28 December 2007
all amounts, techniques, timings and temperatures are approximate
braising steak ~ 600 gms trimmed of obvious fat and cubed
3 smallish onions roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves peeled
350 gms button mushrooms
4 or 5 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons of mustard powder (Dijon mustard would do just as well but we don't have any)
~ 1/3 of a bottle of red wine
~ a good slosh of brandy
1 squirt of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of corn flour dissolved in a glass of water
some olive oil
enough flour to toss the beef in
a plastic bag
pre heat the oven to gas mark 3 150 Centigrade. Put the flour into the plastic bag season with salt and pepper, toss the cubed beef in the flour ensuring it is covered.
In a frying pan heat some olive oil and when it is hot, brown the beef in batches, put the browned beef into the casserole pot when done. Once all the meat is browned put the onion in the pan to soften off and soak up any of the juices. Then put the softened onion in with the beef along with the wine, mushrooms, brandy, salt and pepper to taste, the mustard and the garlic, give this lot a good stir then put the lid on the pot and bung it in the oven for 3 to 4 hours at gas mark 3.
At about an hour before the end of cooking stir in the squirt of tomato paste and the cornflour mixture, these will thicken up the liquor a bit. About 10 minutes before serving remove from the oven it will remain warm enough in the pot but won't be so hot that it takes the roof of your mouth off.
Serve with whatever you want we had it with brown rice the more traditional way is to have it with mashed potatoes.
This dish is relatively easy as there isn't a lot of slaving over a hot stove and it's very tolerant of inexact timings and amounts. It will also keep and possibly tastes even better for being made the day before
27 December 2007
I did brave the out of town Next to get bits for Simon's Granddad's 80th birthday present, which was today, it was chaos in there, I was lucky because I was looking in the home furnishings department there was a lot less busyness to fight through. I had to park five minutes up the road and walk to the shops across the way at Halfords the car parks were not full but the road out was completely chocker not moving, not good for encouraging business.
I came home listening to Radio 4 giving its first reports on the assassination of Benazir
Bhutto. The news is shocking and worrying for Pakistan's immediate future, as her death leaves a gap at the head of her party and what ever happens in the Pakistan's near (before it gets postponed) general election, someone or other will be able to claim that it was an unfair election because of her death and it will the headcases the excuse they needed to go on the rampage. To be honest I don't have the foggiest what will happen next but I doubt it will be good.
Finally it's two months into being an old married, just so that we don't end on a completely depressing note.
26 December 2007
I don't know about you, but except for Dr Who and Shrek the Halls I've not been overly impressed with the Christmas offerings on telly this year. Yep there are some good films on but nowadays what with DVDs and the Sky Premiere Channel (which we don't subscribe to btw) the big Xmas film isn't anything special. I know that there is more to Christmas than the telly but there is only so long that you can read the "lav" books that you got as presents.
24 December 2007
...much. I've got so many blogs to read, posts to prepare, Christmas and life to enjoy never mind, it is Christmas it doesn't have to be perfect just relax and let it all flow over you.
I'm going to go back to having fun, just let me leave you with the faintly unsettling sight of NORAD being whimsical. Santa Tracking.
21 December 2007
18 December 2007
But what is it about the preparations for the holiday that makes them so joyless? Well I know what it is about that Tescos, harsh lighting, tired customers who look ill under the fluorescent lights - it's enough to make the Easter Bunny want to become a suicide bunny. It's knackering and has given me a dreadful headache. We did pick up the holiday booze though, I've never had Jack Daniels before, it's rather nice, smooth, tasty and although it hasn't relieved my headache it hasn't made it worse.
16 December 2007
Becky's Web - Becky EnVérité
A Gentleman's C - The Angry Professor
A Hazy Day Today - Rockmother
Alicublog - Roy
The All New Adventures 0f Wyndham The Triffid - Wyndham appears to have stopped blogging
All That Comes With It - Dan
Bad Astronomy - Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer.
