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since 07/09/2004


Dunwich Museum, Dunwich, Saxmundham 08/08/2011

Time warp museum, excellent

Dunwich Museum, Dunwich, Saxmundham Dunwich is a small town on the coast of Suffolk with a big history. The Dunwich museum is very small but big enough to tell the story of Dunwich. Entry to the museum is free but they request donations to help funding. Split on to two levels you get a real feel for the history of this town. Downstairs is full of finds found locally in both the land and the sea. The story of Dunwich is told over the last 1000 years or so. Starting with the town being washed in to the sea,(most of it) you walk round learning about how it became one of the biggest ports right down to its present state of 120 people and a handful of houses. Theres also a 3d map of the towns old border line with the sea. Its clearly marked so you can see how various storms washed it away. Upstairs is more recent history, based around the previous estate owners and the houses they lived in. Theres also a video show of how the seas been eroding the history in to the sea. All in all a great we museum. I wont tell you all about it as you'll have nothing to see. If you like your history, take a look. You will only be able to get there by car, buses if any are minimal. Theres a lift inside for those who cant make the stairs.

Coral Hotel, Corfu 16/10/2007

Corel Hotel, Roda Corfu

Coral Hotel, Corfu Coral Hotel, Roda Corfu INTRO Not knowing where to go for hols this year we decided to convert our Tesco vouchers and go for a free holiday. The one place that always seemed to come up was the Corel Hotel in Corfu. All the pictures and info on the net pointed to a good family run hotel in a nice area of Corfu. LOCATION The hotel is situated on the outskirts of RODA which itself is about an hour and a half from Corfu Town and the airport. The hotel itself is literally a small stones throw from the beach. Alas that's a pebble beach but its still right on the sea. When we arrived I was pleasantly surprised at the location. There's about a 10 mile stretch of water between Corfu and the mountains of Albania. Stick all of this together and you have nothing short of a fantastic location. THE HOTEL The hotel is divided up in to two main parts. The first being the original hotel block and the second consisting of a block with around 30 rooms running down the length of the garden. The main section of the hotel houses the usual stuff like the restaurant and bar and some additional rooms. First impressions when you walk in are pretty good. Everything is well maintained, clean and tidy. You are greeted with smiles and welcomes from all of the staff. ROOMS Being a 3 star hotel the rooms are not top notch quality but what you would expect for a budget room, with basic amenities. Alas there was no TV, but then you don't need it. Unfortunately no kettle either but hey. ...

Samsung YP-K3JAB 4 GB 02/10/2007

Move over K9 heres the K3 MP3 player from Samsung

Samsung YP-K3JAB 4 GB Having recently had a breakdown on my Samsung U3 I opted for the K3 instead. So far I have to say I made the right decision. INTRO The first thing that you notice about the K3 is how cool it looks. I spent weeks looking at MP3 players and was comparing them all to the IPOD Nano and the K3 for me was the one to beat it. I paid £119 for my unit which compared to £129 for the same Nano was a bargain bearing in mind the K3 has more features. The K3 comes in a small sleek black box, but beware, once you take it out its impossible to put back in, but hey… WHAT YOU GET Along with the MP3 player you don't get huge amounts. Software CD, USB cable……..sorry but that's it…..oh and the earphones, quiteimportant that one WHAT YOU DON'T GET You don't get a mains adaptor / charger, that's not a huge problem and a vast number of players don't come with one either. I boought a USB charger for 4.99 which does the trick if you don't have a PC handy or are on your hols. You also don't get a cover. If your like me and like to keep things in mint condition then this is a pain. I would say the same for the guy at the station the other day who didn't have one for his IPOD, just as it slipped out of jis hands and smashed on the platform !!!!! STUFF The K3 is simply an amazing looking piece of kit. The front has complete touchscreen controls and a clear gloss finish. In addition it is surrounded by a small chrome edge to finish it off. There is a small key on the right side edge which ...

