30 June 2007

That Was Bloody Fantastic!

And what cliff hangers! Can't wait till Christmas!

29 June 2007

There's Keen

I had a slightly strange evening yesterday. I was sat in the "Social" helping to wave goodbye to a departing friend when another old colleague walked in. The last time I saw him was when we were waving him goodbye to him about 10 months ago.

"You're back" (not the most intelligent statement I know but I was surprised!)

"Yeah, I know, I was bored. It was a great job in someways, good pay, the people were ok, but I felt like I was a glorified clerk. I had no responsibility, no budgets, I didn't get to make decisions, it wasn't challenging" he then went on to say.

"I've got a finance meeting tomorrow, I can't wait"

"Enjoying finance meetings? you're weird."

"Yup I know"

27 June 2007

A Little Spot Of Green

We went for a walk before dinner, to stretch our legs, get some fresh air into our lungs and work up an appetite. There is a mess of trees and nettles with a slim overgrown path going through it a bit behind our house. We walked up ducking under wet trees and dodging nettles, neither of us had been up there before and we were surprised when the path neglected as it was opened out on to a secret green, a tiny park with a bin for dog poo, rabbits, mole hills and newly mowed grass. Hidden from the roads by hedges and trees and from the houses that backed onto it by high fencing.

The Unsung Park

Completely unsung, it would be a great place for exercising small dogs, children or having a leisurely picnic in the sun.

25 June 2007


Downpour, originally uploaded by Jane Goth.

My blog about bad driving sparked a few comments, including some from twitchy Ford Focus drivers. Now I didn't say that all Ford Focus drivers were dangerous just that a significant number of the dangerous drivers had the old Focus, but still they twitched possibly guilty consciousnesses? I don't know ;-)

After the rain in Manchester and on the drive back yesterday, today was mostly dry, a few spots and dark clouds in Cambridgeshire but otherwise warm and almost sunny. As I got to the Wisbech roundabout I could see over Lynn a large back cloud threaded with the occasional flash of lightening. It didn't actually rain until I was just getting to the outskirts and it bucketed it down, by the time I got home our next door neighbours were in danger of being flooded as the drains had been overwhelmed.

So far this summer has been a bit of a wash out. There's my work's barbecue coming up soon I hope it doesn't rain for that, there is nothing nastier than sheltering under as marquee from the lashing wind eating soggy burgers.

24 June 2007

50 50

Up to Manchester this weekend, again proving that it is perfectly possible to have a weekend break there, in June not worry at all about sun burn if the sun screen has been left at home. This weekend was Sparkle so we were to be found enjoying a warm coffee on a chilly morning that Saturday on Canal Street people watching.

Like Becky has said it would be boring to do a detailed account of who I met and what we did. We went, we had fun we met up with the usual suspects and finally got to meet some who I've only seen on the internets and I found out who the Kit Kat Dolls are* and what they looked like**

It was a shame that the weather was so chilly and clashing with Glastonbury it is possible that crowd numbers were down due those factors, it certainly didn't feel as busy as last year's. But then if there had been great crowds would we have spotted the best shoes of the whole weekend?

Best Shoes of the Weekend

*In case you are wondering because you are like me and only get your entertainment news from Front Row and the Politics page of the Guardian the Kit Kat Dolls are a TG-girl group who were put together out of the Way Out Club entered into and then subsequently ejected from Britain's Got Talent when one of their members was stupid enough to tell an "undercover" reporter from the News Of The Screws her nightly rates. For anyone who knows the reputation of some of the WOCs regular visitors the news does not come as a surprise, for those who don't - be assured that the news doesn't come as a surprise.

** Like nothing that occurs in nature in case you were wondering

20 June 2007

I am not copying Becky honest!

I like the idea of having a "mini blog" in the side bar, much like Gordon has, and *sigh* Becky too :) - I think it's a neat idea for links and stuff where I want to share but not enough to blog about it. I tried out Digg but it's too restrictive for what I want and too heavily orientated towards technology. Del.icio.us has that flexibility and doesn't force the user to fit her interests to those of the Digg coders, I mean with Digg you can't tag anything as humo(u)r or as kittens two of the 4 things that keep the Internet stuffed the other two being porn and mommy bloggers of course. So I've swapped over to Del.icio.us which will just make Becky think that I'm validating her... again.

Bad Maths

"Yahoo is currently worth $37bn, meaning that News Corp would need to pay in the region of $12bn for a 25% stake"

BBC News - The Business Pages - can't count won't count.

19 June 2007

'Today's Crap Drivers

Are brought to you by the letters "Ford Focus" and the number "Knobend"'

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all BMW drivers are complete numpties, selfish drivers and a menace to society but I'm starting to think that, after these months of commuting back and forth, at least in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire this isn't completely true. If some one is gonna cut me up or attempt to overtake in the face of a thundering juggernaut it's like as not some wanker in a Ford. Manically cutting across other cars without fear or favour or the use of signals. These drivers laugh in the face of breaking distances and waft farts at the highway code and I hate every single one of them. They ruin trips and ultimately slow down the traffic, it will only be a matter of time before I witness a crash as one of these numpties misjudge their traffic dodging act and smash into something. Tossers every single one of them.