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre sticking one on the pseudoscientists
Betty's Utility Room - Betty
Blonde Moments - Hannah
Blurred Lines - Lara Tyg
Boolblog - Boolbar
Cafe De Jenkster - Kris
Clarissa Explains Some Of It - Clarissa
Cosmic Variance - Daniel Holtz et al
The DraGnet - Miss K -back
Daily Mail Watch - Merk
Eggs Akimbo - Em
Eyefood - Kisa
Flat Out Norwich - Flat Out - appears to have stopped blogging
The Gates of Ivory - Isobel
Gatochy's Blog - Mariana
Glitter For Brains - Lee
Herstory - Emma
I Can Has Cheezburger
Idle Thoughts, Furious Musings - Penny M
One Man Blogs - Gordon
Joanna's Diary - Joanna
The Jogger Blogger - Jogger Blogger
Just Jessica - Jessica - retired
The Kaptain Kobold Blog - Kaptain Kobold
Lolcats Can Has Science
Lipstick Vogue - Kat
Luis Droppings - Luis
Midwest Rock Lobster - Chixulub
Mildly Diverting - Kim
NeuroLogica Blog - Steve Novella
¡Oye Billy! - Billy
The Other Side Of The World - Freiya -appears to have stopped blogging
Palace Fan That's A New Dad - James
The Panda's Thumb
Pandora's Hideaway - Pandora
Pig Sty Avenue - Garry
Plutos the Blubberman - Sim
The Quackometer Blog - Le Canard Noir
Rantings Of The Lazy Iguana - Lazy Iguana
Razorblade of Life - Z
Respectful Insolence - Orac
The Rogues Gallery - Evan Bernstein et al
Ross @ Dover - Ross - appears to have stopped blogging
Sad, Sweet Songs and Crazy Rhythms - Magpie
Selina's Universe - Selina Morse - appears to have stopped blogging
Smaller Than Life - Salvadore Vincent
Solid Gone - Stegbeetle
Stephanie's Pillowbook - Stephanie
Steph's Ramblings - Steph
Stephen Fry's Blog - Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Sugar Mountain Farm - Walter
Technovia - Ian Betteridge
Thaumata's Blog of ill repute - Thaumata
Thinking Is Dangerous - Dr* T
Tiny Frog - Tinyfrog
Tom's Astronomy Blog - Tom
Trendy Discotheque - Valerie
Wilder By Far - John Wilder
World-O-Crap - Scott and SZ
You're a DJ, I'm the song - Tiffy
15 December 2007
The Bugle - As recommended by Dan. Very funny and as it comes from the Times it's England-centric.
Friday Night Comedy from Radio Four - it depends on which series is occupying the slot, but so far it's been The News Quiz and the Now Show.
In Our Time - Another Radio Four product, I learn something new with every podcast, even when I don't understand the half of it.
Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews - Going straight to the heart of the periphery every time.
Science Talk: The Podcast Of Scientific American
SETI: Science and Skepticism - Because I'm bit of a geek.
The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures - Because I'm a bit of a geek who loves astronomy.
Skepticality - Good skeptical podcasting.
The Skeptics Guide To The Galaxy - the champs at skeptical podcasting.
14 December 2007
1. don't hold them in bars that fancy themselves as a cross between a Harvester restaurant and Studio 54
2. Or anywhere that serves their drinks in plastic cups, all the time.
3. Where the other customers would require beer goggles of incredible thickness if you were inclined to go on the pull afterwards.
4. Where they can't recover from getting half the table's food order wrong.
Otherwise we had quite an enjoyable evening in a perverse sort of way.
12 December 2007
"Folks,Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's. Awful for anyone it seems particularly cruel for someone who lives by words and their intellect.
I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer's, which lay behind this year's phantom "stroke"."
Via Selina's Universe.
09 December 2007
We had a curry tonight, Rogan Josh with Sag Aloo, healthy style which meant I cut down on the oil. Although I have many cook books they are mostly written by people who have many assistants and forgotten what it is like to cook a full meal without someone to do the chopping and washing up for you. This is where teh internets comes in. Google on any type of food and a plethora of recipes will come up, catering for all whims and requirements: vegan meat loaf - bloody pages of recipes I tell you!
I hit gold for my Rogan Josh with Route 79's recipe, it was delicious and very simple to do if you are not allergic to a bit of chopping of herbs and vegetables, I will be going back to try more of his recipes as they look lovely. Sag Aloo is thanks to a recipe website I found, I just looked of a version that I liked the look of and more importantly I had the ingredients too!
08 December 2007
06 December 2007
Pope Benny seems to be going backwards again. Abusing indulgences got the Catholic Church a bad name back in the 1500's and quite rightly too. Implying that pilgrimages to Lourdes will cut off time in Purgatory in order to up the visitor number can't be very good theology. As an ex Catholic I don't believe in Purgatory, the "miracle" at Lourdes etc now, actually I don't think I ever believed in them especially not Lourdes, even as a young un I was left pretty cold by the Marian apparitions and how they were spun to us at school. But, but the thing is - if you've "sinned" or felt you've done wrong either on an internal scale or to someone else the best way to make that good isn't to traipse off to France it's to make good to the person you've hurt.
