A Little More Pollocks

Last week I had a reader request a few more photo’s of Pollocks toy museum, so as to get a real sense of this little wonder. Ever keen to bring reading satisfaction, LWA is proud to present, by popular demand,  a second helping of toy treasures.

IMG_1532

IMG_1545

IMG_1552

IMG_1560

IMG_1570

IMG_1575

IMG_1576

IMG_1586

IMG_1627

IMG_1619

IMG_1611

IMG_1612

I do apologise for the terrible reflections in some of the photo’s but it was unavoidable given the sunny day! Looking back over all these treasures, I must say that I fancy another trip. I do hope the photos will inspire a few people reading to venture forth and visit this most excellent museum.

 

Jameson Gold Reserve

IMG_1701

Astute eagle eyed detective that you are, you may well have noticed that I haven’t bloody well posted a new article in five weeks! I do sincerely apologize for this dear reader, but my arch nemesis Darth Real Life has once again been snapping at my heels with the essential and oh so boring side of existence. Not to be melodramatic or anything. Still the waters have calmed and I declare that once more I shall prove an outstanding citizen and upholder of all that is light hearted and whimsical. This glittering citadel of foolishness is once again open, hurrah! To this end, please find below a most splendiferous St Patricks whiskey special, which has arrived but a month late. One can only assume it took the scenic route.

The Irish make some of the finest, most incredibly unique, and wonderfully complex whiskeys in the world. It thus astounds me that people celebrating St Patricks day around the world, usually honour the Irish by dumping green dye in their beer. God forbid that they might try some culturally significant, knock your socks off whiskey, which will get them drunk twice as fast. Thus let me bang the drum for one of Ireland’s greatest achievements, honestly it’s up there with Joyce and Beckett. Irish whiskey has two unique defining features. Firstly it is triple distilled which makes it incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Secondly it is made in pot stills that mix malted and un-malted barley, this practice came about as a means to keep costs down when the English introduced a tax on malted barley in 1785. The result is a whiskey which can have a great deal of complexity at a young age. Generally speaking Irish whiskeys are lighter and less bombastic than their Scottish cousins, but at their best they offer an incredible array of delicate flavours which are positively mind blowing. As introductions to this style go, you can’t go wrong with Green Spot and Redbreast 12. However in this instance I’ve opted to review Jameson’s Gold Reserve as it’s more widely available and a personal favourite of mine. Enough with the history lesson, let’s get on with the tasting notes!!!

Jameson Gold Reserve has a pleasant gentle nose, with honey, vanilla, green apple, and a majestic menthol mint. It’s an odd thing to say but it smells smooth. Upon hitting the taste buds, this whiskey springs to life, first with vanilla and sweet honey, then a brief toffee banana that somehow seamlessly blends into green apple and bitter gooseberry. The finish has some more gooseberry, incredible virgin oak tannins, and a subtle black pepper. It’s crisp and dry, which makes the whole experience feel refreshing. Ultimately I think this blended whiskey is a master class in perfectly combining bitter and sweet notes. If you’ve never had an Irish whiskey before you’re in for a treat and personally I think the Gold Reserve once acquainted with is sure to become a lifelong friend, Sláinte.

Verdict: The Wild Rover

Score: 90/100

 

Pollock’s Toy Museum

IMG_1616

A museum full of toys that has a name that rhymes with bollocks. It’s fair to say that Pollock’s was an easy sell for this big kid. It specializes in 19th century toys but has a wide array of playthings from all sorts of periods. Sadly a few highlight the offensive attitudes that Europeans have held at various moments in history. Thankfully the sparkling joy of childhood play makes up the majority of the items. Like so many of the unusual museums that are dotted around this part of the city Pollock’s is on the small side and some may be put off by the £6 entrance fee. I’m so glad I wasn’t one of them. It may be on the small side, but there are intriguing sights and items of interest everywhere in Pollock’s. Little gems included, the saucy Fraulein’s from 1925 with a string that lifts up their skirts, a four thousand year old clay rat from ancient Egypt that has moving wooden tail and mouth, and oh look Buzz and Woody are attempting to escape the museum! I also really liked the row of Russian nesting dolls that had Brezhnev, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin at the centre. It didn’t make my top three little gems though. It could have but alas where for art thou Putin?

IMG_1540

My favourite section in the museum without a doubt was filled with giant toy theatres. They were so beautifully crafted, with such an amazing eye for detail. One could imagine what a delight to play with they were, and I could just picture kids putting on a play with cardboard cut outs for Mum and Dad to enjoy. A close second in the favourites department was a room packed to the rafters with exquisite and oh so creepy Victorian dolls. The creaking wooden floors of the museum added an atmosphere of suspense and for a moment I could not help but feel that I was in a horror film. I should also mention the awesome 1950’s alien, robot, spaceman, Goodness. How could I possibly forget that! As a child who was constantly pew pewing laser death at the world, these incredible tin toys were my childhood dreams come to life!!!  At the end of the museum tour one is faced with the ultimate test of willpower, a shop full of toys. I was dismayed by how many grownups effortlessly succeeded at this ultimate test. Let me assure you dear reader that I was not one of them. All in all, I had a rather jolly and dare I say it fanciful hour of imaginary wondering walking round this museum. I definitely recommend the trip.

