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September 2016

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Foodie Heaven

Sam Bertram

9 September 2016

The Three Tuns Great Bedwyn is a lovely local village pub owned by James and Ashley Wilsey. We spoke to Ashley to find out more.   Tom Parker Bowles described your pub as ‘Three steps to foodie heaven’, what do your regulars love about it?   People say they like the friendly welcome, the warm and cosy environment and most crucially the consistency in the quality of food and beers.  Also that we are a bit different from other pubs in that we  are constantly experimenting and having fun with what we serve. We are always looking out for new local breweries, new distilleries and new recipe ideas that our customers would enjoy trying while staying grounded in the traditions of a relaxed country pub.  It’s always been really important to us to maintain the village pub as a place that is busy with drinkers at the Bar, families, dogs and the whole energy of village life as well as serving really good food.  We’ve worked very hard to keep our prices reasonable enough that customers feel like they can come in regularly and not just for special occasions, to which end we’ve just introduced a new wine list with a greater range of quality, affordable wines.  Plus we’ve just consolidated the bar menu with the daily menu so that everyone can feel like they’re choosing a dish from the same place.   What’s really nice is that our Sous-Chef who joined us when we first opened has since become our General Manager, which means that the passion that was always in the kitchen is now also front of house.  He’s particularly into Beer and Gin, so we seem to have developed a growing and lively collection of these products.  And equally, everyone loves the fact that Ben can really describe first hand how dishes are made and why certain ingredients complement one another.  We’re always booked out on a Sunday and we love the special vibe Sunday brings when it’s buzzing with families, locals and new faces.    Which dishes is James particularly proud of?   ‘One dish on the menu right now that he loves has buttery white Coco beans, Chard and Chorizo as a base, topped with a Confit Duck Leg and dollop of Aioli.  We’ve also just sold out of a House-smoked Pulled Lamb with Harissa Mayonnaise and homemade Pickled Cucumber which was ridiculously delicious.   He loves making his small sweet bites, such as Cinnamon Doughnut Holes and Chocolate Salamis which people are quite keen on. His homemade Scotch Eggs are always really popular – the one on today’s menu is rolled in house-smoked bacon and served with Crackling and Celeriac Remoulade. Another perennial favourite here is the Macaroni Cheese which goes through many seasonal and creative variations – currently it’s mixed through with Roasted Squash and Sage.   The Steak of course always sells well – James rolls his own butter full of crazy ingredients and puts that on the top with bone marrow alongside Hand Cut Chips. And he grinds his own hamburger mix from bone marrow, chuck and brisket, topped off with melty smoked cheddar.’   What’s new at The Three Tuns   We’re starting a Burger & Beer for £15 on Wednesday this week, to run until December. We’re also about to launch our new website and a friend of ours has created a hand drawn logo, which is also going to be used on our new take away boxes and growlers - so commuters to Bedwyn station will be able to grab a burger plus a hand pulled cask ale on their way home!  Another initiative is to introduce a Set Lunch menu on weekdays. There are exciting plans ahead for the barn next to the car park. We’re going to essentially replicate the old building but swivel it so that it flanks the garden and turn it into a lovely function space with massive sliding glass doors opening out onto our boules pitch. We’ll be able to use it for all sorts of purposes from being able to seat more people on over-subscribed Sunday lunches to holding shoot lunches, birthday parties, cultural or community events and potentially cinema or sports screenings which you could combine with a meal and drink.  We’re open to ideas!   http://tunsfreehouse.com/  

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Men's Shed

Marc Read

2 September 2016

A ‘Man’s shed’ has always been a place of escape, a safe haven, a place to think, make things, and mend things, but this has usually been an individual pursuit.   With a recent Age UK survey showing more than one million people aged over 65 are often or always lonely, and two-fifths saying that their main form of company is the television, the growth of the ‘Men’s Shed’ can only be a good thing. But what is a ‘Men’s Shed’?   A Men’s Shed provides a communal place of skills sharing, informal learning, of individual pursuits & community projects, of purpose, achievement & social interaction. Men’s Sheds are social groups that are self-governed, have their own constitution, their own income and their own meeting place. How each shed looks and the activities that take place in them depend entirely on the skills and interests of the group. Shedders are gardeners, artists, collectors, story-tellers, amateur radio enthusiasts, train spotters, model makers…..Anyone is welcome and any interest, skill or project is given equal consideration – especially if it could attract new members or gain valuable income to support the development of the group.   The newly formed Tidworth & Ludgershall Men’s Shed for example, have just taken on their first community project and are using their skills to help outdoor therapy charity http://www.god-unlimited.org/ to build a new wildlife hide. What better way to spend the summer?   There are now 8 Wiltshire Men’s Sheds in Wiltshire; Tidworth & Ludgershall, Melksham, Westbury, Corsham, Chippenham, Trowbridge, Royal Wootton Bassett & Swindon. You can find contact details for each of the sheds on the national Men’s Shed page http://menssheds.org.uk/, so why not ditch the television for company and pop along to a shed in your area.

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