My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sorry I haven't written for a long time, lots of things happening! For the last 12 days I have been back in the UK....very cold compared to Brittany! The seasons in the UK seem to be dragging their feet and seem to be about half a season adrift! We had to move our trip by a week as there were heavy snow falls in the North of England so we held off for a week. There was still snow on the ground a week later and our 4x4 was iced over each morning. Remind me again...what is de-icer? : )

I am always amazed at how cheap food is (and most other things) in the UK compared to France. As we drove North from Plymouth with a tank of nice French bio-diesel we noticed the price of diesel at the motorway (freeway) services. It was up to £1.52 a litre! In France I was paying €1.34 a litre which works out at £1.16 a litre...a whopping 36p a litre more expensive in the UK! For us old folk, that's over £1.60 a UK gallon more expensive. Still, nipping into Tesco and being able to buy a slab of Cheddar cheese at half price, a Ginster's Cornish pasty for £1 and a Sharwoods Indian ready meal for £1 did go some way to ease the pain!

I took my completed model pond yacht over to the UK, I had hoped that I could sail it but the R/C transmitter and receiver got "lost" somewhere between getting to the airport in Guangdong and actually being loaded onto the plane. The tracking just went dead, somebody has my stuff! Anyway, the seller kindly refunded the full amount including the postage, all I lost was about 6 weeks of waiting! Very frustrating though. I did get to fly a R/C plane courtesy of my daughter's partner, he let me fly his 'trainer' plane in the local park. I think sailing my boat might be a little more sedate and not be such a white knuckle experience for me.

I bought 3 mobile phones whilst I was there. The first, a very cheap almost throw away Alcatel phone which with Quidco cash back cost me £2.95 for taking on walking trips or down to the beach where sand getting into it will not be a big problem. I had a Virgin media Sim with some credit on it but the phone was locked to O2 but after spending the princely sum of 99p on eBay, I obtained the unlock code and now I have the perfect "Granny in the glove box" phone. The second phone was also from O2, a Sony Xperia Tipo. This will replace my wife's HTC Explorer which she can't get on with at all. I'm surprised it hasn't found itself embedded in the wall! Fortunately, that didn't need to be unlocked as my wife uses the Tesco Mobile network and that is run by O2. I didn't know that any phone locked to O2 would run quite happily on any of the other networks that they provide airtime for, e.g. Tesco, Giff Gaff and others.

The third phone was for me. I have been limping along with a Blue Chip NEON mobile for about a year. It works but it is like watching paint is soooooooooooo slow! Anyway, I splashed out and bought an unlocked ZTE Kis III aka V790. I bought it BNIB (Brand New In Box) on eBay and won it with a bid of £56. This included free UK P&P. It is a terrific phone, I really like it and it came with a 2GB micro SD too. It runs Android 4.0 ICS and I am VERY impressed. Now I'm back in France I have put a 'FREE' mobile network Sim in it. The FREE Sim costs me €2 a month and gives me 120 mins. of calls to French mobiles and landlines and to landlines in 41 countries! Yes, all for €2 a month!! For 99c more I added 20 meg of data, unlimited texts and MMS in France. An absolutely corking deal!

This post seems to be all about wheeler dealing and the cost of stuff. I think it's the result of the comparison in costs between the two countries...I apologise. Next time i write something on my blog I will avoid talking about money, I think it may just be a rant about how I am becoming a grumpy old man and becoming increasingly intolerant of rude and inconsiderate folk!


Dick xx

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