Archive for June 2012

Ice-storm #3 – pics

Posted by on June 29th 2012 in In the garden, Weather

Pics as promised... here's a before-and-after pair, click either of them to see more pics of the storm-damage at our property.

I'm fairly sure that the car will be a write-off  😥

Ice-storm #2 – video

Posted by on June 28th 2012 in In the garden, My vids, Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.), Weather

Video as promised. This used to be our garden, now it's like the Somme...



The local paper's website says that the hailstones were as big as golf-balls. Well, that may have been true for Hinckley, but in Burbage we were getting some as big as cricket-balls!

I suppose you'll want to see what they've done to my car. I'll post the pics later.

Ice-storm #1 – big hailstones

Posted by on June 28th 2012 in In the garden, Weather

Just recovering from a wicked ice-storm here.

Greenhouses trashed, car-roofs dimpled and dented, gardens flattened.

Here's a pic of some vicious hailstones with my 62mm lens-cap for scale.

More pics and some video later.


Tall stories

Posted by on June 27th 2012 in In the News, Pics

There was an interesting story in The Telegraph yesterday - the fur's flying over accusations of folk Photoshopping their pics with the intent of "proving" that they topped-out on Everest.

I never felt the need to cheat in such a manner. After stopping for a beer some way short of the top I dozed off, and when I awoke I found that the support team had gone home so I never quite reached the summit.

Don't believe me? Here's a photo to prove it:


Background image: Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. Photo: Pavel Novak. Source: Wikipedia. Pasted image: Jamie Bassnett.

 Not to scale.


Review – Vango Banshee 300 – Re-jigged

Posted by on June 25th 2012 in Shiny new kit, Testing for review

I've re-jigged the lines on the front-end of the Vango Banshee 300. I didn't like the way the running-loops at the line-lok ends ran through fabric loops on the vent-flap, there was potential for "sawing" during adjustment. Also, having vee-lines meant that it was impossible to adjust the angle of the vent-flap without altering the angle of the line that pulls out the centre of the end wall - the direction of pull there should be fixed. Weightwise I've measured nowt but I've lost a yard of line and gained a peg and a line-lok. If there's any extra to carry it's hardly going to break my back, is it?

Anyway, here's what it looked like out-of-the bag:



 Front with original (dodgy) guy configuration - 2 vee-lines and 2 pegs


And here are a couple of shots showing the new config:



 Front with revised guy configuration - 3 single lines and 3 pegs



 As previous


There, that's better. You can't beat having adjustable flaps  🙂

Next I'll be adding a webbing-strap across the secondary entrance. Experiments with a bit of shock-cord indicated that it makes getting the correct pole-spacing much easier on that side, leading to less strain on the entrance-zips.

Cheesed off

Posted by on June 22nd 2012 in A bit of a rant

You'll recall the episode about the Croque Monsieur.

Well, Anna brought home a "Ready Steady Cook" recipe sheet a while ago. On it are three sweet and three savoury dishes to be prepared at school during her "Food Technology" lessons. ALL of the savoury recipes (puff-pastry tarts, baby pizza and chilli pasta-bake) include cheese and two of them include meat. Thinking back through the current year, I recall her having to make a ham/bacon pizza and a lasagne, again cheese and meat were involved. None of these savoury recipes suggest alternatives for either the cheese or the meat.

The trouble is that Anna doesn't eat cheese and she doesn't enjoy cooking with it. She brings her results home for us others to consume and they're all really well-made and a joy to behold, but of the four people in our household three don't like cheese and the fourth, while liking cheese, is a vegetarian and so can't partake of most of the savoury dishes that Anna labours to produce.

If these food-prep lessons are intended to teach Anna some of the skills needed to prepare meals for herself then they aren't hitting the mark.  She loves cooking but there's a risk that her enthusiasm might be extinguished by the school seemingly promoting a foolish notion that everyone likes cheese and therefore it must be included in savoury dishes. There is a choice of many thousands of simple cheese-less savoury dishes that could have been on that recipe sheet, so why this stupid cheese fixation?

Of course, when she cooks the sweet stuff we're falling over each other to get at it - she bakes a mean cake and as for the superb blue meringues that she made at home last week, well, we didn't get a look in - they were taken to school and scoffed by her and her friends.

Let's hope that the school sees sense now that they've been made aware of the situation.

Anyway, here's the result of her "Food Technology" session today...

four huge and magnificent puff-pastry tarts with mushrooms cunningly substituted for Chorizo:



Nice work, eh?

Observing Report 19th June 2012 (Sunspots)

Posted by on June 20th 2012 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

Yesterday the clouds parted for longer than expected so I nipped out to get some pics of the group of active regions that are about to go out of sight behind the Sun's limb. The seeing was surprisingly good which allowed a fair bit of detail to be captured:

Active Regions 1504 - 1507 (19/06/2012).
300/3000 stacked frames.
DMK mono CCD camera on the C80ED-R.
Baader Planetarium AstroSolar™ Safety Film (ND 5.0) and #58 Green filter.

To give you some idea of the size of these things, the dark core of that largest sunspot in the AR1504 group is twice as big as our planet.
It's making me feel quite insignificant.

Double Spuds

Posted by on June 17th 2012 in In the garden

Last year we grew two varieties of spuds - three bags of Charlotte and three of Anya.

This year we've gone mad - six bags of Anya, three of Charlotte and three of Pentland Javelin. Three plantings with four-week spacings, starting on March 23rd.

I really wanted to dedicate an area of the garden to these things... last year I used the slabbed area in front of the obsy but later I built the warm-room on it. I had planned to have the green-house up by now with a slabbed area in front of it for the spud-bags but with me being unfit for such construction projects it's had to wait. That's why the yard now looks like a spud-farm:

The dodgy weather so far this year means that first bag of Charlotte is still about a week or two off being ready, but once we start cropping we should be OK for spuds all summer long.

They can’t both be telling the truth

Posted by on June 16th 2012 in @ the movies, Rambling on...

More Prometheus stuff...

Do you remember the following?

Fox studio chief TOM ROTHMAN: "This I can tell you and I can tell all the fans, not one frame will be cut. The movie will be what it should be. We will not cut a frame of the film," he promised. "We will stand behind it 100 percent and if that means it's an R, then so be it, because not an ounce, not a percentage are we going to compromise the film."


Well, now director RIDLEY SCOTT is talking about an extended version...

SCOTT: This is fundamentally the director’s cut.  But there will be half an hour of stuff on the menu because people are so into films - how they’re made, how they’re set up, and the rejections in it.  That’s why it’s fascinating. So this will all go on to the menu.

Well I’m curious about the deleted scenes. Specifically in this film, Noomi Rapace mentioned maybe there was a fight scene... [I've omitted the next bit as it's a spoiler]

SCOTT: The [spoiler] fight scene was pretty good. It will definitely go on the menu. It won’t go on the long version...  [I've omitted the next bit as it's a spoiler]

You’re going to do an extended cut on the Blu-ray/DVD. Is it a lot longer?

SCOTT: Twenty minutes.

Source (contains spoilers)


Of course, they could both be telling porkies.


There's a fair few in-movie and promo references to the epic Lawrence of Arabia movie, maybe Rothman and Scott should give thought to Mr. Dryden's words:

"A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."

No such thing as bad publicity

Posted by on June 15th 2012 in Congratulations!, Fundraising Folk, In the News

Today's bizarre events regarding the NeverSeconds blog have resulted in an incredible increase in donations at Veg's chosen charity:




This girl deserves a medal!

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