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Archives for July, 2010

Steel

July 31st, 2010

I thought this was a wonderful radio documentary on the decline of the steel industry on Teesside: *sniff*

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00t5zp5/Archive_on_4_Redcar_Made_of_Steel/

Henley to Reading

July 25th, 2010

It’s been ages since I last explored westwards along the Thames, not since last September in fact. So today I walked the nine miles or so from Henley down to Reading. I struggled to find much interesting to take photos of, but here is a picture of the bridge at Henley showing the slightly threatening sky (it didn’t rain though):

I read somewhere that when it’s overcast photos often look better in black and white. So here we are:

Fluffy sky looks good. Finally, on the way to Sonning I came across a cow-based obstruction:

Silchester

July 18th, 2010

Yesterday evening I went for a walk around the remains of the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum at Silchester a few miles south of Reading. Silchester is rare in that it was abandoned after the end of the Roman empire, leaving the walls, an amphitheater, and various other archaeological bits largely undisturbed. It’s a very nice place to go walking, highly recommended! Here are some photos I took:

A tasty paprika stew

July 16th, 2010

Unusually for me, I here recommend a foodstuff! It’s a synthesis of a couple of different recipes I found, so probably not authentic Hungary-food, but quite tasty.

Things you will need:

  • Stewing beef
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Bacon
  • Beef stock
  • Paprika
  • Caraway seeds
  • Garlic

Some of these ingredients seem a bit suspicious but they’re probably OK in moderation. Caraway seeds and paprika come in those little spice pots. Stewing beef is the cheaper, lower-quality sort of beef. You can substitute potatoes for dumplings if you like, and a wholesome vegetable like turnip or carrot could be added if you’re so inclined.

To make:

  1. Cut fat off bacon, fry in pan
  2. Chop up onions and garlic and fry in bacon fat – add lard if not enough fat
  3. Chop up bacon into little bits and fry
  4. Chop beef into bite-sized cubes and fry until brown
  5. Add paprika and stir in. You should add lots of this as it’s quite tasty. Apparently it’s important to remove pan from heat at this point to avoid burning
  6. Add beef stock
  7. Add salt, pepper, and some caraway seeds (not too many)
  8. Put lid on pan and bubble on low heat for about 50 minutes
  9. Chop potatoes up into cubes and add to pan
  10. Increase the heat a little bit and bubble for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are good. Might need to add a bit more water

Here’s one I made earlier:

I’ve made this a couple of times and good results seem easily reproducible. It’s also quite amenable to making in large batches and storing in a tub for later use.

Kew to Battersea

July 4th, 2010

What interesting things exist between Kew and Battersea? I set off yesterday to answer this very question. It turns out there are quite a lot of bridges and some mud. Only about another 16 miles and I will have walked all the way from home to the Thames barrier!

Cowshell

July 2nd, 2010

Blodgett just reminded me of another useful tool we made a few years ago: cowshell! Cowshell provides a more user-friendly interface to the Linux shell by wrapping the output in multi-coloured cows. Here is an example session:

Cowshell is a Perl script that you can acquire here. You will need cowsay and maybe some Perl modules for it to work.