About SJPONeill

Retired(ish) and living on the side of a mountain. I love reading and writing, pottering around with DIY in the garden and the kitchen, watching movies and building models from plastic and paper...I have two awesome daughters, two awesome grand-daughters and two awesome big dogs...lots of awesomeness around me...

Salmon with Spicy Tomato Rice

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Spur of the moment invention dinner…

As part of my green journey, I have been slowly reducing the number of production steps between me and the raw materials. Last week, I used the last can of tomatoes from the pantry and resolved henceforth to only use fresh tomatoes where previously I would have used the canned variety.

Obviously this means a little more planning ahead due to the shelf life of fresh tomatoes v their tinny competition. So the tomatoes I bought last we were starting to scream for attention and tonight was the night. I wanted to do something a bit different and also empty out the freezer a little more – still don’t have much space for frozen soups and TV dinners after giving up the chest freezer in the garage.

I took some salmon steaks out and only once they were committed to defrosting did I stop to consider how tomatoes might figure in tonight’s dining experience. I got some ideas from Google, selecting this one for Mexican tomato rice and beans from Fine Foods as my base.

It looked like – and was – a quick cook so I got the rice on first. Now that the last of the white rice is gone, it’s all brown from here on – I’m using a mix of long and short grain – with black held in reserve for special occasions. The spicy tomato bit has this in it:

  • 1 teaspoon of oil (grapeseed tonight)
  • 6 close of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous tablespoon of Jalapenos, also finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of black salt (the colour doesn’t really mean anything)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 can of red kidney beans (also the last can)
  • 440 grams of fresh tomatoes, blended
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of coriander powder (will use crushed seeds next time)

I started by frying the garlic and jalapeno in the oil til the flavours were rally strong – about a minute – before stirring in the spices and slat. After a couple of minutes add the tomato and beans, followed by the herbs. If it looks a tad dry, add about half a cup of water (I rinsed  the bean tin into the pan).

Once this is simmering away, I added the salmon steaks, and let it all simmer away until the rice was done.

Nice a simple. Hot and spicy. Brought out a good sweat on a cold wind wet night…

Took out some more fish to do again with the leftovers tomorrow…

 

Thinking peer v peer conflict again…

 

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This post arose from a Doctrine Man comment, referring to the Australian Army’s The Cove, an online public discussion forum for military matters.

The subject at had was a case for the SPIKE Non-Line Of Sight (NLOS) missile system as a key enabler for distributed forces. I’ve uploaded the actual paper as a PDF here as well to maintain context after losing a load of linked material after the US Army binned its Colloquium files and the discussion fora that lived under the COIN Center.

A point on formatting…the staff paper double-spaced format makes for easy marking but less for easy reading. Different audience, different format, especially if you’re trying to sell something. Rather than posting a document as a native Word doc, a PDF is more compatible with a range of devices.

Anyway, academic nitpicking aside…

This paper leaps directly to a solution without really defining the capability requirement or discussing alternative solutions. Distributed combat capability needs remote targeting and engagement, probably with a higher degree of autonomy and data fusion than that defined in this paper. Any system like but not necessarily Spike cannot be discussed in isolation from other offensive and defensive systems, if for no other reason that to define Spike’s place in the bigger scheme of things.

Some things we carefully tap-dance around when discussing high-tech solutions to tactical and operational challenges are the cost of the system, in practical terms, how many are actually sitting on the shelf, how long can we sustain their use, and what happens when they run out, many of these system not have massive rates of production. Also needing to be discussed is countering counter-measures, especially with any system that relies on remote input, and even more so in a peer v peer conflict i.e. when the ‘other guy’ might be as good as or possibly, Lord forbid, better than us. That is a situation that we down under have not seriously faced on a large scale since the Second World War.

Spike is without doubt a good weapon system. Is it the only answer? Unlikely. If we’re going to adapt back in to the harsh world of peer v peer conflict, we need to first (re)define that environment. If there is nothing that we have not learned the hard way since 911, it should be not to underestimate our opponents or those arguments inconvenient to our own.

Just as our transition from ‘thing’-based conflict to people-focused conflict was less than smooth, we need to work to ensure that the reverse path is clear (as much as possible) of myths, assumptions, or biased thought. We have not faced a truly equal opponent in peer v peer conflict since the Second World War, a conflict that began with a harsh three year learning curve.

The Cove resource that the Australian Army established on the public internet is an innovative adaptive tool to promote these discussions with a broader audience. It is open to anyone to not only constructively comment but to also contribute papers on contemporary topics.

Like many others on this side of the ditch, I’ve also migrated ti The Cove with the demise of the NZDF’s equivalent, The Hub. The Hub ran as a twelve month experiment to engage current and former servicepeople – at the end of that period, someone decided to can it. True, the interface was a little clunky and it still existed behind a secure firewall – seriously, what do you have hide? – but it was a significant step in the right direction. Sad to see it go but happy to virtually commute across the Tasman to carry on the discussion…

 

Alpine guide frustrated at casual attitudes – Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Truly awesome to see that the national media have picked up this story…the full text of Andrea’s story can be seen here with the current safety messages for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter here

We need to see more of the guiding community telling their stories and sharing their experiences on the Alpine Crossing as part of educating visitors to the Tongariro district.

Year-round this is a beautiful place, one of the only areas in New Zealand that you can explore an active volcanic, but it is always a place to be respected. Respected for its cultural heritage and because it is unforgiving towards to the unprepared, ill-informed and complacent…

One of the best sources of current information on the Crossing is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing app that was released this year…available in the Google Playstore and iTunes…is your life, and the lives of your family and friends worth a small fee…? We would hope so…

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Get the app…

This pic is, of course of the Crossing in summer. In winter, this is what you will encounter:adrift fb winter 4.jpg

Know Before You Go

If You Don’t Know, Don’t Go

or

Go With A Guide

Field observations TAC 26/8/2017

Yesterday afternoon, I received this email from a  good friend who is an experienced guide in Tongariro National Park. The initial target audience was the visitor information centres around the Central Plateau – that audience has now grown…

To whom it may concern,

I am an alpine guide, currently working on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This is my fourth season on the TAC. My primary duty of care is to the safety and well-being of the clients on my trip, however I am often asked by freedom walkers for information and advice. Far too many people recreating in Tongariro National Park are uninformed about the hazards on the TAC and are unprepared for the conditions they will encounter. In some cases, people are putting themselves in harms way or endangering those around them and I feel obliged to intervene. This is actually quite common, but most of us guiding in Tongariro see that we act as kaitiake for the people and the land and don’t hesitate to offer assistance. This is an ongoing problem and the number of people putting themselves in danger increases exponentially each season. This is a problem that many people involved in tourism, recreation, and the outdoors community in Central Ruapehu are well aware of.

I would like to make it clear that I am not against freedom walking the TAC in winter, but that I am against trail users getting bad advice or no advice, going unprepared, and exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.

I am writing this letter because of what I saw while I was guiding on the TAC on Saturday, 26 August 2017. The number of people walking the track in completely inappropriate gear with no clue and no humility was SHOCKING. People dressed only in sneakers and blue jeans, without rain jackets or warm hats and gloves. There was a much higher than average number of freedom walkers on the track that day. At a guess, I would say that there were a few hundred. Tongariro Expeditions were operating their transport only service that day, as well as a large number of groups both large and small providing their own transport.

It is my opinion that when transport only services operate in winter, the public is watching. They see “no risk” when in reality there exists a “low risk”. Understanding that difference is critical. It is also imperative that people understand the difference between a forecast and a guarantee. Weather in New Zealand mountains is unpredictable and rapidly changeable. I believe that the greatest danger to people on this day was the weather, and the perceived risk.

The forecast on Saturday 26 August 2017, according to Metservice, called for fine conditions and light winds. On paper, truly a beautiful day! My observations on track told a very different story. The lenticular clouds capping Ngauruhoe meant winds were much stronger than the 15km/h in the forecast for the Red Crater. Metvuw charts showed rain to the northwest of Tongariro, so I knew that those stronger than forecast winds would also bring clouds. In spite of the forecast I could see that we were in for a cold day, with no sun, strong winds, and white-out conditions. Which is exactly what we got. The Red Crater was being hit by 50km/h winds and the wind chill was hovering around -8. Cloud in the Central Crater caused poor visibility, fluctuating between 50 meters and 500 meters of visibility. These are challenging and hazardous conditions.

One unprepared (cold and scared) freedom walker was rescued (from Shelter Rock) by other hikers on their descent from the summit of the TAC and given extra gear and guidance back to the start of the track (Mangatepopo Car Park).  People were observed walking on cornices on the Red Crater, walking out onto the ice on the Emerald Lakes, onto the ice on the Blue Lake, and were advised of the dangers they were putting themselves into. Many people without proper attire continued to walk into worsening conditions in spite of warnings from myself, other guides, and members of a local tramping club.

Waikato Tramping Club was on their annual winter Tongariro trek and spent lot of time and energy trying to warn people of the risks involved in trekking in alpine conditions without proper gear or know-how. They attempted to turn around many people on this day that were unaware of the danger they were putting themselves in and unaware of the hazards on the TAC. I have reached out to the club and encouraged them to write a letter with their observations.

I am passionate about the outdoors. I love Tongariro. I love creating safe experiences that are fun and memorable. If I can, I want to help more people come home safe and happy after a day in our mountains. I am reaching out to your organisation with my field observations because I believe that we are allies in this goal. I have provided below descriptions of the hazards, risks and consequences that are common on the TAC in winter, as well as the MetService forecast for the day. I personally observed people exposing themselves to each of the hazards below on this day. It is my sincere hope that this letter is useful in some way.

Thank you for your consideration,


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Below is a list of some hazards that exist on the TAC in winter. I have omitted to speak about avalanche hazards, as the Backcountry Avalanche Advisory does an excellent job of detailing the risks and hazards on a daily basis.

Walking on cornices

-large cornices exist around the rim and summit of the Red Crater. There are many others throughout the TAC but these are the cornices that are easiest to walk onto without realizing what you’re doing

-the risk is that by walking onto a cornice you will cause it to break and you will fall

-the consequences of breaking a cornice are VERY HIGH and potentially life-threatening, as you would fall 50+ meters and likely be buried in snow from the falling debris

Walking on the ice covering the Emerald Lakes

-the lakes are not well frozen and are currently thawing, so the risk of breaking the ice and falling into the lakes is VERY HIGH

-consequences of of falling through the ice into the lake are SERIOUS and potentially life-threatening, as both drowning and hypothermia are likely outcomes

Walking on the ice covering the Blue Lake

-the risk posed by walking on the Blue Lake is precisely the same as the Emerald Lakes, but the consequences are higher, as the size and depth of the lake would pose much larger problems for rescue

Not having the appropriate gear

-sunglasses, warm hats and gloves, boots, rain jackets, and intelligent layers are a must in an unpredictable alpine environment such as the TAC. To venture out unprepared is to risk frostbite or hypothermia, or in the case of not having sunglasses you are risking snowblindness

Not having the appropriate equipment

-at the very least it is necessary to carry a topographic map and compass (and know how to use them), the risk is that you will get lost. Poor visibility and featureless snow-fields (such as the Central and South Crater) create navigational challenges. Additionally, the summer track is generally considered unsafe in common winter conditions and an alternate track exists, many people aren’t even aware that they may encounter more than one track and this creates confusion

-often it is necessary to carry (and know how to use) crampons, ice-axe, and helmet. Without this gear you risk sliding down steep and long icy surfaces. Sliding can carry high consequences.

The feelings expressed here are shared by many of us who live up here: as much as we want people to come here and enjoy this wonderful location, we want them to do it safely.

Many of our visitors – and not just the international ones – don’t have any frame of reference for the hazards of an alpine environment…the closest many of them will get is watching Cliffhanger or Everest in FullHD with the woodburner fully cranked up…

Know Before You Go

If You Don’t Know, Don’t Go…

…Or Go With A Guide

 

Six

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As the heat – such as it was – slowly increased last summer, my satellite dish became less and less interested in capturing and processing satellite TV signals, and, around Christmas, it finally decided that it wasn’t interested in doing that anymore and took up knitting…so I have no idea if Six made it to ‘normal’ TV screens in New Zealand. Replacement parts for the dish aren’t that much and I suppose I’ll get to doing something eventually but I just don’t miss normal TV that much…

Anyways, as part of transfer my ISP and phone allegiance back to Spark, I wound up with Spotify and Lightbox accounts. These came into their own with the new unlimited broadband account. Lightbox didn’t really float my boat too much: I found the selection rather limited and also that I no longer have a lot of time for binge watching TV. I manged to squeeze in Defiance, Lucky Man and the UK Ashes to Ashes (listed in ascending order of enjoyment) but kinda got over it…

Six was a refreshing new addition to the Lightbox line-up. Unhyped and unheralded, one evening, there it was on the menu – I may have ignored it for a while, mistaking it for The Real SEAL Team Six, a made for TV take on the 2011 bin Laden raid. I was cautious at first as most of the contemporary special operations genre seems to be Desperate Housewives with guns, even The Unit and the unlamented Ultimate Force: way too much domestic angst and not enough boots on the ground.

Six didn’t disappoint on the domestic angst front but its focus remained firmly on the ‘rescue one of our own’ plotline. The ‘one’ was played by Walter Goggins and, do admit that I have watched the full Justified enough times that I was expecting Raylan Givens to amble onscreen and laconically resolve the bad guys.

I like the current trend of episodic story-telling across a season: one story, one season. I’m not sure if that makes it a mini-series or not but it certainly resonates with me: beginning, middle and end. It worked with Bosch; it worked with the TV version of Shooter; and it works with Six. Each episode isn’t a standalone but roll into the next: there are only eight episodes and I was disappointed to get to the end – but only in that the next series was not ready to go (hasn’t been filmed yet ).

The story rolls smoothly and offers some insights into contemporary international security challenges . The equipment looks OK but the US DOD probably didn’t offer a lot of support to the production: too many C-130s, not enough C-17s, too many vanilla Blackhawks, no special ops birds…in this case, I don’t think that makes a big difference to the story or my enjoyment of it – and I tend to be picky on such things…I think that if you liked Band of Brothers and Blackhawk Down, Six is probably for you…

Say no to sugar taxes

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Drone alert in more ways than one…

Healthy Food Guide reports today that

“A petition calling for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages that collected nearly 10,000 signatures was presented to Maori and Green Party MPs in Parliament last week”

That’s on the HFG site that is so paranoid that it has blocked the right mouse button function to prevent people copying or printing its articles and recipes. Heads up, team, all that does is force people to other sites more friendly (you’re not that unique), to use the browser drop-down menu, and/or just give you a miss: most, if not all of your recipes are available elsewhere (it’s not called the world-wide web for nothing you know)…just Google the recipe title to see if you can’t find the same -or often a better – recipe elsewhere…

But…back to the sugar thing…dear food fun Nazis, please get a grip…taxes don’t stop people using commodities they want to use…increasing taxes hasn’t drastically changed usage stats for spray paint, petrol, alcohol or nicotine, nor, had the legislation been enacted, would it have stopped sheep farting…all taxes on products like these is make them more expense so that people waste more money on them (less the sheep farting – sheep farts will always be free).

If you really want to stop people using something, then ban it and make it totally unavailable, except of course, for the bootleg and black market alternatives that will spring into existence the second the ban goes into effect. Bans – certainly where the market mass is most of the population – are rarely (not really!!) effective.

Ongoing effective education is the solution. Not anti-sugar propaganda because even kids can see through that. Tell it like it is. Put the truth – not truth, not your truth – out there. Be first with the truth. It’s not perfect but have a read of That Sugar Story anyway. Damon Gameau is a bit OTT at times but his basic premise is pretty good and pretty healthy – and you don’t need any laws or taxes to make it work. Consume less sugar. Avoid hidden sugars: quick tip, if it’s in a plastic wrapper that says it’s healthy, don’t touch it…you DON’T have to give up food fun to be healthy…there’s more to healthy food than water and lentils …

(lentils get a bad rap sometimes)

Stop trying to protect everyone from themselves. Nanny-stating has an opposite effect in the long term: instead of protecting the people from themselves, the increasing absence of challenge turns them into mindless drones incapable of applying judgement, solving problems or thinking for themselves.

I caught up with an old friend last week – someone who I had not physically seen 2007 but whom the miracle of Facebook had kept me in touch with. She made the very telling comment that the more support services we offer, the more people demand AND the less capable they become of thinking and fending for themselves. More and more people expect everyone to be nice to them and for ‘someone else’ to doing all think and supporting for them as well…

The truth is that sometimes life throws up challenges; life is sometimes a bit hard; things do not always go according to plan. ‘The people’ need to make their own decisions and accept the consequences of those decisions. They need to be given opportunities every day to exercise and practise those skills. Taking away their ability, indeed their right, to make lifestyle decisions for them and their families doesn’t make us smarter or healthier as a nation…

Look askance at any politician babbling in support of a sugar tax…

 

Know Before you go; if you don’t know, don’t go…

‘Tis the season…for inexperienced (in New Zealand conditions) and poorly-prepared trampers to ‘walk’ the Tongariro Alpine Crossing…and every year Police and volunteer rescue teams put themselves at risk to rescue these wallies

Last week, this brochure was released to get the message to national and international visitors to Tongariro National Park. That message is really quite simple:

Know before you go:

