Saturday, 23 November 2019

Biddulph Grange

 We recently visited Biddulph Grange to the North of Stoke.  This was the only clear day we have had for a while and this was a pleasant break during a shopping trip.  The hall was developed as private accommodation flats, but the grounds and small parts of the building are run by the National Trust.
 The Washingtonia Walk is as good exercise route.  You can walk the length of it and come back through the woodland.
One purpose was to see the Geology Gallery now that the restoration project is coming to an end.  The fossils are now on the wall and most of the stratigraphic rocks are in place - just a few meters of stratigraphy to add near to the door now.
 I particularly like the crinoid bed which is a fine and near perfect reproduction of the original - most of the fossils are resin casts and reproductions as the originals were mostly sold to collectors and museums many years ago.
 The Ichthyosaur fossil is a cast of a specimen which is still held in the hall.  Time to check out the dinosaurs in the coffee room before hitting the shops.
Having arrived home, we had an early visitor.  It is quite rare to see the foxes out in daylight at this time of year, but it was a fine day after a week of rain.

Friday, 1 November 2019

IR wildlife camera

Rosie and I went out yesterday and purchased a Maginon WK4 HDW wildlife camera.  We had talked about doing this with some of the proceeds of the sale of our old car.
This little camera is a battery powered unit with a weatherproof casing.  It can be strapped to a post or a tree or wall mounted and it is activated by movement.
With a little bait and the camera strapped to a convenient tree we set it up and waited to see what turned up in the garden.  The time, date and ambient temperature are logged on each image.  No surprise that we saw foxes on the photos.  The Infra Red really makes their eyes shine out in the dark.

 The settings were adjusted to take one photo and a short video clip at each activation.  This is a typical video result.  Whilst the camera was set, it was activated 32 times in 3 hours.  Some of the clips showed moths and cranefly on and around the lawn.

We were hoping to catch a badger, but no such luck last night.  Perhaps we may be lucky at a future date and in a different location.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

West Virginia Pepperoni Roll

Recently, a flight simulator enthusiast from the US passed me a recipe to try out.  This is based on a bread roll produced by Giuseppe Argiro in his bakery in Fairmont WV in 1927.  It was produced as a lunch for working coal miners and is a well liked US food today.

The basic ingredients are white bread dough with butter rubbed into the flour, enriched with an egg. Pepperoni sliced thinly and grated cheese.  The dough needs to prove for 30 minuted before using it.
The dough is rolled out thinly and egg washed.  Pepperoni slices, then cheese, are layered out across the dough, leaving a thin clear area at the edges.
The ends are turned in, then the parcel is rolled up and sealed with egg wash to prevent any seepage during cooking.
Egg wash the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rest for 20 minutes or so, then bake in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or so, until the bread roll is golden brown.
The smaller rolls only need 15 minutes to bake. Cool before slicing.
The pepperoni will soften during cooking and the oils and spices will diffuse into the bread to enhance its flavour.
Supermarkets often carry a vegetarian pepperoni, but the purist would need to purchase the cured spiced sausage from a reputable butchers to slice as needed.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Deer at rest

 Out for a walk in Derbyshire, we spotted a herd of Fallow Deer.  It is always a joy to see such animals at rest.
 Of course, a big lens and a favourable wind do help to keep the animals calm and unaware of the camera.
 It is always rewarding to be able to photograph from a distance.  These deer are 600 yards away across the River Derwent.  There is no way we were going to be seen as a threat to them.
The bos stag was clearly visible, and alert to any threats from other large stags that may intrude on his territory.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

FlightSim 2019

Today I visited RAF Cosford for the flight simulator meeting. This year it is a two day event and I am attending Day 1 with an option for Day 2.
The car park was full very quickly and marshals were guiding traffic into the car parking areas.  Even the edges of the hard standing into the maintenance area was being used to park cars.  I do not remember such a busy event.
The usual queues into Hanger 1 were dealt with very efficiently and I collected my goody bag with assorted treats for the simmer, including the coveted one size fits all Orbx baseball hat.
The hanger was busy and buzzing with activity.  I did an initial fast tour to see what was happening and the became selective about who to see first.
SWFSG were demonstrating using a helicopter control column which was much more functional that the gaming sticks that most simmers use.  I covert such a stick, but I am put off by the cost.
Midland Computers had a very good display  of three different computers running 3 different setups, all with standard controls.  There were many innovations on display across the hangar and many good offers for those who were looking to spend money on new equipment and software.
My main reason for the visit was to go to the talks by Orbx and Laminar Research.  A chance to catch up on the latest innovations and changes that are forthcoming.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Slow progress

 My old car has been in the garage for a while now.  It was up for sale, but did not receive any interest.  I am now looking for someone who wants a good motor at a very modest price.  This Meriva 1.6 life has 4 good quality tyres, a new exhaust, new front discs and two previous careful owners.  It needs Tax, Insurance and Document transfer.  It is currently off road on a SORN so that I do not have to pay tax and insurance on it.
 Now that carrots are plentiful and the weather is wet and cool, we made carrot and fresh coriander soup for lunch. A very British red onion and cheese focaccia and a glass of fresh orange juice made the meal a good one.
My flight simulator has failed due to a hard disk problem.  In  the mean time I have resurrected the flight simulator on my old computer.  It only has one flat screen, but the thing works exceptionally well with a few minor adjustments.
I now have a new hard drive for the failed computer and I am awaiting a reload of the operating system to restore it to its original state.  Should be back and running by the weekend.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Biddulph Grange

Whilst we had a spell of bright weather, we decided to go on a mystery tour.  We ended up at Biddulph Grange and walked in the gardens.
Whilst there, I ventured into the Fossil Gallery to see how the restoration work is progressing.  All of the fossil replicas are now in place and the rock types in the stratification band are slowly being added, using new material.
It seems that the mammoth tusk was a problem.  All of these tusks have different dimensions and curves, so the original tusk would be needed to replicate into the recess in the wall.  The current tusk looks like a modelled object and stands out against the rest of the collection which has been replicated very effectively.  The results so far are of the highest standards.