Category Archives: Life

Great service is not dead

Several years ago, my brother Gerard gave us an Xbox 360 Elite for Christmas. At the time I was sceptical: we had a PS2 already and I didn’t see the need for another console. But time showed Gerard’s wisdom: the Xbox has been used for many thousands of hours of gaming — I myself have played well over a hundred hours of Just Cause 2 on it.

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It’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake

I discovered by accident that it’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake — our son needed to melt some chocolate for school-related reasons at short notice, and the Flake was the only chocolate we had in the house. Although it tastes identical to other Cadbury’s chocolate, it simply will not melt, instead breaking down into a coarse chocolate powder.

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How to run 5 km (aging, overweight people edition)

[A quick break from the Heavy Metal Timeline series. We’ll get right back to that after this announcement.]

I am no kind of athlete. Even as a kid, I was a slow runner. I loved football, but I was never a good player. Humiliatingly, I could never think quickly on the pitch, to spot the pass others miss — the one thing I might legitimately have expected to be good at.

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And now I’m 46 years old, I weigh 104 kg, I have a BMI of 31.3 which makes me clinically obese, and my job is the most sedentary imaginable: I walk the five meters from my bed to my desk every morning and spend all day sitting in front of a computer.

That means that if I can run 5 km, so can you!

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Consider driving a hire-car home from the airport

Here’s a handy travel tip if, like me, you live out in the countryside. Getting home from airports on public transport can be cumbersome, time-consuming and risk-prone: one delayed train early in a sequence can badger up your whole journey. I’ve found it useful to hire a car for a one-way journey.

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Several times on business trips, my inbound flight has dumped me at the airport at a time when there’s no good public transport to get me home, so I have rented cars in advance, picked them up from the airport, driven home, and had the rental company pick the car up from there. Continue reading

Replacement plate for Daewoo microwave

Wo own a cheap Daewoo-brand microwave oven, which I picked up at Lidl one time for (probably) £19.99. A few days ago, the glass plate that revolves in the middle of it broke. So Fiona phoned them up to see if we could order a replacement.

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“Sure”, they said, “It’ll be with you on 17th October”.

Which is four months away.

??!

 

 

Some insurers just can’t take a hint

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Don’t you get it, Direct Line? I’m through insuring my car with you.

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Seriously: shop around for your car insurance

The insurance renewal for our main car (a 2005 Saab 9-5 estate) came through yesterday. I was about to pick up the phone and renew when I was struck that the premium seemed higher than I expected — £823.62 for the year (plus the extra 10% they charge you for paying monthly instead of up front). Sure enough, when I checked last year’s renewal, I found it had been only £569.22. So they’d tried to slip a 45% increase past us.

The insurance company in question, in case you want to know to avoid them, was Direct Line.

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