... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Sunday 13 October 2013

View from my window

My idea for a Sunday feature... The view from my window wherever I am. Mostly of course it will be this one, tracking the changing seasons and maybe, if it goes on for long enough, the human environment too. Perhaps the Hallam Tower Hotel barely visible dirty white against the grey sky on the right, will disappear, or (perhaps less likely) become luxury flats. Or maybe the hotel across the road will fetch something like its asking price of £1.2 million and turn into falts, instead of sitting ghostlike as it does now, with the owners occupying just a few rooms on the ground floor.

And here is the Hallam Tower in its days of hope and glory, completed in time for the 1966 World Cup qualifiers that were held in Sheffield... Closed in 2004 and all set to become luxury flats, until (my local correspondent informs me) the discovery of asbestos (a surprise in a building of the mid sixties?) rendered insufficiently profitable. The building languished ever since, widely considered an eyesore (and with some justice; as stunning as the building could be, it will always stand in stark conflict to its environment) and few tears, it seems, would be shed were it to be demolished. Maybe next week it won't be raining and you'll be able to see it better.


Saturday 12 October 2013

What we missed

Having gone to Gravesend on HS1 from St Pancras, we returned on the normal train to Charing Cross, and then caught the Clipper down to Tower Pier, arriving at half past ten, about two minutes after Waverley, so we able to have a good look at what we missed out on.

Friday 11 October 2013

Adventure aborted

... owing to high winds at Gravesend. :-)
Will explain all tomorrow... Unless you can guess in the meantime. Should have gone to Southend....

Point of departure


First boat trip

First port of call...

On my way...


I'm off on a bit of an adventure today, weather permitting. I'm going to try and post updates as I go.

The really exciting bit isn't due to happen until this evening and involves a historic boat - but not a narrow one.

In the meantime I might get to go on another historic boat, which is narrow, and which I've never been on before although thousands have, and maybe even on a fast boat too, or perhaps a fast train instead....

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Is UHT milk getting nicer?

Or are my tastebuds deteriorating?

I used to detest the stuff; the smell made me heave; it absolutely ruined a cup of tea with its cooked milk taste. I refused to countenance it. But now I find I don't mind it at all; indeed, I can scarcely tell the difference. We use long life milk all the time now on Chertsey; it's so much easier to stock up on 500ml cartons before we leave  than to constantly wonder where we are going to get the next pint from, and if it will still be useable in the morning. The half litre packs are a handy size which we can get through in a day, so rarely have to throw any away even without a fridge.

It seems to me unlikely that the fundamental processing of UHT milk has altered - it must still depend on heating it to a high temperature and therefore cooking it. But maybe there is a difference in the make up of the milk that is treated? Perhaps it contains less of the proteins or sugars that are affected by the heat? I've always thought that the effect was less noticeable with skimmed than whole milk, but I am comparing like with like (in the form of semi-skimmed) here.

If it's not the milk itself, then that only leaves my tastebuds. I would be prepared to believe that they were getting old and losing their sophisticated discrimination, if not for the fact that Sebastian, who similarly used to find long life milk revolting, has noticed the same phenomenon.