Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Middlesex Sevens and U2 at Wembley

Another hectic Saturday starting off with the Middlesex Sevens with Bob and Lynn (like last year 2008 and 2005 and 2004).

Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham Sat 15-August-2009 1

Then a cross-London dash from one stadium to another for the U2 360 tour at Wembley stadium. A spectacular show, sound a bit iffy (according to where you sat I suspect) but an enthusiastic crowd and ambiance. The Independant seemed a bit underwhelmed by it though [review].

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 1

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 2

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 3

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 4

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 5

U2 at Wembley Sat 15-August-2009 6

Fans' reviews and comments on the official U2 site http://www.u2.com/news/title/wide-awake-in-london

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bircher muesli with summer berries

This recipe we first came across as part of our preparation for the London to Paris bike ride. Like pasta before a marathon it is slow release carbs. However it is so tasty we now make it simply to the pleasure of it.

A breakfast treat that's good for you and a fantastic summer alternative for porridge lovers.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus overnight soaking

  • 100g whole rolled jumbo oats
  • 100ml skimmed milk
  • 50ml cloudy apple juice
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tbsp chopped dried apricot
  • 100g mixed summer berries
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tsp chopped mixed nuts
  • 1/4 apple, cut into lcm approx pieces
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp honey

  1. Put the oats in a bowl and pour over the milk and apple juice. Stir in the sultanas and apricot pieces. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. Put the berries in a saucepan, add the sugar and heat through the mixture until the berries have begun to break down, Pour the compote into a bowl and allow to cool. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. The following morning, stir through the seeds, nuts, apple, yoghurt and honey.
  4. Divide the muesli between two bowls, add a dollop of the compote and serve.

bircher meusli
Cook's Tip
If you prefer, simply sprinkle the berries on top of the muesli instead of making the compote. Alternatively, serve with the fruit of your choice - mango is delicious. This muesli still tastes great the day after, if you have any left.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Cleaning the Wandle August 2009

My poor bones are aching, but in a good way, from five hours cleaning the Wandle on Sunday under the auspices of The Wandle Trust. It was a beautiful day for getting on the waders and doing some serious shopping trolley retrieval.

Cleaning the Wandle August 2009 1
Essential rubber wear ;-)
I got some strange looks from my colleagues today when I said I spent Sunday wearing shorts, a t-shirt and rubber.

Cleaning the Wandle August 2009 2
The team in the water
A good turn out and some excellent team work. Some in the river and some on the bank and some land-side acting in relay to ferry the haul from the river to the bank to the rubbish assembly area.

Cleaning the Wandle August 2009 3
A very heavy old old boiler
Right at the eleventh hour the stragglers unearthed this monster. Initially full of water and sludge it got lighter with patience as it drained. Even so it took four of us lifting plus half a dozen hauling on the grapple rope to get it up the bank and over the railings.

Cleaning the Wandle August 2009 4
Part of our collection of ten shopping trolleys
Plus all manner of junk, debris, rubbish, scrap and general detritus. It is appalling what people will simply chuck in the river! Many thanks to Wandsworth Borough Council for providing a truck to cart away all the rubbish.

A full set of pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8179454@N02/sets/72157621877528459/detail/
Apologies for the quality but they were taken with my iPhone not a proper camera.

Sapphire Bullets at The Grey Horse

The gig of the Sapphire Bullets Mahavishnu Orchestra tribute band was the finale of our hectic Saturday:
  • A 22 mile bike ride including a couple of turns round Richmond Park
  • A couple of hours gardening
  • A couple of hours shopping
  • Supper at Jamie's Italian (Oliver that is) in Kingston
  • The aforementioned gig by the Sapphire Bullets at The Grey Horse
Sapphire Bullets at The Grey Horse

And I have to say they were very good indeed. Far better that one might expect for a fiver at the door in the back room of a pub in Kingston. The drummer is an ex-session musician and the lead guitarist is a very talented man, with Pete on bass, an electric violinist and keyboards player to complete the line-up.

Our friends Bron and Maggie came to show their support and a beer afterward. We had to nick a couple of chairs from the main pub for them as it was standing room only. Then it was the last train home after a most excellent day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Walking in the Lake District

An superb weekend with over 10 hours of walking up hill and down dale with excellent weather and beautiful scenery plus a bit of eating and drinking as well. The weather forecast had been rain the whole weekend. I am glad to say they got it badly wrong there was a little drizzle Saturday morning then it cleared up. Sunday was lovely and sunny all day, I spent most of it walking in my T-shirt.

We took Friday afternoon off and caught the 13:30 Virgin Trains express to Glasgow, change at Oxenholme for Windermere. We went first class with comfy seats, complementary newspaper and free food and wine. Not realising it was all free, at Euston I suggested we bought sandwiches for a picnic on the train but the free glasses of Shiraz went down nicely thank you. I can definitely recommend Virgin Trains.

We arrived at Windermere and a short walk down to the Oakbank hotel in Bowness arrived at almost the same time as our friends Bob and Lynn who had driven up from Hampshire. After settling in we went across the road to the Angel for a pint of Coniston Bluebird and excellent it was too. That evening the four of us went for a meal at the Fat Olive and an early night.

The next morning we drove up to Elterwater and did a walk round Chapel Stile Great Langdale Beck, Blae Tarn and the Langdale Valley.

lake district 1

About 11 miles in total which took four and a quarter hours walking time. We ended up at the Three Shires with a pint of Coniston Old Man and Dark Ennerdale.

lake district 2

That evening we met up with Mary's uncle Ronnie and wife Avril for a meal in Villa Positano and afterward a night cap of a half the Black Sheep at the Angel.

lake district 3

The next day was a longer walk: Troutbeck, Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, Caudale Moor and back to Troutbeck.

lake district 4

In total about 13 miles in six hours plus a total ascent of over 3000 ft. A write-up of pretty much the route we did: http://www.lakedistrictwalks.com/yokcau.html

lake district 5

We then went to the Queen's Head for a pint. Mary had a pint of Dizzy Blonde and I went for a pint of Old Tom. As the barmaid poured it she asked "are you driving" as it was 8.5 ABV. Well that helped me sleep on the train home for sure.

lake district 6

Full set of pictures: