Daily Archives: Wednesday, 13th Apr 2011

Disaster Averted!

My Gaggia Baby Class D, normally a Very Good Espresso Machine Indeed, developed a bit of a problem a while ago. And when I say “a bit of a problem”, I mean “a total failure to produce coffee”, which is not a Good Thing at all. The usual cure for this is to descale the machine to remove deposits left by minerals in the water supply. I used the approved Gaggia descaling stuff – a sachet of powder that you dissolve in water, add to the tank, then run through the machine. But this didn’t help at all – while all the lights and buttons worked, suitable noises were made, and all that, hardly a drop of water came from the head.

I didn’t have time to look into it further, much less contact Gaggia (now owned by Philips, I hear, and I also hear that their customer support isn’t what it was), so I reverted to my Gaggia Cubika, which isn’t bad, but is nowhere near as good as the Baby. But given the general wobbliness of its buttons, and the tendency of the head to get blocked with coffee grounds, this wasn’t an ideal solution.

So, I began to contemplate getting another machine. That is, until a bit of Amazon searching pointed me at something I hadn’t seen before – Gaggia liquid descaler. It was available from a reseller at a cost of about £11 including delivery, which is quite a lot for descaler, but a lot less than a new espresso machine, so I decided to give it a try.

It was delivered today, and this evening I gave it a try. All you have to do is pour the contents of the bottle into the water tank, then top it up with fresh water.  First, I blasted a load of steam through the wand thingy, in accordance with the instructions. I don’t generally use that, as I have no need to froth milk, being a pure espresso drinker.  Then I pressed the manual button, in the faint hope that it would clear the tubes and restore normal service. After a bit of rumbling and buzzing, a thin trickle of water started to flow, which soon turned into a proper flow. It worked!

I finished running the solution through the machine, then ran two full tanks of water through it, with no reduction in flow, or any other problems.

Having done that, I reassembled the machine’s head, which I’d stripped down when I worked on it a while ago. I’ve now disconnected the backup machine, and the Baby is ready to deliver some espresso tomorrow.  :bouncy: :bouncy:

Update: The next morning’s first espresso was well up to standard, and it continues to work nicely.

Weight and Stuff Report – 13 April 2011

If you’re reading this today, then you have quite impressive mental powers: well done! If you’re reading this tomorrow, then you’ll just have to take my word for it that today’s weight is a wee bit lower than yesterday’s. And finally, if you’re reading this after the arbitrary time period it’s going to take for me to fill in the missing posts, you’ll be able to see that.

Today’s picture is one from my lunchtime walk, and includes the seven bridges across the Tyne.

Seven Bridges

Seven Bridges

There used to be five, before the (currently blue) Metro bridge was built, and Newcastle and Gateshead were well-known for having such a fine collection. In fact, the Swallow Hotel in Gateshead was called the Five Bridges for many years before disappearing into corporate uniformity.

A Riverside Walk

For the last few weeks, as my bus to work passes over the Redheugh Bridge, I’ve noticed a floaty thing[1] parked[2] not far from Dunston Staithes. I’ve been meaning to take a closer look, and take some pictures. I would have loved to had the chance on Monday morning – the light was lovely, the Tyne was motionless, but I had to catch a train to Leeds, so couldn’t. Anyway, back in Newcastle today, so I took my Canon 5D Mk II to work, and went for a walk at lunchtime. Of course, by the time I could get out, it had turned cloudy and windy, but I decided not to let that stop me. Here’s my walk:



Click to see a bigger version, or have a look at the interactive version at Gmaps Pedometer, which tells me I walked just under 2.5 miles, which isn’t bad for a lunch break.

More pictures will follow, but for the moment, here’s one of the parked floaty thing:



Oh, and I’ll catch up on the daily weight thingies when I find an appropriate tuit.

[1] Some kind of boat. Probably too small to be called a ship. Don’t ask me, I’m a landlubber[3]
[2] Or moored, or anchored, or whatever it is they do with these things
[3] Do people still say that, or did they ever?

More Doctor Who Stuff!

With just ten days to the start of the new series, err, hold on, did I say just ten days? Let’s start that again.

With ten, long, long days to go before the new series starts, the BBC are releasing more stuff. Head over to the Doctor Who bit of the website for pictures, short chats from Karen Gillan and Matt Smith, who I swear not only eats like Tigger[1], but is actually beginning to look like him, and a couple of short but intriguing clips from the opening episode.

Do not click the following link if you’re spoiler-averse:

Latest Doctor Who bits

[1] All that food fun in The Eleventh Hour, remember? Straight from the House at Pooh Corner