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Real Ale heaven


I’m posting this on Sunday afternoon at the end of a lovely few days in York. I came over from Gainsborough on Wednesday evening, spent all of Thursday studying. Midway through the day I got a phone call from Tara, informing me that it had started snowing. Three hours later and a few inches of snow later, I met Tara from work.

On the way home we called at a pub called the Masons Arms, one of the pubs in the CAMRA good pub guide. It was there that I introduced Tara to the delights of Black Sheep Ale, one of my favourite real ales. After a pint drunk while sat in front of a roaring fire, we took a walk in the snow along the River Ouse.

On Saturday we took a walk to The Swan, another pub in the CAMRA, good pub guide, to watch the big match of the weekend, Manchester Utd vs Liverpool. Tara sampled a chocolate flavoured beer,Chocoholic, which although not to my taste, went down well with Tara. I had three pints of another of my favourite beers, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.

The Swan was York CAMRA pub of the year in 2009, and is a “Grade 2 listed Tetley Heritage Inn”

Although Liverpool lost and the crowd in the pub were mainly Man Utd supporters, it was a lovely afternoon spent in a pub with a friendly atmosphere. I think we may well have found our “local”

Following our visits to these two pubs, we’ve decided to join CAMRA and we’re also going to visit York Brewery next weekend


Cupcake Heaven!


Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy my food, particularly when it’s home made, and this weekend has been full of home made delights.

The baking started on Saturday afternoon, with Tara and Devon preparing the dough for pizza bases. Using yeast that was somewhat out of date added to the challenge, but fortunately it responded to the heat and managed to rise (well a little anyway!).

The tomato sauce was home made as well, with anchovies adding a little kick. As for toppings, I’m afraid I went for the full works, resulting in my pizza  being somewhat taller than the norm!

Here’s a photo that Devon took of her pizza, complete with sweetcorn, yes that’s right sweetcorn!

Needless to say they were absolutely delicious!








Moving on to Sunday, we had a rather late breakfast, but with the added bonus of Thomas joining us. He’d never experienced the Grits phenomenon before, so it was a first for him. But these weren’t just any old Grits, these were Yellow Speckled Grits, the genuine article from Georgia. If you look on the bag, you’ll see they come from a place called Sautee-Nacoochoo, how cool a name is that? I’d love to know the history behind that name….











So breakfast consisted of bacon(except for Tara the (h)erbivore), eggs, Yellow Speckled Grits (with cheese) and pancakes. Not forgetting a liberal dose of Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning!

I’ve been reading the blurb on the carton and apparently every time the creator of this “award winning blend” uses it, she receives a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek!

I knew there was something missing,next time….









So that was breakfast, but the highlight was still to come. Tara had bought back some icing equipment back from her visit back home, and together with Devon, proceeded to make some cupcakes. The recipe came from a magazine called Cupcake Heaven, and as you can see from this photo, they were heavenly!









For a food lover, this was one great weekend!



Tony was writing about coincidences and what to call our relationship.  It made me think of another terminology difference between the US and the UK.  In the US the word partner is typically used only by gay couples. WhenI first moved to the UK and people were talking about their patners, I assumed they were gay.  You can imagine my confusion as they would then discuss their partners in a way that made it clear they were the opposite gender.  Fortunately a friend cleared it up fairly quickly, before I made any strange comments.  So, no Tony, I am not your partner… And I agree, girlfriend/boyfriend seems a little strange after 40 (in my case not much after 40, of course!).  I have been saying ‘the guy I am dating’ but that is stiff and longwinded.  Perhaps we need to invent a new term?

Tony could be my manfriend? My giad (guy i am dating)? Hmmm…think I will have to stick with boyfriend which actually feels pretty good to say 🙂

As Tony mentioned I am in the US for a week.  Catching up on a haircut (why can’t they cut layers in England?) and going shopping for clothes and shoes because they are MUCH cheaper over here.  And missing my boyfriend.  But enjoying seeing family and friends.  My life is incredibly good right now, which causes me to think about and experience gratitude daily.  So I have a gift, for Tony, and for those reading this blog.


Coincidence or what?


Every now and again some things happen that appear to be just coincidence, but set you thinking that there may just be a greater power out there. Don’t worry, I’ve not found God and I’m not getting all philosophical, but just check out this series of coincidences and see what you think….

As you’ve hopefully gathered by now this is a blog run by two of us, me, Tony, the Englishman and Tara, the American lady. I was going to say my partner, but that makes us sound like a business along the lines of Ben & Jerry, Tony & Tara, not sure what we’d specialise in! I was going to say girlfriend, but as we’re both over 40, one a tad more over than the other!, girlfriend doesn’t seem quite right.

Anyway back to these coincidences:


We’ve known each other just over a month, and she’s introduced me to all sorts of American stuff, including Grits! I’ll let Tara explain in more detail, suffice to say it’s a dish served, mainly for breakfast, with a well dodgy consistency, but which tastes very nice.


I live in a small town in Lincolnshire called Gainsborough. Tara however keeps referring to it as Gainesville, which she tells me is a city in Georgia.


Talking of Georgia, that’s where Tara is at the moment, having flown back home for a week.

So that’s all the background, needless to say, but don’t tell anybody as I’m supposed to be a repressed Englishman, but I’m missing Tara quite a bit, and was thinking about her this morning, as I logged on to my pc to check my facebook updates. Imagine my surprise when I saw a post from a singer called Callaghan, who I follow, entitled How do you like your Grits in the morning?

I followed the link and Callaghan‘s blog is called Brits and Grits!

I then read the post and her first experience of Grits was in, you’ve guessed it, Gainesville!

And where is Callaghan based now, having originated in my home county of Lincolnshire? Yep, Georgia

So is it coincidence, is it me looking for connections or is it a sign that me & Tara are meant to be, or am I just a soppy old romantic?

Whilst I’m talking about Callaghan, check out this from a house concert:

If you head on over to her website,, you’ll get a free download of her song Best Year, which was one of my favourite songs of last year. In fact I did a post about Callaghan on my other blog, myrockdatediary

An American in English


This is the American (allegedly the one who uses the improper English) and I think we can all guess what I heard when Tony called me a Faddy.  Yes, I too was horrified.  Sadly it took us until 2 hours later to figure out the miscommunication but we eventually did.  I would refrain from sharing another story where I told someone to kiss my fa***, but the look on their face was priceless and I couldn’t figure out what I had done.  To make it worse it was a female. This does mean something completely different in the US, I can assure you.

We, the proper one and I, have undoubtedly had other miscommunications that we are too polite to question.  So I leave you with another Americanism…Tony is just lucky I didn’t have a hissy fit at being called a Faddy 🙂

Lost in Translation


So there’s two of us contributing to this blog, I’m Tony and I’m English, then there’s Tara, and she’s American.

You’d think that as we speak the same language, English, that there would be no confusion in everyday conversation, Wrong!

We’ve known each other about a month ago, and up until Saturday, nothing had been “Lost in Translation“. I won’t say anymore, I’ll leave that to Tara!

Ok, I’ll just say one thing, the definition of Faddy is:

“having many arbitrary and often unusual likes and dislikes about food”

So there’s an example of a commonly used English word, that appears not to be as well known by Americans (well the one that I know, anyway!).

To counter this, Tara came out with a cool phrase on Sunday evening, which I’d never heard before:

He’s full of piss and vinegar

I love that!

Anyway, I thought it would be neat to keep a record of these differences between the Queen’s English (proper English!) and American English

So if you come up with any words or phrases that get “Lost in Translation”, enter them as a comment and we’ll record them on a separate page.

Right I’ll stop there, I’m sure Tara may have a word or two about this subject….

Found: One Lincoln imp, slightly worn. Contact Cathedral to claim.


An exciting visit to Lincoln Cathedral a couple of weeks ago, where we discovered the Lincoln Imp hiding in the arches.  Legend has it there were two imps and one was turned to stone by an angel as a lesson, with the other allowed to escape.  I wonder if he ever comes to visit his friend?

The stained glass rose windows were stunning, as were the numerous stained glass windows depicting bibical scenes.  The south side of the Cathedral has the ‘Bishop’s Eye’ rose window which represents the letting in of light or God’s Grace.  The north side is the “Dean’s Eye’ rose window which represents the shutting out of darkness or the Devil.  The stained glass windows represent a variety of styles and painting methods.  It would be interesting if they had a pamphlet that provided the history and techniques behind the windows but we didn’t see anything like this in our visit.

What was in the Cathedral was possibly some hidden treasure!  When son Sean was investigating he found a paving stone which rocked back and forth in the floor of the Cathedral.  I am convinced there has to be some treasure hidden at Lincoln.  Tony and Sean disagreed but when I went looking on the internet I found some articles claiming there might be some treasure hidden by the Knights Templar.  Somebody may have been reading too much Dan Brown but it is fun to consider the possibility!

We really recommend a visit to the Cathedral.  The history, architecture and the sheer beauty of the buidling make it well worth an afternoon.












Ryan Adams – 30th April


We’re going to see Ryan Adams at the end of April! And it’s at the London Palladium, which just adds to the sense of occasion.

I’ve been a Ryan Adams fan for over ten years. A good friend brought me Gold for my 40th birthday, since then I’ve been a huge fan.

Gold contains one of my favourite tracks of all time, La Cienega Just Smiled.

Listen to this, how awesome is this?

As for the London Palladium,  it’s a venue with a great history. Between 1955 and 1967 it played host to Sunday Night at the London Palladium, during this period anyone who was anyone in the music business performed there, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Judy Garland

Our first gig…


Our first gig together was at The Duchess in York on Wednesday 11 January.

We went to see Lanterns on the Lake, but we were both blown away by the first of two support acts, singer songwriter David McCaffrey.

Here’s a Youtube clip of him performing one of the songs he did that night, Your Old Ways

The second of the two support acts, Sam Airey, unfortunately suffered by comparison, and didn’t create much of an impression with his downbeat folk   like songs.

As for Lanterns on the Lake, they were simply awesome!

Here’s a link to a review of the concert in the York Press, the last paragraph of which sums up the night pretty well:

If you were there, you will want to return – and if you weren’t, take the album home, ride its gracious tide and be there next time

This was our first gig together, it was a wonderful evening, and has set the bar for the many gigs to follow….

Hello world!


Welcome to andtisfor , Tony & Tara’s blog.

T is not only for Tara & Tony, it’s for Travel, something we both want to be doing a lot of, and it’s also for Tomorrow, and all the many tomorrows to follow.

This blog will be a record of where we want to travel, where we’ve travelled and what we do with all our tomorrows.