Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday 29/05/09

Well, the insurance company’s repair garage has declared the car an insurance write-off with an estimated repair cost of £1,200 against a book value for the car of less than that. I can get a 2nd hand Volvo door for £80, plus £40 to a local chap for spraying it and another £40 for a local garage to fit it. That’s significantly less than £1,200.

Even if I were to buy a new door, the cost would still be significantly less than using a top-notch repair facility. I’m now facing being inconvenienced by having no car and the dubious benefit of couple of hundred quid in my pocket, which will not be enough to replace my car with a similar model of the same age. Insurance is such a bloody rip-off.

Hey - given the new scrappage deal that was initiated a few weeks ago, my car HAS to be worth £2k at the very least. Think I'll try it when the loss adjustor phones today with the offer and see how they squirm out of that one.

Restaurant review time. We went to the Swan at Nibley last night. It's recently changed hands and been refurbished, now being in the posession of the landord of The Squire pub in Chipping Sodbury. Decor in contemporary, whereas previously it was typical country pub that time had forgotten, as well as taste.

The food is reasonable, but the staff just don't pay enough attention. On our arrival one of the staff was sat drinking on the customer side of the bar, playing with her mobile; not a good sign. The food took an age to arrive, was over-cooked and half the drinks and some of the food was missing from the bill (not that I complained). The portions were large enough to ensure the owner will go out of business before much longer - so if you want a half decent meal for half the price it would cost anywhere else (purely based on volume), get in there fast before the owner twigs and initiates portion control and culls some of the staff.

I had a tough duck breast which could have benefited from being sliced (in which case it would have easily fed two). It was nestled in a quite delicious sauce, but was ruined by badly cooked vegetables. I had to ask for a steak knife in order to dent it. Hay had a piece of salmon, which was missing the hollandaise sauce and was also over-cooked. My Irish coffee was doused in squirty cream, which started to separate as soon as it was delivered to the table. The desserts looked as if they were bought in.

Don't you just detest those places that have candles but don't bother to light them? It's not even as if customers have lighters these days and could light them themselves. I'm also slightly wary of places that have a wide-screen TV, just so you can watch football while dining.

The Dog doesn't have much to worry about and still retains price of place in my heart. It's what it is and isn't pretending to be something else. The owner is also on-site and not an absentee landlord (or rather lady). The desserts are also home-cooked.

Filled in an application for Grand Designs yesterday.

Here’s some parody entertainment from Weird Al Yankovic:


  1. Without knowing exactly what it is, I think I'm glad that I have never heard of Grand Designs (reality TV house building ?) but if you can get a house paid for, why not, I say!

    There seems to be nothing commentworthy on the political scene at the moment. Is this because like in France they have to tell us to vote in the European elections but they don't really give a flying wossname ?

    Am going to be away for a few days (just reassuring you that you haven't lost a reader) but will catch up on my return.

  2. I'll go to any pub that has homemade desserts.

    Last weekend we went to an idyllic pub in West Ilsley (not as good a name as Chipping Sodbury) and the staff were SHOCKINGLY inattentive. I can never quite grasp (very American of me, I know) how little such waitstaff care about your dining experience . . . or whether you come back.

  3. If I were a traveller, I'd love to go to the Dog(s?)...

  4. Friends of ours used the 'scrappage' excuse recently to get £2k off a new Mini with their trade in, which the salesman had not been going to offer them, for the car was only 9 years old...

    It's worth a try, Sir!

    As for Grand Designs - I love it, and you'd be such a star! You do know you stand a good chance of getting onto it, as they don't get many applications, I've heard Kevin say, and production staff end up searching new planning applications from far and wide, and then try to persuade those folk to appear...

  5. If the car is still watertight, and it should be coz it takes a lot to hurt one of the older Volvos, try telling the insurance adjuster that you'll settle for half the value of the repair in your pocket......then spend £1.99 on a tin of white touch-up paint and write the word "Hers!" in the dent! Probably worth watching out for Hay's handbag once done though...

    Good luck getting on Grand Designs. That should turn it from a bit of "easy watching" tv into something altogether more surreal. After some of the humour-bypass participants they've had on recently, I'm sure you'd liven up proceedings.

    On a different front: we were at the market checking out the tajines today, and they are in the usual terracotta earth colour or a rather fetching deep blue. Both in a glaze finish, obviously. I liked the blue one so much, that I've bought one for myself but do you have any preference? I will pick up whichever you would like next week - can't miss the market out here!

  6. Kapgaf: afraid they don't pay you to appear, but you can get some freebies from suppliers if you give them a plug.

    Bee: The Brits have a problem with service. They view it as beneath them.

    Jinksy: The Dog is simply brilliant, with a wonderful landlady.

    Woman: The problem is I don't actually want a new car. Wouldn't pay the grossly distorted prices they charge. Given the scrappage, I am certainly going to ask for £2k.

    Thanks for the heads-up on GD.

    Spiv: Hay says definitely terracotta, but she asks whether you can put the glazed ones in the oven?

  7. I think you just mentioned all the trigger points that make me an unstable customer in restaurants - waiting too long to be served, tough meat, over cooked veg, with the biggest sin being an Irish coffee with squirty cream. The sad thing is, I think, this standard has become the norm these days.

  8. Oh Yes! They can be used in an oven, on a hob and even on a bbq (at least my last one was/is). Will definately make sure from market chappie before purchasing though. Mind you, if it's not what you're after, it's not a problem as I'll definately make use of it.

  9. Spiv: I'm sure it will be idea, old chap.