2008 – Interview with Tony Appleton, Town Crier

Merrily walking along Tonbridge High Street, this afternoon, despite the pouring rain, was a Town Crier, reminiscent of England in the 17th Century, even more surprising, as Tonbridge doesn’t even have its own town crier. According to Tonbridge & Malling Council Borough today ‘there isn’t one on the payroll’.


I set off to investigate and find out, what was he was up to roaming Tonbridge streets in the 21st century.


Over a coffee at The Castle Pub,  just by the river Medway, Tony Appleton, of Great Baddow, Lord of the Manor, set out to explain. He was quite glad to get out of the rain.


He was promoting ‘Showucare’ a show guide being held at the Rivercentre in Tonbridge today. The exhibition include services involved in social care such as

Kent Mobility, Royal College of Nursing, and MIND.


He said he had been a town crier all round the round for over seventeen years, ever since someone said ‘he looked like one’. In April, he took part with Simon Cowell in the opening ceremony of Britain’s Got Talent. He has met over 2000 celebrities in the course of his career.


Town Criers have been around since 1066 and at the proclamation of Agincourt. Before people could read, they would have a town crier and would bring messages from the King and of wars though they did not bring celebrity gossip.. The first Town Criers emed “Oyez Oyez Oyez” (which is “listen” in French) and conclude with “God save the Queen”

Costumes have changed over the years. Asked if the costumes will change in the future to fit the 21st Century, Tony Appleton said ‘I hope not.’


He walked around Tonbridge today for about three hours and keeps fit by swimming twenty lengths a day and using an exercise bike. ‘Town Criers have to have stamina’.


Several tourists badgered him with questions on the way and many Tonbridge locals thought he was ‘from the council’ (he is not employed by them) and had good old moan at him about the out-of-place tower block planning to be constructed by the town centre. ‘What will you do about it?’ they said. ‘Not a lot!’.


Tony Appleby’s other sidelines include being a Toastmaster and an Elvis Singer. He is also planning to launch a book about his experiences in the future ‘Shooting the Stars’.


For more information on Tony Appleton, you can see the  website www.englishtowncriers.com and email Anthony.appleton@virgin.net.


Review: The Cereal Cafe, East London

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At 139  Brick Lane in East London, another new café has popped up,  this time selling cereals from around the world. I thought I’d pop in and give it a whirl since I like ‘crazy cafes’, and being a health nut, I had to see this just for the sheer ‘wincefactor’ .

When I got there, there was  a long queue of about 15 people – I hadn’t expected that, but it was a good sign (or a bad sign).  The long queue consisted mostly of young students  under 25, we were the oldest in our late 40s, but we were all united in having sugary cereals in our childhoods.

Outside the café was was a sign saying that they would provide ‘takeaways’. You could feel the excitement as people walked through the door and saw brightly coloured cereals with names like ‘Barbie’ on the shelves.  When I was younger, we noticed the  cereal first on the packet but over the years these packets have been dominated by cartoon characters in order to entice children to eat unhealthy cereals.

We were given a menu –  and there was a lot. They didn’t just sell cereals, but even more sugary nightmares like poptarts. I squinted at the menu and spotted’ healthier’ cereals like granola, which was a relief. However, I thought about getting the ‘worst  American cereal’  like the sugar pebbies but I ended up choosing a non-American cereal, called Kariot from Israel.

The cereals could have a range of frightening toppings, but I thought I would neutralise the sugar by having chopped bananas.  I had recently been to the dentist at Christmas time which added to my reluctance to scoff sugary junk.

The assistant put a milk bottle on the tray (the same type  I had at school, and the ones Margaret Thatcher, ‘Milk snatcher’ took away.  I also liked  quirky kitch pictures hung up on the wall made out of cereal.

The whole place had a fun, energetic and bonkers atmosphere which was great.

I tasted the Kariot cereal and was surprised that the Israelis liked chocolate in their cereals. It was nice at first, after one or two pieces, but afterwards I felt sick, but, hey, that was part  of the *fun*.

This café is a great for a microadventure and even for us health freaks, to remind us, that these really sugary meals are really really WRONG and should be banned, and  only confined to ‘cereal museums’. To think that people round the world are eating this stuff every day, doesn’t bear thinking about. I myself rarely eat these cereals anyway but I do believe everything in moderation….


Something for Gluten Free people: Yes

Fun & Factor: 9/10 Health Factor: 3/10

Microadventureworthy: 9/10

Value: Good value considering the variety on offer and atmosphere, and collectible pieces around.  You could get a small cereal for £2 and a large one for £3 and toppings would be extra. Would I go again? YEP!

Health Factor: 2/10

Owen Jones: Talk at the Big Ideas Store, Whitechapel, 16 November 2014

Some of my tweets following the talk afterwards…..

Excellent talk tonight by @OwenJones84 #changemaker at the @Writeideafest – #theestablishment #livingwage #financialelitegettingawaywithit

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp ·
There was no heckling at the @OwenJones84 talk #writeideasfestival2014

Natalie Bennett @natalieben ·
RT @beaulieuonnp: Owen Jones #writeideafestival2014 # “Banks have become most lavish benefit claimants in Britain”. @OccupyLondon

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
Owen Jones “80 percent of @UKParliament are men” #writeideafestival2014 #whitechapel 16/11/14 @natalieben @CarolineLucas @GreenJennyJones

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
Owen Jones “We need a bigger movement – when the powerful fear you” #writeideafestival2014 #theestablishment #talk

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
Owen Jones at the #writeideafestival2014 # “Banks have become the most lavish benefit claimants in Britain”. @natalieben @OccupyLondon

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
Owen Jones:”The people can turn around public opinion” #bedroomtax #writeideafestival2014 16/11/14 #whitechapel #talk

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
“A union representative is less likely to be interviewed than a business representative” #owenjones #writeideafestival #theestablishment

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
“Journalists should have a conscience clause” @NUJofficial #owenjones 16/11/14 #writeideafestival2014 #whitechapel @natalieben #talk

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
“Unions represent over 6 m workers, yet they virtually receive no publicity at all”. #owenjones at #whiteideafestival2014 #whitechapel

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
“We should start challenging people in power” #owenjones #writeideafestlval2014 #whitechapel

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
“Injustice is created by people, injustice can be removed by people” #owenjones #whiteideafestival2014 @Craftivists @natalieben

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
It didn’t look like the majority of @OwenJones84 audience ever worked for a call centre, but I did #whiteidea2014

Beaulieu @beaulieuonnp · 10h 10 hours ago
Managed to be squeezed in to a talk tonight by @OwenJones84 @natalieben @WKGreens #whitechapel ##writeideafestival2014

The #National Funeral in Marble Arch – protest against deaths & injuries on Britain’s Road, 15th November 2014


I went to ‘Funeral March’ along Oxford Street  in protest against deaths and injuries across the country, not just from London. I come from Kent which has the most unsafest roads in the country, and not just people get killed, but horses too. We marched along to Elton John, ‘A Candle in the Wind, ‘Morning has Broken’ and some classical music which one cyclist said ‘was a bit Soviet’. We had the bagpipes, which brought a lump in my throat. Right at the front, were two ‘funeral horses’.


400 cyclists and other road users in mass ‘die in’ at Marble March. This photo was taken by me ‘having died’.


‘Pall bearers carrying the ‘coffin’



Caroline Russell, of the Green Party, saying that we CAN do something to tackle pollution


Mme Vesco tells her moving account of how her 20-year-old daughter, Marie Vesco, was run over by motorist whilst cycling along on the A23.

Review of Dorset Cereal’s ‘Simply Nutty’ Muesli

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    £1.99 for 410g (This is just enough for 2 bowls for an adult so the product won’t last long, however they do use better products and it is more nutritional)

    Nutritional Information:

    Kcal 378 per 100

    Fat 9.2g per 100g (1.5g of which are saturates)

    Salt 0.2g per 100g

    Carbs 56g per 100g
    of which sugars 14.g

    Sugar: No added sugar which is good, but there’s still a lot in it.

    I chose this because it looked more nutritional than the other cereals, and it looked like the company ‘made an effort’ to try and be healthier. It was also nice that they use a variety of oats (decent sized) and a variety of nuts, including brazil nuts which is great and really good for us. They did not have details of any vitamins and minerals on the box, which is a shame, as that would be a good selling point. Being a woman, I am always looking for cereals with iron in it and any vitamins that can improve my skin and hair. I can’t stand raisins so it was great to find a cereal that have none in it.

    Taste: Good, nice and nutty.

    Cardboard box: Made out of recycled fibre, but this was not stated on the box. I found this on their website. It is good that this is recycled.

    Carbon Footprint: There was no British flag on the box but I had to look through their website to see where the oats etc come from. It turns out that they use British farmers for their oats and they import fruits and nuts but do not state where they import them from (this is important to me) and are they sourcing them from ethical countries? On their website, they are vague about this.

    Good employer: Nothing on their website or box says that the company supports the Low Pay commission.

    Pesticide Use: For all we know they choose farmers that use pesticides. There is nothing on the box saying they do not. As they visit their suppliers regularly, they should be able to tell us us whether they support such farmers.

    Would I buy this product again? Not sure. They are not clear about pesticide use.

    Taste: 8/10
    Ethical: 3/10

  • Review of ‘Mrs Crimbles’ Apple Flavour Ricecakes – Thumbs Down


    I chose these as I wanted a healthier option, and it was gluten free. How I wish I read the packet on the front and the sides but I was in a hurry. (Yep, my fault, hand up!)

    The marketing tried to make it ‘look homemade’ but I couldn’t see any address of the bakery.

    I opened a pack and tried a rice cake and spat it out. I thought that the flavouring would be mild, but all I could taste was sugar, it was laced in the stuff. It was like eating a pop tart.

    I was going to eat with with cheese, but the sugar dominated this entirely. It also has salt and this was hidden from the front part of the pack.

    People are encouraged to have these nasty things in their lunch boxes. I nearly felt sick with all the gunk that was in there. The sugar content is hidden and was in small writing on the side –  25.9g for 100g. The packet itself is 140g.

    The marketing makes it look like a healthy product with the fresh apple on the front but it’s just apple’flavouring’.   According to the ingredients, there is more sugar in it than ‘apple flavouring’.  

    It is so unhealthy and disgusting, that the rest of them are going in the bin.  

    Verdict: This has to be the worst rice cake I have ever tasted.  You can’t eat anything on it as there is so much sugar in it.        Rating: 1/10 Would I buy it again? No, and I wouldn’t even feed it to the birds either!

     I care about my health and weight.

    New Product Review: Mars Galaxy Nut Crunch

    This is a large 114g chocolate bar (they don’t make them in small sizes for those watching their weight) and I bought this for a Special Price of £1 – No doubt the price will rise drastically after this.


    Ingredients: Sugar (so mostly riddled with sugar), Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, skimmed milk powder (well it’s a start!), milk fat, hazelnuts, almonds, lactose, whey powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin), salt (yes, added SALT), natural vanilla extract (May contain peanut, gluten (wheat). 


    Calories: 560kcal per 100g 


    Carbohydrate: 52.1g per 100g


    Sugars: 51.5g per 100g


    Sneaky Marketing: On the front of the bar,  the label states kcal per 3.8g, as opposed the 560kcal per 100g written in small print at the back. So, please read the back!


    Fairtrade: No Fairtrade Mark whatsoever.  No fairtrade sugar either. 


    Milk or Dark Chocolate: Milk, so even more fattening.


    Packaging: Uninspiring, and tacky looking, perhaps made to look even cheaper.


    Taste: Well the nutty crunch is nice and gives reminds you of eating a posh chocolate, but after a while, you suddenly get the sickly cheap chocolate taste, which tastes a bit weird and doesn’t seem to match the almonds and hazelnuts. It also tastes  sickly.  When you try it, it is nice for a bit, then you feel you have eaten a globful of fat, which has a funny after taste, even though you have just had one or two cubes.


    Would I buy this again? I would only buy it if I could share it with several people, as this bar is far too much for anyone, and the amount of sugar  and fat is far too much. I don’t think I would ever buy this more than once ever two years,  and even that is too much!


    Review: 5/10