Friday, August 29, 2008

Bramble glut

For the last 3 weeks I've been picking the blighters at the rate of half a pound a day (that's an absolute daily minimum, sometimes it's been a pound and a half). I've eaten them raw, added them to yoghurt, made them into jams, jellies and crumbles, frozen them, pickled them in alcohol and vinegar, given them away....I'm running out of ideas. Would a bramble curry work?

Oh, if only they were real!

because I'd buy a pair....and the whole family would know what to expect for Christmas!

PS...."Kipper Slippers" would work too!

Play BBC TV programmes for longer on iPlayer from 13th September

Good news from the BBC for folks like me that have problems watching programmes at a regular time each week, or even once a week for that matter. From 13th of September programmes available on iPlayer will be 'stacked' (up to a maximum of 13 episodes or for the length of the series) Read the press release here for more details

NB....service only available in the UK, but BBC radio "listen again" is availailable worldwide.

Who are YOU looking at?.......

Build your own papercraft CCTV camera. Download the plans here

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Home Truths Archives

Every now and then I get nostalgic for Saturday mornings, a large pot of coffee and Home Truths with John Peel. To cut a long story short, I was looking for a reference to Pottingers Law (possibly more about that later!) when I found there was more than 3 years worth of archived programmes (March 2003 - June 2006) available as 'listen again' that's this weekend's listening sorted then! I'd post a sample.....but what to choose?

Physics game

Shamelessly lifted from The PRESURFER (take a click!)

"Fantastic Contraption is a fun online physics puzzle game. The objective is to move the pink wheel into the pink square. Your workspace is a blue rectangular building area and you can use different materials to build your device.However, every now and then there are obstacles standing in your way and although at first the game seems easy, it is not! "

I missed the Olympics but....'s the edited highlights, Monty Python style.

Blog alert

Old pictures with new captions at Fengtastic!


Soarport offers a free place to host large images (max 10mb) which can be embedded on a website rather like a google map.....apparently you can zoom and pan. This one's a mere 1.5mb to try it out. works, I'm impressed!!

NB...I had difficulties registering, so this one's an anonymous upload (and you need to register to manage your uploads and find them easily, if you're not registered you have to remember the tags you assigned when you uploaded....and my memory being what it is....!)

Time lapse video of slime mold and mushrooms

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

10 gnomes.....Episode 8:Water Forge

Spot the gnomes.....episode 8

Vintage product placement

Things were a lot simpler in the 40's and 50's.....I love this up-front advertising spiel for Clippercraft Clothes.... they sold them hard at the beginning of the programme then left you alone. Picture of 50's clippercraft coat at it looks well worth the $40 quoted (but if I was a bloke I'd possibly add a pair of trousers to the ensemble), however it will now set you back $125...though no doubt the moths' quarantine charges are included in the shipping costs. Soundclip lasts about 3 mins

But what the hell is a "Tom and Jerry" I wondered...good old Google came up with the cocktail recipe. (you're just going to have to listen to the soundclip to understand the reference!)


Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday mornings in the 70's

....that's the 1970's not the 18's I hasten to add. Though, as far as I remember, the shop front wasn't a whole lot different from the picture above...the guy behind the counter probably had the same moustache but maybe had shortened his apron and ditched the jacket in favour of a tie-dyed t-shirt. Bullock's the Bakers was conveniently placed at the end of the street (Albany Gdns) on Station Rd....and they still baked their own bread and did a mean bacon the perfect excuse not to learn the intricacies of the frying pan when there was plastering and hanging of radiators to be done. Long gone and not sure what it is these days, it's not on my way home from the station....but I have a sneaking feeling it's a tattoo parlour.

Very short game (?) interactive artwork

....but quite nice for all that
Somnium Orbis "an exploration of alternative means to progress through a surreal, otherworldly scene." In other words, you must figure out how to progress through each scene of the piece. The gorgeous and mesmerizing (and only slightly disturbing) work of art was created by Nate Horstmann and Peter Schmalfeldt.

Never mind the seaside rock.......

....because in 1896 you could smell like the sea round here. But around the same time there were letters to the self-same newspaper where this advert appeared (Whitley Seaside Chronicle and Visitors Gazette....a riveting really!) about the disgusting, presumed drain/sewer-related aromas that pervaded the town when the wind was in the wrong direction. Image quality not the best, someone was hogging the decent microfilm reader.

No reason, I just like the picture

Tynemouth Castle and Priory, then and now

I found this air photo of Tynemouth Castle and Priory (dated 1927) down at the Local Studies Centre while sheltering from yet more they weren't QUITE so keen on maintaining the country's historic fabric in those days, just look at that abomination built round the front door! For reference, here's an aerial shot from today (from a completely different angle but the best I could find)

LATER....Re the gatehouse, found this at the Tynetown Gallery

"The Banks and Castle Tynemouth, c. 1915
In the background to the left of this photo can be seen Tynemouth Castle gatehouse with a brick built office block covering the original castle structure, it was built by the War Office in 1783. It caught fire in 1936 and was demolished restoring the gatehouse to it's former appearance."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm (not necessarily)......

Due to the recent inclement (hah, that's an understatement!) weather I've been spending a lot of time delving into the (local) past in nice, warm, dry libraries. I came across a copy of my house deeds (that I'd forgotten I'd sent in to the Local Studies Centre some years ago)'s the last covenant added in 1964 when it passed out of Methodist ownership (it had been the local manse until then, the church has since been demolished and replaced by a bland housing development)

"The purchaser hereby and jointly covenant with the vendor that no part of the premises hereby conveyed shall at any time hereafter be used for the manufacture, distribution, sale or supply of any intoxicating liquors or for use as a public dance hall or for any purpose in connection with the organisation or practice of gambling in any of it's forms"

.....not sure how that squares with the open bottle of chewy red on the kitchen bench, "Dancing Queen" by Abba playing on the kitchen ghetto blaster and the lottery ticket in my purse!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Victoria Tunnel

From The Victoria Tunnel website.....

"The Victoria Tunnel is an early Victorian Grade II listed structure built to transport coal to the River Tyne from a colliery at Spital Tongues, north west of Newcastle upon Tyne's town centre. As well as being used as a coal waggonway, it was also used as an air-raid shelter during World War II."

It's that secondary use that generated the following audio history files...and they make for fascinating listening. From a free audio CD the nice people at the Newcastle Community Heritage Project kindly posted out to me. The tunnel is currently closed for repair/refurbishment but due to re-open this winter for guided tours. (Maximum 10 per group, so just right for a family trip huh?) Contact for more details

Building the shelter entrances....

Facilities in the tunnel....

Sheltering in the tunnel....

Waiting for the "All Clear"....

The bombing of Manors Goods Station....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday sniggers

Scam-o-Rama is always worth a click.....

"The letters posted here illustrate (hilariously unsuccessful) attempts at ADVANCE FEE FRAUD. The sender claims to be a bureaucrat, banker or royal toadie, who wants to cut you, and only you, in on the financial deal of a lifetime.....

.....Most such e-mails come from West Africa, chiefly Nigeria, or Nigerian expatriates (who are happy to scam other Nigerians). There are of course scam artists elsewhere. But these guys are special. Some people write them back just to waste their time. This is the art of scambaiting. Welcome to the Scamology."

This one, (WINKY WANKY WOO where "Squadron Leader Harry Fadgina's virgin, word used advisedly, bait takes the Prince-Albert-in-a-Can joke to new depths and demonstrates classic scambaiting technique, such as divide-and-conquer, insistence on laborious use of code-words, and all-around time-wasting.) had me in stitches. Also worth reading "Don't False Me to Do Stupid Thing to You", the fake death threat, I've never had one of these yet, but I'll enjoy it when it comes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who do Hoodoo?

I remember telling Sarah about this collection of scans from The King Novelty Co "Curio Catalog No 81" at I'm Learning To Share ages ago, but I don't think I posted about it.....time to put that right!

Yesterday's best news story

S, H and D off to Antwerp

Partially triggered by a previous blog post (Sarah's a big marzipan fan!), S, H and D are going continental on Sunday. While looking for vaguely Belgian content to mark the occasion I came across this.....absolutely perfect!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Seaside dereliction

I took the seafront route when I was walking back from the library today (having had an enjoyable afternoon wading through their local history section) , but the scenic route it wasn't. Here's the old Alletsa Ballroom at the bottom of the Esplanade, very much saggy-porticoed, down-at-heel and feeling sorry for itself, the gaudy paint peeling from it's previous incarnation as a sleezy nightclub....the sight made doubly sad because I'd been reading about Whitley Bay's glory days for the previous 2 hours. Picked up the Whitley Bay News Guardian that was waiting for me on the doormat and it seems WB's regeneration plans are yet again in a state of flux, read stalled. What a waste!

Test file from

Trying out another way of posting a file to the blog....bear with me!!

Middle Eastern Cookery.pdf
LATER....Well that seems to work nicely, it'll do for now anyway!

