# Friday, 26 August 2011

article-1313662945355-0D75FAA600000578-757529_466x636If your painting ability is questionable then there could still be hope. Perhaps you might not make a major exhibit but you may someday produce something that could go on display in the Museum of Bad Art. Masterpieces on display there include this reproduction of the Mona Lisa and are mainly rescued from bins or donated by art critics. The works must be original, sincere and interesting and they must try to communicate something, even if we are not sure what that something is. The museum based in Boston Massachusetts was opened by Scott Wilson and now has three separate galleries attracting 8,000 visitors a year. I feel a masterpiece coming on.

posted on Friday, 26 August 2011 11:52:26 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

In one of the more bizarre stories I have come across recently, a man was convicted of drink driving a motorised beer cooler. The beer cooler was strapped to a 50cc scooter and had been purchased online. It seems the man had assembled the cooler whilst sampling a few beers and then taken it for a test drive, when he was promptly stopped for being drunk. He was sentenced with a ten month ban and an AUS$500 fine.

posted on Friday, 26 August 2011 11:48:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 25 August 2011

Goats Cheese TartLast weekend we had a rare opportunity to take a break from decorating for a lunch date. The occasion was a friends birthday and it took us to The Belvedere restaurant in Holland Park, West Kensington. Having not been to the restaurant before I was impressed with the surroundings, a rare island of green in the centre of London. The restaurant itself has a outdoor terrace for when the weather is good and has quite a varied menu. We chose from the Sunday lunch menu which is priced at a fairly reasonable £27.50 for three courses.

I started with the goats cheese tart with red onion marmalade and balsamic dressing (pictured) which was wonderful. The sharpness of the balsamic vinegar with the flavours of the rocket salad and goats cheese finished with the sweetness of red onion and the crisp pastry of the tart was perfect. This is certainly something I will be trying at home. For the main course I choose the roast rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and red wine sauce. Whilst the food was nicely presented I found the beef tasted as though it had been reheated, the roast potatoes were a little on the hard side as was the Yorkshire pudding. This course whilst adequate for a pub lunch didn’t really meet my expectations of a more superior restaurant. For dessert I chose the apple crumble. This had a really good flavour with the slight sharpness of the apple and light spices contrasting with the sweetness of the crumble. My only complaint would be that it was little dry without the addition of a little cream or ice cream which would have greatly improved the dish. In all I was satisfied with the meal but felt it didn’t quite meet the expectations set by the pristine surroundings and atmosphere of the restaurant. I have certainly had better lunches but would come back here to sample some of the other dishes on the menu.

posted on Thursday, 25 August 2011 11:13:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article otters are now living in every county in England again. The otter population appears to have recovered from the brink of extinction. Recently two otters were spotted  on the rivers Medway and Eden in Kent, previously the last UK county without otters. Otters have also been seen in places where they have not been spotted since the industrial revolution such as Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. The increase in numbers signifies that Britain's rivers are becoming cleaner than before so is also good news for other wildlife.

posted on Thursday, 25 August 2011 09:36:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 24 August 2011

This week has brought the first corn from the allotment. So far I have eaten them boiled on the cob with a nob of butter but with plenty more coming will no doubt be looking for new corn recipes soon. I do plan to freeze about half of the crop if I can so I have plenty of veg to see me through the winter.

posted on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 10:13:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to recent research which suggests exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your life expectancy by as much as three years. Scientists found that exercising for 15 minutes could reduce death rates by as much as 4% with more vigorous activity for shorter periods of time having the same effect as less intensive exercise carried out for longer. Looks like I better dig the exercise bike out then.

posted on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 10:10:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This is an interesting idea it’s a special set of traffic lights that are being installed for a colony of bats. The bats live in a tunnel in Oxfordshire which is also used by commuter trains. The lights are being installed as an early warning system to let the bats know when a train is approaching so that they have time to move out of the way. It is natural for bats to avoid bright light so it is hoped that the trial of traffic light system will prove successful. If it works it will enable a second train service to run between Oxford and London.

