Strugglers Inn Frontage

Strugglers Inn, Lincoln

The cathedral city of Lincoln is a vibrant and historic city. The Cathedral is world renown, the castle perhaps less well known.

The shopping area is filled with local stores ready for you to explore.

Just a minute or 2 from the main shopping area is an oasis of real ale in the form of the Strugglers Inn.

From the outside, you may perhaps be fooled into thinking that nothing special lies beyond the threshold. Don’t be fooled!

As you enter the pub, you get a warm welcome, not only from the landlady but from the blazing open fire (in winter obviously!).

Every inch of wall and ceiling plays homage to the glorious gift that is real ale. The mosaic of pump clips on the ceiling is a particularly impressive feature. Not only for its presence, but for the suggestion that each and every one of these clips has been on the beer pumps at some stage in the past.

The range and quality of ales that is available is impressive for such a small establishment. Each and every one is described and pulled by the knowledgeable staff or the landlady herself.

If you plan on visiting, please don’t expect any modern gadgetry. This is a gem of traditional pub. Visit for the experience, the decor and most especially the beer.

It is in my opinion, the best pub in Lincoln and very much worth a visit.

83 Westgate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN1 3BG

Basket of Bread


I read once (on a blog that sadly exists no more) about the wonderful simplicity of bread. The blog went on to talk about how glorious the smell of freshly baked bread is and how it can make a house seem home.

For me, there can be no more satisfying snack than warm fresh bread, fresh butter covered with a slice of high quality fresh ham. This is blissful both in texture and simplicity.

Bread is one of those simple things that we all take for granted. but how many of us select the mass produced sliced bread that fill the supermarket shelves? If we are feeling generous and in need of a treat, we may venture to the instore bakery and select a more traditional bread. I know which category I have sadly fallen into for many years.

It is sad that many independent bakers shops no longer exist. I recall as a child cycling to my paper round each morning and savouring the smell of the morning bread being baked. Even as a child, I enjoyed the exquisite odour.

When I read the aforementioned blog, and the way it described the smell of freshly baking bread permeating throughout the house, I was inspired to make this happen in my abode and to perhaps recreate those memories of the local bakers shop.

The art of making bread is probably one of the most historic recipes that we have today. Passed down through the generations. There is a bewildering plethora of recipes and types. In my opinion, there can never be a substitute for the simple white loaf.

I have to admit, I have not yet reached the level of making bread manually from the raw ingredients by hand. I do employ a modern bread maker to assist me. It is a convenient trade off between the time I have and my desires to go back to basics. It does however make devine bread and in doing so, fills my house with the sublime smell of freshly baking bread. I do hope to abandon the use of technology, and create the bread by hand.

There is a great benefit of baking your own bread. Even with a bread maker, the experience is all encompassing. The careful measurement of the simple ingredients, watching the bread rise and even the washing up afterwards. The activity transcends the ages and is such a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of today’s world.

Perhaps my blog will inspire you. Perhaps you will take up some baking. I encourage you to try. Go back to basics. Enjoy the experience of eating simple food that has been gifted to us from old.

Try fresh bread!

Small flower in class. White background

Simple things in life

In todays world, it is so very simple to succumb to the complexities in life that surround us. Equally, the complexities often make life convenient and lazy.

As I age, I am coming to recognise that so many things that appear simple, are in-fact, insanely complicated.

Do you ever stop and appreciate what life is surrounding you with? Do you consider the effort and complexity that is expended in making things seemingly simple? You only have to consider your winter mornings routine and the things that you take for granted. You wake to a warm house as the heating has come on. You turn the lights on. You turn the tap on and are provided with free flowing clean water. You may make a hot drink of Tea and Coffee.

All these things seem simple. Rest assured there is a sea of human endeavour and technology that makes these things possible. We harvest the earths resources, we manufacture, we transport, we build pipelines. All this is done to ease the burden and challenges of the human life.

Regrettably, most of those that consume these things on a daily basis give little or no thought about what it takes to make them happen. Perhaps if they did, the world would be a very different place.

I live in a first world country. I do not need concern myself with where the next meal is coming from. I need not concern myself with how to keep warm or hydrated. Life is so very simple and convenient. Sadly, for millions of people, this is not the case.

As I develop my blog and my associated thought processes, I have decided to create a series of articles about “The simple things in life”. Its aim is simple. Its aim is to discuss the simple things in life and perhaps provoke people to consider what they have and how lucky they are. To perhaps encourage people to try new things that can lead them to a better understanding.

The idea came from a wonderful couple of friends, who live on a tight budget but provide me constant motivation as they undertake simple tasks from craft to cookery to music. I am sure if they read this (and I think they will) they will know who they are. The inspiration they provide me leads me to try new things. They provide much inspiration for the creation of this blog and of some of its contents.

I thank them for their simple gift to me; Inspiration.

The Feather Star, Wirksworth

Some of the best pubs in the UK are to be found in the countryside, small towns and villages. The Feather Star in Wirksworth is no exception to this.

Nestled on St Johns Street in the Derbyshire Village of Wirksworth, the Feather Star is a relatively new establishment. It markets itself as an ale house and record shop. In this day and age, that may seem a very strange combination, and to a degree it is, but it works remarkably well.

   Walking in through the front door is a little like stepping back in time, reminiscent of someone’s front room but with a shop style window.

