Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Just lately Jan has served a new dish which I really like.
The thought of grilled lettuce didn't really appeal but I have to admit this is delicious. The recipe is here but in order to make the food fit on the plate, Jan used Little Gem instead of Romaine lettuce.
It's really tasty and a great starter or snack especially if you haven't got any chicken to make a pie.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The BBC have lost the plot

Is it me or does anyone else get annoyed when the BBC blurs people's (and children in particular) faces? I used to think I understood why they do it but now I think it's just plain stupid.
The other day they blurred out some aggressive tweets that the news item was referring to. I could just about make out that it was a list of tweets. How stupid is that. Why show something that you can't see? It doesn't make sense. Just don't show anything, wouldn't that be better? Or are we not intelligent enough to to be able to understand what they are saying?
How does a blurred image help? Perhaps they should have a caption beneath the blurred image saying, 'here's a blurred image of what we mean.' The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
I include a blurred image above just in case you are so stupid that you can't work out what I'm talking about.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Go for it

I love Panzanella. At least the way that Jan prepares it and I think she follows the Jamie Oliver recipe. I've just seen this article in the Guardian which made my mouth water. Recommended.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Can't get over it

Neither Jan nor I can quite get over 'the weekend' syndrome.
It's a strange sensation that leads you to want to 'go out' or feel that you should do something a bit more relaxing or special at the weekend.
Neither of us has worked full time for nearly twenty years but still the feelings persist. A weekday is a regular day but weekends are special, it's all very strange.
What makes it all a bit more strange is that we don't do anything special at weekends anyway.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Can you hear me?

I constantly push Jan kicking and screaming into the twenty first century (just kidding), but to be fair she's really quite switched on and open minded with technical stuff. Her phone, an old HTC Desire C was out of contract, so off we went to the 3 Network shop in Harrogate to see what was on offer. What with the new super dooper download speed and full 'five bars' in home signal kit from 3 she really needed to be able to take full advantage of the new more powerful signals.
She quite fancied a Samsung Galaxy S3 but they didn't have any more (the S4 has just landed) so after flirting with an iPhone and a Huawei she settled on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
What a really nice piece of kit. The screen is quite big, a bit too big for a full blooded 'stuff it in your pocket' macho person like me, but as a handbag carrying blind delicate flower like Jan, damn near perfect. It also has a built in pen, which I love, a multi view screen and other technical marvels.
Samsung products have overtaken Apple stuff in both technical aspects and on price (sorry Craig and Ivan but whilst your phones are quite good they're so last year), in fact the whole phone market has become very competitive with some really nice bits of kit on offer.
If you're old fashioned and stuck in a rut then Apple is for you but if you consider yourself a forward thrusting bright young thing then you really should move on.
Stop worshipping at the Apple altar mes braves there's a whole lot of good things going on out there. Don't get left behind.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The information superhighway

Well, it has finally arrived.
After painfully slow speeds in France and fairly slow speeds here in Ripon we have finally got fibre optic.
It involved some preparatory work, namely moving the phone master socket upstairs where we have my playroom the study. What I found interesting was that after an engineer came to move the master socket our download speeds increased significantly from around 5MBit/s to 7MBit/s just because he tidied up the wiring.
According to this article the average for the UK is 26 MBit/s in urban areas and in rural Britain it's 9.9 MBit/s. As we've never had anywhere near 9.9 MBit/s that would make us less than rural.
Anyway, after a nice BT engineer visited us (all the way from Nottingham) on Friday, we now get (at first look until it settles down) 75.3 MBit/s down and 13.3 MBit/s up. That's more like it.
The slowest thing around here is now me.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Having parents and grandchildren staying with us at various times last week we took a hard look at what's on offer around here, so that both parents and children would be satisfied and entertained. What we found was quite amazing and provided a week's fun and entertainment for all.
On Monday we visited Brimham Rocks which let the childrens imaginations run wild. A great place which I visited as a child. 
Tuesday we had a picnic at Fountains Abbey after which some of the kids returned to Brighton.
Wednesday, after one of Jan's sons returned to Hong Kong we took the remaining grandchildren on a boat on the river in Knaresborough.
Thursday we drove up to Bedale and spent an afternoon at Big Sheep, Little Cow, where the kids could see and touch a variety of animals, after which we visited a pick your own farm for strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants.
Friday after picking up their mother Paula from the airport we had fish and chips at the Wetherby Whaler (at Paulas request) and popped into a delightful outdoor paddling pool in Ripon and then, last but not least, on Saturday we visited Newby Hall and the excellent childrens adventure park.
Sunday the remaining folks returned to Spain and we collapsed. What a good week, what good weather and what good memories.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Coldstones Cut

It was a lovely sunny morning and Jan, still recovering from last week, decided that a day in the country was in order. This of course meant lunch somewhere and as we'd recently been made aware of a very modern, unusual sculpture high on the moors, a trip to Pateley Bridge was decided. First lunch, at The Sportsman's Arms in nearby Wath in Nidderdale. It's very dependable with a good range of starters and mains but not particularly cheap. We both had a main and pudding, a couple of glasses to drink and coffee and the bill came to £62. Jan's Dover Sole was huge and fresh and my ribeye tender and tasty. All very dependable and busy but get there by 12.30 or you might not get a table.
Then, a short drive away, The Coldstones Cut an impressive stone structure set very high on the moors with the added attraction of overlooking a huge, very deep, and impressive working quarry from which the stone was cut. To give you some idea of the size of the quarry, to the left of the picture you can probably make out a lorry. The lorry was absolutely huge, with ladders needed to get into the cab.

The climb up to the 'sculpture' was steep and I had to carry Jan part of the way (just kidding) but on the way down I had some fun. I passed a youngish boy and out of the corner of my mouth I said to him, 'It's rubbish, it's not worth the climb,' and walked on.
About 10 metres behind him his mother and other children were puffing away and I said to his mother, 'I've just told your son it's not worth the climb, I bet he starts whingeing.' After a few seconds I heard the boy say, 'mum, that man said it's rubbish.'
We turned, looked at each other and burst out laughing. Children are so predictable.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gimme a break

It's been eating away inside me, I've got to say it, but does anyone really give a toss about who the next Dr Who is?
In search of the next bit of mind numbing news, the BBC treats us all like 12 years old and even creates a special programme to announce it. Talk about dumbing down.
Dr Who is essentially a childrens' programme and has forever featured in the early Saturday evening schedule. I used to watch it as a child. I'm now a big boy and have moved on. There are no doubt some adults who watch it, but purleese, this is not worthy of 'news' slots.
Come on BBC get your act together.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Testing times

We've had visitors all week and have been taking in all (well nearly all) the attractions suitable for a five and two years old.
Anyway, as if looking after family both young and old wasn't enough, I'm sitting on the edge of my bed when I drop something on the floor. With a bit of effort I get down on my hands and knees and start searching blindly under the bed, when it suddenly dawned on me that I'd forgotten what I was looking for.
In the seconds between dropping it and looking for it I'd forgotten what it was I was looking for. Either the travails of the week were getting to me or it was a sign of increasing old age. Scary.