Sunday, May 31, 2020

Wine Territory

A treat for Saturday night, this heavy hitting DIPA (Double-IPA) from Cheltenham haze-bomb masters DEYA. This was rich, thick, flavorsome and typical of the DEYA house-style, utterly scrumptious with some cheese and bread. I only drank one 500 ml can since at 8% ABV this was knocking at the door of wine territory, but fortunately I have a couple more stashed away for June!

Saturday, May 30, 2020


Great news this weekend, my local craft brewers Siren have opened their tap yard for takeaways, that means collections and growler fills. For the uninitiated a "growler" (as seen above) is a container for transporting and keeping beer in. Mine is a branded Siren one and holds 2 litres. Since it was such a lovely afternoon yesterday I grabbed a full one of a beer called "Refractions" which is a hazy 4% pale ale flavoured with delicious American hops that give it mango, tropical fruit and citrus flavours, the beer was probably only a day or two old, so fresh and chilled, perfect for sitting in the sun and, well, chilling!

Friday, May 29, 2020


So this is the "great America" they've been chanting about, MAGA really?

Friday Smirk

J&M pointing out that many of our religious brothers and sisters like to say they're rational and skeptical people, but, when it comes to those deeply ingrained and often childhood indoctrinated beliefs, they always fall back to the supernatural when the intellectual or physical going gets tough.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Zest for life

Here's a cracking beer I had last weekend, it's slightly off the beaten track and is made by my local craft brewery Siren. It's called "A Tribe Called Zest" (hat tip) and is done in a style known as a "Gose" pronounced "go'za" The style originates in Germany (Goslar) and is usually done with a malt bill of roughly 50% malted wheat and 50% malted barley (pilsner malt) or other adjuncts, sometimes salt and coriander are added and the final brew is inoculated with Lactobacillus bacteria that lower the PH and make the beer taste sour. It's a reasonably common style in Belgium and the low-countries, the Germans and Belgians often make Witbier's this way.

This particular example has the additions of Papaya and Lime which gives a delightful citrus background, it's a little bit like Margarita flavoured beer (with the salt!) so refreshing in the warm weather, and so moreish! Luckily I have one left so I might treat myself tomorrow if the sunshine holds out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Still only Wednesday

I always find that with "complex" situations it's often handy to write yourself a little list of what you know. This allows you to review those facts and take a broader, rounder perspective rather than fall into the trap of basing your evaluation on only the latest sound-bites.

So let's give it a try..

