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Annoying or Catchy Songs

Story location: Home / Blog / music /
24/May/2005

I'm not sure where it came from but I've got Coffee and TV stuck in my head. OK, I like Blur but I don't want one song on a continuous loop while I'm trying to work. The song might have found it's way in when I was in the kitchen, making a cuppa of course, and I saw the catering packs of coffee and tea on the table.

I seem to get a song stuck in my head most days - sometimes one song keeps coming back day after day. Often the only way of getting rid of it is to think of another song but this might only work if the new song is even more catchy, so it isn't a great solution!



King of the Hill

Story location: Home / Blog / tv /
24/May/2005

The 2nd and 3rd series of King of the Hill arrived today - or to be precise, Emma went into town to collect them from the Royal Mail depot and pay the duty on them. The 1st series arrived a couple of weeks ago and was delivered with no problems but the two series were packaged together so brought the value above the 'duty free' threshold.

The programme itself wasn't a bit hit over here - maybe people were confused by the nature of the cartoon - the eposides were fairly leasurely and the humour was more low key than many cartoons, with slapstick humour kept to a minimum. If people were expecting a cross between 'Beavis and Buthead' and 'The Simpsons', then they would have been disappointed. What they got instead was an intelligent cartoon about family life in a small town.



Chicken Soup

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /
21/May/2005

Yesterday while I was in work, suffering from a cold, I had a yearning for a proper chicken soup. I made the soup here this morning and had a cup of it for lunch, with a piece of crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 3 pieces chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 pound potatoes (diced)
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • a few handfuls of assorted veg

Method

If there is time, roast the chicken pieces beforehand (this will give the stock more flavour). Put the chicken in a pan with the bay leaves, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour.
When the chicken has cooled, strip the meat from the bones. Chop the meat roughly, and put to one side for later.
Chop the onions and garlic, and fry in a little oil until the onions start to soften. Add the stock (with the bay leaves removed) and the potatoes. Add a few handfuls of vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, peas. Simmer the soup for about half an hour (until the potatoes have gone really soft). Add half the chicken and the herbs. Puree the soup, then add the rest of the chicken. Season to taste.



Cough. Sneeze. Sniffle

Story location: Home / Blog / work /
20/May/2005

I've just spent a really unpleasant day in work. Not the fault of the company (unless I caught the cold from someone in work). I've got a runny nose, my jaw aches, my eyes are tired and my head feels fuzzy. At least it's friday so I can relax over the weekend and won't have to take any time off work and lose money.



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On The Ceiling

Story location: Home / Blog / theatre /
18/May/2005

I don't go to the theatre very often, so when a special offer was circulated in work (the chance to see On the Ceiling for only £5), I decided it was too good an offer to refuse. The play, at the Birmingham Rep, was written by Nigel Planer (best known for playing Neil in the Young Ones or narrating the 90s revival of The Magic Roundabout). He was actually at the theatre tonight - we saw him in the foyer a few times and he was sitting at the far end of our row.

The play was about two of Michaelangelo's assistants during the painting of the roof of the Sistene Chapel. A fairly quirky comedy with some funny moments. It was mainly a double act (starring Ralf Little and Ron Cook), but with the Pope and a Cardinal making a brief appearance towards the end.



Coombe Abbey Country Park

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
14/May/2005

This afternoon, we went to the Coombe Abbey country park, to get out of the city for a relaxing few hours. On the way out, we stopped at Far Gosford Street to take a look in Gosford Wines (we've seen the place advertised and were intrigued by it's claim to £2 wines so we had to take a look. We bought a few bottles of various beers and wines including 3 of the £1.99 wines).

Coombe Abbey itself is mainly landscaped gardens with a lake (complete with ducks). It's surprisingly popular and there were a lot of families there. We had a wander around then found a patch of grass to lie down and read the newspaper. It was a bit windy but we also managed to have the obligatory game of frisbee - it involved a bit of running around to retrieve it when the wind caught it.

I also thought this would make a good opportunity to try out the camera on my new phone - the image quality is so much higher than the old phone, as can be seen by comparing the examples below with some of the photos taken with my old phone (such as this one).

