Ditch & Merge

Just a quick entry to keep my readers up to date.
I have been very busy of late getting my life in order and deciding what is relevant, or not so as the case may be.  For those that were my friends on Facebook, you may have noticed I have not posted anything of late, that is because I have ditched my account as I am sick and tiered of how much Facebook tracks me outside of my profile, yes I know you can turn on and off certain privacy functions but the down side to that is, that overtime when Facebook decides to update itself it also sets how it wants your privacy settings to be, but that may not be what you want.  I think that privacy and data protection should be your right with no exceptions or changes to how you want it, regardless of updates. 


I have also been working on combining both my photo website and personal website to just one webspace as recently I have sold work on ‘Scoopshot’ that requires a registration for tax purposes, so it seemed only the right thing to do that I should register as me an not as a business as ultimately I want to be recognised for my work.
It took a good month to merge the two websites and then also a further week of re-watermarking any images I had on the photo website, they are now sitting comfortably and well organised in their new home.

Thorpe Park 2015

Every year I make an attempt to visit at least two theme parks, one at the start of the season and one at the end of the season and today was the first.
You would have thought that finding a rollercoaster buddy would have been easy, yes back in the days when we was younger but alas some have settled down with family life or maybe taken on a high powered job that made free now hardly any time or this kind of treat was just simply a retired treat.  Thankfully my friend Harrison was going to step out of his comfort zone and come with me to Thorpe Park and see what 2015 had to offer in the way of thrills.
The day started with a 5:30am rise for me, something unheard for those that know me, but in all honesty I actually got up before my alarm clock went off, I could not really sleep well the night before, even going to bed early did not work as I had to much excitement in me.
I headed over to pick up Harrison and then after a quick pee break we headed off to join the early morning commuter traffic, thankfully not as bad as I thought, but leaving early meant we could stop off for a drink and snack before the days adventures.
I have been seeing the steady change in Thorpe Park over a number of years and I think that today it has finally slowed down, as no new rides had emerged, lots revamped but
nothing new but that did not matter for Harrison as everything there would be new and exciting today.


Surprisingly there was not many queuing, unlike some times when I had been, might of been down to the recent Alton Towers incident.  Today the park was open for an extra hour, closing at 18:00hrs and a change in luck meant that for some reason it also opened ahead of its scheduled 10:00am with the gates opening at 9:45am, all be it only 15 minutes early, but thats enough time to make your way over to your chosen first ride of the day.
Last year when I was here with Kelly, ‘The Swarm’ ride was closed, but not today and it was our first ride of the day, we decided as the park was empty that we would ride ‘The Swarm’ backwards as when the park is in full flow that would be the longest queue line.  Later in the day we also rode it the traditional forward facing and If I had to make judgement on what was best, undoubtedly forward facing won.

swarm forwards

You expect that prices over the years slowly hike up but I was shocked that a ride photos had almost doubled in price, from £5.99 in 2014 to a staggering £10, luckily they did a deal of £30 for unlimited digital photos and that worked out great for me and Harrison, as we could download what photos we liked and also to collect every ride photo, good or bad on each ride that had a photo opportunity, in some cases we had several to choose from for each ride we went on more than once.  Personally nothing is worse than carrying around ride photos for the day or getting them all printed off at the end of the day on some shitty printer that has been over used to the point that if you shut one eye and squint then you can just about work out it is you screaming a ride and anyway digital photos last forever, my ‘Picsolve' account has a good collection starting to build up.
Todays trip saw the relaunch of Thorpe Parks ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app that normally is only in operation during the summer holidays but today and for the foreseeable future this app is here to stay.  Once registered it is a breeze to use and makes light work helping you enjoy your day whilst your vital queuing buddy waited in line for you.  Admittedly it had its faults, such as staff members not knowing the correct specially created entrances and the fact you could only add one ride at a time, but with all that aside it did mean that when ride queue lines were more than 15 minutes in length or that you just did not want to queue at all this app did it all for you.
We decided that as the park was not busy that it would be best to do all the major big rides and when boarding one ride then use the ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app to queue up the next one, then break for lunch and after lunch do all the more sedated water rides and then finish the day off with the rides that we could not use the ‘Reserve N’ Ride’ app for.  It worked out great and saved heaps of otherwise wasted time.

Colossus is probably one of the oldest rides in the park to date and thats what adds to its appeal, another ride Harrison enjoyed.

flying fish
So called a family rollercoaster but when you ride this after it has had a few hours to heat up it whips round the track.

