jpgsawyer: (me!)
So pictures from our trip to San Francisco. I might write it up at some point but its safe to say there was the City, Alcatraz, Walking up and down hills, dodgy bookshops, a West Kingdom event where we were taken amazing care of by [ profile] hrj and co, wine tasting, Muir woods and a nephew and niece.

I even got a wonderful horse ride and some excellent food care of a chef whose also in the SCA! If in Martinez check out the Compass Star Cafe.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
Awesome riding lesson this afternoon I was jumping over blocks. (You know the ones that they normally put poles on.) This allowed Celine to chop and change the jump easily by moving them about. Sometimes there where gaps some times not. Bryn my faithful steed can get a bit edgy when things change and so it was an exercise in getting him over when he starts to refuse.

I had a bit of an epiphany with him when I realised that Bryn was picking up on my uncertainty and I needed to be confident and boldly get in to jump position and keep my leg on and over he went with just about everything.

I also found out that my dodgy ankle makes my leg less effective on the horse so I think I need to practise putting that leg on. Hmm perhaps I should have bough the saddle stand and saddle from the auction house to sit on and practise.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
Rather proud of myself yesterday. I had a longer lesson normal because the stables had a free space.

My instructor told me I was going to do something new... Jumping without stirrups. Now I was a bit worried but actually it turned out to be fine and actually quite fun.

Just look at how the lovely Brin looks going over this jump.
Brin Jumping

By the end of the lesson I had relaxed about it and it felt natural. Of course it helps to have a great horse. Brin you are wonderful.

Here is a link to a video of the last jump.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So dinner last night. Well it was a wonderful thing. We went with [ profile] maryf to Whatley Manor near Malmesbury for dinner. The full fine dining experience.

We had wonderful food and I can't remember it all. There where canapés, followed by an Amuse Bouche of smoked mackerel with Wasabi Ice Cream. My starter was braised snails with a red wine and ox sauce served with croutons and a parsley sauce. Jenny and Mary had the Foie Gras served two ways in a Sauternes sauce. Jenny and I had a main course of Pigeon in a sherry sauce and Mary had loin of venison. There was an amazing pre-desert which had rhubarb in it. If you know me I don't normally like Rhubarb but it was wonderful. Desert for me was black truffle ice cream with Rocheforte cheese and fried cheese balls. It was wonderful as not being a sweet person it got to have something lovely and savoury. Mary had chocolate mousse and Jenny a chocolate soulfle.

Just awesome and the best bit was that they just coped with Mary's lactose intolerance by changing the menu as necessary. No fuss no bother.

The service was excellent even if it was obvious that they where training up new staff as they didn't all know where to go but that was okay.

The sommelier knew his stuff even if getting past his outrageous French accent was a bit tricky. The Vosne-Romanée from 2006 I chose went very well with out game dominated meal and I think I impressed the Sommelier as he was quite friendly all evening.

One of those meals that I will remember for along time.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
Just back from a lovely trip to France and we took the option of heading along the Normandy Beaches.

Very interesting to see. It was a lovely day and it was quite beautiful really.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
nominy nom nom nom! Take the left overs from your wild duck, as you do, and pick the meat from the carcass then chop to a mince. Dice two cloves of garlic fine and cook then with some diced bacon and lots of cracked pepper. Add some sliced mushrooms and cook until the mush rooms are properly frying again. Add a bit of mushroom ketchup and some Worcestershire sauce.

Add the meat to the pan and cook for a little then add some tomato passatta (in this case our own) and some red wine and a little water. Cook it out until the sauce is nice and thick. Then add some peas and a little slaked flour and cook until the peas are done.

Toss with some cooked ribbon pasta (if you have it or if not use spaghetti like we did) and then add a lots of cheese and freshly ground pepper.

jpgsawyer: (me!)
My riding instructor took this this week and emailed them too me.

