The first thing to say is that this is the pub in Beguildy not the better known Radnorshire Arms Hotel in Presteigne. If you Google “Radnorshire Arms Beguildy” Google will misdirect you to The Radnorshire Arms Presteigne. Here is a link to a Bing map of the right location.
Beguildy hovers on the ancient border between England and Wales, and before the pointless reorganisation of local counties it was in the Welsh county of Radnorshire. The pub is, well, a pub – a nice old country pub with no airs and graces. The food was a cut above normal pub fare as the owners are, it turns out, foodies. GL will not pretend that this is a coincidental: he won’t review any old pub even in the Ludlow/Borders area where gourmet pubs are so frequent one runs the risk of finding a Michelin star in ones’ tyre if parking badly in the pub car park.
The She Demon Of The Marriage Bed had the soup of the day and GL had a ham hock terrine but was so engrossed in the terrine that he forgot to try her soup. Top reviewing points GL! However, the Terrine was firmly compressed & delicious, without the masses of jelly that seems to be obligatory when it’s served elsewhere: GL likes his jelly with ice cream rather than meat.
The She Demon Of The Marriage Bed had Duck with braised Red Cabbage and Mash. Duck is a very under appreciated meat thinks GL, perhaps its sin is to be associated too closely to Beatrix Potter? No, that’s stupid. GL had a forkful and it was well cooked and tender. Red cabbage is a brave choice in GL’s opinion: it’s one of those things we think we ought to like because it is healthy and can brag about eating to make one’s friends feel morally inferior. Braising didn’t make much difference – it was eaten to please mummy & was perfectly good, as was the cake of mashed potato.
GL had grilled Sea Bass with King Prawns and veg. It was lovely. Flakes of fish with that delicate fragrance crumbliness that always says: “Sweaty Spanish peasant fisherman invading British Coastal water” but which tastes fine nonetheless. GL rather likes king prawns and very good they were but it’s not clear what exactly they added to the dish other than being another bit of fishy something. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more. Lovely anyway. Vegetables crunchy and not boiled into to minerallessness. Chips ara GL obsession. He gets rubbish chips in so many top restaurants that he thinks it may be a secret chef in-joke. Chips here fall into the ‘competent but don’t get cocky‘ class: just not chunky – which is the hallmark of perfection, shut up yes it is.
The GLs finished off with Eton mess. Short of putting a turd on top it’s hard to see how anyone can make Eton Mess taste bad. The turd was missing and my only criticism is that it was in small glasses. GL wanted MOAR!
The service was prompt pleasant and polite, albeit the pretty young girl serving us seemed to have a memory worse than mine, a fate GL wouldn’t even wish on Nigel Farage. We wandered out into the snowy Radnorshire night much fatter.
2014 was a bit sucky for GL. I wish I could say 2015 looks better but so far there’s no joy job hunting: moving to the countryside looks good on those dozy TV shows but in reality the rural economy is very weak. Still, plough on.
On the plus side we have a new sprog coming in May, which will be a lovely thing. Children really are a blessing and my 2 year old cheers me up no end with his enthusiasm.
Also I plan to start a coding blog. I often want to put hacking stuff on here but it would look a bit odd in an ex-lawyer’s blog so I haven’t. A new geeking blog will allow me to get stuff off my chest.
Merry New Year!!
Geeklawyer feels that this ought to be the start of a Dadaist bar joke:
“A hiker & cow walked into a field. The barman said to the hiker ‘cows are more dangerous than you think chummy’ “
But Anti-humour, like its cousin Humour, needs impeccable timing and GL is in the sort of fucking pain that needs morphine & mead for relief rather than sissy Ibuprofen.
GL has been yomping for the past 3 weeks to get fit for the batshit crazy Long Mynd Hike. Having not done any yomping since living in Brighton 5 years ago GL has the physique of Bernard Manning after a Guinness sponsored pie-eating championship. Not promising for a competition that is rated as ‘Extreme’. The training regime consisted of walking 2 or 3 hours a day together with several 20+ mile hikes followed by a recovery day. After the 20 mile hikes collapsing into a hot bath with a cup of very sweet tea was a sensual pleasure that would get one locked up in many southern US states. All was going so well. So very well. GL harboured the faint dawning hope that he might just finish the competition, and perhaps (with the aid of forbidden incantations to ancient evil gods) within the allotted 24 hours. He even harboured fantasies that an impressed Bar Standards Board would forgive all past sins and readmit him to the Bar.
