Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Food and drink

Monday December 31 2018

At the end of April and the beginning of May of 2018, I visited the city of Quimper, almost certainly for the last time.  The friends I have stayed there with several times are now living in the south of France, and their Quimper home is now someone else’s.  So, farewell Quimper.

On May 4th, on my last full day in Quimper, my hostess drove me to see the superb lighthouse at Penmarc’h, which is on the south west tip of Brittany.  And no, I don’t know how “Penmarc’h” is pronounced, and nor do I know what is really the correct name for this mighty edifice.  It seems to have many names.  But, it is a lighthouse, and it is in the town of Penmarc’h, so Penmarc’h Lightbouse it is.

Although she needed to get back in quite a hurry to prepare supper, she let me take the time to climb up the Lighthouse and savour the views of the town of Penmarc’h and of the Brittany coast.  Which were spectacular, as was the weather that day:

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The lighthouse I went up is the furthest from the sea of three structures, which would appear to have been doing, in succession, a similar job.  As time went by, they got smaller, nearer to the sea, and more dependent upon electronic technology.  Photo 3.1 shows the two smaller ones, as seen from the big one.

That same morning, I also checked out a huge and totally marvellous second hand shop in Quimper, and an equally huge and totally marvellous cheese factory, which was really more like a cheese refinery.

So, a really good day.  One of my favourites of 2018.  Except that the day after that day, in Paris, was probably even better.

Friday December 28 2018

Samizdata Supremo Perry de Havilland likes hippos.  A rather disconcerting thing that happens to you from time to time if you are a Samizdata contributor is that if you do a posting, but forget to add categories to it, the default category that gets added automatically is: Hippos.

So, anyway, yes, Perry likes hippos, so a friend of his gave him a hippo for Christmas.  It was presented to him at Chateau Samizdata on Christmas Eve, where I was also present.

I photoed it:

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Trouble is, the hippo is all black, and my camera didn’t do very well.  (The above result reminded me of this Samizdata posting that I did last year, about a very black sort of black.)

I tried lots of photo-editing, but I’m not sure that this was really much of an improvement:

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But yes, this really is also a bottle opener.  (I’m pretty sure it’s this one.) The friend who got it told me beforehand that it was a bottle opener also.  Would Perry really want it, if the bottle opener turned out not to work very well.  I said: if it’s a hippo, Perry will want it.

Saturday December 08 2018

Stow-Away is a recent arrival in Lower Marsh:

Stow-Away is a new sustainable and eco friendly apart hotel concept. Stow-Away Waterloo is our first London base made from 26 re-purposed shipping containers, stylishly designed to provide a snug comfortable Stow-Away sleeping experience.

Lots of people have tried to do architecture with old shipping containers, but personally I doubt if it makes much sense.  But, if your task is to sell hotel rooms, then shipping containers are perhaps a good gimmick, for attracting attention and for giving guests something to talk about.  “I slept in a shipping container.” Etc.  I’ve never done this.

It got my attention:

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I enjoy in particular the various reflections there.

All but the last of these photos were photoed in one burst, last September.  The final photo was photoed more recently, in the evening.

I think this hotel is quite good fun, especially those strange looking shades, red on the inside, that are a feature of the front.  But, I regret the trend of which this “apart hotel” is a part, which is the transformation of Lower Marsh from a fascinating and quite cheap thoroughfare, full of diverting shops and eateries, into a dreary and expensive thoroughfare, stripped of all those diverting shops and eateries.

This happens all the time.  A street contains lots of lively and amusing stuff.  Word of that liveliness spreads, and the rents then go through the roof.  The liveliness is priced off to another part of town.  Such is urban life.

What I am really saying is: RIP Gramex.  Follow that link and you find “an important message to our much-valued customers”.  That would be me.  But this “important message” is dated 4th August 2017.  I gave up hope at least a year ago.

Sunday November 25 2018

Yesterday I found myself in Duke of York Square, which is just along the King’s Road from Sloane Square.  So, what with the Duke of York being one of Britain’s most under-rated military leaders, at any rate according to this book, I thought that, this might be a statue of the Duke himself.

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But a closer look at the plinth told me different:

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Wikipedia tells us more about this, the original Sloane, from whom, of course, Sloane Square took its name, and because of whom Sloanes are called Sloanes.  Sir Hans Sloane, it seems, was the collector of scientific specimens who first got the British Museum started.  Plus, this:

He is credited with creating drinking chocolate.

