Golden Streets And Muddy Sediment

Time seems to be going both slowly and very quickly at the same time. November has flown by, yet the Christmas break still feels like a long time away. In reality it’s only about three weeks now, but these dark evenings and mornings are really starting to drag now.

This weekend just past I surprised my other half by taking her away to London for the weekend for her birthday. It was a really welcome break, and helped cement in my mind the fact that there’s no way I could live there, not in the city center at any rate. It’s a really nice place to visit, but it’s utterly mental. A few hours of Oxford Street was enough for me and I was ready for some quiet (and to get that black gunk out of my nose, yuck!). Walking in Hyde park in the morning in the snow(!) was pretty special. I got to fulfill one of my oldest wishes which was to go to the Natural History Museum and see the dinosaurs. I’ve loved dinosaurs since I was a kid, and to see them up close and get a sense of scale was something special for me. unfortunately it meant me missing a seminar the club hosted with Chris Crudelli, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

In unrelated and completely uninteresting news, my broadband provider changes today. I’ve been with Pipex for something like five years now, but lately the performance has been poor, I lost my entire email inbox for days, and when I called to say I was tempted to leave and they offered me a ‘retention package’ it turned out to be the same offer they offered everyone within a week. They said that the takeover of the broadband division by Tiscali had nothing to do with it, but the timing was very coincidental. I’m migrating to O2 thanks to a very good deal from my brother who works there, and finally I’m back to unlimited downloads per month. That’s a very good thing in my books. The current broadband market seems to be working against itself and the digital advances. Bandwidth limits are comparitively very small, and when you consider the big push for digital distribution – be it games or tv and film – it’s counter-productive. As an example, with Xbox Live on the 360 it’s possible to download and rent HD films. The problem is you’d be looking at something like 3.5 to 5 GB at a time. For lots of people, that’s their monthly allowance gone – madness. It also saves me five Pounds a month, and with things as they are, every little bit saved really counts. The next thing to go or change is the mobile contract once I can, it’s another drain I can do without.

The Christmas brew is going well, and the bottles are starting to clear nicely. I’ve taken the ‘pure’ brewing quite seriously this time and didn’t even use any finings to clear it, so some of the bottles are showing some serious sediment already. I think that’s partially due to using spray malt to prime the bottles, and it being really difficult to measure the stuff properly. The malt has really weird properties and acts as if its wet, even when it isn’t. Once I’ve been paid I’m going to get some labels done and tart the bottles up a bit to make some (hopefully) nice presents. Now for a name….

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