IMG_1593

Swingers (Crazy Golf)

IMG_1488

Having done a ton of work last week and organized what I hope will prove a most excellent Bachelor’s Party; I was most pleased to suddenly have a day all to myself. At last time to read philosophy, create art, and realize my potential! To be honest I mostly watched TV and worked on my couch potato skills. Nevertheless the day was not without some adventure.  For today I put pay to life’s boring bits and enjoyed some silly fun with a spot of golf in the City. Located right next to the Gherkin, Swingers is a terrific bar which has two awesome and dare I say it fiendish pitch and putt courses inside it. Entry is yours for a mere ten pounds. A great deal of my cousins are amazing at golf, I mean they’ve won trophies and stuff. As such, I’ve always harboured delusions that I would one day try golf and just find that I’m super humanly good at it. Thus today I was really looking forward to playing with my friend, stoked by the fantasy of finding a hidden talent. Unfortunately the bounder never showed up and sent a txt at the last second with a lame excuse as to why. Thus Johnny no mates found himself playing golf all alone.

IMG_1490

On this day however, the Gods were with me! It wasn’t long after I started to play, that I was joined by three incredibly kind staff members, Soli, Jasmine, and Ally. They let me try the second course for free, bought me a drink, and were fantastic fun. So a huge THANK YOU to them. On the hidden talent front, initial evidence was promising. I got a hole in one on an insanely difficult shot that involved a jump. Further scientific investigation though, indicated this to be a complete fluke. At the end of the day, it was hard not to conclude that my innate talent was average maximus. The real star in our group was Jasmine, who pulled off some super smooth shots and made it look easy, she won by a mile. All in all, I had a wonderful time at Swingers and think it’s a great bar to go to if you’re in the mood for some kick ass shenanigans. Once again I’d like to thank the super kind, Soli, Jasmine, and Ally, who went above and beyond the call of duty to make my day blooming brilliant. I cannot recommend this place highly enough.

IMG_1500

Poit Dhubh 12

img_1486

The common reaction of most people on seeing a bottle of this stuff for the first time is a look of bewildered bemusement, as they try to work out how the hell you’re meant to pronounce Poit Dhubh. I have it on good authority (the back of the bottle) that it’s pronounced Potch Ghoo and that it’s Gaelic for illicit still. Though I must confess that I’m still a little baffled as to how one gets from reading Poit Dhubh to saying Potch Ghoo, but I digress. Four years ago I received my first bottle of Potch Ghoo for Christmas, I had never heard of this blended whisky from the Isle of Skye before, and hence was a little dubious as to the quality of the contents of the bottle. As so often in life, I need not have worried, as the contents proved positively mind blowing. A fantastic whisky most people had never heard of, it soon became a frequent topic of conversation. More recently I was in a newsagent and to my considerable surprise I discovered perched on their top shelf a single bottle of this uncommon whisky. I wasted no time at all and immediately bought the bottle, eager to discover whether my younger self had a bloody clue in what he was talking about!!!

Anyhoo enough with the backstory, let’s get on to the tasting notes of this magnificent dram! The nose has some honey, a hint of sea salt, plenty of sherry, and a pleasant smokiness that has an uncanny resemblance to the smell of the vanilla tobacco that a friend uses. The drink itself is full of twists and turns. Initially one is presented with incredibly sweet honey, next a toffee note, followed by salted caramel, some sherry, a zingy bitter lemon then emerges, before a delightful peat draws proceedings to a close. The finish is fairly long; it’s peppery, with plenty of peat, some oak, and a faint reminder of sherry. In this manner, Poit Dhubh delivers a wondrous drinking experience. A fantastic quality whisky, of considerable complexity, at a decent price, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

Verdict: A nimble acrobatic display of varied flavours!

Score 88/100

The Best Pizza in London?

img_1440

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is arguably the most famous pizza restaurant in the world. They have been making pizzas in Naples, Italy, for over a century where they’ve built up quite a cult following. This transitioned to worldwide renown when the book and then the film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, passionately extoled the virtues of their pizzas. On the third of February, they opened a branch in London. I knew none of this until recently, when I walked past a tiny pizzeria on my way to meet a friend, it had a ginormous queue worthy of Moses coming out its door. A sucker for following the herd, I just knew I’d have to find out what all the fuss was about. Thus having a day to myself, this Tuesday, I turned up fifteen minutes before opening time and was relieved to find myself joining a smallish queue, which looked likely to see me through the door for the first sitting.