The compact bar is in the corner of the room and there is an impressive range of real and craft ale.

As you venture up the stairs, you are met by racks of old vinyl albums for sale. There is a glorious selection and if you like the old LP’s it is difficult to imagine leaving the premises without making a purchase.

In the upstairs seating area the sense of music and fun continues. One of the main tables in this room is actually a twin record deck covered by glass. Music memorabilia is plentiful. In the corner is a pile of games and I can only imagine being in here on a cold winters evening, playing games and drinking beer. It must be totally sublime.

The pub has such a great feeling to it. It has a sense of tradition whilst at the same time managing to entertain with its quirky features. One of the most quirky parts must be the toilet. I can honestly say I have seen anything quite like this.

If you are ever in the area, I would strongly recommend a visit.

English Pubs

There can be no Englishman on this planet that does not appreciate the local hostelry known as the traditional English pub.

I think it is important at this stage, to define what I consider to be a traditional English pub. I am not referring to the big pub chains. Such chains are, in my opinion, far from a traditional pub. They have their place however. If you want to know exactly what you are going to get, usually with overworked, underpaid, inexperienced landlords and mediocre quality. I do refer to independent, quality pubs in traditional buildings with great atmosphere, good beer and food where the locals go. Independent ownership also means the landlord is likely to run a fine establishment and know his trade.

The great British pub is a true institution. They are a comfortable escape from the day to day life. They offer a warm welcoming atmosphere and can be the heart of the community. A true pub is a place where you can go and talk to friends or strangers alike.

Many of these pubs have a great history, the interior is often old fashioned and worn, whilst being fascinating in its intricacy.

A true pub will know how to keep the English Ale in great condition ready to be sampled by the thirsty regulars. The staff will know the beers that are all characters in themselves.

In short, they are traditional but different. Warm and Welcoming. Uniquely different.

I consider them to be my second home!

You may guess, that I like a beer and am of a certain age where I want to socialise in a comfortable safe environment. In other words, I like good pubs.

Whilst there are many guides out there, some of the organisations that write them have a different agenda. They need to make money so include pubs that shouldn’t really be listed. They often exclude pubs due to local politics.

I will, from time to time, reflect on a pub that I have visited that is worthy of a mention. When I feel this way, I will write about them on this blog under the category of pubs. Look out for my recommendations, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Such blog entries will be my own thoughts. Influenced by no-one other than myself.

I hope you will enjoy reading these entries as much as I will have enjoyed researching them!


There is a big discussion right now about the new Fintech banks. The like of Starling, Monzo, and N26 are all gaining customers at such a huge rate at the cost of the high street banks. But why is this happening?

On the face of this, it is somewhat counter-intuitive. Don’t people want to be able to go into the branch and talk to someone? What about cash? What about when things go wrong?

For myself, things have moved on. Whilst I recognise that the high street is important, and we need to do something to support it, customer service and efficiency are so key to the way I live my life.

We also need to understand just how often we want to speak to our bank and when. I don’t actually recall the last time that I wanted to, but I am totally sure it wasn’t on a weekday! I have so much power and control on my phone or browser so it is rare I need to. I do recall how easy it was to just chat via the app.

The way we live our lives has changed. The high street banks haven’t. It is as simple as that. Most people now work and can’t get to a branch. Why would you need to go to a branch anyway when you can do it online?

The way the new banks embrace technology, the way they challenge the status quo and make things so much quicker and easier is incredible. Who thought 3-4 years ago that you could open a new account in 5 minutes whilst sitting in the garden!

I find customer service so utterly important. It determines if I use an organisation or not. It also determines if I promote or detract amongst those that I influence. It seems that in this endeavour the fintech’s  also have the answer. Latest Surveys put them in 2nd and 3rd place. Which? also recognises this ability and has started recommending some of them. Impressive indeed.

There is a saying that says, “The only constant in life is change”. I believe this is true. Admittedly, the pace of change can sometimes be slightly bewildering, but change will always be present. I believe those that both embrace change but remember the service and values are the ones that will both survive and flourish. Those that resist change will fall by the wayside. This is the new way of life and we must adapt to this change.



Just stop for a moment

The world is a busy place. Many say it is overly so.

I regularly commute by train and as I look around, what I see scares me more than a little. If you are reading this on a train, just stop a moment. Look around. How many people do you see on their phones?

It seems to me, that not occupying 100% of your time is fast become socially unacceptable. But why?

The brain is much like a human muscle. Sure, it needs exercise, but it also needs rest. When you think of it in these terms, do you see a sport professional working out every waking moment? Of course you don’t. Human body parts need a rest!

It may seem like an odd thing to say, but by just stopping for a short period each day will likely give you so much more benefit than reading that last email or responding to that text. Let them wait. No one needs an instant response by these communications methods. Instead spend that time reflecting on life, on yourself. Look out the window, look at the world. Just take it all in and give your brain that much needed break.

You may be surprised at the outcome. It is often so wonderful just to observe and not over think. Let your subconscious brain look after you and relax.

I am on a train writing this blog and I have taken my own advice! I spent a luxurious 10 minutes just letting the countryside wiz by. Staring at the magnificence of mother natures clouds and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face. It made me feel alive. It made me feel refreshed. It made me want to write this blog.

So my advise to you, is for just a few short minutes every day, Stop and give your brain a rest.

Go on, give it a try.