05 December 2007
We saw two shows recorded, each one took about an hour, an hour 10. A lot of material to edit down to 28 minutes. Humphrey Lyttleton seemed to be still suffering from a sore throat as he had in this Monday's recording (3/12/07) although he strode on stage with a vigour that belies his years. Andy Hamilton liberally made teddy bear jokes through out the recordings, I wonder how many of those will survive to the final broadcast? We got a round of all the main games over the two recordings, Mornington Crescent, One Tune to the Name of Another, Swanee Kazoo and Pick Up Sticks. Hamish and Dougal made an appearance but Tim Brook Taylor was on his way to the Galapagos Islands for a holiday so Jack Dee (or was it Andy Hamilton) stood in for him. The Laser Display Board was as amazing as I had imagined and the money spent on it was obvious.
Several persons have expressed jealousy that we were able to get tickets, I'll let you into a little secret it's because we are on the I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue mailing list and if you want to join it sent an email stating that you would like to join the list to imsorryihaventaclue "at" bbc "dot" co "dot" uk
03 December 2007
We are both enthusiastic fans of the 'Clue perhaps not to Magpie's lengths: we haven't knowingly stalked any members of the team yet.
01 December 2007
We've tried out the coffee machine and the coffee bean grinder: several times in the case of some people. Simon was gently shaking his way down the length of one of the sofas earlier on but the elephant tranquilliser dart* has helped put a stop to that.
Must go now I think the effects of the dart are wearing off.
*Possibly, I may have exaggerated a little bit.
30 November 2007
I've been listening to Astronomy Cast since its inception, probably the best one in its field, half hour programmes that explain the cosmos about us in an entertainingly rigorous manner but with non of the brain hurting maths.
I owe a vote of thanks to Stephanie as it was she that put me on to the Skeptic's Circle and through that I discovered "The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe" by the New England Skeptical Society. Possibly the best of the sceptical podcasts available, I'm slowly working my way through their back catalogue. It is often very funny although very USA focused as you would expect, but leaving aside the debates over ID which fortunately hasn't made too much of an impact on science here, most of what they talk about has an universal application.
And lastly, but not leastly of my big three podcasts; it has to be the Mark Kermode Film Review on Radio 5 Live. Wittertainment at it's best. I don't go to see that many films at the cinema but I've found that is no impediment to enjoying Mark's and Simon Mayo's bickering as or guessing when Mark will manage to make some reference to The Exorcist.
Podcasts on iTunes
Skeptic's Guide To The Universe
Radio 5 Live: Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews
27 November 2007
We haven't printed out the best of the photos yet as we are waiting on a CD that my brother is putting together of his photos. The cake has been eaten (top layer will be kept until we crack, probably about March 08) It all feels a bit normal now, which is good I suppose....
if we were still at a high level of excitement we wouldn't be able to enjoy Christmas, and we got the most fabby Christmas decoration the other day, when I get a chance to see the house in daylight I shall take a picture to show you all.
24 November 2007
We did our bit for Norwich's economy again today, we broke the back of the Christmas shopping and hopefully got a few ideas for the rest of it We then went to see Beowulf which Becky liked but I really didn't enjoy it. The computer animation was competent but still not quite good enough if you are going for the naturalistic look, too many of the characters looked dead eyed but I don't like blood and gore being a bit of a squeamish type which set me against the film and made it too difficult for me to forgive the bits which were just inexcusably bad or unintentionally funny. Grendel's mother materialising with integral 4in heels probably says more about the fantasies of the animators than anything else and Ray Winstone's accent just made me think of dodgy east end gangster films even though I've never seen any. But Becky enjoyed herself and we had a satisfying dinner at Nando's which was nice.
21 November 2007
My team, Scotland, failed to qualify over the weekend, Norn Iron and Wales are out too. We, Scotland can take heart in that we are a team from a small country who performed well above expectations in a tough group, but *sob* we still dinnae qualify.
If England go out then..... The last thing the Russians did well was poison the sushi and that's not a recognised move in any sport.
21:22 Peter Couch has just become our second favourite lanky Englishman.
Ohhhh it's all exciting.
Update - but ultimately England were crap.
20 November 2007
19 November 2007
16 November 2007
The marathon wedding blog(s)
This mostly for me, I'm doing it mostly because I want to have words written somewhere to spark my memories.
I'm going to start at Thursday...
I had originally planned to take Thursday off so that I had a couple of days to sort things out for the big day but due to the car breaking down the week before I was beginning to run out of leave so I went in to work that morning, 25 October 2007.
It was a mistake, for the last few weeks neither Simon or I had been sleeping properly nerves, worries about the wedding organisation and just general excitedness had left the both of us very tired. I wasn't very much use when I got in, I felt exhausted. The office had decorated my desk and done their worst with clip art to let everyone in the building know I was getting married. But I didn't feel happy, I couldn't properly appreciate the effort that they had gone to as I just wanted to curl up into a ball under the desk and sleep.
They did a presentation for me, the boss told everyone that we had met through the internets blogs, as an aside he said that he had been trying to find Si's blog but hadn't succeeded! That gave me a moment of sheer blind panic but Ady said that it didn't show.
