Chablis 1er Cru Defaix 2000

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Is the Sony brand dead?

I used to be a Sony snob – hifi, TVs, Playstations, Walkmans.  OK I admit I never had a Betamax, but I know early adopter friends who did.  In the 1970s our household was the first in the street with a colour TV.  In the 1980s we were last to invest in VHS technology, albeit by virtue of Radio Rentals and with a third of my first adult weekly paycheque as a deposit.

I am currently watching a Sony TV from the 1990s which is fab. I also own a Sony TV from 2007 that is total tosh – picture quality, software, remote control – all about as user-friendly as a Doberman shaped perambulator.



Cross my palm with Pensilva…

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I am quietly pleased that I have finally managed to get this weblog onto a new platform, a new ISP and new publishing software.  I am still using the excellent WordPress, but have upgraded to version 2.5.1.  My previous version (2.1) was error prone and insecure – spam was starting to appear in my scheduled posts!  I strongly recommend anyone using WordPress to upgrade.

The new WordPress platform is pretty good, but it is much less intuitive than I expected.  Loading and managing pictures for example, is in theory much easier, but in practice I think there are still a few bugs that need ironing out.  I can also see that many of the new improvements have been aimed at non-technical users like me.  However, as with all open source software, it is ultimately designed by techies who don’t quite understand how us Muggles think.

As with all software upgrades in my experience, the problems arise in the database conversion.  This is something to watch out for if you are moving up several WordPress versions in one go, like I did.  I had numerous problems that a friend with some SQL knowledge kindly sorted, in exchange for a couple of bottles from my inner cellar.

Can you hit the mark?

To celebrate my new platform I am drinking an unoaked Chardonnay from Virgin Wines.  Pensilva Estate The Cross 2006 Coonawarra Chardonnay is not what I expected.  Does it hit the bulls eye or should it merely be hung out on a crucifix to die?


Chablis Domaine du Cèdre Doré 2006

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Another from Virgin and you may recall me sampling a range of wines from a mixed case I took as an introductory offer.  The results of my samples have been mostly good and my conclusion on Virgin is that for everyday glugging wines, if you choose carefully you will find value rather than fine wines, drinkability rather than complexity, down to earth language rather than pretension.

This Chablis, though, tasted most unlike Chablis.

Cèdre Doré Chablis with a couple of mates...for some reason


Cocotoo, Sistine Chapel of Manchester

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Have you ever slept under the railway arches?  It’s not typically a pleasant place.  Certainly not a place you would choose to sleep.  But if it’s raining and you have no fixed abode, well, everything is relative.

I nodded off under the arches near Oxford Road station on Whitworth Street in Manchester.  Thankfully, someone had been thoughtful enough to build an Italian restaurant around me that was warm and welcoming (not that I would have noticed given the amount of alcohol canoeing through my veins).

Manchester by night - Cocotoo


Aakash, “largest Indian resto in the world”

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Does size matter?  The dreaded question that haunts 90% of men (but never seems to concern the fairer sex), obviously played on the mind of Mohammad Iqbal Tabassum in 2001 when he bought a former Providence Congregational Church to turn it into an Indian restaurant.

The Aakash, which claims to be, and almost certainly is, the largest Indian restaurant in the world, occupying, as it does, a large parcel of land in Cleckheaton, a small town in West Yorkshire.

Aakash…bless you!


Cuvée à l’Ancienne Pouilly-Fuissé 2005

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Chicken or egg?  The long standing debate about which came first will never be resolved by a cartoon depicting one or the other enjoying a post-coital cigarette.  Let’s face it, smoking is banned almost everywhere these days.  So I had to find another way to establish the truth.

Cuvée à L’ancienne and a red box (from Virgin)


Dominio del Plata Chardonnay 2006

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Inspired by my happy experience of Faldeos Nevados Argentinean Chardonnay, I was moved (but not in the intestinal sense) to try another.  Oops…

Chardonnay, but the only gas is in the canister


Faldeos Nevados Chardonnay

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Our money pit has had a leak for years.  It’s not pleasant when water pours in to two of the bedrooms.  It’s also expensive, and many ££££s have left the bank account trying to find a fix.  We are making a final bid to cure the leak with a swimming pool like construction that has involved rebuilding most of the flat roof above the bedrooms.  We use this roof as a balcony, half open and half conservatory.  It’s a beautiful feature of the house and worth trying to improve no matter the cost, and no matter that the beautiful travertine floor must be ripped out.

Meanwhile in my wine rack, Argie wine keeps getting better and better and it is far from costly.  This is the third one I have tried by the hand of Susana Balbo, under the Faldeos Nevados brand which, as far as I can tell, is exclusive to the Wine Society in the UK.

My beautiful travertine floor (about to get ripped out) and a bottle of Faldeos Chardonnay (for some reason)


Koha Koha Koha Koha Koha Kameleon

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Just time for a quick review of a very funky little Albanian owned place in London’s West end.  Hidden behind Wyndham’s Theatre on an alley opposite famous fish resto, J Sheekey, it is a wine focussed place with a short but interesting and not over expensive wine list.  It also has a decent looking bistro menu.  We stopped for a quick glass on the way to buy show tickets.

Kool.  Koha also has a funky basement bar.


Pappas vs GNER – it’s just not cricket

Friday, August 10th, 2007

England were playing India at Trentbridge so I thought I’d pop along with my mate Alan.  We spent the first half of the day waiting to see if any play was possible.  Even though we were in the ground, the only news was coming from the BBC website via my mobile phone.  By lunch we were fed up waiting so went outside to find a place to eat.

It’a another panoramic attempt - Trentbridge cricket ground this time

On Radcliffe Road we found a Greek-Cypriot eaterie – Pappas.  Founded by the fantastically named couple Christodoulos and Carol Papachristodoulou, surely this was going to be authentic and it was.