Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keen frost - Lovely day - Ankles improving

Up in the night and couldn't waste the time hence this Moon with my 300mm Tamron. Venus was there too, sort of 'off-stage left' but was obviously not emitting sufficient light to register on my Nikon's sensor. Re Venus - I speak without any astronomical knowledge at all but was once told that any prominent star low in the western sky will be Venus.

I would be delighted to defer to any reader who actually knows !

Although I didn't sleep well Y did, which in many ways is better. I'm used to it but she likes a decent kip.

Today has been a hoot. I decided to cook Moussaka, from my original Delia compendium, and it failed dismally. The topping didn't rise, or cook enough in the time given, the aubergines had soaked up far too much olive oil etc........ It actually made me sick (as in vomit rather than cross) but, rushing to Delia's defence I didn't use the correct ingredients (mince-wise) and busked it, with tinned steak-in-gravy. The result was the devil's reward for my banging on too much about Delia's god-like qualities. Pleasingly though, in yesterday's Telegraph she was quoted as saying "I don't do organic. My aim is to produce easy nutritional meals that people can afford". Been my point for years Delia.

So much for my return to the 'galley'. Should have left Y in charge. BTW Ionce witnessed a fierce argument in a Police Canteen as to whether it was 'mousse-ar-ka' or 'mousse-acka' (claimed correct by someone who had been to Greece).

Picture 2 is courtesy of AnonymousRob and shows some of the 120yr old bricks in his house.

n.b.. even Bungus will be hard-pressed to read that as the 120, year-old bricks, but he might.

In any-case we would like to hear from him, wearing his architect's hat, on the bricks, and the laying-style which looks odd to my untrained eye.

Rob was right to persuade one brick to hold the customary 50p in its teeth, for scale, because they look bigger than modern bricks?

Comments.....Thanks AnonymousReg for the Historic Mansfield information. And your (still in use) fretsaw made in school metalwork impresses. In Woodwork ( it took me two terms) I made a hand held dibber for planting cabbage plants. It looked like this but made of wood. The idea was too teach us the joint (whose name escapes me) where the bottom piece fits snugly in the top. Wish I could say I was still using it. My Dad loyally used it for half a season whereupon it fell apart! I've always said my forte was 'chucking people out of pubs' nothing too technical.

Bungus..... The chocolate chat lead me to a 'blog-search' often so revealing, and I came across this ChocoBlog which seems fun because the blogger talks about Lidl and the 'Ecuador' choc which is my personal favourite. Internet rumour has it that the makers 'J.D.Gross' is a special name for a chocolate range made by a famous chocolate firm specifically for Lidl. I wonder who? In any-case they are doing a fine job.

As you know, I agree with you absolutely about work. We all did it honestly and reliably but now have tasted (or even supertasted) the alternative I would give up many things before contemplating work. There is so much to do and to learn - it isn't about achievement it's about self-fulfilment. Please join us Rob, as soon as you can!

AnonymousRob..... Helen will be thrilled with your thumbs up. And there are other Reg pictures I'm sure - ha ha! Apart from his beautiful woodland panorama - what about his 'brasso tin in the window' for instance?

Best of luck to Elaine with your assembled journeymen tomorrow. And re your being in Nottingham nick tomorrow - I'm sure we can arrange bail !!

Quotations - both appropriate to current 'comments' .......

"He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little"


"It is when I labour to be brief that I become obscure"

Horace... c 55 BC

The winter-bug seems to have returned to Burton Joyce - although Steven is a little better, Hannah is poorly, Miles is subsiding, and Millicent is grouchy.

Had a lovely chat to David this morning and they are fine. Brooke has her 'head teacher's award on the mantlepiece and has the confidence to draw it to people's attention. Her Dad describes her as 'quietly confident' which is a definite 'hurrah quality' I think. Y also spoke to Debra and touch wood, no repeat of Ruby's tantrum.

n.b. Reg suggests, and I agree, a permanent note on the blog, pointing out that photos remain in the copyright of the author.

I can make it appear somewhere in the header/footer but it will involve HTML work in the template which I don't mind - but it involves care. Other than that I will simply copy/paste the above on a daily basis.

.... I thought the 'shutting the shop' smiley was due for an airing, but I, along with thousands of others, really miss good old Smiley Xtra4. Nice to see the smiley included in your e-mail Rob. Googlemail doesn't like one to do that - you can, but it's quite a tedious procedure involving far too many clicks. Sleep tight folks - and hope to catch you tomorrow.



Madeline said...

