Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Bread Follow-up…

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

A loaf of bread made by Grace

Grace's bread

A few days ago I wrote about the not quite such good bread that I made using a five minute recipe – which ended up a bit salty. Well, Grace and I made a new batch and we adjusted the salt amount by about one third. We made a double quantity, and while it was rising the dough had to be separated into two containers, and even then it threatened to flow all over the kitchen!

This morning we cooked it all up, and made something like a plaited loaf (illustrated) as well a pierre gros and a couple of smaller, rather cute rolls.

The results this time were far better, and we’ve all just eaten a lovely breakfast of bread and jam.

Making Bread

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Last night I tried a recipe for making a batch of bread that will keep as dough in the fridge for days and can be cooked in small loaves to suit. As our bread machine went the way of all gadgets that get well used some while ago now, I thought it was about time our daily bread ration was again produced in-house.

Mixing the dough took less than 5 minutes – and it rose very impressively ready to be stored.

Up early this morning to take a blob, prepare the oven and cook it – and thirty minutes later a lovely looking boule was extracted from the oven. After cooling comes tasting!

Oh dear – rather too salty and so the rest of the dough mix has been abandoned, the recipe note adjusted and a mental note to get some more flour made. I’ll have to lug that half the length of Sutton High Street tomorrow.

It turned out that Grace ate the rest of the loaf, post my samples, and declared it very fine! I don’t think so, but if she enjoyed it then it’s a result.

Another episode with next results in a few days.

Grace’s Piano Concert

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Back from a lovely time at a small piano concert arranged by Grace’s music teacher.
Every six months or so Miss Cooper takes the trouble to gather a small group of her students, and holds a short concert – usually at the house of one or other of them. Today was Grace’s third appearance at the keyboard, and I’m not ashamed to say how proud I feel when she plays in front of everyone.
All the children do a wonderful job entertaining us. It’s very low key and really just a good way for them to play together, for the piano really is a somewhat solo instrument in that you can’t really carry one around and play anywhere with your mates.
Alexia’s mum also played a duet with Miss Cooper – and I’ve been threatened that I have to play next time. I need to do more practicing to be ready for such an eventuality.

Arduino Kit on the Way

Saturday, February 6th, 2010
Arduino Starter Kit from Oomlout

Starter Kit

I’ve finally broken, and splashed out in a Starter Kit for the Arduino.  I’ve ordered the kit from Oomlout.co.uk as it seems to have lots of bits along with a decent size breadboard and natty holder to fix the board and the Arduino unit itself together which should make it more stable.  It also has a servo motor which I’ve never used before, although the rest of the components are pretty familiar, and which I’m looking forward to getting to grips with.  The only problem is there are just too  many possible projects I’d like to construct!

In other news it seems Paul and Clare are to marry in the Summer.  Invite arived today so that day’s already been set aside in our diary.  We’re very much looking forward to the event, and finally meeting the lady herself – all previous attempts have failed through severe diary congestion.

Random Thoughts on Tuesday

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Very random.

Climate change:  the IPCC seems to have shot itself in the foot having predicted a few years ago that all the Himalayan glaciers would be melted in less than thirty years from now.  I really don’t understand how they can have come to such a dramatic conclusion without realising thy must have been so amazingly wrong unless they were simply joining the global warming bandwagon and giving politicians what they wanted to hear in exchange for funds.  It’s bad enough that the Pro GW enthusiasts can’t accept that they might be wrong.  Drives me mad – and somewhat irritated by some journals fanning the flames, it seems to me.  Gah!

— UPDATE, 27/01/2010: The Times has an article on this very subject and which strikes me as a far more balanced attitude to how scientists should think about this subject.—

The office canteen produced Haggis yesterday.  It was great.

Spent much of today looking at the conversion of www.microscope.co.uk to an MT based site.  Hopefully I can sort out the problems this poses me, and discover just hpw many pages there actually are.  Wget is now being run to try and get an  “independent” idea of what’s there.  Editor says 3500 pages, Script from SixApart finds just 980.  Nice bit of feedback from the publisher, though.

We went to Grace’s school this evening to hear about the proposed trip to Little Canada (IOW) when she gets into year six.  Got to find some cash, now!

Waitig for Grandstream to reply to my question about upgrading the BT200 phone firmware.  24 hours so far and no reply yet.  Hopefully they’ll comeup with the goods, because random crash and reboot only with a power cycle is a bit frustrating.

Time for bed.  Early shift for me tomorrow.

Weekend News

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
Desk in the syudy

Study Desk (Tidy)

A fairly full weekend almost over.  Much time spent tidying the study – and it’s much better for the  work that’s been put into it,  It’s also enabled me to commission an old Apple Imac in some sort of electric blue.  It’s a bit of a beast, somewhat slow, and with a paltry 10Gb hard disk I’m wondering how I’ll get on with it.  Something of a challenge, but it’s rather fun to give it a go.

At the same time I’ve been able to take out a network hub and one of the ATAs for the phone system, so that will save a bit of 24 hour juice.  You probably won’t be able to see the difference in the Pachube data, though.

I have also patched two POTS type extensions into the study from the Grandstream GXW4004 under the stairs – so that’s now utilising all four channels.  Because it supports loop disconnect dialing, it enables me to have my Ivory 332 on the desk with its gorgeous real bell ring.  It’s a nice contrast with the Grandstream BT200 which keeps crashing every three or four calls – so maybe there’s been s dodgy firmware update recently.  Time will tell what happens to that.

Piano practice, and homework, has been patchy this weekend, despite some enthusiasm to win a competition to do the most piano practice this week.  Project work has been minimal – looks like someone’s going to have to learn the hard way that M&D aren’t joking when they predict Homework Club.

I have also patched two POTS type extensions into the study from the Grandstream GXW4004 under the stairs – so that’s now utilising all four channels.  It enables me to have my Ivory 332 on the desk with its gorgeous real bell ring.  It’s a nice contrast with the Grandstream BT200 which keeps crashing every three or four calls – so maybe there’s been s dodgy firmware update recently.  Time will tell what happens to that.

Piano practice, and homework, has been patchy this weekend, despite some enthusiasm to win a competition to do the most piano practice this week.  Project work has been minimal – looks like someone’s going to have to learn the hard way that M&D aren’t joking when they predict Homework Club.

Today was Rocket Launch Day

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Three prototype rockets

Three prototype rockets by Grace

Grace came home from school distraught that her teacher had canceled the Rocket practical for tomorrow, and would simply demonstrate one herself.  Grace has been immersed in rocketry for the whole week, and spent all her playtime reading and planning a rocket to beat them all!

When I got home she’d already made three prototypes, although I suspect our fuel system would not be enough to lift them off the launch pad at all, so together we set about making the 35mm can version after some rather fraught piano practice.

Rocket, 35mm film can & gaffer tape

Rocket, 35mm film can & gaffer tape

First version rather fell apart when it met water.

We then set about making a more study version, and  by means of gaffer tape (daddy’s favourite construction material), cardboard and the 35mm film can, we ended up with something that might withstand slightly more wetness and rough and tumble.

First attempt at launch failed as we had problems sealing the combustion chamber, but the second go was completely successful, and the rocket rose about three centimeters from the floor.  Much rejoicing.