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This is kinda personal and if you know me it might make you worry. Soz for that. I’m generally very healthy, relatively fit and always have a normal Blood pressure.

I’m writing this because I feel like the doctors don’t have a clue (Actual words from the doctor when I asked “So you don’t know then?” and got the answer “No”, she went to ask a friend. The usual questions, No I’m not having a stroke! Is anything stressing you out? Yes, its the fucking pain in my head, that’s whats stressing me out! I Joked about boring a hole in my head to let the Demons out, she didn’t really get the joke! Though if it helps, get the hole saw out!
I currently feel like I’m waiting for a referral *I am waiting for a referral* but I don’t know when it will come, and all the time think it would be better / quicker just to scan my head ‘cos if there is a Drumming Monkey or Alien inside, maybe a snorted an Apple pip as a child and there is a Tree inside, then I’d rather know about it.

In 2019 I had a good 3 months of Headaches, the only thing that shifted it was having a massively snotty cold and blowing loads of thick crap out of my left sinus…. no more headaches after that until approx a year later in 2020. In the meantime had a head scan to check out why I was having LH side Tinnitus, this didn’t find anything. The Pandemic situation in 2020 hasn’t allowed me to have a cold that may / or may not shift on these headaches.

Current status:
Have now had headaches for over 9 months, always the LH side, it can feel like a festering scab in the front of my sinus area in forehead, it can feel like a cold / scalded area from front to side of head, it can be a shooting pain around side of head, it can be almost like earache, it can be a pain in the back of my Skull where neck ends and skull begins, always LH side. Makes me want to jab my fingers into the back of my skull or the shooting pain can make me puff and blow like I’ve just burnt my hand, like that sharp intake of breath you make…. but the burn is in my head!

Multiple conversations with Doctors, at least 2 courses of Antibiotics the first of which seemed to clear up some of it and I got down from taking the max doses of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen (alternated through the day so i can load up on the max amounts).
Had a couple of different blood tests, nothing found (That includes a test for Arterial Arthritis in my head).
Kept a pain Diary for 2 weeks after 3rd or 4th conversation with doctor, currently waiting for a referral to a neurologist, whenever that might be!
I have been experimenting with pain killers as I don’t like taking pills, and I can get by with 1 dose of pain killers a day most of the time.

Things that I think can effect the pain, level of pain, etc?:
My state of Hunger
Waking up (Its only woke me up in the night once)
Ambient air temperature
Bright light / the brighter light coming from the LH side
Dust / Vapor (I have to be careful to wear dust masks if doing something dusty as my sinuses get effected and I’ll cough and be snotty for a few days)
Sometimes I feel I can control it by actively concentrating on relaxing every muscle in my head (makes me look like a right dumbass and its mega hard to do while driving!)

Headaches can happen in any and all scenarios, sat relaxing, working, driving, doing manual work.

Headaches don’t normally effect me going to sleep but waking up they begin to creep in as I start to wake up, though without pain killers the headache can dissipate and I can get through almost an entire day without taking anything.

Making music or being fully occupied with something is a good distraction from the Tinnitus, whether its connected to the Headaches, who knows, again this does not stop me sleeping.

Answers on a postcard please, comments on here are open, shares on social media appreciated, know a Doctor please pass this on, Know a Neurologist show them this.


Bored of this pain.

Green Hop Home-Grown – OK this was almost an impromptu brewday, I tossed a fair few ideas around before coming to my senses and sticking to the program… These hops were picked and Vac-packed / frozen back in early September and its high time I got them used.
So… this is hopefully a solidly English Bitter, no frills, no in yer-face American hops, a good dash of sweet toffee-like Crystal malts, using a single addition of Goldings for the bittering.

Lager Malt – 70%
Wheat Malt – 20%
Caramalt – 5%
Crystal Malt – 2%
Amber Malt – 2%
Crystal Malt, ExtraDark – 1%

Regular Dried Hops:
Golding – 5.1 % @ 60 mins – 74g

Green Hops:
Mix of Fuggles & Challenger 520g @ 10mins
Mix of Fuggles & Challenger 520g @ 5mins

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.045
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol Content: 4.4% ABV
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 37 EBU
Colour: 17 EBC
Yeast: Safale us-05
Mash: 60mins @ 68°c

The Vacuum packed and frozen hops from back here:
Trying some Crisps Maltings Lager Malt:
The malts:
First Wort Goldings Hops:
Other than being a bit squashed, these look and smell just as they did before I packed ’em:
In go the 10min Green Hops:
Protafloc plopped @ 10mins, break material settling out nicely:
Some rather clear wort running to the FV:
Used a bit of the wort to wake up some Brettanomyces, Whitelabs WLP 650, for doing a secondary ferment of whatever I brew on New Years Day (Split the Beer, Bottle half and then Brett the other half):

All in all a pretty easy brewday, not the earliest start but it is my only ‘lazy’ day this week!
I keep forgetting to take a Hydrometer shot, but rest assured it was 1049 and I liquored back 1.7L to 1045, ending up with 21.5L in the FV.
There were some pretty vegetative smells coming from the copper with over 1kg of Green Hops going in but the wort ended up tasting solidly like it had been hopped with Fuggles & Challenger rather than Lettuce and Sprouts!

