Restaurant Review: The Barge, Grimsby

29th March 2013


I’m sat on The Barge


Waiting for my food


I can’t drink because I’m on my


And my head feels funny

Because I’m

Waiting for my food


It’s always worth the


Though because the food

At The Barge

Is the best in



So I’ll sit here

People watching and writing

Waiting for my food


Yes, while waiting I composed a poem about The Barge. I had little else to do except write and wait for my meal. I’ve eaten at this particular place a few times and never been disappointed.

The Barge is a popular place to eat and drink in Grimsby, especially for those who enjoy their music heavy (the most ‘pop’ music I’ve ever heard on their jukebox was Bon Jovi, and that’s only during the day. After 5pm it gets heavier and louder). Today it is particularly busy, their ‘2 jumbo fish, chips and peas for £14.99’ offer might have something to do with that. Despite its popularity The Barge is never packed during the day.

I ordered the ‘Barge Gourmet Burger’ for £7.95 and the special ‘Crème Egg Cheesecake with Vanilla Ice-cream’ for £2.00 (£2.95 if I hadn’t bought a main course as well), as well as a large Diet Pepsi (£1.95). The staff are friendly and polite, and although it took about 20 minutes for the food to arrive, they brought my cutlery and any sauce I requested immediately.

The burgers were just cooked, only just for my taste, but succulent and full-flavoured, the cheese generous, I could have done with a bit more bacon, although it was just right in terms of how well it was cooked. Any longer and it would have been too crispy. The onion rings, fresh, home-made onion rings, were perfect. They actually tasted of onion for a start; they were hot, but not scolding, crispy and golden. The chips were also home-made, chunky and golden. There didn’t appear to be a lot at first sight but the size of them made up for that. The salad and coleslaw was no mere accompaniment either but an integral part of the meal. The coleslaw was fresh, and also home-made, large slices of cabbage, onion and carrot well covered by mayonnaise. It was lovely.

My dinner: The Barge gourmet burger, with chips and salad
My dinner: The Barge gourmet burger, with chips and salad

I wasn’t sure I’d have room for a pudding after the main course but I thought I’d give it a try. And I was well rewarded. The base was thick and the cheesecake topping creamy. The ice-cream was excellent quality.


All in all, though it is a little expensive, if you happen to be in Grimsby for any reason and want a decent meal, ignore McDonalds and take a walk to the Freshney. You can’t miss The Barge, it’s a bloody great big barge concreted into the dock.

Bye for now


Review: The City’s Son: Book 1 of the Skyscraper Throne

Tom Pollock

Jo Fletcher Books (Quercus)


I picked this up in the library about two weeks ago and it’s taken me a while to get through it. I think it’s meant to be a YA fantasy, but I had trouble deciding who the target audience were. The main characters were certainly adolescent, but it could as easily be read by adults.

Set in contemporary London the story follows the adventures of teenage graffiti artist Beth Bradley and her best friend and poet of the streets Pen (Parva Khan) as they get drawn into the war between the Urchin Prince, Filius Viae, and Reach, the Crane King.

Switching between the viewpoints of Beth and Filius the story tells of the midnight encounter with a railwraith by Beth and her involvement with Filius, as Pen is fighting her own battles. Betraying her only friend after one particular night of artistic revenge on a bullying teacher, Pen loses Beth to the hidden London. Beth’s father goes in search of her and Pen comes along to help. Unfortunately they are ambushed by Reach’s minion ‘The Wire Mistress’ who takes Pen as her avatar.

Meanwhile Beth and Filius are trying to build an army while waiting for his Mother, the Goddess of the Streets to return and help them; an army of statues, and lamp people, and one homeless Russian. Plus a person made of rubbish.

In fighting the war many battles are won and lost, lives lost and choices made. Sometimes you have to make a deal, and pay the price in the end. But the price of victory might not be worth paying. Beth has to decide as she becomes Filia Viae to Filius’s Filius Viae.

