Fried Alaska

Our attempt at making individual baked Alaskas in the air fryer as a coda to our family lunch of porky veg and rice. It worked very well so here is the recipe:
Cut a shop-bought Swiss roll into 6 pieces and put each piece in an empty Gü pot.
Fill pots to top with shop-bought ice cream.
Beat 2 egg whites with 40g of caster sugar until stiff and spoon on top of each pot.
Put pots in freezer until after dinner, then air fry at 200° for 3 minutes.
We did 2 weeks’ worth of quizzes and scored 12 in one and 10.5 in the other so still in double figures.
A1 is reading Strindberg’s Star* by Jan Wallentin, a kind of halfhearted attempt at a Swedish version of Katherine Neville’s The Eight: a conspiracy involving ancient artefacts with many real-life characters and events dragged in (the titular Strindberg and his brother, Himmler, Fritz Haber, Nobel, Swedenborg, etc etc). But unlike KN’s splendidly enjoyable effort, JW gives us an incoherent plot and a useless and uninvolving protagonist, and poor writing (not helped by a US translation). Rubbish — but not entertaining rubbish, sadly.
A2 is reading Hazards of Time Travel* by Joyce Carol Oates; a boring and pointless novel in which a bolshy teenager from an ultra-authoritarian USA is punished by being transported to the 1950s.
What We Missed
Last night was one of the best aurora displays of the past 500 years, easily visible from here. But we slept through it.

Jupiter Collapsing

A2 went to town today and was surprised to see the solar system up there, though Jupiter had had an unfortunate implosion. Turns out it was part of an Easter space extravaganza.
A2 is reading Sanctuary by Dave Hutchinson, set in a postdiluvian feudal society but nonetheless centred on police action against a serial killer. Most of the non-genre novels I have read during my fast have featured crimes.

Wolf Moon

Full Moon in a corona on a blustery night. Since Storm Gerrit, we have had Storm Henk and Storm Isha and now it’s Storm Jocelyn’s turn.
A1 is rereading Why We Die by Mick Herron. A2 is rereading the magnificent Bel Canto* by Ann Patchett (the * denotes it is a library book but we have a copy somewhere in the house along with two other Mick Herron books which we also can’t find). Terrorists and hostages brought together by music.

Super Blue Moon

We were hoping to catch the biggest moon of the year and the second full moon of the month on the rise but it was behind a big tree and we were too tired (A1 from work, A2 from recovid) to chase after it. The big splash at the bottom (Tycho crater) was near where the Russian rocket crashed and the Indian lander landed, but they didn’t actually cause the splash.
Admin1 is reading Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod. Admin2 is rereading Dark Fire by CJ Sansom.


Seen through the morning fog and a few filters: the Sun with a massive sunspot, 5 times the size of the Earth.


And here is The Light (shopping/hotel/cinema complex which banned Admin2 from taking photos in case there were celebrities hanging out there, coz we all know celebs hate being photographed) lit up by a low sun yesterday when our solar panels hit 0.92kWh, best since last November.
Admin1 is reading The Kingdoms and Admin2 is reading The Lost Future of Pepperharrow in our ongoing Natasha Pulley fest.

Streets of Darkness

The Moon and Jupiter shine down from above and the lights of the city twinkle in the distance. Streets of Darkness is also the title of the book Admin2 is reading, by AA Dhand, about crime and drugs and violence and riots in Bradford, which always seems like a nice place when we visit.
Admin1 is reading The Old Enemy by Henry Porter.

Mars occultation

We got up this morning at 4:30am to be greeted by cloud cover, but within 15 minutes it had cleared, allowing us to see the occultation of Mars by the Moon, starting just before 5am from Leeds. This is a quick and dirty upload, and a rather poor animation; more later perhaps.

The photos were taken through an ETX125 telescope with an attached Canon 7D camera, controlled from a Pixel 6a mobile running the excellent DSLR Controller app. There’s just a suggestion of surface detail on Mars.

Andromeda Galaxy

This picture is a tiny detail from an unzoomed shot taken with Admin1’s new phone — a Pixel 6a — from the light-polluted suburban environment of our garden. The inset in the green circle is a screen grab from Stellarium, a wonderful sky simulation program available for Linux and Windows. It shows that the faintly elongated blur at centre-left is, indeed, the Andromeda Galaxy; all the surrounding stars are correct. Our galaxy will collide with Andromeda soon. (OK, in about 5 billion years; no worries.)
It’s amazing that a small phone can capture  something like this.
Today 2022 became our best year ever on the solar panels, and Admin1 is reading The Blood Divide by AA Dhand.

Moon, Clouds, Planet

The moon shining down in a misty sky. This morning was properly foggy.
We had our family meal of chicken, bacon and broccoli and apple meringue (we are constantly trying out new recipes to get shot of our glut of apples) and scored a magnificent THIRTEEN on the GSQ.
Admin1 is rereading Monstrous Regiment by Sir Terry Pratchett. Admin2 is rereading Beyond Black by Dame Hilary Mantel, which is beyond brilliant.

Silvery Moon (& Jupiter)

The almost-full moon through a veil of cirrus, and a planet so close it looks like a little ball.
Admin1 is rereading Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett. Admin2 is rereading The Evidence by Christopher Priest.
Next day: the family came round for stroggers and sticky toffee apple pudding and we scored a respectable 10 on the GSQ.