A little while later when trooped back in the office, Simon rang me to see how I was doing on my last day at work as a single woman... I cried down the phone at him. It wasn't that I was upset about getting married, it was exhaustion and temporary misery due to lack of sleep. By the time Si had cheered me up and my colleagues had decided that it was safe to come back to my end of the office I had come to my senses and took the rest of the day off.
I don't really remember the rest of day I'm pretty sure I spent a lot of the afternoon napping and the evening tidying and planning what we would be doing on the Friday.
15 November 2007
BBC3 tonight at 10pm I think, for those of you without freeview or living in the colonies then get you over to their mini site on the BBC.
Simon is out at a black tie do with work and I am here at home in my pjs and the metaphorical curlers and bloody Autumn watch on the telly. It's a bit odd because it's normally me who is out with work :) But I do have the boosh to look forward too.
12 November 2007
05 November 2007
2. Be saggy all over if you happen to be stilled toned now that you are staring 50 in the face have a Brazilian or the male equivalent the guys/chicks will love it.
3. Don´t sit still, stand when eating your lunch, applying your suntan lotion. Walk about. A lot, strut your sagging stuff along the water´s edge at every opportunity you get.
4. Don´t be British, the years of cold wet summers mean that we are now physically incapable of airing all to the sun and too many repeats of the carry on films make us deeply embarrassed at the thought of slipped bra strap let alone it all hanging free. No be German or Swedish instead, decades of easy access to saunas and a fresh air movement make it so much easier.
5. Go on holiday to the Canaries.
01 November 2007
Oh and they have the internets, only 4 machines which are usually in use but it´s the height of the day here so most people are either eating, having a nap or soaking up those extra strong rays. Which is probably where we will be heading a few minutes.
29 October 2007
As Simon is hanging over my shoulder desperate for me to get on with it, so that he can blog, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone for their best wishes and kind thoughts. Photos and a tedious minute by minute breakdown of the day will come later, once I've got a couple of beers into my husband and he doesn't care that he's paying for the internets time on his card anymore.
26 October 2007
I can start enjoying myself now.
22 October 2007
There must be an important trial going on in Norwich because for the past few weeks I've past on my way to work a convoy going eastwards of 4 police cars and typical prisoner transporter, white boxy vehicle with high up blacked out windows - they must be hellish for the travel sick claustrophobic criminal. Simon's boss has seen the same convoy, on his stretch of the A47, heading towards Swaffham.
One of the hints and tips that a bride is supposed to take notice of, is making sure that your hands look beautiful on the day. I'm a bit stuffed here - I've got a big scab (relatively) on the back of my left hand as I managed to scrape some of the skin off when I was ferreting about in my briefcase for my passport on my way to Sweden last week. Half my fingernails have broken or split, I've got paper cuts and a scar on my middle finger. I think the joys of photoshop may have to come to my aid.
20 October 2007
I went to Cambridge today to pick up the dresses - mine and Anne's. They are hanging up in white dress bags in the living room now. I am so tempted to show Simon but the groom not seeing the dress until the day of the wedding is one frippery I want adhere to.
This afternoon Si and I went into Lynn, we had an al fresco lunch by the river then, fortified by baked potatoes and beans we headed into the town to do the hard shopping for next Saturday. M&S, Monsoon, Woolworths were all gone through like hot knives through treacle. There were some lovely skirts and tops in the Per Una range that had to be admired. Monsoon was a cavern of jewelled coloured dresses and accessories which was very distracting and Woolworths a confusing mess of cheapness. But we got what we wanted.
We are now in the final throws - this is our last week of being separate, we can now say "this time next week we'll be married" etc. I'm often asked if I'm nervous: about getting married - no. About the wedding and its organisation yep I'm worried that it all won't pull together, I think I'll relax properly when it's Friday night and the shops are shut, it will be like Christmas eve - finally too late to worry about anything. You should not get too concerned for me though, I'm pretty sure we've sorted out almost everything and if we've not thought of something now it can't be too important.
18 October 2007
16 October 2007
As to what Sweden looks like, right now I've not got the foggiest, we got here in the dark as the flight was an hour late taking off from the UK we haven't ventured far from the hotel tonight so have no feel for the place. Tomorrow we are going to spend most of the day at the company we are here to visit and most likely it will be dark by the time we leave their site. I might get to see a little bit of Stockholm on the last day before we head off back to the airport.
15 October 2007
13 October 2007
Of course there is a huge suspicion that Al and team got the award this year because the Swedish committee knew exactly how much it would get up the nose of some of the non-reality based community in the US. I know that not every Climate Change Doubter is a fundamentalist, faith based, SUV driving, mouth breathing right winger, but I've not heard of a fundie who does subscribe to the hypothesis that humanity has increase the rate of change in the climate.
I've not actually seen the film, but I do find the idea that man's activities have increased the amount of climate change to be credible. But besides that point we should be looking to decrease our carbon footprint because the hydrocarbons we all rely on so much are a finite resource so we should be trying to eke them out for as long as practicable.
10 October 2007
07 October 2007
It was a treasure trove I got myself a tiara £6.50, we had a look around, of course a charity shop's stock is always changing, they had some great stuff amongst perhaps the slightly tired and worn. Retro wedding dresses mostly from the 60s 70s and 80s but they even had one that dated back to 1947, it was stunning, in ivory satin with shoulder pads and a bias cut. Definitely worth a look for anyone looking for clothes for a wedding.
And then today we made chutney, rather like Dan we had a bit of a surfeit of produce but unlike Dan we didn't grow it ourselves rather Simon's granddad donated it to us either from his garden or from when he went scrumping in Sandringham. I prepared the spices first, I had to make the quatre épice then spoon out the right amount for the chutney (the rest is in the fridge awaiting the next casserole). The smell of cloves, light brown sugar, ground ginger, raisins and nutmeg was Christmas cooking. We had to start out in two pans as I underestimated the volume occupied by the uncooked ingredients but we got down to one in the end.
We bought jars especially for the chutney yesterday, there was more than enough of the mixture to fill all three jars.
We zizzed up what was left over in the blender to make our very own special brown sauce and boy is it smashing! Very smashing indeed.
04 October 2007
A show of solidarity is still worthwhile though because China, India and Russia all have links and influence and can be influenced themselves. Probably not by a small bunch of bloggers but a big bunch of bloggers can help raise the issue in the news, just think how much journalists love to cover interweb stories, it can all be done from the safety of the office and cheaply too.
01 October 2007
29 September 2007
It seems to be caused by setting the language choice to English-UK see thread here, apparently if you revert to the American spellings choice then the problem goes away. But I don't want to have blogger telling me to center things, I would rather they fixed the dodgy code.
I is knackered.
We were up til past two, just putting the world to rights over a glass of wine and catching each other up with the gossip followed by a full day walking around Cambridge has left me as tired as a day splashing about by the seaside. Cambridge would be a great city if it wasn't for the tourists, they stand around like gormless massive pigeons, blocking the pavement and generally not adding much to the ambiance. February is the best time to visit Cambridge, it's generally wet, cold, grey, windy and miserable, but the number of tourists is about its lowest. You can get to the shops, the arts cinema, the market and where you want to be without gaggles of gormless tourists mis-identifying buildings. York is also best in the miserable months for the same reasons.
Simon joined us in Cambridge as there was an Apple shop event going on today and he wanted to be part of the zeitgeist. Which was nice.
25 September 2007
I've checked out the sites - on google earth at least and will be investing in the krona shortly... now does M.A.C have a concession at Heathrow?
24 September 2007
23 September 2007
Therefore I've not had much of a chance to think deeply about anything for the blog so instead let me share this recipe I put together the other night.
for about 2 people
for the marinade
1 stalk lemongrass
1 clove of garlic
1 whole chilli red or green
juice of one lime
rice wine vinegar
a pinch of sugar
some meat finely cut ie, pork or chicken or beef
a bag of stir fry vegetables or whatever suitable veggies you have, spring onion, greens, shredded peppers and the like.
noodles cooked then blanched in cold water
oil for stir frying
salt and pepper to taste
top and tail the chilli, skin the clove of garlic and clean and chop the lemongrass put all the ingredients into the blender zizz together well then poor over the meat. Let the meat marinade for at least one hour but overnight would be even better.
In a wok stir fry the meat in batches, once each batch is cooked drain it using a sieve, once all the meat is cooked stir fry the vegetables for about 2 minutes then add the cooked meat and the marinade stir fry for another minute then add the noodles. stir fry a bit more until everything is warmed through. serve with a wedge of lime.
We thought that it tasted fresh, hot and zingy, if you want to reduce the heat then remove the seed from the chilli before adding it into the blender. If we had had some I would have thrown in some fresh coriander to the mix at the end of the cooking and you could always do without the rum or substitute sake or sherry for it. But the lime and lemongrass really make it so keep those.
21 September 2007
Fasthosts is the ISP just in case you were thinking about choosing a host in the near future.
"It appears that simply removing ‘offending material’ from ones blog isn’t enough for some web hosts - friend of the Mailwatch (he did our logo) Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads, ex-Uzbekistan British Ambassador Craig Murray, Labour Councillor Bob Piper and Boris Johnson MP’s blogs have all disappeared off the interweb today because a high flying (no doubt high charging) law company has used it’s legal status to bully the ISP into shutting down the sever all these blogs reside on.
