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RICHADA

RICHADA

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If my reviews entertain, amuse or brighten your moment in any way, then my task is done! ++ Apologies for those not interested in cars - a stream of car reviews on the way. ++

Reviews written

since 20/06/2004

361

BMW i8 24/06/2017

BMW i8 - A GAME CHANGER?

BMW i8 You will need to forgive me for a touch of self indulgence with this one, during the course of this year’s Company Car in Action event, thanks to the generosity of several manufacturers, with whom I have no connections whatsoever, I got to drive and experience over £1.14 million worth of cars. OK, I appreciate that there are TV presenters routinely crashing £2.5M hypercars, but to the best of my recollection, I do not believe that I have previously driven a car with a new sales price exceeding £100,000 before – last week I drove three, the subject of this review probably being the most interesting, technologically at least, of them. I also beg your indulgence for what is likely to be a long review, the whole concept and driving experience of the BMW i8 means that I have quite a lot to cover. WHAT IS IT? Park a plug in hybrid petrol-electric BMW i8 next to a Prius and you will swear that I am having you on when I tell you that of the two cars the Toyota has the larger engine, cubic capacity and the price apart though, from here on in it is all going the BMW’s way. The BMW i8 has a conventional, internal combustion, petrol engine – a 1.5 litre, three cylinder turbocharged unit, straight out of a Mini. In the i8 it produces 228bhp and 236lb ft of torque and is mounted in the centre of the car immediately behind the rear seats. A supercar with a 1.5 litre engine? Well, yes, that is where the electrics come in, providing power to the front wheels – thus creating a four ...

Poznan Cathedral, Poznan 17/06/2017

POZNAN - THE OLDEST CATHEDRAL IN POLAND

Poznan Cathedral, Poznan WHERE IN THE WORLD? As with several of my recent reviews we are in Poznan, western Poland for this one, specifically to the north east of the city centre on Ostrow Tumski – Cathedral Island, an Island created by a split in the River Warta that flows north / south through this city. As with the cathedral, as you will read later, all is not quite what it seems here with the “Island” now being an island in name only, the Warta only flowing to two sides of it. Rather confusingly, although the original island is where Poznan was founded, Ostrow Tumski was later incorporated with the New Town District, the Old Town centring on the Stary Rynek – Old Market Square – which, as a fortified settlement on the river’s south bank, was established about 450 years after Ostrow Tumski in the ninth century. Thanks to the destruction caused by the Second World War, ensuing communist high-rise housing developments, changing the course of the river and some really very unsympathetic road building, on the ground much of both the history and geography of this area is now quite difficult to assimilate. WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT, REGISTERED, HISTORIC SITE? Poland can trace both its political and religious history back to the earliest settlement on this site during the ninth century. As this review is concerning a cathedral I will spare you the early Polish dynastic history lesson with all of its unpronounceable kings, suffice to say that on this site was founded the first Catholic cathedral in ...

Paul Hollywood's Big Continental Road Trip 12/06/2017

PAUL HOLLYWOOD GETS MY DREAM TICKET!

Paul Hollywood's Big Continental Road Trip BBC2, 9.00pm SUNDAY, A EUROPEAN DRIVE, RIGHT UP MY STREET! How ironic is it that I watched episode two of this three part series, having only a week previously done exactly what Paul Hollywood was portrayed doing – i.e. driving at maximum speed on German motorways. OK, he was loaned two rather fast, German, sports cars in which to travel – I had to settle for my modestly fast Volvo, but the sensation was exactly the same! Whilst understanding that unless you are a fan of Mr Hollywood, which I have not up until now been particularly, this programme may not appeal to you, for someone like me, interested in cars, driving and foreign culture (in that order), the concept of this programme could have been made to order. Indeed, long European road trips are one of our greatest pleasures in life. If Mr Hollywood has not got this right, I am an appropriate person to tell you so in this review! THE CONCEPT 8 / 10 Is this something original that will capture the audience? Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental Road Trip is unlikely to capture the entire Sunday night audience I would have thought. Anyone watching Top Gear regularly will probably enjoy it, as will any established fans of baker and self-confessed petrol head Paul Hollywood, as his personality comes across surprisingly strongly here. The concept is a simple, but rather finite one. Each week Paul Hollywood spends five days in a European car manufacturing nation. This splits down to a three part series covering Italy, ...

How will you vote in the forthcoming General Election, and why? 09/06/2017

THROWING IT ALL AWAY......

How will you vote in the forthcoming General Election, and why? "Thrown it all away Thrown it all away There is nothing that I can say You’ve really gone out of your mind I watch the world go round and round And see mine turning upside down You've thrown it all away"....... I simply can’t get this song and tune out of my head this morning, so I guess I can only thank Ms May for that! Please feel free to click Off Topic here, I am fully aware that the subject here is how I am going to vote – well I voted ten days ago, I have a postal vote, more importantly now, after the horse has bolted is how YOU voted I guess. Vote Off Topic – oh go on do, I have a “strong and stable” profile here on Ciao and a lovely “money tree” in my garden, just ripe for “shaking”....... ......well maybe I did shake it this morning, only to find all the money had dropped off in the night and got washed down drains all over the UK, oh apart from in Scotland, fine green shoots of new growth there...... ....... an oddly stale fishy smell wafting down from the north though.....I’m consulting a higher power on that one; the finely tuned nose of Lord Frederick Jack Russell; "is that salmon or sturgeon you’re smelling on the breeze there Freddie?" Damn it, I knew I should have put him up for election in Barking, with a profile like his and a profound ability to keep quiet on every subject of significance in the country today he’d have walked it without breaking into a trot. Vote “Off Topic”, oh go on do, I’ve been up all night and haven’t a clue what I’m talking ...

Italia Saporito, Poznan 07/06/2017

POSH ITALIAN EATS - POLISH POZNAN STYLE

Italia Saporito, Poznan WHERE IN THE WORLD? Another review from our very recent visit to Poznan, western Poland. With this area of Poland having been subject to many border and therefore nationality changes over the years, the city has a not unexpectedly international flavour, although, as it was to turn out, in culinary terms, Italian food appeared to predominate here. A BIT LOST AND CONFUSED IN THE TRANSLATION...... ......When actually there in Poznan it all seemed quite simple, after sixteen years visiting the country I am acclimatised to Poland and Polish names of restaurants and suchlike, and am now even able to make a passable stab at pronouncing them. Here however we have a third language – Italian – coming into play, and, as I carried out a little internet research into this establishment, I became more confused as in places it is simply referred to as “Restauracja Italia” – Italy Restaurant, in others, and indeed on the door from the street leading into the restaurant the word “Saporito” is added which you could translate as Flavour of Italy Restaurant, or even Tasty Italy Restaurant! So, I guess this review sets out to analyse just how tasty an Italian restaurant this is! WHY DID WE CHOOSE RESTAURACJA ITALIA SAPORITO IN POZNAN? To be 100% honest, after arriving at the Hotel Wloski (that’s Polish for Italian – confused? - I am becoming increasingly so!) in Poznan at 3.00 on Saturday afternoon, having been on the road since midnight, our first priority was getting something to eat and ...

Poznan, Poland 03/06/2017

GETTING TO KNOW POZNAN, POLAND

Poznan, Poland TITLE NOTE The word Poznan, in relation to what was then a town on the River Warta first came into being at the very start of the ninth century and refers to the verb poznac, meaning to get to know. Gambling on the fact that very few reading this actually know, even if they have probably heard of, Poznan or Posan as it was when a German city, and may be named on old maps, hopefully this review will at least introduce you to this historic city. WHERE IN THE WORLD? Poznan is located in the centre of Poland towards the western border with Germany. I tend to draw lines across Europe according to ancient trading routes, now marked out by EU route numbers which traverse the continent east / west. On the map you will find Poznan due east of Amsterdam and Berlin, west of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, motorway route E30 linking those cities. Poznan is located on the Warta River which flows north / south through it. By road, mostly on that very route, it took us twelve and a half hours including two stops to cover the 721 miles (1210km) from the Channel Tunnel at Calais. By rail it would take considerably longer, from the UK, by air you could fly to Poznan from several airports in about two hours. A population of around 600,000 makes Poznan Poland’s sixth largest city. WHY WERE WE IN POZNAN? Our summer visits to Mrs R’s parents in her home country have now taken on something of a pattern, we meeting her parents in a different Polish city each year, taking in some tourist sites and ...

