Sunday, 23 September 2012

Margaret and I attended our second Tesco Wine Fair yesterday at Brunel's Old Station, Bristol. You can taste over 250 different wines from 14 different countries.

We tasted lots of wine, from the finest Champagne, sparkling wines and a whole host of red and white wines. We attended a workshop from the head of Tesco's Finest, where she explained the criteria they use to add wines to this range (with accompanying tastings!)

We enjoyed it thoroughly (again) and coupled with a nice meal at Bella Italia (courtesy of Tesco Rewards vouchers) we had an excellent afternoon and evening out.

It served to reinforce our choice of wine to quaff, one we discovered at last year's fair, from Tuscan producer Piccini, namely Memoro, a non-vintage wine blended from Italian grapes and regions from across the country.

The wine consists of 40% Primitivo (some of which is passito) from Puglia, 30% oak aged Montepulciano from Abruzzo, 20% Nero d'Avola from the island of Sicily and 10% Merlot from the Veneto in the north. Unusual on the nose too, it is a dead ringer for a Port with aromas of cherries and chocolate, woodsmoke and flowers, and a beguiling creaminess.

On the palate the unsual Port-like impression continues powerfully, with a slippery, silky texture, quite a lot of sweetness and abundant fruit. It is not fortified like Port, but the flavour and aromatic profile is so reminiscent. There is good acidity and a bit of tannin too, but this really needs some food to stand up to the onslaught of flavour and body -  £9.49, Tesco.

However, if you keep yours eyes open in-store or on-line, this great wine can be had for £4.90, which is all we've ever paid for it!

Friday, 21 September 2012

New camera

There have been several occasions recently when I wished I'd a better camera with me than my iPhone at those times where was impractical for me to carry my DSLR kit with me. This is particularly the case if I'm out on the mountain bike, but also if just out shopping in town.

I decided therefore to buy a compact digital camera, small enough to fit in my pocket, but without compromising on quality so it would supplement my DSLR photographs on Flickr.

After reading several reviews and seeing this particular model with a seriously reduced price in PC World, I opted for the Olympus SZ-11. Boasting 14 megapixels (only slightly less than my Nikon D3100 DSLR at 14.2) it also has an impressive 20x optical zoom which is the equivalent of a 25mm - 500mm telephoto on a 35mm camera!

Results to follow!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

'Explored' on Flickr

Really pleased today! One of my photographs reached #19 on Flickr Explored! To put that into context, it was #19 out of the 1.5million photos uploaded every day! See more I more images on Flickr HERE

Here it is.............

Little Switzerland

View from Ridgeway, Newport, across Ynysyfro Reservoir towards Twmbarlwm. Taken on the ride back from Southerdown with the grandkids, just on the off-chance of a decent shot. The sun was shining through lots of 'pockets' between the clouds onto the fields.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blog facelift

Finally managed to get this blog looking as close to my web site as possible. Clicking on the links above will take you to the web site (apart from the blog link of course!). Blogger is quite flexible as long as you are patient. Biggest problem was getting rid of those infernal shadow borders around images!

Built the new web site, because I can I suppose, but also as a means of showcasing my re-found hobby of photography. Recently bought a Nikon D3100 digital SLR after nearly 30 since owning an SLR. Great reviews for this entry level camera and I'm certainly pleased with it so far. Came with an 18mm - 55mm zoom lens.

Invested in a wireless remote shutter release (£11 eBay!) and a tripod (£7 eBay!)

This is one of my first photographs. Could certainly do with a longer zoom lens though!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Just for fun

I found a photograph recently taken outside where I lived in Yorkshire. I think it was probably taken around 1972. I thought it would be fun to update it. Despite it being over 40 years ago, I'm sure you'll agree I look no different ;-) 

I may have my hair cut shorter and wear a baggier shirt and look less gay though.

Friday, 30 March 2012

New summer tyres

Nexen N8000 205/45 R17 88W with rim protection
After taking off my winter tyres (what winter?!) I needed to buy 5 summer tyres having sold my Dunlop run-flats last year.

The thought of the cost of 5 new performance tyres was worrying me until these were recommended to me. Having read some reviews on-line, and THIS ONE in particular and then discovering the price, I went ahead and had five fitted. I've not been disappointed so far, and on the basis of the reviews have high hopes. These are Nexen’s flagship tyres.

I went through a similar process when I bought my winter tyres, and despite some people telling me to steer clear of any tyre from Taiwan (and some even Nankangs in particular) I have not been disappointed with the SV-2s purchased. So confident was I in their performance I even bought Jodi and Jaime sets for their cars.

A bit disappointed we haven't had the opportunity to try them out in snow and ice, but in all other respects they have performed well, and I see them lasting us another 3 or 4 winters, if not more. Again, at less than £60 a corner. The deciding factor for me was not how they compared when reviewed against premium winter tyres, but how they performed against the summer tyres I would probably have left on given the high cost of premium winter tyres (which also at the time were like rocking horse shit!)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

More work in progress

Nice new monitor!
Getting there slowly. Just installed my new brushed aluminium 23" IPS monitor (AOC i2353). Excellent service from Ebuyer. Ordered on Sunday evening, delivered this morning, free deliver option! (supposed to be 5 working days)

Look! No cables to be seen! Pretty much everything out of sight on shelf under the desk (modem. router, mac Mini, external drives and all that associated spaghetti of cables!

More pics to follow as still more to do

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Work in progress

Decided it was about time I modernised the study. It was looking very tired and cluttered. Stripped out all the old shelves and surfaces and constructed from new. Includes space and runners to take four IKEA storage trays underneath, A lot of varnishing to follow.  Pictures of finished room to follow (when finished!)

Thursday, 23 February 2012


So the CEO of RBS thinks that making a thumping great £multi-million loss (twice that of last year) is a sign of success, and therefore justifies paying out even more in bonuses, despite the people that actually own the company (and take the risks) getting nothing. I suspect that if I approached them with a similar business model and requested a loan I would get shown the door?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Here's to the crazy ones...

I had forgotten this...

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

I'm loving the book 'Steve Jobs'. (Thanks Marg XX) Some have said it's hard to like Steve Jobs after reading this book. I disagree. What is hard is not to thank him for caring so much about the products and experiences that Apple has enabled us to have. Thanks for for reality distortion field Steve.