Tuesday 16 January 2024

Problem Neighbour

 I have been burning hedge trimmings in a garden incinerator. I thought it was too difficult to light and burned too slowly so I modified it. There's now a hairdryer blowing fresh air in to the bottom like a blast furnace. This is what it looks like in oepration.

It was a qualified success, but I had to turn the hairdryer off shortly after this photo was taken because the incinerator was glowing red.

Richard "Max Power" B

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Cheese plane

 I have a couple of unusual phobias. Door handles and cheesegraters. These aren't crippling anxiety inducing phobias, I'm just slightly more wary of these things than most people. They're not irrational either, I nearly broke my wrist when it got stuck behind a door handle, and I once cut then ends of my fingers on the grater while grating cheese.

One of my brothers used to live in the Netherlands and gave me a cheese slicer from there (he either thought I would find it interesting, or that it would be a safe alternative to a box grater). It's a bit like a smoothing plane, but the sole is short and wide, and the tote is before the throat (like a German plane). I have found this contraption singularly useless. The cheese crumbles rather than slices, and it binds up on the sole.

At the weekend I had a bona fide Dutchman in the house, and by coincidence the cheeseboard I put on the table included gouda – which is a Dutch cheese. "What you need is a cheese slicer" he said and I was able to find the one which has been cluttering up my kitchen drawers for the last 15 years. On the hard, solid and slightly waxy gouda the slicer worked like a charm – effortlessly producing thin uniform slices of cheese. I now think it's rather excellent, but not compatible with cheddar.

Richard "Grchghouda" B

The Bleaken

 In the run up to Christmas I was disappointed to see how many people in the shops were in a bad mood. Everybody is trying to live up to an impossible ideal of Christmas day and it causes a lot of stress. I've since been told that this is very common and that if you work in retail you're most likely to get shouted at or mistreated in the run up to Christmas.

I have to admit that I must have been one of those disgruntled shoppers because I started to find myself very critical of the rest of the general public with their miserable faces and short tempers.

On Christmas day itself I was walking to the pub with my sister and her husband and we were discussing Christmas stress and people being in a bad mood. A young woman stamped her way from her car to the front door and shouted "HOW THE F!*£ IS IT MY PROBLEM THAT..." and then slammed the door behind herself. I've thought about it many times, and I'd love to know what problem she'd got caught up in. I think it would be rude to go to a stranger's house and ask then if they could remember what they were arguing about on Christmas day.

Richard "that the mince pies are made with suet" B