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One year, the quince tree at work was dropping so much fruit from on high, we seriously feared a quince would bean a visitor to death. We had it savagely cut back and it sulked for three years. This is the first year it’s fruited since.

Oddly enough, there was no low-hanging fruit *thinking face emoji*

I had to wait for some of the higher fruit to overripen and fall. That’s why it’s so spotty. I’ll cut out the worst buts and it’ll be fine for quince jelly.

I love quince jelly, but making it is such a pain in the ass, I go several years between batches.

Storm’s a-coming tonight, everyone. It is upon us. Logging off to hunker down. Have a good weekend!

September 30, 2022 — 6:01 pm
Comments: 11

Glut of tomatoes?

Homemade V8! Makes a kickass bloody mary.

Preboil celery and carrots in a little water until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook another 20 minutes with the lid off. Put in a blender or zizz with a mixer. You’re supposed to strain it through muslin then, but that makes it too thin for my taste. I just trawl trough it for chunks (celery is the usual culprit).

According to campbells.com, the proper article is tomato puree plus carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach. But the as long as you have tomatoes and Tabasco, you’re good.

Sorry about yesterday. It was the database on my server. I didn’t even bother to file a ticket. I knew they were working on it and I wasn’t too fussed. I had bloody marys!

Any hardline computer geeks online?

I’m having a mystery problem with my fancy computer. It’s three years old and it’s the absolute highest spec I could afford.

While it was still fairly new, I noticed the USB ports in the front were a little flaky – sometimes cutting out briefly. I assumed that bank of ports wasn’t fully plugged into the motherboard.

Then the ones in the back got a little flaky. Then all of them got pretty flaky. Then all of them got intolerably flaky, stuttering in and out constantly.

So I broke down and bought a PCI card with four USB ports. Which worked a treat. For about a week.

What could make all my USB ports unreliable, even freshly added ones. Would that be (please no) a motherboard issue? Could it be the power supply?

September 22, 2022 — 5:19 pm
Comments: 15


Oof! I’ve been in a Zoom meeting this evening, so please enjoy this photograph of muddy carrots.

Yes, it’s that time of year again – the end of the cottage garden when the last of the ragtag bunches of vegetables that come out of the ground. My remaining spring onions are now the size of golfballs.

I say ‘my’ spring onions – the garden is entirely the province of Uncle B. My only contribution is keeping the chickens off it (I don’t always succeed). Oh, and eating the vegetables. It is glut time.

My specialty is a little number I like to call Cream of Shit-from-the-garden Soup. Throw whatever I’ve got in a pot, boil it with chicken broth, zizz it with a hand mixer and add cream. It’s different every time, but always delicious.

I have been forbidden from fermenting vegetables since the Brussel Sprout Incident. Damn near asphyxiated everyone.

September 13, 2022 — 7:35 pm
Comments: 5

The Return of the Village Fete

The judgin’ o’ the veggies. Yes, they really do this and yes, they take it very seriously.

One particularly hilarious category was swiss rolls, where some judge or judges wrote detailed critiques on index cards for each entry, explaining why they voted the way they did, what issues that particular swiss roll had and how to make it better next year.

BTW, red ribbon is first place here and blue is second. Make brain hurt.

There was a point I was sure the village fete would never return. So many of them were teetering on the edge even before the lockdown, and I thought the lockdown might’ve broken some people forever.

I still think there are some permanently damaged people out there (they all seem to hang out in Twitterland), but we went to two village fetes this weekend alone, and they were *packed*.

No masks, no distancing, no elbow-bumping, no fear. It was absolutely, 100% the old normal. But busier.

These were the middle classes, they who listen to the BBC, trust the government and no doubt had every recommended shot at its appointed time. They weren’t being defiant. They weren’t even thinking about covid. They were just done.

I wonder if that’s how Klaus Schwab saw this going at this point in his project.

August 3, 2022 — 7:40 pm
Comments: 14

Elderflowers am in bloom

The drive is white with elderflower. I considered making elderflower gin, but then I thought it made more sense to make an elderflower cordial that I could add to gin (or anything else I fancied).

I like elderflower. I don’t remember anything flavored with it in the States, though. Do we even grow elder?

Anyway, it’s 20 elderflower heads and the zest of a lemon in a 1-liter jar, fill to the absolute top with vodka to exclude air. A good deal of smooshing is required.

