2013 in review

My thanks to all those people, across the world, who made this possible. However, my repeated hospitalisations, and my resulting inability to write – now thankfully returning – cost me dear. Page views are down over 30,000 on last year, reversing the previous trend. Hopefully I can regain lost readers in the coming year – there is some indication that this is already happening. Seeing that it continues is pretty much up to me, and giving people what they want.

The following was put together by WordPress.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Continue reading

Windows Gadgets are history – but what are Microsoft doing invading my PC?

Fired up my PC this morning and, top right on my screen was a blank space where my system resources gadget should have been (yep, I know I can get much the same info in Task Manager, but a couple of on-screen dials are much more immediate).

Spent half an hour trying to find out why – finally thought the Gadgets applet was corrupted as it wouldn’t start and nothing I could do would bully it into life.

So off to Google to see if anyone knows why, or to find a fix. What I found was this Continue reading

A recipe for Beetroot and Redcurrant Jelly Relish

Today’s job: To reproduce Baxters Redcurrant and Beetroot Relish (or Chutney, I misremember which), which I became quite fond of in the 90s, briefly, before it vanished. Occasional checks of Baxters website since then have failed to turn it up.

A quick check today, however, while still coming up blank in chutneys and relishes, gave me this, in Condiments – Traditional Beetroot in Redcurrant Jelly, described as “Delicious pickled Baxters beetroot combined with ripe redcurrants …”.  But surely more of Continue reading

An experiment…

I’ve proven, empirically, that the main, if not sole, cause of my nausea and vomiting was my diuretic, Furosemide. (and my thanks to the person who suggested this – I regret I’ve forgotten your name for now, but I’ll track it down and put this right).

I stopped taking it, the nausea and vomiting stopped too. Reintroduced it at half the normal dose (40mg), all was still well but, of course, it was only half as effective, which wasn’t enough – I retain fluid like a human sponge and, after a week on 40mg, my Continue reading

Dyson DC59 Animal hand-held vacuum cleaner – First impressions…

I’ve just bought a Dyson DC59, their latest offering. Beware of Amazon, who offer an entirely different machine as Dyson’s latest – it’s an import from Europe and you can’t get parts in the UK. Possibly the warranty is void too.

I’ve been toying with the idea of buying one of Dyson’s “stick”** hand-held machines, but have been put off, frankly, by the cost and by the bad rep of their build quality, but as it comes with a 2-year warranty I thoutgh I’d take the plunge while I had the money. Also, Amazon reviews have been getting much better of late, which suggests problems have been addressed, and while the DC59 hasn’t been around long enough to make an impact, good or bad, I’d think they’d take the opportunity to fix past faults. And Which? Likes it, so we’ll see.

**The official designation for this model is “Digital Slim” whatever that means.

The very first impression was, Mr. Dyson, you’re a Continue reading

Lots of buggeration, and some good stuff…

Getting into my clockwork bed last night there was a cascade of beige grit from under the dressing on my right leg. Essentially, it was me – dead skin rubbed to dust under the tubular bandage, and dribbling out with the slightest movement. And I thought, “That’s going to bite me in the arse by morning.” And it did.

I was jolted awake at some godawful early hour, not long after getting to sleep, coughing so uncontrollably I could barely breathe in. I’m used to respiratory crises, they’ve been happening since the age of 2 but frankly, boys and girls, this was terrifying. It went on for hours, with occasional slumps back into a fitful sleep for what felt like seconds at a time, before waking for another choking fit. An allergic reaction to the skin dust.

At 05.00 I Continue reading

Christmas Game Pie Update…

Simply, it was amazingly good – savoury, fruity, rich – the perfect festive meal, with the added bonus of not having to eat turkey until New Year!

I was, as so often of late, ill on Christmas Day, so instead of a suet crust I served the filling in a ring of mashed potato containing the same flavourings I would have put in the crust – Stilton, parsley, and a little onion powder, the latter quite definitely not turning the taste into cheese and onion!

I’m very happy, for a recipe I conjured up out of Continue reading

Elizabeth David and Company…

The Company being the apparent legion of writers who drifted in and out of David’s life, some to become lifelong friends, others just passing through, plus, peripherally, those she reviewed for assorted publications. Many of them look as if they’d provide entertaining, often deeply eccentric, reading in their own right, and are interesting enough for me to seek out their books.

Obviously, most, probably all, are Continue reading