1. Dominic Cummings, one of the few men to have ever been found in contempt of Parliament, moved onto contempt for everything
2. When the story broke, and he was accused of doing things that look bad, he said he didn't care how things looked
3. Then ministers said press outrage meant nothing, only the opinion of the people mattered
4. Then polls showed 52% of people wanted Cummings to resign
5. So Cummings decided to show the public some respect, by turning up 30 minutes late to make his explanation speech
6. He began by saying he wasn't speaking for the govt, which must have been why he was in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street
7. Then the self-styled "enemy of the Islington media elite" said his wife, who works in the media, had been ill in their house in Islington
8. But she was only a "bit ill", so he popped home, got himself nice and infected, then went back to Downing Street for meetings with lots of vitally important people in the middle of a national crisis
9. But then he got ill too, so then it was suddenly important
10. Sadly he couldn't get childcare in London, even though 3 immediate relatives live within 3 miles of his London home
11. So because he was carrying a virus that can cross a 2-metre distance and kill, he immediately locked himself in a car with his wife and child for 5 hours
12. He then drove 264 miles without stopping in a Land Rover that gets maybe 25 MPG
13. Then the scourge of the metropolitan elites made himself extra-relatable by describing his family's sprawling country estate, multiple houses and idyllic woodlands
14. He explained that he'd warned about a coronavirus years ago in his blog
15. Then it was revealed he actually secretly amended old blogs after he'd returned from Durham
16. And anyway, if he'd warned years ago, why was he so massively unprepared and slow to react?
17. Then he said he was too ill to move for a week
18. But in the middle of that week, presumably with "wonky eyes", he drove his child to hospital
19. Then he said that to test his "wonky eyes" he put his wife and child in a car and drove 30 miles on public roads
20. Then it was revealed his wife drives, so there was no reason for the "eye test", cos she could have driven them back to London
21. Then it was revealed the "eye test" trip to a local tourist spot took place on his wife's birthday
22. Then cameras filmed as he threw a cup onto the table, smirked and left
23. And then it emerged his wife had written an article during the time in Durham, describing their experience of being in lock-down in London, which you'd definitely do if you weren't hiding anything
24. A govt scientific advisor said "more people will die" as a result of what Cummings had done.
25. Boris Johnson said he "wouldn't mark Cummings " down for what he'd done.
26. The Attorney General said it was ok to break the law if you were acting on instinct
27. The Health Minister said it was OK to endanger public health if you meant well
28. Johnson said Cummings' "story rings true" because his own eyesight was fine before coronavirus, but now he needs glasses
29. But in an interview with The Telegraph 5 years ago, Johnson said he needed glasses cos he was "blind as a bat"
30. Michael Gove went on TV and said it was "wise" to drive 30 miles on public roads with your family in the car to test your eyesight
31. The DVLA tweeted that you should never, ever do this
32. Then ministers started claiming Cummings had to go to Durham because he feared crowds attacking his home. The streets were empty because we were observing the lock-down.
33. And then a minister finally resigned
34. Steve Baker, Richard Littlejohn, Isabel Oakeshott, Tim Montgomerie, Jan Moir, Ian Dale, Julia Hartley Brewer, 30 Tory MPs, half a dozen bishops and the Daily Mail said Cummings should go
35. The govt suggested we can ignore them, because they're all left-wingers
36. Then a vicar asked Matt Hancock if other people who had been fined for doing exactly what Cummings did would get their fine dropped. Matt Hancock said he'd suggest it to the govt
37. The govt said no within an hour. Cummings' statement had lasted longer than that
38. And if the guidelines were so clear, why were people being stopped and fined for driving to find childcare in the first place?
39. Then a new poll found people who wanted Cummings sacked had risen from 52% to 57%
40. Cummings is considered the smartest man in the govt
41. And in the middle of all this, in case we take our eye off it: we reached 60,000 deaths. One of the highest per capita death rates worldwide.
42. We still face Brexit under this lot.
43. It's 4 years until an election
44. And it's still only Wednesday

Not sure that helps...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Here's a picture of the Wolfe Galaxy, it's a disc Galaxy and it's massive! Even larger than the Milky Way (i.e. the Galaxy we inhabit) and is a whopping 12.3 Billion light years away from Earth; that's even further than Dominic Cummings would drive his plague-riddled family for a weekend break on his birthday! Of course, perspective can be a deceptive thing sometimes, the disc of this galaxy (named after astronomer Arthur Wolfe) looks static but is spinning at a rate of 270 kilometres per second! That's about the rate that this Tory cabinet seems to generate lies and excuses, but much like honestly tackling the serious issues of the day, progress, from where we all stand appears glacial.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Belgian treats

Since it was so sunny today I thought I'd crack open a little Belgian number I'd been saving. It's a style of beer called a "Gueuze" and it's made by allowing naturally occurring yeasts to ferment a beer and then aging it. The final product is usually made by blending beers of different ages and allowing a second fermentation to take place in the bottle. It's a complex drink, more like scrumpy cider than beer but certainly lot's going on! Quite sour and acidic and very refreshing, reminded me of old champagne, must seek out a few different producers and try some variations of this (sometimes different fruits are added etc.), it's an interesting ale with a great tradition.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Nothing on the telly

Is it just me or is there literally nothing interesting on the telly at the moment apart from mass angst about Dominic Cummings?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Pretty Norwegians

Had a couple of tins with my Son after dinner last night as we played cricket in the garden, this one was particularly nice. It's by Norwegian brewers Lervig and is a soft hazy 6% IPA loaded up with fruity American hops but also quite malt-forward too. It's called "Tasty Juice" and I've had it a couple of times before in craft beer bars up in London but you don't often see it in cans, a pretty 500ml can at that!

