Ducks and other birds at Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve

A few weeks ago I booked a ticket for a concert by Ross & Ali in Emsworth in the south of Hampshire. That’s about an hour and 15 minutes drive from where I live in West Berkshire. As the concert took place on a Saturday I thought I should combine the long drive with something else. And decided it was time for another visit (there third if I counted correctly) of Titchfield Haven nature reserve.

A variety of birds was around, in particular quite a few ducks. Some of the pictures I took in this gallery:

Unfortunately didn’t see a Kingfisher this time, hope to see one again next time. A lot of the waders kept quite a distance, not sure if that was seasonal or just coincidence. The Marsh Harriers did’t come as close as I had hoped, but were still nice to watch in the distance. Quite a few Magpies around, hopping in the marsh outside one of the hides. Also saw a Fox brazenly making its way through the reserve, I think at one point it made a half-hearted attempt to get a bird (either a Goose or a Cormorant, can’t remember), but wasn’t successful. Unfortunately didn’t manage to get any decent pictures of it, at the time I was more focused on watching it through my binoculars (it was quite far away and better to see through the binoculars).

Before leaving for Emsworth for the concert I had a nice meal at The Osborne View (of course a burger). It being March it was too cold to sit outside, but I managed to get a table with a nice view over the Solent. I hope I can sit outside again for one of my next visits.

Jade Bird

There’s a lot wrong with the YouTube recommendation algorithm, especially with all the extreme videos it seems to push. Plenty of articles in the press about that. At the same time it can have its good side: Last year I discovered the Regrettes through it. This year I’ve found Jade Bird through it. I think the first song was this one:

This week this song and video followed (with a 61 year old stuntwoman doing the driving):

Her debut album is coming out on 19/Apr/2019, I’m going to pre-order soon. Here’s an interesting interview with three songs:

Hemp, Cashews and Almond bread

Another weekend, another baking experiment. Having made a few walnut breads in recent months I wanted to make something different. I came across a bag of cashew nuts which I had originally bought for snacking, but now decided to try them in a bread. I also had a bag of whole almonds (again originally bought for snacking) which I decided to use instead of the chopped almonds I usually use. And I remembered some Khorasan flour I had bought when the Spelt flour I usually use was sold out, so I decided to add that into the mix.

The ingredients I used:

  • 150g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 150g Khorasan flour
  • 100g hemp seed hearts
  • 100g cashew nuts (whole)
  • 100g almonds (whole)
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • just over 1/2 pint warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 35 minutes.

Turned out very nice, soft but firm dough with a nice crust. The whole Cashews and Almonds make it crunchy. Mild nutty taste from the Hemp and the nuts. Will be on my list to make again.

Wholemeal Fruit Bread

A mid December long weekend is well placed for some home baking (and my first steps with the new Gutenberg editor). Today I’m planning to make some Bremer Klaben and possibly some bread. Tomorrow I’ll definitely make some bread. Yesterday I improvised some Wholemeal Fruit Bread:

Wholemeal Fruit Bread freshly cut (phone camera picture)

The ingredients:

  • 300g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 250g mixed fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins, candied mixed peel)
  • ~15-20ml Sicilian Lemon Extract
  • 6g ready zest / powdered lemon peel (yes, I’m lazy)
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pint warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 35 minutes.

Eating it this morning while writing this blog post, tastes nice, fresh and fruity. And I’m starting to get used to the new Gutenberg WordPress editor. I’m beginning to grasp the block concept and I think with a little bit more experience I’m going to like it.

Trying Gutenberg with WordPress 5

Having used WordPress for a number of years now it’s time for a new chapter. This is the first of my three blogs I’m upgrading to WordPress 5, which includes the change to Gutenberg as the editor.

Before I upgrade the other two blogs I’m going to gain some initial experience using Gutenberg on this blog, just to make sure I’m ready before upgrading the other blogs.

Very first impression is positive, it looks fresh and clean and at least writing a simple post like this one seems quite straightforward.

Only minor ‘issues’ I’ve spotted so far are that there is no tag cloud for frequently used tags (which I quite liked in the old editor) and so far I haven’t found an easy option to insert special characters.

More to come as learn about the new editor.

Nothing but the truth…