April 1st, 2009


Things I have not seen

Things I have been in the right place to see, and still not seen:
  • The Northern Lights. We spent two overcast nights in Iceland.
  • A total solar eclipse (it certainly went dark, but the cloud cover was solid and leaking rain)
  • Fujiyama: well, certainly bits came and went, but not the entire mountain in one go
  • Austria: that end of Lake Constance was hidden by a haze bordering on fog, hiding the Bregenz end of the lake as we climbed out of Friedrichshafen

On driving

I am an experienced driver: I've been driving for a couple of decades now, and covered hundreds of thousands of miles in the process. Indeed, there was a period when I did 50,000 miles a year.

I also think I'm a fairly competent driver: it's possibly over 200,000 miles since I was last in an accident that could reasonably have been avoided by my own actions.

So why, last Sunday, did I both scrape a wheel on a curb and also nearly run a red light? The answer: I had other people in the car. 'Tis always the way.

On Bread

Last night, I made two loaves of bread. The recipé I used is one from an old book - Bakery, Cakes and Simple Confectionary by Maria Floris, found for me by my beloved bellinghwoman - and is called Floris Bread.

It's light, with a thin but crisp crust to it. It's possibly the best bread I've ever made, because normally loaves I try for end up tasting nice, but being quite heavy. This particular recipé uses a lot of yeast (she tends to go for high quantities of yeast and salt), and the dough was definitely silky to the hand before I baked it, with a total rising time of about 2 hours.

Oh, and it contains mashed potato and plain flour rather than a bread flour. The Florises being a Budapest family (from the Pest side of the river, IIRC), I suspect this was based on a traditional Hungarian bread. I do wonder whether this was a bread they supplied to Buckingham Palace (the Soho bakery was By Appointment.)

Oops, I was wrong

I had thought that an ancestor of mine was Lord Mayor of Dublin in the early 19th Century.

In fact, Daniel Bellingham was the very first Lord Mayor, back in 1665. There have been over 300 other holders of the title since.