Friday, May 22, 2020


There's a thread going on on Twitter that caught my eye, the premise is simple, change one letter of a well known band name that ruins it.. some of the responses are hilarious, so much so I felt it was my responsibility to repeat them here..

- Massive Attic
- Rash
- Blank Sabbath
- Guns and Noses
- Shavin' Stevens
- Pimply Red
- Pussycat Dulls
- Public Enema
- Nappy Mondays

... and so on :)

and one more for the road..

- The Flaking Lips

Holiday planning

I thought I'd put together a little 2020 Calendar, just to help with holiday planning...

January – Australia is on fire
February – Most of us are underwater
March – Covid19 pandemic
April – Global recession
May – Giant Murder Hornets arrive
June – Covid19 mutates, becomes 10 times more lethal
July – Apes with guns on horseback take over
August – Godzilla
September – Rushed Covid19 vaccination goes wrong and starts a zombie apocalypse
October – Underground crab people emerge and eat all the apes and zombies
November – New crab overlords infect us with a brand new new coronavirus
December – The rapture happens


Friday Smirk

Funny cartoon, probably not such a funny topic though. Anyone else get the feeling that in the last week or two quite a lot of people have lost the "lock-down plot", in that they're just starting to ignore it all and prematurely pretend that life is normal and social distancing doesn't matter if a) you're having fun in the sunshine or b) somewhere scenic or c) in a supermarket..

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Never had it so good

We're all sometimes guilty of viewing the past through rose-tinted spectacles, it makes us feel good about whatever troubles we have in the present, such is Human nature. This is even more likely in the current pandemic, our lives have been disrupted in a serious way, people are dying and normal life is on hold for an unknown period of time, we all feel like if we could rewind the clock we would. 

However when you think about it the past may not actually have been the bed of roses that we sometimes think it was, take someone born in the year 1900 in a Western country like our own, what life changing events would they have experienced and how do they compare with the ones we have.

On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years.

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33 years old.

Many countries nearly collapse, along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish.

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.

On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Only luck and some (rare) rational leadership prevented that from happening.

When you turn 75, and reach average life expectancy, the Vietnam War finally ends.

I hate to say it but I reckon us boomers haven't had it so bad..

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Midweek Mirth

J&M pointing out that which has been pointed out many times in the last 2000 years to over-keen Christians, you can't use fictional literature as proof your unfounded beliefs are true, the rest of us need evidence old beans, evidence!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pipe dreams

Here's something weird and wonderful for a sunny Tuesday morning, turns out this gas pipe was run through an early Saxon grave-site (previously undiscovered); wow, what are the odds? 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Weekend Wine

No wine for us this weekend, not quite sure why, must make amends next weekend.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Cheeky beer

Great weather yesterday afternoon, so we decamped to the garden to play some cricket and cracked open a couple of beers. This one from my local craft brewery Siren collaborating with US firm Green Cheek (Los Angeles) blew my socks off. A fabulous old skool West Coast IPA, citrus for days, bitter with a glorious soft mouthfeel an ABV of 7% but not so you'd notice. This example is version one of the beer which came out earlier in the year, since then Siren have re-brewed the beer and tweaked the hops slightly swapping Sabro for El Dorado, should be getting some delivered today so it'll be interesting to see how that's worked out, hopefully version two is even better although it's hard to see how.

Here's our makeshift wicket, defensive shots only of course, our neighbors wouldn't appreciate too many cover drives, anyway, I'd forgotten how much I enjoy bowling and trying to work out where best to place the ball to get the most random bounce, great fun.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday Smirk

Tee he, another corker from J&M, certainly made me smirk on a fine Friday morning..

