Friday, 28 April 2006

Cheese on Toast

I've just discovered from Diamond Geezer that Thursday was National Cheese on Toast Day. I think it was real based on the fact that some other people wrote about it and that it has its own website. Anyway I had no idea but I do make rather good cheese on toast (so I've been told, honestly its true) and thought I'd share how I do it, so we can avoid those feeble attempts that I have sometimes been served (the worst example being a piece of toast with grated cheese on top - I presume they hoped that the heat of the toast would melt the cheese).

So, on to the method.
  1. Bread - I prefer bread that requires slicing, something with grain and seeds in, sliced medium to thick.
  2. Toast one side under the grill
  3. Turn it over, spread with mayonnaise (or butter if you can't stand mayo) and some whole grain mustard. Lay slices of cheese across the whole bread surface - not too thick. Sprinkle thyme over it and black pepper to taste.
  4. Stick it back under the grill and leave it until the cheese bubbles and goes slightly browned on the edges.
  5. Meanwhile slice cherry tomatoes in half, ready for when the toast comes off the grill, put them on in roughly the right number to get one tomato with every bite.
  6. Polish it off and go for another round.
One day I might tell you the recipe for the best scrambled eggs (from a New Yorker friend of Pops).

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Date Bails...We have a winner

The winner is this cool cat, Johnny. He likes swimming underwater, cooking, eating and drinking heavily, making maps, collecting plastic animals. Eats anything (except cats, obviously not a cannibal, which is good). Describes himself as a tall greedy boozehound (slightly odd for a cat). Likes being right all the time.

Black cowboy hat (preferably on a cowboy).

Favourite mode of transport: medium sized boat.

Best joke: A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver instinctively recoils in horror and says, "thats the ugliest baby I've ever seen". The woman goes and sits down, fuming. She says to the man next to her, "the bus driver just insulted me!" The man says, "you go back and tell 'im what you think of 'im, go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you..."

And actually, just incase you get concerned that I'm sending Bails out with a cartoon character he really looks like this. She's very excited. I'm hoping they'll let us know how it went after the weekend.

If anyone else would like me to fix them up you know where to email!

Monday, 24 April 2006

3 years ago today...

I first clicked publish and sent words into the ether. Petrifying. However I have since got used to it. Also discovered a previously unknown massive virtual community. Still not quite used to the constantly changing, developing nature of this community - globular, expanding but with imploding parts. As some blogs puff out their chests and become massive, others trundle along slowly picking up steam (like this blog), others remain virtually undiscovered, and some just stop - for a variety of reasons - their footprint left or deleted entirely only to live on in the memories of those who read them. I still miss those who I once read regularly who have now stopped. Especially those who I met in the real world. I've found it harder to form bonds with those who have come after because I fear they will pull the rug out from under me and vanish as well. But perhaps thats because of the expanding nature of the blogosphere - its become easier to be anonymous because we're dealing with a global city rather than village pockets. I have a sense that there are more readers who are not bloggers than there used to be. No longer an underground activity, much more in the public conscious.

So anyway, happy blogday to me. I'm not bored yet - even if you are!

Sunday, 23 April 2006


Spring is sprung. The coots who've been nesting on the canal for some time now have hatched their chicks (cootlings?) today.

Thursday, 20 April 2006


A sarf london man gets onto the train at South Bermondsey (home of Millwall Football Club). He's chatting to his mate's mrs. She's telling him his mate in in bed. They talk about the soaps she's watching - Emerdog and Constipation Street, is how they're referred to. They still call EastEnders EastEnders, perhaps its a mark of respect for fellow Londoners. GS used to call them BeastieBenders - I debate whether to tell him but decide he'd only think I was eavesdropping.

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Message from the Bonsai Master
(White Belt, i.e. started learning but only just)

  • Little roots drink the most water (accelerate growth). Big roots with no small roots get trimmed.

  • Find the flow of the tree. Look at the tree to see where the flow is - right to left, or left to right. It will become apparent over time. Tree grows to sun.

  • Balance of the rootage. Gives the tree strength.
Need to talk about taper, but not ready yet. Until next time. Haaaa Bonsaiiiii. (Wax on, wax off...)