I think Bryn, my horse, was doing a fantastic job which made my life easy. Of course not for everyone so behind the cut )
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So last night we through a dinner party for some friends. We don't do these often but when we do I get to have fun.

The menu was ambitious but I think I pulled it off.

We had;

  • Rabbit and pickled walnut terrine.
  • Seared Scallops with pea purée and candied bacon.
  • A lady grey sorbet.
  • Pheasant with quince and red wine sauce.
  • Pears stewed in white wine.
  • Cheese.

I was very pleased with the terrine it was very nice. Its a Valentine Warner recipe and I hadn't made a terrine before but its much easier than it seems. The scallops where good too but I have done them before so they should be. I used the corral from the scallops to make the pea puree and I think that was a nice touch as it blended with the scallops nicely.

I wasn't quite as happy with the pheasant as the sauce didn't really work and just disapeared in to the cavelo nero underneath and it didn't quite plate up as nicely as I was hoping. It was still tasty though.

The pears where from a John Burton Race book that is usually pretty reliable but I wouldn't do these pears again rather I would stick to my normal red wine recipe.

Still I think this was a successful evening.


Sep. 26th, 2013 01:43 am
jpgsawyer: (me!)
It would be nice to sleep, to dream
to succour Morpheus' deep embrace.
Sing choirs of angels take this beam,
take it from my face.

Use it in your building works,
this moat of bliss entrenched,
light me 'cross into its chalks,
the mount of sleep embraced.

Until such time I will await,
in state of grace misplaced,
in an ever and enduring state,
that mythic fate ungraced.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
so that was deeply annoying. They put me under then tried to get my hip joint open so they could perform the procedure. Even with the full racking in effect and pumping my joint full of compressed air they couldn't get it open.

So long story short I have a very sore hip but they couldn't remove any of the offending bone.

I have the option of doing it the old fashioned way where they open me right up and clean it up but frankly that doesn't appeal so I guess it make the best of what I have and just get on with it.

At least it means I can ride pretty much next week and if I wanted I could go back to work on Thursday but I think I will take a few days of to yell at the world and get my head back together.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So tomorrow is D-Day. I am getting the pelvis and femur trimmed. This should give me the ability to errr open my legs again. A few people thought I was having the hip replaced we are not going that drastic just a trim up.

I go in at noon tomorrow and should be home tomorrow night all being well.

I am not consciously nervous but I did have chronic indigestion last night and legs cramps so perhaps I am. I don't know what to make of this really I just hope it works.

See you all tomorrow evening as the new me!
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So as previously mentioned I made Passata last night by roasting 5kg of tomatoes in the oven with onions, garlic, salt pepper, herbs and herb. Then took the flesh and processed to a pulp and put it through a sieve. Excellent stuff but what to do with all the juices in the roasting tin?

Well put in a sauce pan and reduce slightly and shim off any scum. Then season to tastes and add a little Worcester sauce.

You then have an amazing clear tomato soup. We had it with a little cream and it was very very tasty!
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So tonight well dinner worked!

The starter was simple but does it for me. Corn on the cob with butter. So obviously I can't claim any credit there.

So on to the main course. Tonight's inspiration with the weather being what it was was Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking and her French Provincial cooking. So for main we had Pork cooked in Cider with apple sauce, potatoes and veg.

We have apples from Jen's parents so taking some of the cider some apples and a bit of pepper I cooked the lot down to make apple sauce. The pork was browned, the fat was thickened with flour then I added cider and water then some rosemary garlic and the pork and back into the oven. Mrs David said 35 minutes but 20 minutes was more than enough. It tasted pretty good but I would say if I cooked it again I could add more cider and less water. :D

Finally was the tart.

Cook some peeled, cored and sliced apples in some butter until soft. Make a Pate Sable by rubbing 6oz flour and 3oz butter together. Add a little salt and three tablespoons of sugar and get it to a sandy texture. Bring the lot together with water and make a dough. Spread it out into an 8 inch flan dish. Put the cooked apple into the tart and cook at 320C for 15-20 minutes. No need to blind bake and its just awesome!

