Weighed in the balance – and found wanting…

I was reading a bread-making website a few minutes ago, and I came to a page where the author was fulminating about the difficulties of using “English” weights and measures.

He bitches about different units for volume, weight, distance, etc, which is complete bollocks – even the metric system uses different units for those (litres, kilograms, and metres, for the hard of thinking – scaled up or down as required for different purposes), and the US, I might add, uses “our” units of measurements too – just not in cooking.

And as you’ve probably gathered, he’s an American, a nation congenitally incapable of . . .Continue reading


The fat of the land…

This morning, shopping at Sainsbury’s, I wanted a gammon joint to roast. Partly because I wanted roast gammon, partly because I wanted that thick layer of fat, to render down for lard.

I got such a joint a few weeks a few weeks ago, with a gloriously thick layer of fat (meat without fat is unutterably dull), but I boiled it. Today, the store was heavily stocked with gammon joints – and some bastard had trimmed almost all the fat off every bloody one of them.

These dietary Nazis really piss me off. Yes, too much fat is Continue reading

Camels get the hump…

Sorry. . .

Anyway, in Australia, over 6,000 wild camels, in a herd that increases pretty much daily, have laid siege to the town of Docker River, in the Northern Territory. They’ve trapped people in their homes for days on end, damaged property and water tanks, demolished fences, stripped the local vegetation, both wild and cultivated, and died in numbers sufficient to pollute the water supply. Ironic, as all this trouble is caused by the camels’ quest for water.

They have also occupied the local airfield, apparently preventing the medical evacuation of patients.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why they don’t just drink in the river Continue reading

Swine-flu vaccination…

Tomorrow morning, with considerable reservations, I shall be going for my swine flu vaccination.

Reservations, because I have no idea how I will react to it (I reacted very badly to the pneumonia vaccine, back in June), and because I’m not convinced that, right now, it’s necessary, given the level of swine flu infections, which seem to be diminishing.

However, that might change Continue reading

Why does Ventolin never help me?

That’s a question from my search-engine list. First of all, a little information. Ventolin, the brand name of the Salbutamol inhaler, is the gold standard for inhalers. It is used in hospitals for spirometry testing, and for the more complex Pulmonary Function Laboratory tests.

The way to tell if Ventolin really isn’t helping is to get your doctor to run a spirometry test before and after using your inhaler, bearing in mind that you need to wait 20 minutes after taking it, or use your own peak flow meter.

There are several reasons why Ventolin may not help, not the least being misdiagnosis of asthma.

Then there’s the question of Continue reading

A new standard loaf…

Some time ago, I wrote that I had settled on a standard, everyday, loaf – I was wrong. In breadmaking, as in so much else, standing still gets dull. True, I could turn out, reliably, a decent, crusty, white loaf – with occasional excursions into rye bread – but I felt my standard loaf could be better, and so it proved.

I’d intended sticking with the same 60% hydration as before, but somehow I cocked up the calculation, and in reality it was about 68% which, as it turned out, was a great improvement, both in texture and in keeping qualities. I also added 50g of wholemeal rye flour, for flavour. I made a change to my yeast starter, too, adding flour to it.

This is the recipe. There is actually. . . Read on at my bread-making blog…

Part-time Parliament…

Today’s Queen’s Speech contained 15 bills – with only 33 days left of the current parliament. Let’s forget party politics for a moment, and consider that fact. Parliament will sit for a mere 33 days out of the next six months. That’s absolutely disgraceful.

It’s lunacy. This country cannot continue to be governed on such a part-time basis. It really can’t. Yes, I know it’s traditional – so was Continue reading

UPS – Utterly Pointless Signage…

I’m sitting here waiting for UPS to deliver several packages, and peering bemusedly at their tracking applet, which, as always, tells me as close to bugger all as makes no difference. In these GPS-everything days, why isn’t it possible to show the actual location of the van?

Telling me that my packages were loaded at 06.08 today is singularly unhelpful – especially as delivery can Continue reading

Removing items from Windows Update…

An item from my search-engine pile “rejecting an item from Windows Update”.

Ah – an easy one. Simply uncheck the box next to it which, by default, arrives checked, and continue with the ones you actually want/need. You’ll be asked to confirm that you don’t want to be told about it again; confirm that.

You’re done.

See also this post on the subject of Windows Update.

Electric bikes for disabled riders…

Further to my original post on the subject of electric bikes for the disabled, I’m getting close to buying my electric bike.

Note that electric bikes are not made for disabled riders, but if you’re balance is OK and you’re otherwise capable, I see no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try (if you’re at all unsure of your balance, forget it). They’re way faster than scooters, for a start, but bear in mind, when going to the supermarket, you’ll probably need to use the store’s scooter.

My choice of machine has changed, and I’ve opted for the Continue reading