The artist this week is Isle Of Wight born Michael Forrest. An artist trained as a Graphics designer who gathers his inspiration from Skateboards to pop art/culture. He is an artist “producing bold contemporary artwork, expressive abstracts and illustration brought to life using textures found with vitreous enamel and paint”.
To learn more about Michael here is his website and Facebook page
His artwork speaks volumes so here is a selection of his work.
Quarr Abbey Ale 6.5%
You can't visit a working Monastery and not sample the goodies on offer. OK so the Monks didn't actually brew this beer, this traditional Benedictine style ale was brewed for them by GODDARDS Brewery.
It maybe brewed by a brewery on the island but, the Coriander (don't let that put you off if you hate Coriander) and sweet Gale used in this recipe is actually grown in the grounds of Quarr Abbey by the Benedictine Monks. As I sip away I imagine the Benedictine Monks in silence creating this beer in their monastery with the faint background chants of the monks in prayer. Instead of the reality, possibility of some bearded men, or woman (un-bearded) cat a wailing to the music blaring out of the 1980's ghetto blaster.
I may have poured this in the wrong glass as the aroma is very subtle, there's a hint of sweetish malt and something else. Love the copper colour of this beer. This beer in my opinion is worthy of the Speciality beer regional winner 2014 accolade. The balance in this beer for me is spot on. In the aroma and tasting the malt appears first, then the hop and then there is that smell/taste I can only assume is the Sweet Gale. This beer is simply heavenly for me and one of my favourite Abbey ales. OK I haven't tasted many, but, this is going to take some beating.
I do wonder, does the Goddard brewer put some Gregorian chant on that ghettoblaster when he's creating this beer?
A visit to Quarr Abbey will feature next week.
COVERED IN WEEDS
Ventnor Botanical Gardens is definitely not covered in weeds! We discovered whilst visiting this garden they have their own beer made with hops grown on site. Alas I was too late to take a bottle home as they had sold out, and, if that wasn't enough the Sunday we were heading home was the day of their Beer Festival! Boo to bad timing!
The property is no longer owned by the council, so where it was once free to go in, (heard from a complaining visitor, but the very calm eloquent member of staff pointed out that actually the council tax they paid, £4 went towards the up keep) is now privately owned. It is now £7.50 to enter and coming from Cumbria I actually thought this was very reasonable as you could spend all day there! The meal in the restaurant was fantastic but we didn't allow ourselves enough time to wander out the back of the gardens to see the sea view and walk along the seafront at Steephill cove with not a car insight.
Ventnor Botanical Gardens is a must see on the Isle Of Wight, but, make sure you plan it as an all day outing, so you can mooch around the gardens, stand and stare at the flowers and sit and ponder at the wonder of life. It is also on the site of the Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, founded in 1868. And if the building was still standing, this would be the perfect place to get yourself back on your feet - although I'm not sure I'd want to leave. For the history of the place click here.
What an amazing day it was, through the trees we saw two buzzards circling and if that wasn't enough bird activity we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time as we saw a Hurricane and nine Spitfires fly over on their way to the Battle of Britain celebrations.
The Hot house is a must see too, although a night time visit when the flower is out is probably better, then you can see it in all it's glory.
Fancy a visit and want to know more here is their website and Twitter Links
Let me tempt you with some photo's of our visit.
Marvel Cottage is the place to stay on the Isle of Wight, why? Well this is it's surroundings for starters, two big fly fishing lakes, which for some extra wonga you can be taught to fly fish by the owner. In the shade we saw a massive fish and when I say massive I'm not exaggerating. I'm 5”3 & 3/4inch and it was at least the length of half of my body! We saw ducks galore as there was a small pond to the side of our cottage. And for the first time I saw two green woodpeckers. Marvel cottage is pretty much in the centre of the island and everything is 25 minutes reach away by car (less in some cases). There is a nice little walk to the town centre, 10/15 minutes was what Dr Sweetman (the owner of the cottage) told us. But it was more like 30minutes because I kept stopping to take photo's of nature and attempting to take photo's of Dragonflies.
Isle of Wight is the place to be if you are into your dinosaurs. We didn't actually go into the dinosaur exhibition because the entrance where all the ticky tacky touristy (nothing to do with dinosaurs) gifts were put us off. So we were a little disappointed with this. But, Dr Sweetman told us that actually the exhibition is bigger than it looks and IS fantastic. We wish we had ignored the tat at the entrance hall and gone in. If you are into fossils and the likes please visit and tell me what you thought.
Luckily for us our host knew a think or two about dinosaurs, having found a few in his time and at the top of his field. He even takes you out to the best places to find fossils!! Alas the time of year we went (September) meant that the tide was always in by noon and didn't go out till later in the afternoon. Fossil hunting by moonlight may be romantic, but if you saw one of the cliffs we saw... it did look a bit dodgy to be scratting under with a head torch. So we were gutted that whilst Whitby at this time of year has the tide right for daytime fossil hunting the Isle of Wight wasn't. But to be fair that didn't stop us from enjoying the Cottage surroundings and all the other places we visited on the IOW. When we venture back to the Isle of Wight we will definitely stop at Marvel Cottage again.
Marvel Cottage is on Twitter too or rather Dr Steve Sweetman.
And if I had a tip for holidays - take a fully charged second battery out with your camera be it a phone or a standard camera. The amount of times I've ran out of battery on both items when the day is not over I could scream, but I'd loose my voice! NB to self - take ones advice!!
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My nickname has nothing to do with any alcoholic measure. It is however all about a friend deciding one day whilst my hair was in plaits I looked like Laura Ingalls in 'The Little House on the Prairie'. She too was a Tomboy and a little short.
Places to visit
Robin Hoods Bay
Sweetheart Abbey (Scotland)
Isle of Wight P1
Isle of Wight P2
HoleHird Gardens (Cumbria)
Brougham Hall (Cumbria)
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