Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giraffe

Vervet Monkey

Male Impala

Words From Mrs YS.

Hello, just a few words from Mrs YS:-


The last couple of days here in Kruger National Park have been brilliant!

I was not expecting the landscape to be as it is, hills and mountains, trees and it is very green. Probably too many wildlife programs on the telly with arid plains, scrubland and desert.

Have seen loads of animals too, so far we have spotted loads of Elephants (right next to the car and having a dip in a watering hole), Rhino, Zebra, Giraffe, Water Buffalo, Hippo, Wart Hogs and lots of antelope, oh and a quick glimpse of a leopard up a tree.

It is really hot and humid here too, today it touched 40 deg, but it’s been around 36 deg generally. Tonight there is a massive lightening storm, it’s fantastic, nearly as good as the animals, it is just lighting up the whole sky, and has been for at least 40 mins.

So the holiday so far is great, but could be even better if we had our stuff! – The cases got left behind at Amsterdam on Thursday, it’s now Sunday night and they have not arrived. KLM have been promising us for the last two days that “they will be there tomorrow” but they tell porky’s!! So we have had to go shopping for clothes and toiletries etc. But now they are running out, so I hope they really do arrive tomorrow, as our phones are nearly out of juice (chargers in the case) and I am missing little luxuries like perfume, hair dryer, my shoes!!

Oh well still having a good time apart from when I am yelling at KLM on the phone.

Hopefully YS is going to post some pics when the cases get here, as the camera leads are in there too! XXXX

Monday

Africa has a sweet tooth. Yogurt at breakfast is sweet, kudu stew at dinner is fruity and sweet, bottles of fruit juice from the supermarket are cloyingly sugary and almost undrinkable. A little tartness would be appreciated.


We saw a pride of lions feasting on a giraffe carcass today, that and the sight of elephants bathing have the high points of our safari. It is really exciting though seeing these magnificent beasts in the wild, we were both like children when we saw our first elephants, awestruck and happy as the great animals dined and walked around the car. Today we made a chance sighting of a single rhino after taking a detour, and we spent some time manoeuvring along a thickly wooded riverbank to get a better view of it.

I have walked the ‘Rhino Trail’ a couple of times, this being a path that runs inside the camp wire, with clear signs that you walk at it your own risk and never at night, you wouldn’t want to run into a pack of baboons (who have learned to outwit the electrified fence) in the darkness. 40 yards from our hut’s back door a large hippo (the most prolific killer of people in Africa) grunts and vents in the lake behind the dam, a hundred yards away a pair of rhino graze, and in the near distance something big coughs and growls, we’re truly in the heart of the wild.

Sunday

Up early again, 5am ish. Although you could look out of the house door here and perhaps fool yourself visually that you were home in Yorkshire, some of the grassland and scrub has an almost home hill feel to it, the noise tells you instantly, and all the time, that are somewhere quite different.


Every kind of insect and bird here in the veld seems to bellow its existence at anything else within earshot. At some point of the day, every flying and crawling thing takes a few minutes to just stand around and yell “Here I aaaaam, its meeeeee, listen to meeeeee.” In particular there is an insect, of a size and shape I have yet to discern, that makes a constant shrieking noise not dissimilar to a car alarm. I would imagine that there is a good financial reward awaiting the man who can put an end to this aural menace.

At dawn and dusk the volume gets tweaked all the way to 11, the birth and death of daylight is greeted with a truly frenetic cacophony, a multi layered chirping, twittering, hooting orchestral tune up when the light changes.

Africa here is vibrantly alive, the rain falls, the land is verdant and lush providing bountiful food for the numerous creatures that depend it. What has really surprised me about the animal life here is the sheer quantity of it, Africa is fecund, febrile, life sustaining. Herds of impala can be seen constantly, kudu, giraffe and other grazers roam in large herds, there does not seem to be a single stretch of river or large pool without its resident hippo and crocodiles. Elephants roam everywhere, we have seen herds forty and fifty strong, mothers and older daughters shepherding babies of all sizes.

