# Monday, 05 March 2007


I came across this interesting umbrella today. http://www.senzumbrellas.com/ It claims to be able to withstand winds of up to gale force 10 without being pushed inside out. It also has a cut away front section so that you can see where you are going and cuts down on the risk of running headlong into a lamppost. The extended rear portion is designed to stop the rain running off and dripping onto your back. Apparently this new design has been tested in wind tunnels and approved by aerodynamics experts who have also worked on the wings of planes and speed skating outfits. Not owning one myself I’m not sure whether they are really as great as the manufacturer claims but needing a new umbrella (as mine met its death in a storm at the weekend) I think I will try one of these out. Watch this space where my review will follow. If nothing else it’s still worth visiting the website to see the “case study: what’s wrongs with my old umbrella” which shows humorous clips of people using umbrellas in strong wind.

posted on Monday, 05 March 2007 14:48:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 04 March 2007

We went shopping today trying to find me an outfit for a wedding we have coming up in May. Whilst I appreciate my husband accompanying me on these shopping trips, it usually involves me trying on anything from ten to twenty different outfits and then coming home with nothing. As frustrating as this can be for me, it is far more frustrating for my husband who spends most of his time waiting outside nearly every changing room in the shopping centre. Noticing the gathering of other boyfriends and husbands doing exactly the same thing (you can spot them by the defeated look in their eyes, the many bags they are carrying and the look of immense boredom) I realised there is a huge untapped resource here. If only shopping centres would realise this, they could fill the area around the women’s changing rooms with a variety of cool gadgets guaranteed to interest bored men. I’m sure if shops started doing this their sales would increase dramatically and perhaps my husband would look forward to going shopping with me.

posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 18:15:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback

Yesterday we went to a braai (thats a BBQ to all us British people) at our friend Bradlys house in Colliers Wood. Brad has just come over from South Africa to work here for a couple of years and it’s the first time we have seen him since we got married last June so it was great to catch up. Despite it being quite cold we observed the usual braai etiquette of standing around admiring the fire and all paying homage to the tongmaster. It reminded me of the following short video which outlines the do’s and don’t of braai etiquette including the all important rules which prevent the female members of the party interfering in the manly business of taking care of the fire.


Rory and Brad.


posted on Sunday, 04 March 2007 17:04:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 03 March 2007
posted on Saturday, 03 March 2007 17:26:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 02 March 2007

Well I always knew it would happen. My husband is obviously so successful they finally named a town after him. The first step towards world domination.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 11:01:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I and my friend Petra had dinner at Jade Garden in Staines last night. We both agree that they serve the best crispy duck ever. The rest of the meal was also very good. One thing I always find odd about this restaurant is that despite it being so good and so reasonably priced for the quality of food and service it always seems to be very quiet. Last night for example there were only 2 other tables filled.

It could be that from the front the restaurant appears to be simply part of the attached hotel. In fact you need to go into the entrance of the hotel and walk straight through to Jade Garden. Being such a good restaurant this place really should fill every table even in the week. In all for a two course meal with a bottle of nice wine the total bill was only £45.

If you want good food, good service and fantastic crispy duck this is the place to go. As always we over ordered, although from past experience we have learnt that you can take home what you can’t eat in a doggy bag to enjoy later. Obviously my husband has also learnt this because when I arrived home he was eagerly waiting to claim the left over’s and greeted me with the words “what did you bring me this time” before snatching the bag from me and heating it up in the microwave.

I came across the following site http://www.krumble.com that allows you to review local businesses and have added this and other reviews. It seems like quite a good idea.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 10:22:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 01 March 2007

The government has recently brought in tougher penalties for people who use a mobile phone whilst driving. These new penalties apply to using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving; so it is still possible to use a hands free set with your phone. The fine has now doubled from £30 to £60 and it is also possible that three points could be added to your licence if you are caught.

I’m not sure that these changes are going to have any effect on drivers that persistently drive whilst using a mobile. As someone who uses my car rarely I find that my safety as a pedestrian has been compromised on numerous occasions by drivers who are simply having a good chat on their phone and are more intent on the conversation than watching the road. There has been legislation in place to fine these people since 2003 and I still see just as many drivers flouting the law. Only the other day a driver failed to notice me on a pedestrian crossing because he was talking on his mobile and was lucky to stop before hitting me. Of course the driver seemed to think that this was my fault.

The fact is that even with this legislation in place and even if people were to obey it, you still have the option to use a hands free set with your mobile whilst driving. Independent research shows that this can be as dangerous as driving whilst drunk because it reduces you concentration and awareness of your surroundings. While I appreciate that it is reassuring to have a mobile phone with you whilst driving in case you get lost or break down I think that this legislation needs to be still tougher to discourage drivers from putting others in danger. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6382077.stm

posted on Thursday, 01 March 2007 10:19:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 28 February 2007

On receiving a renewal notice for my car insurance today, I thought I would look around to see if I could get a better quote elsewhere. After looking around at several different websites that compare quotes from different insurance companies I noticed that the company I currently have my insurance with was offering a cheaper quote that the one in my renewal letter. Is this a case of a “brand new customer’s only policy”.

