February 9, 2012
Probably not…

"I wonder if there’s a dating website with only Irish ginger men on it… That only I’m allowed access to"
- Housemate

February 9, 2012

This is one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen…

February 6, 2012
Deported…

I just failed the practice UK citizenship test with a score of 63%… I know this test is old news, but I’ve only just got round to taking a look at it. It seems that an inability to answer questions such as:

How many people under 19 are there in the UK?

a) 13 million
b) 14 million
c) 15 million 
d) 16 million

renders me quintessentially un British. Perhaps I should have my passport thrown in the fire?

I’d have thought better questions would be things like:

What is the appropriate action when an old person jumps the que at Tesco?

a) Steal their pension. 
b) Sneak a look at what’s in their basket and judge them for buying barn eggs.
c) Tut noisily with other customers.
d) Confront them and inform them where they can find the back of the line.

or…

What is the appropriate action when someone walks into you?

a) Shout
b) Punch them
c) Apologise

T.

 

February 5, 2012

(Source: faceobok)

January 19, 2012
Societies…

I’ve just moved out of my parents house. My my what a stressful experience, but it has had interesting aspects, in particular the plunge we all took back to about 1930, before television and broadband routers. Today however, the man from Virgin Media came and shuffled us back into 2012…

In the evening conversation was the source of entertainment, supplemented by a healthy glug of red wine. However, being one of the funemployed unemployed young millions, the days are rather harder to fill, there are only so many covering letters it’s possible to write before they start to read closer to desperate pleading than a coherent concise explanation of what you would bring to a role.

As a result I have taken to reading the broadsheet newspapers cover to cover, and there is so much good stuff out there that you never know about unless it’s in The Week. My pick of the day are two absolutely wonderful organisations…

1) First, hats off to these Geezers:

"It’s simple: the Pylon Appreciation Society is a club for people who appreciate electricity pylons. Enthusiasts range from primary school children to retired engineers and include anyone who is interested or inspired by transmission towers."  

And for £15 anyone with an interest in pylons, or probably even if they dont (I can’t believe they’re over subscribed), can join. Isn’t it nice to know that they exist, they love pylons and will scream it from the rooftops.

2) And there’s this lot too:

'A very worthy cause' I hear you scream, and I agree, I hate poor grammer as much as the next geek, but the chief apostrophe advocate made my day by proclaiming himself unable to preside over a Comma Protection Society as he did not have time for “such a commitment” - All that lobbying of London transport to correct its signs must be time consuming in the extreme…

January 9, 2012
Christmas pudding

Twelfth night has been and gone, but it’s the perfect time to start making Christmas pudding for next year, or even the year after if you do it right.

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients

225g suet (vegetarian suet if you like)
225g caster sugar
340g sultanas
225g currants
340g raisins
110g candied peel, chopped
110g white breadcrumbs
110g plain flour
55g flaked almonds
zest of one lemon
1tsp/5g ground cinnamon
1tsp/5g mixed spice
1tsp/5g nutmeg
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients

5 beaten eggs
150ml whiskey/brandy/dark rum before cooking
150ml whiskey/brandy/dark rum after cooking

Cooking, storing and serving.

  1. Grease 4 pints of pudding basins, 2x2 pint, 4x1 pint, 1 pint + 3 pint, 4 pint, you get the idea….
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Stir in the eggs and booze and mix thoroughly.
  4. Spoon the mix into the basins, put a circle of baking paper and a tea towel over each pudding and tie up with string.
  5. Steam for 6 hours. Make sure the water doesn’t boil dry. Use the excess tea towel to pick it up when it’s done.
  6. Leave to cool, remove baking paper and tea towel, add more booze (the same again), recover, leave until christmas day in a cool dry place (or a fridge).
  7. On Christmas day, steam for 2 more hours and serve.
christmas pudding

If you keep it for a long long time, open it every once in a while (5-6 months) and add more alcohol. Make sure it never gets wet or it will go mouldy and become inedible. Happy New Year.

T. xx

December 30, 2011
Paying the government…

Today I’ve tried for the second time to fill in my tax return for last year. I owe them about 100 quid because I was self employed for a bit. No biggie I thought, I’ll leave it until December and it will take an hour or so online. They’re advert said it was easy, right? No. 

First try I hit a wall after 2 minutes. I needed a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) or something, can I get one on the phone? No? Ok I’ll wait for a letter. Letter arrives 10 days later, Christmas delays. 5 more minutes online, another wall, I need an activation code for a self assessment. Can I get one of them online? No. On the phone? No. I have to wait for another piece of paper? Of course. 

The government really doesn’t get the point of using the internet for something like this. The point is it means you can do something now, without waiting for a bit of paper. Particularly important when that thing you’re doing requires a certain amount of psyching up, like checking your online banking when you know your student loan has gone and you’re well overdrawn. Or doing your tax return…

It seems tax does have to be taxing…Third time lucky…. 

December 29, 2011
Sloe Gin…

Sloe gin is one of my favourite things. In small sips and preferably as old as possible. A few years ago I made half a dozen bottles, but on christmas eve the last one got finished, so a few days ago I dug the frozen sloes out of the freezer (picked from the canal near my house - here) and set about making more for next winter.

The first thing to remember about making sloe gin is don’t use the nice stuff. Don’t use the horrible stuff either, somewhere in the middle is perfect. Gordons or a good supermarket own brand. Second, it gets better as it gets older. So make lots and keep it for years.

Once you’ve raided Sainsbury’s for enough gin to keep 18th century London sozzled for a week you’re ready to get started.

This is my recipe for 6 bottles: 

1) Take 3 bottles of gin and 3 empty bottles the same size. 
2) Pour half a bottle of gin into each empty bottle.
3) Add 175g caster sugar to each bottle
4) Top up with sloes (either prick the skins with a needle or freeze them before hand to break the skin)
5) Seal and leave for as long as possible (at least 2 months). Turning every week or so to promote infusion.

*** If you’re not a gin person (I don’t want anyone crying over the death of their hamster 15 years ago) then use vodka. It’s (almost) just as good. ***

T. xx

December 29, 2011
Photographs of the year…

The guardian printed a g2 special today containing their photographs of 2011. Unfortunate for anyone who takes an amazing picture on new years eve, but it contained some crackers:

 

1) The space shuttle Endeavour taking off over Northern Florida. The only known photo of a shuttle launch taken from a commercial airline, taken on an Iphone. Doesn’t that say something wonderful about technology? A mobile phone with a secondary camera function can take one of the best photos of the year, and that means that moments like this aren’t missed.


2) A woman jumps from a burning house into the arms of firemen during the London riots. After being caught in the riots in Brixton myself and then the next night the violence moving to where I live in Ealing I followed the coverage closely. This was undoubtedly the best photo taken throughout.

3) Troops sheltering from the dust storm whipped up by a medivac helicopter in Afghanistan. It’s striking because it’s just so alien. You can’t quite believe it’s taken on earth.

To see some of my photos click here -> (Tim Baker)

December 25, 2011

(via pleatedjeans)

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