The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Life & Style Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to make metheglin – it pre-dates wine Wed, 15 Feb 2012 15:19:28 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Never heard of it? No neither had we..

Powered by article titled “How to make metheglin” was written by John Wright, for on Wednesday 15th February 2012 09.30 UTC

Metheglin, which is simply a flavoured mead, pre-dates even wine made from grapes, so it is a pity it has gone out of fashion.

Mead was one of the first drinks I ever tried (owing to a girlfriend who took a worrying interest in Celtic rituals in which mead was apparently an essential ingredient). But beware of asking for it in a pub. I did once, only to be told “I am terribly sorry, Sir, but we don’t serve plonk here”. While mead is still being produced commercially, I can find no one who makes metheglin, so if you want to try this ancient drink you will have to make it yourself.

“Mead” and “metheglin” are basically the same words, coming, according to one source, from the Welsh “meodyglyn”. The only difference is that metheglin is a mead with flavourings added. There are endless old recipes for metheglin; the 17th century “The Closet of Sir Kenelme Digby” lists several dozen with snappy names such as “Sir Baynam Throckmortons’s Mead” and “Mead from the Muscovian Ambassador’s Steward”.

A vast array of flavouring ingredients are used – virtually anything with a strong flavour which isn’t actually poisonous (at least not very poisonous): watercress, fennel, liverwort, marshmallow roots, scurvy grass, cloves, borage, marjoram, ferns, flowers, and so on.

There are many modern recipes which are equally imaginative and it will be necessary to try a few before you find the one you like best (Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling’s Making Wild Wines and Meads is an excellent source, listing over two dozen).

Last year I made a batch using dried mugwort and a very small quantity of wormwood (both Artemisia species). The flavour was something of an acquired taste, which unfortunately I never managed to acquire. At the same time I made a garden herb version. This is safer while still being local and seasonal.

Of course it is only the hardy perennial herbs that are available in February and a quick expedition out of the back door has found thyme, bay and rosemary. The flavours survive the brewing process fairly intact, but not too strongly. A good drink to have with lamb, of course, and if you find you don’t like it, an excellent thing to use in cooking.

1.4 kilograms of runny honey
4.5 litres water
About two tablespoons of chopped rosemary
One level dessertspoon of thyme leaves
Six bay leaves
Juice and zest of two lemons
Grape tannin – quarter teaspoon
Yeast nutrient – follow instructions on sachet
White wine yeast, one sachet – follow the instructions

Put the water in a large pan on the hob and turn on the heat. Once it is just too hot to touch, pour in the honey and use some of the hot water to wash the remaining honey into the pan. Stir until the honey is dissolved and bring to the boil for ten minutes, skimming off any foam.

Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the herbs, grape tannin, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cover and leave to cool.

Transfer to a sterilised fermenting bucket and add the yeast nutrient and the yeast and cover. Allow to ferment for about three days then pour into a demi-john using some muslin cloth draped into a funnel to get rid of all the bits. The funnel, muslin and demi-john should be scrupulously sterilised. Fit a bubble-trap and leave for two months. Rack-off into a new demi-john and bottle when clear. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

]]> 0
The month of Capriporn (and eleven others) Mon, 29 Aug 2011 14:28:38 +0000 Ewan What if scientists had their own zodiac star signs, even if they didn’t believe that stars can predict Hurricane Irene or the impact of Pippa Middleton?

Dean Burnett decided to set up the stereotypes and dates. I’d end up being Saggywearyus:

Despite your best efforts, you will inevitably end up as the type of scientist that is often regarded as ‘ridiculous stereotype’. If you are male, you’ll start to develop unruly white hair, a ridiculous moustache at some time around your 21st Birthday, and it will get worse from there.

Which is worryingly accurate. What about you?

More at Science Digestive, hat tip to @Giagia

]]> 0
GET10 and help Anthony Nolan Wed, 06 Jul 2011 08:12:00 +0000 Ewan Charity looking to get 10,000 men on the bone marrow register, can you help?