Although it took me a while to read this, I enjoyed it and will probably read the next one. The book feels allegorical; do we allow skyscrapers and things of glass and steel to destroy the life found in old city streets, is it progress or the killing of a place to change it? Renewal or ripping away of life? These are clearly pressing matters to think on and a balance or compromise has to be found, as Beth does. We have decisions to make, will we choose right, strike the right bargains and are we willing to pay the price for our choices?

Bye, for now


Just as soon as I get my laptop to a wifi connection…

Good afternoon,

Having a bit of a lazy day today since my back is bad again. But I have managed to get a bit of writing done. I went out yesterday afternoon to a place that does children’s parties. Not because I’m weird, mostly groups of children irritate me, no, it was my godson’s birthday party. And since the venue is in a tourist town I thought I’d review it, for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in Cleethorpes on a wet day. I shall probably post my review on Saturday.

Other than that I’ve been for a walk, did some of my computer course work and finished reading ‘The Black Butterfly’ by Mark Gatiss. And eaten six Cadbury’s Creme Eggs – which is not something I recommend anyone doing. I feel quite unwell now 😦



Review: The wisdom of the Shire: A short guide to a long and happy life

Noble Smith

Hodder & Stoughton


As I said yesterday, I don’t read self-help books but I got sucked in by the Tolkien canon concept. There’s a reason for this; I get the feeling that the authors of such books are a bit smug. They might not be, but why would you write a book telling people how to live, or reach enlightenment, or how to pull, if you don’t believe that you know it all already and are kindly dispensing your wisdom to the world? So I’m a bit cynical; I don’t care how long you’ve been a Tolkien ‘enthusiast’, otherwise known as a fan, have you got something new to say, or are you just taking advantage of the fact that the ‘Hobbit’ films are popular at the minute?

As it turns out Mr Smith has nothing new to say on living a good life: sleep when you’re tired, only take what is sufficient to life, don’t be greedy or grasping, be a good neighbour and friend, treat the earth with respect and be a part of your community. None of this is new, but using the characters from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as his exemplars is. Much of the information asterisked as footnotes are obvious, irrelevant to the main text or things already known by those who are fans of Middle Earth.

All that being said, Mr Smith is passionate about the subject and that is obvious from his writing and the personal examples included affected me. His plan for a small ‘Hobbit garden’ is an interesting extra, he missed out Sam’s nasturtiums though :D. Most of all it has pushed me back to my copy of The Lord of The Rings, which sits accusingly on my bedside table, demanding to know when I am going to carry on reading it? The answer is, later, after I’ve made my pack up for work tomorrow.

I wouldn’t particularly recommend this book as weekend reading, but if you happen to see it in the library and like Middle Earth it would be a new approach to the works of Tolkien.



My Chemical Romance split

During my early morning Facebook and Twitter check yesterday (yeah, yeah, I know, but I couldn’t sleep) I heard that MCR had split up. Now these sort of rumours appear all the time about various bands so my first thought was ‘hoax’, but then I checked their website for news and the Kerrang! blog.

‘Tis a great shame, and rather unexpected, since I’d heard they were working on some new songs. I’d hoped to see them live next year. It’s no secret that until mid-2011 I had no interest whatsoever in music, it had just never been a part of my world, but now it is. MCR was/is one of my favourites. I like everything they’ve done.

I know people who have been fans for years, who say MCR saved them and who have their own preferred eras; it’s quite interesting that some people seem to prefer the album they heard first. I feel that in coming to them late, after they put out Danger Days, it means that rather than comparing an album to the one before, or a favourite, I’ve been able to see each album as the distinct entities they are, rather than having an expectation of more of the same. I can hear the transition between ‘Black Parade’ and ‘Danger Days’ in ‘Conventional Weapons’, and the increased polish between ‘Bullets’ and ‘Revenge’. Each album is enjoyable in it’s own right, yet all have the same message of hope to those in pain.

Decried as dangerous by tabloids and insulted as ’emo’, this band paired introspection and emotional lyrics with an almost punk aggression in their style of performing. They started out quite dark in song content and band imagery but changed and, importantly the music continually evolved as the Way’s and their friends grew up and changed themselves.

