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In the Summertime

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The clocks went back an hour across most of Britain last night as we leave British Summer Time and return to Greenwich Mean Time. I say most of Britain because the clocks at Coventry railway station were still on BST this morning. Thankfully the timetables and the arrival & departure boards were showing the right times but it was a bit confusing at first.

Update 03/11/06:
This has since been reported on the IC Coventry news site. A quote from their article:

As a result they are all running one hour earlier than they should be except for the clock on platform four, which has been 18 minutes slow for the past month. Now with the switch back to GMT, it is only 42 minutes fast.

Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

Last weekend we were in the pet shop buying hamster bedding, and on the way out were approached by someone from the local Wildlife Trust trying to attract new members. We talked for a few minutes and decided to join.
Rabbit We went along to the nature reserve today to collect our copy of the handbook and to have a walk. It was a nice sunny day and we managed to see some wildlife so the place lived up to it's name. There are a lot of ponds with a wide variety of water birds but there are also woodland and grassland areas so there were squirrels and rabbits on view as well.

We were walking down one path and heard a loud 'thrum thrum' sound. We couldn't work out what it was til we saw a swan flying from behind the embankment alongside us, passing overhead towards a pond. It was only the second time I've heard a swan in flight and I'd forgotten how loud they are.

Pooh Biscuits

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

The bear of very little brain seems to have gained an intellect in China, although he does seem to need biscuits in order to achieve it. I found these in one of the Chinese supermarkets in Birmingham. The biscuits are number shaped and taste quite sweet, only marred by the bitter taste left by the Disney logo on the front of the pack.

Pooh Intellect Biscuits
Winnie the Pooh 'Intellect Biscuits'.

Update (28/10/06): We have eaten most of the pack and although the numbers go from 0 to 9, there don't seem to be any 1's.

Bumble the Hamster

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

We have had Bumble for a week now. The original plan was to introduce him to Psyche and see if the two would live together but they kept pushing each other around. He got on much better with Gel and Alysia and so far hasn't shown any sign of wanting to mate with them so we are going to see if we made the right decision there.

We started by having the three of them out together while we could keep an eye on them. On thursday night we had them together in the large cage but kept the cage in our room so we could listen out for any fighting. There was a lot of squeaking and we kept getting up and shining a torch into the cage to see what was going on. Emma mentioned this to Bumble's orignal owner and she said that he was just a squeaker. He would squeak if other hamsters were too close to him whether they were pushing him about or not.


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Marks & Spencer's Chicken

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

You've got to hand it to M&S, they know how to do food, especially their 'Oakham' range of chicken. We had the chicken breast with roast veg the other night and marvelled at how juicy and tasty the meat was. This shouldn't come as a surprise to us because we've said it before on the few occasions we buy it. It really is much better than the normal supermarket chicken. Tesco Organic chicken comes very close.

Wenever we've cooked a roast chicken we tend to save the scraps of meat and use it for sandwiches. Recently we've started making a sandwich spread by pulverizing the meat in a food processor and then adding mayonnaise. Normal roast chicken breaks down to small 'fibres' but the M&S chicken is so juicy it comes out almost like ready made sandwich spread, and very little mayo is needed to make it hold together.

It makes very tasty sandwiches. The only other ingredient required is a small sprinkling of salt.

Foggy in Birmingham

Story location: Home / Blog / birmingham /

We've had a couple of foggy days this week, with today being the worst. From the top floor in work you couldn't see much of the city.

Foggy Birmingham
Looking towards Broad Street in Birmingham

Happy Birthday, Ben

Story location: Home / Blog /

For Ben's 30th birthday, he decided we should all go out in Nottingham. The plan was to meet up on saturday at an ex-student-rental house owned by a friends parents and then head into town.

Emma brought her laptop pc for watching videos or listening to music but it turned out that the neighbours had an unsecured wireless network so we had internet as well. This was handy on a couple of occasions, the first of which was when Jack arrived. The taxi dropped her off in the wrong place so we got onto a couple of mapping websites and managed to direct her to the house.