17 June 2007

Got The Decorators In

Or I'm Gonna Wash That Paint Right Outta My Hair

Saturday saw Si and I going across to my old flat armed with good intentions and a long list of decorating things to do.

Every room needs redecorating; the living room and the kitchen because I painted them in strong colours, the sort so hated by the people who give unwanted advice on how to sell you house. The rest of the flat needs decorating because I never got round to doing it in the first place. There are unfinished projects and just things that need doing to make it sellable quickly and for the maximum return.

After we cleared out what we could from the living room labour was divided, Si bravely tackled getting more of the gunk off my lovely archway armed only with Nitromors, brush, scraper, wire wool, brute force and swearing. Oh yes and marigolds

Modelling The Marigolds

I washed down the walls with sugar soap, to get the grease dirt and nicotine off them, rinsed off the sugar soap residue with clean water and filled in the cracks with polyfiller and that was the end of Saturday except for watching Dr Who, (which was absolutely, bloody, fantastic, best episode yet. And it had (swoon) Capt Jack (/swoon) Derek Jacobi was superb. In fact, all this series it's really struck me the quality of the acting and the actors that they have got this year. They've hit a rich seam.) And we watched "Hot Fuzz" which has just come out on DVD


Today we spent painting the ceiling and coving, twice, humping furniture across the room and climbing up and down ladders.

Paint Speckled Glasses

Next we tackle the walls; we've chosen the colour, it isn't magnolia, but it could be said to be in the same family as magnolia, cousins you could say, kissin cousins probably.

12 June 2007

The Sausage Division

Britain is starting to split into two nations: the ingredient obsessives versus the food ghetto - Kathryn Hughes discusses the differing attitudes to food in the UK.

Seeing as Si and I have just both started to loose weight the slimming world way (it's worked for me when I've stuck to it before, it's just that pie and chips have an attraction that is hard to over come) I found this the article interesting. The medja been very full of this survey that found that British children don't know where their porridge, bacon and eggs come from. It's a bit of a non story in that it comes from a survey done by an organisation "Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF)" who's aim is make us all aware of this, what better way of getting into the news by showing that we don't, allegedly.

I think the real issue isn't not knowing that bacon comes from a pig and beef from a cow it's that many people don't know what to do with it when they have the ingredients when they have them and also people not being able to make healthy choices when it comes to food because they do not have the knowledge to let them do that. To put that right will require education but where from? I've heard it said that's because they don't teach home economics in schools any more but, based on my own experience of HE classes and what I witnessed in school at the time, mid 1980s; when they did do home economics it wasn't much cop. I did it for three years and I don't think we were once asked to made a healthy meal, In my third year they taught us how to prepare ready meals. My mother had a running battle with my brother's HE teacher as the recipes were so poor. A friend who did the course up to O level complained that there was more emphasis on presentation than there was on taste, quality or healthiness. Now I'm a good cook and Simon's a good cook, (our problem is that we both like food a lot and we cook really nice tasting food which we then eat.) We both have mothers who are excellent cooks so we've known what to aim for in terms of excellence and we've also learn about health and quality from them. But my mum says that she because a good cook because her mother was such an awful one. My maternal grandmother was not interested in food at all, it was something you put on the plate to fuel the body, it may have been edible in the strict sense of the word but it didn't taste very nice. I don't think that it's not always true that it's the mother that teaches, actually I'm self taught when comes to cooking I refused to learn at home because I knew that one day I would have to learn to cook so why bother until then, I didn't learn until I went to university which is why I don't do white sauces, didn't get taught, can't be bothered to find out.

But I also think that lack of food knowledge is only part of the problem we also seem to have a very poor attitude to food in this country, we don't appreciate taste, flavours or even presentation it seems that quantity is king we are greedy and we like bulk. We use the excuse of time not to cook, or to prepare something healthy. It is just an excuse and it is a beast that should be slayed. In the length of time it takes to zap your average TV Dinner say 7 minutes, noodles could have been cooked and a minute steak flash fried it doesn't take that long to do, I've never met one of these busy working mothers with not time to cook, I work with busy working mothers and they all do, the only people I have heard say they have no time to cook have been sad sack singles with plenty of time and appalling diets.

read more digg story

10 June 2007

Dust Is Low In Fat

We went up to the East Riding to visit friends this weekend. It's a fairly long and tiring drive, over three hours not brilliant A roads, the A17 suffers from a particularly unpleasant mix of lorries and caravans going at about 45 miles an hour and numpties in Honda Civics who want to go at 90. I think the highlight of the trip apart from seeing our friends was being "buzzed" by the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster Bomber as we approached RAF Waddington. We weren't really close enough to clearly hear the thrum of its four engines over ours but we got a very good view of it across the fields.

