‘Still’ crazy after all these years


This was the first time the NMDCA had tried a Gin Night but it seemed to go down really well with the people who braved Storm Dennis to come out and join us for the evening. The proceedings were hosted by Clio and Malcolm of the Hiltingbury Still who gave us a fascinating insight into their introduction to Gin making. They told us about the history of Gin going back as far as Pliny the Elder in the first century through to the latest revival of localised craft gin production.

The Hiltingbury Still however, produce more than just Gin and use many local products to provide unique flavours to their drinks. These include honey from local bees and apples and crab pears from Hilliers Garden Centre for their Schnapps. They also make Hiltingbury Limoncello although the lemons for this are sourced from Italy.

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Throughout the evening we were able to taste samples of different types of gin to illustrate the talk. We were encouraged to taste the Gin neat to get a real feel for the subtle flavours but then allowed to dilute it with tonic as required. Other Hiltingbury Still products could be tasted later. Doreen and Gillian laid on a spread of nibbles to soak up the alcohol and Charlie tested the remaining braincells with an alcohol themed quiz. Unfortunately the audio visual element of the quiz had to be cancelled due to an accident with an HDMI cable (this was before the drinking started) If you were at the evening and you wanted to see what you missed I have inserted it below.


January newsletter… just!

doormatThe January Miller’s Tale should be dropping onto your doormat very soon, thanks to the efforts of Carole Mollon who eventually managed to tame the rogue printer that seemed determined to push our January issue into February. She and her husband Richard then gamely collated, folded and stapled the 400 copies by hand, a job normally done by the printing machine.

If you’re an NMDCA follower who doesn’t live on the estate and won’t be getting your copy delivered, you can still read the Miller’s Tale at https://nmdca.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/newsletter-a3-form-jan-20-for-web.pdf 

This quarter we have put a couple of flyers inside the newsletter to encourage you to join us for a Gin night hosted by the Hiltingbury Still in the Community Hall. Following what I’m sure will be an informative and interesting presentation by Clio of the Hiltingbury Still there will be opportunities to sample the Gins and some nibbles then rack your brains with a slightly alcohol related quiz to finish off the evening.

There is also a flyer inviting you to a special evening at the Hiltonbury Farmhouse to meet a local author. After he takes you through the evidence, can you come up with a verdict on a cold murder case whilst enjoying a two course meal and a glass of wine?

Go to https://nmdca.wordpress.com/events-coming-soon/ for more details about these two upcoming events.


All Aboard for the Bath Trip

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Despite the forecast of rainy weather from the BBC earlier in the week, Saturday in Bath turned out to be much better than we could have hoped for. 51 shoppers arrived promptly before 9 o’clock to board the very modern looking coach to take the journey of just under two hours to Bath. On arrival at the Riverside coach park the passengers excitedly dispersed to visit the award winning Christmas Market in the city’s picturesque Georgian streets. After dark the stalls became even more magical as the Christmas lights were turned on. Thanks to Jamie, our Angela coach driver for getting us safely there and home again although the less said about his corny Christmas cracker jokes the better. Thanks also to everybody for supporting this trip and we hope to do more of these in the future.

Hall full Quiz evening


10 teams contested the quiz night with the room full, and no space for any more teams.

It was particularly pleasing for me as the quizmaster and for the NMDCA committee as we attracted some regular players, some participants who for various reasons have not been able to come for a while, and some new teams which is always welcome.

Thanks also to all of the participants who came, a couple of whom donated to the raffle, which was very generous, but for buying so many raffle tickets. We actually ran out of tickets. That reflected the general atmosphere of the night, which was good humoured throughout, and a entertaining time appeared to be had by all. It was a pleasure hosting the event.

There was some good humoured banter throughout the quiz, One gentleman from the Quidditch team clearly did not know  the power of his own voice, and said rather louder than he expected two answers, which were both correct, including one which he clearly did not expect to be right. On another team there was clearly some internal disagreement about an answer, and a gentleman was told quite clearly that he could expect a slap when he got home.

The quiz itself started with a round where the answers all had UK place names in them. I thought that was quite a gentle opening but it proved more difficult than I thought. Not as difficult as the music round, which featured singer’s backing groups or bands.  We had scores ranging from 1 to 16 out of 20 for that round, so as you can imagine there was a variety of reactions to that.

We for the first time introduced a spot prize. In this round teams had to guess how old the author John le Carre was, as it was his birthday on that day ( 88). There was a tie for that with two teams both guessing 87 . One day earlier and they would have been exactly right.

Question of the night which flummoxed the teams was the name of the railway bridge that separates South Millers Dale to Valley Park. The walking group which were represented there had walked over that bridge on a recent walk but had not realised it had a name. It is actually for those who do not know is the Reverend W.H Awdry bridge (of Thomas the Tank Engine fame)

In terms of the scoring of the quiz, it was remarkably close, and was not affected by the wide discrepancy of the music round. At the beginning of the last round, only four points (two correct answers) separated the top 5 teams, which was very gratifying as it shows the balance of the quiz is roughly right.  The Quidditch team and the Quiz Packham team both scored 137 points on the night (out of a possible 180) but the Girls Allowed Out team stole it on the line with 139 points, which meant that they won by one correct answer. I was rather pleased that there was a clear winner, as I would have struggled at the last moment to have sorted out a tie break question!