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Degu Bell

Story location: Home / Blog / degu /

Last week we bought a bell shaped seed and herb treat for the Degus. They seem to enjoy it and nibble at it regularly. The degus are very sensitive to sugar and you should avoid feeding them anything which contains any. Before buying any snack treats for them, we always read the ingredients to make sure they don't contain any sugar.

Emile being nosey
I opened the small door in the side of the cage so I could get a photo of Emile eating the bell. I forgot how nosey the degus are. He stopped eating the bell and came to the door to see what I was doing.

Emile eating the bell

Emile eating the bell
I eventually managed to get some photos of him eating it.

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Tasting notes: Rhubarb wine

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

The rhubarb wine has been sitting in the shed maturing for a few months so I thought it was ready to taste. It is a bit on the sweet side. I deliberately aimed to let the wine finish of slightly sweet - rhubarb needs some sugar to bring out the flavour and I thought a bone dry wine wouldn't work so well. It isn't as sweet as a dessert wine but it also doesn't have the depth of flavour of one either. It was a fairly cheap wine to make (the rhubarb was reduced at the supermarket) so it wasn't an expensive experiment. I think it's worth trying again with more rhubarb and less sugar.

Mmmm Tartrazine

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I opened a jar of JalapeƱo chillies for our pizza and started to drain some on a piece of kitchen roll. I noticed some yellow staining on the paper, which I thought was a little odd. It turned out that the chillies had some colouring added:


The chillies were a normal green colour. They didn't seem to benefit from any additional yellow.

Highworth Hamster Show

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

The hamster show at Highworth (near Swindon) was the first to have Roborovski Hamsters judged in the main show. Previously they were only allowed in the pets category. They would have featured in the Coventry show but that was cancelled due to the weather. We were annoyed when the Coventry show was cancelled but that was slightly lessened when we won the Roborovski category.

As usual, I took some time out to take a walk around the area to take some photos:
Highworth Church

Highworth Market Square
The market was on when we arrived. This photo was taken across the market square after the market had ended.

Blackberry and Elderberry wine

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / wine /

I've bottled our Blackberry and Elderberry wine. I started fermenting it back in October and it's been sitting in the demijohn since then, maturing.

After filling 6 bottles there was about a glass left over so we sampled it tonight. It's fairly light flavoured, unlike my first attempt at this wine which was really full bodied. It has a reasonable fruity taste. I'll leave it in the shed for a few months to mature, to see if it improves with age.

I used 2.4kg of fruit in total. I can't remember (and didn't write down) whether I used any grape concentrate or raisins. Next time, I'll either use more fruit or supplement it with some grape or apple juice to give it more body.

Cruise Control

Story location: Home / Blog /

Part of the drive home was along the A46 Fosse Way between Lincoln and Leicester. I thought I'd take advantage of the long almost empty road to check out the cruise control on our new car. It felt strange having the car drive itself, without me needing to use the pedals. The car also has a speed limiter which seems more useful. Cruise control just didn't feel safe. It was too easy to relax and not keep your feet near the pedals which would slow down reacting to anything happening. The speed limiter felt safer because it was more like normal driving.

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East Midlands bird show

Story location: Home / Blog / quail /

We were at the Newark Showground to attend a bird show organised by the East Midland Bird Breeders Association. Most of the show was dedicated to cage birds such as parrots, finches and other 'decorative' birds. We were there to meet other users of the Coturnix Corner forum.

It was a long way to travel to just go to a bird show but we (me and Emma) went to some of the tourist attractions in the area yesterday. We also met a couple of the forum people last night and went into Lincoln for a Wetherspoons meal and a few drinks. We walked up and down the Steep Hill during the evening. I felt ok at the time but my calf muscles started aching today.

Gainsborough House

Story location: Home / Blog /

Some photos of Gainsborough House, near Lincoln.

The building from the outside
Panoramic shot made by stitching together 3 photographs.

The kitchen
The Kitchen.

The Great Hall
The Great Hall


Story location: Home / Blog /

Some photos of Lincoln


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The annoying marquee tag

Story location: Home / computing /

I regularly use a few forums (fora?) and one of the other members has started using the <marquee> tag in his signature. It's rather annoying to have text whizzing across the screen while you're trying to read something.

With Firefox it's possible to disable the marquee tag, so the text doesn't move. There is a file called userContent.css which is located in the chrome subdirectory of the Profiles folder, which in turn can be found hiding in the C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\ directory (at least that's where it is in Windows XP).

Load this file into a text editor, or create the file if it doesn't exist. Add the line:

 marquee { -moz-binding: none; }

then restart the browser. The annoying marquee text will no longer move.

Update: On the mac, the profiles folder lives in the Library/Application Support/Firefox subdirectory of the user directory. With newer versions of Firefox, this can be found by clicking on Help->Troubleshooting Information

Trapped in the car park

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

It took me about an hour to park the car and get to my office this morning. Getting into the car park was easy - my pass card opened the barrier. The car park was full so I tried to leave to go to another car park. Actually the car park was had plenty of spaces but they were all in the roped off empty upper floor of the multi-storey. The top floor had been closed due to the risk of ice.

I drove to the 'out' barrier and swiped my card but the barrier failed to open. A queue of cars started to form behind me. A few other people tried the barrier but it wouldn't open for them either. We phoned security and waited for them to arrive. It took 3 people and a lot of trial and error before they managed to get the barrier open. I eventually managed to leave and find my way to another car park which had some proper spaces, which happened to be a decidedly non-icy top floor of another multi-storey car park.

Video of the Coventry Hamster Show

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Although the Coventry Hamster Show was cancelled on Saturday, we put on a small display in case any members of the public turned up. We had a total of 6 visitors during the day. We might have got more but the people with the large 'Midland Hamster Club' advertising banners were unable to make it so there was nothing on the outside of the hall to suggest that there was anything going on inside.

A video of the display can be found at itsallaboutcoventry.co.uk along with a brief explanation of the different types of hamster.

Late Emails

Story location: Home / Blog /

Every now and then you hear stories about letters or postcards which arrive years after being posted. The modern version is the email which arrives months or years after being sent.

This evening I was checking my email when I received 30 new messages but none were visible in my inbox. I changed the view to show unread rather than recent messages. The messages were all dated between July and December last year. A lot were adverts or updates from websites but one was from a work colleague from several jobs ago. So sorry, Andy, I wasn't ignoring your email which you sent in July. It took nearly 7 months to get here for some reason.

Hamster Show Cancelled

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Tomorrow's hamster show has been cancelled due to the weather. Not the weather in Coventry, since most of the snow has melted here and the roads are ok. A lot of the club have to travel from the south, where there is more snow causing problems with travel. This has led to the club deciding to cancel the show.

We've put a lot of effort into planning the show including booking the venue and sorting out the catering, but the decision to cancel was out of our hands. If we decide to organise a future Coventry Hamster Show then I'll publicise it on this site.

Winter White Cupcakes

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

We recently bought a box of Fabulous Bakin' Boys Winter White Cupcakes. I don't think they were made out of Winter White hamsters but a few of ours decided to pose with the box


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Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

It snowed overnight. Not heavily but enough to give a thin covering over everything.

Gate in the snow

Branch covered in snow