Whilst info is sketchy at the moment but it appears that it all relates to some posts and linkage about Russian Billionaire Alisher Usmanov. My understanding is that the comments his law team objected to were removed when requested days ago. This is a disgrace.
I don’t normally post non Mail/Express stuff on here but I felt the need to let people know what is happening with those blogs in case you’re wondering and just to point out that what we’re doing here, or if you blog yourself is fast becoming a risky business if those with unlimited cash can effectively bully those without into the submission of their supposed free speech - even after the comments are removed as requested!
Please feel free to comment but do bear in mind that I’ll be liable in court and I really need to keep hold of the 16pence credit in my bank and my 7 year old Vauxhall Astra!Heads up to Iain Dale , Tom Watson , Chicken Yoghurt , Obsolete"
and this is how I looked last night,
There is no morning after picture as truth be told it was more the afternoon after that I felt anything less than extremely jaded, I did meet up with my mum for a coffee this morning but she did say it was like having a conversation with a corpse.
16 September 2007
Today, we made our way home slowly via IKEA for lunch and a nosy about(we didn't buy anything not even a bag of tealights and a ludicrous soft toy). We were most taken by the soft closing action of one the kitchens, and we managed to get our hands on the catalogue too.
13 September 2007
Now most Brits know who Bush is and that he's an idiot but the recognition rate of the rest of them; Cheney, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney drops away sharper than the inverse square law. However before our American cousins get too upset at our mostly pitiful knowledge of their politicians I have to point out that we are probably more aware of who Larry Craig is than who is in the Tory Shadow Cabinet. But then again we are more likely to pick out a member of Lordie out of make up than the shadow minister for Education.
There are two groups who valiantly strive against this wave of British indifference in US politics. The first lot are those whose eduction/job depends on the knowledge the rest of us who gain our intimate knowledge of US pols and what they get up to from The Daily Show on More 4. We are a select and small band but we are dedicated and fond. The Daily Show is great, the satire sharp, funny and they even do irony from time to time, something we Brits tend to believe is physically impossible for Americans. It's far more incisive than any thing that we have here except perhaps The Now Show - Bring back the podcast. Thanks to Jon I am even beginning to care about whether it's Barack or Hillary in 08. I now know all about Mitt Romney's brave sons, the sordid and very funny details of Larry Craig, but sadly I still don't know who the Shadow Education Minister is.
09 September 2007
I used to think that Waterstones was a relatively decent book shop but that opinion has been evaporating recently. The popular science section has books about the human soul and the afterlife slotted in, the academic science section had books about "The Law of Attraction" aka "The Secret" stocked there. The Secret is not science ffs it's woo of the highest order. Now you can just about understand that book shops are pretty poor on what is science after all their employees are not trained librarians and they tend to work there because they love reading (classics, literature) not because they love the science, but surely they should be able to recognise a reference book from entertainment.
03 September 2007
What really worried me though was that as I was arranging the post it notes, it stuck me that what we really needed was a Gantt Chart and a copy of MS project.
*And yes you can say brainstorming it's an urban myth that the phrase has been banned
29 August 2007
The groom is almost treated like some form of Ken doll, his only purpose is to propose and be dressed up on the day as the bride wants. Often ending up looking like a butler from a dodgy am dram production of an Agatha Christie play.
It's all arrant nonsense designed to force up the costs and create guilt, envy, misery and consumerist lust in brides. It's rubbish because even if you are rich beyond the dreams of whatsit it's not possible to get everything your own way nor is it sensible to try. You have to compromise over the fripperies and try to meet in the middle over the menus because otherwise you'll go mad trying to achieve the impossible and lets face it' the chances are, your undiluted taste is probably a little shit, it requires the input of others to stop you making an utter tit of yourself. Blaxplotation themed wedding when you are a pasty faced ginger anyone? (Although I did think that a "Sound Of Music" theme had merit, but I was cruelly ignored ;-) )
The magazines tell you that it's all about you the bride, and it's not because if it was all about you then it would be a party to celebrate that Ms A. N. Other has got the chance to dress up the way her inner 6 year old would have wanted her to do (see above about taste) and get loads of presents at the same time (something else that's popular with 6 year olds).
But presents and parties are not the raison d'etre, they are just fripperies I'm not saying that Si and I haven't drunk some of the wedding kool aid, I've got a new frock and shoes, Si's got the shoes and getting the suit, We are going to throw a party and we hope that our guests will throw confetti however I hope we are doing these things because really want to not because of some subconscious urge to conform. They are all just extras though, they don't really matter. The only bit that does really matter also happens to be about the cheapest at £43.50 and that's the wedding, it doesn't matter what we wear, we don't actually need rings what does matter is that we love each other, have belief in our relationship and that we want to make that public and legal commitment to each other by getting wed.