While men aged 18-30 might be the biggest financial donors to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, they’re the lowest represented group in the donor register – and the charity is hoping to change that this summer.

With GET10, they’re aiming to get 10,000 new people onto the register, and all it takes is signing a form and providing a small blood sample. If you’re up for it (and we here at The Daily Dust have been on the register for years) then get ten of your friends to join in and potentially save a life in the future.

Join in at

]]> 0
Worried about a zombie attack? Get a zombie knife! Mon, 27 Jun 2011 07:05:25 +0000 Ewan image

Don’t be as unprepared as Leicester City Council, get yourself the Ka-Bar Zombie Killer Knive!

In an ever-changing world, the need for preparedness has never been greater. Without notice the game can change and the rules no longer apply. Questioning your gear at a crucial moment is not an option. Whether setting up camp or securing your perimeter, ZK knives are designed to perform under the most rigorous, unexpected and apocalyptic situations. Are you prepared?

Hat tip to Uncrate, more at Ka-Bar.

]]> 0
Real ale is having a revival Tue, 24 May 2011 10:47:18 +0000 The DailyDust reporter

Powered by article titled “Real ale is having a revival” was written by Dave Simpson, for The Guardian on Sunday 22nd May 2011 19.00 UTC

This time last year, the UK was in the midst of election fever, and my sleepy north Yorkshire village of Tockwith was hosting a beer festival. The organisers mocked up some publicity photos of themselves as politicians in a polling station. “We campaigned under the banner Vote for Real Ale,” chuckles organiser Adrian Ray.

The people voted with their feet – 36 gallons of beer had run out by 10pm, with the last to sell out a really strong one. “So anyone left at the end got rather sozzled.”

This year’s follow-up event at the weekend expanded to a field, with six marquees, live bands – and much more beer.

Tockwith is typical of an explosion in beer festivals around the UK. Once, they were fairly rare, large-scale events populated by serious older drinkers. Now countless towns and villages have one, reflecting a boom in small-scale brewing and real-ale drinking. August’s annual Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court is the biggie (in 2010, a record 67,000 drinkers sank 200,000 pints), but festivals are held everywhere from Battersea to the Scottish fishing town of Stonehaven.

“People are bored of drinking heavily advertised, mass-produced brands,” explains Jon Howard of the Campaign for Real Ale, which organises 150 festivals a year.

“There’s a fashion aspect to it,” admits Craig Lee of Rudgate Brewery, whose Ruby Mild was Camra’s Champion Beer of 2009. “Real ale is becoming trendy.”

Younger ale drinkers favour beers with funny names, and with most pubs tied to major brewers, a beer festival is the best place to sup a Brewers Droop or Ginger Tosser. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

]]> 0
Boozy Brits fall over due to crazy Spanish paving Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:44:55 +0000 Tom Moran British tourists on the popular Costa Blanca now have a new excuse for falling over after a night on the Spanish lager.

A new patterned pavement in Alicante is reported to have caused “nausea and confusion”, with boozed-up Brits abroad being the most affected demographic.

The design, set in rows of diamonds at 90 degrees to each other, creates the optical illusion that the pavement is stepped when in fact it is flat.

Metro reports how the design has been confusing British tourists on their way home from the pub, causing some to fall over and others to suffer nausea.

Ex-pat Rich Poolton, 46, said: “After you’ve had a few drinks it definitely affects you.

“It confuses the eyes enough when you’re sober.  When you’ve been out it has, shall we say, a strong effect on your stomach.”

Image via Wikimedia

]]> 0
Glass and a half down to a quarter at Cadburys Thu, 03 Feb 2011 13:10:34 +0000 Ewan Two squares of chocolate lost as Kraft fight to keep chocolate bar prices steady.

With the rising price of cocoa around the world (which is enough for the Daily Mail to suggest a worldwide chocolate drought in 2014… no link for obvious reasons) manufacturers have to put up prices to cover cost.

