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If my reviews entertain, amuse or brighten your moment in any way, then my task is done! ++ My days as a Silver surfer are over. Now I am, officially, a Golden Oldie! ++

Reviews written

since 20/06/2004


The Breakfast Club, Brighton 04/07/2015


The Breakfast Club, Brighton WHERE IN THE WORLD?...... ......Just for a change, in our home city of Brighton & Hove. This seaside city, located fifty miles south of Victoria Station in London – about fifty-five minutes by train - has over 400 eating places, competing for the custom of residents and visitors alike. We regard ourselves as being very lucky in that such a large choice brings keen competition, in terms of quality, variety and price. If you seek value for money above all else when you eat out here, in Brighton, Hove too, you will find it without looking too hard. Alternatively if you seek a different eating experience altogether, this eclectic city will offer you that too – but usually at a price! Only opened on 1st June 2015, The Breakfast Club’s Brighton branch is the very latest addition to this large and eclectic range of eateries. WHY DID WE CHOOSE THE BREAKFAST CLUB IN BRIGHTON? We got up on Sunday morning and fancied a new experience. Contrary to the weather forecast, the sun was shining brightly and, in fourteen years of marriage, we have never eaten “out” for breakfast in our own city. Be it lunch or dinner, I would have no problem in recommending any visitor to the city a suitable venue according to taste and budget, however, breakfast, on our own account, was a leap into the unknown. Having suggested to my wife Googling “Breakfast Brighton”, I suppose that, ultimately I have to take responsibility for where we ended up – i.e. at The Breakfast Club. WHO ARE / WHAT IS THE ...

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4 27/06/2015


Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE 2.0 TD4 WHAT IS IT? The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is a replacement for Land Rover’s long running Freelander model, sold since 1997, the baby of their range. Whilst unloved in some quarters, the Freelander was successful from a sales point of view, and from pretty poor beginnings, evolved into a decent car when it entered Series 2 production in 2006. It ceased production in late 2014, to be replaced by this car, the Discovery Sport, launched at the beginning of 2015. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is what the Americans would refer to as a compact “SUV” i.e. Sport Utility Vehicle. It is a five door hatchback and has seven seats as standard equipment, the rear two folding flush into the boot floor. Currently all Discovery Sports are four wheel drive, following the Freelander and current Evoque, I foresee an identical looking front wheel drive version entering the market at a lower price point (and reduced CO2 emissions) in the none too far distant future. WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE? In all probability, yes – as one who garages his car, a definite plus for me that. The Freelander got us acclimatised to the idea of a modern, small Land Rover and although this one carries the Discovery badge, it is considerably smaller than that car. The Discovery Sport is 4599mm long and 2173mm wide (2069 with the door mirrors folded in). It is 1724mm high and weighs in at 1744kg unladen. With a car such as this, its class leading towing capacity of 2200kg may be a useful statistic for you. As ...

Jaguar XE 163PS Prestige 23/06/2015


Jaguar XE 163PS Prestige WHAT IS IT? For Jaguar, quite simply this is the “big one”. Not in terms of physical size, but in sales volume. The XE is the car that Jaguar are using to launch themselves into the major players league, they certainly have the image, but without being able to offer a compact executive saloon to compete with the class icon; the 3-Series BMW, Jaguar were always destined to finish as minnows in a big pond inhabited primarily by the German premium marques; Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz. There are other competitors here, Volvo, Lexus and Infiniti amongst them, but none have truly got a grip on the mass-produced premium brand, nor can they offer the serious threat to the establishment that Jaguar now do – if, and only if, they can carry off this car, the XE, successfully. There may be some reading this already raising an eyebrow that the X-Type Jaguar has not been mentioned. Whilst surprisingly popular in some quarters that, Ford Mondeo based, car was an embarrassment to Jaguar and comparing it to an XE would be akin to comparing a daisy to an orchid. The XE really is a totally fresh start for Jaguar in this marketplace. As a component supplier to the British motor industry for the last 75 years (my late, Great Uncle Bill started it back in the 1940’s) nobody could be rooting harder for the success of Jaguar than I, nor, as a keen driver of exactly this type and size of car, could I have more eagerly anticipated its launch. I have now been to two Jaguar XE launches, one a ...

