Experiencing all that I can

Happy Friday everyone!  Now that we are getting out and about, I want to ensure that we experience London to the fullest.  Of course I want to visit famous sights, such as Westminster Abbey, explore the city, and take in the Thames.  If anyone has suggestions of places and things to do, I would love to hear them.  But this posting is about experiencing another aspect of our new city.   That is sampling new brews.

Recently I tried Old Rascal, which is a cider.  I have been fond of cider for years.  However, in Boston I struggled to find a variety of options.  My usual liquor store only had three different brands.   Other stores offered less or none.  In London, I am in cider heaven.  Several of the local pubs have one cider on tap and some have more.  I’m loving it.

Thatchers began in 1904 when William Thatcher started to make cider for his farm workers.  Then he started to sell his ciders to others who did not work on his farm.  Ultimately he started to sell his cider to clubs and to pubs.  Today the company is still family owned.

Old Rascal is named after a legend.  According to the legend, each night, an old fox would break in to sample his favorite brew.  All attempts to prevent the fox from getting in were useless.  The workers started to say, “The old rascal’s been at it again!”  So if you can’t beat the old rascal, use him.

Now that the history is covered, let’s get to the good stuff: the cider.  I tried this drink over ice on a quiet night at home.  According to the label it is a full bodied medium dry Somerset cider.  They use Dabinett and Redstreak apples and it is aged in oak vats.   And I appreciate all the work and the traditional recipe.  The cider was delicious.  The flavor was crisp, not too sweet, and it had a little bite from the apples.  A perfect blend for cider lovers.   One drink down, hundreds more to go.  Life is good.   If you have any suggestions for English beers and ciders please let me know.  It would be a shame to miss one.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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18 Responses to Experiencing all that I can

  1. I have a suggestion for you. Many people will suggest the normal site seeing choices like Buckinham Palace or The Tower of London, which are both amazing for sure, but here is a different idea. When I was in London on a school trip with my son, we were taken on a Jack The Ripper walk through downtown London at night. It was extremely fascinating and very creepy too. I don’t remember the tour guide’s name (although I could probably find out), but he was obsessed with Jack The Ripper and knew everything there was to know about him. He even had photos of all the victims and theories of who Jack actually was. I was amazed by his knowledge – he had obviously done his research. If you are looking for something unique to do, this just may be it.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks! My best friend back home wants to come out and go on this tour. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it. Some of these types of tours can be a little hokey. Do you remember the tour company you used? It sounds like the guy really knew his stuff. I enjoy tour guides who know their stuff.

      We wandered by one of the murder sights a couple of weeks ago and it gave me the creeps. I can only imagine that this tour would be quite thrilling. Thanks so much for the tip. I appreciate your thinking outside of the box.

  2. Fergiemoto says:

    Immerse yourself into the culture! I like that! If I ever come across this cider, I’ll have to give it a try.

  3. niasunset says:

    Wonderful dear TBM, I would like to follow and to read your experiences… I have never tasted cider… But I hear so much this… Should be so nice. Thank you, Have a nice and enjoyable weekend, with my love, nia

    • TBM says:

      Hi Nia. I will do my best to share my experiences with you. And I love hearing about your experiences and looking at your amazing photos! Have a fantastic weekend.

  4. IsobelandCat says:

    Go to evensong at Westminster Abbey, and try to be there when it is the whole choir. That way you will get a feel for the place and its purpose. The congregation usually sits in the south transept aka Poet’s Corner, or the choir stalls themselves. Follow this up another day with a visit and guided tour.
    Watch out if you go on a guided walk that the guide is trained. Anyone can stand on a corner in London and call themselves a guide. Some are dire. Beware Sandeman tours! London Blue Badge Tourist Guides are professional guides and quite a few of them work for a company called London Walks. They are the ones you’ll find at the Tower, Palace of Westminster, the Abbey etc and the only ones allowed to guide there other than in house guides.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks for the tips! I’ve wonder which tour guides were legitimate. I haven’t seen Sandeman tours but I will stay away. I’ve looked into Blue Badge Tours. I’m happy to know I can trust them. Thanks again for all the help.

  5. Kristina says:

    Enjoy it all! 😀

  6. Robin says:

    I toured Westminster Abbey at least 3 (maybe 4) times while we were in London due to having to take family and friends. I saw something different each and every time, there is so much to see there.

    There is a fantastic view of the city from Primrose Hill I read somewhere that the hill used to be popular with duelists. There is also St. Mary’s Secret Garden, the British Library (which I found fascinating), and any of the Saturday markets (we lived in Notting Hill so we frequented the Portobello Road market). There are so many different types of markets. Notting Hill is known for antiques. There are others to feature fashion or art or home goods or food. Just walking around Notting Hill is interesting with such things as an award-winning loo and posh shops. You might want to check out Holland Park, too. It’s one of the most peaceful places in London. I loved London but it can be noisy and crowded so Holland Park was a refuge for me at times.

    Enjoy the cider! My husband and I just bottled some cider he homebrewed (although there’s not much brewing involved, just lots of fermentation).

    • TBM says:

      Thanks for all the tips. I have to write down all the suggestions. I can only imagine that there is a ton to see in Westminster Abbey. It looks massive. I live near Notting Hill so I am excited to visit. I agree with you, Holland Park is fantastic. We went a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.

      Enjoy your cider! Is it easier to homebrew than beer? I’ve only homebrewed beer.

      Thanks again for the suggestions!

      • Robin says:

        It’s much easier to brew. You have a couple of options. Start with good cider. We get ours from a local orchard. (We don’t have a cider press or we might be tempted to start with fresh apples.) We’ve tried boiling the cider, cooling it, and then adding the yeast. It was okay. Then we tried just adding yeast to the cider. Much more apple-y, but one batch ended up more vinegar than cider. By far the best method in terms of flavor has been to heat the cider (but do not boil). Let it cool. Put it in the fermentation bucket or carboy. Pitch the yeast. Bottle once fermentation has slowed/finished. The real key is the cider you start out with.

  7. IsobelandCat says:

    Harvey’s is probably the most famous Sussex brewery, but there are others. So a good excuse to get your boots on, go for a walk and end up in a opuntry pub! http://www.brightoncamra.org.uk/Breweries.html

    The Abbey is one of my favourite places in London. If you go there now – catch the 148 from Notting Hill – you will see the Garden of Remembrance outside.

  8. Cidar is one of the only alcoholic beverages I will drink. It’s like a summer time beer! But in all seriousness, I have tried every cidar we can get here in Australia. Haven’t seen this one yet though.

    • TBM says:

      I used to only drink cider, but I have branched out and started drinking some beers. I prefer dark ones. However, cider is my favorite. If I visit Australia I’ll have to ask you for some suggestions for good ciders. Thanks for visiting! I’ve been enjoying your blog. You have some yummy recipes.

  9. TBM says:

    Thanks Robin for the brewing cider tips! I’ll have to look into it.

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