26 August 2007
And I've forgotten what else I was gonna say except it's a bank holiday tomorrow and we're going to Norwich.
25 August 2007
Apart from that, like Stephanie I've not felt the urge to blog much recently, it's been too cold and grey, I've felt more like crawling into a warm bed than sitting up at a desk to blog. Also although, I've got half worked out pieces I finish off and blog, they've just not inspired me enough to put finger to keyboard hopefully this good weather will kick me out of the lethargy.
20 August 2007
18 August 2007
On Tuesday I went to see the consultant at the QEH about my potentially dodgy right eye.
He did various test, he looked at my eyes under coloured lights and pressed various objects against their surfaces (not too hard and under a very local anaesthetic so it didn't hurt, just felt odd). He made his notes, consulted the chart from the last visual acuity field test I did and decided: yes this duck has wings. The pressure is markedly raised in my right eye and slightly too in the left and the field testing shows the classic arc of vision lose for the right eye. I have glaucoma.
I'm now on beta blocker drops which means that my snooker playing should improve but my hopes of being an Olympian have been dashed. I'm ok, although I will admit, I did have a little weep the next day I think that was more because I'm going to be on medication for the rest of my life and that seems so final. But really, the glass is more full than empty, it was spotted before any serious damage was done and with continuing treatment there's very good chance that I will never have noticeable sight loss.
15 August 2007
Meanwhile here is a pretty picture of a flower.
Not bad for a 2 megapixel mobile phone camera.
12 August 2007
Drawn to the curries I tasted the garlic and chilli pickle and was completely smitten, it packs a punch but isn't just about the heat. We now have a pot of the pickle sitting in the fridge and the kitchen smells delish.
And then there were these
little pots of pure magic, even if I never use them in anger the colours are fantastic and owning them makes me smile. A worthwhile buy I would say
07 August 2007
Well I made my cake, and with the yoghurt rather than the lemon curd too. It's not quite cake as we know it but, I think with a few more adaptations, like not making it lemon cake since Simon has told me he doesn't like lemon cake I could become a bit of a whizz at low fat, low calorie, gluten free cakes.
06 August 2007
In other news, the harvest is in full swing, the fields are being combined and the straw rolled up into bales. Then the farmers move it, I think that they are secretly moving straw amongst themselves, Farmer A is buying Farmer B's straw bales whilst he is selling his bales to Farmer C who supplies Farmer B and A with barley bales. Surely there can be no need for such long caravans of lorries loaded with straw bales? In some cases it's being hauled by beat up, rusty pick up trucks with a trailer behind but mostly it's big lorry loads of the stuff. I'm amazed at how much dust is thrown up by the combine harvesters I was expecting bits of stalk, irritated thunder bugs and wheat grains but not dust.
And finally I'm going to try to make Lemon Couscous cake tomorrow, I don't have any lemon curd so I'm going to try substituting it with mandarin mullerlight any thoughts?
03 August 2007
Si and I are going out for a meal in a couple of minutes I'll be taking my new bag (a present from Si :) for swishing around. I've bought a new mobile phone it's the same model as the old one except for it's silver and a fair bit cheaper (ignoring the fact that I'm buying it for the second time.).
It seems that I forgot to post this before we went out, it's now nearly the end of my birthday. It's been a lovely day, I wanna thank you all. :D
02 August 2007
01 August 2007
Unfortunately Si hasn't got as much leave left so I've had this time off alone. Which has been great really, ok it's not as good as if Si had the holiday time but I've been able to bimble around at my own pace, flick through a thousand CDs in HMV without worrying about the time and daytime TV is mine all mine. Ok I'd probably alone in my fight for the remote when it comes to satellite day time telly but I've been enjoying the re-runs. Well... actually I've been marvelling at how bad the first series of Star Trek: Next Generation was. Not so much the acting the main cast could/can all act but the plots and script was plodding, sexist, patronising and some the special effects would have looked shoddy in the original Star Trek.
The other thing I've been enjoying now the sun has come out, (for overseas readers - we've had a miserable summer so far this year) is Schweppes' Diet Summer Punch Lemonade - it tastes a lot like Pimms except it's non alcoholic, very nice indeed in a non alcoholic way. Would make a great mixer for gin ;-D
31 July 2007
We don't yet know the precise role of this gene.If the BBC reported the arts or politics in such a slapdash manner there would be uproar, questions in the House of Commons and general carpeting of the editors but science it doesn't matter as long as they can twist something sensational out of it.
