"In the fields of observation chance favours only the prepared mind" - Louis Pasteur

25 Dec 2015

Happy Winter Solstice and Saturnalia

I hope you are enjoying your Saturnalia and Winter Solstice! Below my pagan tree I worshipped and the best Saturnalia card I've ever received!

24 Dec 2015

Santa in Dublin

Here is a little video I captured from my office window on Christmas Eve 2015

6 Dec 2015

Scottish global 5km

I ran runkeeper global 5km in Scotland :) Up to Edinborough castle and down to Scottish parliament building and up again. No coffee necessary to wake up!

25 Nov 2015

Let's make the Cider it is easy!

So here it is. Making cider in 173 easy steps. We will need:
  1. Desire to make your own cider
  2. Equipment
    • Carboy/Demijohn/Fermenter or other fermenting container - home brew shop
    • Cap/Rubber cap - home brew shop
    • Bubbler aka Airlock - home brew shop
    • Bottles - home brew shop/local pub
    • Caps for bottles- home brew shop
    • Capper - to put caps on bottles - home brew shop
    • Syphon - to transfer cider from the carboy to the bottles
  3. Ingredients
    • Pasteurised apple juice not from concentrate (Tesco/Lidl) or fresh pressed apple juice
    • Sugar
    • Cider Yeast
  4. Patience - to wait until it matures in bottles ;)

To start with we take our carboy, cap, and the bubbler. We wash it all and rinse it thoroughly. We put sugar, juice, and yeast into carboy. I add 500g of sugar for every 4.5 litre of juice. How much yeast? It will be written on yeast package. If not consult the shop or producer's website.You can find better recipes on the internet. I suggest you experiment with different juices and sugar content until it tastes they way you like it after maturing. I suggest you dissolve the sugar in the juice. Put the carboy with the contents in warm dark place. It should start to produce gas in about 24 to 48 hours. We are done for 7 to 10 days. During this time yeast will use the sugar to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide (the bubbles).

At this point I should introduce the bookkeeping practice. It is comes handy when we try to establish how much sugar we need to add to given volume of juice. Below is the table with my notes.

batchvolumedate startedjuice originsugar (grams)fermentation daysmaturing daysnotes
24.5L05/11/2015lidl500721brown sugar to fermentation, one bottle exploded in warm press

I have a spreadsheet for everything in my life, This one helps me to keep the track of the recipe and maturing time (when in the name of gods is it going to be ready to drink :) ) Notes are important to refine your process.

First fermentation takes about 7 to 10 days. The rule is simple: the longer fermentation the more alcohol and less sugar. Obviously, if you add tons of sugar the alcohol will kill the yeast and the drink will be sweet and strong. This only applies to natural methods without use of chemicals to kill yeast early. Again, refine your recipe - sugar and juice content.

When the cider is 7 to 10 days old we can bottle it. To prepare the bottles we need to wash them, disinfect and sterilise. I am going to describe my methods here. Plenty of advice can be found on the interweb. Home brew stores offer professional cleaning and disinfecting products.

Washing and Disinfecting: My bottles come from local pub. I need to take stickers off too. I soak my bottles in the solution of bleach for a night. Next day stickers fall off, bottles are disinfected. I wash them inside with washing up liquid and bottle brush. I rinse them with cold and warm water. Next, I put them into the dishwasher and wash them, again. Next, I rinse them again. If your bottles come from the pub examine them thoroughly. Also check bottles for crack, there must be non. Yes, I know it seems like a lot of work but it needs to be done especially with "new" bottles. On the flip side I got them for free.

Sterilising: This is easy. Put them into oven on max temp for 60 minutes. Wait till they cool down. Seal the tops with the tin foil. I suggest do it over night.

Now bottles are disinfected and sterilised. This is very important step. Your cider will be spoiled if bottles are not clean. I would suggest that you deal with the bottles during the fermentation period.

As far as I am concerned nobody likes cider flat. So, how do we squeeze bubbles into cider? It is easy, we add teaspoon (experiment again) of sugar to bottles before capping. You probably noticed that in my notes it says that bottle exploded. Yes, this can happen. There are many reasons for that but it all comes down to gas pressure building inside the bottle. You are probably better off keeping your home cider in proper bottle container or simply a strong fabric bag to minimise possible damage caused by explosion. Three main reason for exploding bottles are: bottling cider that is still fermenting violently, keeping bottles in warm places, adding to much sugar and leaving no space for CO2.

