Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Went to Combined Vegetarian Restaurant and Cinema (106/365) Saturday April 16, 2011

For Hilary’s birthday on Saturday we headed into Ambleside and went to the most brilliant combination for a night out - a posh vegetarian restaurant with a cinema upstairs.

It’s called Fellini’s and is a fantastic idea. We bought a combined meal for 2 with cinema tickets, had an excellent meal and then could wander upstairs with our drinks to the small studio cinema.

The food was really good - you can see the menu here - and we went to see Oranges and Sunshine, a worthy but slightly dull film about children in care being deported to Australia in the 50’s and 60’s without their parents knowledge.

With a nice bottle of wine we had a lovely night, and it’s definitely recommended if you’re in the area.

Stayed at Vegetarian B&B in Lake District (105/365) Friday April 15, 2011

It was Hilary’s birthday weekend, so we decided to spend a couple of days in the Lake District. We weren’t sure where to stay, but we saw and advert for a vegetarian B&B near Ambleside and we’d thought we’d give it a go - I’d never stayed at a solely vegetarian place before.

This one was called Yewfield and was quite nice - despite being right out in the middle of nowhere. The breakfast was decent - only 1 sausage though - and all in all was a pleasant place to stay despite having to drive anywhere.

Addicted to Flowerz (104/365) Thursday April 14, 2011

As I stated in a post a few days ago I’ve been thinking about writing a game for my phone, but on the train home I realised I hadn’t actually played that many.

I was bored and a little frustrated by the tw*t with the Mac sitting opposite and invading my personal space so I thought I’d waste an hour or so trying out a few of the games in the marketplace. However the first one I tried was Flowerz and I haven’t been able to stop playing it since.

It’s a simple game where you plant flowers of different colors in squares and when you get 3+ of the same color in a line they disappear. There are lots of subtleties in what happens when they regenerate and it’s really addictive. Definitely recommended if you want to pass a few hours bored on a train.

Found way home with least exercise (103/365) Wednesday April 13, 2011

Another in the exciting series of “finding the optimal way home in London” :-)

Now Wednesday was Champions League night in North London, which means a very busy tube. I didn’t want to get even more crushed than usual on the way home but also wanted to get back for the game (even though Spurs had no chance pulling back from 4-0 down against Real Madrid)

I left it late to leave the office, and then figured out the fastest way not going to Seven Sisters must be a new (to me) route of getting the Piccadilly line straight to Manor House, then getting the bus back down Seven Sisters Road to close to the flat. This turned out to be a great plan that involved hardly any walking - a bonus for my dodgy knees - and I got back just before kickoff.

It will also be a great route if it’s wet out, which surprisingly it hasn’t really been since I moved in a few months ago.

Walked through a film set - or weird alternative reality (102/365) Tuesday April 12, 2011

I was walking down Old Compton Street in Soho on the way to work, and down the end of the road was what looked like a giant Dormobile, some kind of truck with a converted roof and a high glass front.

Now you see all sorts of strange things in Soho, but when I got a bit closer I could see a giant “Ministry of Technology” logo on the side of the truck. Couldn’t understand that as in my usual universe there isn’t such a thing.

As I carried on walking I then saw two film cameras filming what was going on and it made a lot more sense - it must be some sort of retro sci-fi film set. So as the lorry drove towards me I made sure I was in shot as it turned the corner near the cameras :-)

I have no idea what they were actually doing, but look out for me in a movie out sometime in the next 12 months set in Central London. I think I’ll get an agent just in case.

Learning about XNA for making games (101/365) Monday April 11, 2011

As regular readers know I’ve been boring you silly about my Bedside Clock Windows Phone 7 app. It was just something I made to learn about the platform, and has been really useful in that respect, but I need a new project.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do yet, but I’m seriously thinking about a game next. However to do this I probably need to write it using XNA a development framework you can also write Xbox games in.

Anyway my new thing was to read a beginner’s guide to XNA I found at which was really help explaining the basics - well recommended for novices in this area like myself.

Marmalade on toast (100/365) Sunday April 10, 2011

I wanted to do something special for the 100th post, but was also reasonably hungover from a few drinks the day before. I knew I’d be spending most of the day travelling back down to London, then kipping and watching sport, so I took an early opportunity to try marmalade on toast at Ada’s first thing.

I’d had marmalade for almost certainly the first time a few months ago, and quite enjoyed it, so when there was no raspberry jam available - my usual spread of choice - I thought I’d give it a go. It was OK, but definitely not as nice as jam as it’s probably too sharp a taste for me. However I wasn’t in the best state to appreciate it so may have to give it another go.

Day at the Rugby Club (99/365) Saturday April 9, 2011

Usually on a trip back to the homelands I’d have gone to the football, but my friend Sid was hosting President’s Day at Old Halesonians Rugby Club so we went there instead.

It was a really good day out. We had a sit-down meal before the game which was pretty good (the chef asked me what I wanted as the only veggie in the place!), and there was an after dinner speaker who was really funny and JUST on the right side of acceptability!

The game itself was OK, but OH were winning pretty easily so after a first half enjoying the unseasonable sunshine we retired to the bar for the second half to watch the Grand National.

Auto translation using Bing API (98/365) Friday April 8, 2011

One of the more surprising things about the success of my Bedside Clock app is how it’s used in over 15 different countries in the world. So for version 2 I thought I’d make it better for them by translating the few bits of text in there into many languages.

Luckily I found a brilliant tool from Microsoft Consulting in the UK that can automatically translate resource files using the Bing Translation API. This worked really well, and after following the slightly cryptic instructions at I managed to get it working in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

One slightly painful thing was the apparent lack of support for language only resource files, so I had to make one per market, but overall I’m very happy with the results.

Lost my wallet for 15 minutes (97/365) Thursday April 7, 2011

I was heading back to the flat after work and dropped into Tesco to pick up a few bits. However when I got to the self-service checkout to pay, I didn’t have my wallet with me.

I’ve never lost my wallet before, and definitely have never not been able to pay in a shop. Having walked through an extremely busy and pickpocket friendly Piccadilly Circus, I was really worried I’d properly lost all my bank cards, some cash and my train tickets home.

My only hope was somehow it had fallen out in the office, so I rushed back and thankfully it was wedged down the back of one of the chairs I’d been sitting on earlier. Phew!

Not a fun experience, and definitely not one I want to repeat.