‘cors …

… cleaner skies will mean more immediate climate heating, oh dear. And my previous post and link for Sam Carana ie Arctic news blogspot focus on the huge release of methane from what looks to be an earthquake in the Arctic. Yuck.

Driving thro my nearby town tonight (NE UK) was a trifle upsetting considering how we still mingle for shopping and for instance many small businesses such as car repair seem to still have human interactions; I cannot help but feel pub and restaurant closure ie trifling but valuable human interactions will create a whole bundle of frustrations and eventual anger. I’m okay, I pretty well live the exact social distancing lifestyle that the Government would so wish us all to pursue, but I’m not sure the average person would wish to live as I do. In fact I know they would not and could not.

Boris has promised vast amounts of citizen wage aid, but be warned he will want his price ie stringent shutdowns as and when he thinks fit.

My heart bleeds for front-line Doctors and nurses  …  despite the pure lies and blindness  of Government Press Briefings … we hear several times over each day from NHS frontline workers that the correct PPE is not present and is pathetically unsuitable, short of the decent minimum.

And where is   TEST-TEST-TEST  which we were implored to pursue? Its a bit like UK ‘Foot and Mouth’ in that all the hard lessons learnt from the experience of 1969 were ignored thirty years later.

A term seemingly forgotten is bio-security, quite handy actually, its what we all should aim for. Something else we should aim for is NOT to excessively stockpile, methinks there will be much waste, lots ending up in the bin, after all … its difficult to get excited at the prospect of yet more pasta based meals. Luckily I’ve started to get into Indian and Pakistani cooking, I’ve a couple of excellent charity shop books here and once you are ‘tooled up’ ie have the necessary herbs and spices you are able to create so much beautiful taste and often without using meat of any form. Heres so far my rock-bottom must have …..

mustard seed and fennel seed.

olive oil.

cumin seed with hot fried sweet potato ‘twiglet sized’ pieces.

fresh coriander.

try supermarket jars of Indian sauce (try Saag Masala) … you can use red onion, leek and broccoli for an instant meal. Garam masala is part of the toolkit as well as additional  coconut milk.  I also make my own chapati and Peshwari nan … all v quick and simple.

Besan flour too can make a simple bhaji or vegan burger which is wonderful with say an onion chutney.

I also use Ajiwan seed in my trad brit suet crust or for my nan bread mix.

I also enjoy a sea food pilaf (ie white wine, smoked haddock, mussels, chicken, rice, chicken stock).

a beef skirt casserole with chopped parsnip and carrot for flavour, don’t forget a couple of cloves, also Kalo beef stock ie low salt.

as a treat, crushed chilled raspberry with carnation, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.

try to add fresh garlic and ginger wherever possible, fresh diced fig also fine chopped red onion, leek, spring onion; fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. This is all as can be termed ‘Natures Medicine Chest’.

copyright climate-change-briefing@mail.com 2020

 

 

In praise of Jeremy Hunt…

… well done Jeremy Hunt to call for a greater reduction in the assembly and gathering of individuals and in my opinion sports gatherings should be closed altogether, no matter what size; in your minds eye imagine a group of blokes, theres always somebody coughing or as we see here in the north east … spitting!  For the UK I’d say this is not a ‘once in a generation event’ as much bandied by the PM in his recent speeches but similar to a WW2 blitz eighty years ago or the Spanish Flu of a hundred.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51865915

I see this as a taster or try-out of the climate change disruption that will undoubtedly take hold in a few years. However it heartens me that much personal / recreational airflights can be eradicated and the economic model we have at present ie year on year annual growth and continuous market growth has limitations and should certainly be open to scrutiny. As I blogged previously I fear the virus will certainly demonstrate the unfairness and inefficiency of the American health system never mind the lying hapless nature of trump.

Concurrently there is also an official thread or counter to the Jeremy Hunt line in that meetings, groups etc should still be permitted, in an effort to help the populace develop immunity; but surely its not quite like that in that this is a virus, read and listen to how this spikey critter latches on to and enters host body cells. My own particular vigilance would be to avoid or minimise travel within the country, ie MPs sit in London and then spend the weekends at their constituency,  the virus we could say is riding piggyback on the railway system!

