Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One for the scrapbook

England's Marcus Watson is tackled by Dan Fish of Wales, Cathay Pacific-HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong, March 27, 2015
Not such a good tournament though, England beat us and we eventually went out 34-0 to Scotland in the semi-final of the Bowl.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The gadget show

As an Amazon Prime member, I got the chance - which I took - to pre-order - an Amazon Fire TV stick for £19 last week. As someone who has has installed Windows 3.0 from a stack of floppy disks about a foot high back in the day I still find even the idea of a streaming media stick close to miraculous.

Back in the work-a-day world, both my slow cooker and my Actifry broke over the weekend. I don't imagine I will be able to replace either at a tenth of the original cost or size.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another Thousand Clowns

That is this afternoon's entertainment sorted out then (see Icons passim).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Worth waiting for

Wales have taken a step closer to Euro 2016 with a brilliant away win over Israel thanks to an Aaron Ramsey header and brace from Gareth Bale on a famous night in Haifa took Chris Coleman's side to the top of Group B.

Victory has given Wales 11 points from their opening five qualification matches, and Coleman feels a further nine points from their remaining five games will be enough to take them to the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Wales' remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
12 June: Belgium (h)
3 Sep: Cyprus (a)
10 Oct: Bosnia (a)
6 Sep: Israel (h)
13 Oct: Andorra (h)

Friday, March 27, 2015


Mid week rugby training at the Ruts having finished as the season starts to run down, the Bomber has returned to Herne Hill Harriers and the javelin (see Icons passim) for the first time in more than eighteen months.

The Harriers now have a regular javelin coach, Nick, who trains a small squad of juniors from 7-8.15 on Thursdays.

Ben went last night and enjoyed it, so I guess that is where we will be most weeks from now until the end of August.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

the black spider

The UK's highest court has refused to overturn a ruling which paved the way for publication of letters written by the Prince of Wales to government ministers.

Supreme Court justices in London rejected a challenge by the Attorney General, the Government's principal legal adviser, against a decision by Court of Appeal judges that he has unlawfully prevented the public seeing the letters.

From the BBC's coverage:
The prince is heir to the throne and, as the royal family's own website explains, it is central to the British constitution that the reigning monarch should remain politically neutral.
"Brothers, what we do in life, echoes in eternity."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

With exactness grinds He all

I got in last night and decided that a chicken lasagne was the best match with the contents of my fridge and kitchen cupboards, only to be blown off course when I discovered that I didn't have any flour to make a bechamel sauce.

As I pondered this disaster, a vague memory that the Nutribullet I bought four months ago had come with a "milling blade" interrupted my reverie.

And so it came to pass that I ground then made a roux from my own rice flour; very good it was too as well, though I would probably sift it before cooking next time.

A new era of home made powders and pastes dawns. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

put a stop to all this fxxxking élan acquis

We were pipped at the post into second place at the quiz last night so we have failed to match June 2013's five on the bounce and have to live with ourselves after four wins in a row and then a silver medal. As runners up we only get a £25 bar tab for next week.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Monday, March 23, 2015

And is there honey still for tea?

Send to Kindle for Google Chrome is a great little tool.

If I come across a long article, like Save the Honeybee, Sterilize the Earth by Josh Dzieza, that I want to add to my reading list I just click a button to reformat is and send it to my Paperwhite.

Josh Dzieza's piece is worth reading by the way.
In the US the bee keeping industry makes more money from migratory pollination than from honey sales.
Today, to pollinate California’s almond crop alone requires the services of up to three-quarters of all the managed honeybees in the United States. And they don’t get to the valley on their own; the bees are trucked in by the billion from as far away as Florida each January, just before the trees begin their brief fortnight in bloom.
This has happened because when farmers began planting larger plots with one crop, the natural balance of pollination was distorted. A monoculture, as it’s called, can’t sustain all the wild insects it needs to pollinate it, because there’s nothing for the insects to eat when the main crop isn’t in bloom.
Bumblebees have been disappearing since at least the 1990s. In 2009 and 2010, researchers visited locations near Carlinville, Illinois, where 120 years ago a naturalist studiously recorded which bugs visited what flowers. They found that almost half the bee species were gone, and only saw one American bumblebee after 447 hours of observation. Many of these native bees also pollinate crops, and do so more efficiently than honeybees. As these native bees die, managed honeybees pick up the slack, and we become more reliant on a single species. “Bees aren’t a canary,” Marla Spivak told me. “They’re a mirror, telling us our agricultural system is out of whack.” She added, “We just need to let up the throttle a bit.”
But honey bees can also become malnourished from foraging in monocultural conditions, as opposed to natural habitats or even cities, where parks and gardens provide diverse sources of pollen. At the Beekeeping Federation conference last winter in Baton Rouge, Pettis explained that even pollinating a crop like almonds, which provide abundant and nutritious pollen, is “like living on nothing but broccoli”—in other words, not a balanced diet. And that’s during the two weeks the crop is in bloom; before and after, the bees must rely heavily on artificial supplements, usually mixtures of brewer’s yeast, sugar, and vitamins. The feeds provide protein when natural pollen is scarce, but they aren’t yet as good as the real thing, and bees can’t live on them alone.
This is barking mad. They are going to end up with no pollinators at all apart from a single sickly species of clinically selected and industrially reared honey bee that will be intensely vulnerable to a new disease because of the lack of genetic diversity in the breed. Load up on almonds now. You may not be able to get any in the 2020s.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The greatest day?

Italy 20-61 Wales
Wales entered the game with a points difference of +12, 25 behind England. Warren Gatland’s side scored 47 unanswered second-half points and George North scored three tries to boost their points difference to +53.
Scotland 10-40 Ireland
Ireland, on +33, were the closest to England in terms of points difference and this romp ended Wales’ hopes. Jonny Sexton kicked 16 points, putting them on +63 at the summit. Over to you England. You need a 26-point win over France.
England 55-35 France
England knew what they had to do: win by 26 points and the title was theirs. But each time they crossed the line, France did the same. At the end they needed just six points for glory, but their inability to stop conceding was their downfall.
If only I could remember any of it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chorus kids with bad knees

Rod is back on a break from policing the Ukraine. We met up last night in the Marquis of Angelsey, and ended up eating at Joe Allen's, a theatre hangout I've never been before.

There is much I could pass on of Mackenna's wisdom born of decades in the firing line, and of my conversation with the restaurant's lady piano player, but I have only just roused myself from the sleep of the just and Wales kick off against Italy in half an hour; needs must.

Joe Allen being Americana (I had ribs, slaw and fries), here are some Route 55 place markers.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Only last week

Time flies eh? Hat tip, Karen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The writer and commentator Brooke Magnanti – better known as the former high class call girl Belle de Jour – is reportedly suing her former boyfriend for libel on the grounds that he has suggested she was not a prostitute at the time of their relationship.
Dr Magnanti’s legal team is expected to argue that such a claim would be instead damaging to the reputation of a woman who made her name writing a blog about her time working as an escort, which went on to become two bestselling books and the successful TV series starring Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
The claim appears to have been lodged in response to her ex-boyfriend Owen Morris, a former RAF officer identified only as The Boy in the book, who in 2013 began proceedings against her for defamation and breach of privacy, claiming the publicity surrounding the book destroyed his air force career and damaged his reputation.
The news website Vice has reported that papers lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session show Dr Magnanti has decided to counter-sue, claiming her reputation was damaged by doubt being cast over whether she had been a call girl.
Should it go ahead, Dr Magnanti’s libel claim could well be the first in the UK from a woman claiming she was defamed by suggestions she was not a prostitute.
One for Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, methinks.