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Hey, hey, the witch has gone

CrSuella Braverman. Gone. I would say "don't trip over on your way out" but I'm kind of hoping for a large shove from behind.
Preferably using the business end of a cattle prod.

So, then, Liz Truss handpicked a cabinet full of sycophants and suckups rather than people with any actual competence. Then when it all fell to pieces - (fx: scratches head dramatically) gee, I wonder why - she's basically flinging random people at posts hoping one might stick. Stick, like dog shit sticks to the sole of a shoe. Because that's about the quality of government here.

You know, there's actually a true-Blue place in Essex where they aren't so impressed with what's going on. They want Boris back. The man who is so corrupt, immoral, and unethical that even Parliament didn't want him.
Of course, what they should be saying if they were brave enough, is that this mess calls for a General Election. Do the people still have faith in the Tories, or has this complete shitshow shown them for what they really are?



I don't go to Lidl in Big Town any more. The mayor decided to make the little back road a one-way system. I'm not driving through town (which is, itself, an interacting mess of one way systems not entirely unlike Colossal Cave) or all around Robin Hood's barn in order to get there.

So a shiny new Lidl was built a little closer and, usefully, in a way that can be accessed without causing hair loss. Time, I guess, to go check it out.

I know Lidl these days has an in-store bakery, so I thought I'd just pop in for some croissants. The ones in my habitual supermarket are "overcooked" by my standards. Croissants shouldn't crunch.

After work I went by and was quite surprised by how much stuff was in there. It didn't look that big from the outside, but I know Lidl as a brand is pretty big on efficiency, time and motion, and so on. So they've probably micro-optimised to the fraction of a centimetre the best layout for being able to flog stuff to people.
Another thing that surprised me was how actually bloody nice everything looked. They had a fairly large selection of organic vegetables and the stuff looked good, and not like a pile of rejects from the non-organic section (which is, sadly, how it usually gets presented). I was tempted by some organic bananas from... actually the label doesn't say (it's a generic label). But oh my god, they are made of win. The only thing stopping me from going and buying another bunch tomorrow is that I don't need that much potassium in my life. But just try to imagine everything that the perfect (medium sized) banana should be.
These were.

Well, my three croissants and bananas cost me €30,06. This is why.

Stuff from Lidl
Stuff from Lidl.

Let's see. A free barrier bag. And, okay, it is shamelessly branded Lidl, but it's not only a decent strength bag, it also has dual handles so it can be carried or slung over a shoulder. I don't want to sound like an advert, Lidl fanboy, or somebody that got paid to say this stuff... but these little details matter. I can, for example, take the Lidl bag when I go to do my regular shopping (not at Lidl). Why? Because when I come home I can throw this one over my shoulder and carry in the cool-bag with the fridge/frozen stuff. In other words, get it all inside in one trip, not two.

Foreground right, the bananas. Fewer exist now than were photographed.
Below that, a chicken burger in a bun with mustard grains. It looks exactly like the thing I used to buy at the Leclerc (probably churned out of the same factory, put into a different box).
You can see the croissants in the bag. I picked them myself. And a dyspraxic person trying to pick them up from a narrow tube with tongs to drop into a bag (you'll know what I mean if you've ever been to a Lidl with a bakery) provided a few moments of amusement for a drop-dead cute tweeny.

Underneath the croissants, something ominously calling itself a "diary preparation". I figure this to be basically strawberry yoghurt, but there might be some law defining what yoghurt is, that this doesn't quite pass. But, you know, it's fermented milk and a ton of sugar with strawberry bits. Isn't that a basic working definition of strawberry yoghurt?

Behind, the yellow bottle is supposed to be pure pineapple juice, even though it looks like Sunny Delight. Next to that, organic lemonade made with cane sugar.

Oh, and that little thing front left is a hand sanitiser gel. Covid is still around guys, even if it seemed like I was the only person still wearing a mask...


I rather like Halloween. All that spooky crap appeals to me. Ghosts, goblins, demons, zombies, reanimated eighties pop stars... bring it. But be warned, if you're hoping to cause me to wet my pants, I'll have you know that not only have I wasted far too much of my life on really awful horror movies, I also have an imagination that can go far freakier than whatever you can dream up. The dreams I like are the ones where I die in the beginning. I did mention my mentality is pretty much "failed goth", right? So, bring it.

I also rather like chocolate. A little too much, I fear, given my body mass index is slowly edging out of the green and into... what is it, yellow? orange?... the not-so-green.
So when you combine the two. Okay, I'm a sucker, but that's just an adorable little chocolate ghost!

Ghosts and pumpkins, in chocolate
Ghosts and pumpkins, in chocolate. Oh hell yes! ☺


A radio-piloted clock. Cost a fiver (or was it six?) for a clock that'll sync to DCF77 and always show me the correct time. Came with a battery, which is a useful inclusion. Popped that in, the hands crawled around to noon, and after about three or four minutes it picked up the time signal.
There's also a humidity readout and a thermometer. That'll be fun in the winter...

An accurate clock
An accurate clock.


Finally, my impulse purchase. Costing a whole €12.

Art kit
Finally, something that fits my extra-wide widescreen photos!

Okay, first up, know that I have the artistic abilities of a blind toddler. XKCD is infinitely better than anything I can draw and he draws stick people!

But, you know, there's nothing wrong with tossing some coloured stuff at a piece of thick card (calling itself a "canvas") to see what works. After all, a pile of bricks got called "art" so I'm quite sure I can turn out something equally crap.

On the left, a load of coloured pencils. Below that, felt tip markers. That's the left.
On the right, some brushes and pencils along with a rubber and a sharpener. Then some... I think they're supposed to be crayons. And finally three sets of paints that are the same colours.
bottom row are oils so I can go all Rob Ross if I want.
The middle row are acrylics. Mom used to paint with acrylic so there's some around. Plus one of those little mixing trays.
And finally, the top row. Aquarelle. Or water colour. I'm not entirely sure how they managed to get watercolour into a tube (instead of a little block like it usually is), but this is the soft paint for people that can't be trusted with hardcore paints (like oil). Or perhaps children who are likely to end up wearing as much as is on the paper (and the floor, walls...).
Watercolour also lends itself to whimsical drawings due to it's inability to cover over the pencil guidelines.

It's not a perfect kit. For one thing, it's technically faulty.

Fault finding
Fault finding...
The screw doesn't go it, it's been over tightened so there's no wood left to grip. It's not a big deal really, and I'm sure I have a slightly longer screw I can whack in there in place of that dinky one. Sure, I could probably take it back for an exchange, but what a pain in the arse. Plus, a mismatched screw adds character. If you've ever been in the studio of a real artist (and not some pretentious wannabe) you'll know that lots of stuff is fixed - depending on the abilities of the artist, either lovingly hand crafted repairs (I knew I guy who turned wood and made his own brushes), or patched up with insane amounts of gaffer tape. And, of course, everything has more than it's fair share of paint splatter. I wonder how many people do the Rob Ross technique of whacking the brush on the leg of the stand? That's surely got to make a huge mess....

Anyway, maybe in the winter or the spring, I might stop sitting in front of the computer and instead have a crack at drawing. Just got to figure out what I'd actually want to draw?
If all else fails, dip a bruch in some random colour, drag it across the paper, and see where it goes from there.


What a load of sh*t

I had an upset stomach the other day. My digestion emptied itself. I weighed myself. 1.2kg lighter. Ewwwwww!

And that's a great way to end, so bye bye y'all!



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John, 20th October 2022, 12:57
So where's the new Lidl, then? 
Luckily the vet has moved from the old Lidl site. Is that still accessible? It's now down from the Hyper U roundabout past the fuel and the old(?) DIY shop - the opposite way from the old Lidl. Can't remember where that road goes - somewhere I've never been!
David Pilling, 21st October 2022, 13:25
Nice clock. Interesting if the temp/humidity use the old fashioned mechanisms - a bimetal spiral for temperature. Off hand I can't recall what they use for humidity - a twisted piece of horse hair maybe. Almost certainly it will because otherwise they'd need stepper motors. 
They've already got one stepper for the time. Radio controlled clocks are a good thing, once in a while I find mine showing some stupid time - interference events. 
They are old tech. why not get the time off the 'net. Here at least the signal is not good, the data rate is very low anyway, so it is extracting data from deep in the noise. 
UK used to be MSF at Rugby, now Anthorn in Cumbria.
Rick, 21st October 2022, 14:39
Yes, it's a coil of something on both sides. 
The radio clock uses a lot less power than anything WiFi. 
As for the corrupt time, the clocks at work sometimes do that. I don't know the data format as transmitted, but surely there's a checksum that they're ignoring.
David Pilling, 23rd October 2022, 12:10
Thanks for satisfying my curiosity on the temp and humidity sensors. There are checksums in the clock data, presumably eventually an error gets past them. They also do sanity checking - like the clock can't have lost more than an hour between synchronising with the transmitter. Probly why once an error gets through it never gets fixed. 
DCF is on 75KHz, MSF 60 KHz slow data rate, narrow bandwidth.

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