The second time we needed the internet was to find the Midori to make the squashed frog cocktails. After phoning around most of the off-licences in the city we found one with some in stock. I drove off to collect it, assisted by one of Ben's friends with a GPS navigation thingy.

We took the tram into town and then walked to TGI Fridays to sample the cocktails. Then to the Pit and Pendulum for some overloud shite music and more cocktails.

The main part of the evening was supposed to be the meal at the Red Hot Buffet Shack but the only booking we could get was half past 9. When we got there the place was very busy and we were waiting ages before our table was ready. I think it was worth the wait though. All the food I tried was good. The range was impressive, covering Indian, Chinese, Thai and Italian. You could even order your own pizza with a selection of toppings.

After leaving the restaurant we took the tram back to the house for more silliness and drinking games and stealing neighbours internet connection.

Nottingham, Sunday

Story location: Home / Blog /

A few of us wanted to go out for sunday brunch but we had to wait for a hamster first. Emma agreed to take a roborovski hamster off someone who decided she wasn't comfortable handling them. She got lost on her way to the house (cue more use of mapping websites). The hamster arrived safely though (photos to follow) and we eventually left to look for somewhere to eat

It turned out that there was no-where within walking distance was serving food. All the pubs were open for drinking only and directions to places which might be doing food involved confusing paths through side roads. We gave up and went back to the house.

We gave everyone a lift into town then drove home, via the KFC at Leicester Forest services on the M1.

River Sherbourne

Story location: Home / links /

A photographer has followed the course of the River Sherbourne through the culvert under the city. A description of the journey and photographs are on his website.

Dragon Phoenix Chinese Buffet

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

This was the first time we had eaten here since the place recently reopened after being refurbished. The previous time was actually a take-away so we had an idea of the food on offer. The restaurant is much smaller than Wing Wah and has a smaller choice of food but the quality is every bit as good. Prices are slightly lower with evening dining costing around £12-13.

The selection of starters was good. Chicken and sweetcorn soup went down well and came with optional croutons. Crispy seaweed was sweeter than at Wing Wah but still acceptable. There were the obligatory crispy duck pancakes and some tasty steamed dim-sum type dumplings.

The teppanyaki was disappointing. Instead of selecting a plate of meat, vegetables and/or noodles and taking them to be cooked, you choose a piece of chicken, steak or salmon and have that cooked, and then add accompaniments from the main courses on offer. The Dessert selection was reasonable. We were impressed by the small pots of jelly, trifle or cheesecake. We missed out on the chocolate fountain; it was running on empty when we were there and only got re-filled as we were leaving.

We were going to go to Turmeric Gold tonight because it was our 3rd Anniversary dinner and we thought we should go somewhere special. While we were on our way out Emma decided she was in the mood for a chinese buffet. We hadn't booked so it was easy for us to change our minds at the last minute.

Poor Mans Video iPod

Story location: Home / computing /

About a month ago I changed my phone to the Nokia 6280. It's got a bigger screen than my old phone. Last night I was on the train home and the bloke sitting next to me was watching a tv programme on a video ipod. The screen was a similar size to my phone's so I wondered if I could use it to watch things on.

The software CD which came with the phone had the latest version of the Nokia PC Suite. The media viewer part of the suite allows you to view mpg or avi files and save them in a format suitable for the phone. I tried it and it seems to work ok. The playback on the phone didn't let me fast forward or rewind within a video file but the video quality on screen was good. If I restrict myself to 20-25 minute shows or split larger programmes into shorter segments then I should be able to watch videos on my way to and from work.

Dead Dalek

Story location: Home / Blog / birmingham /

I noticed the Flower Dalek on its side on friday morning but I didn't take a photo at the time. It was still there this morning but the council had put a barrier around it.

Dead flower dalek

Wrong type of pollen on the line

Story location: Home / Blog / news /

A few years ago the latest excuse for late running trains was the wrong kind of leaves on the line. Apparently a leaf weighing a few grams could stop a hundred ton train because it would cover the sensors making the trains appear invisible to the control room.

This year they've excelled themselves by chosing a smaller item to blame. Pollen is now stopping trains on the Cambrian line between Birmingham and Aberystwyth by clogging up the radiators of the diesel engines.

Read more about this on Google News.