Sony Ericsson W880i Walkman 11/04/2007

W880i Runaway little phone runaway

Sony Ericsson W880i Walkman INTRO I recently managed to persuade my wife to upgrade her phone to the W880. Already being happy with her phone she gave it to me. At the time I thought this was fantastic but now I am not so sure. SONY PHONES I rate Sony Ericsson phones at the top of the pile of the decent makes. They always have excellent build quality and the menus are functional and easy to use. I have progressed through the current range as and when they have come out. So it was with joy that I received one of the new W880i phones W880i FIRST IMPRESSIONS When I go the phone I was well impressed. The one I got was from Vodafone who generally don't go to town creating fancy packaging but instead give you the good old RED cardboard box just in case you forget what network your on. When you take the W880i out of the box you realise just how compact the phone actually is. I also have a K800 from Sony and reckon that if you glued together 3, yes 3 W880 phones together you would match the size of the k800. So in the W880 we have a tiny phone. As we all know though, size isn't everything so is the W880i any good? Well build quality wise and on looks, yes it most defiantly is. It looks like someone actually sat down and milled out the front cover by hand, the facia is perfectly formed and the buttons and screen merge in well, rather like a good photograph. I got the black phone which is black all round the front and orange on the rear. The rear is also covered with some kind of anti slip rubbery ...

Gemplus GemPC USB-SL 10/04/2007


Gemplus GemPC USB-SL TECH TALK on the GEMPLUS USB-SL Card Reader INFO I have been using a Gemplus USB-SL card reader for a while now. I use it at work and it was a natural upgrade from the old serial 410 version. For those who may not know what the USB-SL is, it's an EMV card reader. So in short it is able to read a chip card like a visa and use it in conjunction with an application to process the card. A couple of possible uses would be for internet shopping or as a basic payment system in a shop. THE DEVICE The USB-SL is way better than the older 410. For starters its USB based to in the main it's a plug and play device where as the 410 was a serial device. The use of USB speeds up the device ten fold. The second gain on the USB-SL is its size. It's easily half the size of the old 410. The USB-SL is made from durable plastic and is the size of a very slim wallet. The USB cable is permanently fixed to the rear and is long enough to plug in to the PC and stretch up on to the desk without the cable pulling. It also has a green LED light on the front to say when it is connected to the PC. The USB-SL does have a good design. On the base there are adhesive pads allowing you to fix the unit almost anywhere, under a monitor stand or on the side of your desk. The pad is quite durable and as yet hasn't fallen of my monitor stand. There is also a wire leg on the base to allow you to angle the card reader to a more user friendly angle, this lets you see where to enter the card a little ...

Tiscali "Smart Talk" 02/04/2007

Missold Smart Talk on a promise of 8MB broadband.

Tiscali "Smart Talk" This is a quick review to let people know my opinions on Tiscali and in particular their new phone call offerings. I have been a customer with Tiscali for over 18 months now, having started out using their 1mb broadband. About 9 months in to the contract I was looking about on their website and was amazed to discover that their 2MB broadband package was a few pounds cheaper than 1MB. I am probably slightly upset and non objective here but it strikes me as being a little selfish of Tiscali of not upgrading customers or sorting out their payments in such occasions. Anyway, I upgraded to 2mb for the lesser price and everything went very well. No calls to support and no need for emails, was all done online in my account. Since then I can honestly say I have never knowingly had a network outage or problem I needed to ask about. However, about 5 weeks ago I received a call from a sales women at Tiscali who was trying to sell me their phone package. In short this is another calls package, like Tesco's do. Well I said I would only be interested in this if I could also upgrade to 8MB broadband at the same time. The lady performed a line test and reckoned I would get around 6MB. I then asked again to confirm that I had understood that I would get 8MB (6mb) plus the calls package within 14 days. It all sounded great and was confirmed. I had been trying to upgrade to 8mb for months prior but had to keep waiting for it to be available on their website so this to me seemed ...

