# Wednesday, 22 August 2007
I just opened a bottle of Las Casas de Vaqueria Merlot 2006. The wine is from Chile and is 13.5% volume, so stronger than it first appears. The wine whilst not having a great deal of aroma to it is surprisingly fruity. It has a really pleasant taste of plums and blackberries and is a particularly smooth wine. At only £5.99 a bottle this is a really nice wine and certainly one that I will buy again. The only problem with it is once you have opened it, you will find it hard not to finish the whole bottle.

posted on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 19:43:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I read this article about a virtual farmers market called localfoodshop.com and thought it was a really good idea. The virtual market is not live yet but is due to launch next month. The site will allow farmers to sell their produce online for a £10 a month subscription fee. The farmers will keep 93% of whatever they make on the website, which is currently much more than they make selling their produce through the supermarket.

The reason I liked the idea, was because I like to try and buy all my produce through local farmers if at all possible, mainly because the quality is better and the food is fresher. However, it isn’t always possible. We do have farmers markets in the area but generally if I need something quickly I find myself having to buy it in Tesco. Customers will be able to search the website by postcode to find suppliers near them. The website will also encourage producers in the same area to combine deliveries, making the service more environmentally friendly. I am waiting for the launch of the site with interest and will certainly be giving it a go, so watch this space for the review.

posted on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 13:31:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 21 August 2007
I read this article about a new wine therapy being practised in Ukraine. It is meant to be able to relieve problems such as impotence and heart disease. It includes a medical examination after which the patients are advised on what treatment they should receive. The treatment involves one of seven different wine cocktails which includes Crimean wine and mixed herbs. You then have to take the prescription three times a day for a week or two. It all sounds very interesting but I am a little sceptical as to whether it works.

posted on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 12:19:50 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 20 August 2007
People in Anglesey have been encouraged to look out for grey squirrels. The squirrels are currently being culled as part of a project to help conserve the endangered red squirrel. There is a special phone line set up for people that spot a grey squirrel. The aim is to eradicate the grey squirrel from the Ireland completely to enable the population of red squirrels to survive.

posted on Monday, 20 August 2007 19:44:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
I made these rather yummy poached pears the other day. It was more of an experiment than anything else, but they came out rather well. Basically I peeled the pears and cut them in half. Then I poured half a bottle of red wine into a pan, this is a good excuse to drink the other half of the bottle. Then I added a spoonful of cinnamon, some mixed spice and the pears and just left them to simmer for around an hour. Next just take the pears out and turn the heat up a bit on the sauce until it thickens a bit. Then pour it over the pears.

posted on Monday, 20 August 2007 18:11:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I just opened a bottle of Spier Shiraz 2005. The wine is from the Cape of Good Hope. It has a fruity smell and a full bodied colour. It doesn’t taste as fruity as it smells but has a plum like flavour with oak undertones and a hint of spice. At only £4.99 it’s a good wine for the price.

posted on Monday, 20 August 2007 14:44:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 19 August 2007
I made this lasagne the other day and although I didn’t make it completely from scratch it was still a lot nicer than a shop brought one. Basically I fried the lamb mince and added a pre made Ragu tomato sauce. Then I used a pre made Ragu white sauce. I started off with a layer of the mince mixture, then a layer of pasta sheets, then a layer of white sauce. Next I added more pasta sheets and a generous layer of mozzarella cheese. I repeated the layers twice, finishing with mozzarella on the top and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Then I baked it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Using the pre made sauces may be cheating but it cuts down on the preparation time, meaning the dish only takes about 20 minutes to prepare instead of the 40 minutes it would take if you made it entirely from scratch. This means its ideal for a mid week meal when you don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen. Below are the pictures before it went into the oven and after it was cooked.

posted on Sunday, 19 August 2007 14:38:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A few weeks ago we had the cat who predicts deaths. Well if cats can do it so can dogs. Scamp has been dubbed the dog of doom after it emerged he can predict the death of patients at a nursing home. Scamp usually appears a couple of hours before a patient dies and waits in their rooms until they die. So far he has predicted forty deaths.

posted on Sunday, 19 August 2007 11:27:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 18 August 2007

Rory has been busy with work this week, so has been working from home most evenings. This means his cat Willow has not been getting as much attention as usual. Generally when this happens she drives us mad by running around the house howling at the top of her voice. As you can see Rory has come up a solution to keep Willow happy. A well placed cushion and she settles down for the evening, whilst Rory can still get his work done.

