No 4: Prosecco

No 4: Prosecco

On a recent night out at The Weighbridge Brewhouse, down near the Outlet Centre, one of my dining companions and myself decided to have a glass of Prosecco. Which gave me the perfect opportunity to do this post, No 4 Prosecco, in my series Swindon in 50 drinks.

The Prosecco served in The Weighbridge is from Berry Bros and Rudd see image below. And it wasn’t a bad drop I have to say.

They also serve a rather nice Berry Bros and Good Ordinary Claret – of which I’m rather fond.

The Prosecco served at the Weighbridge

The Rise and Rise of Prosecco

It’s interesting how, in recent years, Prosecco has blown the Spanish Cava out of the wine rack when we’re looking for a more wallet-friendly celebration drink than Champagne. Something I wrote about in this piece: https://swindonian.me/2018/05/16/the-prosecco-party/

‘Prosecco, like it’s big sister, Champagne, takes its name from its place of origin. In this case the village of Prosecco, a suburb of Trieste. Even if you knew that you may not know that, as this Vine Pair blog all about the stuff points out, ‘the name ‘prosecco’ is actually Slovenian, from prozek, or “path through the woods.” Prior to being called Prosecco, the region was known as Puccino. Today, Prosecco production extends beyond the small village, but that’s where it all began.

DOC and DOCG

DOCG and DOC are quality classifications. Italian wine law states that DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia –  is the highest quality designation.

DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata – is an Italian assurance of quality for wine and food. To get this label a product must stick to the quality assurance rules and the location defined in the rules. Since 2009 Prosecco has had to have at least DOC accreditation.

The difference between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco

For the full lowdown on the above read this blog here: https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/whats-the-difference-between-prosecco-champagne-and-cava but the key thing to remember is that for a sparkling wine to call itself Champagne it HAS to be made in the Champagne region of France with the Méthode Champenoise – thought to be the invention of a monk by the name of Dom Perignon. And later refined by the widow (veuve) Cliquot. Two names that remain the most famed of all the Champagne houses. I’ll drink to that!

Unlike Champagne, which is fermented in giant metal vats, Prosecco is fermented in the bottle in a process called the charmat method.

And on that note, there’s little else to say other than Cin Cin, Salut, Cheers and Salud!

3D Printing – SED Developments

3D Printing – SED Developments

3D Printing: it’s older than you think

It might surprise you to know that 3D printing has been around since the 1980s. Yet it’s only been in recent years that the technology developed to the point where it allowed printing on a small scale. And with that, the explosion of 3D Printing into the home began. 

See also this post, Additive Manufacturing and how it all began.

What does this mean for you?

It means that we, as SED Developments, can offer you a 3D printing design service that works for you. The only limits on what we can design is that of your imagination. The free reign of creativity allowed by 3D printing has led us to creating, amongst other things:

  • Diddy dog-bone-shaped zip pulls for Hannah Dosanjh wash bags
  • A remote-controlled, model snow plough
  • Personalized key rings
  • Models of the Eiffel Tower 
  • And a badge for a 1930s vintage Vauxhall car – where it wasn’t possible to recreate the badge

    You have only to ask us. But, if you have a 3D printer tucked away at home that you’re not using to best advantage, we can help you produce designs so you can get it working for you.

Cookie cutters and more

Here at SED Developments we love baking. Our baked goods taste fab but aren’t, we’re happy to admit –not the prettiest. That’s why we provide the tools for all you talented creatives out there to do what you’re good at it.

We love design and innovation so there’s no run-of-the-mill, bog standard cookie cutters here. Oh no. Hence, we have a cow face (it’s moos to us too!), a poo emoji, a Christmas jumper and an outline of Africa. To name but some. 

In fact, we’ve got dozens of designs for every occasion. You can see a mere few of them in the gallery below and the rest are in our Ebay shop.

And we’ll create a cookie cutter just for you… send us a silhouette or outline of your desired shape (royalty free of course!) and we’ll print your cookie cutter.

Let’s create with SED Developments 3D Printing

So, if you have a cookie cutter design you want customising, or a creation you want either printing or designing, then let’s have a chat. Contact us on 01793 705380 or email us at jo@sed-developments.co.uk. We’re also on Facebook and Instagram, catch us there.

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Last Orders – by John Stooke

Wow! Yet another Swindon-related book. How fantastic. Hot on the heels of Swindon in 50 Buildings and the Ken White Bio/retrospective – both by me – and France Bevan’s recent book we have Last Orders by John Stooke.

John Stooke’s new book, Last Orders, is launching at Swindon Central Library at 11am on Saturday 19th October. You’ll be able to buy the book in the library shop after the launch.

About Last Orders

Last Orders is the result of four years of meticulous research by John – and hours spent writing in The Blunsdon Arms. Well it would have to be a pub where John worked wouldn’t it?

Supporting Charity

Some of the book’s proceeds are going to support Swindon Women’s Aid. The charity will receive a direct donation of £3 from each £10 selling price.

The book runs to 400 pages, includes 800 images and is an impressive heritage record of Swindon’s best known disappeared alehouses.

Natasha Moyles, spokesman for SWA said, “We at Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service are delighted to have been chosen as the beneficiary of this fascinating project. It is a continuing challenge to raise adequate funds for the essential work we do locally. Initiatives such as John’s enable us to continue to help more victims of domestic abuse within Swindon”

Other Events

John is giving a talk to Swindon Civic Voice on Thursday the 7th November – more information on that here: https://www.swindoncivicvoice.org.uk/2019/10/talk-john-stooke-last-orders/

The Swindon Civic Voice talk aside, John book sales and signings at:

  1. The Designer Outlet Centre: November 16th
  2. The West Swindon Centre: November 23rd
  3. STEAM Museum: November 30/31
  4. The Brunel Centre: December 8th
  5. The Old Town Co-op: December 14th

An ideal gift for the CAMRA and real ale lover methinks. And one that supports such a splendid cause.

No 3: The Bloody Mary

No 3: The Bloody Mary

Continuing our journey round Swindon in 50 drinks, this post features the Bloody Mary you see in the picture below – at The Tuppeny in Swindon’s Old Town.

I saw this image of this rather splendid looking Bloody Mary on the Twitter stream of The Tuppenny in Old Town.

Now while I don’t care for too many cocktails, I am partial to this one. So seeing this … part drink/part… snack piqued my interest.

About the Bloody Mary

Legend has it that the Bloody Mary drink is named for Queen Mary. She of the five-year reign in which she tried to turn the country back to Catholicism.

The story of its invention is a long one and you can read it all here: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2016/06/invented-bloody-mary-drink/ The story begins with an American bar in Paris, that opened on Thanksgiving Day 1911, by an expat and horse jockey named Ted Sloan.

How to make a Bloody Mary here:
https://youtu.be/Alt-ehDc3fc

What’s in a Bloody Mary?

This cockail contains vodka, tomato juice, and combinations of other spices and flavourings including Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, garlic, herbs, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, lime juice and/or celery salt. 

The drink is often taken as a hangover cure or ‘ hair of the dog’ drink, reputed to cure hangovers with its combination of a heavy vegetable base (to settle the stomach), salt (to replenish lost electrolytes), and alcohol (to relieve head and body aches).

Its reputation as a restorative beverage contributes to the popularity of the Bloody Mary in the morning and early afternoon, especially at brunches. Which might explain why, when I went to The Tuppeny on a Thursday evening to sample the magnificent specimen you see above, they hadn’t got the necessary ingredients. Disappointed! Another time I hope.

They did though – and do have – some splendid craft beers. Which I sampled with gusto.

As it says on their website:

‘We carry an amazing, ever changing range of craft beer and cider sourced both from our own region and from across the world. Our house beers are from the crack team at West Berkshire Brewery, located just up the road from Swindon, these guys brew some of the most exciting award winning beers around.

Always available on keg from their Renegade range is  Craft Lager and West Coast Pale Ale, and they supply us with their multi-award winning cask beer “Good Old Boy” as well. We work closely with these guys and will also be running their pilot brews and any other exciting, cutting edge beers when the opportunity arises.’


The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

I love a whodunnit. Who doesn’t? So last night’s performance of The Girl on the Train at the Wyvern theatre was much enjoyed.

I confess that, somehow or other, this million-seller novel by Paula Hawkins and film adaptation starring Emily Blunt, had pretty much passed me by. Which is sort of appropriate if you stop to think about it.

The Girl on the Train

The train is a perfect vehicle ( sorry!) around which to build a thriller. So it’s not surprising that Agatha Christie (the queen of crime herself) made brilliant use of it it Murder on the Orient Express. Also, Ethel Lina White’s 1936 novel The Wheel Spins – better known as The Lady Vanishes – uses the conceit of a mystery centred around a train. I don’t want to say too much about the plot of The Girl on the Train but there are resonances between the two – in that each features a young woman who has seen something on/from a train but is persuaded by others that she hasn’t. In this play the central character, Rachel Watson, has doubt planted in her mind by her ex-husband.

How is he able to achieve that? Because Rachel is a drunk on a downward emotional spiral. One of several themes running through this play is that of domestic abuse – in this case gaslighting.

In this central role, Samantha Womack ( of Eastender’s fame) is entirely believable as a young woman depressed by her infertility and the loss of her marriage, her husband to another woman who IS fertile and has produced a child. She gives a strong performance in what must be a challenging role.

Here Samantha Womack talks about the role: https://youtu.be/oEAHU2YctHc

The rather nifty passing train effect on the stage before the play began: https://youtu.be/bd1MN5UIPX0

The Stage Adaptation

It’s always interesting to see how a book is adapted for the stage. I thought this was rather nicely done. The passing of the days and the changes of location in this production are smoothly executed. My companion for the evening, who as it happens, had recently finished the novel, thought the adaptation was rather good.

All the elements of a good thriller are there. There’s the requisite number of red herrings for a start. All in all a cracking play.

The play is running at the Wyvern Theatre until Saturday 12th October – so if you’ve got a free evening get your tickets and get on board!

Book your tickets here: https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/tickets-the-girl-on-the-train-swindon-2019

The crime scene that greeted us on our return from the interval

The official trailer for the play: https://youtu.be/O2zY-9vJVHk

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