Wednesday 10 April 2024

Cocktail Club

 My favourite cocktail is the French 75. It's gin, syrup and lemon juice shaken hard and then double strained into a glass and topped up with Champagne.

The most luxurious gin I've ever drunk is called Roku and it's Japanese - not to my eyes a nation famed for their gin making heritage.

A friend of mine recently turned 50 and I bought her a luxurious bottle of Bollinger Champagne. I chose it not because I know anything about high end Champagne, but for brand recognition - basically because that's what they used to drink in Absolutely Fabulous.

I engraved "50" in the bottle with a cheap diamond burr and a high speed drill. Sadly it was an awkward process and I don't have a steady hand so it looks rather childish.

I was very nervous putting a bottle of Champagne that I couldn't afford to smash into the big vice to engrave it.

I'm very glad to say that I was invited to drink the highest specification French 75s that the world has probably every known.

They were delicious.

Richard "don't think about the price" B

Wednesday 3 April 2024

The First Rule of Nerd Club

 If you're trying to pluck up the nerve to ask a woman on a date, the standard advice is that "the worst that can happen is she says 'no'". This is clearly untrue. She might have later handed a loaded gun to Alex Baldwin who shot and killed a cinematographer, you might then be called as a witness at her trial. You would then have to answer questions before god, a judge, a jury, lawyers, the entire gawping general public at home, and the woman you asked out (looking quite delightful in her best "don't send me to prison" dress) about your advances towards her, about whether you hoped to pursue a sexual relationship, about how she ghosted you, and about whether you pestered her.

Worse, you might not have had any idea about how much cocaine she owned or used, and your presence at the trial turned out to be completely pointless.

My own experience is nowhere near as humiliating, but I should by now be old enough to know that nothing good comes from trying to impress people. I heard that one of the organisers at my nerds' social club was single, and I'm quite taken with her. In trying to make a good impression on her I agreed to deliver a short technical lecture at nerd-club. Some time between agreeing to do the lecture and actually doing so I got the opportunity to talk to her privately. She had no interest in going on a date with me, but I still had to do the lecture.

Richard "every girl's crazy about a TED talk man" B

Friday 22 March 2024

Weekend Getaway

 I've recently come back from a weekend getaway in Norfolk. As well as socialising, eating, drinking, and looking after the family plot in the cemetery, it was mainly a residential safety course.

I got a demonstration of skid control and recovery. This was performed unexpectedly on a patch of diesel on the Norwich Distributor Road in an unloaded Toyota Hi-Lux which was in rear wheel drive.

I got a lesson in chainsaw practice and safety during which we felled and logged a tree.

I got a lesson in how to use lockwire. My final project was judged by a licenced aircraft engineer and was at a standard that would have been certified as safe for flight.

Richard "Tourist Information" B

Monday 4 March 2024

City Break

 A couple of weeks ago I hosted my brother and one of his friends on their "gents city-break in Plymouth". We ate pasties and drank Plymouth gin. We maintained a length of my ancient Devon hedge. We observed bleak grey seascapes in heavy drizzle, we looked at moorland from indoors, we saw the ugly brutal architecture of the city centre in cold heavy rain, and we saw the inside of several (warm, dry) pubs.

I was reminded of a conversation that one of my colleagues had. "Isn't Plymouth beautiful?" "Yes, when you've got your back to it".

He's absolutely right, it's surrounded by moorland, rolling Devon hills and wooded valleys, cliffs, islands, estuaries, lighthouses, and harbours. But the city itself isn't much to look at.

Richard "Tourist Information" B


 For the latter decades of my curatorship of the family lawnmower I had a very nice fuel mixing bottle, but I gave it away with the mower. Now I am a chainsaw owner I need the same thing again, but they're all trash. The top on the one I bought leaks terribly and I have been unable to fix it. Literally every other mixing bottle (except the expensive Stihl one) is the exact same moulding, and I can only assume is equally badly made.

Fine. I'll do it myself.

All I need is a clear bottle with a good screw cap, and a narrow neck, so that the measurements are somewhat accurate. I finished a bottle of rum and bought a measuring cylinder and I've now marked the empty bottle at 700ml and 714ml so that I can mix up a batch of 50:1 two stroke fuel.

Yes, since I own a measuring cylinder I did calibrate all the measuring jugs in my kitchen, wouldn't you

Richard "Lambs Navy Petrol" B

I Bet You

 I've got involved in a massively convoluted and expensive wager. One of my team can't drive and is starting to find it mildly inconvenient. I have previously wondered aloud whether I'm good enough at circuit driving that I could get a race licence. So we've challenged each other, who can get their respective licence first.

I will keep my readership informed of any important updates in this wager.

My rival has edged ahead as she's already applied for a provisional licence, while I still haven't actually ordered my Go Racing Pack from UK Motorsport. The bit I'm most worried about is what car I'm going to be in and which circuit I'm going to be at when I take the test. As far as I can tell the only hard and fast requirements for the car are that it has a passenger seat and an H pattern gearbox. Whether the driving school will accept my kit car, which has both of those, and which I'm confident driving, is another matter. Hiring cars at racing circuits is spendy.

Richard "Phileas Fogg" B