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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! ++ More than a few glitches here at the moment apologies to anyone gone unthanked, rates and comments coming and going like the weather.++

Reviews written

since 20/06/2004

249

Maserati Ghibli 3.0D V6 12/08/2014

GHIBLI - A DIESEL EXECUTIVE SALOON BY MASERATI - REALLY?

Maserati Ghibli 3.0D V6 PREAMBLE Knowing how passionate Italian car enthusiasts can be, and having fallen foul of a vociferous, if small, hard core of Alfa Romeo enthusiasts through my reviews here in the past, I would like to reiterate that this is a Consumer Opinion site and that the following review represents my own personal impressions of this rather unusual motor car. Furthermore, I would point out here that the whole purpose of my standard car review format is to present as dispassionate an opinion as I can, the format having been originally designed to make it possible to make direct comparisons between cars of all sizes and prices. Whilst, at £50,000, this Maserati Ghibli is far from the most expensive car that I have reviewed, it is, by nature, of all of them, quite probably the one that most stirs the emotions – or so Fiat’s, proprietor of Maserati, public relations people would want me to believe. WHAT IS IT? Launched on the UK market in the spring of 2014, the four door saloon, Ghibli is a brave new departure for Maserati as Fiat uses it as a weapon to attempt to muscle in on the highly lucrative executive car marketplace, defined, almost, by the 5 Series BMW. This is a highly talented market sector, populated by such well-established models as the Audi A6, the ubiquitous, and for good reason, BMW 5 Series, the exceptionally good Jaguar XF, the traditionalists E Class Mercedes and some left-field entries from the likes of Infiniti, Lexus and even Volvo. Some would offer an argument ...

Shutterly Fabulous 25/07/2014

SHUTTERLY FABULOUS - FACT OR FABLE?

Shutterly Fabulous THE CONCEPT Fashionable for some time now, window shutters (sometimes referred to as plantation shutters) are widely available from a range of sources – just Google window shutters (as I initially did) and you will quickly see that this is a highly competitive home improvement market. Window shutters, as discussed here, are an interior window “dressing”, usually used as an alternative to curtains, blinds or nets, although can actually be used as an addition to each of the above according to taste. Having now totally refurbished our house, we were left with making decisions about the very last room, our former spare bedroom. This room had always served a multi-purpose role; it had been the second bedroom come study, come “junk” room. Having added two extra, larger, bedrooms in the conversion of our bungalow to a house, this room had been left without a clear purpose. The most sensible thing appeared to be to turn it into a library come study, containing all of our books, music and DVD collections and then add a bed settee for very occasional overnight use – should the need ever arise. With shelving for books and CD’s etc being constructed, it left a much narrower scope for curtaining the large window – which looks out onto the side of the neighbouring bungalow – in truth the least attractive outlook from any window in the house. What to do? Well, this particular window so obviously lends itself to shuttering that we are amazed that we had not thought of it before – but ...

KIA Rio 1.4 CVVT (since 2012) 08/06/2014

KIA's RIO to the power of 3

KIA Rio 1.4 CVVT (since 2012) WHAT IS IT? The Rio is Kia’s alternative to the Ford Fiesta – the archetypal supermini. Available in two and three door variants, the Rio competes for sales in one of the largest selling vehicle segments world wide currently. Looking rather different, but very closely related, to the Hyundai i20, which I have previously reviewed in (superb) 1.1 diesel form, and the less agreeable 1.2 petrol, this is my first outing in a Rio. WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE? Obviously without knowing the specifics of your garage, a difficult one to answer! It should do. Superminis are so very popular because of their compact dimensions, but, at just over 4 metres in length (4045mm), the Rio is pushing the supermini boundaries in terms of length. A current model Ford Fiesta measures 3950mm, whilst a Vauxhall Corsa at 3999mm just stays under that psychological 4M mark. In terms of width, although it does not feel so from the drivers’ seat, the 1720mm (door mirrors folded in!) Rio is class competitive. WHICH SPECIFIC MODEL? The model that I am reviewing here is the petrol powered £13,395 Kia Rio 3, 1.4 3 Door. This is pretty much top of the range as far as a 3 door Rio is concerned, being both the most powerful and well equipped version. The Kia Rio range starts at £9,395 for a 1.25 litre (petrol) 3 door 1 model, and tops out at £15.595 for a fully loaded 1.4 CRDi (diesel) 4, 4 door. 1, 3, 4? What’s that all about? Actually it is a quite novel, yet simple, way of determining the equipment ...

