Monday, 31 August 2009

Virgin Broadband, Again

I've noticed that my remarks about my broadband connection are the most popular postings on this site, so I decided to relate the latest installment of my tribulations.

A few weeks ago there were intermittent failures in my connection which were attributed to a faulty cable, which was replaced However there are still intermittent failures, now less frequent and always at night; the connection often fails around10 pm, returning by 8 or 9 the following morning.

The engineer sent to investigate this morning (I was favorably impressed by his visiting on a bank holiday) found nothing wrong in the house, and thought there might be a fault with the amplifier in the green box at the end of the street, so that is to be monitored.

He was quite pleased that I had noted the times when the connection was lost and when it was restored, so fellow sufferers would be wise to chronicle their misfortunes.

It was some consolation that when I rang to report the fault, I was awarded a ten pound credit as compensation - it will at least pay for a few hours of dial up Internet access.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Hope springs eternal...

This afternoon I spotted a bundle of little notes pinned to a tree at the side of the road where it passes a row of shops. The note said:


Yes ladies, Dave does your cleaning totally naked.
No Fees
So if you like a bit of fun TXT me anytime

07732 501191"

What an optimist Dave must be :-)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Severn Valley Railway

Yesterday, in the company of two friends from my schooldays, I made my first visit to the Severn Valley Railway, in an excursion that introduced me to a part of England I'd never visited before.

The SVR runs steam trains over a 16 mile route from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.

We joined the train at Bewdley, the first stop after Kidderminster, and travelled to Bridgnorth, where we spent about two hours before returning. Our return tickets cost us 12 pounds each, and would have allowed us unlimited travel for the day.

Much of the Severn Valley is densely wooded, so the view from the train was often confined to the woods, but when visible the scenery was attractive, with wooded hillsides descending to the river.

The stations on the line were bright with flowers growing in little gardens and in various tubs and containers.

Bewdley and Bridgnorth are both very attractive towns.

We spent only a few minutes at Bewdley, but had time briefly to admire the riverside promenade.

Bridgnorth we explored at greater length. The town is on two levels, with the Lower Town in the river valley, and the Upper Town, which includes the town centre, sitting on the top of red sandstone cliffs. We ascended on foot, but after lunching our exploration led us to the Cliff Railway, a short funicular railway that takes people up and down the hill, for 1 pound return,. There were no single fares so we regretted not having found the Cliff Railway in time for our earlier ascent.

There is quite a lot to be seen at some of the stations between Bewdley and Bridgnorth, so one could easily occupy a whole day on the SVR.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sugar Cane

I record another gastonomic first - this time I sampled sugar cane.

I spotted it in the Market while buying some garlic from a stall specialising in exotica. The obliging stallholder chopped off what he deemed to be enough for a beginner to sample and warned me to do no more than suck it. To chew and swallow any solid matter could appearently be a terminal mistake.

What I got was a sort of chair leg with a moist inside.

For photographs see here, and here

When I decided to cut a piece off, because it seemed vulgar to stick the entire leg in my mouth, my kitchen knife made no impression so I had to use a saw.

There wasn't much juice inside, and what there was tasted just mildly sweet, like a much diluted syrup. I expect it was better than an ordinary chair leg, but not much better.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

My first batch of oxtail soup.

Once I got round to it was quite easy to make; how odd I should never have tried before.

I suppose I was brought up to think of oxtail soup as something that comes out of tins.

A few days ago I made my first dumplings, and it's barely a year since my first homemade scones.

What shall I do next ?