Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dr Who On Days Like These II

Well, the drive from Geneva to Milan via Montreaux, Sion and the Simplon Pass is an experience not to be missed - stunning views! There was plenty of Smoke on the Water at Montreaux, but bugger all Fire in the Sky as it was raining most of the way.

I reckon I could get a SqueezyJet flight with the family at sparrow's fart from Bristol to Geneva, grab a hire car and be in Lacchiarella in time for a light lunch at my favourite trattoria and be on a flight back from Milan Malpensa airport by teatime. Might just do that one day.

Actually - I just checked - £178 per person in flights, plus hire car @ £250 (shared), plus a night in the Atahotel Ripamonte @ £62 per person (but don't eat the food there - hideous) and half a tank of diesel @ £40 (shared). Leave Saturday lunchtime and return on the Sunday 3PM flight - home by 5. Family of 3 that's just a touch over £1k without food, and that's cheap enough in Italy. There are probably even cheaper ways of doing it.

Next time I may try the Furka Pass - the one from the memorable scene in Goldfinger where Bond was on a snaking road.

Put the radio on in the French part of Switzerland and was hard pressed to find a station that plays music - these Frenchies do like the sound of their own voices. Once over the Simplon Pass I got the Italian stations, with a lot more music, but it's all sentimental, shmaltzy tripe your mother would listen to  (if she were still alive - and deaf).

Here are some photos (it was awful weather):

I found this in Sion at a Military Megastore.(every town needs one)...


On the local TV last night they had Dr Who dubbed in Italian. Matt Smith with an incredibly deep voice seems a bit scary.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

On Days Like These

Took off from LHR an hour late, got a nice Mercedes hatchback (auto, thank God) rental (and spent some 20 minutes figuring out where the handbrake is - there isn't one!) and arrived at the hotel at Geneva airport around 7pm with an hour to spare to prepare for a teleconference with HQ in Israel.

Teleconference lasted an hour and 45 minutes, after which I had a few emails to dash off and by which time the restaurant was closed. Good job that yesterday was a skinny day.

Really looking forward to tomorrow and the drive from here to Sion and then to Milan. Not looking forward to the hotel in Lacchiarella though, but it's about the only one.

A Mars Bar to anyone who get's the link between the title of the post and the contents.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Driving Miss Daisy

I see that a device has been developed that will jam mobile phone signals in a vehicle if it is travelling at more than 5MPH and insurers are eyeing it as a means of reducing text-aided car crashes. However, a car is designed for four people - so what about the passengers?

Off on my travels again; this time it's Switzerland and Italy, and I'm aiming to knock one item off the bucket list, as I believe it's called. I'm flying to Geneva later today, and then tomorrow I'm going to drive Geneva to Milan through the Alps and alongside Lake Maggiore. That should be an experience.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Confusing News

Didn't manage to get time to collect the newspapers this morning, but I just caught the headlines. Am I mistaken in believing a Tory MP has been caught sending pictures of his genitals to the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, and then Farage defected to Russia?

What exactly is a Farage?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Parfitt Biobank

I participate in something called Biobank, which monitors people's health factors over their lifetime. It usually involves nothing more strenuous than a visit to Bristol every 2 or 3 years for a thorough medical.

A few weeks ago, however, I was asked whether I'd wear a wrist-band activity monitor for a week, to which I agreed. It looks like a watch, but it in effect an accelerometer that measures your level of activity. 

I'm not sure what the Biobank people are going to make of my readings - I wear my father's self-winding Omega SeaMaster watch, and I'm so in active that it needs a damned good shaking at least twice a week to prevent it stopping. The monitor is not so much an activity monitor, in my case, as an inactivity monitor.

Could have sworn I saw Rick Parfitt in Lidl in Yate yesterday afternoon. However, as the chap I saw  yesterday looked like the Rick Parfitt I last saw in Chalk Farm some 25 years ago, it couldn't have been him, unless he's had a lot of work done on his face in the intervening time.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Decimal Eggs

My egg delivery has gone decimal! The lady who delivers our eggs from her chickens up in the village usually brings us half a dozen a week; occasionally, if the eggs are on the small side, she'll leave us a dozen. This week we received a box that is designed only for 10 eggs. The country is going to the dogs!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Re-Charging My Batteries

I thought it about time I bought my own car battery charger, more for the fact that Perry's charger (which I normally borrow) only does 12V, whereas I need one that charges 12V and 6V batteries.

Got one from t'internet yesterday and was surprised at the weight compared to Perry's charger, which is as light as a feather. The new one must be a good couple of kilos.

What is it that makes some chargers light and others massively heavy? Is it simply a marketing ploy by the manufacturers to make you think you have bought something more robust? Is it merely a lead weight inserted into the casing, or is there something more at work here, like perhaps the inclusion of 6V capability?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Well, I accompanied Hay to her yoga class last night. It was a bit like that video from "Call on Me".

Well, when I say it was a bit like the video, what I mean is that I was the only bloke there, not that I was surrounded by lithe young women. Most were round, elderly matrons who had difficulty balancing on anything other than both feet planted firmly on the floor, and for some even that was a challenge.

I'm not sure I benefited from the "work out", if indeed it could be described thus. It comprised an hour of mainly stretching moves and a few balancing acts while attempting to hold a silly position. It was certainly better than watching crap TV.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Things That Go Bang in the Night

We've been for a long weekend in Fowey and stayed at our favourite haunt - The Old Ferry Inn in Bodinnick.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle during the night, as the couple in the room next to us had some kind of medical emergency. Well, I assume it was a medical emergency, as they woke us twice with moaning and groaning. It must have been some kind of stomach upset by the sound of it, and, strangely enough, they both seemed to have the attacks at the same time.

I was extremely worried at one stage, as I was convinced the lady was in her death throes as she kept calling out for God. Perhaps she was just very religious. Anyway, I put it down to a Dicky Tummy. 

They seemed fine at breakfast - quite flushed though. I somehow suspect the lady was the gentleman's secretary.

While there Hay walked the hind legs - well, the only legs - off me. We walked a coastal path from Bodinnick to Polruan, followed by a walk along the SW Coastal Path to a small cove called Lantic Bay. Now you have to be part chamois goat to get down to the beach (as evidenced by the fact there were only two other people on the beach), or come by boat. How the hell there was horse and cow shit on the steep path is beyond me.

Here are a few pictures of the path to the place, followed by a short, panoramic video:

 On the way
 From a distance
Before the climb down
On the beach


While away, Colin was busy doing a few alterations as a surprise for Hayley - inserting some aluminium, scrap, eBay portholes in the oak doors; one inside and one outside;

I'm rather pleased with the result.

Friday, 19 September 2014

I'll take that as a No then...

Apparently Nicola Sturgeon maintains Scotland has not voted for Status Quo. I'm hardly surprised - they're not even Scottish.