Wulf's Webden

The Webden on WordPress

20 June 2024
by wpAdmin


Cruft is a term widely used in programming circles to indicate code that has gradually become cluttered with redundant or confusing material. It’s the kind of thing that happens when code passes through a succession of maintainers, each with their own particular view on the right way to do things and perhaps sometimes supplementing that with material copied and pasted from other coders. For a time it can work but eventually it makes fixing and adjusting things hard or impossible.

I’m working on an inherited website at the moment that shows some of those features. It is partly based on Bootstrap, a collection of CSS and Javascript that greatly speeds up many web design tasks. However, it was using an old version of the Bootstrap material, items drawn from a range of other sources and a lot of extra things bolted on. For example, many of the CSS classes (meant to apply to multiple elements over multiple pages) were only found bolted onto one element on one page, or even no elements anywhere across the site. I thought I’d got it tidied up enough to accomplish the visual update requested and then discovered that the menus stopped working when the screen was below a certain size.

Today’s task has been to rebuild the content on the most recent version of Bootstrap with very minimal customisations and no extra third-party content. I started by refreshing my Bootstrap skills and creating a template and then I’ve worked that across the pages of the site. Tomorrow, I think I can publish to a hidden directory, test online and make live… and hopefully the site will continue for a while longer in its rejuvenated, cruft-free shininess.

19 June 2024
by wpAdmin

The Haiku of John and Yoko

I’m continuing to enjoy Brian Bilston’s Days Like These. I’m gaining on the present day and will soon overtake it. Meanwhile, here is a short haiku from 25th March. It doesn’t quite meet the classic definition of the form but I’ll let it off as it is perhaps a little cleverer and funnier than it first appears:

Peace talks from a bed
as the world's press gathers round.
Blanket coverage.

17 June 2024
by wpAdmin

New / Old Lawnmower

For years, I’ve had the vague idea that I’d like to pick up a hand-powered lawnmower. We’ve never gone much for large lawns and, although our Flymo still works, it seems half the time is spent getting it plugged in and managing the cable run. The trouble is that they aren’t widely made any more and so it has sat on the backburner for a long while.

Earlier this year, I spotted a push lawnmower in B&Q for about £45. I was tempted but the construction looked pretty flimsy and so I decided to leave it. However, it set a benchmark for price and, while on eBay the other day, I came across a classic mower for £15, which I picked up this evening.

It is a Folbate mower, probably a Folbate J2 although I’ll have to look for a definite model mark on the chassis. It is missing the grass collection box shown in the manual but although clearly old, seems in reasonable condition. Better yet, as I rolled it down to the shed, I spotted it was doing a fine job cutting some of the upstanding weeds and it turns out that, even before trying to sharpen it, it gave the grass a nice trim.

I’ll need to do a bit of work to figure out exactly which model I have and to establish a suitable maintenance routine but I think it is going to prove ideal for pulling out and doing a quick walk up and down the garden, keeping what lawn we have presentable and good for strolling over.

16 June 2024
by wpAdmin

Chicken Dhansak

Today’s main meal was a Chicken Dhansak, based on the recipe from the Al’s Kitchen YouTube channel. It isn’t dissimilar to his other 30 minute curry recipes but adds red split lentils and pineapple as two ingredients I wouldn’t normally expect to use. I didn’t follow the recipe entirely carefully, relying to some extent on familiarity with Al’s overall technique and making use of the combination of ingredients I had available but it turned out well. I’ve often picked dhansak when I’ve eaten in curry houses but this is certainly one I’ll try again at home in future.

One unexpected pressure (and pleasure) was to have some friends from church round to join us. I didn’t quite get the cooking time down to 30 minutes despite having started preparations yesterday. As well as trying to follow the recipe without taking the time to rewatch the video, I also used other things from the fridge to cook up a side dish (potato, cabbage, broad beans and mushroom with a bit of turmeric) to bulk things out. One particular hold up was realising that, with some additional chicken one of our guests had brought round, I needed to transfer to a different cooking pot partway through!

All in all though, it worked well and, despite everyone being well-fed, we’ve still got some leftovers for tomorrow.

15 June 2024
by wpAdmin

Not Singing in the Rain

Today’s sing-around session was due to take place outside, as part of the Dishley Resident’s Association fun day. However, with heavy rain from mid-morning, it ended up being called off. The fun day went ahead and the weather turned out to be decent for most of the time it would have been on (bar one more short downpour) but wet ground, some distance for instrument laden participants to trek and nowhere to put cases or shelter in the event of more rain mean it was probably the right decision.

