48 tons of silver recovered from shipwreck off the coast of Galway

19 07 2012

1,203 bars of silver bullion weighing a total of 48 tons has been recovered from theshipwreck of the SS Gairsoppa which was sunk in February 1941 300 miles off the coast of Galway, Ireland

Florida based deep ocean exploration firm Odyssey Marine Exploration made the recovery which at 1.4  million troy is the heaviest ever recovery of precious metals.  At a depth of over 3 miles this is also the deepest ever recovery.

Greg Stemm, Odyssey chief executive, said it was a complex operation in international waters.

“Our capacity to conduct precision cuts and successfully complete the surgical removal of bullion from secure areas on the ship demonstrates our capabilities to undertake complicated tasks in the very deep ocean,” he said.

“This technology will be applicable to other modern shipwreck projects currently being scheduled as well as our deep ocean mineral exploration activities.”

Apparently the precious cargo has now been transported to a secure location in the UK.

The Gairsoppa was a merchant ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during  WWII while it was being used by the British government under their War Risk Insurance programme.

An insurance payout of £325,000 – the value of the bullion in 1941 – was made by the government to the owners of the cargo which allows the state to claim ownership of all goods recovered.

Some sources, including Lloyd’s War Losses, indicate a total amount of silver cargo worth £600,000 may have been lost in 1941, indicating the existence of a second load of government-owned silver.

Odyssey expects to now move their efforts in an attempt to recover a further 600,000 ounces of silver believed to be on the wreck of another ship, the SS Mantola, located 100 miles from the first wreck.

The company said the silver recovered to date from the Gairsoppa represents about 43% of the insured silver bars, or a fifth of the total silver cargo which its research indicated may have been on board.

Odyssey is conducting the project under contract with the UK Department for Transport and the rest of the search is expected to be completed in the autumn. The company will retain 80% of the net value of the cargo after recovering its expenses.

 





Happy St Totteringham’s Day

14 05 2012

So we did it… far, far later in the year than I would have liked but you know what they say, better late than never.

A 3-2 win against the “Baggies” yesterday saw us snatch third place therefore guaranteeing us Champions League football again next year.

Perhaps more importantly, well for me at least, a win yesterday means that T*ttenham finish fourth….

Now excuse my ignorance here but I am fairly sure that 4th is below 3rd in the table. What’s that? It is you say.

Well in that case allow me to wish you a very happy St Totteringham’s Day.

Well I am so glad to see that the much talked of “Power Shift” in North London is still in effect and that Spurs best team in living memory has done oh so well.

Except they didn’t…Hahahahahahahahaha. Let this be a lesson to all of you fans of the chicken on a basketball lads; premature gloating,boasting and a chip on the shoulder that McCains would be proud of get you precisely nothing.

All of a sudden I am hoping that Chelski play a blinder in the Champions League final and give Bayern an absolute thumping. Not because I like Chelsea, really I don’t, but just to ensure that you mugs get everything you deserve in the form of some nice Thursday night football.





BrewDog Abstrakt 06 – 11.5% Imperial Black IPA

9 05 2012

I mentioned a while back about the release of BrewDog Abstrakt 06, well I have finally gotten round to drinking one of my bottles and as such I can give you all my two pennies worth.

 So where to begin… well if you have read anything about Abstrakt then you will know that it is series of special edition, limited volume concept beers being brewed by BrewDog.

06 is oddly enough the sixth in the series… you see how that works.

 The price per bottle is a little steep – I paid €12.99, but don’t that put you off, you really do get what you pay for!

Nice black coloredbody with a reasonable creamy head. Good lacing which lasts  well through out.

There is a big aroma of pine, dark chocolate, orange and molasses.

Pine and lots of orange flavor combine with the plentful doses of chocolate and slightly floral kick. Nice citrusy aftertaste, sort of like sumac. A full body and well hidden alcohol make up the texture of this beer.

I know that this is billed as an Imperial Black IPA but if I were to try and pigeon hole this I would have to go with a very heavilly hopped Imperial Stout.

Good beer that is worth the money, can’t wait to see how these age.

4.7/5





The World’s End – Camden

9 05 2012

Here be Demons

I have never really understood why but an awful lot of people rave on and on and on about The World’s End as if it were the be all and end all of pubs.

Well it isn’t.