Tropical Fish Care 30/03/2007

5 Loaves and 2 fish, novice guide to tropical fish

Tropical Fish Care INTRO I decided to offer my knowledge so far on tropical fish keeping and in particular on keeping Platy fish. Now my wife and I started keeping tropical fish about 18 months ago, really an effort to spice up the lounge with a tank that was the same colour as the TV….. NOVICE FISH KEEPING So we went out as a good fish novice does and purchased a nice little silver tank and stand for a small and reasonable £79 for the entire kit. Again as good novices we purchased as many fish of different types as we could get in to a small tank. Well a week went by, and we learnt our first lesson. When you buy a new tank you need to give it about a week, depending on the size for the water to settle and stabilise. Knowing everything we didn't bother and as a result our group of 4 zebra tetra fish decided to have a suicide pact and we were left with one. Our second lesson was soon to follow as we then found that buying fish that look fantastic doesn't mean they are easy to keep. The 2 brightly coloured Guppies also decided to die. Anyways, as the next year or so passed we restocked the tank and learnt some more about the process. We also heard that using the underwater filters was not so good so invested in a side mounted affair which seemed to keep the tank cleaner. EXPERT FISH KEEPING Having changed the filter and managing to keep 5 fish alive for 6 consecutive months we decided we were experts and thus wanted a bigger tank. As a good expert does we headed off to the ...

Shimano MO72 30/03/2007

Shimano SPD M072 Cycle Shoe to infinity and beyond

Shimano MO72 SPD INTRO Shimano M072 shoes are SPD cycling shoes so here's a quick explanation of what SPD is. For those who may not know SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamic. All very nice I hear you say, so to explain they are Clipless pedals. Basically you get a pair of shoes, bolt on some clips to the shoes, get a pair of SPD pedals which are like a clamp, step on the pedals and your feet are locked to the pedals. Rotating your feet to the side then releases you from the pedal. (not as dangerous as it sounds). GENERAL Shimano mountain bike shoes have been around for a number of years now and in my opinion if you are a user of SPD pedals then you can't beat Shimano PSD shoes for reliability. I have used number if different types over the years, most of which I cant remember the name off and ones that usually found the bucket because they broke before their time. Overal lthey are a well made and finished shoe, no loose stitching and no bad cuts to the materials. SHOE DESIGN The M072 appears to be classed for the sport / recreational rider by Shimano and the shops. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I guess people who enjoy a bit of mountain biking in the week and go for a decent ride on a Saturday. Well this shoe is ideal for that as that's what I am in to and more. The shoe design is very cool. The outside is of a good quality and strong construction, making them very difficult to get scruffy which makes them continually looking new after a clean up with a bit ...

Glass & Steele Motor Cycles Ltd 30/03/2007

Pedal Cycles in Alloa (Cycle Shop)

Glass & Steele Motor Cycles Ltd Glass and Steele Motor Cycles in Alloa has been around for decades. I only moved to Alloa around 5 years ago but knew of it before that. A friend of my Dad's had a mate that worked there repairing old Jame's motorcycles in the 50's. These days they dont repair motor bikes but actually sell pedal cycles, so the name may be a bit misleading. THE SHOP This cycle shop is a little out of date these days and perhaps suffers a little because it is situated off the beaten track in Alloa. The shop itself is clean and well presented and when you walk by its pretty clear from the bikes in the window that its a cycle shop. Its a pretty small shop but has a goo little viewing area for the bikes. They also have the usual regulatory desk area with some racks behind displaying the spare parts they have to offer. WHAT DO THEY SELL The shop sells a wide variety of mainly mountain bikes which I would say are mainly geared for the kids. There are a few on offer for adults but not a huge range. I think if you went in there to look for a good little bike for your kid you wouldn't come out disappointed, they always seem to have some funky machines that would be sure to meet the approval of most kids these days. If your an adult after a general mountain bike for a bit of fun then you should go and have a look. If on the other hand you want something a little bit more expensive or lighter weight then I would probably avoid the shop. They are geared up to cover bikes for the ...

Avid Pads Avid - All Disc Brakes 29/03/2007

Mad for AVID pads

Avid Pads Avid - All Disc Brakes I recently bought a set of replacement pads for my AVID Juicy 3 brakes. These came in at £15 for a pair for the front. They seem to vary in price by a few pounds, thi was from a well known online MTB shop in the lakes. Being a disc brake novice I didn't have a clue how to fit them so rather than break them or waste time finding out I got a mate to do it for me. Other than the actual fitting the one thing I did do was to lightly rub down the pads before fitting them. I was told this is a good idea as it reduces the chances of the pads glazing over and gives you better breaking power earlier on, guess this is like I used to do with my standard V-Brake pads. I think that is roughly 1000 miles of use on my old pads. I tend to change them early as I did with V-brakes, not sure that is necessary with discs though (not at this price) As with other disc brakes you get excellent breaking power in most conditions, wet, dry, snow.. I have to say that for £15 quid you get a good bit of breaking power. Hats off to avid for that. I do think it is a little expensive though as really your not far off the price of some pads for a car, realistically they are more expensive, but thats the price you pay for technology. Breaking wise you get firm and even breaking with the Avid pads, on my last ride I couldn't say there was any point I was actually wondering how quickly I was going to stop, always a good thing. All in all I would recommend these pads, seem to be reasonably ...

Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc 23/03/2007

Special Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc 2007

Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc Being a mountain bike mad man I decided it was time to get a new bike. Shopping around for a bike these days gets complicated with the huge variety of bikes you can buy and for a wide price range. Me being me I like the hard tail mountain bikes. That's a bike without rear suspension. If your on recreational cycling or after some sport competition then a hard tail is a good choice for a reasonable choice. THE BIKE HOW MUCH and CHOOSING IT Anyways, after much decision making I finally went for the Specialised Rockhopper Comp Disc 2007 bike. At £749 this for me is actually not a bad price bearing in mind you can get bikes for £4000 plus. It was a little more than I wanted to spend but its worth it for that little extra upgrade over the model below. I went for the Rockhopper because I know it has a good all round reputation as a good quality hard tail bike. I personally don't listen to the folks that go on and on about whether a bike is fit to race or how good it is when your leaping over a jump. Its all rubbish. For the standard rider your never going to notice much of this. Its more important to know that you personally like the feel of riding it and that you have or develop the ability to ride a mountain bike well. If you can't ride a 100 pound bike you wont fair any better of a 1000 pound bike. So to stop rambling, I chose it because I knew the reputation, quality and because I had a Rockhopper Comp way back in the early 90's and it was great then. There are ...

York Fitness Chinning Bar 01/03/2007

Chin up before you go go

York Fitness Chinning Bar I recently purchase a York Chinning Bar for a small £7.99 from Argos with the full intention of doing daily pull ups in the comfort of my home. The first thing you have to say about it is that its as cheap as anything for anyone who wishes to get fit. The second is that before you buy it have to admit to yourself that if there is no pain then there is no gain. The bar fits in to your standard door frame and comes adjustable to fit various sizes. Me being me read that it stretched to 108 cm, measured my door and realised the bar was more than big enough. It wasn't until I got home that I found that my door was actually to small. However, my plan changed and I just moved it to another room, but be sure to check the sizes first. The chinning bar comes well packed with a few basic sit up instructions on the side of the box in what I would say are like badly drawn cartoons. When you open up the packaging you get a single sheet of A4 telling you everything from how to fit it, safety in use and not much else. I was a little disappointed with this as it doesn't give much help to the beginner. The bar itself is made of good quality metal and is very well made for 7.99. Fitting it to the door frame is easy. You get the bar, 2 end cups and some screws. I mounted mine buy putting the bar in the cups and loosely tightening it to the door frame. I then got a spirit level and made sure it was level. Then I marked around the cups with a pen so I knew where to mount it. ...

Renault Clio 1.2 16v 09/10/2006

Clio 1.2 RN 3 door (1998)

Renault Clio 1.2 16v After buying an old VW Polo on EBAY that I had to scrap my wife and eye decided that we would look for a car for her to drive that would be reliable and easy to repair should the need arise. After much debate we found her a little T reg Clio with 52,000 miles on the clock. One of the prerequisites of buying a replacement was that I could fit in it and be able to drive it comfortably. I am 6ft 3" and need to be able to drive it once or twice a week. COLOUR The first thing that struck us about the car was the general quality of it bearing in mind it was made back in 98. Once you get over the fact that it is gold the car grows on you. Whilst these cars come in a multitude of colours we though a gold one would be different and uncommon. Alas, now that we have it there are at least three in the same area. Why does that always happen….. EXTERIOR The MK2 Clio changed quite a bit from the MK1. The general looks of the car have been brought up to date to make it stand out on the road whilst still fitting in with the other manufacturers. Our Clio is the RN edition. I am not really sure what that means. 90% of the body panels are painted with standard black trim covering the door strips, front and rear bumper strips and finally the mirrors. Its nice to see a cheap car that isn't absolutely covered in standard black plastic. The one thing that is annoying is when you come to polish the car. Polish on black trim is a nightmare to get off so you end up spending an ...

Ford Cougar 2.5 06/10/2006

Ford Cougar Wildcat of the Road

Ford Cougar 2.5 I originally bought my T Reg Ford Cougar 2.5 V6 for £9995. I kept it for around 2 years and replace it with a family car. I drove around 30000 miles in this car without any serious problems and without breakdown. It only went to the garage once and that was only to have a recall done on it that the Mondeo v6's had done. As far as looks go the Cougar has taken a lot of stick in the past. I thought that at the time it was one of the very few with good looks and that edge over most other normally priced cars. The sleek lines and curves made it something to look at even if it was a Ford. The bodywork was well finished and stuck together with quality. There were no uneven joins in the panels etc. The wheels were well suited to the car but to be honest if you want a Cougar they should be easily changed with different alloys. Doors fit well and the boot and bonnet shut with a reassuring clunk and quality. Doors are fitted with flush painted handles, which provide that extra level of finish. Under the bonnet you have that V6 Duratec engine. It is actually nearer 2.6 liters than 2.5. The engine bay is near full with the engine in there but it is still possible to perform those basic servicing tasks without having to take half the engine out to do it. Spares for the engine should you need any are not overly expensive as the engine is shared with some of the other engines in the Ford range. At the other end the car has a decent exhaust tail pipe finished in chrome, which ...

Trek 8000 05/10/2006

Trek 8000 bike, move over Mr Porsche

Trek 8000 BEWARE: full of bikers stuff. A long long time ago I was an avid mountain bike fan. There were times when I was covering over 100 miles a day and clearing 10000 miles a year. So I ran quality bike s that would get me around quickly and with minimal effort. I was a cycle courier for a time whilst I decided what to do with myself and on starting a career jib stopped cycling and eventually sold my expensive bikes on. About 3 years ago I bought a Trek 8000 mountain bike. I bought this in a sale for £1100 pounds. I did my home work and came up with the 8000 as a good all round cross country bike that would give me all I needed for a lot less than I used to pay. FRAME. My bike has to be big as I am 6'3". So I opted for the largest I could get. They come in various sizes in inches which your local supplier can advise you on, which roughly equate to Small, Medium Large and extra large. One of the main reasons I went for this bike is the material the frame is made off. I used to ride a Klein in the olds days. Those of you who know your bikes will have heard of these godly machines and may know that its frame is made up of ZR9000 aluminium. Well the trek 8000 is made of the same stuff, making the frame super light yet very strong. As it is aluminium you get far more stiffness in the frameset over the standard flexible steel. The 8000 dimensions are pretty good for a bike to use either as a normal about town machine or for serious off road havoc. There is a little ...
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