First lot of summer cabbages.

I planted twelve savoy and twelve red cabbages back in March. These were plug plants as I’m too lazy to grow from seed.

I kept them under mesh and did some weeding (although not a lot).

Well it’s time to cook them.

IMG 8861

trouble is by the time I’ve taken all those half eaten outer leaves the heads are quite small! Hopefully also tasty!

IMG 8862

Here’s it cooking. Smothered Cabbage. A New Orleans staple that I’ve never tried before.

IMG 8863

Sinead O’Connor RIP

I’m not generally one to publicly mourn the deaths of celebrities. I generally never knew them and so whereas I will miss their art/science/whatever, I cannot really feel grief (I’m talking for myself here). But there’s a few celebrities that perhaps I can grieve. John Peel, Mark E Smith, Bowie and now Sinead O’Connor.
She’s the same age as me but it’s not that. It’s that her music, her bravery, her crazy comments and never, ever giving a fuck was just so right. From Mandinka to Queen of Denmark, from ripping up a photo of the Pope (apparently her mother’s photo that was hung in their home) to telling Prince to fuck off.
She had a “lively” period on Twitter a few years ago. Sometimes poignant, but generally funny and always personal.
She did a hell of a lot more than that Prince cover. I can appreciate that song, and the video was wonderful, but, and this may sound quite petty but I would think Sinead would never have replace “you” with “U” in a song. Her songs were far better than that.
My favourite and the first song of Sinead’s I ever heard was Mandinka. It still sounds good even though it’s almost forty years ago since she recorded it (I think!). But her albums always stayed fresh. “How about I be Me (and you be you) (2012)” is a wonderful album and “Queen of Denmark” from that album is so full of emotion and brilliance.
Her third album “Am I not your Girl?” is also superb. The one she was supposed to be promoting on Saturday Night Live when she instead tore up the photo of the pope. I listened to that album over and over again for quite a few years. Which as a covers album I would generally never do. I listened to it twice through last night. Still as good.

old operating systems

So despite gorgeous weather and a load of gardening jobs that I really need to get on top of, I spent quite a bit of Sunday playing about with libvirt, QEMU and a bunch of old operating system ISOs.

I’d played with some downloaded OS/2 VMs before, but could never got them running under KVM/QEMU. They were all either VMWare VDI/VMDK images or Virtualbox ones. QEMU can convert these into QCOW2 (QEMU’s native format) but whereas I got OS/2 Warp 3.0 running fine. Warp 4.0, 4.52 eComstation VMs all failed to run. However, it turns out that the ISO of OS/2 Warp 4.5.2 is bootable and an installation (I never bothered with 4.0) was surprisingly easy.

I even got OS/2 2.0 running fine.

OS2Warp3 0 Warp4 52 runningQEMU

I also tried with Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0. Both installed nicely.

WinNT3 51 NT4 0 runningQEMU

There are many instructions online so I will not bore you with them anymore (although I should add some links).

I moved from DOS/Windows 3.1 straight to OS/2 Warp 3.0. When I left work and went to college in 1998 at the Freshers Fair there was a goodie bag that included a free licensed CD of OS/2 Warp 3.0. I installed it and never went back. I was even a founder member of WarpUK, a group of enthusiasts. I’d link to them but no trace exists online. Although I do have a few of our CDs. I went to Warp 4.0, then eventually gave up on OS/2 and moved to Linux (Ydraggasil, then Debian and onto Gentoo which I still run now).

I used Windows NT 3.5 quite a bit. I think I had a dual boot system with OS/2 although to be honest I cannot really remember. I installed but never really used NT 4.0.

I’m not sure I miss the joys of downloading 20 odd 1.4MB floppy fixpack images, “burning” to actual floppy discs and updating the OS…! But I do miss OS/2 sometimes! A great OS.

Sanding down an old oak table

When we were given a lovely dinner table and chairs, our old round oak table was moved to the veranda for almost alfresco dining. Even though it’s protected from direct rain it has deteriorated over the years and so it was time for a refresh.

So I sanded down and oiled.


I used a belt sander, starting with 40 grit, then 80, 120 and 240. A belt sander is not ideal for furniture but it’s all I have.

For the legs I just used a 1/3 sheet sander and went from 80 to 120 then 240.

the legs of a table freshly sanded

The top was finished with five coats of Tung oil, starting with 10% oil to 90% white spirit and finishing with pure Tung oil.

Tung oil is the main ingredient of many other oil products. It’s from the Tung nut and is food safe (unless mixed with solvents) and is ideal for finishing work surfaces in kitchens. The main disadvantage is that is takes a looong time to dry (the 5th coat of pure oil took four days to become touch dry and probably much longer to fully cure!). In fact it does not dry and instead cures. It needs oxygen to do so and will fully polymerize unlike other furniture oils, so is pretty much waterproof. One of its other advantages is that the end result is matt and if you need to repair a scratch or damage, then you can just wire wool a section and re-treat. The end result is generally a seamless repair. Which is pretty much impossible with other oils or varnishes without a lot of sanding work! I use tung oil mixed with solvents, to aid the initial soaking in of the oil.

a freshly sanded oak table partly oiled.

a freshly oiled oak table

The legs just had two coats.

The final result.

An oak table that has been sanded and oiled on a dust sheet over terracotta tiles.

Here’s to lots of drinks and food over the summer (wait where’s the sun?).

Bye bye Facebook

So My Facebook Account Was Suspended Yesterday as It Did Not Follow “Community Standards”. I’m guessing it’s because I put a guillotine as my profile photo and made a number of anti royalty posts over the coronation (all quite mild!).
I’ve had this account since 2006ish but I do not think I will miss it. Saying that though it is inconvenient:
– I used to sell bits and bobs using Facebook Marketplace. It far easier to sell something locally than other sites.
– I was the sole admin of a Facebook Page for my job. That page is likely now orphaned and will never be updated again.
– I ran a few FaceBook ads for that company too.
– I created and was admin for my village’s Facebook group. That is the one I will miss the most. I posted the village newsletter and many other village events (including the church even though I am an atheist!)*. There is one other admin so the few hundred users will still get some use out of it.
– I setup a Facebook page for a [local campaign]( to prevent a sewage works being relocated to greenbelt just outside the village.
All those are now gone.
I do have a Quest II headset. However, Meta did split off that into a separate account some months back. I guess it’s still working OK.
Still all in all Facebook is not a force for good.
Despite my misgivings I’m still on [Twitter](, but [Mastodon]( is where I will publish stuff.
*I did help setup the streaming of the Coronation in the church, thus showing I’m a multi layered hypocrite.

Holiday journal : Corralejo, Fuerteventura, Easter 2023

So I’ve never done one of these before, but on our recent holiday I took a quick note of the day’s events. I doubt I’ll do this again, but it was interesting with my renewed enthusiasm for blogging. Everything below was written on the day, apart from some editing and an expansion of the volcano section. I also only just added photos as I wrote it in Markdown using Drafts on iOS. Just now I pasted the Markdown text into Marsedit and added the photos.


Arrive at Airport.

Bit of a mix up with getting picked up, but eventually decent journey to Corralejo by somebody who used to live in Featherstone (near where I am from). Notable that there’s now a new section to the motorway that had been opened a few days ago. So now the airport to Corralejo is quicker. Less scenic but in the dark does that matter.

Airbnb as nice as we expected. We compromised with being further from the front but with a pool. Of course if we had been organised, and booked earlier, then we could have had both….!
Host was great. He asked before if we needed anything on arrival. I asked for a baguette, ham and cheese. We got some homemade mozzarella made by a mate of his, some Jamon Serrano, some Canarian goat’s cheese and more. Cracking!

IMG 0394

IMG 0397## Tuesday
Quick shop for a few bits and pieces. There’s a little corner shop just around the corner.


Longer shop in the supermarket (Hiperdino)in El Campanerio shopping centre.

Longer shop


Went rock pooling with my daughter on the closest beach (rocks) near the popcorn beach. Spotted many small fish in the pools. Watched a surf class with many beginners stand up. We cheered.

IMG 0411

Last beach before the walkway. Sea nice. Stopped at an outside bar on Waikiki for cocktails (Negroni)and ended up eating tapas. Not the nicest, but when you are sat facing the sea on a beach all food tastes yummy.

IMG 7933

Good Friday

Walk to the harbour. Lovely pork chops and chips in the restaurant just next to town beach. Seemed to be full of locals having a nice family dinner as it was a public holiday
IMG 8020

Dinner was the first BBQ, with a chuleton steak that I got extremely stressed purchasing at the counter in Hiperdino. All my spanish escaped and was replaced by badly spoke french. Still the guy was very friendly and patient! Steak was lovely (about 3 mins either side, then lifted up higher and left to warm. Slightly overcooked.
IMG 8013


Bad night’s sleep. Stupidly left window open and bins (just outside) were picked up at 3am!

Easter Sunday

Full beach day


Water park


Volcano Express around Lanzarote with Linear Romero. The Timanfaya national park. Started off badly as we thought we were going on a large ferry but went on their own ferry. I felt very sea sick. Took all my concentration not to be sick. Not only that but once off the 30 min ferry I had the coach trip to look forward to. So more concentration required.

IMG 0699

The trip was super touristy, it was better than expected. The guide was brilliant. We went on the French/English coach and he spoke both languages brilliantly and NOT read from a script. We visited the volcanoes, with a view demos (burning straw and pouring water down tubes that instantly, then a tour around the park on the coach with some impressive driving around the tight bends.They even had a restaurant that cooked chicken with the heat of the volcano underneath.

IMG 7981

IMG 7983

Then to the ubiquitous wine shop (picnic with a baguette and jamon), the Aloe Vera shop (I saw under a tree). Then to a lagoon (bit boring). Then back on the ferry. I was quite resigned at this point to being sick. But the journey back was fairly flat. Plus I saw on the side of the boat. I am wondering if the centre is worse than the side. Certainly the motion must be better. Up and down on the side, with side to side in the centre? So no nausea.
Stopped for ice-cream for my daughter (Vrobo) then a bar for a Jarra for me. Finally supermarket for another large slice of Chuleton (rib roast or T- bone) which I did 2 min either side right above the coals, then 10 mins far from the flame. Was gorgeous!


Very lazy day. In fact I cannot even remember what we did apart from eat out in the restaurant just above Town Beach.


Again very lazy. Morning reading. Lunch on a beach mediocre restaurant. All afternoon in the pool then evening meal at home.


Day around pool. Ate out again at restaurant in front of town beach.


Mini golf, escooters and takeaway pizza.

IMG 8031


Flight home. Uneventful and the border control guard even smiled.

A quite enjoyable, but very weird retro computing dream.

I started putting my memories of a dream I had last night in a Mastodon post, but as I typed I realised there was a lot more weirdness to my dream than my initial memories of it as I woke and it needed much more characters!
I remember the dream starting as I dug up my Amstrad CPC464 (which in reality is long gone), which had morphed into a CPC6128 but with an integrated dot matrix printer rather than its 3” disk drive! Then I opened it up and found my old ZX81 (which I never actually owned but borrowed from school) inside it.
Then I found myself inside an electronic shop from my hometown (that I’m not sure ever existed) and found a ZX Spectrum magazine for sale with a new “circuit board” that plugged into the ZX Spectrum (shades of RPi hats here) taped to the cover as a free gift. This gave the ZX Spectrum modern GPU power with a HDMI output.
Cue playing Sorcery+ on a 4k monitor powered from the supercharged ZX Spectrum…! Note: Sorcery was an Amstrad game and never made it to the Spectrum!
The dream went even deeper into the rabbit hole from that point as that “plugin board” led me to a whole new secret group of makers that add modern hardware to the first round of personal computers to supercharge them. So lots of boxes of various plugin boards from the BBC Model B and more..!
Just what had I been eating/drinking/smoking before I went to bed?
Then this morning I see a new book documenting the era of shareware games on Daring Fireball.
I think the dream had started as I was playing Fallout 4 on my Steam Deck just before going to sleep. Ever since I got back into gaming after a 20 year break it’s still very rare that I would play games just before going to bed. But recently I’ve lost control of the Steam Deck to my daughter who has found games! She’s still a few years younger than when I had my Amstrad, but she’s loves games as I much as I did then. So my time to play is quite limited.

Repurposing a door, again and again…

I love this door to our downstairs toilet.

IMG 7875

The door was originally at the bottom of the starirs. It was originally painted and was the downstairs door to the lounge (now gone as we changed two small dark rooms into one airy room). I removed the door and sent it to be “dipped and stripped”, then added it as a new door on the downstairs toilet. I did intend to wax the door, but I’ve not done so and so the door has acquired a patina of use.


The door has been repurposed many times. There are four other holes that have been used for various locks. Whether that was new locks, or the door was used for different doorways. When we used this in the downstairs toilet, we put the lock on the other side of the door as it swings out and so we added yet another hole! Perhaps that’s why they the previous owners had painted the door to hide those holes? I removed the filler that was in each of the old holes. I have considered covering it with a panel. But I think overall I prefer to see the holes as they show the history of the door.

IMG 7872

IMG 7876

Before we had a bathroom

We’ve got plumbers in today replacing a few items that have broken in the 15 years since we fitted them. Before we moved into this house we had about 11 months of renovation to turn a flimsy house with no insulation, minimal plumbing and wired with appallingly dangerous wiring (rubber coated cables where the insulation had disintegrated), into something that could be lived in.

I could rant about how the plumbers back then made absolutely no thought as to future maintenance, but I will not. However, in looking for how the shower was fitted (so it can be replaced) I came across this photo before the bathroom even existed.


In this photo the flat roof of the utility room below has been removed and replaced by joists to provide a floor. The door opening was previously a window at the top of the stairs. The shower was fitted between the two studs you see to the left and in front of the white door.

Here’s how it looks now from the exterior (the window you see is about where I was stood when I took the above photo 14 years ago.

IMG 7848