Well, good, old Delia! So concerned for people's pockets that although she doesn't like the conditions in which battery chickens are kept, she wouldn't speak out against it. Of course, it's not really that bad, those chickens have as much floor space in their cages as a piece of A4 paper and the ones bred in a ridiculously short time for supermarkets to sell you at about £2 each don't fare much better.
We don't have much money and neither do most of the people we know here, but none of us would touch battery eggs or meat where the birds or animals are raised in cruel conditions.
We eat organic food as much as we can too, at least we avoid ingesting pesticides used on a lot of fruit and veg. If people spent a bit less on things they don't need and gave a little more thought to what they eat maybe the appalling cruelty to creatures bred for food would cease to exist. Somehow I doubt it though. More power to Jamie Oliver!
I realise my views won't be popular, you can take them or leave them (the latter, I suspect). I won't be entering into any further discussion about them anyway.

Jill said...

I'm with you on this, Madeleine, I take Delia's point about making meals people can afford, but that shouldn't include battery hens, they should have been banned years ago. You can eat well and cheaply without that. f you could get people off things like commercially-produced pizza and have things like an omelette (free-range eggs) it would be a lot better. I do organic veg and meat all the time. I think as a nation we have got used to food being cheap for too long, and not appreciating it, if it cost more perhaps people would pay more attention to what they are spending their money on, a lot of rubbish some of the time. I am appalled when I look at the stuff young Mums have in their supermarket trolleys.

There is a new book out on food, American I think, I caught a snippet of the author talking on the radio, in which he advised never eating anythng your grandmother wouldn't recognise (with the exception of pasta). This sounds good to me.

I'll shut up now too, on the subject.

bungus said...

Most importantly I have to declare myself very much on the Madeline / Jill side of the Great Food Debate. (They may be happy to drop the subject but, as RG knows, I’ll keep going as long as anyone expresses an opposing view!). Sandra became a veggie some 15 years ago after watching a programme about the awful life and uncaring slaughter of animals and I think if I had watched it I would have gone down the same road. But I like my meat, especially game which, with the exception of pheasants, have a more natural sort of life. And geese cannot be reared intensively which is no doubt why they are so expensive. I have done my very best to avoid chicken for the last ten years or so, unless assured that it is free range.(although I somehow appreciate the viewpoint of the man in the pub who, having been pestered by Hugh F-W, said “If you think going to f****** pay five quid for a f****** chicken, you can f****** think again.”. We have 2 chickens (previously on the school farm unit) which, when they are in lay, keep us in eggs. Sandra buys organic whenever possible but, although I think it better for the land and to stop overproduction, I cannot be fanatical about it.

I think Delia is beginning to lose it (or booze it) but she can hardly be blamed for you changing the ingredients and cooking methods and then finding one of her anglicised recipes unsatisfactory! Aubergine is notorious for absorbing oil (better brush it wtih oil and grill it? And surely it should be minced lamb, not stewed steak?) I still think her original cookbook is excellent.
And, Jill, I have noticed that many older people, who should know better, buy things like 4 boxes of Turkey Drummers.

You will be pleased to hear that I understood the age of the bricks (but only because the alternative hadn’t occurred to me).
I am unsure of the size of a 50p piece as I do not have one to hand. If it is 1” then the bricks are almost certainly prewar, if 7/8” then most likely postwar.
Before and during WW2, I believe, most bricks were 3” (7 courses to
1’11½”), although Elizabethan 2” (and, no doubt, other thicknesses, were obtainable). But shortly after the war they were standardised at 2 5/8” (4 courses to a foot, which made surveying much easier). But special sizes are still available to order in handmade bricks such as Tuckers (if they still exist). The Sir John Cockle at Mansfield was built of beautiful Tuckers Handmade bricks (which Dudley & Wolverhampton Brewery, now Marstons, at one time were going to paint white!) with a Westmoreland Green Slate roof.
AnonRob’s wall is built in English Bond which consists of a course of headers (4½” wide) between 1 or 3 courses of stretchers (9” wide). The latter is known as English Garden Wall Bond.
In Flemish Bond (the most usual because it is the easiest) each course consists of alternating headers and stretchers. In Flemish Garden Wall Bond, each course has one header followed by 3or 4 stretchers.

I believe your dibber would have required a mortice & tenon joint (which can be secured by a wedge)). The easiest way to make a dibber is to cut the handle off a redundant spade or fork. I have several, unless I have been robbed.

The ChocoBlog sounds interesting. I must have a look..

