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Archive for February, 2006

File under “Useless but irresistible”

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Oh no! I’ve spilled coffee over this page!

Which Lost character are you [via Kirsi]

The actress who plays Kate in the tv series Lost

You scored as Kate. You’re not really a bad person, you’ve just had some trouble with your past – what’s a few lies, anyhow? You’re a little secretive but let’s face it … what others don’t know won’t hurt them. Under all that, you really are a good person. You’re ready to help even if it’ll set you back a bit.

The Nutritional Benefits of Nose Picking – do you read a lot on the train, on the bus, in public? Chooose one of 23 Flapart covers to hide the boring one you’re actually reading. Genius!

Online organisation tools : AirSet.com

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

I’ve been roadtesting Airset.com these past few days. There are lots of organisation tools out there now, you may remember that I was a fan of EssentialPIM but since failing to receive a free license for the Pro version (and judging by the support forums, quite a few long time users had the same problem while new users like my brother got one practically by return of mail). Not that I’m bitter or anything. Ahem.

Anyway, now that our internet connection is (fingers crossed) fairly stable it occurred to me that it might be an idea to start keeping stuff online rather on one machine (in ePIM and OneNote), giving me access to resources, ideas, plans and so on from any machine rather than the one I use daily. I’ve looked at quite a few tools such as 30 Boxes, SpongeCell, BackPackit and so on but what I really want is a combination of all of those – i.e. a calendar and note making facilities and reminders and a contacts database. I need a single place to put lists, notes, plans, bookmarks and so on – well, what a good PIM software does but online.

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A new banner

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Does anyone else spend hours browsing Stock Xchng? Oh good, it’s not just me then. I loved the old banner but the winter weather is getting to me a bit so I’d intended to have a nice summery beach scene up there to cheer things up.

Then I stumbled across John Rijsbergen‘s picture on Stock Xchng and the plans changed. Who could resist that cutie, eh?

Photograph of sweet dog and chasing daisy text

Of course, 5 minutes later I visited Em’s blog and found that he had a perfect banner picture. If he doesn’t mind me stealing it, that’ll be the next one.

The tripartite children’s book meme

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Picked up from Leah, originally from Reading Matters.

Name your three favourite children’s series

I loved reading and re-reading Louisa M Alcott‘s books as a child and was a little bit in love with the whole of the March family, yes even Aunt March. I whizzed through Little Women, Good Wives, Jo’s Boys and so on at least twice a year for many a year. Thinking about them again makes me want to climb up to the attic and dig them out again for a re-read.

L M Montgomery’s Anne (Anne with an e!) of Green Gables series is also a favourite.

Enid Blyton played a huge part in my early childhood so I think the third one has to be The Famous Five series.

Name your three favourite non-series children’s books

Just looking through Amazon’s Enid Blyton pages reminded me of her book The Enchanted Wood. I loved this book as a child and have just jotted down a note to get a hold of it for the granddaughters.

Not exactly a suitable book but Dahl is a famous children’s author and I loved getting frightened again and again by Roald Dahl’s Kiss Kiss.

Another non children’s book but I’ve loved Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice ever since I can remember.

Name 3 favourite children’s book characters

Number 1, no hesitation, would be Donald Zinkoff from Jerry Spinelli’s Loser.

Professor Baer from the Little Women series.

Matilda.

Recommend us a book not covered in the above

Not a favourite yet but I’m halfway through a first reading of Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf by John Bennett. Very funny and the dialogue between 16 year olds rings very true (the main character Felix is a little spookily like my nephew) and I’ll be sending him the book as soon as I’m finished. But I want it back, okay Matt?

No tagging, just have a go if you’ve the time and inclination. Although I must admit that I’d love to hear Nancy, Doobus, Stroppy and Katherine‘s choices.

Favourite Things

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Inspired by Birdy’s wonderful post, here’s my (tuneless, non-rhyming and not very well scanning) version:

Raindrops on roses and men in fresh rugby kits
Freshly brewed tea with digestive biscuits
Long winter walks on beaches with dogs
These are a few of my favorite things.

Eight week old puppies, yes even poodles
Church bells and dumbells and toys that make doodles
Opening Thunderbird, hearing the pings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Blogging and surfing, virtual friendship
Cold mountain streams, perfect to skinny dip
Hot baths with candles, warm open fires
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the moz bites
When The Shrub speaks
When heartache begins
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel, so bad.

Shall we turn this into a meme? Go on, you know you want to…

Update: Leah is the first to take up the baton!

