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24 Jan 2011

Home brew dunkelweizen – brew day

Posted by gavin. 4 Comments

With a stonking hangover from Saturday night’s Burns night celebration, I got up on Sunday to start work on the first run of home made beer with my newly-purchased brewing kit.

The plan: 23 litres of dark wheat beer – a dunkelweizen.

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21 Jan 2011

Home brewing – equipment selection

Posted by gavin. 4 Comments

For a long time, I’ve liked the idea of home brewing. It’s been one of those things I keep saying

oh yeah, I really should get around to ordering some stuff and doing it

This started around 10 years ago with a home-brew kit: a thick goop that you boiled up with some water, added some sugar and left in a bucket for a couple of weeks. A while later I teamed up with a friend and actually ordered some stuff. Unfortunately, we never actually got around to doing anything with it.

That was then and this is now, however, and the idea has once-more bubbled to the surface (there’s a pun in there somewhere). Over the last year or so, I’ve almost raised the enthusiasm to dive in but always been stumped by the vast array of techniques and equipment and ingredients and just decided it’s too much hassle and I’ll look into it more later. Finally, this month, I resolved to get off my arse and sort it out once and for all, and on Sunday 16th January I finally hit submit on my order. Here’s a run-down of what I bought and why.

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8 Oct 2010

Amazon Kindle

Posted by gavin. 5 Comments

Kindle in Box

Back in August – the 20th to be precise – it was my birthday.

Despite the highly-useful stuff I want page, my parent’s didn’t get me a gift (there were reasons why!), and asked me to let them know what I wanted.

Originally, I was leaning towards a synthetic jacket to keep me warm in those cold Scottish winter days, but eventually I started hankering after an Amazon Kindle.

I suspect I was suckered in by a combination of advertising and a few other people I know having one, but once I’d had the idea it started growing quite rapidly.

When I was a kid, I used to read quite a lot, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found less spare time to dedicate to books. This year, however, I have made a conscious effort to read more and am slowly regaining my reading speed.

So when stock came back in, I was offered a Kindle and I jumped at the chance.

Today it arrived while I was at work, and was awaiting my homecoming.

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27 Feb 2010

Taking a running jump

Posted by gavin. 8 Comments

Gash in head

Gash in head

There are those times in life, lying flat on your back in Wetherspoon’s with blood leaking from you head, when you think perhaps you shouldn’t have attempted to jump down those stairs.

Admittedly, these times are probably quite rare.

The circumstances leading up to this event are not really of interest, but suffice to say at around 10 o’clock on Friday night I was sat enjoying my beer “upstairs” in Winchester’s ‘spoons. For those of you who haven’t been to the Old Gaol House, when I say upstairs I mean 2 stairs.

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13 Jan 2010

Don’t forget to tax your car!

Posted by gavin. 6 Comments

About a week and a half ago – Saturday the 2nd to be precise – I was sat in the bar at the Brewery in Kendal and was talking about chipped windscreens. Some vague connection in my head went off and I started to wonder when my tax was due. Beer soon took over though, and I promptly forgot about it. The next day, however, sitting in my passenger seat I spotted the disc in the corner of the windscreen and took a look.

30th November 2009.

Bugger.

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11 Jan 2010

Wales for the weekend

Posted by gavin. No Comments

[singlepic id=431 w=160 h=160 float=right]Last week, after arriving home from 2 weeks in the Lake District snow Anna was already plotting a return. For that coming weekend.

Despite it being something like a 5 hour drive from here, I was also keen. Despite the nation whining incessantly about the “bad” weather, I for one was loving it. Conditions like this a pretty rare thing in much of England and getting out on the hills is even more fun than usual in the snow.

Chatting with Dave about the idea, I found he was less convinced about the driving part but still keen to get out and about in the hills. Remembering the slightly shorter drive but gorgeous scenery during our stay at Graig Wen last October, a plan started to form…

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29 Dec 2009

Shoddy journalism

Posted by gavin. No Comments

I frequently read the BBC’s news website. I read it because it’s fast, it’s cleanly laid out, it has a short URL… I read it for a number of reasons.

There are a few things, however, I do not like about it. The rampant racism of its readers, for example. That is easily avoided, however, and it’s occasionally fun to dip in for some sport.

I’ve typed about the bad use of language before, but that’s not as bad as today’s example. Today we have an excellent example of laziness or incompetence.

This article reports, through its headline, that

Three rescued after suffering injuries on Snowdon

It goes on to say

Three people have been airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter in two separate rescues in Snowdonia.

So far so good. Snowdon is definitely in Snowdonia; the clue’s in the name. However, we read a little further and discover that the accidents actually happened on Y Garn (about 3.5 miles away, peak-to-peak as the crow flies) and Tryfan (just over 4.5 miles away).

It’s just so damn shoddy.

21 Dec 2009

Homemade christmas cards

Posted by gavin. No Comments

[singlepic id=312 w=160 h=120 float=right]Anna recently sent me a link to an article on the Guardian website entitled “DIY Christmas cards“. I like the idea of making stuff, and despise the commercial horror-show that christmas has descended into, but suffer from a distinct lack of creativity. Which means making cards is hard.

Nevertheless, Anna was keen to try and during a flying visit to Southampton we dove into paperchase, after wading past the throngs of people walking slower than slow people in slow land. With arthritis. And a broken leg. I hate going to Southampton.

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17 Dec 2009

Xmas dinner ’09: the results

Posted by gavin. No Comments

[singlepic id=244 w=160 h=120 float=right]Almost a week on, and I’ve started to get some details up about the awesomeness that was the christmas meal of 2009.

All 12 people that signed up were present and correct and a good time was had by all (I hope!).

At the moment, I’ve managed to put up details of the menu we went with, including links to all the recipes. There’s also a photo gallery, and a timeline of the day’s preparations. The (now updated) page on making the christmas puds is included, as is the new page on how I created the perfect turkey. Hopefully more details will emerge, but who knows.

P.S. There’s a great recipe for leftovers on BBCGoodFood. Mmmm.

7 Dec 2009

Xmas dinner for a dozen

Posted by gavin. No Comments

I recently volunteered to cook a christmas meal for 12 people. With assistance from the rest of my housemates, I hope to put on a veritable extravaganza. I like the idea of documenting the process, but most likely I’ll get too distracted by the actual process of cooking and not get around to taking photos/writing it up.

But, with the best intentions, I’ve started at the beginning. With the dessert.

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