Mielec, Poland 17/06/2015


Mielec, Poland WHERE IN THE WORLD? Mielec – pronounced Mielets – is a town situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship (Województwo Podkarpackie) which is located in the far south east of Poland. By road, Mielec is 95 miles (150km) to the east of Krakow, an easy enough hour and a half drive, mostly on motorway, and about five hours from Warsaw which is 165 miles (265km) to the north, travelling on much more challenging main roads. If flying, Rzeszów Airport, less than an hour to the south will be your most convenient destination, there are several flights, mostly Ryanair, from airports all over England and Ireland daily. The usual airport facilities, such as car hire, are available and you will find progress through the airport stress free compared to most. Mielec is the regional and administrative centre for the Mielec District (county). It is also the market town for a large area, dotted with many villages and hamlets, and, as such, where Mielec finishes and these ribbon developments – mostly along the main roads leading to it, start – can be hard to identify even when you know the place well. This is a largely flat, agricultural region which is bisected by the River Vistula, Poland’s arterial river. Flowing around, rather than through, Mielec is a major tributary of that river, the Wiswoka. WHY HAVE I PUT OFF FOR SO LONG REVIEWING THIS PLACE? This is a town which for many years I have had it in mind to review and a subject that has occupied more thought than probably any previous ...

Church of St. Bartholomew & John the Baptist, Kazimierz Dolny 06/06/2015


Church of St. Bartholomew & John the Baptist, Kazimierz Dolny BACKGROUND Whilst being brought up never to talk politics or religion, I have, maybe having been raised thus, always had a keen curiosity about both, that does not however make me a politico or religious activist. Both politics and religion are unavoidably bound up in history, particularly social history, the most tangible aspects of which have remained in the form of built heritage – public buildings, stately homes, castles and, probably best preserved of all, the world over; churches. Very recently I published a review about the fascinating riverside town of Kazimierz Dolny in central Poland, a throwaway line in which was that St. John the Baptist and St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish Church was worth a review of its own…… ……well, here is that review. Being a long standing admirer of church architecture, it is telling that the only church that I have previously been moved to write about is the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, a building of such totally different style and scale, not to mention facilities that, apart from their obvious purpose the two buildings may as well be chalk and cheese. WHERE IN THE WORLD? Kazimierz Dolny is located about 28 miles (45km) from the city of Lublin in central Poland. Having located the town, on the bank of the Vistula, Poland’s main arterial river, the parish church is highly visible from all over town, from the river, even from the vantage point of the Three Crosses which looks directly down on top of it. Kazimierz Dolny is not a ...

Kazimierz Dolny, Poland 30/05/2015


Kazimierz Dolny, Poland WHERE IN THE WORLD? Those unfamiliar with European, or more specifically Polish, geography will be unaware of the fact that Poland is cut, roughly, in half by its main river – the Vistula. It meanders 651 miles (1047km) from the Silesian Beskids – in the western Carpathian Mountains – to the Baltic Sea at Gdansk. I mention this as, along its route are important cities that you will undoubtedly have heard of: Krakow and Warsaw primarily, secondarily perhaps; Sandomierz (that one maybe even from a previous RICHADA review!), Plock, Torun and Bydgoszcz. Now I will add a further Vistula highlight for your information; Kazimierz Dolny. This is one town that any Polish guide book worthy of its name will bear reference to. At Kazimierz Dolny, the Vistula is about half way along its course from the mountains in southern, central Poland to the Baltic Sea. Kazimierz Dolny therefore is located in central, eastern, Poland on the right – eastern – bank of the river and is on the Lublin Upland region – Lublin is the closest major city and is approximately 45 kilometres by road. GETTING THERE….. …..Is somewhat easier said than done, dependant on your starting point. Once again, I am writing here about a major Polish tourist attraction which is nigh on impossible to reach by public transport. In this particular case that has more to do with the tricky topography of the immediate region caused by the course of the Vistula than this being an under-developed attraction in terms of ...

Baranow Sandomierski Castle, Baranow Sandomierski 27/05/2015


Baranow Sandomierski Castle, Baranow Sandomierski WHERE IN THE WORLD? Baranow Sandomierski is located in the south east of Poland on route 985 (an English equivalent “A” road), 26 kilometres north of Mielec, which itself is approximately 120km east of Krakow. By road Baranow is roughly a two hour drive from Krakow, most of which is covered on the new E40 motorway. From Warsaw the journey is far more arduous as you will be driving around 230km on mostly country roads, estimated journey time in that case would be five and a half hours – putting it well beyond the realms of a day trip from Warsaw. For the more adventurous traveller, public transport is slow and rather unpredictable in Poland, you would need to get to Tarnobrzeg (the nearest main town) by train and take a taxi the 9km south from there. Frankly a car, either your own, or hired, is the more practical solution – especially as any visit to Baranow should also find you exploring nearby Sandomierz (half an hour north by road), as well as Lancut Palace which is about an hour and a quarter drive to the south of here. Both of these highly recommended attractions I have previously reviewed, in seeing these three sites – plus the Blizna rocket site on the way – you will have seen the best that this region of Poland has to offer. Having now been travelling to Mielec for the last fourteen years, I know this region very well indeed – my wife was born here – Baranow is an annual visit, making it as familiar to me as many of our own local parks in Brighton. The reason that ...

