A foreign invader for EDWT

These bank holidays screw up your sense of time… I meant to post this on Wednesday.


The small smudge towards the middle of the leaf is my non-traditional entry for EDW this week.

Here is a zoom so we can really see the beauty of this little foreign invader.

This is Eupteryx decemnotata a Southern European leafhopper that has recently shown up in the UK. They have arrived on plants imported from the continent. They were first reported in the UK a couple of years back and have steadily established themselves.

Leafhoppers in general are very well dressed insects on any day of the week. They are also a total pain to try and photograph, the dedicated bunch over at Flickr are doing much better than I am.

Pie and Mash

I just caught the tail end of the local news to hear a reporter at the Heathway interviewing locals about Roy’s pie and mash shop – apparently it is closing due to lack of custom. The news segment seems to be trying to suggest that the changing demographic of Dagenham had reduced the flow of custom to Roy’s. Now perhaps this is true to some extent, but we also have to remember that Roy’s is a crap pie and mash shop.

It’s always a shame to see the end of a local institution like a P&M shop, but I’ve never been able to get enthusiastic about the food in Roy’s. Sadly, I foresee the premises ending up as another faux-American fried chicken shop or crap-pizza takeaway.

If you want decent Pie and Mash then Heath Pie Shop at the ‘Fiddlers or Rumford Pie and Mash in Romford, or Eastbrook Pie and Mash are all excellent. You’ll never go back to Roy’s after you’ve been to one of the others.

Nutters on the tube

The paragon of comfort and convenience that is the London Underground plays host to a fair number of oddballs, weirdoes and downright nut-cases. These mainly inhabit the central portions of the network. Unfortunately, living as I do, out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable eastern end of the District Line, I don’t often come across top quality hatstand-ness.

This morning, dressed head to toe in black, big headphones on, and an ‘I’ve not had anywhere enough Tea this morning’ expression on my face, I get on the train and park myself opposite a rather inoffensive looking little old man. Had I had enough Tea, I might have spotted the warning signs before I sat down – the fact there was an empty seat anyway and they way everyone was avoiding any eye contact with the chap.

Just as I made to sit, the old fellow jumps up as if to make room for me, then sits back down saying “alright mate?” “oh, you can’t hear me can you mate?” “I support West Ham”. I say “oh, right – nice one” – I actually dislike football then pull my book out of my bag ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ and start reading.

In the meantime the old boy has gone off about how everyone is listening to music, and turning away from god. I’m just thinking we have a ripe one here, when he spots the book title and starts up about drugs and the ills of the world, how god died on the cross for us (umm, wasn’t it his son? Or at most a third of god?), then really hits his stride mangling some quotations from the book revelation. Of course “no one reads it these days, but it’s all coming true y’know.”

Were I more awake and up for some fun I may have joined in haranguing the passengers with the old fellow, quoting from the Life of Brian, “For the demon shall bear a nine-bladed sword. Nine-bladed! Not two or five or seven, but nine, which he will wield on all wretched sinners, sinners just like you, sir, there, and the horns shall be on the head, with which he will…”

He got off after two stops, the rest of the journey in was pretty tame.

A good scientist takes care of his optics…

I, on the other hand, managed to dissolve two of mine today.

Ok, they were both unknown quantities that had been rescued from a junk pile years ago and left to gather dust at home. Today I remembered them and took them to work to see if they’d be any use. A quick blast from the compressed air line removed much of the dust, so leaving them in their mounts for easy handling I gave them a rinse under the tap.

Only to see one lens start to dissolve and melt away – I’m now guessing it was actually a rather expensive salt plate. Bugger!
The other lens washed off fine, so still pissed-off about the first lens – and thus not really thinking – I gave the second lens a clean with tissue paper and acetone. It promptly frosted over and became tacky – a bloody plastic lens.

Two items that had sat on my shelf for near on ten years destroyed in a few minutes. The only saving grace was that both lenses were too scratched and damaged to have been much use anyway; the plastic one especially – it would strongly absorbs the light from my laser diode. The mounts are at least still useful.