Following the herds of plant eaters, but more secretive, are the predators. We chanced upon a pride of lions eating a giraffe, and a secretive leopard slid down from its tree perch as we approached. Jackals and hyena patrol the road, and in the skies great eagles wheel on the thermals and vultures display a black sense of humour by roosting only in the branches of dead trees.

By late afternoon the luggage had still not arrived, KLM had left a message at reception saying it will definitely arrive tomorrow. I am beginning to believe that I may never see my favourite Megadeth t-shirt ever again.

The food at camp is interesting, and every camp has exactly the same menu. There is a choice of a carvery, in which the meat is alright but the vegetables were put on to cook yesterday, or an a la carte selection with just 3 items, steak (of what ? I’m unsure, kudu perhaps), breaded chicken, venison with a sauce (kudu again, monkey gland sauce anyone ?). Limited yes, but also very cheap, £25 for a two course carvery with a couple of drinks each for both of us.

We discovered on arriving back in camp today that one of the three inch long, hard as nails thorns that grow on the trees here had penetrated one of the car’s tyres. They tell you not to drive through the piles of shit you see everywhere on the roads because elephants can apparently ingest these evil looking spikes and pass them out again. The temperature mid afternoon was 40 c, I lay in the sand beside the car twisting the jack with rivulets of sweat pouring from me, ten minutes work and I was soaking, my t-shirt glued to me, and my deodorant stick ? Amsterdam, Johannesburg or Mars, but not here at Berg-En-Dal.

After going to bed early, we are awakened by a truly incredible thunderstorm, I grab the Biblical Apocalypse Meter and the needle is hitting 9.9 on the scale. The lightning flashes constantly, sometimes small bolts connect to earth, sometimes large forks arc across the clouded sky. The thunder booms and crashes, coming from all directions, in between rolling salvos the local birds scream their panic into the strobe lit night. Then, with a blaze of light that fills the sky and an accompanying drum roll that shakes the windows and can be felt right inside you, the lights in the house die, and the air conditioning grinds slowly to a halt.

I feel almost as if God has decided we should experience this show of nature’s force without distraction or impediment, in moments the storm has cranked up to full aural and visual effect again and for almost two hours the barrage continues overhead. It is almost beyond description, humbling in its intensity, inspiring in its terrible majesty.

Saturday

A thunderstorm rolled over the hills last night, I took a quick measurement on the Biblical Apocalypse Meter and it came up with a reading of 7.6, very impressive.


We got up early and set off on our big game hunt. Meg has eagle eyes and spotted roughly 374 different species, I saw a lot of Rhino dung, and an eagle.

Our list for today...

Kudu

Impala

Warthog

Lion (one big male panting under a tree)

Rhino (a pair at distance, then later a single one closer up)

Hippo

Crocodile

Water Buffalo

Wildebeast

Giraffe

And joy of joys, Elephants beyond counting, big ones, mums with babies, family groups, elephants asleep standing up, elephants tearing up grass, elephants knocking down trees, elephants crossing the road, elephants everywhere.

Back at camp, after numerous expensive phone calls to find the whereabouts of our luggage which KLM promised faithfully would arrive today, well, they now say it will most definitely arrive with us tomorrow. At Africa speed I presume

Friday

KLM have said we can have 100euro a day each as compensation for our missing luggage, so over breakfast we set to work and compiled a list of essentials that we could purchase at J’burg airport, toothbrush and paste, soap, deoderant, underwear, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, some basic clothes perhaps.


Ortambo domestic airport is not Heathrow, it’s not even Leeds/Bradford. The shops available to us are a bookshop, a curio and gift shop, and something I thought had died out in the early 1980’s, a branch of Wimpy. From our entire shopping list we manage a Nelson Mandela t-shirt for me, and a pair of South African flag patterned socks each. Also, my watch has stopped working.

We had originally planned to make haste to Berg-En-Dal camp in order to see some big game righty away, but the lack of shopping at the airport means we have to detour in to Malalane in order to get some stuff. On a Friday lunchtime, Malalane mall is as busy as Leeds city centre the week before Christmas, except...everything here runs at what I’m already thinking of as ‘African Speed.’

