Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Opposite of Quiche

Tonight at my local pub (the very excellent Royal Oak, well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area), I had a Steak and Ale pie, and very tasty it was too. It was that sort of pie that is no kind of pie at all; the earthernware bowl (filled with juicy steak, mushrooms and a delicious gravy) was topped with a crisp butter pastry sheet.

The more I think on it (and I do think on it, believe you me!), it was more of a - oh, let's call it a lidded soup.

Now, I have nothing against this kind of construction, and am rather fond of them in the right context (which is: on a plate in front of me). But I've developed a lingering suspicion that they're not really pies in the truest sense, where I would expect pastry to form the entire enclosure - the whole house - floor, walls and roof - rather than solely the roof.

It seems to me that in the case of the lidded soup, the pottery is doing the lion's share of the work, but the pastry is somehow getting all the credit (when I originally typed that, it came out as creut. Coincidence or conspiracy?).

I was pondering this injustice, when I realised that it's not so much a soup with a lid, as the precise opposite of quiche.

A quiche, as everyone knows, is a kind of pastry trough - the pastry forms the base and sides of the dish. Essentially, it's a tart, a lidless pie - an open pie, if you will. This is an important thing to realise, as many people will tell you that Real Men Don't Eat Quiche. But call it an open pie and it's a whole different matter.

Once I'd realised that where quiches use pastry to contain the filling, lidded soups use pastry to conceal it, I realised that they're no kind of pie at all. They're anti-quiches.

Still very tasty, though.

Flora's here!

Flora came into my life today.

She's a fixed wheel bicycle that I successfully bought on eBay at the end of last week. Between you and me, I think she's done a bit of living, 'cos she's a bit tired and rough around some of her edges. I reckon she's seen a few things, and been well-loved in her time.

I spent a bit of time putting her back together, as she'd arrived all dismantled and squeezed into a surprisingly-small box. Next it's off to the bike shop to get her trimmed by someone who knows what they're doing. And then I can take her out for a spin!

Oh, and she's a kind of off-purple colour that could never be confused with pink.

A green grasspecker

I just saw a grasspecker.

That's a woodpecker, complete with green suit and red cap, plying his trade not on a tree (as per), but on the ground.

How very odd.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Are you a loud-mouthed racist bigot?

Why not come to Sauna World at Coral Reef?

You can lounge about like a lord, sharing your tedious small-minded views with everyone else - whether they want to hear them or not!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The Single Speed Challenge

So, I've been thinking about buying a fixed-wheel bicycle for some time. I like the simplicity of fixies, with no gearing or derallieurs or the like. I like the difficult-to-steal nature of them, the purity of the concept. In fact, I've been bidding unsuccessfully for them on eBay for a while now. Not that I'm miffed about it, or anything.

Anyway, today, just to see how it felt - just for shits and giggles, you might say - I cycle-commuted (that's cycled both to and from work) using only one gear. There I was on my cheap and cheerful Saracen Tour, using neither the lovely Campag integrated gear shifters, nor the Shimano gear mechs. I left 12 of the 13 available gear ratios unexplored (interestingly, although there are 16 possible combinations of cogs, there are only 13 distinct gear ratios).

Why? Well since you ask, in that half-bored tone of voice, I was experimenting with the only-one-gear concept, just to see how it felt.

It felt pretty good :-)

For anyone that is remotely interested I used a 39/21, giving me around a 50 inch gear - a very easy gear.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Today, I saved a life

I just saved a pheasant's life.

Although it's probably more accurate to say that I spared his life. He wasn't in any danger that he needed to be saved from, except from me and the car I was driving at the time of the incident.

Actually, perhaps spared is a bit too grand a word to describe the fact that I applied my right foot to the middle pedal with sufficient speed and force to prevent a collision between the desperate-looking pheasant and my dirty-red car.

Either way, I don't remember hearing a squawk of thanks. Honestly, pheasants today, eh?

In the event, he decided to stop by the side of the road and let me go on my way before he continued his own journey. Perhaps I had nothing to do with it after all.

Monday, 2 July 2007

A very unusual week

This has been the strangest week of my life so far (wait, is that "so far" redundant?).

The strangeness has been due to reasons that are in that half of my life that is not remembered here.

And so, gentle reader, that is all you get.

Nine counties in a day

Well, maybe eight and a half.


Counties I have seen today (pretty much in the order visited):



  • Bedfordshire

  • Hertfordshire

  • Buckinghamshire

  • Berkshire

  • Wiltshire

  • Gloucestershire

  • Avon

  • Somerset (but only very briefly)

  • London (I still object to calling London a county)