My take on it …


I’m having a go at a different type of post today. Rather than my usual ‘rants & raves’ I thought I would have a go at something that might be useful.

Photo: Randy Mayor

I was talking to a friend at work last week and the subject of Spaghetti Carbonara was raised. She was a little concerned about how to cook it, not least a fear of “raw egg” in the dish. I explained as best I could that egg is not raw, but that the heat of the pasta when the egg and cheese mix is added, cooks the egg in a light scrambling fashion. I explained my method, but she wasn’t taking up the challenge. However, another colleague did have a go and has since told me I should write it down. So here goes …

This is my recipe for two portions of a medium size. I’ll start with the list of ingredients.

  1. 5oz to 6oz of Linguine or Fettuccine **
  2. Two cloves of fresh garlic, squashed but not chopped
  3. 4oz Pancetta cut unto short strips
  4. 1 egg
  5. Small handful of chopped Parsley
  6. 3oz of grated Parmesan cheese plus another 1oz for serving
  7. Olive oil

The trick is to ensure all your preparation work is completed before you start the cooking process.
(** I prefer either of these two pastas over spaghetti, as they seem to hold the sauce better)

  1. Firstly, put a large pan of salted water onto boil for the pasta.
  2. Next heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large based pan and add the squashed garlic and allow to gently cook without browning
  3. Remove the garlic and add the Pancetta and cook until fully cooked. then remove the pan from the heat
  4. Meanwhile cook your pasta for the required amount of time, bearing in mind that fresh pasta cooks quicker than dried.
  5. Beat the 3oz cheese with the egg and season with black pepper
  6. When the pasta is cooked, turn the pan off.
  7. Add the pasta to the pan with the Pancetta. Do not worry if some water gets in the Pacetta pan as this is what we need.
  8. Now, quickly stir the egg/cheese mix into the pasta and pour into the serving bowl.
  9. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and served the remaining cheese separately.
    Job done!!

I’m fully aware that this is probably not the most classic method, and cheese/egg stirring can seem a bit daunting, but the recipe works for us, and that’s half the challenge

… and that was that … more in the future? Who knows?

Giving it another go …


At the end of last year, in fact my last post of the year I mentioned that I was going to stick with Open Live Writer as opposed to the WordPress block editor. I was also occasionally using BlogPad Pro on my iPad. But things have changed a little since then.

I had read about my sites Media Library and decided to have a look and see what was in there. I was rather shocked to find that most of the images I had uploaded for my posts had duplicates. They didn’t appear to be taking up much space, but I wanted to know if it was ‘the norm’ to have duplicated images.

I posted a query on the WordPress forum and after a few questions and answers, it became clear that it was the desktop software (Open Live Writer and BlogPad Pro) that were causing the images to duplicate. It looks like a thumbnail image was being created when the main image was uploaded which was linked to the main image. As I understood it, deleting the thumbnail image would prevent the main image from showing or something like that.

The crux of it all was that the only way to prevent this happening was to use the block editor. It was also suggested, that as I prefer to use desktop software to write a post, that I should use the WordPress app instead.

So, I’m giving it another go …

From then to now . . . back to work


Jump forward to the 1st September and I am summoned, by works phone, to appear in front of my line manager. It seems, that although it was pre-determined how long I would be away work for recovery, I had to have an interview to discuss my “return to work strategy“. It was not a disciplinary interview, more of “fact finding interview” Fortunately I had already formulated my phased return, so I was able to show her my plan of action. There was a slight moment of finger wagging during the twenty minutes I was there, but I got over it.

Two weeks later, and another phone call. This time it was HR, who wanted to have a little chat with regard to my phased return. They said they could come to me at home, or if I wanted I could see them, at my nearest office. I opted to see them and made an appointment for the next day. This turned out to be a real discussion. I explained my plan, which was to phase my return over four weeks. One day, then two days, then three days followed by the last week of four days. The lady that interviewed me said the plan was a good one, but was worried that it might be too quick and they would monitor my progress. I did mention that I had had the same interview with my line manager and was told that it should not have happened. It seemed that because it was a pre-elective procedure with a set recovery time, I was technically not on sick leave.

The phased return worked well for me, and I managed to get back to working full time with very little problem. However, people were very understanding and I think they made special efforts to get me back to normal. In all truth, during those four weeks I had very little to do. In fact apart from reading work newsletters, catching up on emails and trying to read software manuals, I did very little at all. It became very boring and quite stressful.

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From then to now … all change


Within a few weeks, and a lot quicker than I imagined, I was ‘invited’ to attend an interview. It was one of those interviews where you know you have got the job from the very start. The team I was to be Interviewworking in were basically an IT help-desk for part of the councils Environmental Services department. We were the people that ‘sorted’ the problems that Environmental Health officers had with the software they used. ImprovingI found it difficult as a lot of the problems that cropped up were down to errors in the software, rather than user errors. To fix these, I needed to know the programming side of the software. Although I did know some programming techniques, the ones needed were far more complicated. There were five of us, and although I kept my grade, I was back at the bottom of the pile. I have to admit I struggled for the first couple of months, but gradually I began to gain more knowledge and my confidence increased.