It is said that the Irish have over a dozen words for the Spanish concept of Manyana, although none of them convey quite the same sense of urgency. In South Africa it seems to be a universal belief that things are going to happen anyway, so why make them happen any faster.

As we try to park the car hordes of people wander aimlessly around the parking lot, calling to friends stuck in the winding bank and post office queues, stopping to eat a bite of cake, chatting animatedly or languidly, or just sat on the ground in the shade of the nearest tree, wall or parked car.

We manage to park without running anyone over, and then, as a lad brought in the Yorkshire Dales, I suffer a slight public visibility crisis. There are thousands of people gently milling around, and as far as I can see, Meg and myself are the only white people in sight. I’ve got to admit that as we leave the car and set off towards a ladies clothing shop I feel a little exposed and vulnerable, a little out of place, just a fraction off balance.

I have been to other countries before where I have been the only white person in sight, wandering around lost in the food markets of Hong Kong though I was able to tower over the vast majority of the locals and size always brings a feeling of security with it. It takes a few moments to realise that nobody here appears to care less about less, nobody is staring, and more importantly, and this despite some rather hysterical recent reporting in the British media, nobody here seems about to mug and murder a pair of slightly lost looking British tourists.

In the shops, people are really friendly, and a minor joy, in clothes shops the assistants don’t hassle or hurry you as they do at home, instead of a company policy dictated greeting with a distinct undercurrent of “buy something quickly and piss off” the girls here offer a laid back and carefree welcome. In fact, as there appear to be no corporate uniforms, they might not be shop girls at all, just friendly folk saying hello.

African speed continues in the supermarket where meandering lines of trolley pushing women pause to chat in the aisles, patiently queue at the butcher’s counter and generally get the shopping done, but not with anything that approaches alacrity. Food essentials and some toiletries bought, we finally head off for the game reserve.

Only yards inside the Kruger gate we see a family of warthogs, proud parents with a rough and tumble mob of hairy piglets. Warthogs seem quite cute when young, but as adults they trot around with an air of cocky belligerence that defies their size. Soon after the pigs, we see antelope, Impala, grazing right next to the road. Impala are so numerous and so unafraid of vehicles that after a couple of hours you become so blasé about them that they’d have to be doing something really exceptional, getting eaten by a lion for example, to make them noteworthy.

“What you looking at ?”

“Impala”

“What’s it doing ?”

“Ice skating”

“With triple-salco ?”

“Nah”

“Not looking then.”

At base camp we unpack our meagre belongings and remember something else, all our leads and chargers for the laptop, camera and phones are in the suitcases, so if we use things, then they are going to run down with no way to recharge them.

Dinner is interesting, our steaks arrive, chef has opted to serve them on the raw side of blue, and some time after we begin, our starters also arrive. I question the waitress, a large motherly lady, about this turn of events. She waves a hand in a sort of ‘well what can you do’ gesture and says that although she clearly pointed out to the chef which were the starters and which were the main courses, he chose to ignore her. Going with the flow of the thing, I pile my chilli chicken livers (which are at least cooked) on top of my steak and eat the lot.

Mosquitos like me. Travelling in Italy in shorts they liked me so much that my lower legs resembled nothing so much as two chunks of roughly cured bacon. The Kruger is a malaria zone, so on top of taking anti-malarial tablets I am dosing myself with Tabard insect repellent. I have no deodorant or aftershave (for such a supposedly hardy bloke I have rather delicate skin, almost all types of aerosol and roll on underarm stuff brings me out in itchy swellings) and the smell of Tabard is somewhere between rugby player’s jockstrap and Deep Heat. Combined with my giftshop range of clothing, it’s a good thing I’m not single and on the pull.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Sight Of South Africa, It's Dark

Burchell's Zebra, Kruger National ParkImage by Kleinz1 via Flickr
Well the two of us have arrived safely in Johannesburg, but we've had a falling out with the luggage, and the cases have decided to stay behind in Holland, hopefully to join us in a couple of days time.