Two to four weeks in a cool, dark place and then strain through muslin into a bowl. Take 100ml of boiling water and use it to dissolve 100gm of sugar. Add it to the mix bit by bit to taste. You can use it right away, but it’s better for aging a few months.

That jar is a wonderful 1-liter pickling jar Uncle B gave me that I am forbidden to use for its intended purpose after that time I pickled brussel sprouts and everything in the fridge tasted of fart for a week.

June 8, 2022 — 3:19 pm
Comments: 11


We went to MacDonald’s! I know that doesn’t sound much, but I haven’t had a Big Mac in, like, four years. There isn’t any fast food at all except in some of the bigger towns, and we’re not near a bigger town.

I had to have my eyes checked (they’re fine – my right eye has gotten better!) near to Mickey D’s, so I axed if we could go.

Gosh, it’s changed. It was all touch screens. I tried to order at the desk because Uncle B wants his Quarter Pounder just so, but the girl said the touch screens allowed all kinds of customization.

They did!

There seemed to be as many employees as ever, though. Maybe they were turning over a whole lot more food. While we were there, at least four men came in from food delivery outfits and picked up orders.

They all knew each other and they all were speaking Polish or Russian or some other gargly language (not a linguist, me). I reckon there’s some kind of Big Mac mafia.

One guy came in, ordered a Coke and drank it before leaving with his order. I reckon that was one frosty cold burger when it got where it was going.

June 7, 2022 — 5:26 pm
Comments: 8


It’s recycling night! My neighbor asked if she could put some overflow in our bin.

That’s kind of weird, I thought. She lives alone and Uncle B and I together rarely fill more than a quarter of a bin.

She came over with a big bag of plastic and says, Oh, her daughter and family are staying with her.

And I say, Oh, I thought your daughter was a hippie type.

And she says, Oh, yes she is. You wouldn’t believe how much plastic all that organic food is wrapped in.

Ba-dum tiss.

May 25, 2022 — 7:45 pm
Comments: 3

From my cold, dead hands

They’re talking about banning condiments in single-serve packages, like ketchup and mayo. Their point – which isn’t entirely stupid, I guess – is because there’s food in them, they’re more likely to be eaten by a beast.

It’s just, I’m amused at governments banning the tiny, inconsequential bits of plastic that make our lives a tad easier, thinking it will make some kind of difference to our giant plastic-based society. Reminds me of the Aldi employee who explained to me they weren’t putting out plastic bags for me to put potatoes in no more, and behind him as far as the eye could see stretched shelves of food entirely packaged in plastic.

There’s a touch of the Washington Monument syndrome about it, as well. Simply put: whenever a government department faces budget cuts, it threatens to kill whatever thing it does that you like most.

Though, in this case, making tiny savings in plastic at the cost of real inconvenience to normies makes them feel like we’re all making significant sacrifices for the planet. Shopping bags and plastic straws and the like.

You know what? I’m overthinking this. I don’t even like ketchup.

January 17, 2022 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 9

At last – I’m a world-class athlete!

Did you see this? It’s from an online ‘zine called Self making the rounds. This issue is devoted to the Future of Fitness. This particular picture was captioned “What the Future of Fitness Really Looks Like.”

Yes, apparently, the future of fitness is morbidly obese. Who knew?

I’m not entirely sure what they’re playing at. The whole front of the magazine is ham planets, but dig further in and they have a traditional weight loss category in their food section.

Have a poke around if you want to feel svelte after your traditional holiday enbiggening.

January 13, 2022 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 3

Only the Brits…

…would put a generic baked-bean “shootout” in the newspaper Foodie section.

After tasting the Heinz beans first, it’s fair to say the other supermarkets have a lot to live up to.

My first reaction to the Tesco baked beans was that they had a bit more of a solid texture.

This wasn’t too off-putting, but the sauce was a bit too thin and its flavour was not at Heinz’s standard.

Sainsbury’s definitely won the battle of the own-brand beans.

The thick sauce had the perfect amount of tomato and sugar, providing a similar kick to Heinz.

My only criticism is that the texture of the beans was a bit stiff, but this should not take anything away.

Oh, yes. They’re this serious.

The article is part of this Veganuary bullshit. Which goes hand-in-hand with Dry January.

The most depressing month in the calendar, and they want to take food and drink out of the equation.

p.s. Just kidding. February is the most depressing month.

p.p.s. god, I hate Heinz baked beans.

January 11, 2022 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 10