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Boris daydreams

I bet the PR weasels in our Government are hoping that the Southern Hemisphere countries start stepping up to the plate soon and overtake the UK in the race to the bottom that is the C19 death statistics. Brazil looks like it might be a useful challenger along with the bigger states in Africa and South Asia like India. Watched a program on South Korea on TV last night and how they dealt with this pandemic, clue, a lot f'ing better than the UK! Shocking and sobering in many ways.

Midweek Mirth

I know it's Thursday but it feels like midweek, in fact, I haven't got a clue what day it feels like..

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Appointed by God

I see that a poll last year showed that 30% of Protestants in the USA believed that Trump was appointed by God! You may think that such a bat-shit crazy idea would never catch on and people couldn't possibly be that stupid, well, only in America! Apparently the figure has risen to 50%, yes, HALF of the (white) Protestant population believe that a money grabbing, adulterous, misogynistic huckster is, in fact, the representative on Earth of the supposed arbiter of morality and creator of the universe. Well, all I can say is "Thor help us"! 

Mind you, if it turns out to be true it would confirm most of the stuff written about Yahweh in the scriptures, who also seems to value adoration and compliance over everything else, is totally inconsistent, communicates incoherent messages and is partial to wiping out millions of innocents on the basis of a temper tantrum. 

On second thoughts, perhaps they have a point?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Poem for a lock-down Tuesday

There once was a pillock called Priti
Who’s performance at briefings was shitty
So I scoured the news
To find different views
And settled for watching Chris Whitty

Monday, May 11, 2020

Thought so..

I see that face masks/coverings are a good idea all of a sudden? Thought so, get ready for the panic buying of elastic ..

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Jumpers for goalposts

This reminds me of when I was a kid. At the time we lived on a housing estate near Portsmouth, they were all new houses at the time and we were surrounded by building sites. Hours of fun was had leaping out of the second story windows of unfinished houses into piles of sand. I remember one time we did it and mistook lime (not the fruit!) for sand, my mum was furious as it burnt my legs and feet. I remember being told "come home before it gets dark", other than that, the school holiday days were ours. Many adventures were had, getting bootfuls of stinky swamp mud from the estuary, putting pennies on the railway track (to squash them), climbing trees and playing football for hours at the "rec". Today things are different, kids aren't able to play like this anymore, although it was pretty irresponsible when I think back but we did have fun.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Don't lose it again..

Love this cartoon from the Daily Mirror on VE day 1945, says it all really and, although there is always a temptation to see the past through rose-tinted spectacles I do fear that we're (the beneficiaries of VE day) currently going in the wrong direction. This seems particularly true of the UK at the moment, our leadership is very poor, our economy is shallow, our feelings for isolationism are growing, old enemies are resurgent and celebrations of intolerance and ignorance run unchecked. I had hoped that this current pandemic would see some kind of unity movement gather momentum but I fear it's just a blip, the underlying malaise of self interest and irrationality makes itself known all to frequently both in the people that flaunt the isolation strategy and our media who seem intent on giving our incompetent leadership a free ride in favour of reporting irrelevant tittle-tattle.

Ho hum, all quite depressing really, never mind, onward and upwards, at least it's Friday and the Sun is shining, soon be time to crack open a beer, sit down with the fam and take in a decent WWII film or two, can't decide between "the great escape" and "the longest day", first-world problems..

Friday Smirk

Funny J&M this week. Religions really are just memes when you think about it, they evolve, mutate and compete against each other in a very Darwinian manner.

Thursday, May 07, 2020


Love this from XKCD. For all those sociopathic, CEO, "A" type personalities who crave certainty and get monumentally butt-hurt when they can't have it, thrashing around like babies screaming for attention. My advice would be, just keep focusing on type VII errors lads, put your thumbs into your mouths retire to a darkened room and leave the hard stuff to the rest of us, you'll feel much better, honestly..

Nervous knights..

