The temperature controls in most fridges really get my design goat. Are they a thermostatic  'temperature' control or a 'power' control? They're not giving anything away! If I want my fridge to be colder should I turn up the control to 5 for maximum cooling power, or turn it down to 1 as in 1 degree centigrade? Labelling it 1 to 5 is just begging for confusion. If it's truly a thermostat (and well enough calibrated) then make it clear with 'c' markings. If it's a power control then make that clear with "cooler" / "warmer", red / blue gradients or something. Perhaps I need to buy more expensive fridges with digital thermostatic controls.


Long Days has a hint of raspberry to make an interesting summer brew. Golden in colour and 4.5% ABV it's nicely weighted for a summer's day and the raspberry is not so much as to become cloying, but enough to make it stand apart from the competition.

I'm a touch annoyed by the labelling on the bottle, which tells us that "to celebrate the summer solstice in the past, ale was often brewed with raspberry leaves as an alleged aid to fertility" but only mentions a "subtle hint of raspberries", in such a manner that I suspect they didn't achieve it by adding the raspberry leaves they evocatively mention. I imagine that if they did then they'd have been clear about it, so they probably get the raspberry flavour into the beer in a less romantic manner – perhaps by adding juice. Labelling like this always leaves me feeling like the brewer has tried to con me with their carefully chosen words, which is a shame as it's a good beer.


When is a Dishwasher door not a dishwasher door? When it's a jar.

That's a joke by the way. It's especially a joke if you have a Siemens dishwasher who's door is not designed to be left ajar. You can have it fully open, or fully closed, but it won't rest in any position in-between unless you prop it open, e.g. with a cork or other handy item that you may have to hand, as per my picture below.

Why would I want to prop it open? Because after it's finished, if you open the door for 15 minutes then the residual heat dries the contents just nicely, as long as the steam can escape. If you don't open the door, you can look forward to plates and glasses that still need the attention of a tea towel, even several hours after the machine finishes its cycle. Leaving the door fully open is asking for a kitchen accident of course, so that's not really an option. This door ajar approach is standard practice with any dishwasher, no? Maybe I'm alone in this, but every other dishwasher I've come across neatly sits open a few inches to facilitate my whim, and it's got to be trivially easy to manufacture into the door mechanism. Certainly my posh Siemens dishwasher would look a lot better without the cork.


A mobile beer review today! Who says variety is dead?

Here we see pictured the can of Arkell's 3B that quenched my frazzled business brain after a hard day out of the office a month or so ago. This was on a train back from Swindon to London to be precise, and I have to say that the availability of a half decent drop of bitter on the train was a pleasant surprise. Arkell's is actually a Swindon based brewery too, so it's nice to see the big nasty train company keeping the food miles down and offering local producers.

It's got a decent colour to it, and the well rounded maltiness you'd hope to find from that colour. At 4% the weight is just about right for the circumstances. All in all it was very welcome and dare I say even recommended if you find yourself near Swindon on a train, even out of a small plastic cup!


Another pretender to the weiss throne? Not a bad one by all accounts, and with some hint of a reward round it's neck from the World Beer Awards – though it's not clear what exactly from that label. The website suggests it is in fact the world's best wheat beer and details some funky manoeuvres required to pour it properly and get the tasty sediment mixed in just right. I'd struggle to tell it from any other to be honest, but couldn't say anything bad about it. I think at some point I'm going to have to line up a bunch of weissbiers and really play them off against each other!


This Japanese import is surprisingly decent, but nothing special. It's clean and crisp, and ideally drunk well chilled. There's nothing particularly notable about it that I can pick out, but it steers clear of tasting like weak/sweet American rubbish. I wouldn't go out of my way to drink it, but it's a decent enough simple lager on a hot day.

Is this a familiar sight? A pile of fresh herbs ready to garnish your meal, but discovered in the kitchen only when you bring the empty plates back in. In this case, fresh torn basil straight off the plant. And unfortunately, straight into the bin after sitting around unloved in the kitchen for half an hour whilst we ate a very nice dinner that just lacked that certain something.

I bought this in the hope that it might be in some sense a real beer, but it's basically just an alcopop. Not being a complete fool, I realistically expected that to be the case but assumed that it might at least be quite a special and interesting variant on the ginger beer theme. I like a nice ginger beer, but this is nothing special I'm afraid – sweet and straightforward. It might be just the right drink for certain circumstances, but I can't see myself buying it again.