the weekend

the weekend started badly, really … detritus, our linux development and staging server, got overheated during the day on Friday, and we rebooted him. Some time between 8 and 10 on Friday evening, he crashed. Would he reboot?

of course not.

so perlmonger spent Saturday in the server room back bedroom, cannibalising bits of machines together. He decided to take the opportunity to upgrade the rather ancient and venerable version of Linux on the box, and is now up to his oxters in building and configuring things.

I whizzed over to Asda on Saturday afternoon while the foopball was on – the roads were deserted, as was the store. This World Cup is not altogether a bad thing.

a break was taken yesterday to trundle to Cirencester for lunch and natterings with landsmand and valkyrie_k, who provided us with a fabulous carpaccio salad with sundry multiple accompaniments, and then a humungous cheeseboard. A very jolly time was had by all.

Iggy has a poorly ear, and has been to the vet for a jab; also, antibiotic pills have to be perpetrated. He’s been very miz indeed, and we managed to get yesterday’s pills down him easily. This morning, he wasn’t having *any* of it, so is presumably on the mend. I have no idea how to get pills down a strong male Bengal cat who doesn’t want them, so I suspect it’ll be back to the vet for another jab. More expense – it’ll have to come out of his pocket money.

well, it's Saturday

and it’s raining. Again.

we trundled over to St Marks, to visit Bristol Sweet Mart, purveyors of fine things, and to have brunch at Cafe Maitreya over the road, one of our favourite feeding places.

calamity – they’re no longer opening during the day. Wah. So we went to Howards instead. Howards used to be one of our favourites, until we had a bad meal one evening, and never went back. It changed hands a while back, and I thought they were doing a sort of brasserie thing at lunchtime.

they weren’t – and I was unimpressed with the menu. I don’t *want* my chicken to have a champagne froth, thanks all the same, nor a perfectly nice fish to be smothered in a heavy sauce. Nor did I want to be given a choice of dishes starting at (I think) £11.95 for lunch, come to that. They did produce a lunch menu when I asked, but I don’t think I should have to ask.

perlmonger had a wood pigeon from the a la carte, which didn’t seem that special to me for 14 quid, and I had sossidge and mash with onion gravy, which was actually very good, and much better value at £6.95.

then we nipped (or popped) down to Nailsea to collect my new glasses which, being varifocals, feel very odd indeed. And I think I’m going to have to move this monitor to match the specs.

in other news, at *last* BegoniaWatch has revealed five of the little buggers – just need to see the other seven now. But I can’t blame any plant in the garden for staying under the ground – it’s bloody wet out there.

tonight is beef stroganoff, english strawberries and Doctor Who – something to look forward too.

and now – on with some enhancements to Nibblous – but first, more tea, I think.


better [posted] late than never.

on Friday we set off not quite as bright and early as I’d have liked, but at 11 a.m., which is not bad for us, really, especially as Clients kept phoning. One of them reminded perlmonger quite forcefully of a deadline which had crept up on him for this Thursday …

anyway, off we trundled to Norwich – a journey which we estimated would take us 4.5 hours. No – 5.5 hours. Passing captainblue territory en route, we arrived just in time to check into the hotel* then go straight out for an early supper with kalunina, her other half Stuart, and his children Chris and Ellie, at Captain Americas, a burger bar in central Norwich.

Saturday saw us shopping in Norwich – I bought a Hat (it deserves the capitalisation), Pete got a belt with the shipping forecast areas on it, and we bought kalunina a set of digital scales and some gingerbread cutters – you can tell that she’s spending time with children 🙂 We also picked up the Wallace and Gromit DVDs as a present for the children. Supper was a takeaway from somewhere called Planet Wok, which was very good.

we had to leave fairly promptly on Sunday morning, due to the aforementioned deadline, but it was a very nice weekend, and good to meet Stuart, Chris and Ellie.

*the hotel? Just don’t – *don’t* – ever stay at the “Quality” Hotel in Bowthorpe, Norwich. It’s utterly vile. And as they were foolish enough to send me an e-mailed questionnaire this morning, I’ve told them so. And they wanted *six pounds* for 30 minutes of wireless internet access – FFS …


so that was the weekend – bit of domestic shopping on Saturday, brunch in the yuppie caff, lazy afternoon and Woodspring LibDem dinner in the evening. Guest speaker was Jeremy Brown, whom I had never realised was the LibDem candidate on that memorable 1997 evening in Enfield South (were you up for Portillo?).

