Tuesday 21 October 2014
Today I’ve made some labels for some recent things we’ve made:
Garden Relish and Tiny Tim
Garden Relish is a chutney Jane cooked up yesterday, mainly using produce from the garden (natch). The Tiny Tim beer is the one I finished a month or so ago. I need to make some more labels for the Autumn Gold and I also brewed up another batch this morning (now cooling before going in the fermentor tomorrow), which I’m going to call my Oxxxford Beer (based on Batemans XXXB and using another Graham Wheeler recipe).
The labels are created using Inkscape, printed on our colour laser printer and then stuck on with milk. It sounds an odd choice when there are so many glues you can buy but milk (and specifically the casein protein it contains) is a well-established method for sticking on labels. It is used in such small quanties that it doesn’t smell and makes the label easy to remove later with hot water. Best of all, it is entirely organic and you can drink the leftovers, which isn’t true of glues that are sold as such. Just damp the label, press on and use a cloth to remove any excess. Job done!
Monday 20 October 2014
I got through today’s gigs without too many wobbles and certainly nothing that derailed the rest of the group. Phew! I still have work to do on most of the songs (I came most unstuck misunderstanding the intro cue on one of the ones I thought was safest so can’t take anything for granted) but it was a step forward. The next outing looks like it will be 14 November – I’ll post more details nearer the time.
Sunday 19 October 2014
Another busy weekend! On Friday I was up early to deliver leaflets from my church down the St Clement’s parish end of Cowley Road. Top tip? Carry a small piece of wood to hold open letterboxes and encourage leaflets through and the job becomes much easier. We also revisited the garden we were at the previous week and took out the second, larger tree.
Yesterday I had another rehearsal in the morning and, in the afternoon, we followed a tip from some friends in Kidlington about another stash of wood that was available for collection. We’re part way through that one but probably have another trip or two to make… and some more storage to construct in the back garden to hold all the gleanings as they season.
Finally, today. The only wood I picked up was a couple of sticks dropped in the street by a nearby tree but I’ve been doing other things including removing leaves from gutters at the top of the church and driving down to Southall for curry with a friend. Time soon, I think, for a dose of sleep.
Thursday 16 October 2014
Looks cryptic? It’s the rhythm I have to play in one of the pieces I’m performing with Ben Mowat’s String Project at St Michael at the Northgate in Oxford on Monday lunchtime (free concert, 1pm). None of the pieces are entirely easy but this is bass intro to the one that is most significantly stretching me. I think I’ve got the intro and most of the first page down but that still leaves two pages with plenty of pitfalls to avoid! Still, I’m getting there and I’ve got the whole weekend to go for further practise.
Wednesday 15 October 2014
I got my Autumn Gold brew in the bottle today or, more precisely, 11 swing-top Grolsch bottles with almost a glass (but not quite a bottle full) left over to sample as first runnings, including the beer that had been sitting in my sample tube since Monday morning. By that point it had already reached a gravity of 1.012 and it didn’t subsequently drop any further; a touch high but by less than I exceeded the target original gravity. I mixed the fermented wort with 27g table sugar diluted in about 100g of water and that should yield a final CO2 volume of about 2.2 (a bit of sparkle but hopefully well away from being frothy). It was probably done a few days earlier – Safale S-04 seems to be a good reliable yeast for me although it will be back to Nottingham for the next couple of brews.
That first tasting was quite pleasing although it is really to early to tell. Because the only malt content is pale malt, the colour is a light gold; as we move on through the autumn, I’m tempted to try something darker next time.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed another pop of my earlier Tiny Tim brew. It is only three weeks since that was bottle but it is definitely fit for drinking. Before I get too carried away, I must get myself another bottle of the Timothy Taylor Landlord beer it is based on. I enjoyed a few bottles of that earlier in the year and, although I’m not particularly aiming to create an accurate clone, it will be a good standard to compare against. I have a feeling my brew will stand well alongside the official version (which is definitely a good pint).
Tuesday 14 October 2014
I had a chance earlier today to reiterate the sermon I delivered at St Clement’s about three weeks ago, on faith at work. Speaking without notes I did stumble when I tried to remember my third point although fortunately it came back as I followed up with the three related sets of Bible passages that went with the talk (Gn 2-3 and Eph 2:10 / Ps 127:1-3 / Acts 18:1-4 if you are taking notes).
It was a bit of a gaffe but I felt the moment had been redeemed when, lo, during the ensuing prayer time, I hit upon titles for the three sections of my material that met the golden standard of all starting with the same letter:
- Do it well
- Do it at all?
- Do take a rest
Yea, verily, even the same verb! It is an overused pattern but one of the reasons that “three points beginning with the same letter” has become such a commonplace among preachers is that it functions as a simple mnemonic so not to be scorned because it functions as both as a way of remembering what to say and as a way for the listeners to remember what was said.
Monday 13 October 2014
For those who were at the St Clement’s evening service yesterday, you will have seen that the dough I made at the start of the service had begun to grow by the end. Despite challenges such as the relative coolness of the building and the lack of space to attend to a proper kneading stage, it was beginning to expand.
Hungry minds will be happy to know that this continued back in my kitchen and, by about 10:30pm, I had a well-baked loaf coming out of the oven that passed muster and contributed to breakfast this morning. May the water of the Spirit and the leaven of our gathered worship lead you into a week that is bread for the soul.