*Bottled 12th Jan ’13 – with 85g White sugar, still tastes green vegetative, like snapped green plant stems… didn’t bottle it all left some for cleaning the plug hole! (Thats a first for me).

*14th Jun ’13 – some months later, the green vegetative has mellowed and I’m actually having a pint of this! The Malt body is pretty much what I was aiming for and its clear as a bell.

My Challenger & Fuggles plants were starting to get some brown bits on some of the hops so I diecded to pick them the other day, I plan to do a Gree-hopped beer so I  vac-packed and froze them.

Some of the brown bits:
The red-tinge on the tops of the cones is not the brown you see above but the colouring of the Challenger hops:
Hops picked, me and the wife picked thru these again to remove any twigs and leaves:
All packed up and ready for the freezer:
I got 1.1kg of a mixture of Fuggles & Challenger, all the bines were entangled so I just picked the lot, so I’ll brew an English Homegrown green-hop bitter in a few weeks time.

I’ve still got a WGV plant to pick but I’m not too fussed about what WGV brings to a beer!

From memory I think from front to back its Challenger-Fuggle-WGV 🙂 Last year my pathetic piece of string I used between the house & the pole just snapped in the strong winds we had so down came the hops! This year I’ve borrowed the neighbour’s ladders and fixed a strong Rawl Bolt Eye-bolt in the house wall and strung a securely clamped steel cable between pole & house.

I may change tack another year and move these plants round the side of the house into very large planters and attach some more cables from house down to fence so when they hops grow they will form a nice looking covering over the yard at the side and also have a lot of support from strong winds. If I do this I shall probably but a Bramling Cross / Saaz or Hallertau / Cascade in the original spot.

You can just see the wire top right, now firmly anchored to an eye bolt in the house wall:
I’ll leave these a week or so as they are to see which of the new growth starts climbing best before weeding out to keep maybe 4 or 5 strong shoots:
Coir twine, AKA ‘Bean String’ a nice biodegradable climbing frame for hops, hopefully it will be strong enough to support them until they get to the top wire:
Rather than cutting and clamping off the cable at the height of the upstairs windows I’ve taken the cable down the wall to knee-height and looped it over another eye-bolt so I can un-hook and lower the cable down when it comes to harvesting or cutting back the hops:
Image Basically, get your local Landlord to put a Laptop on the bar and get punters to sign the petition, get your mum and dad to sign it, get your Granny to sign up with Granddad and tell your work mates and colleagues to sign up… send that annoying CC’d and Forwarded email around your place of work.

Go on… Go..On….. Go on go on go on go on… go on!

Stop the beer duty escalator

Responsible department: Her Majesty’s Treasury

Every year, the beer tax escalator increases the tax on beer by 2% above the rate of inflation, thus adding considerably more pressure on the British pub, the cornerstone of many of our communities. Removing the beer duty escalator at the next budget will help keep beer more affordable and go a long way to supporting the institution that is – the great British pub.

Going to the pub is a core British tradition and so is enjoying great beer. If you want to continue enjoying your fresh pint in your local pub then it’s crucial that you support our campaign to grind the beer duty tax escalator to a halt.
If we don’t show our support for the great British pub, we risk losing more pubs and more jobs within our local communities.

Support great beer in the great British pub and sign our e-petition now….. British Pubs Need You.

Also have a read of this, the British Demonisation of beer by Pete Brown

Don’t forget if you feel strongly about the issues surrounding the cost of beer and brewing its really easy to write to your MP to give your personal thoughts – pop your postcode in to find your local one.

These are my personal thoughts on the new rates of Beer Duty, I’ve sent this letter to both my MP and a slightly modified version to our MEPs. I sincerely urge you to spend 5-10 minutes and put your own thoughts to your own MPs and MEPs, the worlds brewers and beer lovers need you to keep a free and open market in all that is good about beer, brewing and drinking.
Click this, Write To Them
And also Sign the E-petition


“Dear Sirs,

Re: New rates of duty on high and lower strength beers

I am at a loss to see where these changes to Taxation will tackle the area of ‘Problem Drinking’ and instead I feel they are just another way for the Government to make more revenue.