Bottling process. Place you syphon inside your carboy. It is built to eliminate transfer of sediment from the bottom of the carboy to bottles. You want to keep as much as possible of this sediment out of your bottles. Let the syphon settle in the carboy. In the meantime get your caps ready. I normally soak them in boiling hot water to disinfect them. Don't forget to add sugar to bottles. Place the other end of syphon tube below the carboy. Let it hang so to speak. Suck at the pipe and the gravity should do the rest. Your cider should flow down the pipe.

Fill bottles leaving about an inch (2cm) of space at the top. This will be the space where the gas will accumulate and dissolve in the cider making it fizzy. It also helps to prevent explosions. Now, you can put the cap on your bottle with the capper. See youtube for the instructions on how to use capper. I normally mix the sugar with young cider in the bottle by turning the bottle up side down few times.

What is going to happen next? You place the bottles in room temperature for about 3 days. Yeast will work through the sugar and produce alcohol and bubbles. After about 3 days, place bottles in dark cool place to mature. Cider is ready in 3 weeks from now.

Before enjoying your cider responsibly make sure you cool it in the fridge until it is cold. Pour it gently into the glass so the yeast at the bottom stay there and do not flow into the glass.

28 Oct 2015

Dublin Marathon

There I did it! I had a plan to run marathon under 3h 30min and I did it! I am very happy and would like to thank you all (you know who you are :) ) for the support! The time was 3:29:52.

17 Oct 2015

Running for Gold 4:22 min/km

We were one with universe. The road, beings and the breeze. We dwelt in impermanent joy. Revelled in every step.

6 Oct 2015

Thanks Jurker!

Below run I would like to dedicate to Scott Jurek. The pace in this run resulted from the inspiration I got from his book Eat&Run. I would advice to read this book if you think about running, you are running or you got fed up running!

2 Sept 2015

Super Tuna - packaging gem

This is the can of tuna from Lidl. According to the label this is super energy +++ tuna :) It's been blessed with energy and the nutritional values changed since last week. Well done holly tuna!

30 Aug 2015

Running for Gold 4:38 min/km

This is my most recent personal best. It is a nice feeling when you run last 5 km and know that you are running for gold :)

3 Aug 2015

Summer Garden

Quick update. Some of the plants did not shoot at all. But see for yourself below.

19 Jul 2015

Bray Air Show 2015

Yet another Bray Air Show. This year the weather was against photographers. Low light conditions made it difficult. I did my best at making them a bit better in the software. Some of these pictures were taken by my young friend Finn O'Neill. He did very well in his first attempt at documenting the show!

11 Jul 2015

Internet Gem

How not to answer the question if you want to be helpful...

8 Jul 2015

IMRA Run - Ballinastoe

Another great run organised by Irish Mountain Running Association. 12km through trenches and bog :) Love it!

2 Jul 2015

36th Dunshaughlin Michael Manning 10km Road Race

There we did it again. Exactly year ago I started my running journey here in Dunshaughlin. This is and always will be a special place for me. Time this year was 45:58.

If Buddha ran he would look alike :)

Last year's run 35th Michael Manning Memorial "Dunshaughlin 10KM"

Monty Python

I love Monty Python. The themes from the show seem to transpire throughout my life. I just wanted to celebrate them here on my website.

"There are religions, there are companies which are desperately trying to control what we are, what we think, and we're just saying, Up Yours!" Michael Palin

1 Jun 2015

Beautiful Ireland - Mount Usher Garden

Mount Usher Gardens should be on the top of the priority list for every garden junkie in Ireland. Admission fee is well worth it. The best feature of this garden is its Tree Trail. With tree trail guide every visitor can not only enjoy the view of the garden but also learn a lot about its species. For a moment you can become your own eight years old self on a school trip :)

Garden update

I little update on the garden. Everything grows perfect, flowers, weeds, slugs and snails... :) I tried to fight the slugs with chopsticks but I gave up after two weeks. They seem to come out of nowhere. Weeds and flowers are impossible to distinguish for an amateur like me so I will wait till they get bigger. Bulb bed is fine except crocosmia did not come out yet.

