Friday, 24 November 2017


Decided to take a brief break to Somerset, Chard to be exact. Just around the corner really, took us a little over an hour and a half. JB took the adventure in his true style, made friends in the pub and barked at the wind?
We arrived at 3 and after unpacking, we took to the bar for a sandwich and coffee, also to let JB spread a little cheer by insisting on saying hello to all that entered, almost like it was his pub and they were mere visitors. 
Reception suggested Perry’s Cider Mill for our first sightseeing trip, real tourist we fitted into the role instantly. Cameras posed we took to the narrow country roads like pros. Narrow they were, but faint heart never won fair maiden, we travelled on to finally find this Cider Mill. JB barked at the tractor and I made myself to the shop to taste the wonders of Somerset cider. All in the interests of science and this blog of untold wisdom.

Had a very enjoyable evening meal in the pub, complimented with a fine ale and a log fire. JB slept through most of it.

Woke to fine weather and a full English breakfast and then on to Barrington Court. It is a National Trust property and well worth a visit. We walked for miles around the estate and Susan did some swinging with JB chasing her for a while. It is worth mentioning that the gardens are so well kept you tend to feel like you are in a picture postcard. Google maps took us there via the most direct route and mostly single lane lanes, quite off the beaten track. Interesting but also slightly nerve racking, as every corner could bring you face to face with a farmer in a hurry on his tractor. Never sure if those tractors have ABS braking? We survived but decided to go back via the more acceptable roads, a little longer but much safer.

Afternoon we visited Cricket St Thomas, a huge estate for the more affluent in society. Beautiful and vast, we saw loads of peasants and not much else. Onwards and upwards we decided a final visit for the day would be Forde Abbey. Now this was a great find, lovely pasties and full flavoured coffees greater our arrival and then we set off to see the gardens and estate house. Every corner brought a new surprise and as Susan said, 'This place just keeps on giving'. Wise words and that is what it did, although a little weary from all the walking we had done already, you had to see what was around the next corner. They have a water fountain that shoots the water up 160 feet, as you can see from the photo. 

The estate and gardens are maintained by the owners and a few helper, if you in the area, take a trip to Forde Abbey in Chard, you will not be disappointed.
Woke to rain and with rain comes mud, and JB was only too happy to spread the mud everywhere. The room was a mess within a short while, so we had a good breakfast and beat a hasty retreat for home before they realised the mud was not only on the carpet and bed but included the curtains and the walls. I did leave a small tip on the dressing table for the hard working lady, who seemed to be doing the whole hotel.

Saturday, 18 November 2017


Just thought of something really new, ground breaking, would be a word that comes to mind. More on this later.
The sea is grey and the clouds look cold, long gone the day when the sun gilts off the sea and the sun lotion body's tanning in the warmth of the summer? No definitely the start of winter as I sit at the beach having a coffee and you guessed, writing, all the pentaprism*, what is that? I was typing 'pent up' and the Apple OS predictive text inserted pentaprism*. Sound a rather posh word so let's use it. Anyway, after being interrupted by auto fill we can go back to all the pent up thoughts that crowd my head and need a place on paper. Thinking about it, once I put pen to paper, as such, I find a inner quiet, peaceful and fulfilling.
Jenson is now swimming every time I bring him to the beach, really enjoys the water and is no longer afraid of the waves crashing around him. Still believes that any dog, no matter the size, is only on the beach to play with him. He has been told off by a number of dogs and it does not seem to worry him, just goes on to the next victim. It is a pity they have to grow up but then we all do. That brings me onto my first thought.
I have noticed that all dogs have their own personalities, humans as well. This is a world wide phenomenon and quite refreshing once you understand why people or animals act differently. I will do a little research and send you all a link, so you can read up on this new finding. Exciting, don't you think? 
I love it when one discovers something new. It does explain quite a few things that have been puzzling me over the course of my life. For example, why does Gary always say he will phone tomorrow and talk shit? When we all know he only says tomorrow because he thinks that is what we want to hear, actually he will phone when he feels like it and that reminds me, I must give him a call to find out when his factory is closing. Did you hear, he has bought a new BMW, sounds very happy and says it has a button on the roof that you press in an emergency and you will get armed response, fire engines and sometimes even fighter jets coming to your rescue. Ingenious really when you live in Africa. 
All we need now is a find you phone type facility, so when they high jack your car you can set it off remotely. Like the phone app it will shut the car down and apply the emergency brakes. Great fun if they are speeding down the highway with a big truck on their tail. Hopefully the rear facing camera records the event, just for police records of course.
This personality thing has so many new possibilities.
I see Mark and Claire have been married for 3 years, hopefully it has passed in a flash and be a life time experience. Michael has been away for a year now, to Susan it seems like a lifetime but I am not too sure about it taking that long, seems just like yesterday we waved goodbye to him. Now talking of Mark, well that does seem like a lifetime since we have seen him. 

*Pentaprism is a five-sided reflecting prism used to deviate a beam of light by a constant 90°, even if the entry beam is not at 90° to the prism. Well we learn something new everyday. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Reliable Cars

Just read the latest survey on how reliable your car is. Toyota scoring well with 90% of Toyota owners having no problems. I must explain, the survey is for a car no older than 3 years and bought new. Honda are unusually below Toyota with 84% happy. Audi come in at 80%, with rivals BMW 68% and surprisingly Vauxhall sitting between the Giants with 76%. Land Rover at one from the bottom of the 32 strong list with a believable 49%. That does make you think, over 50% of those surveyed had reliability issues and it does fit in with what is normally bantered about, if it is broken down it is probably a Land Rover.

Robin Reliant in Claudia Blue
I would expect to have no problems with a car for at least the first three years. My lowly Vauxhall Zafira had to have a new clutch fitted after 4 years but that was a known weakness and was done free of charge. It has had its problems but has never let me down. I did loan it to someone once and he decided to check the oil and water and did not put the radiator cap on properly. He did have overheating and had a long journey between stops to fill the radiator with water. I simple put the cap on correctly and it has never overheated again. Solution is if you do not know anything about a car then leave it to someone who does.

Getting back to the survey, if you believe your car should have scored better, then please write to the relevant authority and let them know, mistakes are sometimes made. I am thinking of those who scored lower then 70%. If you think about it, you have a 30% chance of breaking down if you fall into that category. Sobering thought if it is your loved ones and they breakdown late at night.
This is a condensed version of the full report, most of the car I left off, do not matter, as we will never buy one.

Rank Brand Score
1 Volkswagen     92.1%
3 Toyota         89.6%
5 Seat                 85.8%
6 Honda         84.9%
12 Audi         80.4%
17 Robin Reliant  77.6%
18 Vauxhall         76.4%
23 Mercedes-Benz 70.4%
24 BMW             68.2%
25 Volvo        62.3%
29 Nissan        52.7%
31 Land Rover 49.1%
32 Jeep                42.1%