Fast paced at any time of day, whipping you around in every direction leaving you not knowing whats up or whats down, not one of Harrison’s favourites and left him feeling the need for a short ride rest.

stealth 2nd ride
I think that the Stealth ride showed just how extreme some rides can be, but this was one of Harrison's favourites.
We stopped for lunch at the newly themed ‘Celebrity Jungle’ Bush BBQ, which was really the old BBQ area that Thorpe Park had really let go, no need for a revamp here to make it look dilapidated, it was already showing signs of that by itself.  We both has the  ‘Bush Tucker Burger' with lattice fries and some critters and a Harrison had a Sprite and I had a Slushy.  Due to the renovation of the park for some new ride in 2016 this BBQ area would normally of been a cut through to the other side of the park from one themed area to another, but was now a no through zone that made it ideal for a less busy retreat and a quite area to have a sit down and lunch.





After lunch and a rest we headed to the depth charge, log flume, rapids and storm surge.  For some reason it does not matter where I sit on a water ride I end up always getting the biggest spray of water in my face or the one that gets drenched, am I just a water magnet? Oh yes and my so called friends who duck out of the way and let me take the soaking, cheers, Kelly you did that to me last year on the log flume and cheer Harrison for doing it to me this year on ever water ride, don’t think I didn’t notice.

log flume 1st ride

rapids 1st ride

rapids 2nd ride

log flume 2nd ride

It ended up a great day out even if some rides had been closed due to the Alton Towers incident and the weather though it started off with a little rain shower soon became a scorcher.  



After a long day we both knew that neither of us was going to cook and so ended the day off with dinner at the Toby Carvery in Ewell and a well deserved rest before heading back homeward.
Here is looking forward to the next theme park visit.


Around Christmastime 2014, our gardener Barry and his wife Mel kindly gave Wayne and I a gift voucher to dine at anyone of the Gordon Ramsay restaurants. We chose the one situated in Chelsea. We booked it sometime ago in April and finally the day has arrived to dine and enjoy the Gordon Ramsay experience.
If you are not used to fine dining it can be a little daunting and sometimes a tad intimidating. Understandably, as soon as your escorted to your table you are aware that the dining room is full, all be it that there is only fourteen tables. Any awkwardness is quickly diluted by the friendliness of the waiting staff. The tables are dressed beautifully and yet simply. There is ample space between tables and you certainly do not feel that your are sitting next to strangers on another table.
I could try and describe how everything tasted, but its an experience only your own tastebuds can experience.

ramsays 2015_2
Pea mousse was an hors d'œuvre served with a homemade ricotta and is presented with baby spring veg and flowers.

ramsays 2015_3
Agnolotti served with young peas, broad beans, St. George, mushrooms, mint, majoram and sariette de banon.

ramsays 2015_5
Fillet of Cornish Cod wrapped in kombu, sesame with shiitake mushrooms and grilled onion.

ramsays 2015_4
Roasted rabbit loin with Bayonne ham, baked turnips, toasted hazelnuts and pickled mustard seed.

ramsays 2015_7
Roast pineapple with coconut parfait, coriander, rum and lime sorbet.

ramsays 2015_8
Strawberry ice cream coated in white chocolate and served over smoking dry ice. Also served with a chocolate peanut brittle and elderflower Turkish delight.
Would I recommend you visit a Gordon Ramsay restaurant?  Hell yes but maybe only as a treat due to the fact that it can get a little exorbitant when you start adding bottles of Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin at a eye popping £2,450.
You would think that having a meal of such small dainty portions that you would be left feeling hungry, but the fact the food is so exquisitely rich, you find yourself enjoying every last mouthful and yet feeling pleasantly full.

Cheam Meal Out

You either get it or you don’t, but Wayne’s sense of humour can be quite something at times and tonight Wayne found his perfect partner in crime when he met Harrison.
I picked Harrison up at his place and drove him back to our home and then after a brief introduction and a cuppa tea we headed out in Wayne’s car to Beijing Gardens for and all you can eat buffet. I think the best introduction to someone is when eating out as it breaks down so many barriers and we all have to eat at some point.
On route we thought it be really funny to do a little detour and see how Harrison got in with the ridiculous speed humps on the Park Road, Cheam. That proved to be a joke all of its very own and set Harrison off laughing, I am not sure if those speed humps are not there just for the amusement of the pub on that road, as patrons watch from the beer garden to see unsuspecting drivers and passengers get thrown from pillar to post as they drive over it, certainly started the night on a funny note.