The traditional way would be to nudge the price up, but there is another option. Make the chocolate bars smaller. Which is the choice they’ve made.

It’s a little bit more sneaky, but it means no relabeling the price in a supermarket aisle, no sticker shock from customers, and smaller portions are always a good thing, says my Doctor.

Or they’re hoping the smaller size means you buy two for a win-win all round.

]]> 0
How to have a little bit more lunch with DIY time travel Thu, 20 Jan 2011 17:18:00 +0000 Ewan The “Lunchtime Clock” hands you 12 more minutes in the middle of the day.

Randy Sarafan just handed you the guide on getting an extra hour of lunch each week. And all you need to do is slow down time.

Not everywhere, just on the wall clock by your boss. As 11am happens, the clock speeds up. So when it says 12, it’s actually 1148. Slowing down over the next hour, as 1pm arrives the clock is back at 1pm, and runs smoothly till the top of the clock again.

Just as long as your boss doesn’t have a wristwatch (how quaint) you’ve got an extra hour a week!

More at Instructables, hat tip to Scott Beale.

]]> 0
Secret murder formula for UK press revealed Thu, 06 Jan 2011 12:00:05 +0000 Ewan Spoof site hits the nail on the head with “how to write about a murder story”

With all the fuss in the press over the murder of Joanna Yates here in the UK, the tabloids are like tiny piranhas in a sea full of rotting donkey flesh, suffixing everything with allegedly.

But how do they all know which case to attack? Well News Thump has the secret document that reveals the formula that editors use to determine how big a news story is. The formula? That would be:

{ (AG x AT) * R  +  (OC x S x ET) * C  } /100

More at News Thump, including the full breakdown on how it works.

]]> 0
What you really need for 2011 is your own tower Fri, 31 Dec 2010 11:28:11 +0000 Ewan Converted Martello Tower reveals palatial home in historic building

Originally built to keep out the French naval forces, these Napoleonic Tower formed a 103 long defensive chain against seaborne invasion. And while the remit of a 30 foot high tower and cannons that can reach out over a mile to ships on the attack isn’t high up on the list of essential features, you can now move into one and live the life of a Bond villain.

Putting up the renovated tower is Duncan Jackson, and he knew it was a challenge to get where it is now:

There are people who say the towers shouldn’t become homes because this takes away from their historic role. But if they aren’t going to be lived in, what’s to happen to them? Those that hadn’t been blasted away during target practice by the military have often been left to rot, and then demolished."

More at The Guardian.

]]> 0
The Santa that goes an extra mile deserves a reward Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:35:16 +0000 Ewan …and all you need to do is let Jura know who it is.

With the cold weather suddenly making neighbours talk to each other (if only to share snow clearing duties in a blizzard on a shared path) it;s time to reward those people who’ve been doing good.

All you need to do, in the time homoured way, is write a letter about your Santa to the real Santa, and send it though the Jura distillery’s website.

Winning Santa’s will get a trip to the Isle of Jura (you know, where they make the whisky) along with their Mrs Claus and a nice little bit of expenses to cover what needs to be done. No sleigh required.

More details at Jura.

]]> 0
Words that need to come back to English Fri, 19 Nov 2010 15:55:39 +0000 Ewan What if there was already a word for how you are feeling that the world has forgotten?

There’s always a lot of noise when a new word is added to a dictionary, but what of words that are there, but no longer used? Well Heather Carreiro has put together 20 words she thinks need to come back into popular use.

My personal favourite has to be  illecebrous:

Adj. – “Alluring, enticing, attractive” – Alright, so at first this word kind of sounds a way to describe something diseased, but if you put the stress on the second syllable for emphasis, it does sound like a compliment: “That girl was so illecebrous; I’ve got to figure out how to see her again.”

Although I think Twitter-light might have a brand new meaning if it popped up now!

Hat tip to Neatorama, more at Matador Abroad!