I honestly wonder if they are venturing through some portal into another dimension as in reality the WE is a tedious, boring, overly large tourist trap that plays annoying trendy music at pretty much any hour of the day or night.

However there is one distinction that I have to highlight. The World’s End is now the official recipient of my very own “Shittiest Beer Ever” award.

Three of us hung around this giant turd of a pub long enough to have 2 pints each as we had dinner reservations just round the corner and couldn’t be arsed to walk any further.

We each ordered a different pint and they were all absolute crud. Now I should take a moment to clarify here, we aren’t talking some rare amber nectar brewed by silent monks in the hinterlands of Nepal. No, we had Guinness, Old Speckled Hen and London Pride, not exactly the hardest beers to keep correctly.

The pints we received ran the whole gamut of foul… from an oily, dirty sheen on the ‘Hen to a slightly fishy taste and smell from the Guinness.

In summary: stay well away.

0.25/5





King’s Arms – Bury St Edmunds

7 05 2012

When I was working in Bury St Edmunds the King’s Arms was our favourite spot to head to for lunch and a few pints on a Friday.

It is a reasonably quiet pub owing to it’s location just off of the main shopping area in town and as such has a nice relaxing vibe that is perfect for winding down after work or chilling out of a weekend.

The pub itself is of a reasonable size and is pretty much what you would expect for a traditional pub in a bustling market town; there is one main bar area with a good amount of seating, a smaller dining area off to one side and a lovely little beer garden which magically seems to always be in full sun….

Food was always good with the usual pub grub that one would expect done to a high standard and served with commendable speed, always a plus when you are on a “working lunch”!

The selection of beers is, or was as the case may now be, excellent. Usual suspects from Greene King, Ruddles and Morland accompanied by a nice choice of two or three guest beers on tap.

All things considered the King’s Arms is well worth a visit if you are passing through this charming little market town.

The King’s Arms, 23 Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds Suffolk
http://gkpubs.co.uk/pubs-in-brentgovel/kingsarms-pub/




Lancashire Cheese & Onion Tart with Black Pudding and Bacon

7 05 2012

 Back when I was at school it was obligatory to study home economics and if I am really honest it was great fun and I really learnt a lot.

One of the recipes that always sticks out in my mind is Lancashire cheese and onion tart, I can remember vividly the excitement at pulling it out of the oven, tucking into a big savoury slice and then taking the rest home to Mum and Dad.

Well that is nearly 20 years ago now and over time I have refined that original recipe quite a bit, the bacon was an obvious addition and sprang from using up leftover rashers, the black pudding however had a little more thought behind it.

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 160g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 egg yolks to glaze
  • 400g black pudding
  • 10 rashers of smoke bacon
  • 2 large onions
  • 350g Lancashire cheese
  • 300ml double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Chopped thyme
  • Black pepper

Method:

In a food processor blend the flour, butter and salt until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and egg. Mix until it becomes a dough. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Roll the pastry into a greased tart ring 28cmx 4cm and blind bake for 20-25 minutes at 180°C . Take out your baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes for a golden brown base. Brush with egg yolk.

Fry off your bacon until cooked and your onions until softened and lightly brown

 Mix together the cream, milk, eggs, yolk, black pepper,onions, thyme and half of the cheese

Pulse the black pudding in a food processor until you have a paste.

Roll the black pudding paste out between two layers of cling film so that you have a sort of black pudding patty which will cover the base of the tart

Pop your black pudding onto the pastry and cover with a layer of bacon

Spoon over the cream, cheese and onion mixture and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and add a few slice of tomato if you want to.

Bake in a pre heated oven 180°C for around 40 minutes until set. You can then finish it off for 5 minutes or so under a hot grill to crisp up the cheese.





125th anniversary Arsenal kit unveiled

2 05 2011

I don’t normally let my love of football run over into any of my posts but this time I just couldn’t resist.

2011 is the 125th anniversary of the founding of my beloved Arsenal F.C. and to mark the occasion the club are releasing redesigned kits with a special rendition of the club crest.

Feast your eyes on the home kit below…

And here is a close up of that crest with a bit of blurb about the various elements of it…

Last but not least we have the image of the away kit from the guys over at Arsenalinsider

With more than a passing resemblance to the 1995 away kit I can honestly say I am not keen on sporting that particular number at coming matches…





1,300 pubs closed in the UK last year.

16 03 2011

According to the latest figures from the British Beer and Pub Association there were 1,300 pubs in the UK that shut their doors for the final time last year.