Monday, 17 April 2006

Painted Eggs

When we were little, my parents used to paint easter eggs - they would be displayed around the house at easter time. I remember spending lots of time with creating designs using a variety of techniques, many of them labour intensive. When I got home from Prague Pops had some out - probably for the first time in 10 years. Mostly my mother's ones. Often with the insides turned into hard balls inside the shell. Many of them not doing too badly considering some of them date back about 35 years.

It was important to have white eggs, so there came a time (on the back of healthy eating consumer preferences when brown was better) that it was virtually impossible to get white eggs and that was when we stopped making them. Techniques used include:
  • drawing a design with ink pen and colouring it in with paint or felt tipped pen
  • making designs from tissue paper stuck on, then varnishing over the top
  • melting wax crayons and building up a picture using dripped coloured wax
  • wax resist - we had a tool for melting wax that could be used to draw onto the shell - anywhere the wax was would not take up colour when the egg was subsequently left in a dye bath. So you could make a design that was white lines and a background colour, or do something all much more complicated - make initial lines, dye the egg, draw on more wax, dye it a darker colour, draw on more wax, dye it a darker colour etc. After you have finished and the dye is dry you gently heat the wax and rub it off as it goes liquid.
  • straight forward painting
  • dye the egg and gently scratch the pattern into the shell with a scapel
  • painting with bleach onto a dyed or brown egg
  • I can't quite remember how we did this one but you could get things (like fern leaves) and wrap the egg in onion skins or with rubber bands(?) and dye them - where the leaf touch the shell it would not get dyed (I'm not remembering this right at all!)

Sunday, 16 April 2006


Eggs were a theme in Prague for easter, along with willow whipping sticks (men run around beating women with them, the women retaliate by throwing cold water over the men - sadly didn't see any of it going on).

Portrait of a City: Prague

Dusk Til Dawn

Red, books, tealights, a lack of vampires. On the first day between us we had a martini, an old fashioned, daquiari floridita, salty margarita, and a brandy alexander. At 1.00am we ate strawberries with chocolate fondue. On the second day we had 2 margaritas, a dry martini, a martini expresso, midnight expresso martini, truffultini, mojito (best drink of them all), vodka coke, brandy alexander and a bloody mary.

Two of us embarrassed the other by singing along to Louis Prima, Bee Gees (Bails' mum has much to answer for - a back catalogue of many suprising records imprinted on Bails' mind), and other old time faves. A woman on the other side of the room smoked a big fat cigar, rolling it expertly in her hand, puffing on it intermittently as her partner watched. The barman stood outside and tried to entice customers in. Closer to midnight the bar filled up. It still wasn't living up to the Titty Twister image but it was nice all the same.

Friday, 14 April 2006

Date Bails

Are you longing for a date? Single life getting you down? Desperate for a bit of fun? (I know I know - this is sounding more desperate by the minute). You still have time to apply for a date with Bails. See here. Really, she's keen.
Of Suitcases and Airlines

So the day of reckoning was upon us, today was the day we find out what Czech Airlines made of Bail's case that came out of the hold with a wheel torn off and the body cracked. They said they would first attempt repair and only if unable to replace.

Al and I had a running commentary the last couple of days of possible repair scenarios - I thought duck tape round inside and out, Al thought an additional wheel, most likely mismatched, I thought perhaps they'd search around inside the plane for the missing wheel, Al thought perhaps they could seal the crack with some kind of car fixing kit. Bails kept saying they'd replace it like for like.

Today after walking about in the rain we came back in and lo! they had replaced it like for like. Personally I'm a little disappointed they hadn't tried to fix it, just for the possible look on Bails' face. Very good service I'd say!
Gargoyles, Drinking and Easter

To the castle and make it snappy. Black stone buildings. Long long queue to get in. Walked around the outside looking at the gargoyles who were sticking their tongues out and retching off the side of the building. Tourist throng.

The girls started the day with complimentary champagne for breakfast, were drinking amoretto coffee for 11ses, beer for lunch in the cafe with sheepskin chair covers. We sat outside at every meal which is pretty silly when one of our party hasn't brought a coat (Bails and I are getting in trouble for teasing Al, huddling into our winter coats whilst sitting under gas heaters).

Sat in the Old Town Square watching a strange disco dancing showcase and looking at an easter tree decorated with coloured eggs.

I didn't manage to drink any more absinth after yesterday but feel that I must have had some of the more disgusting stuff. Don't know whether I'll be brave enough to see if any other sort is more palatable.