Coombe Abbey
Coombe Abbey

(Tonight, we tried two of the £1.99 wines - a red and a white. They were ok, a bit light on flavour but there was nothing bad about them, so good value really).



New Phones.

Story location: Home / Blog /
11/May/2005

At the weekend, we ordered some new mobile phones. Yesterday, they arrived. We're now the proud owners of a pair of Nokia 6630s (one for me, one for Emma). Unfortunately I haven't had chance to try the phone properly yet - all I managed to do on tuesday was take a few photos to compare the camera with my old Nokia 3200 - the quality is so much better!

This evening, I installed the software which came with the phone (Nokia Communications Suite) and tried to transfer the contents from my old phone. I managed to copy the pictures to the computer, and used the 'Sync' function to copy the contact list to Outlook Express, but didn't manage to copy anything to the new phone.

The 3200 uses Infra red but the 6630 uses either the data cable or bluetooth. I don't have a bluetooth dongle for my computer and for some reason the data cable wouldn't work. The first time I installed the Nokia software it gave an error saying it couldn't install the cable driver so I tried again. This time it gave no error but the computer still couldn't talk to the new phone. I tried again. Still no luck. I downloaded the driver from the nokia website. When I ran it, it displayed an error message saying that I needed 'XP Service Pack 1' for it to work. If only the main software warned me about that - It would have saved me a lot of wasted time. Nokia really do need to make this more clear and to improve the install procedure.

By now, it was too late to do anything about it, so it'll be another day or so before I get chance to use the phone properly.

Update:
Eventually managed to get the cable to work, by reinstalling the software a few times. This seems to be a problem with my aged laptop where drivers seem to struggle to install or work properly.



Tomato and Vegetable Soup

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /
08/May/2005

Among the Christmas presents I received from my parents last year was a hand held blender, which is ideal for making soups. Whenever I find any cheap vegetables, I tend to make a soup with them. The one here is the result of finding packs of Tesco vine tomatoes reduced to 10p because they were going out of date. In the freezer, we've got a pack of leeks which was bought reduced a few weeks ago. I chopped and froze them as soon as I got home.

Recipe

  • 3 Red Onions
  • 3 Potatoes
  • one pepper (red, green, orange, whatever you've got)
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic
  • a few dozen small tomatoes
  • a handful of chopped leeks
  • chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper

Quarter the onions and potatoes, coarsly chop the pepper, toss in olive oil and roast at 200°C for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tomatoes in half. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the rest of the veg in the roasting tray. After the 40 minutes is over, tip the vegetables into a large pan. Add about a pint of water, the bay leaves, a teaspoon of mixed herbs, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until everything has started to go mushy and the potatoes are nice and soft. Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup. If it's a bit thick, it can be diluted with a little water or stock.



Better late than never

Story location: Home / Blog / London /
03/May/2005

Ok, there's no excuse for me taking this long but I've started to add the London stuff to the site. So far, I've added Day 1 and Day 2.

I had the photos developed a couple of weeks ago (after the film had been sitting in my house for a month), but some of the shots were a bit dark or fuzzy and needed a bit of work before I could post them here. I finally managed to track down the image processing program which allowed me to do the job.

Update: 08/may/2005
Added Day 3.



A picnic in the park

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
01/May/2005

We packed our sandwiches (and a frisbee) into the car and drove to the War Memorial Park for a picnic. As we approached, there were signs pointing to 'Event Parking'. We didn't know that there was anything going on so we decided to park and find out. It turned out to be the Vaisakhi 2005 festival, organised by the Coventry Sikh Union. This was some kind of open day/sports day/fair.
The only event we watched was the Tug-o-war but we did sample some of the food on offer. We bought a tray of a very spicy chick-pea curry from one stall before we found out that the other food stall was giving away free food (which explained the long queues outside). We had a sample of that as well - a chapatti with something potato based, and something probably lentil based. Whatever it was it tasted good.
Emma also managed to obtain a blue 'Vote Conservative' balloon from the local candidate (by suggesting that she deserves a balloon more than the children because she is old enough to vote and they aren't).