The food was great as usual and we had the restaurant to ourselves so the sound of laughter filled the room.
Harrison and Wayne laughed most of the night over silly jokes and things that they had done in the past in the way of practical jokes done on others and I also ended up being the butt of many a joke that Wayne had recorded and posted to YouTube.
A great night and boy do I feel stuffed after the all you can eat buffet and many a chuckles.


Since owning a convertible car I have only ever wanted to now drive a convertible for the duel feature of having the top down and keeping cool in the summer months and also the roof up in the winter months, a kind of year round all in one package.
As with most cars, as they get older they lose their value and some more so than others, particularly if you car manufacturer is one of those that brings out a new car every few years.  
I always keep a track of how much my insurance creeps up each year, even though I have never made a claim and also the cost of road tax, so when I realised that if I kept my car for another year it would cost me a further £20 in road tax and possibly the same in insurance, I decided to look about for a new car.
I have realised that buying a convertible car in the cooler months of February to March is a lot cheaper than as apposed to June or July time when the same car can be £700 to £900 more expensive, so I thought now was as good a time as any to see what was about.
I wanted my next car to be more city efficient and started to look at a smaller car as the seating capacity of my Peugeot 207cc never really got used so I could quite easily go for a two seater this time around.  I have always loved those Smart cars and after reading many reviews the Smart Fortwo has matured into a more serious contender in the microcar segment. It has not lost its quirky and funky looks, but the Fortwo now sports improvements where it counts, including revised powertrains, new premium features, and a stronger body structure.


Parking is a real big factor when you live in the urban jungle and this car lets you park like other convention cars or the perfectly legal Smart park way.



Part of what gives the Smart Fortwo its more mature looks is its evolution from a one-box to what Smart calls a "one-and-a-half-box" design. That is apparent thanks to the Fortwo's distinct hood. The wheels are still pushed out to the corners and the rear track is still a bit wider than the front, which helps maintain the Fortwo's sturdy-looking stance. Speaking of sturdy, Smart has improved the Fortwo's tridion safety cell, which is normally painted a contrasting color to add visual pop to the exterior.


For anyone who has never looked closely at or for that matter sat inside a Smart car, they will be pleasantly surprised.  I am 6ft 1 in statue and of a clunker build and yet there is more than enough room inside this tardis of a car.
Inside the Fortwo boasts improved materials, design, and features. The dashboard, for example, is highlighted by a number of infotainment options including smartphone integration, CD/DVD, navigation, a touchscreen, and a premium JBL sound system. The interior features accents finished in a honeycomb pattern, which is also used for exterior elements including the grille. The dashboard and door panels are available with a mesh-like fabric, and the three-spoke steering wheel can be optioned with multimedia buttons. Taking a page from recent Benz models like the C- and S-Class, the Fortwo features instrument and infotainment panels that appear to float in front of the dashboard. Oversized round air vents and bright colour schemes, however, ensure that the Fortwo maintains its funky look.


Some cars boast a wow factor just sitting on their forecourts and others have that driving experience like no other but for me the Smart car had that funky fresh look about it and was more than practical and economical. If I had not chosen the sporty convertible version of the Smart ForTwo then I could have saved even more money as the entry level Smart ForTwo’s have zero road tax and congestion charge, but for me paying a mere £30 a year road tax and a reduced rate congestion charge has still made this car the ideal choice for any city driver.

New Look

It has been some time since I last tapped on the keyboard in order to let everyone know what I have been up to.
Well, what with the move to the new house and endless amounts of Ikea furniture I have put together, finally we are living it and enjoying our new home.  Yes of course there are still things to do like the garden and the lounge but other than that I have finally managed to not only update, but also redesign both my websites and put up a few posts.
I think I am slowly getting back to catching up with this site and with a few days with my fingers clattering on the keyboard I am sure that this space will be worth a read.

Wheely Good

Since owning my car there has been one thing that has been put on the back burner from day one, it is that of the wheels. It seemed that the last owner looked after the car except for the wheels. The previous lady owner drove the car off of the forecourt for less than a few weeks and found the car to powerful for her but in the process of ownership for those few weeks she managed to scuff every alloy wheel.
It has been bugging me since owning the car and finally I got round to finding someone who could come to either my home or workplace and repair my wheels.
Alex from Autoshine-alloys did a cracking job and now they look like new.


work _in_progres