28 July 2007
For the first time in ages we have had a weekend off. No decorating, no travelling to see family, no nights tripping the light fantastic in a marquee as the rain lashes down outside. So we took a leisurely bimble into King's Lynn, I think we had a successful trip into town, Si got himself a rather smart man bag for his stuff and will also be useful for the honeymoon and a couple of pairs of summer shoes. I also got shoes, a pair of summer sandals and these beauties above. At their full price £20 they would have been a bit too much to justify but at only £5 I can break them in (ha) around the house and stick them into the dressing up box waiting for just the right occasion to give them an airing!
27 July 2007
The chap stood next to me had the most amazing camera set up. I don't think he took any pictures though, just hugged the camera
There wasn't a display by the Red Arrows this year but we did have a Hawk from 100 Sqn to look at.
And vintage bombers too.
No these ads just make me want to never try to the product.
The Kellogg's Bran Flakes advert with all the fake health fads - just eating a bowl of Kellogg's, a bit of fruit and drinking more water is not going to make you healthy: you have to stop eating crap and this ad is shit.
MFI - Arguing, horrible families - why would anyone want to associate themselves with that?
Orange Mobile Phone - Faux naive songs seemingly aimed at morons hate, hate, hate.
24 July 2007
but they seem to make a happy couple and it keeps tabloid journalists happy with the innocent campness of it all.
Congratulations on the birth of their daughter and all but what were they thinking with the naming thing? "Princess Tiaamii." It's cruel the poor wee girl is going to get teased from the get go. It's also a form of self aggrandisement by the parents "arn't we special and a cut above the rest by being so original" instead it comes across as being uber chav and stupid. Poor kid at least she can change it when she grows up.
23 July 2007
Scan Bran is the dwarf bread of slimming, it is exceptionally dry, tastes like plywood and can sap moisture out of anywhere, I've broken it up to see if it was possible to crumble it or whether that was just an urban myth and I could feel it wicking all the moisture from my finger tips. Our consultant swears by it, "look at so and so she eats lots of scan bran and she's managing to lose weight despite the pork pie habit." But she doesn't claim to eat it herself. It seems to work on the basis of: you're hungry, all you've got is scan bran but by the time you've managed to soften a small corner you've fallen asleep.
21 July 2007
19 July 2007
it's going to look like a posh Glastonbury by the dodgems so tomorrow I'm going to be scouring the shops of Lynn for gold lamé wellies.
17 July 2007
Actually it would make a great drinking game - take a shot every time a cliché or a basic science error is made. Or perhaps not you'd be slaughtered within the first 5 minutes.
16 July 2007
Tomorrow is the 17 July 2007 I suppose that makes it the second non photography day but I've seen no publicity about it. However there has been movements on the Non Non Photography Day front: the flickr group is reopening for submissions so get your cameras out and capture the great world out there in all its mediated beauty tomorrow.
A photo from last years extravaganza
15 July 2007
Our excuse for visiting was to find a bridesmaid dress for my niece. That happened yesterday, we went into Winchester then Southampton, my niece seems to have inherited my love of glitz and tack - she kept homing in on the sparkly, animal print materials. A sight to make any aunt feel proud, I'm sure you would agree.
On the way there we played the game think of a name that begins with the first letter of the number plate on the next car that goes by. It's harder than you think especially after the third car goes by with a X plate. Y isn't much better.
Today we went for a walk in the woods and hunter gathered charcoal at the local supermarket. Not exciting exactly but very very relaxing
12 July 2007
It's useful it's adding to the sum of knowledge and you don't have to wear one of those silly yellow tee-shirts.
HT to The Register.
09 July 2007
50 years old this year the inventiveness, the attention to detail, the parody are superb and probably one of the best summaries of Wagner you'll see in 6'52"
It was especially nice to get home and once we've been to fat fighters I think a restorative G&T might be in order.
08 July 2007
We were decorating the flat again, this time the walls. Crumbling to the dictates of the property shows we painted the walls a tasteful, neutral, inoffensive yet ultimately dull cream colour covering over my lovely deep exciting rich red colour that always gave the living room a warm cosy library feel all it needed were the leather chairs in deep green but I could never afford those.
as it once was
as it is now
06 July 2007
I never expected the variety of vehicles that I've seen in the fields or trundling along the roads. And they look so strange, there are tractors with great arms that spread out like the gossamer wings of a dragonfly in the sun, ones that can only go at 25 mph they look like squat beetles on stilts. There are things that they tow behind the tractors that look like the extended innards of a washing machine with claws. There are great monstrous machines that look like a half transformed transformer (You know, the sort that magically transform from a big boxy vehicle with a very small cabin on top, extendable arms and chutes to another boxy vehicle with arms, chutes and very small cabin on top except this one walks on two legs) And then there are the combine harvesters - I know what they look like, after all I do listen to The Archers
picture taken by Robert Scarth