Monday 23 January 2023

Sealed For Life

 When I started driving pretty much every car battery said either "maintenance free" or "sealed for life" on it. That was to distinguish them from the old fashioned batteries where you were in charge of maintaining the level of the battery acid. I don't think I've seen that written on a battery in a decade or two and I haven't had to top up a battery in all the time I've owned my own cars. Or so I thought.

After about 3 years the battery in my Caterham failed. I bough a new one and didn't think much of it because the car lives in a cold garage for the whole winter and isn't used. So that I wouldn't have to buy another battery so soon I also bought a posh battery charger and conditioner (made by CTEK). Another 3 years have passed and when I came to service the Caterham the battery was dead. Not only dead, but as it turned out - bone dry. After £85 and a humiliating lesson in battery maintenance I now know that the battery in my sports car is not maintenance free and that I should have been topping it up every 3 months. Let's hope that this one lasts a bit longer.

 Richard "de-ionized water" B

Wednesday 11 January 2023

I've Been Working on a Cocktail

 I've been making cocktails and I'm trying to perfect a drink called a Metropolitan Brandy Cocktail. It's brandy, sweet vermouth and sugar. I prefer it with a dash of bitters. I think it tastes better shaken, rather than stirred, but it looks worse - it gets a slightly scummy foamy head on it. This would be like saying "I like guinness but I don't like the white foam on top" but I decided to try to make a shaken Metropolitan without a head. My research turned up various techniques to either physically skim off the foam or to try to inhibit its formation. None of them worked well, and seemingly none of the people who tell you how to mix drinks on the internet have a background involving laboratory glassware. I went out and bought a separatory funnel and it works perfectly. I shake the drink as normal, but pour it into a sep-funnel. I then let it stand (in the fridge of the freezer) for a couple of minute so that all the bubbles rise to the top. I then drain the drink from the bottom of the funnel into a glass (it should be a coupe but I don't own any) and stop just before any of the head flows out.

Richard "faff" B