In the last twelve years MCR have made some memorable music. I personally love ‘Thank you for the venom’, ‘I’m not okay’ and ‘Boy Division’ as well as ‘Na, Na, Na (Na, Na, Na)’ and ‘Welcome to The Black Parade’. The lyrics are powerful and occasionally make me cry, for the pain the writer must have gone through to write something so beautiful, and for those who have been brought back from the brink by the music. For all that the videos for ‘Danger Days’ are in the same melancholic vein as their earlier work, the songs themselves never fail to make me smile. I love the graphic nature of the songs and the strong imagery they evoke.

But my opinion on My Chemical Romance’s musical style and image is not important right now; what I want to say is My Chemical Romance were one of the first bands I was ever a fan of, one of the first bands in who’s members I ever took an interest beyond ‘that sounds good, I suppose’. The music they made means a lot to me, and has been a great help to me at times. The band and their music also mean a great deal to some of my closest friends (including my 5 year old godson who, when I went to visit, announced before I had my coat off, ‘Rosie, we have bad news; MCR have split’; apparently he wailed when he was told by his mum. He’d wanted to go to see them next time they toured, his favourite song is ‘Sing’ and he adores the videos for ‘Danger Days’).

So, I’d like to thank them for the music.
And MCRmy/Killjoys; ‘You get a lifetime’, make the best of it. Keep going; they’re still living and creating so we will hear from them again, just maybe not as MCR.



I really should finish reading what I’ve started first, but still…

This morning I took my nephew to the library to get some more books and to take my book back. I had no intention of getting another book, since I still have two other books to finish reading, but then I saw this book, ‘The Wisdom of the Shire’ by Noble Smith.

I don’t generally go in for ‘self-help’ books but I have a thing for the works of JRR Tolkien and the book seemed to be a different take on the whole world of Middle Earth. So I’m going to read it. But first I’m going to follow Mr Smith’s advice and get some sleep because I’m tired.

I’ll let you know what I think of the book when I finish it. Have a nice afternoon, and I hope you’re all safely in your Hobbit-holes nice and warm in this cold weather.



Review: A Place of Confinement by Miss Anna Dean

A Place of Confinement or, The examinations of Miss Dido Kent

By Miss Anna Dean

Allison and Busby

The forth book in The Dido Kent Series finds Dido, the 36 year old spinster, sent off to be companion to her Aunt Manners, for the crime of refusing to marry a widowed rector and his pew and a half of children. Aunt Manners is very wealthy and her nieces and nephews are desperate for her good will.

Arriving at Mrs. Manners family home, Charcombe Manor, they find that another guest, the wealthy Miss Verney, has disappeared. Mr Tom Lomax, an acquaintance of Dido’s is considered the guilty party but swears he is not. For the sake of his father, Mr Lomax, a dear friend who would be more if he could persuade Dido to it, she undertakes to investigate the matter. When a man is murdered it becomes imperative that the truth is known, for more that Tom Lomax’s life is in the balance.

Everyone has their secrets and Miss Dido Kent will know them, in the pursuit of truth and justice, and to find the missing young lady. What emerges from the investigations of the active, intelligent and argumentative Miss Kent, will upset all around her, dig up a secret thirty years forgotten, bring a proposal and an engagement and a massive reconsideration of the characters of those Dido believes she knows well.

I do like the Dido Kent books. She is an engaging, intelligent character who has flaws and admits to them. She is aware of her lack of ‘femininity’ and her lack of freedom in her position as a dependant sister; she is ashamed of being a pawn in her sister-in-laws manoeuvres to gain a fortune but independent enough not to be bullied in to a loveless marriage by her.

Anna Dean is an amusing writer, her plots are well constructed and characters believable. Her understanding of human nature is exquisite, as is her understanding of the structure of a good regency novel and how to mess with it. I do like a good mystery, and a regency novel. So, of course I like this book. And I sympathise with Dido; no one likes being a poor, dependant middle-aged spinster, now or 200 years ago.

Bye for now,