Then it all went wrong again!

The departmental heads still had to save money, and so our little IT support team (as we liked to call Helpdesk teamourselves) were to be merged with a much larger team that supported all of the Environmental service areas and also the councils Housing department. We went from being a team of five to be part of a team of over forty. This was a real help-desk job now. Sat in an office with a laptop, smart-phone and a head-set with a whole range of new software to learn. I knew from the start that it was not the job for me. I spent most of the time trying to understand the new work and really not getting very far.

And then the day of my heart operation arrived (see this thread for more) I was going to be off work for three months while I recovered, which was going to be an ideal time to find something I was more at home with. Or so I thought.

And so it begins again …


Of course, I cannot let an opportunity to have a gripe be put off by it being the start of a new year/decade. So I’m talking trouser waistbands today. What happens with the measurements there? But I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve been invited to a family wedding and as Tailorsuch need appropriate clothing for both the wedding and the evening reception. Mrs H says I need a suit and I suppose that it would be the ideal item to wear for the occasion. I have not worn a formal suit since my retirement from the local Council in 2016, so my three work suits are hanging up in the wardrobe waiting to come back into fashion. All three are winter suits and will be good for this time of year.

Now I come to the crux of the matter! I’m not the size I was when I last wore them. Let’s face it, I’ve put on a bit of weight over the past five years and my waist has bore the brunt of it. MeasureHowever, two of the suits still fit on the waist, although just a little tighter than I would like them to be. The third will simply not meet and it seems to be a couple of inches tighter. The strangest thing, is that all three have the same waist size of 34”. Now I have another suit of a more summery material. This too has a 34” waist (apparently) and the trousers for this one goes nowhere near meeting and seems to be more of a 30” waist than a 34”.

So I am completely baffled as to how these trousers can claim to have the same waist size, but be completely different. What is even more baffling, is that they were bought from the same store!

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Last of the Year . . .


This is the last (probably) post of 2019 and in a spirit of adventure, I am attempting to use the WordPress ‘Block Editor’ as opposed to my usual editor ‘Open Live Writer’. I’ve used Open Live Writer (OLW)ever since the demise of the Windows Live Writer (WLW). The last release of WLW, which was part and parcel of the the Microsoft Essentials package, was back in 2012 and the software was finally discontinued in 2017.

I have also used Microsoft Word as my editor, which given the complexity of that software, works quite well. At the end of the day, you have work with what works best for you, and as OLW is very simple to use, I’m probably going to stick with that. Although it has not been updated since 2017 which may mean I have to think again soon.

I am not entirely convinced that the Block Editor is for me. I think it might take me a little more time to get used to it, but for now I think I will stick to Open Live Writer. Better the devil you know and all that.

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So I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year, and here’s to the next one

Is it that difficult …


I’m moaning talking about driving. Not Formula 1, Moto-Cross or one of the myriad of other motor sports, I just mean everyday driving. Commuting to work, taking the kids to school or the weekly Tailgatingshopping expedition. I would like one of those cars that do not have to obey the legitimate speed limit. I don’t mean the emergency vehicles, no the ones I’m ranting ‘talking’ about are  those cars whose driver seem to think that because their car is bigger and more expensive than mine, they should be in front of me. They tailgate so close, just waiting for the opportunity to overtake. Half the time, I will end up catching them when they get to the next traffic lights or junction. Are these people so important that they have to always be the first in the line. I tend to liken it to bullying “Get out of my way, I’m better than you!”

Then there are the ones that have not adjusted their headlights to the correct angle. They always look like they are using full beam. It can be really dazzleSpeed Humpng when they go over a speed hump. While I’m on the side-subject of speed humps, why do some people like to speed-up between humps? I may have griped mentioned about this before, but there seem to be an increasing number of drivers that have an aversion to switching their lights on when it is raining. It can be so difficult to see a dark grey Volvo on a dark grey tarmacked when the light is poor and the rain in falling. Just because they can see others does not mean the opposite is true.

But a vehicle I would like to drive, is one of those vehicle that have the ‘Highway Maintenance’ sign on the back of their vehicle. I’ve seen the sign on the back of small vans,Highway Maintenance flatbeds, transit vans and even a few cars. I may be totally wrong about them, but most of them seem to be the worse for wear and look like they have not seen a MOT test in years. Most seem to have no regard for the rules of the road and drive like complete idiots (my opinion). They also appear to be able park anywhere they like, regardless of the danger to other road users.

Now the above does not apply to all the users mentioned, but it does in my opinion, apply to a great number of them.

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So that’s motorists out of the way and I spouted  talked about cyclists some time ago, so my next road diatribe discussion may be pedestrians. Possibly the most dangerous aspect of the outdoors experience.