]]> 1
Did you see The Beatles news? Wed, 17 Nov 2010 16:40:20 +0000 Ewan Yes, there’s a website looking to sing every track with a Ukulele!

Hat tip to various people on Twitter who forwarded this to us, but I’ve just spent most of the editing time today browsing through “The Beatles (Complete) on Ukulele”, a site which has the lofty goal of a cover version of every one of the 185 songs by The Fab Four… on the four stringed weapon of choice.

we will release a new recording of a Beatles song* featuring a different artist every Tuesday. A short essay will coincide with every recording and each performance will include a ukulele. The project began on January 20, 2009 (Inauguration Day) and will conclude on July 31, 2012. (The eve of the London Olympics)

That was The Beatles news you were all going on about, yes?

Find your favourite at

]]> 2
The Sinclair C5 returns to the 21st Century Wed, 17 Nov 2010 14:06:38 +0000 Ewan Will the new X-1 Electric vehicle marks the return of Sir Clive to the roads?

A long time ago, a man had a dream. In fact Sir Clive Sinclair had a lot of dreams, from digital watches and pocket televisions to affordable computers in every home and personal transportation that combined electric and pedal power.

The C5 was the first attempt and in the 80s it went disastrously wrong – but led to a collectible vehicle to rival the baseball card trade in America… almost.

But he’s carried on, and the X-1, scheduled for delivery in July next year for around £600 is now taking orders with a £100 deposit. The almost recumbent bicycle now has a roof (unlike the C5) and is promising strong visibility to other road users.

We’d love to be convinced. More at Sinclair Research.

]]> 0
Would you visit the Island of Cats? Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:16:36 +0000 Ewan Tashiro island, off the coast of Japan, is covered in furry feline friends.

Tofugu has the low down on the water locked land that sounds straight out of a bad zombie b-movie, with details on how to get there (by ferry), the population (only 100 people, all bar one over the age of 60) and the slow increase of tourists coming out to Tashiro.

And with it being aimed at tourists, you have delightful shrines, feline buildings and cat stones littered all over the island.

More at Tofugu.

]]> 0
Brain takes less than a second to fall in love Thu, 28 Oct 2010 14:30:56 +0000 Tom Moran Are you one of those romantic dreamers who believes in love at first sight?

If so, your beliefs are accurate, according to a recent study revealing the brain takes less than a second to fall in love.

The study conducted by Syracuse University, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging to see how “love” affects the brain, discovered that it affected it pretty quickly – in one-fifth of a second to be precise.

The findings showed that 12 areas of the brain work together during the love process, releasing euphoria-inducing chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopressin.

What’s more, love’s high has been likened to a cocaine’s rush, and flies in the face of common belief that falling in love requires intimacy and six months of romantic dinners.

Hat tip to Alltop.  Image via Picasa.

]]> 0
Prime Ministers are human after all Wed, 27 Oct 2010 09:06:50 +0000 Ewan Simon Hoggart talks about the occupants of Number Ten and their little quirks and foibles.

Sketchwriters in Parliament, like cartoonists, latch on to features of the politicians they are talking about. Simon Hoggart has been covering them since the days of MacMillan, and his extracts from the book “A Long Lunch” show the skill involved in humanising the leaders of the UK:

Discretion sometimes won. Jim Naughtie of the Today programme recalls chatting to Denis [Thatcher] on the landing at Downing Street during a reception, standing next to a large potted plant. Denis was drinking gin and tonic. One of the prime minister’s detectives approached him and whispered: "The Boss is here, sir."

Denis deftly poured his drink into the plant pot, then reached out to embrace his wife.

A delightful read from a deft writer. I might even consider the book if it’s all as good as this.

Hat tip to Jason.

]]> 0
The Simpsons Carvings That Enable Children To Go To School Thu, 21 Oct 2010 10:52:02 +0000 The DailyDust reporter A Fair Trade (WFTO) accredited business called Craft Village based near Middlesbrough is selling hand crafted Simpson products, carved by people from a small village in Kenya so remote it takes three hours on a bus to get to its nearest town.


