Month: January 2011

January 29, 2011
A remark on the News Quiz today regarding the proposed selling off of publicly owned Forestry Commision woodlands intrigued me. The comment was made by show host Sandy Toksvig:

“…the first tranche of the forests, if they sell them off, is going to raise a hundred million pounds; that is exactly the amount of money that Defra and the brilliant Caroline Spelman, who is the Secretary of State in charge, gave to an international fund devoted to prevent deforestation.”

January 26, 2011
I’ve had half a large tub of brandy butter in the fridge since Christmas, and it seemed a pity to let it go to waste. So I had a think about what is in brandy butter – butter, brandy and sugar – and what I could convert it to. Adding more sugar to the mix, and then heating with some milk (I didn’t have any cream), I unexpectedly ended with something remarkably like fudge.


January 24, 2011
Earlier this month, I was asking Do I Really Need A Microwave. Having had my old one blow up just before Christmas, I wondered whether I need to replace it.

I decided I did, and have bought this. Much smaller (and cheaper) than my previous model, it has a round back and fits nicely into a corner. It doesn’t have a convection oven setting, but it does have a grill.

January 22, 2011
Actually, the subject line only really works if you are Jonathon Ross.

Anyway, I didn’t mention in my earlier post that my book-buying started in Waterstones. I came across it in the hour before we had lunch, and I thought I would see what their SF shelves were like.

January 21, 2011
Normally, at this time of year, I head down to London for a weekend, for a double birthday celebration. My birthday is January 18, while my brother’s is the 24, so we often get together in the weekend that lies between them.

This time, we thought we would try something different, and meet half-way between Market Deeping and East London, in Cambridge.

January 20, 2011
I was saying to someone on Tuesday that although I am reading a lot at the moment, it is mostly crime and thrillers, and almost no science fiction. In fact the only book I have read recently close to that genre was Stephen King’s Under The Dome, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

But while saying that my sf reading was way down, I had no idea why it was. It was definitely not a conscious decision *not* to read sf. I wonder if, in part, it is because there have been several decent SF shows on TV in the last couple of years, so I was getting my fix that way.

January 19, 2011
Last year, I was so impressed with the movie Shutter Island that I bought the original novel, which is how I discovered Dennis Lehane.

I have just finished The Given Day, and although I have been lax about posting about books lately, I enjoyed it so much that I just had to share.

January 17, 2011
I’m off work, on holiday, next week, so I ended up watching TV late tonight. I was just about to go to bed, when I flicked the channel and saw something kind of strange. 15 minutes later, I was still watching, and I’ve had to turn it onto record, in order to finally get to bed.

The film is called Aztec Rex. I have never heard of it before but it is stunningly bad, and kind of wonderful. It tells the story of 16th Century Spanish Explorers in an uneasy alliance with Aztecs, against a rampaging Tyrannosaurus Rex.

January 15, 2011
For some time, I have been looking at the Kindle, and wondering if I would get on with it. Packing away my books last year, many of which I knew would never be re-read, made this even more relevent.

A little while back, I actually downloaded the kindle software for my HTC Desire. While knowing it won’t be the same experience as a proper Kindle, I was surprised how easy it was to read on the Desire. Not wishing to buy yet another gadget I would get no real use out of, I thought I would see if I made use of the Desire at all, by downloading a few free books.

January 15, 2011
When my kitchen units went in, we cut the vinyl flooring well back from the base units, knowing that I was going to get new flooring in. Underneath were vinyl tiles, glued firmly to the floor, covered in a thick layer of grime that had crept under the top layer over the last 10-20 years.

At the time, I had a mop at it, but it was inground, and stuck in and around the edging tape that had been used to hold the floor covering in place – the mop wouldn’t touch it. So I thought “Oh well, I’ll leave it like that, it won’t be long”. So I have been living with an inch or so of grimy border around my kitchen floor.

January 11, 2011
I just caught the first episode of “Episodes”, the new BBC comedy. Produced by Hat Trick, and starring Green Wing’s Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan, it looked like the kind of thing I liked, about a British couple who, having created a hit British TV show, now in its fourth series, are lured to Los Angeles to remake their show for the US market.

[Spoilers follow]

January 10, 2011