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Hamster Baby Update

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

We've had a few additions to the hamster family in the last few months. We were lent 2 female hamsters (Greylin and Mithrellas), whose owner wanted babies from them but didn't have suitable males.


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Krispy Kreme Milk Shake

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We had some doughnuts left over from yesterday so we made a milkshake using them.
Serves 2 (this makes roughly 2 pints):

  • 2 Krispy Kreme plain glazed doughnuts
  • 1½ pints of milk (approx)
  • a couple of heaped tablespoons of vanilla ice cream.

Put the milk and doughnuts in a blender and liquidize thoroughly. Add the ice cream and liquidize a bit more.

I checked the site map on the website and noticed that they had quite a few more outlets than when I last checked. They are now available in Manchester. And according to the map, they have a couple of outlets in the Atlantic ocean, south of Ghana.

Krispy Kreme Africa

Not an Avocado

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

Somebody at Morrisons needs to be sent on a vegetable identification course.

Looks more like Fennel to me

The 'Avocado' looks more like Fennel to me.

Not an avocado

Birmingham Pretzel Shop

Story location: Home / Blog / birmingham /

We had one of our rare trips to Birmingham today. It's been nearly a year since I last went.

Leaving New Street Station via the Palisades shopping centre, we stopped at the Pretzel shop. We bought two: a cinnamon and a hundreds-and-thousands coated one. They were a bit messy to eat but worth getting. Next time I think I'll get a couple of plain ones. One to eat there and the other to bring home and eat with cream cheese.

We visited the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, which was bigger than we were expecting. We went in by one door and came out of a different door in a different building. We didn't notice when we crossed the bridge between buildings.

At the Bullring, we got to Selfridges while the Krispy Kreme doughnut light was on, meaning that free doughnuts were being offered to customers. Which was nice.

There were also some cheeses on special offer in Selfridges. We bought a creamy but mature one called Old Amsterdam and a really nice ewe's milk cheese, but I can't remember what that one was called.

Update: Found the receipt for the cheese - it was called Brinata.

No Neighbours

Story location: Home / Blog / house /

The house next door is empty again. It seems to be a student house - the last lot of students moved out in the summer and the house was empty for a month or so. A few weeks ago we noticed that new people had moved in. Very strange new people who seemed to walk around the house and garden half naked.

It was slightly disturbing to look out of our kitchen window to see a shirtless hairy bloke next door. For some reason, they have all moved out. We didn't see them move out but the house is dark at night and we haven't seen anybody (apart from the Landlord) for a few days.

Lidl Gin

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We have the occasional Gin and Tonic at home - usually using a decent brand of gin. Our bottle of Gordon's ran out so we had a glass using the Lidl own brand gin left over from the sloe gin.

We last drank Lidl gin a few years ago, back when I was still living in Aberystwyth. Lidl sell two types of gin and we found the cheaper had more flavour. I don't know what they've changed but we found the gin to be very bland and tasteless. It looks like we'll have to stick to the good stuff from now on.

Funny Google Background Colours

Story location: Home / computing /

I recently changed the default background colour on Firefox from white to grey so that I could check the transparency on some images before uploading them to the site. I didn't bother to change the colours back because I didn't think I needed to. I expected that these days most web pages would define a background colour if they needed one.

The normal google home page looks ok but some of the other pages seem to expect the default white. The Google logo and icons appear with white backgrounds but the rest of the page is defiantly grey.

Google with grey background

Sloe Gin

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

This is my first attempt at making Sloe Gin. The units are mixed metric/imperial because I didn't note the weight of the sloes in kg.

  • 2½ pounds Sloes (or sloe/wild plum mixture)
  • 300g white sugar
  • just over a litre of gin.

I made it in a 2½ litre jug which once contained cider. The sloes and sugar nearly filled the jug. I poured in as much gin as I could until it was nearly full.

I must remember to invert the jug a couple of times per day for the first few weeks, then every few days for the next couple of months. It should be ready to drink by Christmas.

