The myrtle gin I started in February is now in the bottle and looking gorgeous in the sunlight. I’m pleased with the label – quite simple but I got the colour matching close enough that the main lettering could almost be cut out. This sugary, spicy drink would be ideal for cold weather but I’m not sure it will last that long!
For last night’s gig with The String Project at the Acoustic Thurdays event at the Jude the Obscure pub in Walton Street (Oxford), I knew that stage space was going to be tight. I’ve got some of the songs by heart but with others I still feel more confident if I can take a peep at the dots from time to time. How could I avoid having to try to squeeze in a music stand?
It turned out that a good answer was to print quarter sized versions of the score (A6 rather than A4) and fix them to the shoulder of the double bass using masking tape. That’s small but also close and was ample to keep me on track. If I’m going to cart round a monster-sized instrument, it is good to find creative ways to use its size.
What I need next is a bit of lighting; yesterday there was enough light on stage but I think that next Friday’s gig at The Cellar might be a little darker up there. A good start though.
I’m trying a new brewing experiment which is currently taking up no more than 50ml. It isn’t an attempt at breaking into nanobrewing but the creation of a yeast starter, trying to harvest living cells from a bottle conditioned beer and encourage them to multiply until I have enough to use in one of my own brews.
There is a lot of information about this on the internet, much of it conflicting, so I decided to launch off in a fairly primitive fashion. If nothing happens or the resulting yeast slurry smells disgusting, I won’t have lost too much. My donor-beer was a bottle of Worthington’s White Shield, a delicious IPA. Having carefully poured myself a glass, I then transferred the yeasty dregs to a sanitised clear bottle capped with foil. I then provided some food in the form of a small volume of dried malt extract (DME) rehydrated to a gravity of 1.020. I couldn’t find a clear guide for what ratio of DME to water was required so reached the target experimentally, using a weak solution, a strong solution and my hydrometer and sample jar.
I suspect I’ve probably got too much liquid as the amount of yeast in the bottom of the bottle was tiny. I probably should have put the dregs in a covered glass in the fridge for while to encourage the yeast to fall to the bottom and letting me drain away more of the residual beer. In fact, I think I’ll do that with the bottle now; I’d have expected to see some signs of mini fermentation by this morning but there is probably too much alcohol in the liquid for the yeast to fully revive.
For breakfast this morning, I made some more of the unleavened bread I enjoyed on Easter Day. The recipe combines 410g strong white flour (3 cups in the original) with a tsp salt, 3 large eggs, 2 tbsp oil and about 150ml milk. Following the method, I combined the dry ingedients and the wet ingredients separately and then mixed together with my food processor. Once it had reached a consistency that might best be described as chewed bubblegum I then spread it in a greased dish and baked in a fan oven at about 210°C for twenty or so minutes (turning upside down in the tray and putting back for a few more minutes to finish).
Having fairly accurately followed the instructions a couple of times, I’m inclined to play around a bit next time. I think I could mix the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones. Also, the salt could be dissolved into the liquid before the flour goes in. A softer consistency wouldn’t hurt, since it is contained by the dish and doesn’t need to hold any shape and I could probably bake it slightly lower and until the internal temperature is > 96°C (which is into the safe zone to ensure bread is baked).
The String Project recently did some experimenting at a rehearsal with projecting moving op art images onto the band. The rushes were great but we’ve been waiting for a chance to use the footage. That opportunity has finally arrived with a short video flyer for our forthcoming gig at The Cellar in Oxford (24 April):
Having sat with Ben while we cut together the video footage, I’m very pleased with the results. I think we’ve managed something that is snappy, funny and perhaps even informative. Enjoy!
Those three words form part of Gerald Manley-Hopkins soaring poem, The Windhover, which was one of several poems and other pieces of art we considered at housegroup this evening. It has been a favourite of mine for many years, one of the few studied in A Level English Literature that has lodged with me.
What a glorious poem; may my eyes be open this week for a similar epiphany of glory through the unveiling of what might otherwise seem everyday and ordinary; a soaring bird, a ploughed field, the embers of a fire and more.