Maciek’s Notepad

Travel ~ SW Essex Pub Quest: The Bell in Horndon on the Hill

Today again we weren’t in the mood for a chain or an adventure in the more depressed parts of Basildon, and it’s been years since the last visit in The Bell, so there we went. The Bell is still there, as it was for the last 400 years or so. The buns still hang from the beams, the walls and ceiling are as crooked as before, Crouch Valley Brewer’s Gold is still on tap – a firm favourite. No vegan dishes, but the kitchen was quite accommodating to Z’s dietary requirements, modifying a la carte options to remove all traces of animals. They were also upfront about having a single fryer that is also used for meat – bonus points for honesty.

Technology ~ Creating slide decks in Jupyter notebook

The great thing about using Jupyter for creating slide decks is that I could easily access all the data in the environment, in the way I am used to. For example, I wanted to make a plot of how the progress subject matter experts made on labelling the data over time. I could use pyspark SQL to query the relevant data and then matplotlib to output the plot. In theory tables are also easy to render with the use of Pandas, but I found that less useful in practice: in most cases I wanted to highlight particular cells to draw attention to certain aspects or better explain the data, which meant that I had to include the table in the static content and style it by hand.

Cooking ~ Flooded Queensland Penne

January 2011 found us in eastern Australia, desperately trying to get to from Cairns to Sydney in time for our flight back home. Despite having a few weeks at our disposal, us reaching Sydney on time was far from certain, due to epic floods that affected much of coastal Queensland. So, we drove around trying to find a passable way South, coming across what looked like deserted towns, with empty shelves at grocery stores and rationed bread, as supplies could not be delivered due to flooded roads. Cooking on the road restricts one’s creativity in the best of times, and in crisis circumstances is positively challenging. It helps to have a few recipes ready that call for ingredients that are generally available.