations to recover over time. Scientists are also trying to identify sites that are less vulnerable to the pathogen and which can be earmarked for conservation and protection.

A New Spirit distilled from Ale

Daily Telegraph: Brewers have saved 1,000 pints of ale from being poured away because of lockdown by turning it into a whisky-like spirit, with notes of vanilla and caramel. Lymestone Brewery in Staffordshire, with the assistance of Tim Massey, the co-founder of the Beer Barrel Distillery Co, have distilled their Stone the Crows ale into the unique new spirit, aptly named Stone the Crows Beer Spirit.


The Daily Telegraph recently reported that the building which housed Britain’s first lager brewery is under threat of falling into ruin. It is one of the Victorian Society’s top 10 endangered buildings and structures. The former Anglo-Barvarian Brewery is situated in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. You may remember our friends from Shepton Mallet, Mary and David, visited the wine club a couple of times when David gave talks on the Lascaux Caves and the paranormal (mentioning the ghost of Shepton Mallet jail). Mary has filled me in a little more on the brewery, which is at the top of their road. It was established by a Barvarain company before WW1 and then seized from the Germans at the outbreak of war. Sadly beer is no longer brewed there, although cidermaking takes place in part of the building. Locals say when the lager brewery was in operation you could get drunk simply by swimming in the River Sheppey. 


Photo by David Ward, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35020493

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05.10 | 15:57

Just to let you know we are up and running again. Our next meeting is on Thursday 7 Oct, a commercial wine tasting. Pls let me know if you would like to come.

05.10 | 15:53

Thank you for visiting our website. We will ask our members at our meeting on Thursday and let you know if anyone is interested.

05.10 | 15:00

Good afternoon. We have a lot of black grapes ready for harvesting. Just wondered whether anyone would like them?
We’re based in Sevenoaks

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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