Apologies for the lack of posts – we’ve had a horrendous ten days, building new servers, getting everything migrated, etc. We did manage a day out for Pete’s birthday on 7th, (although we actually went out on the 8th) – we went to Bakewell, and to Chatsworth; the former was charming, the latter was so ostentatious that we didn’t really like it, but I got a good hat in the gift shop, so not all was wasted! In the evening we went to see Phil Beer playing at a folk club in Rotherham – all in all, a splendid day out.

The weekend of 9/10 of October was just work, and more work. As was the following week, but we’re just about there now.  Last weekend was just lazing – we needed it.

Yesterday, we took the aged Citroen for its MOT, and thought we’d go and look at the kitchen showroom up the road while they examined it. The chap who runs the kitchen showroom was putting the shutters down as we arrived, which wasn’t terribly encouraging, so we walked home through the park and Pete cycled back for the car later, the tow bar bike rack in his backpack.

Bad news. Disastrous news. Almost £500 of garage work on the car, plus a new tyre. And the tax is due. He paid the MOT fee, and brought it home, and we had a Big Think, and took some advice from motory friends, and decided that it had to go. We only paid £650 for the car last October, and once the welding starts, it never ends.

We dithered about whether we could manage without a car at all, but I’d hate not to be able to get out to the coast or the country – we don’t use it much, but it represents some freedom. Pete is away next  week (going to Finland to see lawyers about his late mother’s estate), and  we didn’t expect to find anything quickly on our very limited budget, and I thought I’d have to hire a car to pick him up at Manchester. We looked on Autotrader and on eBay – found a fee possible candidates, and contacted them. One didn’t answer their phone, one didn’t call back when I left a message on their answerphone, one was sold. And one looked a plausible candidate, although it hadn’t reached its reserve on eBay.

We went to see it, and were slightly (well, no, very) alarmed to see a sign in its window saying “For sale: £1150”. Way out of our budget. We had a good look, and it was in lovely nick, full service history, everything working, taxed until Jan, MOT’d until June. He told us where to take the Citroen so we could get a hundred quid for its scrap value, so we included that in the spending pot. And we included the fact that we wouldn’t have to buy car tax for three months, and the fact that it should last us for years, and the fact we don’t need to hire a car for Manchester, or a gig in Sheffield the following week.

And we bargained the chap down to a figure that we can just stretch to, which equated to the cost of getting the Citroen back on the road, plus its scrap value, and all the above, and another little bit on top. It’s a huge weight off my mind, as trying to buy a car when you have no car is very difficult. We shall drive the ZX down to the scrap merchants tomorrow – I feel no fondness for it, but it did exactly what we needed it to – move me and five cats to Hull, and has behaved perfectly well since, apart from quietly rusting and not telling us.

So,could we please now have a quiet life for a bit? We’re exhausted.

you gotta love Amazon Web Services

having cut my teeth on them doing the cookbook lookup on, I decided to address the subject of our DVD collection.

so … export the ASINs from DVDPedia, put file into BBEdit, a bit of RegExp search and replace and a mySQL command, and I had a basic list.

about 10 minutes of programming to alter the files from Nibblous to suit DVDs and my site, and then an enjoyable half an hour or so of interrogating Amazon with each ASIN, confirming it was right, and writing data into the database and grabbing their largest image for further manipulation.

tomorrow, I might write the code to actually display it on my site.

I Am Not A Programmer.


do you nibble?

I had a few days in a lull, workwise – clients on holiday and so forth. So I embarked on a site which I have always wanted to do. It’s still a bit rough round the edges, and I have a lot more features planned, but [fx: fanfare]

ladies and gentlemen, and anyone else who is reading this, we bring you our shiny new recipe sharing and food blogging site.


sign up at

five things on my desk right now

  1. a cat – Esk, to be precise
  2. two monitors, a 24″ Dell, and an 18″ NEC
  3. a very battered copy of a Yes, Minister paperback, lord knows why. Perhaps it’s waiting to be catalogued; I shall investigate
  4. a Microsoft Action Pack – oh the shame … in my defence, we are about to embark on some Perl work that has to go on a Windows server, but I do realise how bad it looks
  5. an empty tea glass, which contained some Chai. Time to go and get some more.