I RECENTLY became interested in one of our local attractions, the Hogs Back Brewery, and decided to visit the much-acclaimed Tourist Information Office in Aldershot High Street to obtain some details.
I was told that they did not hold brochures for the brewery as it was situated in the county of Surrey.
I pointed out the fact that it was only about a mile away from where we were, and even so they did indeed stock a vast amount of leaflets advertising attractions outside Hampshire: Legoland, Woburn, Paulton's Park, Madame Tusaud's and Windsor Castle, to name but a few.
"Ah," came the reply. "If we were to promote a brewery in another county, it would be considered as direct competition to our own county's breweries."
I suddenly warmed to the assistant. "So there is a brewery in Hampshire that I could visit?" I asked. "We have some vineyards," she said. "No breweries, as such then?" I said with little hope. She seemed to think there might be one near Alton.
My hopes were raised once again; could I please have some information…please. No such luck. They appeared to be all out of leaflets and neither of the assistants had the slightest idea of where the place actually was. I left the office with the feeling that I had just taken part in a Monty Python sketch.
Luckily I have a sense of humour, but I'm glad I'm not a tourist seeking information. If I were, the Tourist Information Office would be about as much use to me as a cheese shop without any cheese.
C. J. Wantje, Ash Road, Aldershot.
Star Editor Alan Franklin comments: What did you expect from anything run on taxpayers' handouts?
As our first letter writer above points out, it's not the real world in taxpayer la la land.
First, let me tell you what you need to know. There is indeed a long established Hampshire brewery, George Gale's of Horndean, on the way to Portsmouth. Just drive down the A3 and turn off at Horndean - it's in the main street. Follow your nose and sup some of George Gale's fine old ale. They have a pub next to the brewery and are still family owned.
This information is free, unlike the million pound extravaganza in the High Street, which I and many readers warned would be a useless white elephant, gorging on money filched from the pockets of widows and pensioners.
If they had wanted an information point the other nearby white elephant, the Prince's Hall, would have served.
And if information on anything is wanted by anyone, here's what to do. Turn to the Star's website, shstar.co.uk and look for the Google search engine on our electronic front page. Key in what you want to know, like "Hampshire breweries," press search and you'll have the answer. Simple!