The Levi 501 is History

For decades, my favourite pair of jeans has been the Levi 501. I swear that I used to be able to tell if someone was wearing them even before I saw the little red tag. They were flattering, but comfortable.  About four years ago I bought a new pair of 501s and found to my horror that Levi have changed the cut of their classic jean. They are now sized much bigger, and really are not the same jean. They are not nearly as flattering.

I’m guessing that the target market has grown old and fat, and Levi is trying to pander to people’s illusion that they can still wear the same clothes that they wore when they were younger. I saw 501s for sale in Debenhams priced at £85! Not for the kids then… I related my jean shopping woes to a younger colleague at work, and he asked, “what are 501s? Are they jeans?”. He then went on to enlighten me that he prefers to buy his jeans from Primark. I was shocked; the world of jeans has moved on and things are no longer as they were.

I am now the proud owner of two pairs of 501s; one old pair and also a pair in the newer cut. Below, I have pictured the old pair on top of the new pair so that you can see just how big the difference in size is.



My old 501s are getting very faded and buying the same jeans is no longer an option, so I have been forced to go in search of a different brand of jeans. I had no idea how hard this would be. I wasted two hours of my life yesterday, trudging round different stores and trying on a succession of poorly fitting jeans. I ruled out all the big brands, because the prices have become silly (£65 for a basic pair of Wranglers!). Marks and Spencer offered me the most interesting experience; they had some straight cut jeans that fitted beautifully apart from around the genital area, where there was enough room and spare fabric to fit in some kind of adult nappy. Not really the look I was going for. I even tried Primark; their straight-cut jeans fitted nice everywhere apart from the waist, where they seemed about three inches too big.

To cut a long and tedious story short, I eventually found a pair of jeans that are the right colour and the right fit from Sainsburys, for just £16. I was prepared to pay £50 for a pair that fitted well, so I am very happy. Levi have lost my brand-loyalty with their decision to change the cut of their classic, but they have done me a favour in that they have forced me to spend less money!




Lansky the Puck

Today I sharpened my hand axe for the first time ever. I have had it for more than 10 years, and it was very blunt and battered. I received my ‘Lansky the Puck” sharpening stone in the post today, and went to work this evening. It is a very rough and ready method; you just hold the puck firmly in your hand and make circular motions against the cutting edge, hoping that you are holding it at a good angle. My first attempt tonight was far from perfect, but my little hand axe now has a half decent cutting edge.

Here is my axe before sharpening:

And here it is after:


I have a huge pile of wood to get through since taking the tree down, and I want to rely on my log grenade and hand axe rather than the chainsaw, because the chainsaw makes a huge pile of mess, plus it is noisy and consumes a lot of electricity.

Cold cure

I woke up feeling quite rough this morning, so I had a raw spring onion for breakfast, followed by some homemade seedy bread covered in parsley and garlic sauce, which was followed by said bread dipped in some humous with three cloves of fresh garlic added. I am now eating a Chicken Bhuna for two (I’ll be the judge of that) with two minced cloves of fresh garlic added right at the end and a big glass of red wine. My last day off sick was in May 2014; I know what I am doing.

Mackerel, Broccolli and Green Bean Pasta

Below is an image of some pasta I made earlier today, in the company of a neighbour’s cat and a glass of soave. In a previous life, the glass was a small jar of Nutella; these make really nice little glasses once the Nutella has been eaten.

This is one of my family’s favourite dishes, and my daughter has happily eaten this since she was about 4. The recipe is my own. I enjoy the novelty of it; pasta normally involves either a tomato sauce or lots of cheese, and this has neither. It is however really nice if you add a big dollop of marscapone or basic cream cheese right at the end, but it is very nice as it is. I now normally make it with lots of Brocolli, but on this occassion I didn’t have much broccoli so I upped the veg content with some green beans.

I start by gently frying a whole little tin of anchovies (together with the oil they are preserved in), with garlic and chopped onion, while frequently stirring. I add a little extra olive oil. On this occassion I used garlic-infused olive oil. I do this just until the anchovies have all broken up into a paste and the onion is nice and soft. It is important not to brown the onion, because this isn’t good for the flavour. I also add a glug of Worcestershire sauce at this stage. Because of the anchovies, you really don’t want to add any more salt.

You end up with a nice dark and salty sauce.

Next I put in the green beans with just enough water to cover them, then cook the pan with the lid on for a few minutes while I prepare the broccolli and pasta.

I measure the pasta using a dinner plate; for my family of two adults and one little girl, I find that if the pasta evenly covers a dinner plate then that is spot on. The broccolli is chopped into small pieces, and on this occassion I also added some chopped sweet red pepper to boost the nutrition a little and add some colour.


The broccolli goes in the pan at the same time as the penne pasta. For the first few minutes I leave the lid on the pan, and then for the last few minutes the lid is removed so that the sauce reduces. A tin of filletted, boneless mackerel is stirred in right at the end. It is pre-cooked, so there is no need to cook it.

Once the pasta has cooked, so has the broccolli. You can then add lemon juice and black pepper, and some cream cheese if you must, then give it a good stir. Then eat it!

Dropping a tree between two sheds

Here we have my recent moment of glory. My wife had finally decided that she had had enough of this bothersome pine tree, and I agreed. The needles dropped all year round, and they were spikey and made the ground slippery. The needles were 10cm long and got stuck in everything. The tree was also pushing up the paving stones, hogging lots of light and just generally in the way.
I found a 40cm electric chainsaw for just £60, and spent HOURS watching YouTube videos on how to fell a tree. It’s fantastic how much you can learn on YouTube. I used the bore-cut method, and it worked beautifully. You cut a hinge on the face of the tree where you want it to fall, and then you plunge the chainsaw straight through the tree, and work it back and forth, leaving a strip of wood behind the hinge, and not cutting right through the back of the tree. You then hammer a wedge in the bore cut, and then take out the back of the cut. Having done this I then hammered the wedge in the back of the cut until the tree went on its way. In theory the tree should go down in the same plane as the fibre of the hinge, which is what happened. Spending £7 on a proper tree felling wedge seemed a bit of an extravagance seeing as I would probably only use it once, but it actually doubles as a serious doorstop for the door to my lean-to, so it was money well spent.

Processing the carcass and the stump was several days work. Taking the tree down was 15 minutes work, but dealing with the aftermath was the serious labour. It is now all neatly stacked up in the back corner of the garden, and I have ordered a log ‘grenade’ to deal with the larger bits of stump. Where I have cut the stump down to ground level, I have drilled holes which were then filled with potassium nitrate and water, which should speed the rotting process. I would have loved to have burnt the stump out, but it is way too near the wooden sheds.


The awesome Number 7 band doing their thing

Funky Superstition (LIVE) – Number 7 Band

Happy Friday! Here's our super-funky version of Superstition!

Posted by Number 7 Band on Friday, August 18, 2017

If you get the chance to watch these guys, then go.


I have decided to run WordPress on the frontpage of my website. I have disposed of my old blog, which used to sit in a sub-folder of, and I am starting again here. I have determined to post stuff here a lot more regularly.