Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
So the two chimpanzees were ushered into the back seat of the blonde's car and carefully strapped into their seat belts. Off they went.
Five hours later, the truck driver was driving through the heart of San Diego when suddenly he was stunned to see the blond woman; she was walking down the street holding hands with the two chimps, much to the amusement of a big crowd. With a screech of brakes he pulled off the road and ran over to her. "What the heck are you doing here?" he demanded, "I gave you $100 to take these chimpanzees to the zoo." "Yes, I know you did," said the blonde," but we had money left over---so now we're going to Sea World.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Yes, that really is cloud under the deck of the Millau Road Bridge. It is not the tallest bridge in the world, but it is the tallest vehicular bridge, the deck being 803 feet above ground at the second pylon beyond Clermont-Ferrand. It cuts around 61kms off the journey between Clermont-Ferrand and Pézenas, and saves awful congestion in the small town of Millau, all three French towns being en route to the French Riviera and Spain, popular with Parisiens and the Brits during July-August.
Not quite as tall now, but I still don't feel even slightly envious. This is a shot taken looking for'ard of the Tall Ship 'Europa' while she was visiting the Halifax Tall Ship festival, 2007. The crew are demonstrating where not to be in a storm, actually readying to drop sails. The lucky ones get to pull anchor!
The sight is incredible, but one has to remember that sailing like this was not for the faint hearted, and many sailors would have been 'press ganged' into service. The 'Press Gang' would frequent drinking houses, selecting only the fittest of drunks for 'signing on the line'.
Monday, September 03, 2007
It is true that a few animals do like the fruit, but most prefer it fresh. The leaves and bark have medicinal properties, and the skin of the fruit can be made into a coffee like drink. The pulp of the fruit contains way more vitamin C than all other more well known fruits, and the kernels inside release oil which is a good skin treatment.
People living in England's West Country and South West will be well acquainted with the alcoholic drink known as cider. Cider is the processed fluid extracted from apples. It is cleaned up, filtered, and has an appealing golden color. Scrumpy, on the other hand, is the raw product, straight from pressed, fermenting apples. The really strong varieties can knock out even a well seasoned drinker.
So, can animals get drunk eating rotting Marula fruit? The video, made back in 1974, would suggest that they can, but think about it. Eating rotten fruit is more likely to cause stomach upset, which will in turn cause the digestive system to reject it. One would have to consume a fair amount and hold it before fermentation and ensuing drunkeness would follow. Clearly, this would not happen, and in the case of elephants who actually prefer the fruit fresh from the trees, the amount of water also consumed by them would dilute the alcohol content to the point where it would have zero effect.
In the same way as rotting apples are used for Scrumpy and cider, rotting white grapes are used in the production of Sauternes wine. The vineyards call it the 'noble rot' which sounds better. I doubt that anybody eating rotten grapes has ever suffered drunkeness before having to use 'bathroom' facilities.
It would appear that the 'funny' video clip was in fact a staged event, and would not be allowed these days.
I can see that I have your mouths watering for a glass o' scrumpy, so here is a traditional Devon recipe.
- 12 pounds apples
- 1/2 pound raisins
- 1/2 pound raw meat
- 1 gallon water at 70 degrees
- champagne yeast (tradition calls for bakers yeast)
- Chop and grind the apples and raisins. These days a food processor will do the trick
- Use a brewing barrel with an airlock
- Put the ground apples and raisins into the water with the chopped meat.
- Stir thoroughly
- Add the yeast and seal the brewing barrel with the airlock.
- Everyday swirl the barrel to stir the ingredients.
- After the first fermentation slows, about 8-10 days, move to a similar vessal for seconary fermentation. If you like a dry cider, add a second dose of yeast to the secondary fermentation.
- Seal with an airlock.
- Let it sit until it the fermentation slows to a very slow, almost imperceptible bubble.
- Move to a carboy to let the heavier particles settle out.
- Let it sit for about a week and bottle.
One glass and the world seems a better place, two glasses and you probably do not remember.