Bobwhite Quail Escape

Story location: Home / Blog / quail /

One of our Quail managed to escape today. Emma was trying to pick up one of the Bobwhite to take him indoors, so we could move one of the quail hutches. The Bob managed to wriggle loose and flew over the fence, and kept flying over several gardens.

We went walked along the back alley trying to find him. We managed to corner him in the side alley which lead back to the road. It took a couple of goes to actually catch him.

The Bobwhite quail can fly much better than the Japanese. When one of our Japanese Quail escaped it only got as far as a neighbours shed roof.

Picking Sloes

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I thought I'd have a go at making Sloe Gin this year. I went for a walk in the countryside near Coventry, to a place where I suspected there might be sloes. The first trees I found were quite poor with only a few sloes on each, and they were difficult to reach. I walked further and found a few trees which were much better.

I sorted and washed the sloes when I got home. I managed to pick 2½ pounds of them, although some were larger and may actually be wild plums.

I can't be the only person...

Story location: Home / Blog / music /

...who thinks that the start of the new AC/DC single 'Rock N Roll Train' sounds a bit like Tina Turner's song 'Nutbush City Limits'.

Wildlife Trust - Food Festival

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust held their first food and drink festival today. It was a fairly small affair but there was some good food available. We bought some local wine (from Leicestershire) and some locally made cheese. We also bought some chocolate fudge which tasted really good - almost like a soft chewy block of chocolate rather than fudge.

Mad Squirrel

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

Walking past Holy Trinity churchyard, I saw a squirrel up a tree 'flapping' its tail and making a screeching noise. I noticed that it had a nut in its mouth and at first thought it was stuck and couldn't get it out. The squirrel ran up and down the tree and across the grass before it finally buried the nut. The nut wasn't stuck, the squirrel was simply being over protective.

Heritage Open Day 2008: Part 2

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The Organic Garden at Ryton had free admission as part of the Heritage Open Days. We didn't have time to fully explore but we had a look around the shop and part of the gardens.

This afternoon we were at the Herbert Gallery and Museum for a brief tour ahead of the reopening, which included a visit to a medieval cellar which belonged to one of the buildings which was originally on site.

Feeding the squirrels

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

Feeding the squirrels in the city centre, near Holy Trinity Church.

Squirrel grabbing a nut

Squirrel nosing around in the snack bag
The squirrel seemed more interested in the bag rather than the nut being offered.

Jumping Squirrel
I was trying to get a photo of the squirrel running towards me but it leapt out of the way at the last moment.

Heritage Open Day 2008

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

Some photographs taken from the top of the bell tower at the old cathedral.


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Annoying Car Alarm

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

There was a really annoying car alarm going off when we arrived this morning. It never stopped, and was still going off when we left at half past 5. We were hoping either the battery would run out or the Large Hadron Collider would destroy the universe, but no such luck.

London Champs

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

The London Championship Small Animal Show is actually held in Reading rather than London. We entered our Winter White hamsters and did quite well, winning the first 4 places in Female Dwarf Hamster category, the top 2 places in Male Dwarf, as well as winning Best In Show for Dwarf Hamsters.

When we got home, we celebrated the win with a bottle of Lindauer sparking wine.

A selection of photos:
London Champs
The show was held in two halls in the leisure centre. The hamster area is in the centre with the red tablecloths.

River Thames
I took a break during the show for a short walk along the Thames, which runs nearby.

Fallen Tree
A fallen tree, near the river.

How walkable is your neighbourhood?

Story location: Home / links /

A few weeks ago I discovered the Walkscore website. You give it an address and it uses Google Maps to plot nearby facilities and calculates a walkability value for the area.

We live near Coventry city centre and putting in our address gives a walkability of 53/100, or 'Somewhat Walkable'. There are some shops nearby which aren't on the map so I might add them and see what difference it makes.

Update: 01/01/09
I've re-run the score for our home address and it's gone up to 71/100 which is still 'Somewhat Walkable'. It looks like some of the local shops and take-aways have been added to the database.