Is Indian food as good as it used to be?

When I was a kid we rarely went to restaurants. It was a treat for special occasions. We’d eat at The Swan in Bishop’s Stortford. I recall that I ate chicken, chips and peas.

Meat Madras

Meat Madras

I remember my first Indian restaurant. I think it was what is now the Tandoori Cottage in Northgate End, Bishop’s Stortford. It served a delicious lamb tika starter and this along with lamb madras became my favourite dish.
I guess this must have been around 1978 and I was about 19 year old. I remember one time eating there and one of my friends went to the toilet and climbed out of the window. The twat thought that he was being daring and avoiding payment but he may as well have walked out of the front door. Either way he left us to pick up his bill.

Since then England has grown more prosperous and dining out has become a common activity. I recall much later eating in a Chinese restaurant which had arisen on the premises of The Swan. I recall that one guy I was with became so drunk he vomited into his dinner.

Later the Balti became popular and we all ate our curries from metal dishes.

However, I digress.

My point is that the food in Indian restaurants does not seem to be as good as it used to be. Now this could be because that as we age our taste buds degrade. It could be but I doubt it somehow. I cook for myself and can concoct a delicious curry when I have a mind to. Another possibility is that, as is rumoured, most Indian restaurants use pre made sauces which are cooked up in large batches while the meat is cooked with no spices at all. The two are combined to order which explains why you can get a lamb madras in 15 minutes.

I remember visiting an Indian restaurant in Brighton a few years ago which purported to take more care over it’s food and the food there did taste far better. I think the restaurant was along Ditchling Road but I’ve never been able to find it again. Perhaps it closed down.

So I’m now asking “Is Indian food, as served in English Indian restaurants, as good as it used to be?”

Can you suggest a good Indian restaurant?

 All votes and comments welcome.

The Ghastliness of British airports

I have been to Cologne this week. Flew from Gatwick. God how I detest British airports! The Blair/Brown years have morphed every public environment into a disgusting shopping mall. You sit there, trapped, waiting for them to tell you which gate to go to while numerous shops play disparate music at you. What happened to the ideas of a departure lounge? The bread head bastards at BAA realised this was an ideal place to trap the public and flog them crap. Make the environment so awful and unendurable that you are forced to traipse around and eventually relent and buy some piece of crap.
Only at that last minute will the bastards announce the gate and you are allowed to escape and sit in some squalid glass box before being herded into the aircraft.
I frequently travel, mostly throughout Europe, and fairly often further afield and I can attest that British airports are the most disgusting I have ever endured. And let me add that this comparison includes Lagos, Port Harcourt and Charles de Gaulle.

Too late Brown – Too bloody late!

Too late

Too late

Today’s Telegraph reports that “Gordon Brown is to prevent banks and building societies offering 100 per cent mortgages in an attempt to usher in a new era of “responsible lending”.”

Gordon Brown has been in charge of the British economy as Chancellor or Prime Minister for nearly twelve years. During his term as chancellor he bragged incessantly about his “prudence” while presiding over an era of irresponsible lending. In all that time it never occurred to him that 100% mortgages were a bad idea.
But now, 17 months, after the collapse of Northern Rock he announces that he is to put a stop to 100% mortgages.

Too late Brown. Too Bloody late.

Sign the petition on the Down Street web site:

Windows – Still crap after all these years

Microsoft Windows is still crap after all these years!

Remember when we used to use Windows 3.1? Remember how crap it was and how it couldn’t mutlitask? They said “Wait. We’re developing Windows New Technology. It will be great. It will multitask and it will keep applications apart so that if one crashes the others will carry one.”

Remember? So we waited, didn’t we. We stayed with Microsoft. We spurned IBMs OS2. We ignored Apple mac. We ignored the Comodore Amiga would is still the best multitasking system I know of. And Microsoft brought out Windows NT 3.5. It was a bit flaky but it was better than Windows 3.1. And they brought out Windows NT 4.0 and it looked pretty spiffy. We thought we were catching up with Apple mac. But it still froze when it had network issues. So we waited and we waited and we waited. And Apple rewrote their whole OS, taking a unix variant as the basics and retain the old API. And we continued to wait.

So here we are in 2009 with Windows XP.

I was working with computers when Bill Gates was in short trousers. My first OS was RSTS on a PDP11. That could multitask with 96K of RAM.

There is something very basic about computers. They consist of a few fundemental components:

· At least one processor
· Some Random Access Memory to hold what we’re working on
· Some long term storage, like a disk drive, to save everything and maybe do some swapping of RAM
· Peripherals. eg network cards etc.

It is the operating system’s job to sit between all this stuff and the user’s program and allocate time and resources to the program.

There can be only one reason that a properly functioning application should slow down or stop: A bottleneck. One of the components is overworked. Either the processor is being hogged or the RAM is full etc.

However. When we use a Microsoft operating system there is a second reason and that is that the operating system is poorly written. Even after maybe 20 years of writing operating systems Microsoft still cannot handle the basic task of supplying resources to user programs.

Here we have an example: I’m running a program which freezes. OK, maybe the program is poorly written. But it is only hogging one of the cores in my dual core machine. There is no shortage of RAM and the disk is not being thrashed. So why is the Windows shell incapable of refreshing my desktop? There can be only one answer: Because it was written by Microsoft.


Screen SHot

Screen Shot


Microsoft have held the computing industry back 20 years – Discuss

Drug Classification – Spinning the truth

This morning I listened to the news on the BBC and heard Professor David Nutt say that the drug ecstasy should be downgraded from Class A to the less serious Class B as it was no where near as dangerous as other Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Then I listened to a member of the current government say that this was outrageous and that this would send the wrong message to people.