posted on Saturday, 18 August 2007 12:30:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 17 August 2007
Everyone knows that otters love water, right? Everyone that seems except Torrent the otter. He was rescued in Watchet in Somerset during last month’s storms and it appears he can’t swim. Torrent appears to have a problem with his fur, instead of becoming slick when it gets wet, instead air bubbles form in it. This could be the reason that he is reluctant to take to the water.

posted on Friday, 17 August 2007 19:36:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
A female golden eagle in the Scottish Borders has been poisoned. This crime is devastating to the species because this was the last breeding pair of Golden Eagles in the Scottish Borders. The pair also had a chick that they were feeding; it is now also unlikely to survive.

posted on Friday, 17 August 2007 19:34:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
The traditional British pub is under threat from breweries trying to cash in on the property boom. That’s according to a report by the BBC. Pub closures are currently running at 56 every month. Many are due to a loophole in the law that allowed developers to demolish pubs without the need for planning permission. To turn a pub into a residential dwelling, planning permission must be got from the local authority. In addition to this the owners must prove they have made an effort to sell the pub as a business. Despite this local people have claimed the pub owners often price pubs unrealistically or deliberately run them into the ground because it is more profitable to sell them to property developers.

I recently went back to my home town of Sevenoaks and was greatly saddened to see that The Farmers where I have spent many a happy evening, no longer stands. The 150 year old pub was demolished despite having a thriving local community and despite local petitions with over 2000 signatures to try and save it. All because the company that owned it wanted to cash in on the sale of the site which will now become flats. The Campaign for real ale has called for new housing developments to include a pub, it will be interesting to see whether this leads to new premises being built. Sadly its too late for The Farmers.

The Farmers as it was in Sevenoaks Kent.
posted on Friday, 17 August 2007 16:44:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 16 August 2007
An ancient forest of cypress trees has been discovered in Hungary. The trees are around eight million years old and were found in an open coal mine. It is thought they were preserved by sand while the rest of the forest turned to coal around them. Scientists are now trying to find a way to preserve them before the trees turn to dust.

posted on Thursday, 16 August 2007 16:39:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Tigger the cat had been missing for eight weeks when he found an incredible 130 miles away from his home. Tigger who lives in South Wales was eventually found in Hampshire. It appears that Tigger was found in a village not far from his home and then found some new owner who took him to Hampshire. When they took him to the vet for a check up Tigger was scanned, his microchip found and he was later reunited with his owners. This is another good example of the importance of getting your cat’s microchipped.

posted on Thursday, 16 August 2007 16:34:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Two Morrisons stores could be responsible for an E coli outbreak in Scotland which has left one person dead and two seriously ill. It is thought the outbreak is linked to meat brought from the cold meat counter of two Morrisons shops in Paisley. The health board has warned people not to eat meat brought from the Lonend and Falside Road store in the past few weeks.

posted on Thursday, 16 August 2007 08:08:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 15 August 2007
I read this article about a double nosed dog that has been found in Boliva. The dog is a rare breed and due to its heightened sense of smell could be used to sniff out land mines or narcotics. This dog called Xingu is smaller than other dogs but makes up for it by being rather aggressive. There are also other double nosed dogs living in the area.

posted on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 19:09:08 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Pygmy elephants in Borneo are under threat because of the loss of their natural habitat. There are currently only around 1,000 of the elephants left in Sabah which is much less than previously thought. The elephants depend of the forest for their survival but over the past forty years 40% of the forest cover has been lost due to logging and human settlements. Environmentalists are calling for measures to save the elephants remaining habitat.

posted on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 17:40:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Its good news for the black footed ferret, North Americas most endangered mammal. A key population that had only five individuals in 1997 has now grown to more than 220. This massive rise is attributed to the large prairie dog population in Wyoming which is the ferret’s main source of food.

posted on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 15:12:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A homeowner who awoke to find a burglar in his house could be arrested after the burglar fell from a window. Patrick Walsh startled the burglar who fell out a top floor window and later died. It is not yet clear whether the home owner will face any charges. Stories like this make me rather angry, yes its unfortunate the burglar fell and died but he really should not have been in the house in the first place. It seems we should welcome burglars into our house and make sure they are safe whilst they are stealing our hard earned possessions. After all burglars have rights too. In my opinion A burglar gives up all his rights when he enters a property illegally and the home owner should have every right to defend themselves from this kind of intrusion.

posted on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 14:51:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback