Our first pomegranate

We’ve two pomegranate trees in the garden, and the larger one (in the foreground below) produced one fruit this year (which is not bad considering it was only planted last November). Unfortunately, I didn’t think to photograph the fruit until I had started opening it to try the seeds.

The pomegranate tree. The second one is smaller, behind the grass with yellower leaves.

I found an article on the web which seemed to offer a simple way to get the seeds out (other methods include immersing it in water – that seemed a lot of hassle).
After scoring the skin and starting to split the segments open

There are lots of ways you can use the seeds, so we hope we get many more fruits next year!
It didn’t take long to open, and then I ate the seeds straight from the chopping board with a spoon. Here’s my harvest from one pomegranate:
One pomegranate’s worth of seeds!

Thanks, Iberfone!

Helpful e-mail from Iberfone

I just wrote a message to our telecom provider in Spain to tell them that we have changed our bank account. This is their reply. You wouldn’t believe it was sent by a company specialised in providing internet and telecom services would you? It isn’t even valid HTML.

They probably need to hire a smart 12-year old to sort out their e-mail encoding…

We need recipes for tomatoes!

In the spring, we bought 6 small tomato plants, and a similar number of green peppers and aubergines.

We have been surprised how many tomatoes (in particular) our little raised garden has produced. It’s only 4 m² in area. All the plants have done well, but the tomatoes have done much better than we expected – on the basis of this year’s experience, we need to stake them better, and probably 4 plants would keep us in tomatoes all summer. And fresh homegrown tomatoes really do taste better the freshest ones from the supermarket!

Valparaíso Downhill Race 2012 (Valparaíso Cerro Abajo 2012)

In February each year they stage a mountain bike race through the town of Valparaíso (Chile). The bikers have race down narrow steps, over jumps and take tight corners by riding up walls on the outside of the curves.

Crowd control is almost non-existant, and riders have to keep an eye open for people getting in the way and stray dogs:

In case you thought that didn’t look too bad, take a look at some of the “fails”:

No wonder the country is going to the dogs

I think the British education system suffered a lot in the 1980’s and later: O- and A-Levels were successively dumbed down, the study of foreign languages became optional in September 2004, it it became illegal to use corporal punishment, and some children’s parents automatically supported their child against disciplinary measures that the school tried to enforce.

I thought that this trend pushed by the “do-gooder generation” had been halted. So I was was surprised to read that the BBC, the British government, and some schools have been re-writing traditional nursery rhymes to make them “politically correct” and non-violent as recently as 2009. Here’s an example:

The original children’s poem:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses, And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

A sanitised version:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
He didn’t get bruised,
He didn’t get bumped,
Humpty Dumpty bungee jumped!

Not to mention:

In 2009, a Government-funded song book changed the lyrics of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? to remove any reference to alcohol or punishment.

Instead the ‘drunken sailor’ was transformed into a ‘grumpy pirate’ and ‘Put him in the brig until he’s sober’ was replaced by ‘Do a little jig and make him smile’.

I think it is a great pity that Britian today has so little regard for its own culture that changes like these are initiated by government bodies.

Of course there have always been other versions of nursery rhymes, for example bawdy versions that were popular with rugby club members, but to discover that the government and the BBC have been “sanitising” the original children’s rhymes is a shock.

Fortunately, The English Folk and Dance Society is now being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to record the original versions before they die out. (Now I’ll get off my high horse for a while).

Learn how to make better use of Google

Typical Monday agoogleaday puzzle

Google is running a series of puzzles at agoogleaday.com over the next months, which can be solved if you know how to use Google to help you. If you get stuck, you can click on “Show Answer” below the puzzle, and Google explains what you needed to search for. The questions are easiest on Mondays and get steadily more difficult as the week progresses. If you make your searches directly from the agoogleaday page, Google filters the results so you don’t see any websites which have posted the answer.

Here the answer to the (easy, Monday) puzzle above:

Answer to the above puzzle