Heres a good link to bbc r4 radio programme  ‘Inside Science’ with Adam Rutherford, but unfortunately the bbc want us to jump thro hoops and ‘register’, wow this annoys.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g3gf

I am so lucky, I’m so glad I do not live in a large town or city, that I have personal transport and can obtain my food shopping quite easily and quite close by (all fresh and home-prepared) and do not have to use public transport nor work within a group of other people nor visit anywhere with other people present, I’ve no long term health problems and am happy enough with my own company. I’m lucky indeed.

 

Learning to cook.

I would never have known cooking was so much fun, so fascinating and of course the better I get the greater the reward ie gorgeous food for me!

I keep an eye to low cost and increasingly to minimise meat content. What has sort of turned my mind (and my stomach) was opening a can of corned beef  a couple of weeks ago to make ‘bubble n sqeak’ which in my case is based on red onion, fine chopped leek, sweetcorn, broccoli, be sure to season with sea salt, fgbp and a little oregano; the potato content is ‘forked up’ not crushed down, I aim to keep it light and airy and uses previous day boiled potatos to increase flavour, skins always remain on.  The can of corned beef if you look closely is quite horrible, a bit like sausages in that you would be horrified as to the junk that gets included, looks to be everything is pushed through the grinder to maximise output. There was a lot of material ground up that is to my mind  a) is non meat content and  b) if landed onto my kitchen work surface would be instantly binned; try a magnifying glass, you’ll never use corned beef again. Its high fat too, the wrong sorts of fat I would reckon. Hint: heat some up and let go stone cold to see the horrible fat that lies on the surface.

This has pushed me to realise something like Indian cookery is the way to go. Online is certainly useful as in fact can turn into a hobby taking notes and learning about spices and how to use them. A book I bought four years back for a pound in the Saly Army shop is a teasure trove, ‘India with Passion’ by Manju Malhi, pub Mitchell Beazley ISBN 1 84533 166 4.  The enthusiasm and knowledge of the author is a feast both for the senses and the intellect and the photography is as good or better than any trip to India. I’ve a bee in my bonnet about needless travel and airflights, its just not needed, certainly as grazing tourists or resort lovers there is no life threatening need for this travel (nor any planetary threatening need to make the silly journey) ie youtube, a book or an atlas can provide a near zero carbon travel experience. The sight of stag parties to Prague, flying needlessly across Europe is the height of human stupidity.

The latest thrill is buying in spices from my shopkeeper friend a few miles away that opens up a new world of taste and texture, I’ve about fifteen at present; theres so much, vast amounts of incredible dishes that you need never use meat. Heres an example, a beginners toe in the water and utterly infallible in outcome; remember two things, moderate quantities of each, don’t overwhelm and think about the appropriate heat, I’m lucky I cook with gas, the electric hob would send me crazy!

I’m sort of gluten free, low salt, low cholestrol and dairy free so this recipe is very useful to me, used for lunch most days, maybe chicken salad later and home-made soup late afternoon. I can create very good meals at say per serving £1.00 to £1.60 most every day.

Recipe: vegan Indian style burger with caramelised onion chutney. Be sure its a non-stick pan and use only a little oil to start and add only a little more as reqd.

Mustard seed hot pan till it pops open, add fennel seed, both are essential.

Quarter red onion, sliced thin and long.

Leek, slit down, cut as thin half circles.

Slice a cooked potato or two into slices, slice again into mini potato chips, push aside pan contents, fry in a little oil, add sea salt.

Say an inch of skinny green chilli, fine chopped.

Sea salt, fgbp, a little oregano.

Add thin sliced broccoli, mix well. You can add fine chopped garlic but not essential, fresh coriander sprinkled before combining with the besan flour lifts the taste to something even more interesting.

In a bowl mix besan flour (a very useful ingredient) till runny and drop in and mix the contents of the pan. Using a big desert spoon pick up a dollop, place in pan and pat smooth, tidy up the edges till approx round.  Cook till a little bit of dark brown appears on both sides, do not overcook, do not use too much oil.

Result is scrumptious, low cost, nutritious and satisfying. They will keep a few hours quite easily and are good hot or cold, easy to take to work or picnic. They are irresistible;  I developed the idea from thinking about onion bhajis but without deep frying in oil, therefore flatten and near to dry fry and no doubt lots of other people have done the same.

I’ve other tricks too, for instance when I buy a ready cooked chicken whilst still warm I  cut longitudinally and in my little Melissa bench top oven cook on at 220C for another ten minutes, this drains some fat and crisps up the skin which of course you should try to not eat too much of.

I buy fresh, nothing frozen, nothing processed. I think about air miles and helping to avoid pains I avoid tomatos, excessive amounts of potato and certainly bell peppers of any sort, also aubergines as all these can trigger excessive body pain. I abhor the ‘burger culture’ and particularly how it is promoted in the USA, it is ‘white man lazy cooking’ and unthinking excessive consumerism. I also abhor the American fetish to over-serve vast quantities of food say in diners, its very bad on so many levels. I never buy takeaways, I can do so much better myself at a fraction of the cost, its far more fun and of far more benefit nutritionally. In my opinion all kids at school should undergo a few hours of ‘crash course’ of say ten basic meals such as those I cook here, the recipes all combined onto a data sheet they can show parents and hopefully retain for use later.  My inventory of basic food materials means there is very little waste. I never eat out.

If you want a snack eat a carrot! My basic ingredients include fresh fig, red onion, leek, spring onion, these are always to hand and can form a chicken and rice non-fried ‘pseudo-stirfry’,  or a chicken salad with celery and a little bit of tomato and cold potato. My basic ingredients can also morph into an ‘Indian’ with a ready bought sauce and low fat coconut milk (hint add extra garam masala) or move sideways to a Chinese style sweet n sour with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, cashew nuts, Chinese five spices, Aldi ready made sauce for same; all of these starting with my basic red onion, leek, spring onion base. Occasionally I try cold potato with say three fish selection baked in the oven and this works well, but I am mindful of micro-plastic contamination and must be wary to avoid anything from the Pacific Ocean (Fukushima).

I also do all my laundry by hand, the washer packed up over a year ago and it bugged me how needlessly the thing expended so much time and energy to spin. I’ve a washing line in my garden and a bamboo pole across my kitchen ceiling, radiators too so I cope perfectly well without a washing machine, in fact I enjoy it, we seem to have reached a point in ‘civilisation’ where we are perhaps too far removed from simple honest work, a time when kids appear to be without any practical skill other than the keyboard, they don’t make, they don’t explore, they don’t learn by their own initiative.

copyright:  climate-change-briefing.com 2020

 

Is HS2 worth the money?

I cannot think that HS2 is worth the money. So much emphasis is made on getting ‘business people’ whoever they are to and from the Midlands and London. I don’t think this arguament of Doris holds water. Remember we are now so very screen based, people are possibly prefering to fly and airports are usually easy road links, I’m not convinced of the HS2 arguament. Not ever a mention of goods needing to be transported, decades ago rail was important for this. Perhaps moves to help / aid road transport might be a better idea. Or better still getting the existing rail network to function as it should be, to focus more on local solutions, to open a few more local commuter lines to and from growing towns and into local cities would surely be a useful idea.

HS2 sounds silly, perhaps a diversion / news filler when in fact the big problem is exiting Europe, my heart bleeds for manufacturers whose worlds are being turned upside down, with probable bankruptcy or closure at the end of it. How else can it be, the USA most certainly does not want our goods, trump himself is hell-bent on protectionism and tariffs, oblivious to knowledge, expertise or history.

So many flaws with HS2 as highlighted this morning on bbc r4 news, lets list a few of my rambling poorly read ideas …

  •  HS2 terminals look to be separate from existing stations, its not just a question of walking to another platform.
  •  environmentally its tragic.
  •  a nonsensical reach for max upper speed on HS2 adds dramatically to final cost, massage it down a little and look at the saving!
  •  I don’t think there is the need for it, but I do concede it may take pressure away from existing networks, maybe … but where does this factor into the daily commute for the average person?
  •  we know fine well that with climate change we need to be closer to our work, to somehow eliminate travelling.
  • the regions themselves all insist the money could be better spent locally.

 

It was quite ironic a few minutes later we have a news item say 0830’ish regarding the plight of the homeless and how a simple one room bedsit is so very important, we assume and hope getting people turned around again, getting them away from the desperate hopelessness of sleeping rough. No wonder mental health problems and drugs are rife. I also believe mentoring is so very important, methinks cuts after cuts have ground away so much that could be done. To NOT give them a bedsit and some basic mentoring IS to commit them to an early death.

Its my opinion social housing and council built property (when well done) is so vastly under-supplied. Now that would be a very good use of HS2 money.

I remember the silly move 20 years ago to send the weak and mentally ill or handicapped into the community ‘American style’ a cruel move indeed, disrupting and / or removing networks and socialisation to place the handicapped into bungalows and dwellings across the UK where boredom hardly starts to describe their pointlessness.

We don’t seem to be very good at ‘thinking’ do we?

How bad has tv become?

How bad has British tv become … quite bad by any standards.

I’m in my sixth decade and fab shows were Blue Peter, Avengers, Danger Man; World in Action, Play for Today (anyone got a vid for ‘The Bevellers’) etc.  In fact if you want to learn about camera angles, staging a shot etc watch early Danger Man on youtube, its a textbook photography course.

I never see tv, don’t have the time nor the desire but last night ie Christmas Day evening whilst out visiting I found myself half watching some absolute tripe scheduled as prime time tv, goodness me what a travesty of common sense, insulting to common taste, ie ‘Call the Midwife’.

I cannot believe such unbelievably staged garbage is peddled as prime time tv. Error upon error unfolded, I’ve seen better scripts from the pages of ‘The Bunty’, actually to be honest I have never read the latter, but I use this for effect! Every other shot was phoney in the extreme, was quite make-believe. Actor Stephen McGann did okay; stout workaholic everywhere fill-in Margolyes as ever fulfilled a role, the rest … hard to determine. Oh dear and this was supposed to be the Outer Hebrides, blimey! Maybe the star was the little newborn, quite well portrayed, the best bit, accurate too. The rest, oh dear quite infantile verging on charade, tissue thin characterisation, no relevance to a reality mostly now gone. Far too many (all) freshly laundered garments, far too clean and crisp and white. Dialogue pretty crummy too. So many shots if not nearly all were jarring to my sensibility, for instance YIKES …. those Christmas trees would not be growing on a cliff top, evenly spaced the three or four of them as if placed out by an infant (actually by the props people most very obviously), even to location I was baffled, accents whizzing around all over the place, Irish, Scots, Welsh? I could also see ‘placing’ of ethnic types to even out or to pander to the present day PC agenda (all quite laudable)  but lets get real, this was supposed to be early sixties Outer Hebrides. I’m sure there was a fraction of a second footage manipulation when the mixed race couple got off the boat. Tut-tut. I could also see wilful manipulation in this which in other areas of media and say news would actually be tantamount to fakery or propaganda. Perhaps this shoddy over-zealous make-believe (and over zealous make-up for all the young girls) is the responsibility of some deeply unattractive lesbian collective, all pasty white rounded and shaven, lacking fresh air and exercise, overweight in their dungarees and funny jewellery, being oh so original (not)  … or at least the product of someone v distant from reality? Yes, I too can be quite unreal, just like the effort of  ‘Call the Midwife’. Other instances, watching some bloody useless women attempting to peel potatos, mostly anytime anyone did anything ‘manual’ it was cringeworthy.  Remember, this was supposed to be from a time when ppl were ‘grounded’ would be far better at practical tasks I assume than we are now. Again errors, huge interiors when inner spaces would be cramped (perhaps an idea borrowed from the Tardis) … one fire only enterprises and peat at that, not the roaring generous hearths witnessed on the fantasy bubble of ‘Call the Midwife’.  One could surmise Enid Blyton as serious study material, a companion for life compared to this crap. I could go on for dozens of glaring errors, are these productions the result of a barely twenty something?   Heidi ??

This is insulting to peoples intelligence, we deserve better.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_the_Midwife

 

 

bbc r4 screws up again …

Tonights broadcast presented at the close of ‘PM’ at near 6pm by Evan Davies of ‘a curlew’ intended Evan tells us to add relief to the turmoil of present day political fractions and splinters but instead WAS NOT in any way the otherwise delightful memory of springtime upland and moorland curlew birdsong; it was an otherwise unheard screech or distress and quite difficult to pin down as in any way ‘curlew’ and in heavens above any way ‘delightful’.   Oh dear error upon error Evan.

Evan Davis and his patchy 5pm bbc r4 news prog cannot help but drop clangers, bbc r4 itself is full of error, witness the continuing inability to match mic levels, it is oh so irritating to have to lean back from my machine work and turn up the audio to hear the other side of a conversation. Who do they employ for sound engineers?  Theres a particularly irritating female presenter often Sat pm that is so difficult to hear, a voice definitely NOT made for radio.

Another instance… Laurie Taylor in his otherwise useful ‘Thinking Allowed’ insists on utterly irritating music links or fillers, a really unwanted over-loud blast into my otherwise controlled environment.

Whilst I’m busy wingeing re bbc r4 … please would r4 output realise much of its so-called comedy output is utterly cringe-making, a turn off in all senses.

Okay, rant over.