The queuing experience was definitely part of the fun! A wry delivery boy walked past us all and quietly noted aloud, ‘I see the novelty hasn’t worn off yet’. Next a man walked by, who suddenly couldn’t take it anymore, he walked back turned to face the queue and loudly exclaimed, ‘It’s just pizza, you know!’ He repeated this several times but in typical London fashion everyone suddenly struck a pose that instantly conveys that their mind is wholly vacant and suggests you should kindly refrain from attempting a conversation. In any case after ten minutes of waiting I was through the door and ready for some deliciousness. Ordering was super easy, as the menu only has two items!!! A Margherita  and a Marinara, both reasonably priced. I had the former and in no time at all was experiencing something rather spectacular. The base is wonderful with the teeniest hint of crispness around its soft doughy centre. The sauce is intensely flavoursome and delivers an explosive burst of tomato goodness. Lastly the cheese for me was the best bit, mozzarella of the highest calibre that was a pure delight. I’ve never had cheese on a pizza in London that was this good before. A simple formula and an uncomplicated taste, the Margherita  here is truly perfect in its execution. I can honestly say that this is the best pizza I’ve ever had.

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that I’m reluctant to proclaim that you instantly come and visit. Fantastic food at a reasonable price, what’s not to like? For a start the queue, after I arrived it took a lot longer to get in, closer to twenty five minutes and I imagine on a weekend this would be even worse. Next while the pizza is the most amazing I’ve ever had, the step up in quality while significant is not a mind blowing spiritual odyssey, in the words of a wise man who walked by, ‘it’s just pizza’. Finally, I can imagine some people will find the limited menu a huge disappointment.  In my case this wasn’t an issue as Margheritas are my favourite. Despite these caveats, please don’t be put off if it sounds like your sort of place. I must say that I loved this restaurant and will definitely be going back again. Here’s hoping the hype dies down a little.

Liebster Award

liebster

A good while ago* I was nominated by Lottie for the Liebster award, which is for up and coming bloggers. So thank you Lottie for this awesome accolade. Be sure to check out Lottie’s blog here , it is truly most excellent with a focus on photography, happiness, and beautiful moments. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

(*I do apologise for how long it has taken me to do this)

The Rules/ Guidelines:

  1. Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  3. Answer the questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her post.
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers who’s blogs you enjoy reading and come up with a set of your own questions to ask them! Make sure to let them know on social media that you have nominated them!
  5. Enjoy discovering great new blogs!!

 

My Answers to Lottie’s questions

What have you most valuably learnt from writing your blog?

I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned, is just how uplifting it can be to see or do something new each week. I know that many of the things I cover on my blog are silly fripperies. Yet I’ve found there’s a simple joy that creeps in, when one makes a little space in one’s life, for such marvellous flights of the imagination.

When do you feel most happy and content?      

Give me a glass of whisky a mellow setting and fine company, and I’m as content as anyone could be. I simply love listening to friends tell good old fashioned ripping yarns into the early hours, and if they ever fancy taking a break I’m more than happy to talk some twaddle of my own.

Who or what inspires you the most?

I always find these ‘most’ questions the trickiest. So many people and things have proven an inspiration in my life. Yet for me Gandhi is the one who always tops the list. His message of nonviolent protest changed the world and I think it has proven a guiding light for positive change.

 

If you could click your fingers and be ANYWHERE in the world right this second, where would it be and why?

My immediate reaction to this would be to click my fingers and head to Niagara Falls to take in an awe inspiring spectacle of nature. It’s a gloomy day today and I always find a spot of nature uplifting. Then again, I can’t help but notice that this wish gives no indication of an easy click of the fingers to get back home! I can’t say I fancy getting stranded in a foreign land this evening. So perhaps, I’m best off staying in the gloom of London Town; it really is quite magical in its own sombre way.

What one thing would you most like to do or achieve in 2017

My best friend’s getting married to an absolutely delightful lady this year and I’m the best man. I’m super nervous and I just hope that I manage to pull off a stonkingly good toast that warms the hearts of everyone there on the day and properly extols the virtues of this wondrous couple.

 

What is your favorite ever ever ever pudding/dessert?

I’ve found this last question the trickiest of them all, how could I possibly pick just one pudding? They’re all so incredibly delicious. For the record I’m not counting black pudding, which is possibly the greatest piece of false of advertising in all of history. Evil blood sausages aside, the rest of the pudding family are all blooming brilliant. The idea of praising one at the expense of the rest is hard to get my head round. It’s like having a favourite child it’s just not the done thing. However if you put a gun to my head, I think I’d settle on pineapple upside down cake as my favourite. The core reason for this is pure nostalgia, as it’s the cake I had most often as a little kid.

 

My Nominees

https://thehumblefabulist.com/

https://cinespiria.com/

https://slickbadgercreations.com/

https://barleymania.wordpress.com/

https://threesixfive.art.blog/

https://londonstoneandmetal.wordpress.com/

(Please do check out all these blogs as they’re brilliant)

My Questions

How did you get started blogging?

Recommend a curiously unusual book or film?

What is your favourite pudding ever, ever, ever?

What adventurous activity (if any) would you most like to do?

What makes you laugh in life?

What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

(As always don’t feel obliged to take part, it’s only meant to be a bit of fun.)

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I should be back Friday with another London Adventure!