Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Oh come all ye techies

Christmas is the season of unacknowledged technology – streams of binary code and £1 toys that would have cost thousands if they’d used yesterday’s electronics. BB puts on a silly Santa hat and rings a few chimes.
CONTROLLED FLASHING The lights on the outdoor Christmas tree flash alternate white, blue and red too quickly – I think – to be mastered by a thermocouple. So there must be some logic circuitry close to the step-down transformer. A multi-wire harness ensures reliability and neatness. Those that don’t know what I’m talking about (No more self-deprecation!) can go and eat a mince pie. Meanwhile I bend the knee before the ubiquity and cheapness (about £5) of electrical ingenuity.
SKILLED CHEMISTRY It will be Beef Wellington again because granddaughter Ysabelle insists on this thirty-year-old-plus tradition. Equally traditional is the accompanying Sauce au poivre to a recipe from the Mrs Beeton we received as a wdding present. This luxury liquid impressed me from the start because to make it you first have to make Sauce espagnole. A sort of culinary Ponzi scheme.
MORE DIGITAL WONDERS Events in the Bonden connubial bed have been timed for two decades by a simple plug-in digital clock which bust a week or so ago. I wanted a clock-only replacement, not a clock radio with its unnecessary extra buttons. In the end, grumbling, I made do with the latter but was more than mollified when I plugged it in and it immediately showed the correct time, date and year. Radio-controlled of course.
QUALIFIED APOLOGIES I have got up a number of people’s noses this year via comments rendered careless, contumacious and carping as a result of switching too abuptly from and to novel writing. Unfortunately there is no guarantee this won’t continue.
Novel progress 22-23/12/09. Ch. 8: 4094 words (finished but not edited). Chs. 1 - 7: 33,000 words. Comments: Over past three days suffered a small attack of writer's block, the most boring malady known to man. Discovered a cure, wrote through afternoon then returned to the keyboard at 1 am and worked until 2.45.


Anonymous said...

Word up dude.

Professional Bleeder said...

Sorry that the clock bought it (had to look that up - couldn't decide if you brought or bought it - but find, to my joy, the phrase derives from an even better one: "He bought the farm" - but I truly digress) in time for Christmas. Have also made Sauce espagnole to accompany the Beef Wellington but must consult my culinary guru as to the next step.

Barrett Bonden said...

Anon: I fear this comment stands on the very lip of the generation gap. I have absolutely no idea what it means and previous experience discourages me from trying to find out. Several years ago I was faced with "Chill out" and was irritated beyond belief to discover it meant the opposite of what I expected.

PB: I rather like "Bought the farm" - air force slang (can't remember whether it's USAF or RAF) for dying in the air or, more likely, following violent contact with the ground. Good luck with Sauce au poivre.

Sir Hugh said...

Can we have a photo of the Beef Wellington please?

herhimnbryn said...

Happy Christmas BB to you and yours.
Love hhb

Rouchswalwe said...

You can't believe the house lights around here - blinking, flashing, cascading - don't tell Copenhagen!
Fröhliche Weihnachten BB and Mrs. BB!

Relucent Reader said...

I like recipes with multiple steps, esp sauces based on the mother sauces. I have to look up Beef Wellington. Nice to hear of 30year traditions. Best wishes to your family,enjoying that tradition.
Some of the cool stuff available to Christmas light enthusiasts is amazing: timers,etc. Beyond that gotta find a mince pie, outta my depth with electricity.'Once bit twice shy' so to speak...with a pacemaker , gotta watch the jolts ;).
Glad to hear your novel is coming along, I hope to be able to read it someday.

The Crow said...

In New Orleans, in Creole kitchens, sauce espagnole is refined, silky, with perhaps the addition of finely diced, peeled and seeded tomatoes added during the last 5 or so minutes.

In the Cajun kitchen, it is sometimes called Spanish gravy: tomato in larger dice; might have a touch or two of cayenne.

In my family's kitchens, it is called tomato gravy - a dark brown roux developed with beef stock, to which is added roughly-cut skinned romas, or hand-crushed canned tomatoes.

Not to be confused with the tomato gravy in other households, which is, in fact, tomato sauce, as in spaghetti sauce or marinara.

"A rose by any other name..."

Merry Christmas, all.

marja-leena said...

Wishing you and Mrs BB a Merry Christmas! Photos of Beef Wellington and other culinary specialties, please.

Avus said...

Re the Christmas Lights paragraph - I guess I will qualify for the mince pie.

As to, "Events in the Bonden connubial bed have been timed for two decades by a simple plug-in digital clock"..................!

Professional Bleeder said...

Sauce au poivre is a go!

Lucy said...

I too am a little discombobulated to here about the timing of events in the connubial bed, especially in near conjunction with the words 'controlled flashing'.

However, as I need very little encouragement to go eat a mince pie, that is what I shall do.

Thanks for the delightful and soulful wishlist, and here's wishing you and yours a very joyful Christmas and New Year. Thanks for everything!

Hattie said...

Lead tiny lights.
My word verification is clogaz.
Is that a German word, do you think?
Happy holidays to you from Hawaii.

Plutarch said...

Technology requires a photograph or video even of the Beef Wellington from the inside.

achtly says the WV, with a German accent, I suspect.

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: A five-part sequence coming up

HHB: Given the weather you've photographed recently I take it you'll be going traditional and not tinnies on the beach.

RW (zS): An inexpensive pleasure - driving round the US 'burbs in mid-December.

RR: The tradition started soon after we returned from the US in 1972. Two or three years ago we suggested something else but granddaughter wouldn't hear of it. Not that I'm complaining. I can understand why you see volts as a mixed blessing.

The Crow: I like the no-nonsense approach best. After all, who knows what an espagnole looks like.

M-L: I've photographed the first half of the business including the searing with several fluid ounces of Tesco Value Brandy (ie, the cheap undrinkable) ignited and flaring away. More follows.

Avus/Lucy: You're both victims of incipient prurience. Even in advanced cases of satyriasis the subjects devote far more of their bedtime to sleep rather than rumpy-pumpy.

Lucy: Glad you liked the list. After a while I realised I was beginning to duplicate the rhythms of "My favourite things" so I intentionally broke away from this unworthy trend.

Hattie: Hawaii - the ultimate non-Christmassy Christmas, where Bing Crosby would be locked up as a dreamer.

PLutarch: The searing was worth risking my eyebrows.