I work for Saltaire Brewery in Shipley and am a very keen Homebrewer and avid beer enthusiast, I buy and drink a wide range of beers which vary in strength from breweries all around the UK and abroad. I drink responsibly, mostly in the comfort of my own home, I see this as the exploration of Flavour Experiences that the worlds brewers are able to offer.

Frankly these Taxation changes do nothing for me, they will limit the range of beers sold, at UK retailers and Pubs, that must have a knock-on effect on the importing of strong foreign beers from Europe and stifle trade in the European community and effect industry.

I hope I have given you some food for thought and I dearly hope you can have some influence in regard to this issue.

Thank you very much for your time

Yours sincerely”

I’m going to add this because its the most common sense article on Alcohol & Drinking I have ever read, Author: Kate Fox –  Government would do well to learn from things like this as its very far reaching.

Some other blogs about the subject…

Want your blog article featured in ever-growing-list? Let me know.

*One reply so far Godfrey Bloom UKIP MEP for Yorkshire & North Linconshire says:

I entirely agree, please visit the my website ‘pub policy’ and I feel sure
you will be pleased.

Kind regards

Godfrey Bloom

*And another:

Thank you for your email and comments regarding new rates of duty on high and lower strength beers.

I agree that the problems of binge drinking are complex, but do feel pricing does come into it.

In relation to influence, decisions about tax rates on alcohol are decided by the UK government so you may wish to address your concerns to your local MP Kris Hopkins at

Yours sincerely

Linda McAvan MEP

*And another:

Many thanks for your thoughtful e-mail which I read with interest.

I have passed a copy to George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a request for a response.

I will send this on to you upon receipt.

Thank you again for getting in touch.

Best wishes

Kris Hopkins

*And another:

Many thanks for your email. These taxes are set by the UK government and not the European Parliament, and Mr Brons therefore does not have any power directly influence such legislation.

He thanks you nevertheless for bringing this to his attention as he too completely opposes the UK government’s fleecing if its citizens.

best wishes,

Chris Beverley
Assistant to Andrew Brons MEP

*And this helpful one:

Thank you for your email on new rates of duty on high and low strength
beers. Being in Brussels too I imagine that is something the Belgians
would be very much against should it ever be imposed on them…

I am familiar with Saltaire Brewery and enjoy some of its produce!

I am not sure at the moment whether something can be done on this as a
European level but I can look into it. Although these are goods,
taxation is usually a member state competence. Have you also contacted
your local MP on this and got in touch with HM Revenue and Customs

Since it has come from a British decision I would urge you to contact
Kris Hopkins, your local MP.

Kind Regards,

Timothy Kirkhope MEP

Chris Hopkins MP was good enough to send this reply from Chloe Smith MP (Economic Secretary) Scanned Letter PDF
Its all a bit vague and cover-all and the last sentence is the clincher for me!

After my last two Imperial Stout Brewdays and peoples comments on efficiency and extraction, I thought I would test my thermometers.
Below are tests with a jug full of Ice & Water for the ZERO point and a pan of boiling water for the BOILING point.

The test subjects:

The Cold Test

All submerged in Ice Water:

My Cheap, from Hong Kong, regular brewday Thermometer in Ice Water reads 0.5c:
The glass spirit thermometer reads -2c in Ice Water which I was quite surprised at:
Another Cheap Hong Kong food thermometer reads 0.9c in Ice Water:
My £15 ebay purchased Thermamite 5 reads 1c though it only reads in 1 degree increments:

The Hot Test

The Thermamite 5 reads a 100c, which feels reassuring:
Cheap Food thermometer reads 99c:
My regular brewday thermometer reads 100c too:
The spirit thermometer reads 100.5c:

A fair range of inaccuracy but at least I know the ones I’ve been using are about the more reliable 🙂

To my surprise everything was pretty well received, the ‘May Day’ was held in great esteem and my ‘Rye Stout’ @ 3.6% was said to punch well above its weight, even my Bitter as hell ‘Munich 5000 IPA’ got a fair few bottles trashed with some repeat business! Even my ‘Builders Lager’ went down well even if I don’t much care for it myself  🙂

I had the following beers ready after several weeks of brewing:

  • #25 – May Day *Bottled 16th May ’10
  • #24 – Hemp Bitter *Bottled 3rd May ’10
  • #23 – CNC 2.8 *Bottled 3rd May ’10
  • #22 – Bramling XB *Bottled 25th Apr ’10
  • #21 – Rye Stout mkII *Bottled 17th Apr ’10
  • #20 – Úber Bluebird mkII *Bottled 16th Feb ’10
  • #19 – Munich 5000 IPA *Bottled 10th Feb ’10
  • #18 – Builders Lager *Cornie + Bottled 31st Jan ‘10

Youtube vid of the range with descriptions

just misses off the Bramling XB which is a Brown Ale

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