Unlike the sweatshops highlighted in Banksy’s intro, these really do make a difference.


Every statue created earns the carver 450 shillings (£3), an amount that has enabled all of those in the village to put their children through school.


“Without The Simpsons, my children would not be getting their education,” says Mr Onsombi, who has a family of eight.



Some great pictures and great news.

You can see more images and information on the website, craft village.

]]> 0
This is the droid I’m looking for! Wed, 20 Oct 2010 10:16:47 +0000 Ewan Forget Halloween, the Star Wars fans are going to want this all year round.

Discreetly called the “Artoo” it would probably be described as a fashionable printed one piece polyester/lycra swimsuit designed by James Lillis from Australlia. Providing function and form the futuristic design will catch eyes and thoughts wherever you are.

Well, it would be described like that for the average person. For everyone else… it’s a swimming costume that makes your lady look like R2-D2!

Please keep your mental images and fantasies to yourself.


More images (and the order form) for the Artoo at Black Milk Clothing.

]]> 0
20/10/2010 can mean one thing – it’s World Statistics Day! Wed, 20 Oct 2010 08:41:16 +0000 Ewan Take time today to celebrate the achievements of official statistics with the rest of the world.

Yes today is the day to celebrate the use of numbers to present information clearly and concisely and to celebrate achievement.It’s World Statistics Day!

The celebration of the World Statistics Day will acknowledge the service provided by the global statistical system at national and international level, and hope to help strengthen the awareness and trust of the public in official statistics. It serves as an advocacy tool to further support the work of statisticians across different settings, cultures, and domains.

There are some great events around the world, including the UK. How could you not fail to be energised by:

  • Statistics Posters in each Government building at reception with some general ‘fun’ facts and trivia related to that Department.
  • Seminar provided by the Applied Quantitative Methods Network marking the achievements of official statistics in Scotland; how the Office of the Chief Statistician has developed over the years; and how official statistics are used in the outside world.
  • Running a series of sessions for Welsh Assembly Government staff relating to finding and using statistics, including a statistical quiz for staff.

The official website has even managed to land a quote from the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon:

On this first World Statistics Day I encourage the international community to work with the United Nations to enable all countries to meet their statistical needs.

Join in all the fun (ahem) at, picture by David Brice (Flickr) of mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch (Wikipedia).

Seriously though, you want statistics, then ask a Scotsman the horribly complex mathematical permutations on how the national team can qualify for Euro 2010… that’s statistics for you.

]]> 0
Thief returns stolen laptop contents to owner on USB stick Tue, 19 Oct 2010 15:10:34 +0000 Tom Moran A university professor whose laptop was stolen has had the entire contents of the machine returned to him on a USB memory stick.

The unnamed professor, who teaches at Umeå University in northern Sweden, left his bag behind a door in his apartment stairwell while he went into the laundry room.

But he was dismayed to discover a thief had made off with the bag containing his laptop and other personal items.  It was returned a short time later minus the computer.

“It is my life. I have documented everything in it that has happened in the last 10 years and beyond,” said the professor.

But in an incredible twist, the contents of his laptop were posted to him a week later on a USB stick, which must have taken several hours to download. The professor added:

“I am very happy.  This story makes me feel hope for humanity.”

Hat tip to the Telegraph.  Image by Oxyman, via Wikimedia.

]]> 0
Quickly now, is the Earth bigger than the Sun? Tue, 19 Oct 2010 10:05:02 +0000 Ewan One in ten women reckon where we live is bigger than the fire in the sky.

Congratulations to OK Cupid for finding a gem of a statistical quirky in their regular (and illuminating) surveys on the members of their dating website.

They’ve actually had a look at the question of what gay and straight people are looking for on the site, to answer the cliched question that single gay people are looking to “turn” straight people.

