Aestheticons’ Guide to Iconic European Beers – Part 2

Beer A

I am very excited by the growth of Craft Beers. The very name suggests the image of a ruddy faced and smocked farmer sucking on an ear of wheat but nothing could be further from the truth. These start ups that have emerged from the micro-brewing scene are many well capitalised business making amazing products.

The ethos of the craft brewer is not at all at odd with those beautifully crafted European beers that have seen international success.

In our second appreciation – see our first guide here – Aestheticons’ Guide to Iconic European Beers – Part 1 of some of Europe finest and most iconic beer I have highlighted those beautiful beers that stand strong to the noble tradition of brewing.

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BrewDog: I was in a bar in Camden North London about two years ago with an old friend – and a very successful entrepreneur – from the music business. He suggested a pint of Dead Pony Pale Ale. Indeed a delicious pint, but it was the usual branding and obviously compelling punk attitude that required a deeper sampling of this recent UK beer brand.

Founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie in Scotland in 2007. In 2011 they raised £2m by via crowdfunding and by October 2015 production had risen to 2.2m bottles and 400,000 cans. Their first bar was opened in 2010 in Aberdeen and their fourth being the bar in Camden – many others world-wide have followed. By April 2017 22% of the business was sold for £213m to The Shansby Group (TSG), a US based private equity firm housed in the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco (CA.).

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By mid 2017 the canned Punk IPA became one of the regular house pours on EasyJets European services – an accolade for sure.

Hope you will support this fabulous new movement in UK brewing? If you’d like to try a mixed case from BrewDog hit this Amazon link:
BrewDog: Headliner Mixed Case, 12 x 330 ml

Pelforth

Pelforth Brune: French beers are typically “blonde” and have many refreshing qualities. However, on colder autumn/winter days with a warming bowl of Cassoulet – a delicious traditional white haricot beans and pork stew – a delicious accompaniment is a glass of deep brown Pelforth. Its has a rich caramel aroma and profound, almost sweet, flavours for a brown beer.

Founded in Lille (Northern France) in 1921 the three local brewers, Louis Boucquey, Armand Deflandre and Raoul Bonduel, joined forces. By 1937 Jean Deflandre, Armand’s son, used high fermentation, two malts of barley and English yeast to create a beer that he called “Pelforth 43”. Why? Based on Pelican – as seen on the bottle – the French word for “strong” – “fort”. “43” refers to 43kg of barley required to produce a hectolitre of the beer – it also happens to be the name of the local infantry regiment. 

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Following various mergers and acquisitions Pelforth became part of Heineken in 1988.

I highly recommend that you try a Pelforth Brown, particularly if you like a typical mild beer – there is much in common. If that appeals please click the following AMAZON link:
Pelforth brown 6.5 ° 65 cl – 6 x 65 cl

Franks Weiss

Franziskaner Weissbier: Is a wheat/white beer – is a deep, complex and flavoursome beer – produced by the Bavarian brewing giant Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu GmbH.

The brewers origins can be traced to the late 14th century and the name derives from the German for “Franciscan” as their was a monastery diagonally opposite the original brewery. The Friar was first used as a logo in 1909. In 1922 the breweries of Spaten and Franzikaner merged.

In 1964, the Spaten-Franziskaner brewery brewed its first wheat beer. By 1984 Franziskaner Weissbier became available by export. By 2003 the brewery was selling 1m million hectolitres annually. It is claimed that Franziskaner Weissbier is now the world’s favourite wheat beer.

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In 2004 following a merger with Lowenbrau the business was acquired by brewing giant Interbrew – now Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

So you missed Munich’s world famous “OktoberFest” in September this year. Why not try a few bottles of Franziskaner Weissbier at home by clicking the following AMAZON link:
Franziskaner Weissbier Beer, Case of 12

Fullers

Fullers London Pride: Fuller’s London Pride has alway been proud that it is “Made in London”. It is in fact the UK’s best selling cask-conditioned ale and is sold worldwide in bottles. Its a deep and very flavourful ale that was first brewed at Fuller’s Chiswick (West London) Thames-side based Griffin Brewery in 1959.

