Archive for December, 2013

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


December 1, 2013

Reading Eric’s great tale about food had me in mind of a night long ago when I got an insatiable craving for:SCALLOPS >
(Fried potato slices)
By Pete Wood

It came about like this: It was a Friday evening and nine times out of ten I had to work on the following Saturday morning while Brenda, my wife, could usually lig in bed. This weekend it was to be marvelously reversed, for once I didn’t have to work the next day so I could live it up on my home brewed ale while Brenda, who did have to work, needed to have an early night.
Mischievously, I played up the situation a bit of how I hoped she’d enjoy getting up in the morning while I, after a night of debauchery, could fester in bed next morning for as long as I wanted. This was not very wise of me for it naturally put her back up.
Anyway I proceeded to get well stuck into my home brew. It doesn’t taste fantastic – in fact it’s quite horrible but it’s potent stuff and I was soon ‘well oiled’. In fact, it’s quite hard to walk a straight line after a few bottles of my best vintage. This became increasingly apparent on my frequent trips to the garage where I stored the stuff. The garage, which was approached by a path, was also a popular meeting place for slugs and snails. In the early evening I found I could circumnavigate them quite skillfully but after the third or fourth shoeless journey it became more and more difficult cumulating in several unfortunate snails becoming stuck, like black wine gums to the soles of my socks.
Eventually, after a hearty night on the brew I began to feel hungry and scallops came to mind. I’d love some scallops I thought, I haven’t had scallops for ages and the more I thought of them the more urgent became the need. There was a problem: to make scallops I needed use of the chip pan and I’m banned from the chip pan on two accounts: first I’m too fat already and secondly Brenda does not allow me use of the chip pan when I’m drunk as I am likely burn the house down. So I had to wait until she went to bed and in spite of her promise to have an early night she was still prattling around downstairs restricting my access to the chip pan. When it looked finally as she was just about to climb the stairs – enter Paul, our then teenage son who had been to the pub with his mates but he too had an early start in the morning. The one chip he offered me from his visit to the chippy only caused my appetite for the scallops to increase. Well now they both started talking to each other and messing about in general. Have you noticed how folk tend to mess about when you want them out of the way? Get up to bed I was mentally urging and let me get my hands on that chip pan.
Finally, they did go off to bed and out came the old chip pan – better have more oil in than that, I thought, I’m going to have a lot! So I filled up the pan right up with oil (you think it’s going to catch fire, don’t you?) Then I filled a big bowl with my idea of the ingredients for making batter. – I wasn’t sure how to make it so I just slapped in eggs, milk, flour and a bit of water and gave it a good belting until it was swirling over the top of the bowl and onto the units. I’ll clear that up in the morning, I thought. I didn’t really care I was by now feeling profoundly happy. By this time the fat was good and hot – too hot in fact and the smell had reached upstairs:
‘What are you doing down there, you’re burning something aren’t you?’ shrilled a voice from above.
‘No it’s alright love, it’s all under control,’ I lied, trying to waft the smoke out of the open kitchen door. Then I set about cutting the potatoes into rings ready for cooking – I think I should have done this before turning the pan on. So, into the batter with the scallops and ‘slap’ into the hot pan, globules were flying all over the place and welding themselves to things. Another job for the morning, I thought. I added a few onion rings for a bit of variety, ‘slosh’ onto the pan with ‘em. – The following morning there were white encrustations all over the kitchen walls and ceiling.
Finally they were ready for eating, I put them on a plate, sprinkled them liberally with salt – because salt is bad for you too isn’t it? But there’s no point worrying about that; when you have a plate of hot scallops in front of you – you have to go for it, don’t you! So, I plonked myself down with dogs and cat salivating at the mouth each side of the chair and between us, we finished the whole pan full. By this time, it was coming up to one o’clock. Surprisingly the doorbell rang and there was a loud knocking at the door, the dogs started barking, all hell broke loose. Funny time for anyone to be calling I thought as I answered the door. Standing on the doorstep was one of Paul’s mates covered in blood; he’d obviously been involved in some sort of rumble.
‘Is your Paul in?’ he said.
‘Well he is’ I replied ‘but he’s in bed; he has to be up at five thirty in the morning. Do you really want me to get him up?’
‘Na!’ said the lad ‘It’s OK’ and melted into the night as quickly as he had arrived, mopping the blood from his chin.
‘What’s going on?’ yelled the voice from upstairs – folk ringing the bell, knocking at the door, dogs barking at one o’clock in the morning, some early night I’m having!’
‘It’s alright love, everything’s under control,’ l comforted. Nothing seemed a problem with all that homebrew and all those scallops inside me. I made a pot of tea and settled back into the chair to enjoy an old Star Trek video. When I finally dragged myself up to bed – an evening well spent, Brenda was still awake!
Next morning while I was surveying the damage of my night of debauchery, spilt flour and water all over the units, batter spatter on the cooker, Brenda arrived home from work. I could see she was still frazzled by my antics of the previous night.
‘Nice early night I had,’ she went into the rigmarole of the cooking smells and the callers finishing up with ’But do you know what I resented most of all? I’d been in bed for four hours while you created mayhem downstairs, when you finally came to bed you were asleep within thirty seconds and snoring within a minute and I was still awake!

Last month’s pics was: the old Princess Cinema – of fond memories and the currently boarded Shepherd Pub. Full marks for the ones who got it right’

How about this one?
Roundhay Folly005