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Saturday, 15 October 2016

No words are necessary - whatsoever


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Thinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - what an amazing chap.

Harry Beckhough who died in 2015 aged 101, was a colonel in the Intelligence Corps during the Second World War, a code-breaker at Bletchley Park, and later a Colonel in the Secret Intelligent Service.

During his lifetime he enjoyed secret chats with Winston Churchill, studied briefly under the philosopher Heidegger, intercepted personal messages between Hitler and Rommel, hung out with the Beatles in Carnaby Street, and even set up fashion guru Paul Smith with his first shop.

Here he talks about subversives in Britain and America, and the fact that every leader in Britain from Heath onwards were traitors to Britain. And - as a MI6 Colonel - he should know.

The first hour is his fascinating speech, without notes, and the second half, is a question and answer time. If you don't have two hours to spare, I implore you to watch the first half.

His autobiography is available on Amazon UK for £18.94 and has only been produced on paperback. I'm saving up!


Are you thinking of opening a new shop?

Before signing the lease, walk the area; what side of the street do the majority walk on? How busy is it between 9am and 12noon, 1pm to 2pm, and 2pm to 6pm?

Does your business depend on people coming from out of the area? If so, where are the nearest parking areas? An added plus if your shop is near a bus stop!

The weeks before you open, deliver 10,000 leaflets. Offer a very large discount voucher for all who turn up between 5pm and 7pm at the opening party. Preferably  the night before opening the shop. Keep the leaflet simple, The type of shop and the date of the party.

Have music playing in this party so people coming home from work will hear and make a note of your shop. Curiosity may bring them in over the coming weeks. Invite the local Councillors and any other notaries.

Naturally not all will be able to get in, but make sure they all get a voucher when turning up. Have a time limit of three months on the discount voucher. Mention this in the leaflet.

You are now off to a fine start, but it’s up to your service, and the quality and price of your goods, whether you succeed.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Now that the cold Autumn nights are drawing in...

I thought of food! I'm not really into menus on my blog, but when I find an excellent dish...

Not sure where, on the net, I found this menu, but today we made this slow cooked beef stew and it was the best we'd ever tasted.

Although not in the instructions, I added a tablespoon of Schwartz Piri Piri herb and spice blend. But chilli should be added to cover the weakest palate at the table.

We had recently purchased a multi-cooker and made it in that. Using the Slow Cooker instructions which were really only about temperature.

Here it is, enjoy.

Slow cook beef stew


600ml boiled water
1/2 a swede,  into smallish chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks
300g mushrooms, thickly sliced
400g diced stewing steak
1.5 tbsp olive oil
75g flour
1½ tsp dried parsley
1½ tsp dried thyme
3 beef stock cubes
Black pepper to taste
2 tsps Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Marmite
1 tbsp of tomato puree
* Cornflour standing by, just in case

Prep:30min  › Cook:5hr  ›  Ready in:5hr30min

Prepare vegetables and put into dishes.

Put oil & beef into a large bowl, coat beef with oil.

Then, in another bowl, add the flour, herbs, pepper & stock cubes. Mix thoroughly. Then add beef to flour mixture (keep the rest of the oil separate, you’ll need this later)  coat oiled beef with flour.

Then put into slow cooker, on a high heat and brown thoroughly, adding the Marmite and Worcester Sauce,  five to ten minutes to seal in the flavour.

Now add the vegetables to the rest of the flour mix in the bowl. Pour boiled water onto vegetables a little at a time and stir to mix in flour.

Then add the vegatables and liquid to the slow cooker. Turn heat to 180C to boil, then turn power down to 100C and leave for five hours.

Taste throughout cooking to check if too thick; then add more water. If too liquid; then thicken with a cornflour and water mixture.

This recipe should have enough salt from the ingredients listed, however if you prefer you may add more towards the end of cooking to add more flavour.

However a warning, this meal, which my wife and I thought was the best beef stew either of us had tasted, left us bloated and unable to move, so unless you have South African style appetites - and my English wife doesn't - the above quantities are really for three people. Or even four!