Will technology drive up the cost of motoring?

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

I had a problem with my car recently and it got me thinking about the way that technology is changing the nature of the motor car. As I mulled these changes I wondered what impact it was likely to have on the cost of motoring. Spoiler alert: I don’t think it’s going to be getting any cheaper.

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Are face masks the answer?

The Government has decided that it will be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops from 24 July. This has raised a number of questions about timing (has the horse already bolted?) and enforcement (is it the job of police or shop owners?), but my concern is more fundamental: will it help?

I am no expert on the subject, so if the science has led the Government to conclude that this will help slow the spread of the virus then I will do as I’m told, but I can’t help feeling it might actually make matters worse.

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Beer, buses and bugs

Today I did two things for the first time since the beginning of our long Covid-19 imposed lockdown. The two things were related: I went to the pub for a pint of beer, and in order to get there I went on a bus.

The pub felt quite safe and well managed on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the bus not so much.

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New Landlord at the Imperial

The Imperial – Pub sign

It is with some sadness that I read the Facebook post from The Imperial on Friday announcing that Tom and Karen, landlord and landlady at the pub for the past 30 years, have decided to retire.

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Super Saturday?

Today has been labelled Super Saturday: the day that, after more than 3 months of lockdown, the pubs are finally allowed to re-open. It is a day of excitement and celebration across the country, so why am I not joining in? Continue reading

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Photo by Matthias Groeneveld from Pexels

One happy outcome of the current coronavirus crisis is that for the first time I have been able to spend some time working from home. I am lucky because I have what I grandly call an office, which contains everything I need: a desk, a comfortable office chair… and my old vinyl collection.

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The growth of literature


Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

I have just finished re-reading Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by the brilliant Douglas Adams. It is many years since I originally read it and I once again enjoyed it enormously. It is brilliantly written, funny and, of course, completely barking mad.

Reading the book again got me thinking. Not about the genius of Adams’ writing style; not about the complexities and moral dilemmas of travelling through space and time; and not about the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. No, it got me thinking about something much more mundanely baffling.
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Leaving a Bitter Taste

A gin and a flight in TANK

I am a beer drinker.

My taste in beer is pretty broad – I like light beers and dark beers; hoppy beers and malty beers; session beers and strong ales.

But until recently, the one over-riding consideration was that they are cask ales, not keg.

Lately I have been challenging my prejudices around this and increasingly trying craft keg ales – and often they are very good. However, there is something about the whole craft ale craze that leaves a bitter taste. Continue reading

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A Romantic Sunset

P1080835_edited-2A few weeks ago we returned from a week’s holiday in Santorini.

Santorini is a bucket-list destination for many people and it has a great reputation for romantic sunsets.

I can attest that Santorini is a beautiful island and well worth a visit. However, the romantic sunsets aren’t all that they appear. Continue reading

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When is a Beer Not a Beer?

Delirium RedIt may come as a surprise to those who know me, but I quite like beer.

As a rule, my preference is for traditional cask ale, but I am aware that this makes me a bit of a dinosaur in this age of craft beer. I therefore decided I should broaden my horizons and experiment more in this ever-growing pool of possibility; see what I’ve been missing.

To this end, earlier this week I attended the Rebel Beer Club at Tank in Gloucester, the bar owned by Gloucester Brewery.

It was an extremely enjoyable evening, but it got me wondering – when is a beer not a beer? Continue reading

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The four categories of music

2018-07-22 21.38.15

Quireboys on the Riverside Stage at Upton Blues Festival – Category A

It’s been quite a week.

Last weekend I was at Upton Blues Festival. This meant I missed the start of the Gloucester Blues Festival, but I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since and have been in town enjoying the music – and beer – on offer every evening this week.

During the week I’ve decided that when watching live bands there are only four meaningful categories of music. Continue reading

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Making it up as you go along

It’s been a long few days.

For the past several weeks my mum has been very ill following an unsuccessful cancer operation. As the weekend approached her health deteriorated rapidly and, with my brother and his family, we took turns to keep vigil, trying to keep her as comfortable as possible.

At some point over the weekend I found myself sitting with my two nieces aged 17 and 21. The eldest of them is just about to embark on the exciting new adventure of getting her first flat.

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A Memorable Occasion


We finally found The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We recently returned from a very enjoyable holiday to Cornwall in TVWNN*.

This holiday was most unusual because the sun shone for most of the time we were away – not something we are used to when we go away in TVWNN.

The first weekend fell over the early May bank holiday, when the weather was glorious – the hottest early May bank holiday since records began or something.

We had booked a few nights at a campsite near Mevagissey, right next to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which were the main purpose of this part of our holiday.

This was the first time we had visited the gardens, but not the first time we had tried.

I can tell you exactly when we last planned to visit: it was a very memorable date. Continue reading

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Gloucester CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival 2018 – The One That Nearly Got Away!

FB-Banner-IMG-9138[This article was written for the Gloucester CAMRA Beer Festival Website]

There are some events that mark a milestone in the year: events that you look forward to from one year to the next; events that you plan your life around so that you don’t miss them.