Pleased to hear that Rob is aiming to join the ranks of the happily retired.
If Stags had beaten Middlesborough I reckon they could have taken Sheffield Utd as they did in 1951 (Hagen was playing (Hagan - along with Mannion one of my favourite ever inside forwards - was playing) and 1968 (before going on to beat West Ham complete with Moore, Hurst and Peters). They were then knocked out 1-0 in the Sixth Round by Leicester (thanks to Shilton).
You are right about Portsmouth; they have some good players including a much reviled goalkeeper in the form of his life
Stags are now on a remarkable run of away victories; pity they can’t do it at home. If they can win their matches in hand…
I never knew that an employer had to agree to one’s retirement. How mediaeval.
How kind of you to consider inviting me to your wedding (that’s what it reads like, anyway) sight unseen. Unfortunately my course of chemo doesn’t finish until December, so I am unfit to be allowed out before then in case I turn into a werewolf or something.
I think you may be thinking of Archbishop Jude.
Until I saw AnonReg’s description I thought a fretsaw was one which had you worried that you might be cutting the piece of wood too short – not an uncommon occurrence, even among professional carpenters.

bungus said...

Then there is the hacksaw, used:
1) for very rough work
2) on horseback
3) by DIY tabloid journalists

Portsmouth’s chances seem to depend on whether Man U play as they did against Man City or as they did against Arsenal.
And can Chelsea get a result at Barnsley?

bungus said...

Or perhaps the course of bricks above the 50p is laid on edge?

bungus said...

A comment preceding the one above seems to have been missed, viz:
The course of bricks above the 50p seems to be 4" whereas the course below seems to be 2 5/8". That would suggest handmade bricks.

anonymousrob said...

I've just measured the bricks and the thicker ones above the 50p are 4 1/2" and the others 3". If they really are the original bricks and if the house is 120 years old I guess they must hand made?

Maybe I was wrong about Portsmouth getting to the FA Cup final. I often feel I about to scoop the jackpot on the lottery but never do.

Now we know about fretsaws and hacksaws. Is a coping saw one that manages to cut wood the right length? I can produce rough work with any sort of saw; I don't have to have a special one.

My employer has to agree to my early retirement as, under the rules of the local government pension scheme, they will have to make a payment into the pension fund. As this is a one-off payment equivalent to one year's salary I think that's cheaper than continuing to employ me for another 8 years. The letter will be posted tomorrow. If successful I will still need some extra income but not necessarily full-time work. I have a cunning plan as Baldrick might say.

I find it hard to believe that I have now liked two if not three of Reg's pictures. I'm sure, Reg, I must have marked your slides higher than some other people's when I was in the postal circle. After all, I like you much more than I like most other people. You are right, it is a good job we know each other well.

Neil the Damp-proofer has done his job; Paul the Plasterer has started his. The settees have arrived - we can now recline ourselves. We will probably not bother going to bed any more.

I was going to invite you to the wedding party, Bungus. I'm looking forward to meeting you in the flesh sometime but, clearly, we will have to wait a while. I'll let you have a video of RG tripping the light fantastic.


Jill said...

Older people who buy boxes of turkey drummers should know better, but at least they are not harming the up-and-coming generation - when I see the contents of these trolleys I think the poor kids will never know 'proper' food at all......

bungus said...

Smashing photo from the Eye. The Victoria flats look better than I thought they did from this view.

Carrot root fly can be prevented organically without too much difficulty. But I agree that there is an organic con. One can never be sure about the provenance.

I mentioned my pheasant reservation. Are partridges also bred in captivity and released? I thought not. But at the worst they all get a few days or weeks of free flying and some actually survive. I too find aspects of organised shoots offensive but the worst part of it, to me, is that when they have been shot they have such little value and many corpses are simply buried in a mass grave. And a lot of shootists do not fit your description.
But I am pleased to hear of a partial return to your roots.

I’ll take the bait and say that the jigsaw must be of Irish derivation.
A coping saw must surely be one that JUST manages, against the odds, to cut wood the right length?
I have an image of RG dancing which has something in common with Fantasia. I doubt if you will get him ‘on the floor’, however because he no longer drinks and I suspect that, like me, he needed six pints of courage (Dutch, not the brewery) first.

I am pleased to say, Jill, that at least 2 of our 4 children cook properly. And both of our English granddaughters enjoy cooking with Sandra. One (18) went home from here yesterday and made a quiche (despite difficulty rolling out the premade pastry because her mother, who never cooks, had no flour). The other (12), with her 5 year old male cousin, had made jam tarts.

A cane or finger is hardly suitable for potatoes, for which I used a dibber.

Thanks for the Busby Babes pic strip..