It isn't a disaster, but it is of course a major inconvenience, the cases have all our clothes, as well as all the leads and chargers for the phones and cameras so I can't download any pictures yet.  Plus our expensive mosquito repellent is in the cases, all out toiletries, and the supplies of tea/coffee/sugar/washing up liquid for use in the Kruger camp, and all those other useful items you pack to bring on holiday.

KLM have said we can have have an allowance of 100euro a day each towards clothes and essentials, so we're currently making a list of what we need to buy at the airport tomorrow morning before catching our flight to Nelspruit.  We'll be in the Kruger Park tomorrow afternoon, and, fingers crossed, KLM will deliver the luggage to us on Saturday.  At least they seem to know where the cases are and they are not lost in the system.

My little friend Natalie has told me in no uncertain terms that I am not allowed to eat Zebra whilst I'm over here, but if it appears on the menu somewhere I'm going to give it a go, after all, the French eat horses dn't they ?

It has been a very long day travelling today, so we've just had a quick drink in the hotel bar, Castle Lager is crap by the way, bedtime now, off to see the animals in the morning.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010


By Griffysavalas at b3ta.

Win Without Warnie

Book review : Under The Dome - Stephen King 8*

I have not read a King novel for quite a while, but I enjoy the chance to get my teeth int a really large book every so often and King's latest enormous tome held some appeal.

Under The Dome is similar in length, and style, to what is probably Stephen King's finest work, The Stand. Although King is tagged as a horror writer, many of his books contain elements that are more sci-fi than horror, Tommyknockers / Dreamcatcher, and King again uses a vast alien power, the sudden creation of a force field dome over a small American town, to provide the setting for this novel.

As with so much of King's work, it isn't so much the horror and the situation that endears the author to his legion of fans, it is the way King builds characters and human tensions.  In both The Stand and Under The Dome there is the factional split into good and evil, but whereas The Stand's split was much more light and darkness, UTD's factions are much more reminiscent of a facist style power grab.  The bad guys here, who have a dark secret to keep hidden, behave like fascist politicians, especially in their implementation of a police state soon after the dome has appeared.

King also has a go at environmental issues here, the atmosphere in the dome rapidly deteriorates as the town's citizens continue to drive cars and use their generators, trees and plants begin to die and the sunsets change colour as the sun is viewed through the smog building up inside the dome.

The hero of the piece is ex-Army captain Dale Barbara, who has timed his moment to leave the town just a fraction too late.  Already having has a brush with the powers that be, Barbara is left almost powerless when the chief of police dies and all round bad guy Big Jim Rennie seizes the reigns of power.

Under The Dome has a large cast of characters, and somewhat in the style of Steven Erikson, King shows a malicious glee in building a character to the point where the reader is captivated by their life and struggle to survive, and then brings their life to a violent and bloody end.  What King does really well though is human storytelling, he quickly brings his characters to life, illuminating their foibles and traits and weaving the lives of people together.  Of course his characters are exaggerated, the good guys are shining knights, the bad guys are evil scum, but it all works so well that you can excuse the slight cartoon feel it gives.

The thing I didn't enjoy quite so much in UTD is the way King lapses into folsky style talking directly to the reader.  It isn't done so badly that it shocks you out of the narrative, but in places the transition between scenes could have handled in a more accomplished manner.

UTD isn't quite as good, or as epic in feel as The Stand, but King's innate storytelling ability and the way in which he keeps the sense of tension going from scene to scene fairly drags you through the book.  There has been some criticism of the way he ends the novel, and I'm trying to review this without spoilers, but he has used the dues ex machina method of ending novels before, besides, King's writing has always been much more about the people than the obvious plot device.  I had not seen the end of the novel coming, and the two part showdown I was taken by surprise by the first part, and only mildly let down by the second and final act.

So, a couple of negative points, but King's re-write of a novel that he first put down on paper almost 30 years ago is a really enjoyable read, fast paced and action packed, don't worry too much about the serious issues, just enjoy the ride. 
Where does the English cricket team stay during a tour of South Africa?