For me and many beer and cider drinkers in the Gloucester area – and indeed for some from far flung corners of the country and even the world – one such event is the annual Gloucester CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival

It is back again for its sixth year on the 27 to 28 April, and is once again at the historic Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester.

However, this year it almost didn’t happen. Continue reading

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Should Craft Beer be more Affordable?

A gin and a flight in TANKThere has been much debate about the price of craft beer recently.

Although some craft beer is undoubtedly very good, I generally don’t tend to concern myself with it too much. The whole concept of craft beer seems to me to be too nebulous, often pretentious and, ultimately, not that important.

However, I’ve found the recent debate about making craft beer more inclusive interesting. As usual, I don’t have any clear answers or insights, but I do have some thoughts I’d like to share. Continue reading

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Have an Accident and Reduce Your Insurance Premium


Picture for illustrative purposes only – my accident was much less messy than this. Picture from https://www.theaa.com/car-insurance/advice/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident

This wasn’t the blog I was expecting to write.

I was expecting to have a good old moan about insurance companies and the cost of insurance in general, but things took an unexpected turn.

I have just renewed my bike insurance and, following an ‘incident’ last year, I was expecting to get gouged, but somehow I ended up saving money.

Who could have predicted that? Continue reading

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Old Wives Tales Aren’t Always Wrong

12479938-toothacheThere are a lot of home remedies and old wives tales out there.

Name an ailment, any ailment, and someone will have a never-fails cure that they heard about from their mother, grandmother, ancient aunt or local witch-doctor – someone with dubious medical qualifications at best.

Of course they are all nonsense. Ridiculous. You’d have to be a fool to put any store in them.

And then you have an ailment and suddenly they seem less ridiculous. It has to be worth a try, right…

Toothache has to be right up there with the ailments that will drive you to such cures, and guess what – I have toothache. Continue reading

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Dry January vs. Tryanuary

Tryanuary-Logo-500x500Happy New Year!

We are well into January now, so it’s probably too late to say that, but this is my first blog of 2018 so give me a break.

How are your New Year resolutions going?

It is that time of year when we make promises to better ourselves, become more healthy and generally improve our lives.

One of the ways people tend to do that is to give up drink for a month in what has recently become known as Dry January. Or more frequently #DryJanuary. Continue reading

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I can’t really explain where this came from, but the idea amused me for some reason….


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Norfolk: Pubs, Windmills and Churches

On our now not-so-recent holiday to Norfolk, one of my favourite places was probably Thurne.

I have blogged previously about my lack of enthusiasm for the Norfolk seaside and my enjoyment of Caister Castle, but now we headed inland to spend a few days in the Norfolk Broads. Continue reading

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In Conference

A short while ago I was shopping in the supermarket with my wife when she sent me off in search of conference pears.

I was disappointed not to find this: Continue reading

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Caister Castle Car Collection

Caister Castle Car Collection

Having spent my last blog moaning about the British Seaside in Norfolk, I am keen to point out that we nonetheless enjoyed our holiday.

The holiday was some time ago now, but as I slowly get around to sorting through my photographs I will post further on our adventures in the ‘far’ East.

This instalment did not get off to an auspicious start – we were just moving on from Hemsby Beach, having recently ‘enjoyed’ the pleasures of Great Yarmouth, and the forecast was for heavy rain.

Luckily, we had spotted signs for Caister Castle Car Collection and thought that might provide a diverting hour or so. Continue reading

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Seaside Holiday Amusements

Lowestoft Pier

A grey day in Lowestoft

For our summer holiday this year we took The Van With No Name to Norfolk.

The joy of having the van is that we could be nomadic and see a variety of different aspects of the county. One of those aspects was the Great British seaside.

I have to say, on the whole, we were distinctly underwhelmed.

I appreciate that there are those that love the British seaside, and this blog may come across as snobby and curmudgeonly. If so I apologise, but I’m going to risk it anyway. Continue reading

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Goodbye to the Gloucester Citizen


Citizen Offices, St John’s Lane, 2006

This week sees the demise of the Gloucester Citizen as a daily newspaper. It will move to a new weekly publication from 12 October. It will retain its on-line presence, but nonetheless this is a sad day for a Gloucester institution which can trace its origins back almost 300 years to the Gloucester Journal.

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A Less Than Optimal Time to be Sick

No one likes being sick.

Well, there may be the odd (in all senses of the word) hypochondriac who enjoys it, but among normal people, no one like being sick.

However, if you have to be sick I suggest that there are a few conditions that you would insist on to make the ordeal less gruelling:

  1. Ready access to a clean toilet; preferably your own.
  2. A nice comfy bed to lay about in feeling sorry for yourself.
  3. Peace and quiet to aid in recuperation.
  4. And, unless you are self employed, it is always a bonus if it happens on a work/ school day.

Based on these simple criteria, I would suggest that we would rule out a weekend at a music festival as the optimal time to be sick. Continue reading

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