Blog Admin

Various bits and pieces down the right hand side have stopped working over the last couple of days, Blogger has been rolling out some changes that may, or may not, have had something to do with it. In the meantime I've taken the easy option and removed them. Will try to reinstall the Box Files at least, suitably weeded, sometime over the weekend.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Personal rant - 'listen again' to BBC news bulletins suspended for duration of Olympic Games

As a coda to the previous post.....I was going to embed a brief soundclip of the news item covering the earth-shattering news that the World Leek Show 2008 had been cancelled, after all the world really needs to know! But apparently the BBC 'listen again' to news bulletins service is suspended because of the bloody Olympics. Click through to listen and you get this...
But hold on.....there's what seems to be a live link to the World Service bulletin on the same page (not entirely sure they would have covered the Leek Show story though!), click on it and you get this....

Y'know, I don't actually CARE about the Olympics, and there wasn't even anything about them in the news bulletin in question (why do I suspect a distinct lack of UK medals as probable cause?).....but World war 3 could have broken out and I would have been none the wiser. RANT OVER!

Leek Show Shock Horror.....breaking news!!

"THE GREAT North East’s tradition of prize leek growing has been dealt a blow with the scrapping of one of the country’s biggest shows.
For the last 28 years, the world open leek championship and world heaviest onion challenge at the Northern Club in Ashington, Northumberland, has attracted entries from across the UK.
Prize money of £7,500 was up for grabs in the Newcastle Breweries-sponsored show, with £1,300 for best stand of leeks and £1,000 for the weightiest onion.
As smaller club and pub shows have fallen by the wayside, the showpiece event at the Northern Club has helped continue the social and cultural tradition of leek growing going back more than 150 years.
But now the club has decided to axe the show, due to be held next month......"

The rest of the story here

But the writing was already on the wall, climate change warnings in 2006 from the BBC

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Hexham Wolves

A bit of local folklore, though I have to admit it was news to me.....found, accidently, while I was checking the weather for Hexham tomorrow (Ma and I didn't particularly want to get drenched when there were other, possibly more pleasant, wet-weather destinations on offer!)

"(about) One hundred years ago, a Northumberland town was gripped by panic when a mysterious wolf began attacking local livestock. Charles Fort recorded the case – and much other strangeness in Britain during the winter of 1904/1905"

The story at the BBC
The story at The Fortean Times

ps.....maybe if we make it that far west I'll pay a visit to the local library, check out their newspaper archives!

Britain from Above

"Andrew Marr takes to the skies exploring Britain from above.
An epic journey revealing the secrets, patterns and hidden rhythms of our lives from a striking new perspective.

Britain looks very different from the skies. From a bird's eye view of the nation, its workings, cities, landscapes and peoples are revealed and re-discovered in new and extraordinary ways.
Cutting edge technology allows you to see through cloud cover, navigate the landscape and witness familiar sights as never seen before."

Britain from Above homepage

Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Bang....a date for your radio diary

"Radio 4 joins CERN on 10 September 2008 as scientists attempt to discover more about the origins of the Universe by recreating the aftermath of the Big Bang."

Homepage here
Programmes on the day

Torchwood....the missions

OK, confession, I've just watched both series back-to-back. But here's the game at the BBC, I'll maybe leave playing it till the next rainy that'll be tomorrow then!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday dinner

Before you ask....not my picture, it's just gone in the oven. I've got one of those 'google gadgets' on my iGoogle homepage courtesy BBC Good Food Recipes ...and this one looks like it might hit the spot.

Rosemary and balsamic chicken with roasted onions

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Starting at the neck, carefully loosen the breast skin away from the flesh, trying not to tear it, then place a branch of rosemary down the side of each one. Put the rest of the rosemary in the cavity. Season the chicken inside and out, place in a roasting tin, then sit an onion in each corner of the tin. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and onions, then roast everything for 1 hr 20 mins.

Meanwhile, stir the vinegar and honey together until the honey has dissolved. When the chicken has had about 40 mins, whip it out of the oven, drizzle the chicken and onions with the vinegar mix, then continue to roast until the time is up. Remove the chicken to rest, turn the onions over and continue to roast them in the oven while the chicken rests, about 20 mins. Serve each person a portion of chicken, a roasted onion and some of the sticky pan juices.

(I added a quartered lemon to the cavity stuffing, just because I had one, and basted a couple of times towards the end of the cooking time) Update when it's cooked and scoffed!

LATER....highly recommended, and what little that was left of the carcase also made some yummy soup.....maybe not very seasonal, but then neither is the weather!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Word game

Simple concept, bloody difficult!

Play the game

Not round here they don't!

Read the 6 page article at ModernMechanix

Gracious living

I've just downladed Mrs Beetons Household Management etc etc (1907 edition) from (big download at 288mb, but it's 2266 pages are well worth the bandwidth!). I rather like 'the slipper' mode of folding, now you won't see THAT very often in your local bistro!

The Art of Donald McGill

Stream of consciousness post....George Orwell wrote an essay about saucy seaside postcard artist Donald McGill, you can read it here

George Orwell, the blog.....

"From 9th August 2008, you will be able to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face from reading his most strongly individual piece of writing: his diaries. The Orwell Prize is delighted to announce that, to mark the 70th anniversary of the diaries, each diary entry will be published on this blog exactly seventy years after it was written, allowing you to follow Orwell’s recuperation in Morocco, his return to the UK, and his opinions on the descent of Europe into war in real time. The diaries end in 1942, three years into the conflict."

Start reading today

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Stain

Prepare to shed a tear or three....

The Stain
Uploaded by nicop

Sabre Dance

Somewhere in my bedroom cupboard there's an old 78rpm record...The Sabre Dance by the Andrews Sisters. With a big household sort out on the cards over the next couple of weeks I really hope it's going to surface (not sure how I'm going to play it though!) In honour of it's possible reinstatement to the family record collection I give you the Marimba Ponies.....

More Friday night cute

Great animation and soundtrack

Watch StitchProbe

Shout loud

"Telemegaphone Dale stands seven metres tall on top of the Bergskletten mountain overlooking the idyllic Dalsfjord in Western Norway.
When you dial the Telemegaphone’s phone number the sound of your voice is projected out across the fjord, the valley and the village of Dale below."

Link to webpage

100 papercraft models

As in links on the images in this page at for direct links....the UK weather being what it is, I might be visiting in August rather than November!

Flooded cities

"FloodSim puts you in control of all flood policy decisions and spending in the UK for 3 years. Whether its deciding how much money to allocate to flood defences, deciding where to build houses, or how best to inform people about the risk of flooding, you are in control.

FloodSim is a serious game with the aims to raise awareness of the vast number of issues surrounding flood policy and Government expenditure and to increase citizen engagement through an accessible simulation."

Click to play

Rock Art

"Amongst the outcrops and boulders of northern England keen eyes may spot an array of mysterious symbols carved into the rock surfaces. These curious marks vary from simple, circular hollows known as 'cups' to more complex patterns with cups, rings, and intertwining grooves. Many are in spectacular, elevated locations with extensive views but some are also found on monuments such as standing stones and stone circles, or within burial mounds. The carvings were made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people between 3500 and 6000 years ago. The original meaning of the symbols is now lost but they provide a unique personal link with our prehistoric ancestors."

Click to visit ERA, part of Archeology Data Services

Ferreting about.....

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Baby ouch

Check out that trusting look on the ageing mum's face and the dogged determination on Nursey's!
From ModernMechanix

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Another one for Sarah..."Physical Culture"

Scans of "Physical Culture" mags from the deepest, distant past.....available from Ball State University Digital Collections

A mildly techie post...converting .avi files to play on an iPod Classic

Mainly for Chris....
....first off a warning, this is not something you should leave until an hour before you leave for the airport, and probably not something you'd want to do at all if we're talking a "watch once then discard" film....just keep it for all-time favourites. It's not a quick process, one hour playing time will take at least double that to convert to mp4 format.

The best freeware conversion software I've found and used is WinFF. Download, unzip and install, and you're off! Documentation here, but I doubt you'll need it.
Still to come (because I haven't tried it yet!)....converting traditional DVDs to mp4 using Handbrake (also freeware)

Polish supermarket plug

Well worth a visit. Entrances on Newgate St and inside the Newgate Shopping Centre in Newcastle....there's a wide range of goods at VERY reasonable prices, so prepare for gorilla arms if you're shopping on foot! There's also a cafe in the shopping centre that sells a range of fresh-baked bread, sliced on demand.....which is fast proving a disaster for my waistline!

Things to do with spuds

Now that Anne and John are well into the potato harvest, Agence Eureka has come up with a handy worksheet giving sensible suggestions for things to make when they get fed up with eating mash.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Game...A Murder of Scarecrows

"The object of the game is to keep the scarecrows alive by launching the seeds that grow in the trees above them, so that they land on the scarecrows to bring them to life, but for only a moment. From time to time a bell will appear, dangling from a tree. Hitting the bell with a seed will resurrect one scarecrow from the dead."

Play here

Vintage ouch I'd be smiling broadly too if I could have that particular shade of mouldy aubergine I wore in my youth through all the ages!
From ModernMechanix
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