The number of pub closures has fallen from 40 a week in 2009 to 25 a week now, with the rate of losses highest in London and north-west England.

The BBPA have stated that these pub closures have resulted in the loss of over 13,000 jobs nationwide.

BBPA  chief executive Brigid Simmonds had this to say:”The closure of 25 pubs every week is bad news for the economy, as the sector plays such a vital role. It’s also a blow for local communities, with pubs often acting as the hub of local life.

“With the right policies, this vital part of our tourism and hospitality sector could be creating new jobs, and helping to bring Britain out of recession.

“If we really do have a pub-friendly Government as the Prime Minister says, the time to act is now – with a freeze in beer duty in the Budget.”

So there we have it folks loss of pubs, loss of choice and loss of livelihoods. Pub closures are a bad thing at anytime but to see this many jobs lost in the midst of one of the worst recessions ever is even worse. Fair enough the rate at which pubs are shutting has slowed but we are still on a slippery slope.

If you are concerend about the closure of British pubs and the loss of jobs then please lobby your local MP or contact CAMRA to see how you can help.





Mum blames Microsoft for son’s spending spree

9 02 2011

An  U.K. mother is blaming Microsoft for the fact that her 11-year-old son rang up a £1000 bill on her debit card over a six-month stretch on Xbox Live.


Would you entrust an online account to your young child, probably not?

When 11-year-old Brendan Jordan was let loose on Xbox Live, the youngster went on a spending spree that ultimately landed a bill of £1082 ($1739) on his mother’s debit card. But his mother, Dawn, doesn’t blame her son for the hefty charges. She blames Microsoft.

“When I put my card details in 18 months ago I thought it was just for his membership to play online with his friends,” she said. “I work two jobs just to look after my family and pay the bills so I cannot afford all these extortionate charges. A thousand pounds isn’t that much to people like Bill Gates, but for a single mum it is a lot of money that I don’t have.”

“I haven’t punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won’t do it again,” she added. “It is ridiculous to allow someone of his age to make payments without any checks being done.”

She states that the youngster started to cry when she explained to him how much money he’d blown through, after which he unplugged his Xbox and said he didn’t want it anymore. She also said she wants her experience to serve as a warning to other parents.

“When he is in gaming mode he can’t be thinking about the money. You can’t put all that responsibility on a young boy,” she added. “It is impossible to monitor everything your children do. These companies should take some responsibility. They take advantage of vulnerable people.”

Now let me just stop things here and possibly call shenanigans on this tale of online woe. Most banks send out these useless papery things called statements, typically once a month or so.

Would you not notice the recurring charges going through to Microsoft and start to put two and two together, especially if you were a struggling single mother who needs every penny she can get.

In a statement to the Daily Mail a company rep made the following statement “Microsoft’s goal is to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources to manage their children’s gaming and entertainment experiences so that they can play in ways that are safer, healthy and more balanced. ”

“To accomplish this, we’ve built-in parental controls in every Xbox 360, work closely with retailers and recently launched the Play Smart, Play Safe website as an online resource for families. It should also be noted that LIVE accounts registered for children’s use have online activity automatically defaulted to off, these can be enabled by the parent should they wish in the Family Settings section.”

So what we really seem to have is a Mum who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to what her young soon was doing online, with her card details no less. Neither could she be bothered to keep an eye on her finances until he had managed to spend over a grand.

Seems to me like someone is on the look out for a nice cash payment to settle little Brendan’s gaming bill and to keep paying that wonderful virtual nanny that has been raising him on her behalf.





The Moruga Scorpion

28 01 2011

I wrote recently about one of the handful of contenders to the throne of world’s hottest chilli – the Naga Viper.

Following up on that post I want to bring to your attention the Moruga Scorpion which has been developed by Jim Duffy from Refining Fire and is closely related to the Trinidad 7 pot which might I add is already a stupidly hot pepper.

The Moruga is reportedly hitting the scales at a mighty 1.46 million SHU – now that is just mental quite frankly, nearly 50% hotter than the Bhut Jolokia…

Until official tests are carried out and results are announced the Bhut Jolokia is still officially top dog but it will be interesting to see which of its heirs apparent will take the crown.

Now to get an idea of just how hot the Moruga is I have included a quick video of Buddah from I Love it spicy.com tackling one of these fiery little beggars.








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