Kärcher WV 50 Window Cleaning Vacuum 21/04/2015


Kärcher WV 50 Window Cleaning Vacuum THE PROBLEM(S) Since converting our two bedroom bungalow into a four bedroom house three years ago, we now live in a rather glassy house. With two conservatories, ok, one is a lean-to and used as a utility room, and two sets of French doors, we have rather more glass to keep clean than most. Due to the roof having been converted, our upstairs windows are also rather difficult to access from outside for cleaning purposes. We also now have two modern bathrooms, one with a curved glass (quadrant) shower cubicle, the other, a wet-room with a conventional, plain glass shower screen, both are fully tiled. Three of our new front windows are of the Velux type, mounted on sloping roof surfaces, they can only be cleaned from inside. The bathroom one is over the bath, so no issues there with a bucket and sponge, however, the other two are above pale blue grey carpet and an especially prized antique wooden cabinet, no margin for error as far as spills are concerned then. Downstairs, all of our front facing windows – and the opening fanlights on the side and rear ones too – are leaded lights, an absolute pain to clean properly as water always ends up trapped in the sharp corners. Many years ago I wrote a review on the dreaded Cillit Bang bathroom cleaning liquid, which was marketed as the end to our hardwater bathroom cleaning woes. The fact that it simply did not work and left pink residue in the grout between the tiles meant that I spent the following years scrubbing everything ...

Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Premium Lineartronic 11/04/2015


My 200th Review 09/04/2015


My 200th Review Thanks be to fellow Ciao member Simon - sirodar - for inspiring me to revisit this my 200th review - we share the Renault 5 as a first car - albeit in consecutive decades! 200 REVIEWS UP, AM I REALLY RICHADA THE CAR MAN? Talking to real-life fellow members several years ago at Ciao Meet in London, it became apparent to me that my reputation here is that of a member who “writes about cars”. Oddly enough, I have never really seen myself solely as a “car writer” and, always being very much aware that cars and car enthusiasts probably bore rigid at least 75% of the population, have from my earliest days on the site attempted to write on as many and varied subjects as I can. Looking at my review portfolio, of the ten reviews published prior to this one, three were cars, and of the previous 199 reviews, only 46, or 23% are actual car reviews. In short, I have done all that I can to make my review portfolio as varied as possible, but, ultimately, I guess cars are what I know best, and if my knowledge and experience in this area can be put to the greater good, then there are worse reputations that I could have than being a Ciao member who writes car reviews. After all, a car is the second most expensive purchase that you are likely to make in life, buying the wrong scented candle is hardly going to break the bank, saddling yourself with the wrong car could very easily do so. My 200th review however is NOT a car review. It is a series of personal reminiscences over the last 48 ...

Fiat 500 1.2 01/04/2015


Fiat 500 1.2 WHAT IS IT? The Fiat 500 is the Italian makers’ ever-popular retro-design city car. Based on the previous model five-door, utilitarian Fiat Panda, this incarnation of the 500 is currently in its final year of production. Sadly, from a conversation with our local Fiat dealer, its replacement will be a slightly larger car – presumably gaining weight too. Unlike the current model Panda, which is built in Naples, the Fiat 500 and the Ford Ka – essentially the same car under its far less cute body - is built alongside the 500 in the Fiat factory in Poland and also by Chrysler (a Fiat owned company) in Mexico. The simple answer to the ‘what is it question’ is that the current 500 is a small three door, four seater hatchback, the styling of which was inspired by the classic 1957 Dante Giacosa designed 500 Nuova. This is now the third, different, version of the Fiat 500 that I have reviewed, for reasons that will become obvious; it is also the version with which I am now the most familiar. WILL IT FIT YOUR GARAGE? Our garage feels so much bigger with the 500 parked in it, more customarily used to housing my five seater saloon car, at only 3546mm long and 1627mm wide, you would need to have a very small garage for it not to fit a 500 in. In my Fiat 500 Twin Air review I was musing about just how many times I have approached a parking space in my 4.7 metre long family saloon only to say ‘damn, if only we had a Fiat 500’ – small cars can be invaluable in a city like ours – well, ...