I even had suitable songs lined up – Here’s That Rainy Day and, more optimistically, I Can See Clearly Now the Rain Has Gone. Nevermind… I’m sure I’ll get another chance.

14 June 2024
by wpAdmin

Loughborough Degree Show 2024

Jane and I visited the University’s School of Design and Creative Arts degree show this afternoon. The exhibition runs until Sunday afternoon but this was the best slot in our diary to pop over for a look.

As with last year’s show, there were some fascinating pieces but often a lack of information to contextualise them. Was the student exploring a material, responding to a brief or desperately trying to finish something off the night before it was due? It sometimes felt hard to tell. More information is available online but I’m not convinced that is a triumph of displaying the pieces to their best effect.

As with last year, I think some of the most impressive works were in the textile area. If I had time, that would be the section I would want to visit again as well as tracking down some of the displays we didn’t get round to.

13 June 2024
by wpAdmin

More Beans

I spent some time at the allotment today and, among other labours, harvested some more broad beans. I’d forgotten that I had two different varieties on the left hand side of my enclosed veg area until I was partway through harvesting and noticed the plant labels. Both ‘Red Epicure’ and ‘Bunyards Exhibition’ have a fairly similar growth habit. ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ (on the other side) is more distinct and, although slightly slower to get going was actually ready for harvesting earlier.

You can identify the two types once you start taking them out of the pods – ‘Red Epicure’ has reddish beans which cook to a purple colour rather than green ones that cook to a pale green. This evening I cooked the two varieties I ended up bringing back side by side. Both were tender although that might be because I haven’t waited until the pods were as large as possible to harvest. I think I’d give ‘Red Epicure’ a slight edge on flavour so, next year, I’ll probably look to grow that and a second variety. The second might be ‘Aquadulce’ (still need to do a side by side flavour test) or something else instead.

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting to clear enough space to get some of the other waiting plants in although that point is beginning to edge closer.

12 June 2024
by wpAdmin

Days Like These

The poetry I’m reading at the moment is Days Like These by Brian Bilston. Bilston is someone whose work I have often seen on Facebook and Twitter (you know, the one presently being called X) but I spotted the book in the local library the other day and, having enjoyed most of the individual poems I’d read, it was an obvious choice to borrow.

The shtick of the work is that it contains one poem for each day of the year (including leap years). So far, I’m up to about mid-March and, if I’m honest, many of the entries aren’t ones I’ll rush back to read again. However, it is worth putting that in perspective. How many creative people manage to “knock it out of the park” according your tastes with every work they create? The more you know their body of work, the more likely you’ll come across some that are, for you at least, duds. Even in the things I create myself, I don’t have a 100% record of pleasing myself so I’d still count Bilston’s collection as one worth reading.

Out of those which I’ve particularly enjoyed some are purely for the comedic effect, like the one for pancake day / shrove Tuesday. As a movable feast, Bilston has just opted for a date when it could appear and then arranged for the short poem to be printed upside down, like a pancake stuck on the ceiling. Simple but smile-worthy. There are more poignant ones too. I can’t remember which day it was but there was a piece ostensibly about Paddington Bear but really challenging those who love this children’s book character but aren’t willing to offer a welcome to flesh and blood refugees. For me, those are the real gems and I am sure I will discover a few more by the time I reach 31 December.

11 June 2024
by wpAdmin


Today was another AGM for The Haven, a charity for which I serve as one of the trustees. The annual event is always bookended by a meal (which I missed this year – band rehearsal to attend) and a game of skittles at the pub where the event is held.

Bowling is not one of my strongest skills and this game – played with nine wooden skittles and three heavy rubber balls – is in the same vein. However, I was on a bit of a roll tonight and I think I racked up the highest score on the board (an 8, a 7 and an 8). I won’t let it go to my head through. It was my best performance in the three years I’ve been attending AGMs with the charity and I would be very surprised if I manage to equal or exceed that next year!

10 June 2024
by wpAdmin

Cairn Holy

Cairn Holy - 03
Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns

Cairn Holy is a small, ancient site near Creetown in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It isn’t a major tourist attraction, which is probably a good thing given that access is via a single track road twisting up a hill, but after braving the drive you can explore round two neolithic burial sites. There is a little information on boards but, on a glorious morning such as when we visited a week and half ago, it was more than enough to make it worthwhile.