Happy John just a shame the movie I was in was so terrible.

We finally watched Hammer of the Gods this evening. [ profile] bend_gules you will be pleased to hear the grey hood you made me way back when gets serious screen time and I get a few frames in the first few scenes. The rest of the film well err no idea, it was dreadful. Acting beyond wooden into concrete far too much fake lightening about and way to many filters to make footage obviously shot in the daytime suppose to be in the evening. Wouldn't even cut the mustard in Home and Away!

Weirdly I feel guilty because I turned up for a day and made the film, where as the guys and ladies who spent a week in a scout camp in Merthyr Tydfil and spent hours each day getting cold don't seem to have made the the cut!

Must be my model physique and general good looks! He he going to tell myself that anyway! Sorry guys. So now for a nice quiet weekend after a busy week from hell!
jpgsawyer: (me!)

It constantly surprises me that people want to believe that food in the past was terrible and that people didn't care about taste. It seems self evident that people will eat what tastes good, its our primary feed back loop as to what is a good food, and struggle to get food to be as tasty as possible.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
ahh the lovely effects of a good bottle of wine on an evening! Had a good riding lesson today. Did a lesson on trotting then canter poles to try to get Bryn one of my favourite ponies to calm down. He did but when we went to two jumps he freaked out and refused the jump. On my second go he went round the first jump but I wasn't to be foiled and got him to jump the second jump from a standing start.

Third run round he tried to run out but I was ready and already in jump position and I got my leg on and a small amount of stick action got him to behave and over we went! Yeah this is a huge achievement for me.

He did try to convince me that a magpie, a small child and a truck on the road were scary but I wasn't having it.... So frankly I am really pleased with my riding today. Lets hope it only gets better after the op!
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So awesome riding lesson today although it hurt! I was riding dog leg jumps. So riding along jump a jump ride to a point, turn the horse round its middle then jump again.

Going the first way was easy enough (A round to B) as it was set up with the turning point nice and easily between the two jumps but the other way.... (B round to A)

Well the first jump was along side the wall but inclined at say 20 degrees, so it was ride long the fence then turn and jump, then ride across the corner of the school at and then turn canter a step then jump again. Now that was a bit hard.


So the first time I tried it I didn't have the right plan in my brain but the second time I nailed it. It was probably the first time I just managed to get the horse to turn exactly when I wanted and then jumped. Just brilliant and a real high. The Celine put the jumps up to 75cm and I did it again. That was a real buzz and I was very happy even if it really made my hips hurt.

Rupert you are a star and fun to ride even if your conformation is rubbish and this is why I am really not giving up riding.

Kylie Legg is this a good idea for your riding lessons?

I'm Hip

Aug. 20th, 2013 07:10 pm
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So tonight I saw the second hip specialist who recommends surgery.

Behind the cut for the very squeemish )
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So its been a busy weekend. Friday I discovered I didn't have my usual riding lesson, so I went bass guitar shopping and have been having fun playing it and learning how to play it. Funnily enough I bought the guitar from the shop where they helped me choose one rather than tell me what they liked and why I was mad or only let me play the bass through an amp that was so poor I couldn't get any idea what it sounded like. Go figure I spent money where the customer service was good enough to let me get a sense of the product. Sadly it was the big music shop in Bristol rather than the two small independent ones. Come on guys being cool and snobby is all well and good but if you don't know how much the product costs and can't be arsed to find out people just aren't going to spend money with you.

So that done and a lovely steak consumed the day was done.

Yesterday involved getting things out of storage for the Raglaners, then we went to Ikea and Costco and finally Cribb's Causeway where we had dinner, a quick game of ten pin bowling and finally saw Despicable Me 2 which was very funny.

Today has been more bassing, tidying up, getting some ingredients for our cooking plans, taking stuff to the tip, going back out to get my suit from the dry cleaners. Then after some swearing at Ikea designers whilst doing assembly I finally got down to the serious business of the day. Making Pasta! The ravioli filling was beef, pork, spring greens, rosemary and Italian spicy sausage as we learned to make in Luguria. With Jenny Sawyer's amazing pasta dough I made loads of Ravioli and then a ragù. The ragù didn't quite have enough tomato to coat the pasta but the ravioli tasted exactly right!

So now to relax and finish the wine and prepare for the onslaught that will be this week.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
It seems to surprise people I know that I do not support an opt in by default filter for the internet as proposed by the current government and when I posted about this on Facebook the discussion quickly became one of about the problems of porn on the internet and harm it might be doing to society and our children.

So lets get this out of the way. I do not object to the filter because I want to watch porn or think people should have the right to look at porn. My views on porn and in fact the effect of porn on society have very little to do with this issue in my opinion and I wanted to put down why I object to this measure in full and I hope that people will read all of this and consider my arguments rather than simply say I merely want to watch porn and I have to think of the children.

I will break down this in to why I think the filter won't work and secondly I will address why I think this is actually worse that doing nothing.

So why won't it work. Well the internet is big, very big, and constantly changing and say the filter has a 0.1% error rate which is probably an over estimate of who good the filter will be, based on existing technology. Lets say there are 2 million individual bits of porn on the internet, which frankly is a woefully small estimate that is 20,000 videos to watch. That should keep little Johnny happy in his bedroom.

And so here is our first reason as to why this is worst that doing nothing. See little Johnny's mum doesn't know much about computers but she isn't concerned about what little Johnny might see up in his bedroom with the computer because Mr Cameron said that there was now a filter that was turned on without her doing anything... so what harm can he come to up there unsupervised, he can't see any porn can he. Mean while little Johnny is now trying to work out what to make of those 20,000 porn videos.

So that is a good result isn't it, little Johnny is experimenting with porn and his mum has no idea because she thinks can't see porn.

Of course there is another side to this error rate. Say you run a nice little internet business and its doing well and this is your livelihood. Somehow, and it doesn't matter how because it will happen, you end up on the wrong side of the filter. Suddenly the 80% of people who haven't changed the filters suddenly can't find your website or get to your website. You probably won't even be aware that your business is blocked but suddenly there is slump in orders and you are potentially out of business and certainly out of pocket. Even if you manage to get it fixed you probably still lost two weeks sales and had to spend a bunch of money getting it sorted out, I doubt anyone will compensate you for your loss and that is presuming the creditors have moved in.

So there we go, it doesn't stop little Johnny seeing porn, it makes his parents even more complacent and has the potential to hurt small businesses and that is before we get to any malicious misuse of such a system, would it be beyond our government/big business, to use the system to hide information it doesn't like. Its seems to be common practise for companies to use fraudulent copyright take downs to stomp on criticism.

You may say I can opt out and I will, not because I want to watch porn, but because I don't want something built by the government getting between me and the my information. To work this filter, most likely running on my ISP's servers, would have to intercept my internet requests and vet them and presumably keep a record of what I am looking at. Remember this is the government that wants to watch what I do and record it all under the idea that it keeps us safe. No thanks I don't want the filter. Oh you don't want it well we will have to keep an eye on you you are up to something aren't you?

Its all a bit Orwellian to my way of thinking and given the behaviour of GCHQ and the NSA recently I for one say no.

Regardless of what you think of porn and how it affects society, this is not even close to being the solution. Its a false sense of security and yet another example of the politicians trying to be seen to be doing things and actually making things worse.

The issues surround porn and society are thorny and not solved by anything so trivial as a filter like this.
jpgsawyer: (me!)
So its been a while since we have been back but life has been incredibly busy so I haven't had time to write about our trip but it was too epic not to write about.

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