Kite Festival, Taste, Cooling and Political shenanigans

Dunoon Commemerative Mugs, Ice Balls, Gin Glasses and Vacu Vin Offers.

I think it’s fair to say, that by many people’s standards, I’ve lived a somewhat sheltered life. So, until this weekend, I had for instance, never been to a music festival….no really, not one!  

Well, all that has now changed as I was invited to go to the Kite Festival at Kirtlington Park, just north of Oxford, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. It’s in its second year and run by the Tortoise Media organisation. It consisted of a mixture of talks and music, I was immediately attracted by some of the speakers who included Adam Kay, Mel Giedroyc, Sir John Major, Alistair Campbell, Simon Sinek, Chris Patten, Rachel Reeves and Joan Collins.

Some of the music was not bad either, although admittedly as I didn’t know my Pretenders from my Django Django, I may not have been the best judge of that.

But the speakers were somewhere between interesting to fascinating, leaving much food for thought behind them. As may be evident, I found the whole experience very stimulating and would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone interested in the world around them.

Simon Sinek and James Harding at the Kite Festival


Tortoise Media incidentally, started by James Harding, a former editor of the Times, says this about themselves and their aims:

What’s different about us is slow news. We don’t do breaking news, but (do) what’s driving the news. We don’t cover every story but reveal a few (stories). We take the time to see the fuller picture, to make sense of the forces shaping our future, to investigate what’s unseen.

A high quality, interesting and unusual approach to journalism and by way of example one of their reporters did an interesting talk on AI. In short, they come across as dedicated sincere and knowledgeable…a worthy business with a real passion for the truth, is my initial impression.

To Product...    
Why is it that as soon as a commemorative “anything” rears its head, taste, good, bad, ugly or indifferent flies out of the window and is replaced by the utterly deplorable.


Why for instance, when thinking of the Coronation, couldn’t we have a commemorative mug that is an example of good taste. No whimseys, flourishes or gold leaf? Well, apparently we can’t, so I bring you two examples of the genre, which I’d dearly like to see the back of.

Dunoon Wessex Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Mug  
I think I’ll let the picture do the talking, aware as I am that some would say that it’s more important to be human than to have good taste. So here is a Bone China Mug, light in weight (as with all bone china) deceptively strong (as with all bone china), but because of the gold leaf, NOT suitable for the dishwasher and definitely NOT microwave safe…big sparks!

As with all Dunoon mugs it is beautifully made and hand finished to a very high standard. All this for an eye watering RRP of £39.00, our price £34.95.

The offer this week is £10 off, so down to £24.95. Please tell us who you are if shopping conventionally or use code DUNOON23 Online.

Dunoon Wessex Coronation Commemorative Mug  
I really can’t find anything more original to say about this mug. My comments above apply to this one as well. Keep it clear of the dishwasher and the microwave and you’ll be happy as Larry with it. Same deal as Queen Elizabeth mug.

And talking of the Coronation, I’ve recently had two conversations with a couple of friends about Nick Cave, the Australian rock musician and writer who was mentioned in the Week the other day (connected to the Coronation), and what he had to say I thought was quite profound, wise and somehow, very adult (The meat is below*).

Kikkerland Soccer or Golf Ice Balls
I hope that you’re going to be impressed that I’m trying to flog you something that is seasonally “IN” at the moment (as I type it’s pretty warm). So, in the box you get two individual ice cube moulds that will produce large spherical ice cubes. Yours for £10.00 a pair, and of course produce very impressive balls!

Riedel Gin and Tonic Glasses Box of 6
Now to keep your G&T chilled in one place, i.e. in a container and not on the floor or the table, we can supply you with Riedel G&T glasses, (which just so happen to also be the New World Pinot bowl, so a multipurpose glass), into which you may put your expensive , but beautifully formed balls.

Just a note about this glass. As with all Riedel glasses they do have anything from significant to profound effect on the taste of drink (as indeed any shape will have, it doesn’t have to be Riedel to change what you taste). What Riedel have done is to turn this effect to their advantage by testing, testing and then testing again, producing different shaped bowls that allow or encourage you to really get the best out of any drink you care to mention.

So the fact that they found that their New World Pinot bowl most effectively brought out the best aroma and flavour in G&T was, in some ways, lucky for them (they didn’t have to produce yet another bowl shape), but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this bowl will give you the best bang for your buck in the flavour stakes.

The Value Pack of 6 glasses above has an RRP of £70.

We have an over stock of these so I’m bringing the price down to £49.95 for the moment.

Vacu Vin Wine cooler
And lastly, we come to the Vacu Vin Wine cooler. This has to be one of the first products that I ever did the buying on (chose)! As old as the hills and now copied many times by others, The Vacu Vin Wine chiller is just a superb product. 


It chills a bottle of wine down from room temperature to cold in 10 to 15 minutes, far faster than a fridge or freezer, and looks elegant whilst doing do so.

It costs £14.49 usually, but for this weekend use code VACU23 to get it for £10.99 or tell us who you are if coming into the shops.

* When it emerged that Nick Cave had accepted an invitation to the coronation, some of his fans were shocked.

So, the rock musician and writer posted a letter on his website to explain his thinking. “I am not a monarchist, nor am I a royalist, nor am I an ardent republican for that matter,” he said. “What I am also not is so spectacularly incurious about the world and the way it works, so ideologically captured, so damn grouchy, as to refuse an invitation to what will more than likely be the most important historical event in the UK of our age. Not just the most important, but the strangest, the weirdest.”

As for a fan’s question about “what the young Nick Cave would have thought” of his decision to attend, he added: “Well, the young Nick Cave was, in all due respect to the young Nick Cave, young, and like many young people, mostly demented, so I’m a little cautious around using him as a benchmark for what I should or should not do.”

That’s it for this week.

I’ll leave the last word to an ex prime minister ….

"My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters."
Boris Johnson, quoted in The Daily Telegraph

I thought he didn’t have any friends left, but according to the Week, Johnson’s allies have threatened to oust Tory MPs who endorsed the Partygate report’s findings.

It seems he’s not yet finished his Machiavellian machinations.

Notwithstanding, I hope you have peaceful and pleasant weekend.

Kind regards
Andrew Bluett-Duncan

P.S. Andi has just done an entertaining guide to planning and executing a great BBQ. Recommended reading.

BBQ FAQ – Everything You Need To Know For a Perfect BBQ

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