KiWAV ABEO HDVR-180C 05/04/2014

EYE SPY WITH MY VERY SMALL ABEO HDVR-180C EYE

KiWAV ABEO HDVR-180C WHAT EXACTLY IS AN HDVR & WHY WOULD I NEED ONE? As this is a whole new product category for Ciao – I was amazed not to find any car cameras listed when proposing this subject - it seems sensible to start this review from the stance of a total newcomer to the world of HDVR, at least in vehicular terms, and explain what one is and does – before reviewing the specific device that, after weeks of research, I went on to purchase. HDVR = High Definition Vehicle Recorder. OK, fine, what on earth is one of those? Referred to by some – including insurance companies – as a black box driving recorder, it is a device of varying complexity, which, as a bare minimum, records video footage as you drive. All of these devices that I have been researching also overlay that video with a time and date stamp – very much as your hand held video camera, or indeed camera phone does. Beyond that is where it all gets a bit complicated as various levels of better camera definition and ever more features come into play. Before choosing the ideal device, it is important to consider carefully what you expect from such a video recorder: Are you looking merely to protect yourself from some of the well known highway robbery scams? The two most common are “flash for cash” where someone flashes their headlights indicating for you to go, then deliberately crashes into you, claiming that you hit them – or the even older one where you are overtaken, only for the miscreant to slam on their brakes, usually ...

I Set the World Record For... 03/04/2014

....BEING RICHADA - MOST WANTED BY POLSKI POLICJA!

Swallow Bower Hotel, Oldham, England 06/01/2014

"YOU'LL NOT LIKE THIS VIEW Mr R!".....TWO YEARS LATER AND.....

Polish Grocery, Brighton 05/01/2014

Mr PATISSON POLISH GROCERY - FOR THE BEST FLAVOURS IN BRIGHTON

Polish Grocery, Brighton STILL THERE AFTER "ALL" THESE YEARS Such is the rapid passage of time that I can hardly believe that this review was first published over trwo and a half years ago. One may well laugh at the above sub-title, but, since the opening of this particular Polish Shop, several have opened and subsequently closed in Brighton. So, this one has stood the test of time which, hopefully, stands as testament to my initial decision to review it. Time has moved on and the clientelle has changed slightly, Mr Patisson has moved with the times and has now expanded to include produce from other eastern European countries, primarily The Ukraine. Having taken over most of the shop next door, the whole shop is more spacious and easier to navigate your way around - especially at traditionally busy holiday periods such as Christmas and, even more importantly to the Poles, Easter. The body of the review remains as originally published, there is now, in 2014, more emphasis on groceries and less on the Cafe thgan in 2011, apart from that the owners original formula has proved a remarkably successful one. SATISFYING RICHADA'S GORMET TASTES AT MR PATISSON THE POLISH CAFÉ GROGERY NO 12 LTD As those who have read some of my older, Polish, reviews will know, I have something of a passion for the best of Polish food – particularly meat and vegetables, I have also on occasion, been known to enjoy Polish spirit – vodka – too. During the early years of the current century the only place to enjoy Polish ...

Model Farm B&B, Bradford 09/08/2013

A MODEL EXPERIENCE AT MODEL FARM B&B IN BRADFORD?

Model Farm B&B, Bradford WHY DID WE BOOK THE MODEL FARM B&B BRADFORD? The Leeds / Bradford area is not regarded as my usual stomping ground. We have few customers here and, until last month, had no cause to actually stay in this part of the country. You can therefore thank (blame possibly?) Mrs R for the rest of this review! We travelled to the area to view two online bedding shops – both selling “unique to them” beds. The man at Time4sleep in Huddersfield was impressed that we had gone to the effort, but still thought us mad travelling over 250 miles to look at a bed, in the event, we never reached the Bradford store – lucky first time! In truth, we both needed a break from our very busy schedules – fancied visiting somewhere that we had not been to before, and used the beds as an excuse to finish up here in West Yorkshire. Having spent a week looking at accommodation on line, only Model Farm and another, rather posher looking, hotel near Huddersfield, appealed – we tossed a coin and Model Farm B&B it was! HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY I should state here that Model Farm is a B&B, not a hotel. Strangely mixed messages coming out on this one. There were many reviews online, mostly highly complementary, and then there were some more concerning ones saying that the place was fit only for “contractors” working in the area. The B&B also market themselves as having “long term guests” and being ideally suited to contractors, this being a little at odds with the photographs ...

Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi Tourer Active 02/08/2013

I'M AT IT AGAIN - IN A HYUNDAI i30!

Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi Tourer Active WHAT IS IT? The i30 Tourer is Hyundai’s highly competent model in the hotly contested “Focus Estate” class – a market sector pretty much dominated by the company car (fleet) favourite Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra models. This is an increasingly lucrative market as the trend now is to downsize from larger cars, the versatility of a five door estate – sorry “Tourer” more often than not these days – being an attractive draw in the family / business car market place. Based on the latest, very attractive, Hyundai i30 hatchback, the five door Tourer shares that cars engine and trim levels. Swoopy and modern as its styling is, the i30 Tourer, on the market since summer 2012 and built at Hyundai’s factory in the Czech Republic, is entirely conventional under the skin. That means front wheel drive, a range of diesel and petrol engines from 1.4 to 2 litres and a choice of automatic and five or six speed manual gearboxes. WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE? Obviously without knowing the specifics of your garage, a difficult one to answer! The i30 Tourer is a compact 4485mm long and 1780mm wide – although it feels wider from the driver’s seat! By comparison latest model Astra and Focus Estates are 4698x2013 and 4556x2010 respectively, those bigger width dimensions including the door mirrors incidentally.. WHICH SPECIFIC MODEL? The model that I am reviewing here is the £19,765 Hyundai i30 Tourer 1.6CRDi Active. The range spans from £16,305 for the petrol Classic model, to £24.225 for the ...

Everything that starts with D ... 28/07/2013

DARLING!

Business Hotel Artes, Chemnitz 22/06/2013

DISCOVERING PICASSO IN THE BUSINESS HOTEL ARTES, CHEMNITZ

Business Hotel Artes, Chemnitz WHY DID WE BOOK THE BUSINESS HOTEL-ARTES IN CHEMNITZ? Not a great start here, this was a ‘panic purchase’ made way back in February for an overnight stay in early June. I have previously reviewed our usual Chemnitz hotel – the Amber, so good is that one that we do not look elsewhere for a place to stay overnight on our way home from Poland. This year though we were forced to book elsewhere, the 103 room Amber Hotel was fully booked – this one, just up the road, was not. The Artes had encouraging reviews, looked similar in style to the Amber, offered free car parking and Wi-Fi, but, more importantly was where we wanted to stay the night and, after all, it was just the one night that we wanted to stay. HOTEL DESCRIPTION / OUR PERCEPTION FROM HOTEL PUBLICITY Uber-modern, clean Germanic in style, the “Artes” aspect of this hotel actually escaped me on the several websites that I looked at prior to booking. What did make me a touch nervy about booking this hotel was that there were no exterior photographs of it at all online. Never a good sign that. How well we remember turning up at a Swiss hotel only to find a railway viaduct running right over the top of it…….we reassured ourselves that there was no railway nearby prior to booking this one! All the facilities we require in an overnight stay hotel were advertised as being present here – after a full days’, high speed driving, I do not always feel like seeking out somewhere else to eat, therefore restaurant facilities are ...

Park Historycznyb, Blizna 06/06/2013

BLIZNA AN UNDISCOVERED TREASURE IN ROCKET HISTORY

Park Historycznyb, Blizna RICHADA AND THE ROCKETS I suspect there will be remarkably few reading this who actually experienced the terror of Hitler’s ultimate weapons of war, the V1, flying bomb and V2 rockets which rained down on the population of London during the closing months of the Second World War. My own experience is a directly second hand one, my mother’s parents - having refused to evacuate their children from the capital during the war – were to inadvertently subject their young family to the terror of the Nazi rocket attacks. That, remember, after years of Luftwaffe bombing had already taken its toll on the population. Whilst even that cannot compare to the atrocities that took place in Eastern Europe at the same time, for many Londoners who survived the Blitz, it will remain, until their dying day, an unavoidably powerful and painful memory. Whilst, thanks to our visit to this museum, I am now aware that the British authorities of the day were well aware of Hitler’s secret weapons, the general populace were not. The first, devastating explosions caused by the V1 and V2, un-manned flying bomb and rockets must have been a shocking and surprising experience – especially in the case of the 13 tonne V2 rocket which hurtled into the ground at 1790mph – well above the speed of sound, the sound of their approach being heard moments AFTER the shattering explosion. According to my mother, who well remembers both weapons dropping on London, the V1 was actually more frightening as the innocents ...

Pet Pals Scented Waste Bag and Dispenser 29/03/2013

RICHADA'S NEW FASHION ACCESSORY BY PET PALS

Pet Pals Scented Waste Bag and Dispenser FREDDIE ATTEMPTS TOILET HUMOUR “I arrived at my Brighton pad on 15th March, close to midnight, to discover Rich and Ada eagerly awaiting my arrival. This was to be a longer than average Royal Visit on my part, little did I know it at the time, but my exhausted Devon servants were going to the lengths of fleeing to the far side of Europe in order to escape my tyranny...... ......What does this have to do with hygienic canine waste disposal I hear you ask – and YES my hearing is THAT sensitive, I can indeed hear you from here – so, be warned! Well, Richard, being the organised kind of chap that he is, had laid on a few, how do we call them, ‘essentials’ prior to my arrival. As some of you know, I usually lord it over an enormous estate down in Devon. Let’s put it this way, picturesque as many of you may regard my humble pile (no pun intended), with the number of cows there, my waste disposal arrangements, and the fallout caused thereby, are not an issue of significant importance. In leafy Brighton suburbia, not to mention down-town chic city centre, I run the risk of being impounded should steam (yes it is very cold currently) be seen rising in an inappropriate place. Much as I love people, I prefer my home comforts and the very purpose of my visit to Brighton is to avoid the dreaded kennels, therefore I appreciate RichAda’s efforts to keep me on the right side of the law – well at least the local by-laws. In fact, don’t EVER tell them that I said this, but they do rather ...

I Heart History - Al Star 06/03/2013

I ♥ HISTORY TOO

I Heart History - Al Star PLEASE NOTE The artist's name here is AL START, as shown on the Ciao title photograph, not AL STAR as shown in the heading. NEVER say NEVER! Like love, I guess, music is a funny old thing and, in my case at least, has proven, without the right inspiration, an impossible subject to write about. On how many occasions, I wonder, have I written that 'RICHADA does not DO music reviews'?……… Well, bear with me, because here comes my very first, so thanks Al, you have removed my writers block on this particular subject…… ……and in some style! RICHADA AND MUSIC I like music, I always have, however, unlike my wife, I could never actually claim to be passionate about it. In truth I could manage to live a life without music - much of which I merely regard as noise pollution anyway. However I know what I like and, in spite of the last sentence, have a surprisingly broad musical taste and around 600 albums collected during the last twelve years to prove it. People, often in conversation, seem to want to put me on the spot by asking my favourite "type" of music, or even my favourite artist - both questions I find impossibly difficult to answer. With music, as with love, so much depends on mood and circumstances. Push me a little harder and maybe I would confess to a liking for solo female singers; Madonna's earlier music, Celine Dion (sorry - but yes!), however, three artists unfailingly hit the spot for me, Randy Crawford, K D Lang and, now, Al Start. Al who? OK, until reading ...

Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi 25/02/2013

PROVING THAT LESS IS MORE IN THE LATEST HYUNDAI i20

Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi In June last year, I drove and reviewed, under identical circumstances, the original model Hyundai i20, that car being powered by the adequate, if uninspiring, 1.2 litre petrol engine. Obviously there is strong commonality between both of the reviews, although the specific car reviewed here had an altogether different “character” – in fact I was taken aback as to the advances made in what, appears superficially, to have been a mere face-lift. WHAT IS IT? Developed in Germany and built in Turkey the i20 was specifically designed for the European market, ironically it is not actually sold in South Korea, Hyundai’s home market. The i20 was originally launched in 2008, given an update in spring 2012 and formed an important part of Hyundai’s meteoric rise to accepted modernity here in the first decade of the current century. Indeed, driving the latest version of this car actually highlights the strides made by the Korean manufacturer; it feels like a new, rather than merely face-lifted model. Following on from the tiny, but excellent, i10, the i20 is Hyundai’s next smallest model and falls into the highly competitive and ever more sophisticated five door hatchback “supermini” category, populated by such tough competition as Ford’s excellent Fiesta, Vauxhall’s ever popular Corsa and even Volkswagen’s quality offering in the form of the latest Polo. WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE? In short, yes it should do. At 3995mm long and 1710mm wide, it has similar proportions to a new Vauxhall ...
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