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Whitefriars Beer Festival

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The Whitefriars pub (on Gosford Street) started its beer festival tonight. It was a bit smaller than the university festival (only 12 beers compared to over 100) but it did have the advantage of friendlier surroundings, and being within walking distance of home.

I think 2 beer festivals in one week is enough.

Real Ale Festival

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The University's annual Real Ale Festival started tonight. Unfortunately it was a bit late starting because of the power cut. We had to wait for some kind of security check before the festival could start.

Once we got in it was the same old story. We exchanged money for a £5 card which had 50p,20p,10p and 5p boxes which got crossed out as we bought beer. They had their usual wide range of beers, ales, ciders and fruit wines. We stayed for a few hours before grabbing a chicken kebab from the kebab van on the way home.

Power Cut

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We had a power cut this afternoon. I was attending a seminar on analysing the results of Combinatorial Chemistry experiments, and the projector went off right at the start of the presentation. The room lights were already off, and the laptop which held the slides was still on, so it wasn't immediately obvious what had happened.

There are roadworks nearby, where a gas main is being replaced. We later found out that they had severed the electric cable, cutting off power to most of the site (which includes the University and various shops and offices).

The seminar had to continue in the old fashioned way, by writing on a board. Only the end boards could be used - the projector screen couldn't be retracted because it was electrically powered. Within minutes of the presentation ending, the power briefly came back on, but it turned out to be a false alarm and everywhere was plunged back into darkness again.

Garden Fountain

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Awful garden fountain

This afternoon we were in the 'garden' section of 'The Range', which is a furniture / homeware / garden / pet-supplies shop. As we walked through the water feature part of the garden section, I saw what has to be one of the ugliest, most tasteless garden fountains ever. I just had to take a picture on my phone.

Update 27/02/08:
We were in the shop again and I saw another fountain, which might be even worse...

Another awful garden fountain

All Night Film Show

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There was an all-night film show at Warwick University last night/this morning. There were 6 films being shown, but we only stayed for 5 of them. We'd been awake 24 hours and were starting to get a bit tired. The final film was Jaws, which we'd seen before so we weren't missing anything important. It's a good film but I was probably to tired to properly appreciate it.

  • First film was 'I am Legend' - based on the same book as 'The Omega Man'. Quite a good film, better than most moronic blockbuster type films. Interesting twist to the ending, which I wasn't expecting.
  • Next was 'Shoot Em Up. I hadn't heard of this film. It turned out to be a violent comedy, kind of spoofing the gunfight/action genre films. It was an unexpected treat.
  • The third film was 'Ratatouille'. We'd seen this before - it was still funny second time around.
  • The AllNighter film shows always have a mystery film, the identity is kept secret until the showing. This time it was 'Ghostbusters'. A fairly 'safe' choice, but I suppose it makes sense to choose something most people will like. I've seen it lots of times before so it doesn't really matter that I missed half by drifting in and out of sleep.
  • The last film we watched was 'Superbad'. I didn't know what to expect with this one. It has an awful title, which would normally make me want to avoid such a film, but it's had some good reviews. The first half of the film was mostly terrible, mainly down to the characters being so annoying. The script was very wordy, and every other word seemed to be f**k. The film got better about half way through and there were some really funny moments.

It was starting to get light when we left.

Assorted animal photos

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Here are some recent animal photos, mainly the Quail chicks and a few hamster pics.  

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Click on the thumbnail to view the image

Some pet related websites

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I thought I'd collect together any useful pet related web sites, mainly ones to do with pets we own (at the moment: hamsters, degus and quail). I'll add more sites to the list as and when when I find any.

Lily Allen and annoying Friends

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We got a tip-off about how bad this programme was when we read in the newspaper how the audience were desperate to get out, and how they were fed up with being told when to laugh or applaud.

If this is the new re-branded BBC3, then God help us. As I write, Lily is laughing at some Internet video of animals having sex, while David Mitchell looks uncomfortable and a bit embarrassed. You can't blame him really. The programme is the worst sort of childish crap.

Please BBC, cancel this shite. We really expect better than this from you.

Now Lily Allen is putting her fist in her mouth. Oh dear this is pathetic. I don't expect the programme to get any better so I'll switch off before I get too angry.

On the run

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Yet more Quail News. This morning, we could hear a 'peeping' sound coming from the middle room, where the quail chicks are. I went to investigate and found one chick out of the cage and running around the floor. It was surprisingly fast and when Emma came to help me catch it, we saw a 2nd chick had also escaped. We didn't think they'd be able to jump high enough to get out of the cage, so we hadn't bothered to put the lid on.

We've also had the first egg from one of the quail chicks which hatched on Christmas Eve. We're not sure which one it was from yet.

The first egg from our Christmas Quail

Soggy Quail

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We had 20 quail chicks hatch at the beginning of the month. One of them was much smaller than the others and didn't seem to be eating properly - sadly it died after a couple of days.

We still have 19 of them. This morning we thought we might have lost a couple because we found 2 soggy half-drowned chicks in their drinking water. We knew that quail were stupid birds and had been putting marbles in the water so they could get their beaks in to drink, but not get their whole heads in to drown. The chicks shouldn't have been small enough to fit in the water trough. Somehow two of the smallest managed to get in but not climb out again. A third chick looked like it had been in the water but had managed to get out on its own.

We dried them out and kept them warm and they seem to be doing ok now. We've also put the marbles back in the water to stop it happening again.


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Last summer, we tried to grow courgettes. We didn't get a very good harvest, which we put down to the poor quality and shallowness of the soil (there is a huge concrete slab under the patio/garden, which is too big to easily remove).

We decided that the easiest way to enrich the soil was to use compost so I started to use one of the spare tubs as a compost heap. Any garden waste or kitchen vegetable waste got thrown on to it. The tub was starting to get a bit full so I took most of the 'rotting' stuff in the lower layers and dug it into the garden, along with a few handfuls of the hemp-based animal bedding from the quail cage. Not only should the hemp rot down, but also the quail 'guano' should help fertilize the soil.

Giant Pizza Cookie

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meta-converted: markdown

A few weeks ago we thought it would be a good idea to make a giant pizza sized cookie, using our 10 inch pizza trays.


  • ½ cup butter

  • ½ cup peanut butter

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1½ cups plain flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or m&ms

Giant pizza cookie before being baked

Soften the butter. Mix together the butter, peanut butter and egg, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at gas mark 5.

Slice of giant pizza cookie.

(See measuring cup sizes to convert cups to volume or weight or oven temperatures for conversion information.