The name for this fine beer stems from the early 1940’s when a flower, colloquially called “London Pride” (Saxifraga x urbium) – a perennial flowering plant – was noted as blooming on bomb sites around London left by the Blitz. The symbolism of the flower, its reliance and the resolve of Londoners to resist the misery of the War years was celebrated by Fullers.

In 1979 and 1995 at the Campaign For Real Ale Awards London Prised won Champion Beer of Britain in the Best Bitter Class. Since 2007 it has been the official beer of the London Marathon.

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One of the finest ways to enjoy a pint of Pride is at the Fuller’s owned pub in Hammersmith, “The Dove”, with its wide terraces overlooking the River Thames. It’s said to be where Charles II dined with his mistress, Nell Gwynne, and has been owned by local brewer, Fuller, Smith & Turner, since 1796.

Like many other Londoners why no “Take Pride” by clicking the following AMAZON link:
Fullers London Pride Premium Ale – 12 x 500ml

Youngs Bitter

Youngs Bitter: Progress is often a bitter pill best enjoyed with a pint of Youngs’ fine bitter. A real pint of bitter that results from many years of brewing tradition.

Since the 1550 the Ram pub has been recorded on the site of the former Youngs’ brewery in Wandsworth (South West London). The Ram was purchased in 1831 by co-founders Charles Allen Young and Anthony Fothergill Bainbridge. In 2006 the last chairman of Young & Co, John Young – a direct descendent of Charles – agreed to sell the site for re-development ending over five hundred years of brewing tradition. Sadly, Mr Young died shortly after the sale and a final brew from the Ram’s Brewery was served at his funeral.

For many years I recall seeing the Young & Co brightly coloured shire-horse drawn drays delivering beer to the local area around South West London.

Youngs Dray

Since 2006 the brewing of Youngs’ beers, to service its licensed trade – including as of August 2017, 177 managed pubs and 74 tenanted houses in the area – and its off license business was transferred to a new business – a joint venture between Charles Wells Brewery that operates from the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. Wells have subsequently acquired full control of this joint venture.

Young & Co is still based in Wandsworth. In 2007 the company moved to a new head office around the corner from the former brewery site.

As part of the 2013 redevelopment plans for the site, there is a commitment for the Ram’s historic buildings to be retained and restored to include a micro-brewery and preservation of the bank of the River Wandle that passes through the site.

I have several favourite Youngs Pubs in London. “The Guinea” in Bruton Place is perhaps the home of the finest steak in London. “The Fox and Anchor” in Charterhouse Street where you once could enjoy an early morning pint with the porters of Smithfield market and the recently refurbished “The County Arms” in Trinity Road, Wandsworth is a delightful evening local.

If you cannot get to one of the above fine pubs – or many of Young’ others – why not try the dray deliveries from AMAZON by clicking the following link: Young’s Bitter – 12 X 500ml

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So sorry to our international readers as the AMAZON links are UK only.

Images courtesy of the Brewers

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Aestheticons’ Lady’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Men

Xmas Men

Ladies, OK, I admit it – we men are not easy to buy for. So Aestheticons has done some of the leg work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts for Men – as you’d expect from us they are all great looking, iconic and design classics. We can assure you that they will be perfect to show the men in your life just how well you know them and their impeccable tastes…….Please enjoy! PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Men buying for themselves or other Men!

After each image there’s a link to the Aestheticons post – if one already exists – which is then followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase.

Clothes

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Levis 501Levi 501’s

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Stonewash), 34W x 32L

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RM Williams boots – RM Williams “Craftsman Boot”

R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:45

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Woolrich Shirt –Woolrich shirt –

Woolrich Men’s Sportsman Chamois Long Button Down Shirt, Dark Navy Heather, XXXL

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Bass weejuns – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Bass Larson Mens Leather Loafers Wine – 9 UK

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Dr Martens – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s 1460 Original, Men’s Boots, Aztec, 10 UK

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Vilebrequin shorts Vilebrequin swim shorts

