Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Summer's End

Happy Hallowe'en. Here's this year's effort...

Expecting Triffids Any Day Now

Local news had this recently:

'Meteor' caused mystery explosion
A chief scientist claims a loud bang on the north Cornwall and Devon border was caused by a large meteor exploding. David Carcary from the West Cornwall Astronomical Society said a meteor had created the sonic boom before burning up after it entered the atmosphere. He said the lack of any seismological signals indicates it burned up before it hit the ground. Residents in the Bude and Holsworthy areas had reported hearing a loud bang around midday on Thursday. One resident in Bude said a crack in her kitchen had widened as a result, while others reported experiencing their properties "shaking". Checks carried out by Western Power and the British Geological Survey in the area were inconclusive and the Ministry of Defence, the RAF and the Civil Aviation Authority said there were no records of their aircraft flying over the area.

Er - isn't that pretty much the start of any John Wyndham book? Think I'd better load the blunderbuss, just in case...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pack Rat

Originally uploaded by
So occasionally one of the shelves in a cupboard will collapse, thus signifying it's time to rationalise* the contents. This weekend it was the turn of the cupboard-under-the-sink and what a lot of tat it proves I keep. I have pack-rat tendencies with an abhorrence of throwing away anything that looks like it might come in handy at some point, which is another way of saying things get thrown into a dark corner and forgotten about until they reach critical mass and explode out onto the floor. Plastic trays from under pizzas anyone? Rubber bands from three years' worth of daffodil bunches, damp and perished? Jam jar lids? I was very good, I threw away a whole bin bag of potentially useful items junk. On the plus side, this means I can start again with the hoarding...hmmn, that cork might come in handy for something...

* Current NHS management speak for "get rid of a lot of".

Monday, October 23, 2006


Fan-bloody-tastic. I shall say no more, for those who have yet to see it, but shall take the opportunity for a totty upload. Woof woof.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mothers' Ruin

Originally uploaded by
After two days of beer quaffing, what more natural than to take a day trip to Plymouth Gin*. We went on the train in anticipation of free samples (and the liklihood of an alcoholic lunch). Coffee and sausage sandwiches** on the train and a taxi to the factory started the day in style and set us up for the tour.

It's £6 for about a half-hour tour, and well worth it - the guide was brilliant and very funny. You get a bit on the history of the distillary, a bit on the ingredients - pots of the spices etc that go into it to scratch and sniff - and a glass of gin to sniff and savour. Also tasters of the Damson Gin*** and Sloe Gin they make. You then get a £1 voucher to use on gin in the shop, and a free gin & tonic (or miniature to take away) voucher to use in the cocktail bar. When can I go again please?

The bar is a fantastic room, the building was originally a Blackfriars Monastery and it's in the refectory hall - amazing roof (no I wasn't on my back at this point).

We then had lunch in the Barbican Kitchen, a brasserie in the same building run by the Tanner Brothers (who also have a restaurant down the road - we weren't entirely sure which one we were booked into, so glad we checked befgore staggering out into daylight).

To start with I had pumpkin and honey soup, which was a beautiful yellow colour, and I liked the drizzle of pesto in it, but otherwise it didn't really taste of much, and I prefer mine. Others had the chicken liver parfait which was pronounced excellent, the fish cake, and scallops.

For main, I had venison with juniper jus, garlic mash with olives, and green beans. I'd never had venison before and was keen to try it - hedged my bets by ordering it medium, but when it came it was rare, so it's just as well that's how I'd have ordered it if I knew I liked it (if that sentence makes any kind of sense?). Anyway, it was all fantastic.

Dessert was a lovely coffee/chocolate tart (with mint creme fraiche which was 'orrible, but I managed to swap it for someone eles's rum n raisin ice cream. Result.)

Add to all that coffee and two bottles of Richmond Ridge Chardonnay Colombard Semillon and we were ready to go shopping. Or fall asleep, I forget which.

We went to the new Drake Circus shopping mall, which is huge, and very very busy. Came away with books, 23 quid's worth of chocolate from Hotel Chocolat and a Pirates of the Carribean Calendar.

Gin, books, chocolate and Johhny Depp. What more could you ask out a day?

* Great website, but a bugger to load on dial-up.
** Separately, obviously.
*** Mix with champagne to make a "Damn Shame".

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mmmmmn, Beeeeeer.

So Thursday night saw the invitation only, sponsor/supporter's guest group trip to the CAMRA Falmouth Beer Festival sneak preview type thing. You get a tasting glass (bit less than half a pint I guess? anyone?) For an hour and a half you can try the beers. For free. Woo hoo! I suspect this evening is why there is rarely any left for the Sunday session...

Friday, and after the biggest fry up possible to purchase in Falmouth (Strand Cafe's "The Works". Go there.) we were back again to claim our free entry & pint glass (normally £3.50) and more free beer (tokens worth 8 halves). Apparently it's only £40 to sponsor a barrel and get one of these packs (including the night before, so well worth it for any local drunkards entrepreneurs out there - you get your advert in the programme and a laminated sign up in front of the casks - which is done in the same colour scheme and typeface as the beer labels, probably leading to people slurring "I'll have a half of Falmouth Print Group please" (no, I didn't).

This year's glass sports a picture of the Tamar rail bridge, it being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Why don't you get people called Isambard any more, that's what I want to know.

We had hot pork rolls (allegedly with apple sauce, but as this proved to be the minutest smear in the bottom of the roll we could probably have complained to trading standards).

So anyway. Tried a couple from Ales of Scilly (ah hah hah) brewery, which were both really good. Cuckoo (Driftwood) was fairly ick. I keep trying to try Snoozy Suzy (Doghouse) - last year it was off, this year it wasn't ready. (Why don't they bring a better travelling beer...?). Bucaneer (Wooden Hand) was a winner for me, as was Golden Pig (Country Life). Ollie's Dog (Dolphin) wasn't great, St Audrey's Ale (Fenland) and Celtic Queen (Iceni) were both ok, Neptune (Milton) I vaguely remember not liking much. In the end I resorted to the Skinners (which always feels like cheating, as you can get these in pubs locally, so feel you should be trying something more exotic). But they're still by far the best of everything I had (or tried, as a large part of the fun is sipping everyone else's). So up with the Betty Stoggs and the Spriggan Ale, huzzah!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here Is The News

And just for Dave, an update on recent events in Cornwall. It appears to have been an exceptionally uneventful two weeks, but nonetheless, here are some 'highlights' I've dredged up:
  • I bought a food processor with lots of shiney attachments (watch this space for breaking news once I actually make something with it)
  • I watched the X Factor for the first time ever. (And then the Xtra Factor, and then the next episode and the next...Watching one may have been a mistake. And is it wrong to fancy Simon Cowell?)
  • I had a dream about a unicorn (how twee).
  • I had a dream about Kinky Friedman (singer, novelist, currently running for Governor of Texas, under the slogan "Why the hell not?")
  • I had a dream about David McCallum (again, heh).
  • I bought the three latest Dr Who books last weekend, and am now half way through the third one.
  • It was really really foggy yesterday.
  • Trains to and from work to be replaced by buses for the next two weeks ARGHNOYOUBASTARDSNOTAGAIN.
  • I still have a job, despite further swathes of staff being culled by roving bands of mercenaries.
  • Saw a trailer for Torchwood! At last! Yessssssss!
Er, that's about as exciting as it gets I'm afraid. But the next week or so will involve a beer festival and a gin factory, so things will be looking up. Out of a gutter, possibly.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Did anyone see a little ten minute programme last night called The Rabbits of Skomer? Very pretty short with lots of rabbits hiding under bluebells. But it also gave me the biggest inadvertent laugh of the evening with its not entirely neutral voiceover: "sometimes the Black Backed Gulls will mug and kill baby bunnies". This was then followed by a fab shot of a mother rabbit performing a daring kung-fu manoeuvre on a rather surprised gull.