posted on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 10:31:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you are concerned about which is the healthiest ice cream this summer (personally I am not) then you might find this article interesting. It looks at many of the top brands and gives them points depending on how healthy they are. The Solero Berry Explosion for example is given 8 out 10 for being a reasonably healthy choice as it is nearly 50% fruit in the sorbet and the crisp coating. A Mr Whippy flake gets 5 out of 10 as the ice cream has lots of air pumped into it making it waistline friendly, and if you leave out the flake it has 50 less calories, but lets face it, we all want to have a flake. A Wall’s Mini Feast scores 1 out of 10 because the combination of chocolate flavour and mint ice cream has more saturated fat than two quarter pounders. It’s all quite interesting but I don’t really think about whether an ice cream is healthy or not. As they are an occasional treat I am well aware they are likely to be bad for me but they are nice Smile

posted on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 10:28:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 22 August 2011

According to this article the latest offering from Dominos pizza is it’s new gourmet range. The range is designed to appeal to the more discerning pizza lover and includes the Pizza Rustica, Pizza Firenze and Pizza Florentine. In this article they are put to the test. Domino’s luxury range claims to offer “a host of mouthwatering new toppings on a fresh thin-crust base". They don’t fare too badly in the taste test but seem to fail mainly on not offering authentic ingredients, using bacon instead of Parma ham on the Pizza Rustica for example and lacking spinach on the Pizza Florentine. I’m not really sure, however, what you can expect from a £15 mass produced pizza. Having not tried them I can’t pass judgement myself but it’s clear Domino’s are trying to capture a more premium market. Personally I would rather make a pizza at home and cook it my stone bake pizza oven. It always taste great and I can usually make a couple of pizzas for under £5.

posted on Monday, 22 August 2011 09:49:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 21 August 2011

article-2026611-0D72D88400000578-534_306x423article-2026611-0D72D8D300000578-969_306x423These kitties are the stars of a new book called Fashion cats. The book has been created by Japanese designer Takako Iwasa who came up with the idea after dressing her cats up in various outfits. The cats can be seen wearing costumes from period dress to a Harry Potter Hogwart’s uniform. All I can say is they must be very patient cats mine would take my hand off if I tried to do this to them and quite rightly so, I would deserve it.

posted on Sunday, 21 August 2011 12:23:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 20 August 2011


These interesting looking yellow raspberries will soon be on sale at Tesco. Pictured here next to the normal red variety the champagne raspberry as it has been called has a sweet taste with less sharpness than the red one. They are grown by a producer in Berkshire and the colour comes from natural pigments which are normally hidden by the red hue in normal red raspberries. The fruit will be trialled in 10 stores in the South East but could be available nationwide next year if it proves to be successful.

posted on Saturday, 20 August 2011 12:01:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article our native birds are facing an increased threat from malaria. It seems mosquitoes are doing particularly well in the UK due to the warm and wet conditions. It is this rise that is leading to increased cases of malaria in birds. Around 30 species of birds are affected and growing numbers are dying. It is thought that 30% of UK house sparrows are infected with malaria compared with 10% in 1990. Two thirds of tawny owls are affected and 15% of great tits. The disease whilst not always fatal does now appear to be a significant factor in the decline of our birds. Whilst this type of disease can not be transmitted to humans the latest analysis carried out on malaria infection rates suggest that increases in global temperatures could eventually lead to a return of human malaria to northern Europe.

posted on Saturday, 20 August 2011 11:59:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 19 August 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests they could be extinct within 15 years. They have suffered a dramatic decline over the past century and it is estimated there are now around one million hedgehogs in Britain, a decline of about 25% over ten years. Reasons for the decline include a reduction in habitat in the countryside and the use of pesticides which eliminate much of their food sources such as caterpillars and beetles. Hedgehogs are also faced with numerous dangers in residential areas such as rat poison, strimming and mowing as well as around 50,000 hedgehogs being run down by motorists every year. To help hedgehogs you can provide food and water, use wildlife friendly slug pellets and remove trailing garden netting.

posted on Friday, 19 August 2011 09:35:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This is an interesting idea to help cope with the stress of the daily commute. Punch bags on train platforms. This one has been installed at the Xujiahui subway station in Shanghai and customers are encouraged to take out their frustrations on the punch bag rather than the the staff. Whether or not it works is debatable. I wonder whether South Eastern might look into adding a few of these?

posted on Friday, 19 August 2011 09:32:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback