Thursday, 5 May 2011

Wednesday 4th May 11

Woken by my eldest who had knocked something onto the floor in the kitchen and it had smashed, so I gingerly found the broom and swept it up into a tidy pile which allowed breakfast activities to continue safely.

After I'd had my breakfast I dealt with a range of paperwork and admin type things, and at about midday, went to see if Debbie would be able to help do the eve-of-poll Green Party leaflet round which we often do together. She wasn't well so I did the round myself.  It only took an hour but then I had a long chat with my physicist friend Adrian about political matters.

After lunch I went round to Debbie's again and asked if she'd got her broken key replaced.  She hadn't as she's been unwell for a few days, so I offered to get the key replaced, if I could.  I went to town to the station to pick up the tickets I bought over the net, one set to go to Bristol this weekend and another set to go down to the Little Green Gathering in July. This is the first time I've got tickets out of a machine.

From here I went to the Credit Union to pick up a cheque to pay for this term at the Steiner School, and I cycled there and paid it in, plus cash to make up the full amount.

I then cycled back with our youngest and once home, popped round to the fix it shop on Lilac Avenue, who do keys.  They were able to put the two halves of the broken key in their machine and cut a new one.  I went back to Debbie's and it fitted, and she was delighted.

As I returned from her, John Bibby was about to unload another job-lot of wood.... some oak fencing, some tree roots, and other bits of tree.  A big messy pile.  It will need a lot of sorting out.  However, it is free heating and would have been burned in a bonfire, or taken to a landfill site, so I'm relatively happy to have it.

I spent an hour doing the smallest bits, cutting twigs from branches and breaking up small lengths of fence plank.  There are some much sturdier timbers to contend with, next week when I have more time.

Gill made a simple pasta tea and then at 6.45 I set out, on foot, with our eldest son, to town to attend the Cafe Scientifique meeting at City Screen, which tonight was all about food and flavours, with a Professor from the University of Hull called John Bradley.  He started with a bit about how the tongue senses tastes and how the olfactory epithelium deals with aromas and fragrances. Because these signals end up in the Hippocampus, there is a connection between emotions and smell, memory and smell, and it's even been found that people with a reduced sense of smell are more prone to depression.  He explained about herbs and spices and volatile molecules, and then the exciting subject of chirality, the way that some molecules are left handed and the same molecule can be right handed.  This has some profound effects on odour molecules... limonene smells like lemons with one enantiomer (shape of molecule) and of oranges with the mirror-image enantiomer. However, another molecule smells like passion fruit with one and like burning rubber with it's mirror image.  Fascinating.  He then finished with a look at combining flavours, such as carrot and coriander (although I prefer carrot and tarragon), caramelised cauliflower and cocoa, banana and parsley.

Following a question and discussion session, we walked home, getting in at about 10pm... a really lovely and interesting night out, with good conversation with my son, especially on the way back.

Lit the stove when I got in and did some more dried fruit and washing up.

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