Monthly Archives: December 2008

Delisserie, Hatch End

Delisserie, Hatch End
Delisserie, Hatch End

Hatch End high street is a funny yet appealing place, containing as it does a preponderance of home furnishing stores and restaurants. Following an arduous day of sales shopping it was time to try out one of the many eating options on offer. Having already tried Hatchetts (intrigingly 70′s appearance and clientele) and ASK (good service and surrounds from this chain) it was time to try another option.

We decided upon Delisserie, a spot we’d already marked out due to its breakfast and lunch offerings, although on this occasion it was an evening meal we were in much need of. The menu is a largely meat-based affair with central European influences. Dishes range from steaks and burgers to salted beef and Hungarian goulash to substantial deli sandwiches. The speciality is the salt beef, which although new to us is, as I understand it, broadly similar to jerk or corned beef, albeit prepared in a different way.

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The Vintage Wine Bar opens in Pinner

Vintage Wine Bar
Vintage Wine Bar

Ever since the sainted Hand in Hand – now mainly Prezzo – closed to much booing and gnashing of kneecaps, furtive activity has been going on behind the newsprint-shrouded windows of its smaller wing. Just in time for Christmas, the Vintage Wine Bar declared its presence on the site. We went along for a Christmas Eve drink to see if there might finally be a reasonably priced antidote to the chavvy/sexagenarian atmosphere of Pinner’s existing High Street pubs.

It’s insanely tiny. I’m starting with this fact, because it’s unavoidable and makes me worry that the Vintage may not long survive. There’re four tables at a push with some standing room at the front and the back by the bar. The decor can only be described as a cross between the Habitat home catalogue and several tubs of metallic paint (see photo by Dan)…. I liked it, anyway. We managed to lurk long enough for a table to become free and settled in for an hour.

Given it was Christmas Eve, there was a reasonable number of people about, but not so many as to relieve the relative piece and quiet. We might have to go back on a normal night to see how the Vintage stands up to Saturday night crowding – and whether they turn the music up or put unsightly things on the telly.

As for drinks, a round of two beers and a couple of glasses of wine cost £14, which isn’t bad going. The Vintage is definitely a wine/cocktail bar rather than a pub. Expect only bottled beer here – though they do have a decent range (Dan had Cobra). The organic rosé was lovely and there was plenty of choice.

As people who don’t really enjoy noise and overcrowding, Dan and I thoroughly approved of the Vintage. We’ll have to see how it fares.

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A festive London walk with a difference

Suggest a walk in London and the closest most people will envisage to a ramble in fresh air and countryside will likely be strolling down the South Bank or perhaps along one of the canals. However not all of London is the swath of urban sprawl so associated with the city. Here are a few snaps from our latest walk, and yes it’s in Greater London:

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Festive cheer on the tube

High spirits, aside from those alcohol induced, seems a rare thing on the tube, however Christmas cheer was definitely in the air on a particular Jubilee line train this afternoon. Not only was the extremely cheerful train driver recommending everyone to renew their travel passes before the 2nd January when the annual price hike comes into effect (meaning an extra £10 per month for yours truly), but we were all given a friendly “Merry Christmas” as we disembarked. A glass of mulled wine to the driver – once he’s off duty, of course!

Perhaps the driver had seen this advert, now prevalent on the tube:

kinky_tube

No it’s not advertising Ann Summers or similar, but Head & Shoulders shampoo. Just how or why shampoo is linked to matters of a kinky nature I have no clue, but it catches your attention which is undoubtedly the point of the exercise.

Speaking of advertising exercises, another poster that’s been ubiquitous around the undergound of late has been the unexplained Oohgle:

Oohgle

Unfortunately, whereas some odd adverts can prove to be of interest, amusement, advertising some curiosity or being an act of sheer randomness, if you Google Oohgle it’ll offer a paid for Adwords link, taking you to a website promoting marketing and offering some uninteresting credits at a Coca Cola store for those stumbling on the site such as myself. No doubt by visiting the site I have helped prove their point that advertising even without a definite URL will result in curious searches. Although I’d be interested to know just how many Londoners were curious enough to visit the Oohgle site I do nevertheless hate being a sucker to advertising.

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Bury yourself in an African elephant box!

Customise your coffinI suppose it all depends on your point of view.  If you you’re the kind of person who worries about where their earthly remains are kept after you no longer inhabit them, I suppose you might like to choose whether to have clouds or zebra print on your coffin (wood or 100% recycled cardboard, gold or rope handles).

Our local funeral directors are offering the services of www.colourfulcoffins.com. I highly recommend the section of the site that gives examples of bespoke designs.

They do look quite nice, I grant you, but it’s not exactly a long-term investment in beauty, is it (particularly if you’re ordering one for a cremation)? Why spend £99 designing a box for your rotting corpse, when your heirs could be spending it on their mortgage or their children’s school uniforms or something? And who exactly sits down and designs their own coffin, anyway? What’s even more ridiculous is that some people seem to have ordered plain black or white ones. Did the colourful part of the company’s name just pass them by?

Perhaps the religious types think they’ll be greeted at the pearly gates more enthusiastically if they come complete with a rosary-decorated box?

Okay, I’m fine with the recycled cardboard ones. Much more sensible in a world where we produce too many people and they still take up space when they die. Even less point putting pictures on it, though.  Why bother with a coffin at all?

If I were pressed, though, I’d have to go for a design everyone else seems to have missed – soil and worms. At least it would fit in.

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The Guardian’s 100 sites for the year ahead

The Guardian has featured the 100 most influential websites for the year ahead. Definitely worth a look and although I must admit many of the features site have hitherto passed me by, some will surely prove to be worthy gems. I’ll hopefully post more on the pick of the bunch soon.

The Guardian's top 100 websites for the year ahead

Another interesting article linked to this is a comparison with their 100 sites from 2006 and 2004. How quickly the times change…

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Inconvenient Mule 2.0

The Mule is now available in a new, streamlined format. We’re now on the WordPress platform which is an efficient blogging machine and should allow posts to be added while we’re out and about. (If it’s good enough for No 10 it’s good enough for us!) We’ll also be listed on more blog directories and you can leave comments on all of the posts.

Our blog posts are still being moved over from the old system, but we hope you’ll find the new blog better than ever.

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Live news channels on your Mac or PC for free: Livestation and Zattoo reviewed

Long have I been a news junkie and just as long have I yearned for a finer selection of news channels than I possess. Fine if you have satellite, limited if you don’t. Now, happily, it is possible to tune in to many leading TV news stations (and a few others) without it costing a penny in subscription.

Livestation is a fantastic application for Mac or PC which allows you to stream a number of TV channels to your PC. The quality in most cases isn’t bad. It’s not as good as broadcast TV, as you do get some pixelation when the screen is moving quickly, however on the whole its perfectly watchable. If you’re a lover of European or world news as am I, you’ll be similarly thrilled at the prospect of watching Euronews, DW-TV, France 24, Al Jazeera, and there’s even an ITN channel I never knew existed. All looking very fine in full screen on my laptop, and I reckon not bad when connected to the TV, although I’ve still to try this out.

Essentially you receive the main news channels you’d get if you had Sky, although I suspect many of these are also available with Freesat. Either way, now they’re available without the added house hardware of a dish and a decoder.

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