Friday, October 30, 2020

Windows 10 Start Menu disappeared

Recently noticed (after a Windows 10 Update) that my st6art menu had disappeared and the Cortana search was retuinring results but not letting me run programes from the results. Search for a bit and found this which fixed it

Run CMD as administrator (by pressing Ctrl-Shift_Enter)
sfc /scannow

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

No Fuss, Lacto Free, Two Ingredient Bagel Recipe


  • 245g Tesco Lactose free Greek Yoghurt
  • 210g Self Raising Flour


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Sift the flour into a big bowl
  • Mix the yoghurt in to make a dough
  • Split it into 4
  • Shape it into rings
  • Whack 'em on a floured tray

Optional fancy bit:

  • brush with butter if you want and sprinkle with stuff like poppy or sesame seeds if you want

Bung em in the oven for 20 minutes until golden, take 'em out and cool on a wire rack

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Cryptic Phrase Puzzles

There are a few of these going around just now and I want to be able to find them again and the answers but of course I'm missing some. If you have an answer that I don't or a better answer than what I think it is please add it in the comments
  1. Sandbox
  2. Man Overboard
  3. I understand
  4. Reading between the lines
  5. Long underwear
  6. Crossroads
  7. Down Town
  8. Tricycle
  9. Split Level
  10. 3 degrees below zero
  11. Neon Lights
  12. Circles under the eyes
  13. High Chair
  14. Paradise (pair o' dice)
  15. Touchdown
  16. 5 feet underground
  17. Mind over matter
  18. He's beside himself
  19. a backwards glance
  20. Life after death
  21. G.I. overseas
  22. Space Program
  23. See through blouse
  24. Just between you and me

  1. The Seven Seas
  2. Split Level
  3. Forgive and Forget
  4. Missing You
  5. Downtown
  6. Lucky Break
  7. He's beside himself
  8. See through blouse
  9. First Aid
  10. West Indies
  11. 6 feet underground
  12. a backwards glance
  13. Tricycle
  14. Reading between the lines
  15. Crossroads
  16. 3 degrees below zero
  17. Neon lights
  18. Just between you and me
  19. One in a million
  20. Broken Promise
  21. You're out of touch
  22. Life after 40
  23. Jack in the box
  24. growing economy
  25. Up before 8
  26. Just around the corner
  27. Apple Pie
  28. Making Up for lost time
  29. Standing ovation
  30. I understand you undertake to undermine my undertaking

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A simple white loaf


  • 800g strong white bread flour
  • 14g fresh yeast or 7g sachet dried yeast or 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 550ml water at 30C/85F
  • 2x1kg bread tins greased with butter or lard (or dairy free alternative)


Place the flour in a large bowl and, if using fast-action dried yeast, stir in the salt thoroughly before adding the fast-action dried yeast

If using fresh yeast or dried yeast, in a small bowl, wet the yeast with a little warm water and stir it ot a cream. Add the remaining water, then add this mixture to the flour. Mix well together.

Tip the mixture onto a clean worktop. Knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic. Don't worry if it sticks to your hands initially; just keep cleaning them with a plastic scraper. try  not to add a significant quantity of extra flour to prevent the dough from sticking - this will only make the dough firm up and dry slightly.

Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave the dough to rise at a warm, but not hot, room temperature for 1-2 hours until it has doubled in size.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead it for 2-3 minutes to even it out. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Knead each lightly to form a cylinder that has a crease at its base. Place in the tins crease down and cover them with a damp tea towel. Leave the loaves to rise at the same warm room temperature for 45-60 minutes until they have doubled in size -- this will be when the dough just mounds over the rim of the tins by 1-2 cm.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and adjust the shelves so that the loaves have room to rise.

When  the oven is hot, remove the tea towel and sprinkle the loaves with a little flour. Carefully slice a shallow groove along the centre of each loaf. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the loaves around so that they cook evenly. Reduce the temperature to 180c/350F/gas 4 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes

The loaves are ready if they sound hollow when tapped on the base

Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack and allow them to cool fully before using.

Perfect Vegan Soda Bread Recipe


  • 250 g plain white flour
  • 150 g wholemeal flour
  • 50 g oats (plus extra to scatter on top)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda, not baking powder)
  • 300 ml neutral tasting dairy free milk (Alpro Unsweetened Oat Milk is my favourite)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice, or white wine vinegar)
If you really don't like the brown-white mix, this works well with 350g white, 50g brown, 50g oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Lightly Dust a baking tray with flour.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. 
  3. Add the oat milk and vinegar, and stir to combine.
  4. Keep stirring until the ingredients come together as a dough, then squidge together to form a ball.
  5. Place the ball of dough on your baking tray and cut a deep cross in the centre. This is really important as it helps the centre of the bread to cook properly – so cut nice and deep, almost to the bottom.
  6. If you wish, you can dust the loaf with a little flour and a sprinkle of oats, then place the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  7. That's it, take it out, cool it on a rack. Enjoy

Thursday, February 20, 2020

#soldier #vss365 #poem

He was in the merchant navy
He didn’t have to fight
No #soldier he but fought as hard
Striving day & night
To bring us food & fuel
To help lessen our plight
The U-boat sank the unarmed ship
No hero’s grave in sight
Now he sleeps with Davy Jones
At the dying of the light

Sunday, February 16, 2020

#creed #vss365 #Jared

Kneeling, bound wrist and ankle, someone grabbed Jared’s hair from behind pressing a blade to his throat.
“If you follow the #creed then speak it.”
“I cannot, for it is forbidden but ‘Steadfast’ is the watchword and brotherhood the path.”
The knife sliced his bonds

Friday, January 24, 2020

#happen #vss365 #Space #Bio

When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I found out you had to be born American or Russian and, being British, that it was never going to #happen for me. I wish I’d had more vision and faith in myself. I could have been up there now instead of writing about it.

Although this was written as a "story" in response to today's #vss365 prompt, it is completely autobiographical

Thursday, January 23, 2020

#cacophony #vss365 #Space #Chris

When Chris arrived on the ISS the first thing she thought was there ought to be an odour equivalent of #cacophony, a noisome miasmic mix of machinery, body odour, antiseptic and garbage assaulted her nose.

It wasn't microgravity that made you space sick; it was the smell.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

#rigmarole #vss365 #Space #Chris

Chris thought learning everything in Russian a right palaver but now that #rigmarole saved her life. Being fluent when the fire broke out on the space station meant not pausing to translate in her head and those fractions of a second made the difference.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

#obstinate #vss365 #Bio

I decided to climb 4413ft Ben Nevis with my son. It took us 6 hours but, #obstinate old fool that I am, I wouldn’t give up even when i was in obvious pain. This is us at the top covered in snow and we still had to get down again. I was sore for days. It was worth it.

Although this was written as a "story" in response to today's #vss365 prompt, it is completely autobiographical.

It only took 3 hours to get down and I was running down the mountainside in the snow taking great leaps until we got below the snowline and back onto the scree. When we finally got back to Fort William we had the best curry ever.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Web Comics

In the past I've occasionally mentioned a webcomic or two and that I didn't read them all that regularly. This is my guilty pleasure and I still follow some of the ones I've been reading for years and a couple of new ones. The current list is

and the latest addition to the list

#jasmine #vss365

It was a beautiful early summer evening, the sky was a glorious pink and the smell of #Jasmine hung heavy in the air.
« Désolé pour ça » elle dit « C’est le faute aux haricots »

Yes, I am ashamed of this one but it still got a retweet and 7 likes so someone's sense of humour is as puerile as mine.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

#articulate #vss365 #Guru

He told the world that the guru said "Never put your happiness in someone else's hands."

"That's not what happened," the guru thought. "When he came and asked how to become happy I said 'Don't ask me' but what he said is very #articulate. I'll take it."

Saturday, January 18, 2020

#SatSplat #SlapdashSat oops sorry TJ

I got mugged. I wasn't paying attention walking & reading my iPhone. They ran off with my phone & wallet. I picked myself up & pulled another phone from my pocket. I called the police then made another call. The little buggers better hope the cops find them first. #SatSplat #SlapdashSat

This one is a fiction. My first for the #SatSplat and #SlapdashSat tags but it prompted a genuine reply of concern from one of my friends who thought I had actually been mugged. I decided that from now on I will put the hashtag first in order to reduce the risk of causing worry to people.

#muddled #Bio

I remember distinctly the first time I got my words #muddled.  I had gone blank on Air Conditioning Unit and has to say that thing at the back of the class that makes the room colder. I probably still do it but I notice don’t so often nowadays #vss375

This one is autobiographical and I even got the hashtag wrong. I hope people thought that was deliberate 'cause it totally was, honest.

Friday, January 17, 2020


"I'm not a real vegetarian, I eat fish sometimes", he replied.
"So, a pescatarian?"
"Yes, it's handy I live right next to a river. I catch my own."
"Oh, a #riparian pescatarian?"
"As we're discussing food, I'm a cibarian riparian pescatarian," he said, not to be outdone.

So this one caused me quite a pause. A word I have never seen or heard before.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


"No John, it should be 'pining for the fjords' not #yearning"
"What's the difference?"
"Well, Norway doesn't have any yearn trees for a start."
"You don't say much but when you're right, you're right Graham. Pet Shop not car salesman, parrot not dog, pining not yearning."

Although this is an imaginary convesation it has elements of truth in it, see

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

#flourish #Space #Niamh

With a #flourish Niamh removed the fusion splicer from the repaired cable bundle. “There you go, Jonesey everything’s back online. No harm done. What, no comment about how long it took?” She turned  to see his lifeless body and a flicker of movement by the door #vss365

I love it when the prompt lets me carry on a scene. story from the day before.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

#fibrous #Space #Niamh

The electrics were mostly OK but someone or something had sliced through the optical cables leaving a severed #fibrous bundle. All the computer and sensor systems were down and it would take ages to fix. Niamh hoped she had time before it struck again #vss365

Monday, January 13, 2020

#opaline #Zombies

It was hard to see through #opaline eyes but hearing and smell were heightened. Moving this dead flesh required economy of movement but somewhere close now there was warm, living flesh and that greatest of delicacies, braaaiiinnss! #vss365

Sometimes the prompt word just makes you think zombies

Sunday, January 12, 2020


“Ooh, that’s nasty. Let’s get you cleaned up. It looks like it’s going to need stitches. How did you get it?”
“The zookeeper said the wildcat was a wild animal not a big kitty & not to mistake its #langorous pose as an invitation to rub its belly. I thought I knew better”

and the typo sat there mocking me

Saturday, January 11, 2020

#lively #Xarn

It was warm, comfortable & soft but still a prison. For months Xarn punched & kicked the walls seeking freedom. He made it through the tunnel, roaring in triumph only to be captured. He writhed, struggling to escape.

“Whoa, we’ve got a #lively one here” said the midwife #vss365

and thus The Mighty Xarn was born although the first tweet story about him is two days ago

Friday, January 10, 2020

#inquisitive #Bio

Brad had never feared death, even here in this bed surrounded by machines and nurses and family #inquisitive to the last he stepped eagerly into the light #vss365

I've spent a lot of time in hospitals over the last few months for multiple reasons with my own and my Dad's health and my Mum died in November. I guess this is one way some of my thoughts have sought to express themselves.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

#kinetic #Xarn

The Mighty Xarn viewed a #kinetic sculpture above its nocturnal unconsciousness pod with disdain & howled epithets in frustration at this host body’s inability to destroy it.  A parental unit arrived, lifted Xarn & put something in its oral orifice. Sustenance. Silence #vss365

and thus The Mighty Xarn was born

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


Dave chugged a whole mug of root beer and then sucked air in at the same time as belching loudly.
"What a surp!"
"You surper!"
his friends cheered.
"That REALLY hurts" Dave croaked with tears in his eyes.
#usurper #vss365

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

#obviate #Space

In the early years of the 21st Century the only thing that could #obviate the damage to both visual and radio astronomy was to make the companies launching the satellites, like SpaceX and Amazon, to pay for high orbit telescopes but that just added more space junk #vss365

Monday, January 06, 2020


Jack hated #Yip #Yip, named because of the noises you made whilst high. How were the city’s homeless buying such an expensive drug and ODing so often? After 5 hours watching CCTV he saw a dark figure sneak away from the site of the latest victim. #vss365

Sunday, January 05, 2020


You didn’t #disinter bodies often enough to get good at it but making sure the digger’s bucket didn’t break the coffin and the chain of evidence while being watched by 2 police officers and a coroner wasn’t the hard part. Making it look accidental, that was the hard part #vss365

Saturday, January 04, 2020

#SlapDashSat #Jared

A small bead of sweat formed and ran down the centre of Jared's naked back. The heat of the late summer sun made working at the forge uncomfortably hot and the youth was glad when the partly formed iron he was holding in the coals was hot enough to work on the anvil #SlapDashSat

This was one of the first things I wrote many years ago when I thought I could write a fantasy novel. It's the first line of chapter one.


I put my arm round my son’s shoulders and agreed that no one should be saying hateful things like that in 2020. I told him that not all homophobes are #latent homosexuals, some are just nasty people but I would always be here for him. He smiled weakly through his tears. #vss365

Friday, January 03, 2020


“OK what’s your pitch”
“Everyone loves cats, right & look at the popularity of My Little #Unicorn. We could genetically engineer & sell them as pets.” 
“What’s the downside, cost?” 
“You can only bond with them while you’re still a virgin.” 
“If you can make it fly, I’m in” #vss365

Thursday, January 02, 2020

#obfuscate #Guru

“Why do I bother?” thought the guru. “Even when I speak plainly, people still #obfuscate and wilfully misunderstand my words so they don’t have to change.”
“I can’t help myself, that’s why. Some people have ears to hear and for them I will always try.” 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020


"It sounds French but #charlatan actually comes from Italian." "Gosh, no wonder they call you 'Dictionary Man', how do you know so much?" "I just do," he said, surreptitiously sliding his smartphone out of sight. 

Windows 10 Start Menu disappeared

Recently noticed (after a Windows 10 Update) that my st6art menu had disappeared and the Cortana search was retuinring results but not letti...