Vilebrequin Danse du Feu Swim shorts – Men – turmeric – XL

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Lacoste Pique Lacoste Shirt

Lacoste Men’s L1212 Original Polo Shirt, Blanc (Blanc), Medium

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Ralph Polo – Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Men’s Classic Fit Solid Mesh (M, Bright Yellow)

Car T shirts 

Porsche T sh

Porsche 911 Targa Porsche 911 Targa Evolution of Man to Porche 911 T shirt

Mens Evolution of Man to PORSCHE 911 TURBO T-Shirt S – 5XL (Large, Black)

Alfa T shirt

Alfa Romeo Spider T shirt Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

Men’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider T-Shirt Indigo Blue, Large

VW KG

Karmann Ghia VW T Shirts  Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (LARGE(42-44), CHARCOAL)

Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino – Ferrari Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino Classic T-shirt L

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Classic & Sports Car Magazine Subscription – Sunbeam Alpine – Bond’s first car

Classic & Sports Car

hunters-boots

Hunter Wellingtons Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Men’s Original Tall Wellington Boots

Le Chameau

Le Chameau Boots The Country Is Calling – Be Prepared!

Le Chameau Chasseur Heritage Kevlar Mens Wellington Boots Green – 42 EU

barbour-jacket

Barbour Waxed Jacket Barbour Jacket

BARBOUR CPS0819 MWX Jacket Men XL

converse

Converse High Tops Converse – Chuck Taylor All Star

Converse Unisex-Adult Chuck Taylor All Star Hi-Top Trainers, Black- 8 UK

rab-jacket

Rab Jacket Rab Down Jackets

Men’s Microlight Alpine Down Jacket

guernesey-jumpers

Guernsey Jumper – Guernsey sweater

Traditional and Genuine Guernsey Jumper – Navy (46)

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Gloverall duffle coat Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Men’s Classic Duffle Coat, Grey (Grey),44 UK (54 EU )

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Hackett’s Moleskin Trousers – Hackett’s moleskin trousers

Hackett Men’s Slim Fit Moleskin Chinos 36 Regular Navy

CK Briefs

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Men’s Basics Button Front Boxer Briefs, Black, Medium

PS Socks

Paul Smith Socks

PAUL SMITH Mens Cotton Socks Maroon Red Pink Polka Dots One Size

FOTL T Shirt

Fruit of the Loom T Shirts – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Heavy T-Shirt Pack of 5, Heather Grey, X-Large

Tools

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Opinel Knives – Opinel Knives

Opinel Trekking Knife No.8 with Leather Thong

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Swiss Army Knives Victorinox SwissChamp

Victorinox Swiss Champ Pocket Knife – Red, Medium

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Leatherman Wave Leatherman “Wave”

Leatherman Wave LT650 Pocket Tool

maglite

Maglite – Maglite D3 cell torch

Maglite ST3D016 3D Cell LED Torch – Black

wahl-clippers

Wahl clippers – Wahl Clippers

Wahl Super Taper Hair Clipper

Stuff

chanel-egoiste

Chanel Egoiste – Chanel Egoiste

Chanel Egoiste Eau de Toilette – 100 ml

gopro

Go Pro Camera – Go Pro Hero 4 camera

GoPro HERO5 Session Camera – Black

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Zippo Lighter – Zippo lighter

Zippo Armor Lighter – Brushed Brass

Oculus 1

Oculus Rift – Oculus Rift – a future classic?

Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch Controller

Casio Calc 2

Casio MS-8 Calculator – Casio MS-8 calculator

Casio MS-80VERII 8 Digit Currency Desk Calculator

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Eastpack backpack – Eastpak backpack

Eastpak Padded Pak’R Backpack – 24 L, Traditional Navy

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Rayban’s Wayfarers Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban 2132 New Wayfarer

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Apple 9.7 inch IPAD New 9.7″ iPad

Apple iPad Pro 9.7″ 128GB Wi-Fi – Space Grey

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Weber Grill – Weber Grill

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Barbecue 57 cm Black

B&W Zepplin 1

B&W Zeppelin – Bowers & Wilkins – Zeppelin

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Speaker – Black

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Roberts Radio – Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Anglepoise lamp – Anglepoise Lamp

Anglepoise Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp – Deep Slate

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Brooks Saddle – Brooks bicycle saddles

B17 STANDARD HONEY

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Artemide Tizio lamp – Artemide – Tizio lamp

Tizio 50 Desk Light Black

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Mont Blanc Rollerball – Mont Blanc Rollerball pen

MontBlanc Meisterstuck Platinum Line Ballpoint Pen – Black

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Amazon Kindle Fire – Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black — with Special Offers

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Moleskine Diary – Moleskine Notebook

2018 Moleskine Large Weekly Notebook Diary 18 Months Hard

Billingham 2

Billingham 225 Camera Bag – Billingham 225 Camera Bag

Billingham 225 Canvas Camera Bag With Tan Leather Trim – Khaki

Le Creu 5

Le Creuset Casserole – Le Creuset – Flame Kitchenwear

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Oval Casserole, 29 cm – Satin Black

Bose 35 c

BOSE QuietComfort 35 – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

Soundlink-Revolve

BOSE Soundlink Revolve – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker – Triple Black

Duralex Provo 1

Duralex Provence and Picardie Glasses – Duralex Provence  and Duralex Glass – Picardie

Duralex Super Strong Provence Tumblers Tumbler Glasses 8.8oz / 250ml (Box of 6) – Height 98mm

Duralex Picardie water glass 360ml, without filling mark, 6 Glasses

imperia

IMPERIA Pasta Maker – Imperia pasta machine

Imperia Italian Pasta Gift Set

Dualit Combi 3

A Dualit Toaster and a hamper of great holiday treats….. Holiday Breakfast

Dualit Combi 2+2 Toaster 42174 – Polished

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Images all courtesy of manufacturers

Bonne Maman Jam

BM Jam

Click here to buy from AMAZON – Bonne Maman Blackcurrant Conserve Jam, 370g

As many of you know I am a huge admirer of many French products. My list includes Duralex “Picardie” glasses Duralex Glass – Picardie a favourite mustard, Maille – Maille Dijon mustard , a favourite polo shirt, Lacoste – Lacoste Shirt , three favourite cars from Citroen Citroën 2CV Citroen DS Citroën Méhari , my favourite fragrances are from Chanel including Chanel Egoiste and I really like Baccarat glassware – Baccarat Chrystal Paperweight .

When it comes to my favourite jam then that trophy goes to the black fruit jams including  Blackcurrant and Blackberry coming from the fine kitchen of Bonne Maman. “Bonne Maman” literally translates to “Granny” and the company stresses that its recipes are traditional – perhaps suggesting they may have been handed down by a Grandparent.

The pretty jar and screw topped lid – draped in a bistrot-style gingham-tablecloth pattern – both enjoy certain Intellectual Property protection around the world. The designer of this iconic packaging, including the quill-like script, was Pierre Roche-Bayard.

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The simple presentation is in the style that you may have seen, possibly produced by any older relative and sold at your local equivalent of a Farmer’s Market, at any point over the last fifty years.

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Click here to buy from AMAZON –

Post World War II, Jean Gervoson and his co-founder Pierre Chapoulart established the  Andros agro-business, in the Department of Lot in South West France. They decided to make jams from the fruits – primarily plums – that remained unsold. The business developed during the 1960’s and in 1971 the Bonne Maman brand was launched.

Jean’s sons Frederic and Xavier continue to be in charge of the business and its various divisions. Since 1997 Bonne Maman has diversified launching of a biscuits, desserts and pastry /muffins ranges.

Unsalted, perhaps French…., butter on a lightly crisped tartine – a day-old toasted and halved baguette – which once coated in butter should be loaded with Bonne Maman’s wonderful jam. A perfect breakfast when combined with a good strong coffee.

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Don’t throw your empty jars away – sorry fans of recycling – as you may well be inspired to make your own jams or jellies and use the attractive jars as gifts for your pals.

Images – Courtesy of Bonne Maman

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Citroën Méhari

Mehari 1

So we are bathed in sunshine, time to go to the beach?

I am fortunate to see the beach regularly and am often joined by those who have what they call a “beach car”. This is a vehicle with a particular attribute, namely you’d happily take it to the local shops, pack it out with provisions for a day in the sun but in truth you’d risk neither your nor your family’s safety on the open road or for any real distance.