With their parents.

Map of Kruger Park Kruger National Park | South Africa Safari and Lodging Guide

Map of Kruger Park Kruger National Park South Africa Safari and Lodging Guide

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Wisdom Of David Lee Roth

Taken at The Van Halen Tour featuring David Le...Image via Wikipedia
"I'm a very family orientated kind of guy, I personally started three or four last year" - David Lee Roth
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Emusic, Spotify, Last.fm

Image representing Spotify as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
It seems to be all change at the online music services this month.  I'm cancelling my Spotify subscription because the phone reception under the hill here in Ilkley is dismal, and often means I can only stream a song or two at a time before the service cuts out. This is obviously O2's fault rather than Spotify's, but it does mean that the service is pretty useless for me.



Image representing eMusic as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

E-Music have changed their subscription from a points system to a cash per track system which on my current subscription plan works out at 42p a track (79p a track on iStore), in effect giving me exactly the same amounts of downloads each month as I was getting before the change.  The official reason for this is to allow a change in the amount of music E-Music is able to offer, and this month's new offerings do seem to include some more mainstream material in addition to the indy label music the service has previously specialised in.  Behind the scenes though, the new deal with Universal Music Group is the reason for the price change, and E-Music has been unable to re-negotiate deals with the indy labels behind acts like Belle & Sebastian and The Arcade Fire, undoubtedly two of their better selling acts.
Image representing Last.fm as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Last.fm have done away with one of their better loved features, the ability to stream a station made up exclusively of your favourite tracks, this due to licencing problems.  I can understand Last.fm doing this, you can use the service with all of it's geekily addictive personal chart building for free, or advertising free for the princely sum of £3 a month.  I'll be sticking with Last.fm having been a subscriber for a few years, but perhaps I'll change down to the free service when my current subscription runs out.

This month's E-Music downloads then....

Outlaw Blues - Larry Miller : Sounds all American, born in Guildford
Worlds Collide - Unruly Child : Their singer is a woman, but she used to be a he
The Very Best Of...The Undertones
A Way Of Life : Trad Brit metal
Black Masses : Electric Wizard
Ten - Ginger : I pressed the 'download whole album' button when I should have just downloaded the two new tracks, bugger.

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App Review : Lazygirls.info 8*

This was listed as a fee app of the day on another app, Bargain Bin.  The app premise of the app is fairly simple, it brings you (mostly clothed) pictures of hot babes sorted by who has their birthday today, recently added paparazzi style pics, most viewed and all time favourites, where Megan Fox gets a perfect 10 rating from the app/website users.

There is no real nudity (Mr. Jobs don't like porn) but there are lots of pictures of attractive women, good gracious me, there are 3,026 photographs of Avril Lavigne on here, I may be missing for some time....

Meanwhile, have a gratuitous picture of Jamie Lee Curtis, it's her birthday today.

The app is a little laggy in fetching the pictures, and there doesn't appear to be a way to save your favourite pics for later use as a screen saver for example, and it has a slightly shonky looking interface, but apart from that it does what it says it will, hot babes every day, all for 59p.

The Rally To Restore Sanity

2 Sleeps To South Africa

The historical centre of Simon's TownImage via Wikipedia
Simonstown
Well, it should be three sleeps, but we are setting off in the early hours of Thursday morning, and, there is the small matter of the OPENING DAY OF THE ASHES!!!!!!!!!! So it doesn't really seem worthwhile going to bed after work on Wednesday night.

So on Thursday we fly out to Johannesburg where we will stay on Thursday night, but only at the airport, Jo'burg sounds slightly scary so we're not spending any more time there.  On Friday morning we pick up our car and set off for four nights in the Kruger/Transfrontier Park where I shall spend my time trying to avoid being eaten by lions or trampled by Hippos.