Apart from that it's been fairly quiet, Becky has been quietly chuckling to herself as she creates another masterpiece, and tomorrow we are going to seriously start "the diet". It may well involve us going to a Fatfighters Class as well, for the additional motivation above and beyond that we both want to look svelte and sleek by the time of the wedding. There is nothing like paying 4-5 quid a week to ensure that you want to make it money well spent. Hopefully doing this together will ensure that we both stay good when it comes to sticky buns and large glasses of wine.

06 June 2007


I have just been on possibly one of the most useless courses I've ever had the misfortune to go on. It was supposed to be about risk management aimed at people how had experience of dealing with risk but wanted to know how to do it "the company way". It could have been a rather good course given a competent tutor who knew what he was taking about rather than using the two days as an opportunity to try imply that "the board" come to him for advice. If that was true why was he presenting the course to us junior management type civil servants why wasn't he briefing my boss? And also, if that was true why didn't give one single explanation of how and why all his projects succeeded or how exactly they were successful? Or an one single example of how he thought "outside-the-box"? When Si got home this evening I subjected him to a rant on the subject I was so wound up over the wasted time and effort, it quickly came apparent that half the attendees were more clued in on how the department manages risk than the tutors were.

I think the tutor's prime idiocy was when he told us that he harangued a contractor for not considering the risk of all the men on one of the production lines leaving at the same time because they were all in the same syndicate for the national lottery - all 35 of them. :-o

The Electro-Magnetic Spectrum

This is brilliant - go check out xkcd there's more, also all good.

02 June 2007

The one with all the shopping

Went to Cambridge today to meet up with Anne to look for suitable dresses. I didn't have any expectations of seeing anything suitable, really it was an excuse to have a shufty round the shops of Cambridge with Anne and catch up on her news, We were just looking at dresses to get some ideas for what I wanted.

I didn't even know that the shop existed.

I don't think that it's like that shop from Discworld; the one that only appears when the plot requires. Actually I think that Anne knows Cambridge a bit better than I do. We thought we would try it on a whim, no doubt attracted by the jewel like colours of the dresses and the sparkle of the bling glinting in the afternoon sunlight. 90 minutes later we left, having resisted the fuschia velvet evening gloves, the diamanté hair grips and a malibu trimmed stole that was particularly hard to put down. We may not be so strong when we return for yes dear reader the dress have been found the colours chosen and the deposit paid, now the fun stuff can start.

Praise The Lord And Pass The Sonic Screwdriver!

I think I may have been saved

props to Orac

01 June 2007

There Are Times

When I think "God, I'm Good!" and do a sizzling finger mime in thin air. When the mood takes me I can really cook well, I'm not masterchef because I go for taste and enjoyment over presentation and poncerati-ness, I also avoid spending huge amounts on ingredients because it's just not affordable for me, but within those confines when I'm on my game I can whip a storm in the kitchen.

I would like to think that today was such a case. I thought I would do something inspired by a bath time read of the Wagamama cook-book we didn't have all the ingredients for an exact recipe from the book but we also have miso paste, mirin and fish sauce as well as soy and teryaki marinade in the cupboard as standbys.

I marinaded two large chicken breasts in a healthy splosh of rice wine vinegar, one finely chopped red chilli pepper and some crushed dried chillies (as I only had the one fresh chilli), one large finely chopped garlic, a healthy splosh of soy sauce, a slosh of fish sauce and a good dollop of honey, the sweetness counteracts the sourness of the vinegar so that's why I put it in, the last marinade I made was a bit too sour because I didn't put enough honey in. It doesn't make the marinade "sweet" it balances the savoury and makes it a bit more sticky.

one thinly sliced red onion and yellow pepper some more garlic and cos I remembered we had it about 1 cubed centimetre of fresh ginger sliced.

I cooked some noodles up before hand, enough for two, so they were ready to grab when the moment came.

So in the heavy iron griddle pan I heated up a little oil when that was almost smoking I put the chicken breasts on, cooking on both sides for roughly 4 mins each, in the mean while I made up about 150 ml of miso from one of the packets.

When the chicken was cooked I put it to one side to "relax", in the wok I quickly stir fried the chopped onion, pepper, garlic until the onions began to look translucent at that point I bunged in what was left of the marinade and the miso soup as well as the cooked noodles. Once that was cooked through, I let the miso reduce down a little the noodles mix was served up on to two plates. Finally I put a chicken breast on each plate and sliced them through for ease seeing as we were eating with chop sticks.

And it rocked even if I said so it was spicy and flavoursome and we both cleaned our plates.

I hope you don't mind but I've blogged this mainly as a reminder to myself of what I did for the next time I come to make it.