“Send the wrong message” – Now what does that remind me of? Oh yes, “Spin”.


It seems to me that the Blair/Brown regime has built an edifice of bullshit by continually worrying about what “message” it is sending. It seems to me that if you have a grading scheme for drugs but place everything in the top category from fear of “sending the wrong message” you undermine the whole scheme.

Having encountered drugs as a teenager I well remember the obvious falsehoods and hysteria put out by “the establishment”. This misinformation  directly contradicted our own experience and we quickly learned not to trust adult opinion on the subject.

When considering what message the government should be sending the government should simply tell the truth. Ah, but the truth. I don’t believe that Blair or Brown would recognise the truth if it stood up and kicked them in the teeth. Come to think of it the truth has kicked Brown in the teeth in the form of “No More Boom and Bust” ….oops!, ….the biggest bust since the Wall Street Crash. Yet he still hasn’t recognised it.

I guess that when it comes to the subject of drugs “the establishment” will always be TALKING BOLLOCKS.





Thanks to the BBC for the chart above and Wikipedia for the figures below.




Class A

Class B

Class C



6 months / £5000 fine

3 months / £2500 fine

3 months / £500 fine


7 years / unlimited fine

5 years / unlimited fine

2 years / unlimited fine



6 months / £5000 fine

6 months / £5000 fine

3 months / £2000 fine


Life / unlimited fine

14 years / unlimited fine

14 years / unlimited fine

Israel degrades the concept of democracy

The Israeli election has been in the news today and the results are almost in. It seems that Kadima got the most votes, followed by Likud, followed by Israel Beiteinu followed by Labour and some other parties. 

Israeli election results, 2009

Israeli election results, 2009

As if Kadima and Likud were not right wing enough it seems that Israel Beiteinu want every Israeli “citizen” to take an oath of allegiance to Israel! Others want to expel Palestinians from Israel.

Well, we may not like it but they have right to vote for their own government don’t they?

Let’s try a thought experiment:

All the descendants of the persecuted Pilgrim Fathers return from the United States to the English East Midlands. They declare that this land was given to them by God and that Melton Mowbray is their undisputed capital. They fight with and expel most of the current inhabitants and manage to hold onto Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, and parts of Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire.

They declare this area to be their country but occupy the rest of the Eats Midlands and start planting fundamentalist Puritan settlers there in segregated enclaves defended by their troops.

They then hold elections but only let their Puritan Pilgrim Father descendants vote.

Is that democracy? Doesn’t sound like it to me.

I believe that the world looks the other way when it comes to Palestinian suffering because of the horrendous suffering of Jews during World War 2. perhaps this is understandable but it is not right. Jews did suffer terribly about 50 years ago, we can’t change that. But Palestinians are suffering now.

Past injustice perpetrated on Jews does not justify the acceptance of Jews as perpetrators of injustice.

Are Jews around the world really going to continue their uncritical support for a country which starts expelling people because of their religion or ethnicity?

The following video has British Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s take on events:


Snow in London

Last night I drove up to London just after it started snowing. It took me about 3 hours rather than 1.5 to 2. The M25 was a blizzard, we were all crawling along completely unable to tell which lane we were in. Great fun.

Finally got to the hotel in Highbury about 10:30pm Sunday night. I’m doing a course in London this week and so staying up at the Foreign Mission which is located in a private road north of Highbury Corner. Aberdeen Park is a big wide road with few cars and as I turned in the snow was fresh and I slid around a bit before gliding to a gentle halt at the side of the road.

The mission was lovely and war as usual.

This morning I woke to find it had snowed even more overnight. AND IT HAD SETTLED. Which it rarely does in London. Emerging into daylight I was pleased to note that the great advantages of an Alpha Romeo GT 2.0 JTS is that it looks good before it snows and then after, when it’s covered in snow. This can’t be said for other cars that one could mention. – Note the courteous scraping of snow from the offside lower windscreen to allow easy viewing of my parking permit.

Alpha Romeo 2.0 JTS

Alpha Romeo 2.0 JTS


Alpha Romeo 2.0 JTS

Alpha Romeo 2.0 JTS

















I walked down to the tube and the train was jam packed. However, emerging at King’s Cross there was no traffic. No buses were running and it seemed that everyone had taken the day off work. So there were virtually no cars. There were very few people about. I walked through the streets and London had a fantastic winter wonderland feel to it. Very quiet, very few people or traffic. A few people throwing snow balls. Trees outlined with snow. Amazing. It’s the most snow we’ve had in London for 18 years. So say the BBC.

Bikes in snow

Bikes in snow

By lunch time we had heard that the congestion charge had was being waived for today. A lot of good to tell us now. I could have driven in and parked outside the office! On the way home on the tube I heard that “due to the conditions” the central line was closed.
Typical bloody England. Even trains protected by tunnels hidden safely deep underground get affected by snow. “The wrong sort fo snow” jokes going around.

Still snowing when I got back to the Mission and with luck we’ll get a ton more.

Of course being a cynic I full acknowledge that by Friday London will be a ghastly mess with driving rain and dirt caked sludge covering every surface. Hospitals without power, the army on the streets and Gordon bloody Brown assuring us that his government will do “everything that can be done”. – Like what Gordon – “All alternatives are being examined” – Like what Gordon – “We will do whatever is necessary” – Yeh, but like what Gordon?

But in the mean time it’s quite nice.

London in snow

London in snow