Sights to gladden the heart

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

A birthday gift:

Bouquet of yellow roses, fuschia pink tulips and green flowers in a basket

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

More flower quotes here and another picture of the flowers.

A new addition to the family (alas, not here but my stepson and the granddaughters up north):

Adorably cute 6 week old puppy

And stamps on a birthday card from Qatar (click to biggify) – notice that the first stamp is circular, what a lovely idea – I can’t remember any British stamps being round?

Envelope from Qatar with round and square shaped stamps

Yummy leek and potato soup

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Wooden tray containing bowl of steaming hot leek and potato soup and a plate of fresh brown bread

For Birdy, Mary and Em, here’s the easiest and yummiest recipe for leek and potato soup you’ll ever find. It’s based on Nick Nairn’s recipe but it’s cheaper and has seasoning (I can’t understand why the original doesn’t). I’ve not bothered making the croutons because I’m lazy it’s so filling but do have a look at that page because you might like them. Anyway, on with the recipe. It serves four hungry people.

Ingredients

60g/2oz unsalted butter
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
3-4 leeks, roughly chopped (use the whole leek)
2 vegetable stock cubes, each dissolved in 1 pint of water (ignoring the packet instructions)
100ml/4fl oz double cream (single cream also works well, as does long life cream from the store cupboard**)
About a teaspoon of salt (depends on how many potatoes you use) and pepper
A tablespoon or more of dried parsley (or 2 tbsp fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped)

Method

  • Peel and dice the potatoes, chop the leeks (see picture 1).
  • Gently melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and sauté the potato and leeks for 3-4 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock, add the salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Stir the cream and fresh parsley into the soup and then remove from the heat (see picture 2).
  • You can eat this immediately but it is hugely better if you let it cool, pop it in the fridge and reheat later.
  • Serve with fresh crusty bread or with the croutons as in the original recipe (see picture 3).

I’m off to see if I’m not too late to add this to BW’s Blogichef extravaganza.

** Thanks to our favourite peace chick Mary for guineau pigging and letting us know that half n’ half cream works well stateside.

Update, March 2006: I’ve started using more than 4oz of cream, probably more like 60z. It makes it much creamier soup but of course it’s still delicious with the lesser (and healthier amount). I’ve also added carrots a couple of times, also delicious.

Happy [insert appropriate festivity]

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

So it’s Valentines Day and a shared birthday – the hair free Mr Sevitz and I both have birthdays today so gelukkige verjaarsdag to Adrian and penblwydd hapus to me.

So how best to celebrate? Avoiding the news broadcasts for one. Finding some good links for another. Well maybe not completely avoiding the news pages – there are some lovely stories about if you dig deep enough.

Let’s start with this Berlitz advert sent in by non blogging Jane. I haven’t found it on any Berlitz site but as soon as I do, I’ll link to that page instead. In the meantime, it’s a 1.5mb non captioned clip. If you can put to one side the irony of poking fun at a nation whose inhabitants speak far, far better English than most Brits you will enjoy.

I’m dithering over whether to post this next link because on the one hand if it’s genuine it’s quite cruel but everyone who has seen it has laughed uproariously while sympathising greatly with the young man involved. Again, you’ll need your speakers on to “enjoy”, if that’s the word, the film to the full effect.

And now one for the canucks – Worth 1000’s contest entitled If Canada Ruled The World.

Lastly, a wee bit of culcha with a list entitled 100 Best First Lines from Novels, many of which are making me want to dash to the library and grab a handful of those I’ve not yet read. For example:

76. “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
—Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)

So, what else should we be celebrating today? And are there any good news stories out there to cheer our souls?

Church mouse, quiet as

Monday, February 13th, 2006

Are church mice quieter than your average domestic mouse? I’m betting someone, somewhere has the answer to this. But anyway.

Blue Witch coined a wonderful term over at purple pen’s comments – bloryngitis. None of that here – an inadvertent hiatus was on the horizon but certain people, wittingly or otherwise, have inspired the return. And besides, I can never resist a tagging once I’ve found about about it.

So what was the reason behind the silence this time? Oh we won’t go there. Lots of reasons but part of it was the shock at something that happened in the blogosphere last year. Well, not what happened, people’s reactions to the events. I’ve drafted/deleted about it numerous times but I’m still too angry about it soI’ll just offer up this quote*, author unknown:

A true friend overlooks your broken fence to admire your flowers.

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Amazing, Margaret

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Cartoon of woman with spoon balanced on nose

Amazing, this web Margaret from Spamusement, more about a great set of cartoons inspired by spam subject lines.

Oh and HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH STOCKS. Heh.

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