Know the weather AND ground conditions

Know what to do in alpine conditions

Know what to do in avalanche terrain

Know what to do when the plan goes wrong

If you don’t know: don’t go – or go with a guide…

 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing_winter 1Tongariro Alpine Crossing winter 2

A lot of the information online and offered by staff in the hospitality line is well-intentioned but ill-informed. Many people, especially those off the mountain or not ‘mountain’ people, do not understand the hazards of the Crossing in winter, or during bad weather. Many think it is just a case of ‘giving it a go‘, of ‘going harder‘, or just ‘will-powering’ themselves over the snow and ice. Others think that it is more important to promote ‘tourism’ at all costs…

“…the trampers were lucky to escape with their lives…”

“…not sticking together caused the group to inadvertently separate…”

“…All their clothing was wet…they didn’t have it in waterproof packing…”

“…they didn’t call for help until it was very dark and one tramper was unable to walk…”

We don’t say these things, we don’t make the Crossing sound dangerous to scare visitors off, to try to keep the place for ourselves, to discourage commercial operations in the Park.

We say this because we want visitors to come here, enjoy themselves and leave safely.

We say this because we don’t want our people putting their lives on the line for rescues that are unnecessary; being dragged from their beds or jobs at all hours because of good intentions and poor information…

Don’t become a statistic

Know before you go

If you don’t know, don’t go

…or go with a guide…

 

Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) Mid-Air Collision Study

Last day of July, three and a half hours til August (at the time I started typing) and I realise I haven’t written anything all month…

DJI Phantom

Unmanned aircraft is a subject that I thought I had moved on from but this report popped up in my inbox this evening…only a couple of days after I spoke with a couple of clowns flying a large drone over the Chateau Golf Course in Whakapapa Village. They pleaded ignorance of both National Park and Civil Aviation Agency legislation relating to flying drones in or over the Park but really? You don’t buy and operate a big drone like that without knowing the law.

That law is quite simple:

It is illegal to land, take-off or hover an aircraft in, from or over Tongariro National Park. A drone (of any class or size) is regarded as an aircraft. Any exceptions must have prior formal written approval from the Department of Conservation.

The land-owner’s prior permission is required before a drone can be flown over private land; or the permission from the mandated controlling authority for public land e.g. the local council or, for the Park, the Department of Conservation.

 In addition, rescue helicopters can and do enter the Park at any time of day or night, from any direction. Even on a clear day, the setting sun can obscure vision to such an extent that a pilot may not see a drone in time to avoid it.

airfield 4km

CAA Rules also prohibit the operation of drones within 4km of an airfield, that is 4km from the closest boundary of an airfield. For Whakapapa Village, that 4km limit takes you to just above the bridge over the Whakapapanui Stream. It means that you can’t fly your drone:

at Discovery Lodge (which has its own heli-pad in any case) or

at the camp site at Mangahuia, further along SH47 towards National Park Village, or

over Mahuia Rapids just along 47 in the other direction or

on the Tawhai Falls or Mound Walk trails that come off SH48.

Those who say that a small drone wouldn’t do any significant damage to an manned aircraft should read the report that I received this evening. You can find the report, Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) Mid-Air Collision Study, here.

It is sobering reading: even a small (think Toyworld) drone can cause considerable damage to a light aircraft or helicopter, particularly the windscreen and tail rotor. Any components ingested into the engine may also cause unneeded excitement for the pilot and passengers of that manned aircraft.

the bits that hurt

The bits that hurt…

In a way this report is quite gratifying as it supports the work that I did for the Air and Space Interoperability Council and subsequently NATO on the hazards of small unmanned aircraft sharing operational airspace with manned aircraft.

If you own a drone of any sort in New Zealand, you do need to read Part 101 and Part 102 of the Civil Aviation Agency Rules, and the note RPAS, UAV, UAS, Drones and Model Aircraft. You won’t, of course, because you think you have an ultimate right to do whatever you like in the Park…that’s alright…but don’t be surprised if guides or Rangers just snap your pic and send it directly to CAA for action…

You might think it’s great your drone will follow your phone as you rip down the slopes at Whakapapa or Turoa…on a ‘good’ day in winter, there may be a half dozen or more rescue helicopter flights on to the ski fields or around the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, often in restricted visibility: that’s hard enough without the pilot having to worry about some goon operating their drone illegally.

Similarly, around the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, no one wants to be subjected to mosquito-like totally annoying whine of your drone…nor should should pilots have to look out for them as they approach for a rescue – when you’re too dumb to hear the helo coming in and dump your drone…

What we really need are a few good prosecutions to drive this message home BEFORE we have an accident…

Aviation Related Concern

To report an aviation safety or security concern, that may include complaints, or allegations of suspected breaches of civil aviation legislation, call: 0508 4SAFETY (0508 472 338) available office hours (voicemail after hours), or email: isi@caa.govt.nz.

Pictures, video, rego numbers are useful information to back up your complaint and hopefully lead to a successful prosecution. Ignorance of the law is no excuse…

Bosch

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I was an early subscriber to Audible when it first set up in the early 2000s…I was doing a lot of rowing in the gym and needed something to keep my mind alive while going back and forward, back and forward, etc, etc, etc; and I was also driving Wellington-Auckland on a  regular basis for work (yes, I could have flown but it was nice to have the flexibility to stop along the way and visit places and friends)…

Back then, Audible had an introductory offer where they would gift you a Rio MP3 player with a whole 64Mb of memory on-board if you subscribed for a year or more -the subscription entitling me to two books each month from the library – even for USD14.95 when the Kiwi dollar was pretty depressed, with each Audible book around 8-16 hours, it was a good deal.

I would often forget about the subscription until just before the drop dead time – the subscriptions didn’t roll over so it was use them or lose them – and have to select the first two books that seemed even remotely interesting. Thus my Audible library was always a tad eclectic and my rule was that any book I started to listen, I would see through to the end, on some occasions the bitter bitter end..

So, that’s how I stumbled onto Michael Connolly, first through his standalone Chasing the Dime, and from there into my first Bosch novel, which I think was Lost Light…Over the next decade plus, I slowly acquired more Connolly novels, in digital and hard copy formats…Bosch was the man though, I could never get into the Lincoln Lawyer series but did enjoy Blood Work (the book is better than the movie). Blood Work (not one of Clint’s better efforts) and The Lincoln Lawyer movie put me off seeking any further screen adaptions and the little I had seen online about the Bosch series did nothing to change that.

Last week, I needed to put new tyres on the truck – winter roads need robust tread – and took the opportunity to have a wander around Taumarunui while I waited for the job to be done. There is an interesting little second-hand shop just off the Main Street down near the supermarket and I can easily kill half an hour exploring its nooks and crannies. I saw Bosch Season One sitting there and walked past it a couple of times but for $5 it was hard to pass up even if I expected it to be quite average.

I had thought that the developers of this series had attempted to squeeze each novel loosely into a single episode but exactly the opposite is the case. For Season One anyway, the ten episodes cover a single novel, in this case City of Bones. The story flows well and the character development is good, It has been a while since I read the book but the series rings true to my memories of it. This first season is based on the eighth novel in the series but then, I never read them in sequence so having a bit of a preview often adds some flavour to later exploring the pre-story. It is a little annoying that the first episodes contain a lot of, too many really, references to other Bosch novel titles in a rather heavy-handed way – not clever or subtle, just annoying but that novelty seems to have worn off by the third episode…

I thought that this was good enough to binge watch the ten episodes over two nights and am keen enough to watch it again to see what subtleties I may have missed on the first time through. It looks like three season have been made so far and I am keeping an eye out for the next two – hopefully Mighty Ape might take the hint from Season Two’s presence on my wishlist to dump it into the Daily Deals for me…

So, yes, Bosch on TV, Season One looks good, recommended, waiting for Season Two…

Winter solstice dinner

Still no snow this winter…we did have a bit of a teaser dump mid-May but nothing that stuck around…21 June was the shortest day. We have a largish expat community here, mainly outdoorsy types like guides and ski field staffies, who get a bit homesick for a winter Christmas dinner so we did one, bring a plate style…

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My opted plate was Christmas pudding, the unhealthier the better, and who better for unhealthy culinary fun but Nigella. This is her ultimate Christmas pudding, made exactly as per the recipe except I for got on the day to make the whiskey sauce…I guess we’ll just have to do this again so we can see how that goes…

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It is rich as, mainly sherry-soaked fruit with about half a cup each of flour and breadcrumbs to tie it all together and steamed for a total of eight hours: five hours for the initial cook, then three hours to warm for dinner itself – in the interim, Nigella says it will store nice on a dark shelf for months…

…and yes…we did set fire to it – with four firefighters in attendance – next time I will serve it on a more dished plate so that the surplus fuel pools there and not on the table…

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It burnses, it burnses….