All this talk of breaking the lock-down next Monday seems a little premature to me? I wonder if people are forgetting to check the numbers of deaths every day, they're still well above 500 which doesn't sounds like things are under control to the extent that they should be in order to kick off a track and trace phase again? The equivalent numbers in countries (like New Zealand, Germany and South Korea etc.) where lock-downs have been eased is in the 10's. It remains to be seen how people will react, I suspect many will be nervous to go to places where lot's of people congregate anytime soon, i.e. schools, trains, planes or "the office" etc. and so I reckon people will be WFH for a while longer even if it's of their own choice rather than anything mandated, I'd be quite happy with that.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Midweek Mirth

Pong for the current age..

Short game

For those of you (of a certain age) who remember the pioneering days of 8 bit computing and machines like the Sinclair (whatever happened to him?) ZX80, 81 and Spectrum as well as the BBC Micro and Acorn Atom etc. You will probably recognise the screenshot above as a scene from the groundbreaking game "The Hobbit". It was a text based adventure game where players had to navigate their way through a series of puzzles trying to find the golden ring while avoiding the dragon. It was ground breaking because it attempted to do a reasonable job of natural language processing, i.e. understanding the intent of the instructions typed by the player. Of course it was really simple, and pretty limited (after all it ran on machines with tiny amounts of memory and processing power) and had a very limited vocabulary. I loved this game and via a number of twists and turns and in later life ended up building a software company based upon (among other things) natural language processing, suffice to say, these days we have comparatively infinite resources within which to work and many more techniques to bring to bear on the problem, but it remains a difficult thing to do well. Anyway, as you can see from the image I've brought the story line up to date to reflect our current predicament and for those that know the game you'll understand the command and the response, i.e. a pretty short game!

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Lock-down insecurity..

This cartoon reminds me of the weird paranoia or insecurity that seems to accompany lock-down among many people. Company meetings (held via video-conference) these days seem to HAVE TO HAVE some kind of "theme", I've seen "hats", "glasses", "sweaters", "sports" all of which seemed to contribute absolutely nothing to the moral or well-being of staff other than instill in them a fear of not being able to find a suitably "wacky" hat to wear for 30 seconds at the start of a meeting. I've always maintained that "dressing up" is what people who don't have a sense of humor do, instead of humor. Certainly a lot easier than remembering jokes or properly engaging with a humorous story being told, I guess the easy way is invariably the preferred way.

Monday, May 04, 2020

No more heroes

Damn this malicious RNA transporter. Dave Greenfield, the keyboard player for the Stranglers has died of Covid-19 he was 71 years old. I loved the Stranglers when I was a young man, such a cool sound and always served with a big dollop of tongue-in-cheek humour. Coincidentally the song "Golden Brown" came on the radio on Saturday morning while we were having breakfast, I hadn't heard it for ages, it sounded so good! I think I'll have to pay homage to the original "men in black" tomorrow, nothing but back to back Stranglers albums for me..

Monday Mirth

This whole thing about 5G and Corona-virus is scary, how can people be that gullible/stupid? Anyway, as the late, great George Carlin used to say, think how stupid the "average person" is, then realise that half the country are even dumber than that..

Friday, May 01, 2020

Kernow joose bomb

It's Friday! and I just started making dinner for my family (toad-in-the-hole & onion gravy, yum!) thought I'd crack open a beer to go with it and chose this little beauty from one of my favourite breweries, Verdant down in Falmouth (Cornwall). It's a hazy 5% IPA made with four different American hop varieties, it's soft and pillowy with a lovely (or should that be loverly?) flavour profile of ripe oranges, stone fruits and grapefruit with just a hint of bitterness, they certainly know how to do proper joose bombs down there in Kernow!

Five in a row?

Well this is nice. Forth day in a row this week that my daily exercise has seen the heavens absolutely dumping it down on me. Today we even had hail stones, lightening and thunder into the bargain, bloody marvelous! Let's see if we can make it five in a row!

Friday Smirk

The excellent Jesus and Mo. Lightening up my morning with some distracting humour..