The most alluring and iconic of all these beach cars is the variant to the Citroen 2CV, the Citroën Méhari. Designed by the illustrious Count Roland de la Poype, the boss of one of Citroën’s plastics suppliers, named after a dessert dwelling but fast camel and the North African equivalent of a cavalryman. The Citroën Méhari was built for twenty years with a production run starting in 1968 and numbering over 144,000 vehicles. A very good 4×4 drive version was made from 1979 to 1983 with a total of circa 1,300 vehicles were built.

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See the amazingly dated 1975 commercial for the Citroën Méhari here Citroen Mehari advert (1975)

Fellow Aestheticons readers will attest to my guilty pleasure that is the Citroën 2CV one of which we enjoyed as a family long before we became overly conscious of the weighty demands of Heath & Safety. We ran our Plums and Custard, “Dolly” around South London complete with large protective car seats for the kids. In truth, you wouldn’t stand much chance in a motorway pile-up but rattling over the sleeping policemen of Clapham, heading no further than Sainsbury’s in Sands End (Fulham, West London) you’d be ok.

See our earlier posts here Citroën 2CV and Citroën 2CV – Rick Stein “Long Weekend”

Interestingly, in the late 1960’s in the USA the Méhari was described as a “truck” thus escaping many US safety features that bugged European car designers in the era.

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Based on the Citroën Dyane 6 (a later and less attractive incarnation of the 2CV with much the same technology including the 602cc engine), a body made of ABS plastic (which faded over time with extended exposure to sunlight) virtually the same polymer as used to make Lego bricks and a “rag” roof and sides. I have always been amused by the rubber toggles used to secure the bonnet.

An amateur car restorers dream, the Méhari like the 2 CV’s are mechanically very simple and spare parts are readily available either new or from the many Citroen specialist breakers yards to be found along the Mediterranean coasts.

In September 2016, Citroen announced that they were re-imagining the Méhari with the E-Mehari, a battery operated version with a passing resemblance to the original. It launched under several banners but one “More Than Just a Beach Car” really appeals to me. With a 200 km range and a top speed of only 100 kph, my suspicion is that the hefty €24,000 price point (that doesn’t include the battery leasing arrangement) is likely to deter even the most determined Méhari fanatics.

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To remind you to build in “Beach Days” to your heavy schedule place this die-cast model of a Citroen Mehari in your office or Person Cave and its allure will make sure you give yourself some time off! Click the Amazon link below the image

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Norev 150922 1:43 Scale “1978 Citroen Mehari” Die Cast Model

Beach decisions include the T shirt to accompany your fine pair of Vilebrequin shorts – see our earlier post here on this iconic French original icon – Vilebrequin swimshorts

My suggestion must echo your taste for the slightly alternative – it would be uncool to wear a Mehari T shirt but this Motorolics Citroen 2CV T-shirt really does the job! Click the Amazon link below the image.

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Motorholics Mens Eat Sleep Citroen 2CV T-Shirt S – 5XL (2X-Large, Yellow)

If you get lucky enough to acquire a Citroen Mehari you will need a Haynes Manual to keep it in tip top condition. Based on the Dyane, the following Haynes Manual will be invaluable to the Mehari owner – please click the Amazon link below the image

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Citroen 2CV Owner’s Workshop Manual (Haynes Service and Repair Manuals) (2013-04-30)

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Photo Credits – with grateful thanks from Citroen, Hayne’s Manuals and Coy’s of Kensington

VéloSolex moped

Solex 2

Increasingly dependent on getting from A to B as quickly as possible I have noticed a rise in commuters using electrically operated bicycles and small motorized scooters. They seem to offer limited comfort and even less protection for the rider who, for an inexplicable reason, think they have the power of a large Harley, BMW or Honda at their fingertips and get themselves into precarious positions on the road causing much frustration to others.

In a far gentler era the predecessor of these street demons was VéloSoleX or more frequently referred to as a Solex which was moped – or motorised bicycle – originally produced by Solex who were based in Paris (France) and founded by engineering friends, Maurice Goudard and Marcel Mennesson.

Designed by Mennesson during World War II, the Solex was produced between 1946 and 1988 in a variety of versions largely utilising the same technology of a motor with roller resting on and driving the front wheel of the bicycle.

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Being very competitively priced and hugely economical to run, the Soles was a massive success. In total it sold in excess of 7m units. In 1947 even BP created “Solexine”, a pre-mixed  oil and petrol mix for the Solex’s two stroke engine and sold in a 2L can. By the late 1940’s Solex was selling 100 units a day rising to 1500 a day by the mid-1960’s – when it was blessed with a new maximum – though limited – speed of 30 km.

The company now makes a range of electrically powered bicycles. An early version, designed by Pininfarina, was launched in 2005 as the E-Solex.

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By 2014 the Solexity Infinity was launched, again from the pen of Pininfarina – with capacity to travel up to 80 km on one charge – at the costs of around €2,000 – keeping the brand alive!

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As French as the Beret, Brie and Baguette, the Solex, a classic French icon of the mid-20th century, has a very special place in my psyche as I explored the opportunity in the 1980’s of importing them into the UK. It was perhaps my first brush with the ever increasing dominance of the words “Health & Safety” in our national idiom.

I was required to deliver details to the Ministry of Transport who after some consideration and lots of teeth sucking, decided that the fuel tank, which was then made of a reasonable durable plastic was too feeble to withstand any front-end impact and the risks of fire were too great.

Solex also commissioned various evocative advertising posters, which in their own right are increasingly collectable.

Solex Poster a

For our French speaking friend’s – we know who you are – the equivalent of a an Owner’s Manual for a Vélosolex is a must – Le Guide du Vélosolex click the Amazon link below the image to get yours!

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Le guide du Vélosolex

Why not pick up a classic French VeloSolex enamel sign that will look at home in your Gite in La Gironde, on the wall of your Flat in Fulham or your Man-cave in Manchester! Click the AMAZON link below the image

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FRENCH VINTAGE METAL SIGN 40x30cm RETRO AD VELOSOLEX LE VRAI BICYCLESD2C56E9B-03F2-4C9E-AF3A-13C55668EEA2

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FRENCH VINTAGE METAL SIGN 40x30cm RETRO AD VELOSOLEX REFERENDUM 2

I love VeloSolex – and all this little motor cycle represents – you can too with this iconic T Shirt! Please click the Amazon link below the image 

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Velosolex Moped T-Shirt. Gents Ladies Kids Sizes. Bike Cycling France Motorcycle:X Large – 48″

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Photo Credits – with grateful thanks – Solex SA

Vilebrequin swim shorts

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The beaches within easy reach of most Northern European airports, namely those on the the Côte d’Azur, the Costa Smerelda and the Costa del Sol have for several years been the scene of a particularly charming Father and Son(s) bonding custom – which I am happy to admit my son and I have been part of. The engineer of this pan-European display are the nice people at Vilebrequin.

In 1971 photographer and motor racing enthusiast and Saint Tropez resident, Fred Prysquel, was inspired by the local artists, the light and colour of the Cote d’Azur to sketch a design for a pair of classic swim shorts – known as the “Moorea” cut – that would give birth to the dynamic and iconic brand, Vilebrequin. Curiously, its name is the French word for the “crankshaft” which we understand was inspired by the metal spiral staircase in the first shop to bear its name.

Given the prevalence of sailing in the area, Prysquel decided to use spinnaker sail cloth – noted for its quick during properties and resilient to sun and wind – for his shorts which, since their debut, have featured vibrant colours and maritime patterns. With the success of M Prysquel’s early design the signature and witty sea turtle image has become synoymous with the beaches of the South of France.

The brands fame spread to other European hotspots, becoming essential kit – almost a uniform – for the beach bound “Yuppy” where it would usually be accompanied by a signature and highly waterproof Swiss watch – up to at least 300m – often made by Rolex or Omega Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial

In 1991, Loïc Berthet, took over the brand and added new models. The original model was also enhanced by the addition of a over the brand. He further develops the brand by adding a back pocket secured with Velcro with an eyelet “draining” hole and a cotton lining.

As our Yuppy hero grew up he would often confront the challenges of parenthood. Vilebrequin, being savvy to their customer’s circumstances, realized that they could expand their collection and exponentially grow their market by the introduction in 1995 of the matching Father and Son range – with boy’s sizes starting at a minuscule 6 months.

My son and I each had a deep blue pair with curiously stylised wrapped toffees which we adored. His pair were a little large for him when bought so we had several years of seriously cool beach co-ordination! See our picture below on Spain’s Costa de la Luz – paradise but don’t tell too many others!

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In a decade from 1990 Vilebrequin opened stores in London, Paris, New York and Madrid with a distribution network in more than 50 countries.

In 2012, Vilebrequin was acquired by US fashion corporation, G-III Apparel Group, Ltd., who, in addition to a drive to expand its operations in the Far East, have extended the range with a “Mother and Daughter” collection.

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Photo Credits – with grateful thnaks – Vilebrequin and author’s own!

Lea & Perrins – the vital ingredient in a Bloody Mary

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It’s getting to that time of year when only a Bloody Mary becomes the perfect  accompaniment to a festive brunch. There are several vital ingredients to a Bloody Mary (and equally essential in the vodka-less Virgin Mary) – with my definitive recipe below – but one of the must haves is Lea & Perrin’s classically flavoured “Worcestershire Sauce”.

Lea & Perrins’ “Worcestershire Sauce” was first sold in 1837 by Messrs. John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, who were chemists with a shop in 68, Broad Street Worcester. Other chemists in the immediate vicinity also sold similar products which have suggested some confusion of its precise provenance. Naturally the precise recipe is a secret but it is known that the ingredients comprise in part vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions and garlic.

Lea & Perrins is a subsidiary of the mighty Kraft Heinz but unlike others who have been assumed into mega-food groups, Lea and Perrins continues to operate from its Midland Road, Worcester head quarters from where it produces the version sold in Europe – which differs slightly from the US version as the UK version contains malt vinegar whereas the US version uses distilled white vinegar.

The UK version of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is instantly recognisable by its bottle and its orange and black label.

Ok so here goes, Mark’s definitive recipe for a Bloody Mary:

Into a large jug mix Vodka – the best you have – a few decent glugs! I am a big fan of Stolichnaya Vodka and my Russian friends tell me it is one of Russia’s favourite too.

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Add a small handful of ice, V8 Juice (see our previous post here – V8 Vegetable Juice ), if available, or Tomato Juice about eight to ten times the volume of vodka used, the juice of one lemon – no pips, two tea spoons of Lea & Perrins (see our previous post here Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, one tea spoon of Tabasco Chipotle sauce (see our previous post here Tabasco Chipotle Sauce), one tea spoon of horse radish sauce, two table spoons of Spanish fino sherry, celery salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Stir together well and garnish with sticks of very crisp celery. Serve in a tall Duralex Picardie glass (see here Duralex Glass – Picardie).

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Equally delicious for the designated driver is a Virgin Mary – a separate jug with all the above ingredients except the Vodka and Fino.

Get your ingredients for the perfect Bloody Mary by clicking the following AMAZON shopping links. …..And why not ask for your purchases to be gift wrapped to make the perfect gift?

Stolichnaya Vodka Stolichnaya Russian Premium Vodka 1 Litre

Lea & Perrins Lea And Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 150Ml

Tabasco Chipotle Tabasco – Chipotle smoky BBQ pepper sauce 60ML

V8 Juice V8 Original Vegetable Juice, 1l

Coleman’s Horse radish sauce Colman’s Horseradish Sauce ( 250ml x 6 x 1 )

Schwartz Celery Salt Schwartz Celery Salt, 72g

Gonzalez Byass’ Tio Pepe Fino Sherry GONZALEZ BYASS Tio Pepe Fino Sherry 75cl Bottle

Duralex Picardie glasses Duralex Picardie 1029AC04 Box of 4 High Ball Glass Tumblers Transparent 36 cl

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Images Lea & Perrins, Stolichnaya, Tabasco and V8