Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here's to 2006

New Year Resolutions...
1) Don't make any New Year Resolutions...

Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the coming year.

Happy New Year to all our readers. You know us, we know your ip address. If you've visited us, come back. If you haven't, why not?

Better go - it's nearly midnight and I don't want to be blogging the new year in - how sad would that be?!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

So here it is...

Happy Hogswatch to all our readers. Today's picture shows my (successful) attempt to recreate the buncefield oil depot with nothing more than a christmas pudding and several gallons of industrial strength brandy.
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Bubble bubble

There was a small amount of culinary activity here today. I hunted out my notes from Nairn's cook school and set about making some chicken and beef jus as a base for a sauce for our Christmas lunch (rack of lamb - we're a turkey free zone this year).

So, ingredients:

4lb chicken carcasses. "Oops, sorry, none left" said the butcher.
1 pigs trotter: "Ah, fresh out of them too"

Resorted to rib of beef which is a wee bit extravegant for what's basically stock, but the result is a nice full bodied flavoursome liquid, and we have lots of beef rib for dinner tomorrow.

That stock recipe in full:

1 colossal quantities of dead animals
2 er
3 that's it

Mad friday tonight, the bar is busy and the blue WKD is flowing like (sticky blue) water. The new red WKD has so far failed to win many converts - I think we sold two or three this week against two or three crates of the blue stuff.

Nearly closing time - better go and help Rob clear up.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas rush

OK, So With the benefit of hindsight, Tesco in Galashiels probably wasn't the best place to be three days before Christmas, but I was at an electrical supplier in Gala to buy some cable and connectors for our new generator. It's a 4KW machine which will keep the central heating, some lights and the freezer going and maybe one of the beer chillers. Of course, now we've got it there's almost no likelihood of a power cut - a bit like the way it doesn't rain when you have your umbrella with you.

We were both in Penicuik yesterday for my niece's 18th. Lunch at the "tout p'tit" then a quick coffee at my sister's and then hurry back to take over from Rob who was minding the shop.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Things to make you feel old

Some years ago - it doesn't feel like that many - I found myself in Reims, a town in the north of France that is best known as the centre of the champagne industry.
I spent a couple of days sampling some of the local produce (yum!) before being joined by my (then) brother in law and my sister who was pregnant with her first child.

She's 18 tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

All together now

It's Christmas, and one of the local amateur choirs was doing a concert tonight. Christmas and amateur choirs - what do those two words generally mean.

Yes! It's Handel's Messiah of course. All 2hrs 40 mins of it, sung very nicely, but reminding us that it's basically rather a long piece with a few nice tunes and lots of boring bits.

Reminds us of the comment that Wagner has some great moments, but some truly dreadful half hours.

Carpet cleaning tomorrow. Party yesterday, lots of young people - not going there again, nuff said .

Monday, December 12, 2005

Revenge of the nerds

I've finally got my realplayer plugin to work on Mozilla. If you don't know what that means you're probably completely normal. It took about 12 hours.
It would be nice to think that each new distribution of Linux allows easier configuration and auto-installation. But no.

To install realplayer you get the appropriate self extracting package thingy and install it. That's fine and gives you a stand alone realplayer. But to allow Mozzie to use it as a plugin you copy various obscurely named files to equally obscurely named directories and then ensure that /usr/local/RealPlayer/realplay is in your environment path (by editing /etc/profile of course - why didn't I think of that earlier)

Spit snarl swear curse mutter

It's actually been a good day. Our project management folk were up and, totally co-incidentally the guy from planning decided to drop in unannounced. As I said to Q*** if we'd arranged that something would have gone wrong.
Anyway, the planning guy was very positive - no major issues and we've okayed the first block of work to start mid January. You can read about that in another place

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Young people

Some too young.
When asking if someone's over 18 we get all sorts of interesting replies.
"Oh, I don't drive so I don't have a license"
"It's OK she's my sister"
"Aye he's over 18 he went to school wi me"

Lots of very bad singing in the bar tonight. Here's a tip:
Don't try to sing along to any of the following:

House of the rising sun
anything by Roy Orbison
anything by Queen

That'll keep everyone happy.
Not a great night, but fair. No guests (except Taz who doesn't do breakfast) so no need to leap out of bed at unsociable hours.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lighting up time

Just spent ten minutes in sub zero temperatures changing light bulbs outside the laundry. They're ordinary bulbs - I tried high power energy savers, but found, just too late, that they're just a bit too tall for the fittings - with smashing results when I tightened the screws:-(

Full again tonight - our 9 workmen and a couple that Lorna checked in who are here for two nights. Our new starts are in the bar on Saturday and Thursday respectively. Full staffing on Friday - bliss!

Twenty five years tonight since John Lennon died. That's the kind of statistic that makes you feel really old! For the record, I was in my bedroom getting ready to go to Stevenson College in Edinburgh when I heard.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The best laid plans...

Music night. We did posters, we did flyers, had them printed and gave them to local shops to distribute.
At 6.15 this evening the band cancelled (for a very good reason) and so there was no music session.

And this was a good thing because tonight was also the hunt ball at the town hall and no-one had mentioned it before.

A Christmas card has arrived from Dianne in Canada. Many thanks Dianne - I spent the non-music session writing Christmas cards, so yours should be on the way soon:-)

And so to bed after a (necessary) measure of Rosebank single malt.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Mama said there'd be days like this...

Weeks like this to be exact.

No sooner had I swanned off to the Western Highlands (see previous post) than one of our three barpeople was signed off sick for a week. Then Lorna's brother who does bar and cleaning came down with the same cold that I had last week (blinding sinus headaches, neuralgia - you get the picture: not fun) and took to his bed.

Then one of our two remaining cleaners had to resign for personal reasons.
That left us with one barperson and one cleaner.
So Lorna had to do the entire bar shift on Monday followed by most of the bar and all the cleaning on Tuesday and it hasn't really got much better since then.

However, we interviewed two hopefuls for the bar job and both were good. So full staffing should return pretty soon.

Fact finding

I was away on a freebie to various businesses along the West Highland Way on Monday and Tuesday. It was organised by the Southern Upland Way partnership to find out why the WHW is a rip roaring success and the SUW... isn't. A packed itinerary included visits to a tearoom in Luss, the Green Welly stop in Tyndrum (family owned, been going 40 years, 85 employees - pretty significant in a town of 150 odd), the Ice factory in Kinlochleven and the Atlas brewery next door (the coldest place I have ever been!)
If the only good thing to come out of the trip was the price list from Atlas (who also own the Orkney brewery and distribute Paul Theakston's Black Sheep beers) then it was worthwhile. The trip also included a trip to the famous Clachaig Inn at the end of Glencoe whose bar and cellar layout had me green with envy. Twice the space behind the bar that we have, and a huge cellar just next door instead of 15 metres away.
Quite an exhausting two days mainly due to the heavy schedule and travelling, but nothing to what Lorna had to put up with...