Cukiernia Sowa - Galeria Malta, Poznan 01/06/2017

CUKIERNIA SOWA FOR WORLD BEATING ICE CREAM & CAKES

Cukiernia Sowa - Galeria Malta, Poznan WHERE IN THE WORLD? For this review we are in the New Town, Lake Malta, district of Poznan in western Poland. WHAT EXACTLY IS A CUKIERNIA? Sowa’s website uses the word “patisserie” as a translation for Cukiernia. I guess that in reality the experience of one of these eateries probably comes close to that, although I have found nothing quite like a Cukiernia in England, we not really having a direct equivalent, an up-market coffee shop, cafe, or tea room would be the closest here. A Cukiernia is, primarily, a shop that sells cakes (rather than pastries) both to take away or eat on the premises, any cake purchased for either purpose being weighed in front of you and priced by the kilogramme. If you eat in, there will be a wide choice of coffees, teas and a hot chocolate or two, and probably a small selection of cold bottled drinks from a glass fronted fridge. You will not be offered a choice of sandwiches or cooked food. In most of these establishments you will find a small selection of artisan breads, always recommendable in my experience. At many a Cukiernia, you will also find an ice cream counter, some, like Sowa, also do a line in hand made chocolates, which sandwiched by very decorative cakes and ice creams tends to make for a mouth-wateringly delicious counter display. Whilst, visually, most Polish cakes look outstanding, the quality and taste of them varies widely, at a good Cukiernia, they will knock the spots off of anything you can buy in the UK, at some ...

Ratuszova, Poznan 31/05/2017

AN EXPERIENCE AT RATUSZOVA IN POZNAN

Ratuszova, Poznan WHERE IN THE WORLD? For this review we are in the Polish city of Poznan, located about two and a half hours drive due east of Berlin by motorway route E30. Poznan is home to Poland’s equivalent of the National Exhibition Centre – ironically, a concert at which had drawn us to this historic city. It would not be appropriate here to go into the complexities of Polish history and the various border changes over the centuries, save to say here that, like Wroclaw to the south, Poznan is a rather “Germanised” city and has a different character to places such as Krakow and Warsaw, this is reflected partly in its architecture, but more so in its people and the style of service and hospitality offered, which offers the best of both worlds; German efficiency and Polish warmth. WHY DID WE CHOOSE THE RESTAURACJA RATUSZOVA IN POZNAN? Any visitor to Poznan (or most other historic, Polish, cities) would share our dilemma when visiting the Stary Rynek – old market square – at the heart of this large city, in that the prospective diner is simply spoiled for choice as far as eating places are concerned. On the face of it, without inspecting all of their menus in minutia, they all look the same – historic frontages, identical in size, if decorated differently and with tables and chairs set out on the square in front under umbrellas / parasols. Apologetically, we appear to be turning into those very smartphone touting tourists that in the past I have so ridiculed, the Trip Advisor app on ...

Hotel Wloski Business, Poznan 27/05/2017

AN ITALIAN BUSINESS HOTEL IN POZNAN - POLAND

Hotel Wloski Business, Poznan A simple translation to start this one Wloski in this context means Italian. WHY DID WE BOOK THE HOTEL WLOSKI BUSINESS CENTRUM IN POZNAN? Our spring / summer trips to visit Mrs R’s parents in Poland are starting to develop something of a pattern, that being that we stop en-route in order to visit a different city and take in some culture in the form of sight-seeing and a concert. Last year we drove almost a thousand miles to Wroclaw (go if you haven’t it is a magnificent city!) to attend a David Gilmour concert, ironic really as he lives just four miles away from us in Hove! This year Pat Metheny, who we have seen live in concert here in Brighton, brought us to Poznan, Mrs R’s father had not seen the American guitarist live, and this provided us with an opportunity to visit another historic Polish city for the first time. Searching the hotel websites I quickly came to the conclusion that, as with Wroclaw last year, this very “Germanized” city is not a particularly cheap place to stay. Finding a room was not an issue; Poznan is home to Poland’s National Exhibition Centre - from five star international swank, to sharing the bathroom in a family home, plenty of beds are available, not so easy to find our preferred three / four star hotels of character though. The Hotel Wloski appeared to offer something of a rare compromise. HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY The hotel’s website would indicate that this is a thoroughly modern business hotel, with a ...