Thinking this a little strange I went direct to my current insurer’s website and input my details for a quote. Sure enough it came up considerably cheaper than the quote in my renewal letter; in fact the total difference was a sum of £146.44.  I decided to call my insurer directly causing much confusion with the call centre staff as I explained I wanted to pay the price I was quoted on the internet and not the more expensive one in my renewal letter.

After checking through the information and calling me several times to double check the details I was finally offered the considerably cheaper quote I had obtained on the internet. It makes me wonder how many customers just renew their car insurance with their current company and end up paying hundreds of pounds extra for cover just because they don’t have the time to double check the figures. Even if you just obtain an online quote from your current insurer it could still save you money.

posted on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 10:11:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Tuesday, 27 February 2007

I learnt today that my local council is thinking of bringing in fortnightly refuse collections instead of the current weekly collection.

I and my husband already take recycling very seriously and recycle all our bottles, cans and paper waste through the current blue box scheme. We also compost all of our vegetable and garden waste. I have recently taken further steps to reduce waste such as getting my milk delivered so we can use the reusable glass bottles instead of plastic ones. I have also started buying all of fruit and vegetables from a local box scheme to further cut down on packaging. However we find that due to the fact that nearly everything you buy from the supermarket is wrapped in plastic that our wheeled bin is always full by the time of the Wednesday rubbish collection and that the bulk of this rubbish is plastic shrink wrap.

When the council does start a fortnightly collection of household waste it is my opinion this will only lead to piles of rotting rubbish beside peoples wheeled bins that will remain uncollected. This has already been the case in other councils that have already introduced this scheme see the following article and comments. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6234893.stm In the summer this could start to pose a health risk especially if it starts to attract higher number of rats as mentioned in the BBC article. A fortnightly collection does not reduce the amount of waste that a household produces it just forces people to find other ways to dispose of the uncollected waste such as fly tipping. The problem needs to be addressed in a more logical way perhaps looking at ways to recycle the ever increasing amount of plastic packaging that we currently have to include in household waste and makes up 90% of the waste in our household.

On another note if I am forced to do a trip to the local tip every other week to dispose of my household waste, does this mean I will get a reduction in council tax as I will only be getting half the service I used to from the council?

posted on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 09:46:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 26 February 2007

I just found this picture of my cat Oliver in the snow we have last month. I think its so cute how he almost blends in with the snowy background.

posted on Monday, 26 February 2007 18:04:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Today it came around to that time again, the time that every cat owner dreads, the three monthly worming pill. Most people only have to do this once every three months; we however have four cats, so four cats means four pills. Whilst they are usually cute little creatures they seem to sense that it is time for a pill. Our cats include two semi feral boys and two girls that we have raised from kittens. Obviously you are expecting that the problem lies with the semi feral rescue cats now named Oscar and Oliver. However these two cats whilst capable of delivering a very nasty bite (as my husband recently found out) are easily fooled. I wrapped their pills securely in a piece of ham and each cat took their pill on the first go… Job done… Two more to go.

Next the girls named Willow and Lucy. First I tried the ham trick with no luck. Both Willow and Lucy looked at me suspiciously as I tried to feed them the doctored ham. Willow tasted it and spat out the pill… lucky I brought some extra pills just in case. Lucy seeing Willow’s reaction to the ham proceeded to go and sit outside in the rain where she felt safe from the evil human who was obviously attempting to poison her. Whilst Lucy was sulking outside I came up with a new idea. We buy some crunchy biscuits that she really likes that have caramel in the middle. I decided to cut the biscuit in half and cunningly insert half a pill into each half of biscuit. Then I proceeded to reseal the biscuit and give it to Lucy. Success it went down first time. Just one more cat to go.

Whilst I was feeding Lucy the doctored biscuits Willow expressed an interest in them. Willow is famous for not taking pills, even the vet cannot get her to take one but on the off chance I gave her a doctored biscuit with half the dosage inside it. I was amazed when she took the fist biscuit without any fuss. Stupidly I thought the second biscuit would also work. Willow did take the biscuit and started chewing but it was soon spat out and discarded to be gobbled up by a hungry Oscar. I then decided to leave Willow until my husband Rory arrived home from work, she always liked him more then me anyway. When Rory got home he tried to trick Willow into taking the pill by putting it into ham. “I tried that already she is not that stupid” I said. Then he tried to grab Willow and put the pill down her throat (this method is not recommended and does cause injury) see http://www.thejokeshop.org/index.php/2007/02/22/how-to-feed-a-cat-a-pill/

Yes Rory did get bitten and this method should come with a health warning. As a last result he once again tried my earlier doctored biscuit trick. My response was “there is no way that will work” but Willow trusting her favoured human took her next dose of pill without problems. So that amounts to: Four pills into four cats with only one bitten finger and two wasted pills. That must be a record.

posted on Monday, 26 February 2007 08:53:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback