Something’s not quite right

This is my first attempt at stringing onions.  Em reckons it looks a bit rude but I have no idea what she means, looks nothing like a pair of breasts to me.

I’ve just been reading about alternative stringing methods so watch out for the second attempt…coming to a blog near you soon

A disappointing year – ish

I’ve just been out harvesting my onion crop.  Out of the 40 or 50 seeds I planted I only got a yield of 15 onions which was a little disappointing, but the onions I did get are fantastic.  The onion top-right in the picture is flipping enormous!!  To prevent such disappointments next year I have just ordered 300 sets from marshalls so next years onion haul will be needing a wide-angled lens.  Along with the onions I also ordered a pear tree, garlic, some Amelia strawberries [ well I had to really ] and various vegetable seeds.

A few weeks ago I transplanted a load of strawberry runners from my outdoor plants into used Chinese take-away tubs.  I’ve got about 25 new plants above but I think a few of them wont take.  Still, between the strawberry plants pictured above and the 12 Amelia variety I just bought I think the family Steele will be having a bumper harvest of strawberries next year.  Which is fortunate since Amelia is pretty much addicted to them.

The pepper seedlings which my Dad gave me in March have matured well but I think they would have benefited from being in bigger pots, having the greenhouse at a higher temperature and not being grown in my home made compost.  My home made compost was lacking a little and in future will be added to the raised beds along with my leaf mulch.  I’ll stick to shop bought compost for seedlings until I get better at home composting…or get a wormery thingy 🙂

The one and only beef tomato that made it from the donations off Joan next door is ripening well.  It will be a treasured part of a salad and the seeds will be saved for next years attempt when I’ll consider feeding the flipping things 🙁

So the conclusion to the 2008 growing season is definitely could do better.  Still, it’s been a pretty shitty year for growing stuff but I have high hopes for 2009 now that I have taken out a subscription to "Grow Your Own".

P.S. Pictures of my homegrown sweetcorn still to come.

End of the lane


At the end of my lane is a little duck pond, needless to say it’s the one pictured above.  I went down with Amelia recently to feed the ducks and I’ve never seen it so still.  There was a beautiful blue sky and the reflections were amazing.  I’m just pissed off that I only had my iphone with me to take a picture rather than my proper camera.  Ho hum!

The new chucks

This photo was just too weird not to publish.  Such a pity the Wyandotes weren’t facing each other too.  They’ve got names but I can’t remember them.  Pretty sure one is called Buffy and I think one is called Blanche.

Buff Orpingtons at the top of the picture and Wyandotes at the bottom.

Number 1

It finally happened, something finally changed in the google servers that took yours truly, moi, watashi, to the number 1 spot.  Ahhh, I never thought this day would come, a tear is in my eye as I write this blog.

God bless google, god bless wordpress, my hosting partners and all those [ one ] people that wished me well on this mission.  Mark…this is for you 🙂

A Cupertino tragedy in a canal

In my previous post I valiantly declared that my non-waterproof iphone [ see here ] probably just needed a new battery and all would be tickety-boo.  Well, it turned out to be almost the case. 

Above is the phone with the new battery part way soldered in.  It was with a dry mouth, shaking hands and the warning of "don’t short the li-ion battery to the case or explosions will occur" ringing in my ears that I donned soldering iron and non-lead solder.  I was using Bill’s soldering iron initially but it was a pre-77 iron and really wasn’t up to the job as it lacked the fine point required for modern electronics.  If you’re wondering how I know it’s pre 77 then it’s because I had to wire a plug onto it and the wires were red, black and green.  Verrrr old.

After I’d almost completely destroyed the iPhone motherboard and solder was spread across all contacts, the heat-sink, the motherboard, my desk and a pile of receipts to the right of my keyboard I decided that the tools just weren’t up to the job.  A quick trip to Maplin secured me a nice new soldering iron, a solder sucker, some de-solder braid and some unleaded solder – one must think of the environment and all that.  Back to work I went and this time it was much more successful. 

When I powered up the handset I noticed that there was considerable water damage in the screen which just made things look crappy.  In a moment of what can only be described as sheer lunacy I decided to take the whole thing apart and "Isopropyl Alcohol" the screen so that it would be a whole new groovy iphone and I would be the toast of Olde Wigan Towne.

This is the iPhone with the screen disassembled.  People forgot to mention that you need a clean room, sixteen arms and a fucking clue to reassemble this thing.  Not a hope.  I had the screen cleaned up and back together in a thrice.  The handset powered up and there was nothing – the touchscreen had ceased to work.  So apart it came again, only this time I managed to crack the display and also snap the wire connecting the front button to the motherboard.  The new glass was a tenner and I could repair the wire – so I wasn’t massively concerned about this disaster.  I reassembled the screen in a different order [ and yes I do realise I should have taken photos as I was disassembling it 🙁 ] but was all for naught.  I decided it was third time lucky.  Disassembled, rearranged and was in mid reassemble when I managed to tear through the connecting strip from the motherboard to the radio circuitry.  Game over.  Bastard!


The last resting place of Darren Steele’s first generation iPhone. 

9th Nov 2007 – 23rd July 2008.  Rest in Peace.

iPhone woes

The picture above is an artists impression of the moment my iPhone ended up in the Rochdale canal.  The image above isn’t exactly accurate as it was in my pocket at the time so there should be a fat northern bloke attached to the jesus phone.  Additionally my hazy memory does not recall a large red arrow nor a white "splosh!!" hovering above the canal.

It’s all Simkiss’ fault.  Inviting us out for a boozy do at Rochdale Hornets Rugby match, force feeding us beers in the Dog and Partidge beforehand and then dragging us all down to "The Ship" in Castleton which serves beer AND is right next to a canal.  What kind of moron builds a pub next to a canal – it’s just an iphone disaster waiting to happen.

Anyway, it wasn’t all bad.  A quick youTube search reveals it’s probably just in need of a good soaking in rubbing alcohol and a replacement battery which is currently on order. 

However in order that I may not be without an iPhone for too long I managed to acquire a 3G version today, got it all synced up and then knocked a glass of vimto over on top of it.  It’s still working which is an improvement on the waterproof-ness of the last one.

Anybody willing to take bets on how many months the new phone will last me?  I’m guessing about 3. 

Balls and King Kong

Quite a while ago Emma, myself, Amelia and Charlie all went to the zoo.  Unfortunately there was this was this fat computer programmer who wanted to make some extra cash by selling dinosaur embryos on the black market.  The result was that the electric fences were all out and as you can see the T-Rex and the errr big bird thing escaped.  We barely managed to pose for this photo before we had to break out the guns, reboot the unix box and get helicoptered out alive.  Believe me it was quite a day, I’m currently in talks with Spielberg about making it into a huge blockbuster movie.  The working title is "Southport zoo, the day the dinos escaped" – but I think something snappier is needed, perhaps with Jurassic in the title or something.

Number 2

The mission to make sure that somebody googling "Darren Steele" gets to me and not the gay choirboy that was bullied and ultimately hanged himself is proceeding nicely.  My ranking has risen to the dizzying heights of number 2 on the google search results but I suspect it will be a little tricky to displace the bbc in the number 1 spot.

Hope springs eternal and all that.

Be still my twitching sphincter

They’ve arrived!!! They’ve arrived!!  I very nearly, but didn’t quite, poop in my knickers [ see earlier ] with the excitement of receiving a box of 40 portions of the best noodles on the planet.  Paul Simkiss dropped by for lunch and relieved me of a bowl before walking off with four packets.  Jason Howarth has taken delivery of five packets and I’ve already had some.  So my supplies are rapidly dwindling!  It’s making me hungry just thinking about them.  I can’t think of anything better to do with a bowl, a fork and 500ml of hot water.  Get in!