After the safari we are flying to Cape Town and spending a night in an Airstream Trailer on the roof of a hotel (yes, Mrs YS raised her eyebrows when I suggested this as well, but it looks like a hoot).  Next morning we pick up another car and drive out to Oudtshoorn to see some caves, visit and elephant sanctuary and look around the countryside and restaurants.

Finally we come back to Cape Town to a nice looking villa in Simonstown.  We plan on doing some wineries around Cape Town, dining at a few restaurants that club members have recommended to us, and generally relaxing and taking it easy.

It's been a long Summer season this year, I can't wait to get away.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars

Convert Video To MP3

1/8 Hatsune Miku "World is Mine"Image by _Chag via Flickr
Video2mp3

It works, I have tried it on a couple of Youtube videos of Hatsune Miku (now that I have her name the correct way around), the conversion takes place in seconds, then you just download the mp3 file into your music library. Is it legal you ask ? Oh I shouldn't think so.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ari - Suicide Girls


Hawt.
White chocolate truffles.Image via Wikipedia
Just when you thought you owned a cookbook on every food topic under the sun, their comes along a book called Natural Harvest, and I do mean comes.

If you really need a recipe for Irish Coffee with Extra Cream, Slightly Saltier Caviar or Chocolate Truffles with White Centre, then perhaps Natural Harvest is the book you need, plus a small jam jar and subscription to Dirty Housewives.com
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It's Another EDL U-Turn

British politician George Galloway.Image via Wikipedia
George Galloway
The supposedly pro-democracy movement English Defence League have been receiving a lot of high profile media attention recently, with their self appointed leader (and that's self appointed, not elected, in a pro-democracy movement) Stephen Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, getting himself interviewed on Talksport, Radio 5 and many local radio stations, plus publicity in a large proportion of the mainstream printed press.

The EDL we're typically over the moon this week at have 'Tommy' interviewed by George Galloway live on Talksport, they advertised the interview repeatedly across all the media they had access to and then .... Well, it's fair to say that the interview didn't go exactly as the EDL had hoped for.  First Galloway exposed the EDL leader's real name, and then challenged him constantly to explain why the EDL thought that Muslims in Britain were extremists and why they needed confronting in the style the EDL uses.

The debate quickly degenerated into a slanging match with 'Robinson' throwing accusations about Galloway's supposed support for Hamas, and Galloway trying to stop 'Robinson's' rantings about Islamic extremism in countries around the world.  The whole debate was a rather unedifying spectacle, The EDL member failed to provide a shred of evidence for British Muslim extremism (this despite the big obvious 7/7 bombings he could have pointed to, or the attack at Glasgow airport), and Galloway resorted to shouting "Shut up, shut up, shut up" over and over as he tried to end 'Robinson's' anti-Islamic rant.

The most hilarious aspect of this is the reaction of the EDL, last week they were cock-a-hoop at having their leader interviewed by George Galloway, after the interview went rather pear shaped they have launched a campaign, The Petition To Get  George Galloway Off UK Airwaves.  Although beyond starting yet another Facebook group, this campaign doesn't seem to be going anywhere.  Anyway, in a democracy, and the EDL are a pro-democracy movement are they not, isn't free speech the whole point ?

That's the trouble with the EDL though, they are big supporters of free speech, just so long as you don't disagree with them.

*During the debate, Galloway stated quite clearly his view that Hamas is not a terrorist group.  Hamas is listed as a terrorist organisation by the UK, USA, EU, Japan, Canada and others.  Some countries such as Norway and Switzerland have recognised Hamas as a legitimate political group and have held discussions with them.
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Love Is War - Miku Hatsune

World Is Mine - Miku Hatsune



Ok, this is Miku Hatsune, a computor generated Japanese rock star, Miku is a 3d hologram, and her voice has been programmed by Yamaha, and the thing is, I've heard worse most weeks on Radio 1.

WTF ? Japan

Girls In Skimpy Outfits + Pole Dancing + Metallica = Win

Arooga ! Larpers !

The Rally To Restore Sanity


Which for us Europeans, was an American political march by people who wanted to regain the middle ground, but most of all wanted all sides in the political debate to stop demonising each other and making rational debate impossible.  There were many clever and witty signs on display.