So. The next stage was upping the goal to 30 mile yomps in the last week prior to the competition. The plan was to get up at 4am drive to an arbitrary start line at Snailbeach and then walk in a loop for 30 of the 50 miles. All went well: he started out at 5am and got to the pretty but unpleasantly and inconsiderately gradiented Corndon Hill 5 miles away by 7:30am. Not exactly an Olympic speed but neither was it too shabby for an oval shaped GL. Of course there was no topological reason for the inclusion of the top of Cordon hill in the route, it was just gratuitous sadism by the boy scout organisers (let us not open that can of worms). They could have had the humanity to put the route round the side of the hill but there’s no competition fun unless someone dies of an asthma attack in the process of imitating a Chamonix goat. So upwards GL panted, chubby thighs burning. And down from the top he came with the tops of those chubby thighs still burning: he wondered why evolution hadn’t had the wit to equip mankind with a Kers system.
Cows: why did it have to be cows?
At the bottom of Corndon hill is a field of cows. Farmer John’s cows (GL is led to believe). The public footpath does lead into that field of cows. Now, footpath routing can be ambiguous on a 1:50000 OS map, but it does properly lead into this field at least. In wandered placid peaceful GL – friend to all the flesh and fowl of the World – something of a St Francis of Assisi. Immediately, one cow was spooked and fled. Well, sorry about that Ms Timid. But next to her was a lady with a somewhat less tremulous character. She wasn’t putting up with some lowlife in her ‘hood. Oh no. She charged.
GL doesn’t know if you’ve ever been charged by a cow or not. It sounds rather funny. Cows are docile timid things and they convert sunlight and grass into the nicer things in life: cool white milk, tasty steaks. And Trampling Death. Wait what?! Death. A cow weighs on average about 1500 lbs, which is about what a double garage weighs. GL can outrun even the fittest garage. An enraged cow is a different matter. Why did they attack? In GL’s case he had no dog and the cows seemed to have no calves so it is a mystery what upset her. The suspicion is, and with an eye to the UK’s Claimant friendly libel laws it is no more than a suspicion, that the cows were associates of the Motion Picture Association and thus ill disposed towards GL. He can think of no other rational reason for this unwarranted unprovoked attack. GL leapt into a bush next to the barbwire fence to avoid the onrushing bovine psychopath; when it still pressed on with it’s attack he had to leap across the barbed wire fence like an alarmed Steve Lewis. Alas, gravity and GL’s knees have disagreed several times before, resulting in a torn cruciate ligament that has never fully healed. This time there was an electric jolt of agonising pain to the left knee which promptly gave way. GL limped for 1/2 a mile across country to a nearby house for aid.
GL sits on his sofa with his left knee swollen to the size of a medicine ball and probably a cruciate ligament that now looks like a bit of well chewed dental floss. And where is his morphine? Damned busybody politicians outlawed pain relief that is both effective and entertaining.
GL is now on a crusade to ban ethical cow meat. They deserve no pity or compassion. Like ISIS terrorists they must be crushed mercilessly before they crush us.
Update: after seeing the doctor it appears (touch wood) to be soft tissue damage & not the cruciate ligament. Phewz.
It’s been an eternity coming but today I lost my case against the MPA members. The High Court held me liable for infringing the copyrights of MPA and tortiously conspiring to injure their interests by unlawful means. Shitty and unnecessary: someone I regarded as a trustworthy colleague fucked me over to save himself. Hardly nice even if it was understandable: had he not done so he and I would have been fine. Like a lot of clever people Chris Elsworth was prone to dumb choices. As it is I now owe the MPA £1.3million, HMRC £1.3 million & much more to come. I’m searching for my cheque book.
Life moves on. I will be bankrupted by this but I am planning my comeback. I’ve always had a fascination with Usenet, long before I met & then bought Newzbin, and I intend to develop technology to update Usenet and make it suitable for the 21st century & hopefully more generally popular. My other obsession is privacy technology and securing Internet chat (somewhat ironically) against government surveillance . And I am hoping to get a beta of my secure email service running soon.
First, you’ll be relieved to hear, this time GL was able to remember what he ate. The foodless restaurant review was a novelty well worth a try but perhaps a tad too avant-garde. Second the French Pantry is owned by a friend, Simon, so there will be no pretence that this is a neutral review: but had it been shit this review would not have been written. As it is TFP is GL’s favourite restaurant in Ludlow and he did pay his own tab.
Mr & Mrs GL were accompanied to TFP by two glamorous sophisticated London types: Betty & Rufus, respectively a historical person and a journalist. We hoped to impress them with our knowledge of fine eating and experience of indoor lavatories. We even made sure there was no dung on our wellies, well sophisticated us.
That said GL’s first faux pas was to order the Burgundy snails. Not that there is anything wrong with snails and TFP’s rendition of them was perfect, but if one asked Egon Ronay to fry a car tyre it would still taste like a car tyre. GL adores snails. He really does but he can’t figure out why: they taste like pencil rubber. And that’s why they come slathered in garlic butter. If you presented GL with a bucket of his own entrails slathered in garlic sauce he’d eat them and he suspects most people would. But the puzzle & paradox of snails remains: characterless yet desired. To rub it in the waitress said that it was almost exclusively men who ordered them. The crushing implicit suggestion was that it was just a testosterone thing. GL?! Macho?
Rufus was jolly sporting and rather than a well deserved snigger at GL he ordered the snails as well and was just as delighted. If you like snails TFPs are as good as they get. They don’t make much of starter however, being rather insubstantial, and GL would rather have had them as an extra, a starter starter.
Main course for GL was Grilled Hake Fillet, Seafood & Chorizo Paella. It’s always a pleasure to see a bowl of lemoned water arrive to accompany one’s dish; things will become tactile and messy. Shelling prawns is very schoolboyish fun – a bit like pulling the wings off flies but more socially acceptable and less likely to result in a trip to the school psychiatric counsellor. TFP’s Paella suffered from a slight excess of liquid. It should have been bone-dry unlike, say, Risotto which should be a bit sticky, but it was no big deal as the flavour was fragrant and it wasn’t overwhelmed with the pointless extras that usually ruin the simplicity of Paella. The Hake was exquisite: firm and sweet crumbling at the lightest press of a fork.
Rufus had Moules Marinieres a dish that comes with lemon water and, traditionally, an obligation to build a small castle out of the empty shells. The mussels were fine (they were in the Paella too) and no-one in their right mind drinks the liquor so who can say what that was like?
Betty and Mrs GL had the Toulouse Style Cassoulet. This is a dish more suited to a winter’s evening: so heavy & filling that after few bowls one could go out and plough the fields without needing a tractor. In truth Mrs GL has always politely declined to be hooked up to a plough to test this thesis. Having had the generosity to finish off Mrs GL’s Cassoulet GL can say that the duck was delicate and fell off the bone easily; the sausage was garlicy and well textured. Betty wasn’t keen on the oiliness of the dish but one suspects that was merely dieter guilt: she is known to be a bit mental.
TFP is a tiny place so it can get a bit ‘intimate’ and there is usually some bellend talking too loudly. That was us on Wednesday but the service is good and the bill reasonable enough that there was no point in doing the usual runner when it arrived (Plus, Simon has our home address).
They arrived at the Lion Hotel courtesy of that most modern manifestation of serendipity: the Travelzoo special offer. Would GL be delivered into a gourmand heaven, or exotic bacteria and a course of powerful antibiotics?
The Lion Hotel has been around since the 16th Century. Its interior seems not to have been radically updated since then: the look and smell evoked vivid nostalgic memories of GL’s old boarding school. Alas that did not bode well for the food: he ascribes his lead lined stomach to the sentient fare found in most public schools of the 60s. Nor was the ambience much better. Granted it was a weekday evening but it felt as though they were in death’s grey waiting room; one of the Four Horsemen was finishing his dessert before laying waste to a Dafur refugee camp. The waiting staff, by contrast, were very helpful and gave the lie to UKIP clowns: god forbid they should have been served by sullen bored Shrewsbury teenagers rather than enthusiastic Poles planning to use their handsome wages to buy a tractor factory in Gdansk. GL thinks that they knew he was a restaurant reviewer because they shoved them into a corner where passing farmers could gawp at them through the windows but where they couldn’t smell the toilets or see what the other diners were eating.
