A Little Bit of History

Only a little bit, mind you, but I am really, really glad that the magic of technology has helped me spruce up and rescue this audio file. It’s an “interview” (I was a singularly incurious interviewer at the time, under the influence of puberty and obligation) recorded when I was I suppose 13 and my nan was in her late 60’s, about her experiences in the war.

Personally, I spent 8 minutes yelling “ASK HER MORE ABOUT THAT BIT!!!!” at my former self, but hearing her voice again after getting on for 17 years was pretty extraordinary in itself. Thanks I guess are due to whichever of my teachers at Treviglas got me to do it; I suppose it must have been Mr. Firmston (history), but it could equally have been Mrs. Sleep (English).

Anyway, my own personal blast-from-the-past. 1991 or 1992 vintage. I rescued this off tape; how long will an mp3 on the internet last? Makes you feel like a donation to the Wayback Machine, or “rogue archivist” Carl Malamud, or if you like the big picture, the Long Now foundation.

Plymouth in the Blitz

[gplayer href=”/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/PlymouthInTheBlitz.mp3″ ] Plymouth in the Blitz [/gplayer]

Do yell if this doesn’t work in your browser.

Things I Wish Were True, Part 46 billion

I’d quite like this image taken from my online banking thingy to be a lot more accurate than it really is…

A Long-Scale Billion

USians will call this a trillion, UKians who’ve been paying attention will have been calling this a trillion since 1974, and all you lovely Europeople will call it a billion.

When I hit refresh, I lost something over £1,000,000,000,000. Trust me, that stung.

Delia’s Toasties

I can’t quite believe I have allowed things to progress this far without sharing with you the joy of Delia’s Toasties, mentioning it only in passing in an earlier post. Let me therefore correct that error…

For those of you who enjoyed “Tuna and Pasta Bake, Oh My!”, here’s the original from which I shamelessly lifted the idea. And, it turns out, some of the phrasing — though I hadn’t even seen it for about three years when I wrote. Weird, eh? Must be the urbane genius of the original. Note also my mangling of the original title — apologies.

This recipe is copyright Tom Witney.

Lesson 1: Scrambled Toast.

For this simple, yet time consuming, snack you will need:

one sandwich toaster (I find that geriatric ones work best for this
4 slices of bread
some of that marvellous low fat olive spread
fillings of your choice

The first thing to do is to make sure that you clean the sandwich toaster
thoroughly using plenty of detergent. We don’t want any nasty grease do

The next step is to decide on which fillings you want to use. My
favourites are mozzerella, sun dried tomatoes, olives, parmesan, fresh
basil leaves, lime and coriander. (If you’re common don’t
worry. I’ve heard that mild cheddar and HP sauce work wonderfully.)

Now we’re ready to start cooking. Take your 4 slices of bread, I always
make sure I use fresh granary – it gives a lovely nutty flavour, and
spread thinly with some low fat olive spread. (Again, the common people
reading need not fret. Sunblest and lard work just as well I’ve been

When the sandwich toaster is good and hot, put in the bread spread side
down and assemble the fillings. Close the toaster and leave until the
cheese has melted and the bread is thoroughly welded into the toaster.

Taking care to burn yourself several times, laboriously scrape the bread
and fillings from the toaster and arrange on a plate using a sharp knife.
If you do it properly this can take up to half an hour!

When you’ve scraped all you can, you should find yourself with a plate of
slightly cheesy breadcrumbs and a knackered sandwich toaster. Delicious!
Leave the toaster to soak overnight, then attempt to chip the rest of the
cheese from the cooking surface. Spend a good hour or two over this.
Then throw the damned thing away!

Unfortunately this meal only serves one, but it makes a marvellous starter
at dinner parties (Common people: you can stop reading this now and go
back to The Sun crossword). Make your guests the toast in the usual way in
individual sandwich toasters. Serve hot and still in the toaster. Your
guests can experience the frustration and anger themselves as they try and
scrape the remains of their dinner from the awkward corners!

Enjoy! And remember. The time consuming nature of this dish makes it
ideal for times when you’re really busy. Like exam term perhaps.

Next week: Delia shows us how to burn eggs!

Mystifying Eternal Certainties

(“Mystifying” by the way used as an adjective.)

  1. To pack, simply sort through your belongings and throw 50% of them out, until you have twice what you started with
  2. Whilst packing, you will suddenly remember your favourite shirt/blouse/t-shirt and, despite not having thrown a single piece of clothing out for the last 20 years, will be utterly unable to find it
  3. You will make a careful and concise list of what goes into each box, and will label each box clearly with its own unique code. Even as you are doing this, you know with a chilling insight that your list will be wrong and the boxes will somehow arrive unlabelled.
  4. Continue reading

Where in the world?

Right then. Since I have the run of the world (at least those bits of it which can get me moderately swiftly to LHR) in choosing my new “gaff”, as I believe it’s called, where should I head? My thoughts so far include TW1, TW11, and TW9 if it pops in under budget. Anyone?