The Rally To Restore Sanity

Cranachan


Oats
450ml double cream
150ml milk
2 leaves gelatin
honey
whisky
raspberries
almonds

Toast the oats in a clean, dry frying pan and pour into 8 glasses.

Mix the milk and cream in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of honey and whisky to taste, gently warm up, don't boil it, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved, pour the mix over the toasted oats.

Put the cranachan in the fridge for about 2-3 hours to set. 

To serve we put some raspberries on top, with a few toasted almonds, and made a whisky syrup (just honey and whisky warmed together) and put a tablespoon of that in each glass.

The cranachan is very, very rich, and we made it quite boozy, you don't need large portions.

Pressed Ham Hock Terrine


This was quite easy to make.

2 Ham Hocks
1/4 pt Stock with gelatin
dill, parsley, dill pickle

Boil a couple of ham hocks for hours, until it is literally falling from the bone, then remove the fat and shred the flesh. I did this when it was still warm, it made it much easier to shred and press into the mould.

Get a clean loaf tin and splash a little water in, then line the tin with clingfilm. Put the shredded ham in the tin, layering it with the herbs and dill pickle, when the tin is full of meat pour in the seasoned stock.

Fold the clingfilm over the top of the meat, cut a bit of cardboard which will fit in the top of the tin and wrap it in foil.  Put the lid on top of the meat and weight down with a couple of tins of beans/soup etc.  Press overnight in the fridge and next morning it should turn out without sticking and ready for slicing.

We served it with salad leaves and some spiced plum chutney.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Round Here We Call Them Birds, Not Bitches


Or hoes come to that.

Meanwhile, In Ilkley


I looked over a fence when I was out running, and there was a group of Peacocks and Peahens.

Meanwhile, In Addingham


That's the bit of the road I'd normally drive on, but in Addingham, that's where they park !

Meanwhile, In Japan...

Voting in Catalonia

I Want A Robot Car

Centurion tankImage via Wikipedia
My wife's ideal form of road transport.
When the car manufacturers eventually get their robot navigator/drivers up and running, I'll be in the queue to buy one. I hate driving, I don't like driving in the daytime, I really dislike driving at night, and driving at night in heavy rain fills me with a cold dread.

Yesterday, in Lishman's car park, I managed to drive my car into the wall.  Not heavily, there is only a tiny scratch, but this is the sort of thing you're supposed to when you're 73, not 43.  It isn't that I'm a dreadful driver, well, not compared to half the inhabitants of Ilkley anyway.  You only have to stand on the roadside in the morning and see the amount of Ilkley Mums who drive their offspring to school one handed whilst chattering away on their mobile phones to see that my driving failures are at least accidental as opposed to suicidal.

On the whole though, there is very little to recommend driving.  No matter what car you buy because the telly advert showed it swishing along, you still end up in an almost endless queue of traffic wherever you go, and if you do get to a part of the road that seems clear enough for you to move up the 4th gear, you can pretty much guarantee that a speed camera will stop you quick flash.

I know blokes are supposed to love cars, and it's sort of manly to be able to hold your own in a discussion about twin manifold, er, thingies, you know, engine bits. The honest truth is though, I have no interest in my car at all beyond the fact it can transport me from point a to point b.  I know what colour my car is, I know it is a Ford Zetec, I can't remember the registration, I have no clear idea of the engine size, road tax bracket, emissions category or any other technical stuff.  More importantly, I don't want to know, I have my wife for all that complex stuff.

Mrs YS is just the opposite, she loves to drive, get her a big car and she'll happily drive all day.  This worked perfectly on our driving holiday in the US a couple of years ago, Meg got to drive the rented Chrysler Land Leviathan all day, whilst I got to do something I get equal pleasure from, sitting down and reading a book all day and occasionally taking photos out the car window.