Blog and learn.  Here is a rather more artistic close-up of this same statue:

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This statue is a recreation by Simon Smith of a statue carved in 1737 by John Rysbrack.  Smith’s new statue was unveiled in 2007:

The original statue, now deteriorated, is housed in the British Museum, with a cast in the Chelsea Physic Garden. The sculptor, Simon Smith, said: “`I wanted the sculpture to show Sir Hans Sloane as a kind man with a sharp intellect and an enquiring mind. An approachable man of principle and logic, who’s morals and philanthropy are still of benefit to us today.”
The light yesterday was very dim, even early in the afternoon.  But whereas buildings often respond well to bright sunlight, I find that statue photos are often deranged if sunlight is unimpeded, and better when the light is more spread around and is coming from lots of different directions, as happens under cloud.  Less light, but of the right sort, does the job.

Wednesday November 14 2018

Nothing says Christmas to me quite like Special Christmas Edition packs of Walkers Potato Crisps.  And actually, I came across these in Sainsbury’s … it must have been nearly a fortnight ago now:

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Photoing a shiny package, with information directly under the shininess, is somewhat above my photoing pay grade, what with my photoing pay grade being: zero without expenses.  On the left there, we have Turkey & Stuffing, Brussels Sprout, and Pigs in Blankets.  On the right, Glazed Ham, Turkey & Stuffing (again), and … well that’s not so clear.

So here’s another photo which explains that it is Cheese & Cranberry:

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However, my favourite bit is this little disclaimer, concerning the Brussels Sprout crisps:

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I love it.  Guaranteed entirely made with artificial flavouring.  No natural flavouring at all.  Real turkey.  Real stuffing.  Real pigs.  Real blankets.  Real ham with real glaze, real cheese, ceal cranberry.  But: fake sprouts.

I don’t always hate the twenty first century.  Today, I love it.

One way to photo such packages as these more clearly is to empty them, and flatten them out, like they’ve done here, because that brings the light under control.  At lest, I think that’s what they did.  Those photos certainly look flat.  But a package that is flat rather than curved stops looking like a package.  Such photos literally take the crisps out of the picture.  And who wants that?

Saturday November 03 2018

Photoed by me, on the same day that I most recently photoed Bartok:

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As I get older, I find myself, every so often, getting crosser.  Not all the time, you understand, just in occasional eruptions.

But I am not cross about this photo.  That is exactly how it came out of the camera.  No cropping or Photoshop(clone)ing.  Just as was.  I love that light, as I have been saying here for about a week now.

I love that effect when the light is very strong and almost exactly in line with the wall but not quite, at a just sufficient angle to light it up, and at the slightest excuse cover it in big shadows. If it didn’t say: “City of Westminster”, you’d think you could be in the South of France or some such sunlit place.

More about the Compton Cross.

Sunday October 28 2018

Recently I and Patrick Crozier visited the Grafton Arms.  I rather like this pub.  These guys also like this pub, because of the Goon Show.  Apparently the Goons wrote some of their scripts there, in an upstairs room.

A fact commemorated by this mirror behind the bar, which I only noticed on this visit:

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If you look carefully there, you can see me and my camera.  Well, it is a mirror.  I should have tried to include Patrick.

What took Patrick and me to the Grafton Arms was that we had just been doing one of our recorded conversations, and we needed refreshment.  Tune in to the latest one, by going here.

My favourite of these conversations so far has been the one we did about WW1, concerning which Patrick is something of an expert.  Our next, or so I hope, will be about transport, concerning which Patrick is also something of an expert.

Thursday October 25 2018

Remember those performing horses of Warwick Castle, galloping up and down on a thin rectangular arena, telling the story of the Wars of the Roses.  Course you do.  I showed you a spread of photos of them, but wasn’t that impressed with how those photos came out.

Well, after the show, all of us friends and family of one of the performers went backstage, so to speak, to shake hands with the guys in their armour and to say hello also to the horses.

And the photos I took of the horses seemed to me rather better:

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It helped that the horses were standing still.  It also helped that the background was much easier to choose and mostly looked quite different from the horses heads.

I also prefer the way horses look when they aren’t wearing complicated costumes.  There’s nothing like quite like a horse, unclothed, in sunshine.

That hoods that a couple of the horses are wearing are not cruel.  They’re to keep the flies off their eyes.

The actual war horses that fought the Wars of the Roses would have been a lot stockier and heavier than these horses.  These ones are retired race horses.  Which is okay, because they are actors.

The performing horses of Warwick Castle (2): After the show
Two faces of Bruce the Real Photographer
A Brunel bridge seat and the Brunel museum
A better way to package bananas
Interesting headgear
Heatwave jacket derangement syndrome
Two good jokes – and a mystery (and a sign (and a cartoon dance))
Silly sofa to advertise domestic television getting bigger and better
A Euston pub fire from the top of the Tate Modern Extension
Hammersmith - cranes - sunset
Lunch in Paris
Heron out west
Hippo with lid
Weird Piccadilly photos today
Quota wine bottle with silly name
A selfie in the Warwick Way gymnasium front window
The delivery scooter – first improvised now designed
A pub which shows the Six Nations
Photoing the man playing a flaming tuba
Pigs don’t pig out
Two phone photos
“I’m calling you from Windows about your computer …”
Antique Austins near the Regency Cafe
Adriana Lucas tells Libertarian Home about the experience of communism
Naughty old adverts in The Star
Busy
A Nelson photo of mine finds a new home
Jordan Peterson on why zebras look the way they do
Bounty Bars for Alfie Saggs
Photos from friends
A busy day that never happened
Horse spotted in Putney this afternoon
Dissing the Walkie Talkie
Two Union Jacks
The Wheel reflections and The Wheel juxtapositions (and a The Wheel postcard)
Tom Burroughes
Photoers at the top of the Shard
While England were winning the World Cup I was photoing adolescent swans
Quota photo of GD2’s Dad photoing The Laughing Halibut
Food photoing
A recital by GodDaughter 2 at the Royal College of Music
Luxury
The queens of the canning factory
Incorporating the little orange light in the design
Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
Photoing last Friday’s Last Friday meeting
An important game and only a game
And Africa’s rivers don’t help
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
Apple juices compared
Man in suit and swimming cap
To Tottenham (3): The Railwa
Alice Robb on how cats look like babies
Packaging that is too good
Bonfire
Union Jacks having fun
What does Thames “RIB” Experience mean?
Deliveroo V sign
An allotment and two cats
On the connection between drinking lots of coffee and living a long and healthy life
Illness and coolness
Nelson statue in Greenwich
A pig and two dogs
The right moment and the right alignment
Why I like Cricinfo
Horizontal French signs
Pizza Express bus
Van Art
Another walk along the river
Getting better - but rather slowly
Steven Johnson on how coffee replaced alcohol as the daytime drug of choice
The footbridges of Shad
Taking photo-notes and an app for improving photo-notes
Blog often (this time about the sound and the vision of this evening’s Tim Evans talk to LH)
A bus ride and tea versus one of the best concert halls in the world
Out and about with GD1 (8): Non-human creature vans
Another way to photo my meetings
The first Brian’s Friday of the year tomorrow evening
Orange coloured London
The Beckton Sewage Works
On the triumph of modernism in the kitchen
Twelve 2015 photos
Confirming an offer I made last night to Rob Fisher
Food memories from the outer suburbs
The next but one London Big Thing
Antoine Clarke on herding drunk cats
A Morris Minor advertising a ping pong night club
Calories defined
An underground history lesson
Marmite crisps are back!
Weird wide angle lens effect
Alcoholic Architecture sign
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Golden Cheesegrater with cranes
Keeping up appearances in Sydney
It begins (badly)
Pancake White Van
Out and about with GD1 (2): How mobile phones both cause and solve meeting up problems
More keeping up of appearances
Heaven aka the Barley Mow
Tim Worstall on “reserves”
Strange London buses
Another use for a drone
Bad taste
Not squash
White Vin Van
Photoing the photoers on Westminster Bridge
The ROH bar and its floating-in-the-air drinkers
Drunkblogging a new London Big Thing
Talk tomorrow – haircut today
Incidental Last Friday details
Another place to look out over London from
Christmas Day photos
Santa’s tired helpers
ASI Christmas Party photos
At the ASI Christmas Party
Scary bunny
Hot dog shadow selfie
Friday photo-puzzles
The uniqueness of our microbiome
At the Libertarian Home cost of living debate
Letterz
Halloween buckets
Strange bread
Two guys on Westminster Bridge photoing ice creams in front of the Houses of Parliament
Triple selfie
Bill Bryson on the miracle of crop rotation
Roof party
Out and about in the sunshine
ASI Boat Trip 9: The man driving the boat
Cat photo and cat news
ASI Boat Trip 7: Other photographers
