Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Holiday curry

No blogging for a bit as we're going on holiday as of Saturday, to Croatia for 2 weeks. So we now enter that culinary period officially known as Using Up The Last Things In The Fridge.

Tonight we will be mostly having curry made with what's left in the fridge. I'm a gourmet, me. Oh, I'm feeling generous, have the recipe!

Take 4 onions. Well, take as many onions as you need to use before you go on holiday. 4 is probably a bit much, but you could just call it a jalfrezi. Chop. Also chop as many cloves of garlic as you need to use up at the same time. Place in a pan and heat, stirring gently.

If you have three tablespoons of slightly dry salsa dip that's been hanging around since the wekend when you had friends round, you may as well bung them in too. Don't worry if you don't have any rather unsavoury-looking condiments, though.

Add liberal dashes of cumin, garam masala and coriander. The dried coriander stuff that's cheap, not the posh herby green stuff. You're not Rick Stein, you're somebody using the crap in their fridge. Your fridge, that is, not Rick Stein's. Otherwise you'd be having oysters and langoustines, or something. Not crap curry. And people like you don't have fresh coriander in their fridge. Add turmeric. You get a bit distracted while you're adding the turmeric, so it actually has quite a lot more than the average recipe would suggest. Meh. You've got cloves and cardamom pods as well, so go for the full monty, four of each. And three small green chillis too. And some salt and a chicken stock cube while you're at it. The more the merrier. Add water. How much water? Well, until it looks about right to you.

Reach deep into the cupboard and find the last of the potatoes you bought a couple of weeks ago. Cut off the sprouting bits. Peel them, cut into pieces an inch across, and add to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add 3 courgettes, finely sliced.

You may not have three courgettes, in which case any spare vegetables will do, unless they are something completely unexotic like turnips or cabbage. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Add the slightly dry remains of your three day old roast chicken. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, and look forward to your holiday.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Important virus alert

I'm indebted to my friend Ros for this email that she sent. Dangerous indeed.

There is a dangerous virus being passed electronically, orally and by

This virus is called Worm-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK). If you
receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss or anyone else via
any means DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life

If you should come into contact with WORK put your jacket on and take 2
good friends to the nearest pub. Purchase the antidote known as
Work-Isolator-Neutralizer-Extractor (WINE).

The quickest acting WINE type is called
Swift-Hitting-Infiltrator-Remover-All-Zones (SHIRAZ) but this is only
available for those who can afford it, the next best equivalent is
Cheapest-Available-System-Killer (CASK). Take the antidote repeatedly
until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

Forward this warning to 5 friends. If you do not have 5 friends you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life. This virus is DEADLY(Destroys-Every-Available-Decent-Living-Youngster).

Update 05-05-05: After extensive testing it has been concluded that
Best-Equivalent-Extractor-Remedy (BEER) may be substituted for WINE but
may require a more generous application.

Be afraid, be very afraid

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A meme from Misty

7 things I plan to do before I die:

1. Celebrate my 100th birthday.
2. Finish my novel and have it published.
3. Visit The Galapagos Islands.
4. Get a cat. Or a dog (The Scotsman favours a dog).
5. Live to see some piece of forteana proved right, like the existence of ghosts, or the Loch Ness monster.
6. Learn to paint.
7. Trace my family tree.

7 things I can do:

1. Write short stories and articles and get them published (OK, not that often).
2. Remember incredibly obscure things and incidents; I have memories from being in a cot and push chair.
3. Sell things (in the sense that I persuade people to accept ideas, or buy things, not in the sense of "do you want fries with that?").
4. Cook a great beef rendang.
5. Identify and pick a number of edible fungi. Well, OK, about 5.
6. Make an origami frog.
7. Identify the majority of British butterflies.

7 things I can't do:

1. Drive a car.
2. Ride a bike.
3. Stand spiders.
4. Be organised
5. Get up early in the morning without resenting it.
6. Do any sport whatsoever to a reasonable level (OK, I swim, but not seriously).
7. Stand thick people.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. A sense of humour.
2. Striking eyes (The Scotsman's eyes are an unusual shade of deep blue).
3. The ability to hold an intellectual conversation.
4. A Scottish or Irish accent.
5. Kindness towards animals and children.
6. Taking care with their appearance so that they don't look a slob, but not being obsessed with designer clothes and appearance either.
7. A sense of adventure, particularly with regard to travel.

7 things I say most:

1. Oh, I forgot.
2. Bumsicles.
3. Buggeration.
4. Yes, I am reading the map properly!
5. I have a cunning plan...
6. Where did I put that?
7. It's interesting to think that literary criticism has seen such a metamorphosis since the days of FR Leavis and his cannon of "dead white males", to our present concept of cultural relativism. Yep, I say that a lot. And it wouldn't be anything to do with wondering what was happening in Big Brother instead, honestly.

7 people I want to copy this meme:

Anybody who fancies it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Strange goings on.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon in the garden, and were surprised to see a large toad sitting beside our shed. Eventually, it hopped into the middle of the lawn and sat there. We have a pair of magpies who visit our garden, and they started wandering around the lawn; one of them spotted the toad. I was unsure what I should do. It's part of the food chain after all, and magpies need to eat. One magpie stared at it for a bit, then nudged it with it's beak. The toad gave what I can only describe as a yelp, and started hopping around. The magpies were fluttering around him, giving random pecks, and it was clear that it was going to be far from a clean kill, so I shooed them off, and let the toad find shade in the undergrowth. Hopefully it's off to a pond somewhere...

I got a text message on my mobile today. It said:
"From Nannie and Grandad, Congratulations. They're lucky to get you!". Now this was a surprise, partly as I hadn't recently got a new job, or new anything else that could think his/her/itself "lucky". Well, a hanging basket full of ivy, maybe. Although I don't think it required a congratulatory text. But mainly because, sadly, none of my grandparents are in a position to text me. Unless I have a mobile which goes way beyond international roaming...

I did text back to say that they got the wrong number. It was a nice thing for them to do, and I wish my grandparents had been old enough to se me into adulthood. The last one died when I was 22, and I lost the previous three before the age of 17.

Still, a previous boyfriend had a father who had been about 70 at his birth, and who had died a couple of years after, so I suppose I should count my blessings.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

strange blog

People blog about a lot of different things...but this guy takes the biscuit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Strange news on Thursday

Room 101

And this time, the candidate is...

Unnecessary labelling.

Example 1: serving suggestions.
Now, when I buy a tin of tuna, I buy a tin of tuna, the label of which shows said tuna on a piece of bread, with a piece of lettuce and a slice of lemon. And the tin announces that this is a serving suggestion. Are there people who see this tin in the supermarket, buy it, open it, and search in vain for the slice of bread, lettuce leaf, and portion of citrus fruit?

Or perhaps they might make the huge intellectual leap to understand that the photographer thought that it might be more photogenic for the tuna to nestle as part of a nicely arranged crusty snack, than to picture some bloke coming in from the pub, opening a tin, holding it over the sink,and necking tuna without garnish, in the absence of a nearby kebab shop.

Example 2: This bag is not a toy

Now, nobody would want a child to suffocate in a plastic bag. A warning is no bad thing, perhaps along the lines of not letting your child play with plastic bags. Accidents can happen through children coming across bags by accident. But even the thickest parent, the most deprived, doesn't think Christmas is that cheap. Don't patronise.

Example 3: Baby on Board

And exactly how do you think you will influence anybody's driving? Do you think that the sort of person who will drive after 8 WKDs, and with no insurance, is going to care?

And what of the responsible driver who is shunted by another car in icy conditions, and is forced to choose who to collide with, as they skid towards the cars in the approaching traffic?

There might be two cars with whom they could collide. One would have a 25 year old future Nobel Prize winner who might have a cure for cancer; his father, a 50 year old delegate at The United Nations, who is working towards an agreement for the suspension of the use of torture in certain nations; and his wife, a specialist in the treatment of brain tumours.

But no, because of the Baby on Board sticker, let's veer towards your son, who is summed up in the words of Pam Ayres:
"It's hard to say, when you look at your Wayne,
Why you bothered to have one at all."

Example 4: Hydrangea silliness.

Recently, some friends of ours gave us a pink Hydrangea as a housewarming present, and very nice it looks in the garden. But it came with a label which said:

"For decorative purposes only"

Well, for all those of us who expected our hydrangeas to be a bit more proactive in the DIY, cooking, or sexual departments, I guess we'll be disappointed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Brick Lane

The Scotsman and I have lived in London for years, but we never visited Brick Lane until this weekend. A great place. Cheap, scrumptious curry and a lively atmosphere. And Aldgate East is on the District Line, so a simple trip back to Richmond.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tube Novel

I'm grateful to Going Underground for flagging up a wonderful internet novel, 253. This is a description of 253 people on board a tube train, all described in 253 words, all heading towards disaster. It was written nine years ago, and was pretty revolutionary for its time (hands up who had internet access in 1996?), but rather disturbing after recent events. It's a great piece of writing, where several of the characters are linked together in ingenious ways. The idea of being able to locate all the characters on a map on a website must have been pretty amazing back then, and it's easy to forget this when you look at the very basic graphics, and think how much more a modern web designer could add (colours, film clips, images of little details like a briefcase; a fabric; a shoe).

The writer had a piece published on the BBC website on the subject of the recent bombings which is worth reading.

Happy moment of the day: the house next door is changing tenants, and I arrived home to see a sweet little dog wagging its tail next door.

Sad moment of the day: realising that it belongs to the parents of the girl next door, who are helping her move out.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The chances of anything coming from Mars...

Yes, not only have I managed to sort my links out so they are properly spaced (don't ask me how), but I have also reinstated Strange News on Thursday. Anybody who has spotted a UFO recently, spread the news, because the tradition is dying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Well I'm bloggered.

I've moved everything around in the links section, and I still seem to have double spacing between some entries. I've no idea why. I'm bemused.