Meg is mildly disappointed that in South Africa we have been forced to rent a vehicle slightly smaller than a Centurion tank, but still, if it comes down to a difficult moment on the road between a bull elephant and my personal chauffeur, I just tell the pachyderm that it may as well move on right now.  Because my wife is that sort of driver, and she won't giving way.
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Harry Potter Movie Opens Today

Any chance they could use this for Hermione's new uniform ?

A Better Class Of Wit - For Those Who Can Afford It


Photo taken by Paula Chatterjee at last week's student demo.

Hate Breeds Hate, So Support Hope Not Hate


Hope not Hate blog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There was a young girl from Rabat,
who had triplets, Nat, Pat and Tat;
It was fun in the breeding,
But hell in the feeding,
When she found she had no tit for Tat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Tragedy in South Africa

Murder in Cape Town

Appaling for the family involved, and not the sort of news I wanted to read the week before going there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Peter Sissons - "She's even got new tits"

Battle of Los Angeles Trailer

England Opening Pair Score A Century Each

The death notice that appeared in The Sporting...Image via Wikipedia
England openers Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook have each scored a ton in the drawn warm up match against South Australia.  England are in a good place at the moment and must be very happy with their preparation for the Ashes, all of the batsmen have scored runs, and all the bowlers have been taking wickets. Australia are being widely reported as being in disarray, but I think we cricket fans know better than the headlines in the tabloids, this is Australia, in Australia, and this series will be a severe test of cricket.
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You Can Spend Too Much ?

Squeek from Suicide Girls.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Visit Ilkley

Even Cook Has Some Runs

Map of Australia with South Australia highlightedImage via Wikipedia
At last, England opening bat Alistair Cook appears to have timed his return to (some) form almost perfectly, 32 in the 1st innings againt South Australia, 37 n.o. at the moment.  Strauss is also on fine form, KP is firing well, Bell and Colly look good and the bowlers are all taking wickets, so why are Australia still favourites with the bookies ?
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Breaking News - Muslim Goes To Work, Watches Telly, Walks Dog

A Muslim raises his hands in Takbir, marking t...Image via Wikipedia
(Copyright all TV stations and newspapers)

Breaking news here as the BBC are now able to report that yesterday hundreds of thousands, if not millions of British Muslims went to work, took their children to school, sneaked a fag halfway through the morning, moaned about the weather and got a takeaway for supper because they'd had a long day and couldn't be bothered cooking.

It's over to our on the spot reporter in Bradford who has found a British Muslim to interview....

Slightly breathless BBC reporter - "So, you claim your name is Ajib Jan ?"

Ajib Jan (for it is he) - "Er, yes, Ajib, that's me."

BBC wallah - "And just what were you doing yesterday Mr. Jan ?"

AJ - "Well, I had some porridge for breakfast, took the kids to school because the missus had an early keep fit class, went to work, moaned about the weather, had a cup of tea with the lads, came home, walked the dog, watched some telly and the missus made a lasagna for dinner."

BBC - "But what about the poppies, what about our fallen soldiers."

AJ - "Oh yeah, mine blew off in the wind yesterday, but we've got a collection tin at work so I put 50p in and got another one, and we did the silence at 11, mind you, half the lads nipped out into the car park for a crafty ciggie."

BBC - "But didn't you burn the poppies and spit on the Union Jack ? You're a Muslim aren't you ?"

AJ - "No. Hey mate, I was born here, my cousin plays for Yorkshire U-17's.  Do you like Aerosmith ?"

BBC - "What ?"

AJ - "Aerosmith, the band, I like that one that goes if you can tell a wise man by the colour of his skin you're a better man than I"

Back to the studio now where we're showing endless footage of a few mindless thugs burning poppies.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Space Battleship Yamato Trailer 2

Burley Lions vs. Wibsey Warriors


Ah, the pink socks, the match was also a fundraiser for the breast cancer awareness charity.







I'm not sure about this, I thought you were only supposed to handle one ball ?


The referee couldn't come, so he sent his Grandad instead.  Sadly Grandad got lost on the way to the ground and turned up 45 minutes late. The Lions lost the game to a quick and well organised Wibsey side.

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