The Anonymous Widower

Do We Need Another Thames Crossing?

There have been plans released today about building another crossing of the Thames close to or downstream of the current Dartford Crossing. It’s all here on the BBC.

It will be of no use to me, as I think, I’ve only been over the current crossing, once since I moved here and that was because I was getting a lift home from Ipswich by a friend who lives in Kent.

Even my friend going home to the Netherlands on Friday, crossed under the Thames in the Blackwall Tunnel.

It could be one of those questions, where now, we might actually need the new crossing, but in say a couple of years, we might not.

London Gateway will be operational by then and will this cut down the number of truck movements around the M25?

Hopefully, there will be more trains from St. Pancras into Europe to new destinations like Amsterdam, Cologne and Geneva.

Will too, passengers for Gatwick be less likely to use a car to get there, when Thameslink is fully operational?

And who’s going to predict the effect of Crossrail?

It is a very complex problem and perhaps spending £5billion on a new bridge, might have better effect, if it was spent elsewhere?

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Haddock On A Bed Of Asparagus

It seems that the shops have a surfeit of asparagus. As I had some haddock, I looked for a suitable recipe and found this one here on SparkPeople. It took me about half-an-hour to cook it.

For two people you need the following.

2 fillets of haddock

1 pack of asparagus

2 cups of frozen peas.

1 large onion (finely chopped)

2 tomatoes (chopped into quarters)

Salt, freshly-ground black pepper.

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp vegetable stock powder.

As it was 2 small fillets, just for me, I used a pack of English asparagus tips.  None of your air-freighted stuff for me!

I started by heating the oil in a saucepan and then adding the onion.

Cooking The Onion

Cooking The Onion

I cooked it, until the onion was reasonably cooked. I then added the tomatoes, seasoned it all with black pepper and let it cook on a gentle heat for a minute or so.

Adding The Tomatoes

Adding The Tomatoes

I then added a cup of water, the vegetable stock powder and the frozen peas (from frozen).

I left the peas to cook for five minutes before adding the haddock fillets to the sauce.

Cooking The Haddock In The Sauce

Cooking The Haddock In The Sauce

After another five minutes the haddock was cooked.

As the haddock c0oked, a cooked the asparagus in the way that Heston Blumenthal used in this recipe.

Cooking The Asparagus

Cooking The Asparagus

I just fried them in a little olive oil with some seasoning.

It was then just a matter of arranging the asparagus on a plate, putting the haddock on top and then adding the sauce and some of the peas.

Haddock On A Bed Of Asparagus

Haddock On A Bed Of Asparagus

I also added some potatoes.

I think others might modify this to their taste, perhaps by adding lemon juice. But I liked it the way it came.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , | 3 Comments

Clerkenwell Design Week

This week is Clerkenwell Design Week.

There’s still two more days if you want to have a look.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Good Reason For Goat’s Milk

When I went away to Geneva, I left some goat’s milk in the fridge, so I could have a drink of tea on return.

A Good Reason For Goat's Milk

A Good Reason For Goat’s Milk

As you can see it was five days past its sell-by date.  And perfect!

Goats obviously know how to keep their milk fresh.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

More CERN Photos

There are more CERN photos uploaded here to Flickr by other visitors from our Liverpool University Alumni Relations group.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Don’t Dip In Olive Oil Anyway

This piece of EU legislation reported on the BBC must be the silliest. Here’s the first paragraph.

The European Commission is to ban the use of refillable bottles and dipping bowls of olive oil at restaurant tables from next year.

From 1 January 2014, restaurants may only serve olive oil in tamper-proof packaging, labelled to EU standards.

The Commission, the EU’s executive branch, says the move will protect consumers and improve hygiene.

It won’t improve my hygiene, as I’ve never anything in dipped olive oil and as very few places serve gluten-free bread, it will affect me about as much as the EU saying restaurants couldn’t use light blue tablecloths.

It’s ideas like this that mean UKIP and the other silly parties all over Europe prosper.

Let’s have some serious legislation that says that all restaurants must have a gluten free policy, shown on the menu.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

A Daisy Chart

I think it’s about time, that I put a proper Daisy Chart in this blog.

A Daisy Chart

A Daisy Chart

If you’d like to play there is a free shareware version of Daisy available from this page.

The chart  shown is a typical Daisy Chart, showing a Date and Time Analysis, where a Date field is mapped by Day of the Week to a set of boxes or nodes in an arc of a circle. A Time field is also mapped by Hour of the Day. (These are two of up to a hundred different mappings or filters in Daisy.)

The data relates to the testing of a new communication program for the Internet. The other groups of nodes relate to Success/Failure, the various Faults and for how long the user was Connected.

Note the histograms on each node, which show how many attempts were made and how many pieces of electronic mail were received.

Each arc of nodes is linked to records, that have the same values. Thus, if you click on the first node of the group Date, you will select all of the records, that take place on a Sunday.

As you examine this chart, look at the values on the histograms and the detail in the nodes and links.


May 21, 2013 Posted by | Computing | | 4 Comments

Apologies To My Readers

For some reason, I am now unable to edit the galleries, so the pictures aren’t as I would like.

WordPress seem to have changed the software, so that it is impossible to click on the gallery to add more pictures or edit the existing ones.

I would assume that they’ve put new software up and it’s not compatible with Windows Vista and Chrome.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Computing | , | Leave a comment

Bankers Don’t Get It Do They!

My bank, Nationwide, has just made me an offer.  If I pay them ten pounds a month, I get a special account, which gives me the following benefits.

  1. Free worldwide travel insurance for you and your family, including winter sports, golf, wedding and business cover
  2. Free Worldwide mobile phone insurance
  3. Free UK & European breakdown cover
  4. 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a.) variable in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500

Is this a joke?

They say it’s designed to make my life simple.

Let’s take each point.

Starting with the travel insurance.

I don’t have any family, who are dependent on me. I don’t do winter sports or golf. I don’t have any plans to get married and my business, if I have anything is enjoying myself.

I suppose I do need some form of travel insurance, but at the moment, I’ve no plans to go outside of an area, where I get decent healthcare on my EHIC.

The mobile phone insurance is irrelevant, as I use a £10 phone for my communications. If I lost it, I’d just buy another in the nearest O2 shop for a tenner.

Is the third point about breakdown insurance serious?  I don’t have a car.

But I reserve my highest condemnation for the derisory interest rate on savings.  I’m getting a safeguarded five percent on over a hundred thousand pounds with Zopa. So it’s not government guaranteed, but the company is run by people with intelligence and not a wunch of bankers.

There is no mention of the features I would like.

  1. Text messages every time, a transaction over a particular amount happens on a credit card or bank account.
  2. Annotated statements, that allow me to comment on transactions. Taken to its logical conclusion, you could even add a cost code, which could then be used by software to create a simple set of accounts.
  3. Full tracing on cashpoints, I’ve used.  I’ve noticed that the records of those  I used in Switzerland are much more detailed than the one I used yesterday in Islington.
  4. Customisation of my bank account, so that I set levels for alerts, withdrawals etc.

There is an opportunity out there and the first bank to go that way, gets my business.



May 21, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance | , | Leave a comment

By The River Rhone And Lac Leman

You’re never far from water in Geneva.

I tried to get a picture of the sun creating a rainbow in the fountain, but I failed.

Note that I have called the lake Lac Leman. My father said that he lived in the city for some time, when he worked at the League of Nations. He may or may not have worked there, but he was particular, that it was called Lac Leman. According to a friend, locals always call it thus. In some ways my father was secretive about his past, but the more I find, the more his tales ring true.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment