11 June 2012

Formula One: The remarkable season continues

Photo: Morio via Wikipedia

25 November 2012: Narain Karthikeyan leads home an unlikely HRT one-two in the snow at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of the season, in a year that has seen each of the 20 races won by a different driver. Michael Schumacher fails to finish for the 18th time, after a collision with a penguin.

09 June 2012

Maxi and Allegro: a symphony in brown

For the past few months, these two have often been in evidence near where we live:

Two Austins from the 1970s (OK, the Maxi is a late one, a 1981 2L model, but the Allegro 1500 Super has a 1977/8 S plate), both in authentic, period "chocolate" brown. And they seem to be such good friends, which is quite touching. Honestly, I don't think I've seen a Maxi or an Allegro for years, and now this.

I realise this is a peculiarly British thing, and my readers in Norway and the US will probably not recognise these extraordinary vehicles. Indeed, even now loyal readers in Eastern Europe (and I know you exist – web stats cannot lie (much)) may be howling, "Can such majesty be borne, when we had to put up with Wartburgs and ZiLs?"

Be still and fear not, gentle reader. These cars are legendary, but not necessarily for the right reasons.


I took this photo last week, and I've been meaning to blog it ever since. And then last night some halfwit smashed the window of the Maxi. Sigh.

04 June 2012

Chilli crisps update (June 2012)

Following last November's group test of hot chilli crisps here at insertcrisps.com, it is incumbent upon me to alert you to the availability of a new contender: Crusty Croc Inferno flavour (available from Lidl).

These crisps have a nice orangey-gold appearance and a very pleasant flavour overall – spicy, yes, but definitely concentrating on the chilli/capsicum side of things. Rather like a hot version of the paprika-flavoured crisps that are so popular on the continent. As for the heat, well, if you put flames on the packet you'd better live up to the promise, and specifically if you're going to put a warning on the back of the packet that the product is not suitable for children then you've got to deliver the goods, otherwise you end up looking like Ned Flanders and his Five-alarm chili:
Homer: Five-alarm chili, eh? (Tries some) One... two... Hey, what's the big idea?
Ned: Oh, I admit it. It's only two alarm, two-and-a-half, tops. I just wanted to be a big man in front of the kids.
Todd: Daddy, are you going to jail?
Ned: We'll see, son. We'll see.
After the total disappointment of the Jalapeño Fire Doritos in the group test, I'm surprised and delighted to be able to report that these Inferno jobs actually live up to the billing rather well. The heat builds up on the tongue and in the throat, especially if you eat plenty of them – and you will, as they are highly addictive – causing my nose to run and earning an Insert Crisps heat rating of 5. The closest so far to my favourite level of heat, which we'll call 6, defined as a typical Thai green curry as served in Thai restaurants in the UK.

The only downside is that the crisps themselves are thin, weedy, continental-style things that are likely to have shattered into smaller pieces in the large and rather flimsy packet. So if you like a good old proper crunch to your crisp, you may be disappointed. But the flavour and the heat make them well worth it.

These crisps are currently on sale as one of those special "this week" deals in Lidl, so their availability may be short-lived. I'm going into town now. I just have to, ah, do some shopping. Crisps may be involved.