Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No Problem

It was suggested recently, that this song (written by me some years ago) is no longer relevent. It was written in a time of recession and I guess the sentiments - though replaced by new woes - are not strictly apropos any more. I therefore commend it to the archives, and here for your entertainment.

No Problem
Raymond Lesley

All across the land, shops are closing
People out of work - what is going on?
Busses running late, people have to drive
Trains are breaking down - soon won't run at all

But I say ...
... there's no problem
The politicians told me so
(they said)
We're turning the corner
It'll be OK

Sex is dangerous, there's a virus everywhere
Dope's against the law - what do we do now?
So turn that music down, get your hair cut boy
There's no fun no more - buddy, pass that gun

But he says ...
... there's no problem
The politicians told him so
(they said)
We're turning the corner
It'll be OK

Mysteries abound, like crop circles
There's a UFO - flying round my house
Where do Bic pens go, and plectrums?
Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?

... there's no problem
The politicians told me so
(they said)
We're turning the corner
It'll be OK
It'll be OK

PS: I have had to make one of these lines up, as I can't remember the original.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's cold outside ...

... There's no kind of atmosphere

So Pluto is no longer officially a planet. Hats off to Wikipedia for having their page updated within hours of the decision. Yah-boo sucks to the lead scientist on NASA's robotic mission to Pluto who has "lambasted the ruling", calling it "embarrassing". Only for you, mate. Call it what you like, it's still a bloody great lump of rock some billions of miles* from the Sun - and indeed the Earth - and I'm never likely to go there.

Meanwhile, I can drink my tea, safe in the knowledge that it's good for me. Official. I can't help the nagging suspicion that this research might have been funded by the Tea Council or somesuch. It does gloss over the fact that tea contains tannin and caffeine.

I found this rather fine description of how to control the amount of tannin - and therefore the relaxing effect - in your cup of tea:

How strong is a cup of tea? Some people drink a cup of tea to go to sleep, others to keep awake. Some drink tea to calm their nerves, others for a lift. How can the same beverage possess such opposing qualities? Precisely because tea -- unlike coffee -- can produce both these effects upon the body, it is viewed as a wonder drink.
Tea and coffee both contain the stimulating substance caffeine, but only tea contains both caffeine and tannin. The presence of these chemical compounds together in tea leaves allows tea to act as a calming or exciting agent.

Here is how it works. Once boiling water is poured onto tea leaves, in the first two minutes all the caffeine in the leaves is drawn out. At this point tea is at its most stimulating. Only during the next minute win tannin gradually be drawn out of the tea leaves. This will not only cancel out the effects of the caffeine but after five minutes will actually make a relaxing, calming tea.

Well there you go. I'm off to the kitchen ...

* or Kilometers, if you prefer .. it's still a very long way

Friday, August 18, 2006

Goodbye Blackberry Way ...*

Quick! Fetch the punnet! No, not the pun net .. the punnet! The bumper crop of excellent blackberries ain't going to last long in this weather!

The point, if it's possible to extract one amongst all this punctuation, is that the track from round t'corner across the neighbouring farmland is lined with blackberry bushes groaning under the weight of an impressive harvest-in-waiting. The kids love it. Yesterday after work - when we were walking the dog - they gathered two great handfulls each and ended up smeared in reddish juice and full of fresh fruit. We keep meaning to make a backberry-and-apple-crumble, but haven't quite managed it - yet.

... Sure to want me back another day

* well, not exactly goodbye .. but it's the only song I could think of with "blackberry" in. Yes, I know Google would have found me "Blackberry" by the Black Crowes, but I didn't think of that one .. which is a pity 'cos that fits the post better.

what? it's a perfectly good word for the purpose .. though I can't find its etymology right now. Go read a dictionary. Then tell me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fly me to the moon ...

We enjoyed a long weekend. No work, all play. Very enjoyable it was, too.

Firstly, there was the Heights of Abraham. A cable-car thingy takes you up to a rather impressive peak, with assorted fun at the top - including a falconry display, a cave-cum-lead -mine and a cup of tea.

We also finally got to visit the National Space Centre, which I'd recommend to anyone above the age of perhaps 3. Our youngest is 3; he did enjoy some parts of it but most were above his head - though he didn't get bored.

Finally, having deposited eldest daughter and friend at Alton Towers, we explored Dovedale. I have also recently replaced my lost digital video camera gadget, so this gives me the ideal excuse to post a piccy, too:

Yes, yes, we're shameless tourists - but the sun came out and it wasn't that busy .. so we crossed about 5 times in all. Not one toe in the water - which I think is pretty good going. To be honest, it's fairly easy for someone with an adult stride - but a bit more tricky for a 3-year-old [which is why I've got a slight backache this morning ;^) ].

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hi fiddle-de-de ...

... an actor's life for me!

Well, all-round entertainer perhaps. That doesn't really scan. But I'm digressing: I timidly joined in down t'pub a couple of nights ago to see what the local folk club does of a Tuesday. Seems they sit around singing and stuff. I might go again ...

There seems to be a hotspot of thespian - nay performing arts - societies round our way. In fact, we're considering joining one. This evening's entertainment will be ... down the pub with a local theatrical society. I'll let you know how we get on.

"This weather, eh?" "Pfff - blimey!"
Yup, it's media silly season again. Only The Register seems to be capable of anything interesting to read recently. I do like the little dig at the fabled absence of irony from the US dictionary in their article on "Idioms wilting in the heat". Perhaps their suggestion on "The colour of irony" should be tabled at the W3C.

That's quite enough linkage for one post. Break a leg ...

Monday, August 07, 2006

There's a voice that keeps on calling me ...

Just had an IM chat with an old colleague - and I'd like to think a friend. He's currently in Bogotá, Colombia. Isn't technology wonderful? Memo to me: must get Skype.

Reminded me of an Irish blessing, which I'm rather fond of:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

A wonderful sentiment - and well put.

Down the road, that's where I'll always be ...