Monday, 10 May 2010

10 things that I like

I’ve been tagged by Hannah to do a post called “10 things that make me happy”. I had to check what it meant to be “tagged” and to “do a post”, but now I know so here you are.

  1. H.
  2. History. I like knowing what happened and why. And what else might have happened and why it didn’t. Although Jonathan says I use history as a weapon.
  3. Letter boxes and much other street furniture. No really. Most people don’t believe that the Letter Box Study Group exists.
  4. Alasdair Gray is one of my favourite authors (but only one of them).
  5. The Fenton, Leeds is often a rather ghastly pub, but I have a deep sentimental attachment to it as it was one of the very first pubs I went to in town, in 1979, and is distinguished by being the place where my daughter learned to crawl. Lots and lots of other things have happened there – space and discretion do not permit.
  6. Russian composers whose names begin with S. Although I don’t claim to know of them all.
  7. My grandson, whose name is an anagram of Linear Love Rod (although he doesn’t know that yet).
  8. Things to do with bikes, especially riding them.
  9. Things I grow in the garden
  10. My bees. I’ve only had them 6 months and I’m not sure I’m very good at them yet, but my, they are fascinating.

The way this works is that if you’re tagged here, you too have to do such a post. Let me know.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


The cats may have figured out that something is going on. Or is about to.

Note the copy of "Fundamentals of Statistical Language Processing" on the table.


It is gratifying that Spring always does arrive eventually. The best evidence is the reawakening of bloggers, I suppose.

I took quite some care over the patches outside the dining room window, and it has repaid. the strawberries are going to be good later in the year, but I do rather like the snowdrops.

But imagine my delight on approaching the hive to see that, there were hods of corpses outside (bad news?). Clearing up, I removed the mouse guard to take the casulaties away from the entrance - an angry horde emerged!

Routinely taking the roof off, for the first time I saw LOADS OF BEES, drinking down the lovely fondant. I understand that's what they are supposed to do at this time of year.

Keep your wings crossed.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

New bike

The new bike has been collected from Mr Edinburgh. I'll get some better pictures in daylight (it's pissing down as I do this).

It has all the properties of a new bike ... everything works alarmingly well and you can go everywhere in top gear. The lights are fab.

Its dimensions are weird - high enough but "tighter" so I am having to adjust. I guess I will.

A bargain, everywhichway. Met Mr Bikology at the North Lane lights who said nice things.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Walk number 9

Jen and Jessie have called for 99 walks around Leeds and today I provided their 9th. This was very intimidating as they started by telling me about some of the others: Maisie, who took them on an 8 minute hike from her house, up a ginnel, visited the sweetsop, then to the playground. Barefoot (yeah, in October).

It was billed as "the Riots Walk" which it was, sort of, but it was really a shameless opportunity to show them bits of Leeds that I like. Either they liked it or were very polite.

The Bourse is one of my very favourite urban views. Well done archtitect. Shortly after this, we saw a really very rare pillar box on King Street - I won't publish a picture so that later visitors can have the excitement of seeing it for the first time.

The John Poulson section of the tour was in an exceptionally lucky state.

The International Pool is now simply the canopy roof: below it a number of JCBs are playing some sort of game. There is a window aperture through which mortals [us] are allowed to watch.

J and J especially liked the spooky tunnel, I think. But who wouldn't, eh? 2 marks available to anyone who knows where the bottom picture is actually taken.

We culminated in the unfashionable part of Holbeck:
This is Low Hall Mill (see the carved name at the head of the arch) and it says rather more to me about Holbeck than the chintzy part just down the road.

Perhaps the most useful thing I did was to introduce them to The Grove, which technically was after the end of the walk. Derek was playing his fiddle, but they didn't meet him.

Jessie (or was it Jen?)
Jen (or Jessie ... ) - it wasn't meant to be this unflattering.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


Coffee is the #1 product in Ethiopia. I know these beans are FairTrde as the farmer pushed them up my nose when the car stopped in his village. The bag cost Birr20 - a quid - and would have cost 60 in Addis.

Note that the beans are - err - unprocessed.

Here you winess me roasting the beans according to careful instructions given in Ethiopia. I know I did it right as I asked 3 people and they told me 3 different things.

In the background, you see Normandy Pork in preparation.
And then you grind 'em up.

Suffice to say this did not work AT ALL - there was a subsequent messy phase with a pestle & mortar that you can imagine.
Et voila.

This fairly transparently (pun) didn't work, but it does provide a benchmark of sorts. If I ever get a cup of something remotely like coffee, I'll certianly let you know.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Here are some words I wrote down. There is a story attached to each

  1. Friends hold hands
  2. Beasts of burden
  3. Shanty satellites
  4. Churches and mosques
  5. Showshops
  6. Tyres
  7. Oranges and chocolate
  8. Cobbles (D)
  9. Hayricks and mobile phone masts
  10. Bilharzia
  11. Camels
  12. Customs
  13. Dashen beer
  14. Shoulder shake
  15. BPR
  16. Flowers on the table
  17. Student Services donkey
  18. Casettes
  19. Bajaj
  20. Power cuts
  21. Grads teaching
  22. Coffee/tea/water