Anyway, I've added a few more blogs that I like to read. I've been cutting and pasting things to eliminate the gaps, so the order of the blogs might be a bit different; it's not personal, it's a random sequence, not some sort of chart.

I emailed blogger but they were useless, just told me to look in their Help section, where I can't find anything relevant.

Cooked a lovely Thai fish curry earlier and ate it in the garden with the Scotsman, so it's been a positive evening in some ways.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Exciting outing

On Saturday I went to Kingston, and found myself in the pound shop. Kingston has an extremely large pound shop (for those of you who live overseas, or, I don't know, live in Kensington or somewhere, pound shops are emporia where everything costs one English pound, nothing to with dogs, my US friends).

It's not an exciting retail experience, but it's good for things like hanging baskets; DIY material; toiletries; saucepans; and cheap glasses. Anyway, they have a security guard. Now there are several shops which might have security guards, but it suddenly occurred to me that this is a pound shop.

Unless he is there to discourage any suicide bombers who might decide to detonate themselves between the novelty tea towels and the gardening gloves, he is almost certainly there to prevent shoplifting. In a pound shop!!

Now I've never been shoplifting. Well, that's not technically true, I was in a big shopping centre once, looking at lipsticks in Boots, and I selected one that I thought that I might buy. It was a big open plan shopping centre, and there wasn't an actual door between Boots and the outside world, and it was indoors so there was no blast of cold air when you went out. Anyway, I then got distracted by something else in Boots that I decided not to buy, and went out. I'd been wondering round the centre for a good 30 minutes before I realised that I still had the lipstick in my hand, and it seemed a bit silly to go back. But anyway, I've never done it deliberately.

But if I did, I certainly wouldn't target a pound shop. I mean, the whole point of shoplifting is that you get stuff to use, or sell on, without paying for it. It defeats the object if it's only worth a pound in the first place.

Or does Kingston just attract a very stupid sort of shoplifter?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Three legs good

I work in Teddington. I often visit the pool. During the Summer the doors to the reception area are propped open, and a very friendly black cat strolls in and out, and sits in the doorway. I was stroking this cat last week and it rolled over, and I realised that it only had three legs. Now, it's possible for an animal to survive quite happily with 75% of it's full complement of legs. After all, it's possible to run marathons, or marry a Beatle, with only 50% of your quota of fully working legs, or fly an aircraft with 0%. How many legs does it take to sleep in the sun, cough up the odd furball, and do a lot of stretching?

But today I was thinking that there was a local character who I haven't seen for a few weeks, an older man who has a cute little terrier who also only has three legs. And I always see him in Budgens, which is about 20 yards from the swimming pool. And I started thinking. How often do you see an animal with three legs? Well, the only time I see them is in one tiny part of Teddington. There are three possibilities. Well, actually four, but I ignore the laughable possibility that it could be a coincidence.

Theory A: this chap lives very near, also owns the cat, and he is running some sort of sanctuary for three-legged pets.

Theory B: there is some sort of sinister chemical experiment whereby they put something in the water which causes birth defects and/or, the dissolving of existing limbs. This probably involves the water in the swimming pool. My left foot has been feeling a bit strange...

Theory C: the local burger bars and kebab shops have found business a bit slow of late, and are looking for a new source of meat. However, they don't want to raise suspicions by encouraging a rash of lost pet posters, so they are harvesting this supply very slowly...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Blogs with similar names.

The other day, I was pondering my URL,, and idly wondering whether there were blogs with similar names out there (busy girl, obviously).

Well, there's no There is however, an entertaining blog with the URL At least it looks entertaining; it's by Giahao Chang, a 24 year old Taiwanese student, but it's in Taiwanese (is that a language, or do they speak Cantonese or something?), so we'll never know. Well, you might, if you've got the requisite language skills. Still, nice picture of your foot, Giahao.

Another find is the often hiating, an American blog mainly given over to sports results. No great find for me as I am barely interested in English sport, let alone American sport. It is worth noting for the following only-in-America quote from his first post:

"I have two SUVs, I can have one blog."

Another American blog is, an interesting blog from a science graduate and freelance cameraman, which I would have been to keen to read more of, but it sems to have been abandoned after 3 months.

Then there's 14 year old Chloe, from New York, seems very bright, but I'm not sure I really "get" 14 year olds.

Then we come to the roll of dishonour. managed one post. I think it might be in Portugese. showed similar commitment. As did, much like

And the author of isn't exactly getting RSI either.

Which brings me to my point. Eventually a lot of the blogger registrations will already be taken, and we will be driven to taking URLs like www.?a345de56! Will there be a purge of registrations who only did a few posts, so that the URLs can be recycled?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Twelfth Night

We had a brilliant time on Saturday night, celebrating the birthday of one of our friends, together with her husband. They picked us up and drove us into Central London (always good to have a pregnant friend who can't drink), and we went to see Twelfth Night at The Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Very, very funny, and a great setting. I'd certainly recommend it.

We visited this pub beforehand, which was surprisingly good for a central London tourist area.