The meal? Ah well, there was a bit of difficulty there. GL is barely remember what he ate. This is generally a blessing in the antechamber to the afterlife; how would you feel being able to remember every day of the 50,000 years spent waiting to pass on to a better place? Not very bloody happy you can be assured. So as a defence the grey cells fade and as the sun sinks below the horizon the day’s memories recede into a warm fuzzy but vague glow. So, GL struggles. The meal was, oh Christ! the adjective bag is empty, erm, O.K. He remembers the Ham Hock starter. He remembers it because these are rarely done well, huge globs of jelly that looks like frozen snail slime drowning some third rate pork left over from yesterday’s £10 All-You-Can-Eat lunch buffet. It was actually good. The main course was fish he thought. At least he assumed so since it was the one that got away and he’s buggered if he remembers it. He thinks his wife was there but he can’t remember that either. It’s the ambience – it’s got a Shining thing going on.
So that’s the Lion Restaurant: once glorious, now fading and waiting to die. A bit like GL’s career, but lets not get all bitter. If you want somewhere to dump a mistress, somewhere private that will swallow up any amount of excess emotion this is it.
The next review GL will remember the food, he swears it, and don’t give a damn if it makes for an old fashioned review.
[edit: changed to the mandatory third person house style . Doh, Facepalm]
In restarting his blog one of the things Geeklawyer will be doing less of is the law (being now an ex-barrister); what he’ll be doing much more of is reviews of shit that I really like. And golly does he like eating out and drinking.
How not to do an asshole restaurant review? Hard. Some food critics do reviews that have little to do with the food or the restaurant but are more about the reviewer & their West London social tribe (*cough* AA Gill). Buuuut, if the restaurant really is dull? How does one step on the chef’s meatballs without being thought to do so just for laughs? Chefs are delicate creatures protective of their shells and GL, while being an admitted cunt, doesn’t like to twist the knife too hard.
An additional complication is that GL is now married to a sweet naive girl who has promised conjugal consequences if there is any reoccurrence of old-skool GL behaviour. Honestly, she is worse even than the infamous Ruthie and she refuses to be referred to in reviews as ‘Er Indoors or The Little Woman pfft.
My first review, of the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury, will appear shortly. Welcome back
Many of you wept inconsolable tears of grief when the old blog shuttered its doors several years ago. This tragedy was forced on GL by necessity: he had his anonymity stripped from him in an egregious abuse of privacy by ne’er do wells in the film industry. His controversial and contrarian scribblings were being used to portray his character in an accurate light. You can imagine how unfortunate that was.
But. He is back. And still in the third person.
The new blog will still engage in ranting but, inevitably, will be less … intemperate, and with less alcohol fuelled rage. Since GL is no longer a practicing lawyer the contents will reflect a more varied life than he had hitherto: film & restaurant reviews, motoring, photography geekery, and pretty much any other ephemera that flits across GL’s horizon.
It may not be possible to resurrect any of the old blog posts from the old site and add them to this site but if it is possible it will be done.
Last week was a bit mental: back from skiing plus the Transformational Government conference and two trials. With all that over Geeklawyer has been able to restore the real blog. Now he just has to prepare for the renewed DoS attack!
This blog will be kept as a backup – ‘just in case‘.
The Sun reports that a trial in Reading descended into anarchy when the defendant, a pikey accused of a shooting, leapt from the dock and made a successful dash for freedom. In the process he bit a cop’s nose. He seems to have been helped by friends who were waiting.
The funny bit that caught Geeklawyer’s eye was that the prosecuting barrister Ian Hope tried to be a hero. He threw off his wig and gown and gave chase. It could have ended so well but one of McInerney’s accomplices tripped him up as he ran.
Mr Hope will now be rueing the fact that he didn’t prepare well enough for his case.
Police are stopping all pony and traps in the area.
- The Radnorshire Arms, Beguildy
- Happy New Year – 2015
- Beaten up by a cow.
- Rather shitty day.
- Restaurant review: The French Pantry, Ludlow
- Restaurant review: The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury
- Restaurants: cooking up a review
- The blog returns!
- Proper blog back up
- Tripping over the pike
- Pole dancing for the judge
- Is this how government works?