Bulbs bed

Bees mix... weed mix :)

Love in the mist


5 May 2015

Edinburgh Traffic Pattern

Just few shots from my traffic pattern in Edinburgh Airport.

4 May 2015

Beautiful Ireland - Kilmacurragh

Kilmacurragh is an outpost of Botanic Garden in Dublin. It is a nice garden nicely divided into sections such as chinese plans, himalayan plants and so on. I attached few pictures below.

26 Apr 2015

Beautiful Ireland - Botanic Garden Dublin

Spring is a perfect time to visit Botanic Garden in Dublin. The main reason to visit this place is that it is simply beautiful. It is free to go in and on Sunday there are two free tours lasting for an hour at 12:00 and 14:30. My favourite place is the tropical glasshouse. It look and feels like tropical jungle while you are in. Below few pictures from my last visits. The Viking house, orchid and bonsai exhibitions, and spring flower beds.

22 Apr 2015

IMRA First Run - Bray Head

This was my first run With IMRA. Very well organised. Only few bottle necks on the way up. Very enjoyable 5km run up and down the Bray Head.

15 Apr 2015

Connemarathon 2015

My first marathon. Some people said to me it was the hardest one to do in Ireland. I enjoyed every single moment of it! West of Ireland is a beautiful part of the world. On my journey this time I visited Galway, Clifden, Cleggan and Inishbofin. The Connemarathon and Inishbofin were definitely two best parts of the trip.

Organisers of the Connemarathon did an outstanding job. Everything from the number collection in Galway, through transfer buses, the run to the finish line refreshments were perfect. Magnificent landscape made this run a bit easier. Weather was great but only if you were not running a marathon. Until the very start of the race it was freezing cold. Five kilometres into the run the weather turned and we were running in blazing sun for the rest of the race. Water stations were very well stocked. At the end we had plenty to choose from including fruit, water, soup, cake and so on. Great people, great atmosphere. I look forward to the next one! I ran it in 03:45:29 I think I set the bar very high for myself ;)

Inishbofin is an island situated few miles from the Irish mainland. It is a magic place. With population of 150 people it was one of the most remote communities I visited in some time. To my surprise Inishbofin has and air port EIIB, scuba diving centre :) I went there on the ferry that leaves Cleggan at 11:30. It takes about half an hour to get to Inishbofin pier. After few hours of angling I went back on the same boat that departs from the island at 17:00. I will be back :)

6 Apr 2015

The new garden.

This year I decided I will change the look of my back garden and plant some flowers. I got most of my bulbs and seeds from Tesco, Aldi and Lidl. I think they are just as good. So this is how it looks now. I will take another picture in some time when it starts to grow.

Spring garden

 Garden Plan

10 Mar 2015

March Gems

These are not exactly packaging gems but they follow similar convention for misspelling, bad naming choices and Fukuppies :)

But first! This property management company will provide you with the best "servces" ever. I had to double check the spelling to reproduce it correctly. If this makes sense at all...

No biggie. Just forgotten "i". Forgotten I - good title for a book. Perhaps about your alter ego?
- No Jack! Let there be no books written as long as we are all in the same boat!
... and so on.

Next. Ugly song dish from your favourite takeaway.

Dad dent? No worries! The very man is just around the corner.

And finally my recent favourite. After Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant blew up in 2011 media reported below picture. The mascot was instantly associated with the disaster, even though it was used by completely different company.

8 Feb 2015

Beautiful Ireland - Wicklow Mountains - Lugnaquilla

I walked Lugnaquilla this weekend. The climb is demanding at first but once you get over that it is a very nice walk. I climbed it from Carrawaystick Waterfall side. More informations and map available at Wicklow Walks website.

25 Jan 2015

Beautiful Ireland - Killruddery Estate - Bray Co. Wicklow

I was out and about this weekend. Here, few pictures from back roads of Killruddery Estate in Bray Co. Wicklow

8 Jan 2015

Eve Online 2014

I looked at this game years ago. I think it is absoflapinflutly fantastic game. If I ever have a bit of time on my hands I will play it. http://www.eveonline.com/