I just had two things I wanted to do in the city on Sunday (where we were going only because it was the monthly decent food fair) – new bedlinen, and get the phones put on a business account. Sadly neither was achieved – the chap in the Orange shop (whose name badge informed us his name was Igor – MORE POWER, Igor) could do more than read bits out of the catalogue and witter on about purchase orders, so I shall buy the bloody phones online. And nowhere that I can find does unbleached cotton bedlinen of the sort that Ikeal used to do and that we love, and ours are all full of holes. Wah.

we managed to buy New Shoes – perlmonger bought new shoes, which is something of a historic occasion. He wears Docs most of the time, or black lace-up shoes for formal, and that’s it. He is now in possession of a pair of “Fly London ” shoes, much to my astonishment. I bought a pair of Doc Marten shoes which looked – and have proven to be – exceeding comfy. The girl in the shoe shop was about a size 6, and looked as though she was both catatonic and drugged to the eyeballs; stockroom visits took about 10 minutes a time …

we also popped into Waterstones to look at the Designing Interfaces book that marypcb blogged the other day; they didn’t have it. They *did* have lots of other books, and we now have another seven to add to the shelves, which will be the subject of another post.

Sunday lunch (belated) was roast duck, carrots in star anise, broccoli, and spuds roasted in duck fat, followed by a rhubarb and sponge made with ground almonds instead of flour. With custard, for those who like it (i.e. Pete). I bought a jar of orange and chili jelly at the market, and lobbed a couple of teaspoonfuls on the duck while it was cooking – that worked well. And I think it would work in a chocolate moooooooooose too; I suppose I’ll have to try [sits back and waits for gmul to arrive].

made a pot of lentil, tomato and tarragon soup for the week, watched episodes 8 & 9 of f West Wing so set BitTorrent running to fetch the last three (got ’em now).

that’s it – there is no more. Off now to make some spicy basmati rice to go with the crab cakes from the market.

Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” |Eye to the Telescope | KT Tunstall

this year's anniversary weekend is sorted

we got married on 29 May 1999, and we always have a long weekend away around then to celebrate.

Paul Buchanan, one of the members of the incomparable Blue Nile, is playing solo in Glasgow on 26/27/28 May. Flights from Bristol to Glasgow that weekend will cost about a hundred quid.

tickets go on sale on Friday. Guess who’s buying a brace?


[edited to change our wedding date to the right one – thanks, timill]


elephant bookmark
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

very quiet really. Saturday, did shopping in Bedminster:

  • greengrocer: spinach, hispi cabbage, four ruby grapefruit, mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, chillis, cauliflower, potatoes, pineapple. Forgot carrots, and we are out of lemons. Arse.
  • little gift shop: clary sage essential oil, satanic rubber duck, elephant bookmark as displayed here, card to send to kalunina, who seems to have forgotten we exist
  • health food shop: organic milk and cream, kidney beans, blackcurrant juice
  • Aldi: (or possibly Lidl – I always get the muddled up) waffer thin turkey for the Tribe, some stilton

brunch in the yuppie café. Home for slumpage. Chilli from the freezer for supper. Too much wine. Lots of West Wing.

Sunday: up to the Mall to return a top to John Lewis because it went all baggy when washed according to the instructions. Accidentally bought a DAB clock radio – thankfully, this works upstairs, where it was wanted, but it does look as though downstairs in the kitchen (where I want another one) is not going to work without an external aerial.

could someone move that hill, please?

cooked roast chicken, spuds, cauliflower, carrots. No wine today, after yesterday. However, drank tea and consumed plain chocolate digestives. More West Wing.

big pot of soup made for the week: carrots, onions, potatoes, lentils, passata, veg stock, spices (cumin, coriander, fenugreek) – smells gorgeous. Want some now.

bed now. Monday tomorrow. Bah.

out? again?

the downstairs network hub has been playing up – this is a pain, as there are two webcams, a Tivo, and an iMac hanging off it, and playing music (which is stored up here) was becoming a bit hit and miss. So off to Maplins this morning to buy a new 100Mbit 8 port switch (for £39.99, which is entirely ridiculous), and a few new ethernet cables.

then decided to nip up to the Mall, as I wanted some ribbon to decorate the festive cake, and John Lewis was the only place I could think off. Their ribbon selection was rubbish, so I shall have a rethink on cake decor.

however, I managed to buy a new handbag*, a long sleeved white t-shirt, four new shirts for perlmonger, a lime green woollen scarf which I think we will end up fighting over, and a couple of books – Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, and Kitty Kelley’s Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, which should keep me in books over the festering season. Like my to-read pile wasn’t quite huge enough already.