Not surprisingly, the answer is “no they’re not” but you can look over all the pretty graphs and data at the OK Cupid blog. WHich is where this classic question was found:

“Which is bigger, the Earth or the Sun?”

Some 10% of women answered the Earth. Ouch. Mind you 5% of men went with our home as being bigger as well, so it’s fair to say that a lot of people really do need to, err, avoid a facepalm.

Thanks to OK Cupid.

]]> 0
It’s Ok To Have A Domain Name Containing A Company’s Brand But Not To Make Money Out Of It Wed, 13 Oct 2010 07:50:17 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Robert Tyler established in Feb 2007 to publish “horror stories” about Ryanair.  Recently he added a few affiliate links to other websites offering travel insurance and foreign currency.

Ryanair complained that the site took unfair advantage of the Ryanair name for commercial gain against what it called a “vitriolic and highly disparaging” website.

Nominet ruled that Mr Tyler breached the rules by using the brand to make money and so, the website was closed.  Not because of the use of the brand name, the negativity or constant criticism of Ryanair.

Nominet adjudicator, Jane Seager said “In a free and open society internet users should generally be able to post comments on their recent experiences or on current events, as long as such postings do not fall foul of the law.”

She added: “If they draw in internet users by using a domain name containing a company’s brand, then they must be wholly devoted to honest criticism and open discussion and not potentially tainted by commercial concerns.”

To continue his quest, Mr Tyler has now moved the site to the big paypal button on the blog may just get that closed down too..
hat tip telegraph

]]> 0
Will you carry a Comedy Donor Card? Mon, 11 Oct 2010 09:40:34 +0000 Ewan want people to laugh at your misfortune?]]> How can you tell people that if you die in a funny way and you want people to laugh at your misfortune?

In reaction to the owner of the Segway company dying by, err, driving over a cliff on his Segway, Tom Scott has been wondering if he would have wanted us to laugh at this, or have a respectful silence.

Or indeed to go for every laugh possible but not in front of the children?

So Scott’s come up with the Comedy Donor card, which you slip into your wallet just like a regular Donor Card, but rather than your organs, it talks about how you want people to treat your death, and if it should be sombre or side-splitting.

Print it out, sign it, pop it in one of those little credit-card pouches you get from stationers, and presto: those who survive your hilariously ironic death can laugh without guilt. Remember to let your relatives know your wishes.

More at Tom’s Blog.

]]> 0
The top twenty mis-spelt words in English Thu, 07 Oct 2010 11:10:12 +0000 Ewan How many of the words on this list do you think you’d get right without checking?

The joke is always why would you use a dictionary to find out how to spell a word, but now Oxford University Press has given a handy “print out and keep” list of the words that everyone keeps… getting… wrong…

Not only that, but researcher Kieran McGovern also thinks about why these words are so incorrect.

By far the most difficult hurdle for any speller, however, is the dreaded ‘double letter’ dilemma. Two ‘N’s or one? Does two ‘C’s look right? Unnecessary causes double-trouble here to add to its ‘C’ or ‘S’ issues.

Spell-check/Spellcheck (?) will help, of course, which is why many young people delegate the job entirely to that marvellous (two ‘L’s in British English) programme (one ‘M’ and drop the ‘E’ in the US or amongst techies). Sadly, technology has not yet produced a spell-checking pen for that handwritten application form.

And here’s the list for your office wall.

  1. Separate
  2. Definitely
  3. Manoeuvre
  4. Embarrass
  5. Occurrence
  6. Consensus
  7. Unnecessary
  8. Acceptable
  9. Broccoli
  10. Referred
  11. Bureaucracy
  12. Supersede
  13. Questionnaire
  14. Connoisseur
  15. A lot
  16. Entrepreneur
  17. Particularly
  18. Liquefy
  19. Conscience
  20. Parallel

Hat tip to The Daily (Maybe), more at Oxford University Press.

]]> 0