Finally! Winter’s here!

Posted in London on January 24th, 2007 by Coffee

After a really, really, really mild winter to date (for which we’ve been very thankful!) it’s finallly got cold this week. Brrrr. But the good side of that is that we’ve finally had a dump of snow!

Yippee! I like snow!!

Not that we had that much, but enough to turn everything nice and white for a bit. And enough to be able to listen to it making the great crunch, crunch, crunch sound as we walked along the road to the tube. I guess the middle of a big, heat producing city isn’t the best place to get snow, but I’ll take what I can get.


I’m hoping for some more tonight, but it doesn’t look that likely here. Boo hoo. Still, a couple more months of winter yet, I guess…

The last crop?

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 24th, 2007 by Coffee

It’s almost time to say a final goodbye to this year’s chilli plants. After this last big harvest there are only a few last stragglers on one plant.  The others have gone to meet the dustman now. I guess there’s about 6 left on that plant that I’m determined will ripen, despite the lack of sunlight at the moment.  We’ll see. About a month until I plant the next lot of seeds though, I think.  Yay!


But aren’t they just one of the best looking vege things?!  I might give you aubergines as being slightly better looking, but only just.  And they’re yucky(ish) anyway.

I’m struggling for words…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on January 20th, 2007 by Coffee

Some things are just better left to the back shed. Someone in Britain has taken the time and effort to create… Wait for it… A goldfish walker!

Yes, that’s right, you too can take your goldfish for a walk! See the Metro link here.

Thought: The reason no one has invented it before is because it’s A BLOODY STUPID IDEA! If you want a dog, then get a bloody dog!

Goldfish memories being what they are, added to the way light is going to travel through the water and the bowl means that the fish aren’t really going to have a great view of the world…

Sigh. Oh well, at least he’s famous now.


Where’s Delia when you need her?!

Posted in Food and Drink on January 17th, 2007 by Coffee

Quite a long time ago now we were watching on and off, with a fair amount of disbelief, a whole hour long Delia cooking show on cooking eggs. Boiling them, poaching them, etc. Nothing at all fancy, just the very,very basics.

Oh how we laughed! How could anyone not know how to boil a bloody egg!

Well, us apparently. Somehow we totally failed to cook 3 hard boiled eggs to add to our salad. And that was after checking the Edmonds cookbook for the time, as we were disagreeing about how long they needed (8 minutes, apparently), and carefully setting the watch to make sure we cooked them that long.

Only something went wrong, and they certainly weren’t hard boiled! More like pretty soft boiled. Which made them pretty damn intersting to peel! Still, at least they were nice mushed up on toast as a pre-salad snack.

Delia, I appoogise. I should have been watching, rather than laughing.

Return of the big, fat bunny!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14th, 2007 by Coffee

This appeared in the Metro the other week. Love the tag line!

One Big Bunny

And yes, we still want one!

A night at the circus…

Posted in London on January 13th, 2007 by Bec

While Mike’s mum was here she shouted us a night out at the people circus, which most people know as Circ de Soliel. The show we saw was Alegria, which means ‘joy’ in Spanish.

It was held at what we reckon has to be one of the best venues in London, the Royal Albert Hall. After finding our seats in the circle area (which I have to say were extremely high up), we only had about 10 mins to wait till start time.

It’s quite hard to remember just what we saw. There was a lot going on, and for me it was way better than sitting through a musical! There was a bit of an intro which included some french solo singing (not sure what was being said but it sounded vey good). It all included a bit of a solo trapese swing artist, a man (who was really stong) doing some then some amzing stuff on some poles, then to some cross shaped trampolines built into the stage with a number of acrobats perfroming there. And a bit of fire twirling. Another highlight was two contortionists as a double act – we were amazed at their flexibilty and a lot of the time were unsure of just what way they were facing! And then some high trapeze acrobats.

The stage was really amazing. What we mean is they constantly changed the set and it was intiguing to see the way they changed things around, we’re still not quite sure how they did it. Oh and the other thing that was great were the clowns in the show, they were quite funny and kept you entertained.

All in all a good night out! Thanks Jude (Mum).

A long weekend in Paris…

Posted in Travel on January 11th, 2007 by Coffee

We couldn’t let Mum leave this part of the world having only been to London and environs, and nan had told me to “make sure she gets to Paris. She’s always wanted to go to Paris”, so that’s where we went for a fun filled, action packed long weekend.

Getting there is always easy from here. Just a few short tube stops, and then jump on the Eurostar for a couple of hours or so, then you’re right in the centre of a brand new town.

As we left London early in the morning on the Friday (well, not that early, but a bit early) we still had plenty of time left in the day after we’d checked into the hotel, so it was off to see the sites during what we though was the best weather forecast for the weekend.

tower_small.jpgNot that we had to go too far to see one. Our hotel was about 100m from the Arc de Triomphe, so that was the first one ticked off, but only to stare at from the outside of the chaos that is the traffic around there. (Though it was nowhere near as bad as we’ve seen it before on other trips.) More on that sight later.

invalides_small.jpgThen off down the road to try to find a snack for lunch. That was harder than it should have been, but we finally braved a shop to grab a baguette. And then a leisurely stroll (if that can ever be said of Bec’s walking style) down to the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. Took a few of the obligatory shots of the tower from the Trocadero, and then wandered across with a mind to go up the tower for a high rise view of town. Which we didn’t do. The queues to go up there were huge! Massive! Unbelievable! So we thought we’d go back another day.

Having given that up as a bad idea, we wandered along the gardens to the Hotel des Invalides for a look. Flagged going inside, but had a good wander around the outside and through the courtyard. And around the outside. And then back through the courtyard again… Yes, we had go ourselves a bit lost! We won’t mention exactly who it was that had control of the map at that time to spare the guilty.

And then a wander back to the hotel for a bit of a sit down and recover for dinner. Being brave, we thought we’d go French for the night, and were recommended a nearby place called P’tit Bouchon Gourmand (something to do with corks, apparently). Good food, good value. Recommend it.

lovre_small.jpgSaturday we seemed to do a huge amount of walking! Starting with a wander down the length of the Champs Elysees to find a patteserie for a bite of breakfast, and then straight on to the Louvre. Not much of a queue. Yay! Spent about 3 1/2 hours wandering around there until we were all pretty much overwhelmed by it all and couldn’t take much more in. Still didn’t see anything like the whole of the place, but more than enough.

notre_small.jpgAfter a bite to eat, and a much needed sit down, a wander down the river to Notre Dame for a look there. Not much of a queue. Yay again! An interesting building to gawk around in for a while, and best of all, free!

Then a leisurely wander though the Latin quarter, and all the small streets there, and on to the Pont Alexandre III (bridge) where you apparently get good views. By that time I think we were all a bit vacant, and didn’t quite take them in. And on back to the hotel for another sit down and recovery. All up I think we walked for at least 7 hours. Probably a bit longer. Our feet hurt. And our legs. And possibly our backs too!

Having done all that walking, on Sunday we decided to just get a day travel card for the Metro, and do things the easy way. First stop (after a long wander trying to find some breakfast) was back to the Eiffel tower. And no queues this time! Horray! Up there for a look, using the elevators this time – Bec and I have already walked up there once, and we’re not likely to do it again – and a few piccies of Paris from on high.

orsay_small.jpgNext stop, the Musee d’Orsay for a bit more culture. And as a bonus, it was free! First Sunday of every month the museums are free. Nice buildings, interesting pictures and sculptures, but I think we’d got a bit over-cultured by then, as well as having sore legs still, so we cut that tour a bit short and went to find some lunch back in the Latin quarter.

sacre_small.jpgOnwards to Montmatre to see Sacre Coeur. Problem is that it sits on the top of a big hill. The biggest in Paris, I think, and there is no Metro stop at the top. And the funicular that I’d been particulary looking forward to riding up there wasn’t working either. So with a lot of grumbling (from me), it was stair climbing for us. But a more leisurely stroll down through the back streets.

arc_small.jpgAs Monday was our last day, and a travel day in the late afternoon, we didn’t go too far from the hotel. But far enough to get to the Arc de Triomphe for a proper look. And what did we find there? A lot of bloody stairs! Just what I felt like. Groan. But the view from the top was worth it!

And then another last stroll through a few of the parks and gardens at the end of the Champs, and then back to get our stuff and catch the train back home again. A nice relaxing way to finish up.

A good quick break from London, and we hope Mum enjoyed it too! (She did)

Whole, Flaked, or Powdered?…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on January 3rd, 2007 by Coffee

One good thing about having to have the heating on (finally) is that they provide a great place to dry my chillis on! The ring of fire’s have dried really well, and will hopefully get us through the dry spell that’s coming up as the old plants finally finish up this year’s cropping and I’m still waiting to plant some new ones in about February.

But I can’t work out whether to leave them whole, crumble them into flakes, or try to powder them. I suspect that there could be a fair bit of irritation if I try to powder them, so I suspect they’ll end up as flakes…