I’ve almost finished John Pilger’s book on investigative journalism, which I must write up – it’s well worth reading.

Pete has finished putting up the twinkly lights on the dutch airer in the kitchen, so I’m off to bake a belated festive cake and have a glass of wine, before dealing with some rather fine tiger prawns that need cooking. Thai, I think.

have a nice evening, all.

*a Mebo one – 2nd from right on that page, but in a very dark brown. Lovely. I *do* like handbags.

out and about

busy, busy – hurtling round Bristol and its environs:

  • first to Bedminster, to take three boxes of books, some PC games, and a binbag of clothes to the CPL charity shop; a worthy cause, and a visit long overdue. There may just be a chance the server box room may surface again soon
  • thence to Aldi; I love Aldi. We actually managed to spend £44, on diverse things like dishwasher tablets, jars of roast peppers, tinned fish, red wine, bikkits, pasta, etc. If you’re careful what you buy, they are terrific value.
  • next, into town, to visit Colsonall box office. Tip of the hat to flickgc, who gave me the heads up about the always fabulous Richard Thompson’s upcoming tour. We have seats in the middle of the second row of the stalls. W00t, and indeed rar!
  • from there, we travelled up to Gloucester Road, where I purchased 2 kg of belly pork in the organic butcher (you don’t seem to get this in stupormarkets, and I want it for cassoulet, and the rest can go it the freezer). We also did the greengrocery run up there, consumed an organic lamb burger with cheese from the barbecue outside the aforementioned butcher (always good), bought some of the gorgeous stem ginger in chocolate from the Scoopaway shop, and Pete got some squit mushroom paté innatube. Also got a new bin for the bathroom (hello dear – did you get the things we needed?).
  • then down to the farm shop at Chelvey to buy a sack of onions and a sack of red shallots, plus a hunk of Montgomery cheese for perlmonger, some scones, some Green and Black’s almond choccy [drool]

just sitting down now with a Nice Cup of Tea, before perlmonger wall mounts the 18″ flattie, to give Iggy back his desk space, and stop him thwipping everything off my desk in a temper, then doing battle with the Tivo / Freeview.

I shall be cooking stir fried duck with mushrooms tonight, and making a vat of spiced red cabbage to go with tomorrow’s meat loaf. I like weekends.

nice weekend

that was a nice one – new minotaurs arrived at 10 a.m., and so of course were immediately installed, and we did some study tidying up too. Then rushed over to Sainsburys to get “a couple of bits” for Saturday’s dinner. Quite how that turned into £110, I’m not sure – but I suppose 6 bottles of wine, a mug rack, a bikkit box and six water filters might have had something to do with it. “Hello dear – did you get the things we needed?”.

dinner was simple – a rib roast of Dexter beef; just put it in the oven and leave it alone for an hour and a half. Served with roast potatoes, carrots steamed with star anise, brocolli and yorkies (obviously). Pudding was my killer choccy moose, with strawberries and ratafia bikkit.

we were joined by agc, who kindly brought a bottle of champagne – shame perlmonger doesn’t like it, but he drinks it just to be sociable. Also present were gmul and purple_peril, who we hadn’t met before, but we like, even though (or more probably, because) she’s entirely mad. She can certainly come again. It’s not every guest who hijacks your bedroom, and emerges dressed as a wicked queen complete with authentic medieval slippers.

purple_peril left us for a while to attend a party in Bristol, and returned about half past midnight, by which time perlmonger had retired to bed (wuss). She and gmul left sometime after 1 a.m., and agc and I sat up and set the world to rights till about 3.30 …

Sunday was therefore a bit of a write off, but I caught up with three episodes of Desperate Housewives (why did nobody tell me about this before?!) and some other schlock TV, and we consumed the remainder of the roast beef for supper, with baked spuds and pickles.

this morning, we find that the ADSL router is dead [sigh] – thank ghod the cable modem just keeps on going.