Sunday, 19 April 2009

I was on my way to Sainsbury's...(another Alcohol Question perhaps?)

I was on my way to Sainsbury's this afternoon...

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I probably wouldn't have believed it Ho Ho Ho... the antics some people get up to when they may have stayed too long at the Bar!!

That'll cost a pretty penny to put right and there's no mistake.

Young whippersnappers what will they get up to next.

An engineer assessing the site this afternoon said it was done some time early Sunday morning.

Friday, 17 April 2009

I was in Sainsbury's yesterday... (The Great Alcohol Question)

I was in Sainsbury's yesterday evening to pick up the odd bit of shopping and to check what was left on the 'short date' shelf, as I do.
After collecting potatoes I passed the cheeses and turned left into the spirits aisle to pick up a bottle of vodka. Clustered round the vodka shelves was a small group of lads in their late teens and early twenties deciding what to get - "we'll get this one 'cause its only about 3 quid each" I overheard. That's a Sainsbury's litre of vodka at about £12 a time.
Some 15 minutes later I spotted the lads sat around on a makeshift bench, near the exit to the Green Park Station part of the Sainsbury's site in Bath. Between them on the bench were 4 paper cups, a 2 litre bottle of a famous brand of cola and the aforementioned vodka.
This activity seemed so well organised that I can only assume that it's a regular occurrence.
"We'll go to town for a night out, but on the way we'll pick up a bottle and get half pissed on the cheap, before finishing the night hammered in a pub or club"
We are currently being bombarded by talk of initiatives to curb our 'binge drinking culture'. The government, medical officers and advisers are issuing statements and reports left right and centre asking for increased controls on the 'on-trade' such as pubs and clubs and yet these are the very places where alcohol can be consumed in a safe and controlled fashion.
Somehow we have ended up with more alcohol being consumed on the way to the pub than in the pub. Go figure.
One of the core issues here is price - as always when the consumer is being considered. Either alcohol is too expensive in pubs and clubs, or it's too cheap in supermarkets. At the moment the pubs are caught between a rock and a hard place. Most of the tenanted and leased pubs in this country are paying high rents and are being charged higher than free market prices for stock. Pubs are completely unable to compete with vodka at £12 per litre plus cola at 60p per litre. A large (50ml) vodka and cola in a pub will cost £3.50 or more and only 70p from a supermarket.
The companies that own the pubs that the tenants and lessees rent have massive debts running into many billions of pounds which they used to buy their great estates in the first place. In order to service this debt in a shrinking market they are overloading the rents on the properties. In addition with tied supplies the property owners can negotiate large discounts with the brewers and continue to charge their tenants the full price (or more) while pocketing the difference to further support their debt repayments.
The end result is, that this country is not only losing a valuable community resource - pubs - closing at the rate of 6 per day but the drinking masses are getting hammered at home on cheap and relatively unregulated drink.
I can truly see a time when there will be so few pubs in some areas that for any sort of social drinking life will be had by popping down to the the back door of the local shebeen, knocking and asking for Fred. Heavy drinkers will be going blind on the poorly distilled alcohol and criminals and terrorists will be providing the product and the security.
I do hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Mark of Friendship, Millbrook

The Daily(ish) Millbrook: "'Arking Back"
Congratulations and a warm welcome to the new lessees of The Mark of Friendship in Millbrook.
I had seen the ad in The Morning Advertiser and wondered who would be brave enough in these straitened times to take it on, and I'm still wondering how a place as small as Millbrook is able to support one local hostelry let alone 3.

Things being what they are with Punch these days, I hope Dick and Megan managed to squeeze a really good deal out of their BDM on the rent and tied supplies to get them a good start.

That said I am very much looking forward to enjoying the fruits of their cellar and wish them the very best of luck with this venture.(Picture courtesy of The Morning Advertiser/Punch Taverns)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Steeleye Span - St Georges Bristol

Steeleye Span at St Georges Bristol
Prompted by The Millbrooker's reminder about The Gigspanner gig at Kingsand, I went for a Google and found that Steeleye Span are indeed touring their music as the 40th Anniversary Tour, complete with Maddy Prior on vocals. Woo-hoo. Now I'll have to check my bank balance, train times, bus times and which planet I'm on, but I'd love to go.