Do You Support BBC's Decision To Suspend Jeremy Clarkson? 19/03/2015


Do You Support BBC's Decision To Suspend Jeremy Clarkson? I PROMISED MYSELF THAT I WOULD NOT DO THIS! RICHADA does not do 1000 word reviews, POTW, Current Debate, or indeed any other form of competition – the temptation was to let the competition date expire, and then publish a typical 2500 word RICHADA rant on the shambles that are the BBC and their top “star” - Jeremy Clarkson. However, in the midst of this, and, being a man known, on occasion, to write about cars, here I am. HOW WORTHY A NEWS STORY IS THIS ANYWAY? In my opinion it isn’t! Popular as Top Gear is, as a television series and franchise even, however popular the “stars” of it may have become, it is only a television series and, ultimately, a minority interest one at that. There are FAR more important things happening in the world and yet, as usual, the media has managed to hype up a huge firestorm around itself. A MEGOLITHIC CORPORATION AND A SELF-CONFESSED DINOSAUR LOCK HORNS..... I have disliked Jeremy Clarkson since long before it was popular to love or loath him, long before indeed the word “Marmite” was ever applied to personalities. Increasingly I find myself disliking the BBC as an entity, over recent years even starting to begrudge paying the licence fee. Has Clarkson in any way been influential in my forming this view? Yes, as has been Jonathon Ross – and please do not misconstrue this - Jimmy Saville. Simply as employees of the BBC, all three have proven bulletproof until way, way beyond any ordinary business would have been forced to curtail ...

Donatello, Brighton 07/03/2015


Donatello, Brighton What follows is a completely updated version of my original review, published on my 43rd Birthday in September 2005. Whilst the format may be different, after all these years, the content remains surprisingly current, but then again, why, in a restaurants case, destroy a well tried and tested formula? We and very many other regulars simply love Donatello! This very well known, family owned, staffed and run, Italian restaurant really requires no plug from me in order to drum up trade. Originally from Sardinia, Pietro Addis, who already had Pinocchio Restaurant in New Road, close to the Theatre Royal, opened Donatello in 1991. The Addis family now run three Italian restaurants, Donatello, Pinocchio and Fat Leo, plus a Thai restaurant in Brighton Square. Having not visited Fat Leo - the prices are the same, the menu almost identical, the ambiance rather more contemporary, this review is specifically about Donatello Ristorante, although there is a great deal of commonality with Pinocchio as the menu there is identical. Pietro Addis was a Brighton pioneer of two, now common, restaurant features; fixed price menus and, hard to believe now in 2015, but in 1991, eating and drinking ‘on the pavement’ here was still prohibited by local by-laws! Over the years from a small, one room start, Donatello has grown to incorporate every small shop within this historic "island site" at the very heart of the city. Here in a sense lies part of the charm of the place, regular diners, like ...

The Tea Cosy, Brighton 24/02/2015


The Tea Cosy, Brighton WHERE IN THE WORLD? Unusually for a RICHADA review of this type, here we are in Kemptown, right in the heart of our own home town – Brighton! Full of eclectic shops; antiques, boutiques, pubs and masses of eateries of every kind, The Tea Cosy fits in very well with the Kemptown “vibe”. LOCATION & ACCESSIBILITY: 12 / 15 The Tea Cosy is actually located in George Street, just off of St James Street, in one of the very trendiest parts of the City of Brighton and Hove. This is an older, central, district; five minutes walk from Brighton Pier and the beach, or the Royal Pavilion, fifteen minutes from the railway station or main shopping centre and yet Kemptown very much has an urban village feel all of its own. George Street is a one way street, heading south, connecting Edward Street with St James Street and is entered, by car, from Edward Street. If travelling by public transport, plenty of buses stop in both Edward and St James Streets, the Old Steine, where just about every bus in the city stops, is also less than a five minute walk from George Street. There is pay and display parking in George street, and the other local side streets – by Brighton standards a very modest £2 for two hours (a five minute walk away from here it is more than double that), but you will need to be lucky, as we were on Valentine’s Day afternoon to find a space there, having a small car helped in our case on this occasion! There are also a couple of disabled parking spaces almost outside The ...

Samsung UE55HU8500 13/02/2015


Samsung UE55HU8500 In November, 2014, when we purchased our new, to give it its full title: Samsung 55" HU8500 Curved Smart 3D UHD 4K LED TV, I was in two minds about reviewing it, being ever so slightly concerned about how we would be perceived as being prepared to spend £2550 on a mere television. The fact that we did not actually spend that amount of money on this set – thanks to a highly generous doubling of my sizeable Barclaycard loyalty points collection - is probably somewhat immaterial to this review. However as time passed, reviewing this particular television became an increasingly important assignment. We benefitted substantially from an offer that Currys were running at the time; stump up £2550 for the top of the range Samsung TV, they supply you with the superb curved Samsung Wireless UHD TV 8.1Ch Soundbar and sub-woofer for free. As this retailed at the time for £560, by deduction, the actual cost of this television is a slightly more reasonable £2000. If, having read this review, you are still seriously interested in purchasing; my current advice would be not to pay a penny over that last figure for one. In all likelihood in another six months time, if still on the market, this set will have dropped a further £500 in price. At the time we bought this one, there were a couple of “reconditioned” sets being sold at between £1400 and £1800 on eBay, if only we had known then what we do now. WHAT IS A SAMSUNG 55" HU8500 CURVED SMART 3D UHD 4K LED TV? The clues are in the ...
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