Colossal fun
ASI Boat Trip 3: Drink!
ASI Boat Trip 2: My photos were indeed better than they looked last night
ASI boat trip - one good photo to be getting along with
Quota photos of and from Tate & Lyle Park
Another London vista
Go Chef
Organised water
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
A slightly foreign part of London
Happiness is a wallet that I didn’t lose after all
South Bank signs
Two bits of hospitality trivia
A new Morrisons is opening in Strutton Ground next Monday
Camel
ME Hotel Radio Rooftop Bar
Church really dwarfed by modernity
Happiness is still Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
3D printer sighted!
Scott Wiener on pizza boxes
La Porte des Indes
Happiness is Gold Blend at only £3 instead of £4.50
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
Fat bastard!
Pain in the midriff
A Strutton Ground shop and a Strutton Ground pub
Jamie Whyte on deferring gratification less as he gets older
Halloween is near!
The Heron Tower restaurant
Monty Panesar: “I piss on your short pitched fast deliveries aimed at my body!”
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Rothko Toast
A Fleet Street lunch
Lunch at Gessler at Daquise
Michael Jennings - pictures of globalisation
What Michael Jennings has been learning about and will be saying about globalisation
Photoing people who are photoing food
Talking architecture at the Libertarian Home social
Classical CDs from Gramex
Six Nations joy
Brian’s Fridays will resume on the 25th of this month
Christmas Eve feast
Cheese or font?
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
Another excellent spot to photo London from
Happy New Year
Les Rillettes Henaff
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
Empty tables and empty chairs
No fruit juice
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Just Righter
Another pub
The Armstrong Gun
Out to lunch with Alex Singleton
It’s interesting …
Female cows in TV advert shock
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
And then give up and stay fat
Marmite spoons!
Merry Christmas
And here’s the proof!!!  Sixteen little square pictures!!!
Talk at Christian Michel’s
Cats know more about fluid mechanics than dogs
Why does a coffee lover not want coffee when he’s ill?
Blog hiati
Guerrilla webfare
To Serve Man
The long and short of conversation - Hitchens on YouTube
Graeme Swann on drink-driving charge after 3am dash to save kitten
Everyone?
iScream from Artisan du Chocolat
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
Yo! Sushi cat says:  Yo!  Stay away!
Incoming from Molly Norris!
“Is this a case of us operant-conditioning them or them operant-conditioning us?”
Sounds like a brothel with film star lookalikes
We’ll always have Chelsea
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Alfie the cat answers the Elmlea challenge
Sushi and scaffolding at Victoria
Why do pregnant women now do quite a lot of driving of their husbands?
The cats from out of town that cleared out the rats during the siege of Leningrad
My sleep and luggage and bus and fluid travel hell
My local Blockbuster Video just closed
Saying it with lights in the Victoria Station shopping centre that were still switched on!
Picture purrfection and a rather good Clive James piece
In other news …
Talking with Toby Baxendale
How building St Peter’s Rome split the Catholic Church and how marzipan was invented in Luebeck
The decor in Peter Jones - and where in London can I find a small ice-cube-making machine?
Quotes dump
Pull Tab
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
London Bites @ Sway
Summer break
Green eyed monster devouring cat food
Friend anonymous
Busy day and busy night
How technology has improved detention
The Vita-Mix 5000 at the Veggie Show
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
Acton
Even crazier crisps!
Vote for crazy flavoured crisps!
It could be a rather small funeral
Milk containers ancient and modern
Happy Christmas to all my readers
Gadget gold
There’s only one way to find out!  Fight!
Palming them off with a sunset
Inamo
England sinking fast
At Liberty 2008 all day
The uses of Jesus
When three’s company but four’s a crowd
Billion Monkey with icecream!
Jellennium Bridge
Big head and big something else
Heroic Billion Monkey falsely arrested by cop whom he photoed breaking law to get to chip shop!
Photo of some foodski
Crackers
Tea with CDs
Billion Monkey Alan Little?
Brian Micklethwait dot com quote of the day - soup
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
Renaissance Man
White Man’s Poison?
Fat Man on a Keyboard
That Rooney goal
Why photographing Big Ben can resemble being photographed with a sandwich
Male cows do not have udders
Spreading the word for free
Grassy car with blog