Sunday, 2 November 2014

Fresh Fish

If I wasn't in the job I am in now I think that I would like to train as a fishmonger and open a small fish shop on the coast selling fresh fish caught locally. I find these fish shops and market stalls fascinating places. Some of the fish are displayed whole with their remarkable colours and shapes, their brilliant designs providing an insight into how they live and eat.

Lovely fresh fish

Next to them on the chiller shelf are the amazing crustaceans, the prawns, shrimps, crabs and lobsters. Even better are the crabs and lobsters that are alive in a tank with rubber bands around them to prevent them from doing damage to the fingers of those that will in a few hours be tearing them apart to get to their succulent sweet flesh.

Of course not everyone feels the same way about seeing fish ungutted, unfilleted and uncooked. People find the thought of eating a plate of prawns, mussels, scallops or oysters completely unpalatable. To me this could easily be food from the gods; fresh, delicious and healthy.

So perhaps one day I will don that white coat and hat, lay out the mornings catch straight from the boat, pick up the filleting knife and provide the local population with beautiful food.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Barmy October

Officially I believe we have entered the winter months but it seems that no one has told the weather. Yesterday I partook in a delicious lunch of tempura hake and chips whilst sitting on a beach in my t-shirt. There was a little breeze coming in off the sea and the Sun was not as strong as it would be in August but the day could easily be mistaken for a Summer one. By evening the 'trick or treat' of Hallowe'en evening was pleasantly warm with no requirement for wooly hats, scarves or coats and the bonfire night on the beach tonight promises the same conditions.

Be aware though as the weatherman last night warned of cold fronts crossing the country bringing with them rain and plummeting temperatures. The warmest October 31st ever will be followed by more seasonal temperatures. Jack Frost will be with us soon and according to some newspaper predictions following that the coldest winter ever with 'freezing Arctic temperatures' is on the way.

For the time being I'm going to enjoy a warm and pleasant November stroll along the beach. I might even venture out in shorts...

A beautiful Dorset sunset



Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I'm sorry sir but I'm afraid my building melted your Jag

Over the summer my brother and I attempted to start a campfire without using matches. My brother wanted to start it by rubbing two sticks together. After some research he made a bow selected the right type of sticks and start to furiously twist his stick against the other. After numerous attempts and many hours of rubbing a wisp of smoke was seen and embers started to form. Unfortunately that was as far as it went, eventually frustration built and the stick was last seen flying through the air towards the long undergrowth only to be retrieved and eaten by our parents dog.

According to my defeated brother the embers were the wrong colour, they were too brown and therefore not hot enough. I was impressed though, he nearly made fire without the use of any modern techniques.

I on the other hand was on to a sure 'fire' technique. I recalled how I used to burn various things in the garden as a kid using a magnifying glass. The Sun was out so the game was on. I discovered a the optical device in the bureau and proceeded outside to find a handful of dry grass. I orientated the magnifying glass towards the sun and moved its position so the focal point fell upon the grass. Instantly there was smoke. Buoyed by this initial success I concentrated the energy on the grass. It turned black, smoke was billowed from my hand but alas no flames were evident. I tried a number of different fuels, from feathers, newspaper and leaves and even sneaked some hydrocarbon accelerant from my Dad's shed but still it would not light. I was finally defeated as the clouds shielded by energy source. I concluded that the focusing power of the lens was simply not up to the job. In other words the magnifying glass was total pants.

Following the inevitable fire lighting with matches I mused on the likelihood of a glass bottle concentrating the Suns' energy resulting in a forest fire, I reckon I have a better chance of winning the lottery!!

It is of course fabled that Archimedes (of Eureka fame), in 212BC built a concave mirror that was designed to concentrate the energy from the Sun in a beam of heat and light designed to burn the roman warships during the siege of Syracuse. Many attempts over the recent past have been undertaken to try to recreate this 'death ray' but so far little proof has been collected that it could actually work.

But today something amazing has emerged, see

The London building known as the 'walkie-talkie' appears to be reflecting and concentrating sunlight on the street below in such amounts that cars parked outside it have actually started to melt, fires have sparked in nearby shops and tiles on the wall have warped. The concave design of the building with its huge expanse of windows is unexpectedly causing a modern day 'death ray' to be produced.

Brilliant - maybe I need to visit Farringdon to cook my sausages.