Peter Kay's Car Share - Series 2 11/05/2017

CAR SHARE REACHES THE END OF THE ROAD?

Peter Kay's Car Share - Series 2 9.00pm, BBC1 - TUESDAY’S.....NOT GOING TO BE THE SAME AGAIN..... Televisually, Peter Kay’s Car Share is an unusual concept in that both series, six thirty minute, episodes in the first and four in the second, were made available in their entirety on the BBC iPlayer prior to the first episode being aired on BBC1. This move was down to Kay himself, who, recognising modern viewer trends (rather better than the BBC it has to be said), insisting on making the whole series available to watch “in block”, which, is exactly what I did – as well as watching them when screened live on the BBC. Oddly, this worked very well indeed for series one, with series two, I enjoyed it far more watching in weekly “doses” rather than in the mammoth two hour iPlayer sitting which is how I first viewed it. THE CONCEPT 10 / 10 Is this something original that will capture the audience? No second series can truly be described as “original”, after all, for it to be a second series, the first has already had to blaze the trail in terms of concept. If you have not viewed the first series and wish to at some stage, please do not read on in this section as, inevitably, there will be spoilers. Very often comedy programmes, and let’s be honest, comedy is not what it used to be and good comedy is terribly thin on the ground these days, take time to build, time for the audience to settle into them and be in tune with the characters. Here that is simply not the case; it hits you straight away in a manner ...

Côte Brasserie - Bluewater, Dartford 29/04/2017

BLUEWATER SERVES UP A SURPRISE IN COTE

Côte Brasserie - Bluewater, Dartford Before we start, please note that this is a “Breakfast Only”, review, RICHADA having not sampled any other meal at Cote Brasserie at Bluewater. WHERE IN THE WORLD? These days it seems that we are never far away from a Cote Brasserie, Brighton and Hove have one each, meaning that we are not more than about three miles, in either direction, from one at home. However, as with many chain restaurants, we tend to avoid them in our own locale, preferring to patronise local, family run establishments, reserving their use for a reliable meal in territories unknown. This is now the second Sunday breakfast enjoyed in a Cote branch, our first being at their stunningly located Windsor restaurant, right on the Thames overlooking the bridge, water, town and Castle. Quite why I failed to review that particular experience last year escapes me now but, for this particular review, here we are, in the more prosaic surroundings of Bluewater, the UK’s fourth largest shopping centre, on a recent Sunday morning in early April, almost two hours before the first shop is due to open. As we discovered that particular Sunday morning, there is a unique atmosphere about these big shopping centres “out of hours” – as recently mentioned by a fellow reviewer experiencing Manchester’s Trafford Centre on Easter Sunday. WHY DID WE CHOOSE COTE AT BLUEWATER? I will not bore you with the details here, but we had a specific non-shopping related reason for wanting to be at Bluewater when the shops first ...

Volvo XC60 D4 Polestar R-Design 22/04/2017

DROVE IT, LIKED IT, REVIEWED IT, BOUGHT ONE......

Volvo XC60 D4 Polestar R-Design ......Now, just to prove, or disprove, to a few doubters out there that my, Millbrook Testing Ground, test drive based reviews actually have some validity, here is my own story – not of a car that I have necessarily recommended to you, but one that I chose for myself on the back of just such a test drive in 2015, and subsequent review: http://www.ciao.co.uk/VolvoXC60D4RDesignReview6158754 Adding to the mix is my surprise at Ciao actually granting me a specific category for my own car, which if you look up the review above will find to all intents and purposes looks identical to the one reviewed two years ago. My car however does differ materially, on two counts, from the Volvo XC60 R-Design that I reviewed in 2015, in that it has a six speed manual gearbox (as opposed to the eight speed automatic reviewed) and I have also had my car “performance enhanced” courtesy of Polestar, a process that you can read about in detail here to save me going over old ground: http://www.ciao.co.uk/VolvoPolestarPerformanceUpgradeReview6173110 This then is a review of my own car, which, having driven 24,500 miles during the last 15 months, I hope even the traditional doubters would consider sufficient experience to be basing a detailed consumer review on. WHAT IS IT? The Volvo XC60 is a classy compact Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV), or, if you prefer, a high riding estate car. Launched in 2008 and facelifted in 2013, this model is just being replaced by an all new XC60, the very first of ...

Bburago Bugatti Chiron 15/04/2017

MY BUGATTI CHIRON; TOY, REPLICA or MODEL?

Bburago Bugatti Chiron WHAT IS IT? I would love to be able to tell you that having had a very sizeable win on the Lottery I have splashed out £2.5M on a new car, but I have not, and, more to the point perhaps, nor would I. Yes, the prospect of being the first reviewer here on Ciao to bring you a review on this 1500bhp, 8 litre (with four turbochargers), 16 cylinder monster “hypercar” was too good to resist however and, having put my brain into gear, I came up with a plan, thus killing two birds with one stone...... ......I came close once to owning a Bugatti Veyron, this car’s predecessor, but, as the price of it, particularly in my favourite Bugatti Blue colour scheme, went ever skywards, it slipped my net, I was determined however that its replacement, the Chiron, would make its presence felt in the RICHADA household. The fact that it arrived courtesy of an Amazon delivery driver, rather than from H.R. Owen in London, who are Bugatti’s sole UK authorised dealership, may rather give the game away as to this not being “quite” the real deal here! My, blue - naturally - Bugatti Chiron is a Bburago 1/18 scale die cast metal and plastic model of what is reputedly the world’s fastest, current, road car, but my question, and what I seek to answer in the course of this review is; am I reviewing a toy, a replica or a model here...... ......you may well ask “is there actually a difference?” or even “do we care?”, well actually, yes there is, and, yes, I do. The devil, you see, is all in the detail. ...

Everything that starts with I ... 08/04/2017

"IT'S AS GOOD AS NEW!"

Everything that starts with I ... RICHADA RANTS...... ......It has been a funny old week here at RICHADA Enterprises. With the smell of burning electrics and a muffled bang, one of the very last machines that dear old Great Uncle Bill purchased before he retired in 1965 bit the dust (or did it?), just as one of our younger employees became father to six children.....well, maybe not all at once you understand. Are these two events connected in any way? No, not at all, they just added to the challenging mix of this funny old week here at the family firm. A refresher, or an education even for those who know me less well, I do my best to run a very un-glamorous family engineering business, for 77 years now we have manufactured very specialised small hardened metal components, that, unless you are a precision engineer or toolmaker, you will never have heard of and have even less use for. From time to time, certain events or circumstances find me here writing what I term “from the coalface” reviews, if nothing else it lets off some steam and, on occasion, provides the reader with, hopefully, some amusement, almost always at my expense...... .....and sometimes that proves to be more expensive than others. HOW OLD CAN IT BE AND STILL REMAIN “GOOD AS NEW”? Well I suppose that is going to depend on what “it” is. I, for instance, am 55 in September and most definitely not as good as new, no, I am much better - like a fine wine...... ......oh hell, who am I kidding here? “It” in this instance is a Myford, ...

Top Gear 01/04/2017

TOP GEAR NOW TOP CAR TV!

Top Gear 8.00pm SUNDAY, BBC2 Here I am reviewing the latest, 2017 series, of the BBC’s long running Top Gear programme, probably most familiar to you all as Jeremy Clarkson’s TV vehicle of choice since 2002, a programme which many felt would crash and burn without its infamous star....... ......Thanks to radio DJ Chris (“this McLaren is so good I’ve just ordered one”) Evans it very nearly did just that last year, although to be fair, the cloud of grey haze publicity left by its previous three presenters did rather leave the well known “motoring” programme in something of a void. Sadly Mr Evans fell through a trap door which could easily have swallowed up the programme whole, that it did not is a tribute to the strength of appeal of its concept. After all there was life on Top Gear prior to the “Clarkson Three” and there remains so following their departure, hopefully proving that the show has more mileage in it than any individual, or group of, presenters. THE CONCEPT 8 / 10 Is this something original that will capture the audience? Well I would be pushing it some to claim that the series currently airing is in any way original; three “blokes” banging on about cars, The Stig (an incognito racing driver timing cars around a disused airfield race track), a celebrity guest in a “Reasonably Fast Car”, if you have seen Top Gear at any stage over the last ten years or so it will all feel quite familiar – but different. It has evolved, in my opinion, into a much better, more rounded ...
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