Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Tale Of Three Cities.

Here are time lapse videos from 2013 of our three favourite cities in the world. What are yours?





Friday, 21 February 2014

Gmail Account Hacked - Beware Of This Scam.

Last night, between 2.00am and 3.00am all my Gmail contacts received a bogus email from my personal account. The mail had various messages, depending on to whom it had been sent, but all on the same theme. Some had a message that said they had received a Facebook friend request, some had a Skype contact request etc. Mine, the day before, had said I had been tagged in a Google+ message - click the link to access it.

I was at the boat at the time I received my mail, which was from one of my family contacts - so nothing suspicious. And yes, she is part of my friends and family in Google Circles, so nothing suspicious there either. The link took me to a very proper looking Google login page. Others from my contacts list, who had been taken to Facebook, Skype etc, were taken to their respective login pages. Google often ask me to re-enter my login details when I am away from home or using an unusual device, so I thought nothing of entering my details to access my account - or so I thought I was doing! This is when my login details were harvested. During that night, all my contacts received a similar email from me. It transpires, after investigating, that my family member who I had supposedly received my bogus email from, had herself received the same message from one of her friends the day before, and had also responded to the login request at the other side of the link. BEWARE!

I have just spent the day changing my Google accounts password, and also adding their 2nd layer security, which requires a mobile phone to receive a one off security pin number to feed back before access is granted. Your regular devices will be remembered, but if access is required from an unknown device, then the pin to mobile text will be required before access to your account is granted.

One last thing to consider. The hacker will probably have harvested enough detail from cookies on your own device that was used to complete the bogus login, that they will also be able to read your new password details as you change them on your bone-fide account - so best, if possible to change your password details on a different device or it could all happen again, as it once did with another of my family members.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Opening Up After The Winter Lay-Up.

Well! Who would have believed it? We decided to visit the boat for the week, just to make sure everything was sound after all that rain, and what did we get? Day after day of fine sunny weather!




We arrived at our home mooring last Saturday morning, and while Margaret unpacked all the necessities such as food, fresh bedding, and towels, I busied myself on the other necessities such as cleansing and re-filling the fresh water tank, re-instating the batteries and gas supply, lighting the stove, and most important of all, for the coming dark evening, the TV aerial. I fired up the Webasto heating to air the boat in the meantime.




A check of the outside condition has surprised me somewhat. She is positively gleaming! During our Autumn cruise last year, Tom, (nb Waiouru), introduced me to carnauba wax. I spent literally hours polishing each side of the boat cabin with this stuff, but it has certainly paid dividends. The paintwork has usually reverted to a matt finish by the time Spring comes, but this time you can still see your face in it. Very pleased.

There had been minor water ingress from the external air vent in the bathroom, but nothing serious. I took the interior trim off and re-sealed it with non-setting mastic. I will get around to re-sealing the externals when we have warmer weather. I suppose it isn't surprising that this has happened after all the driving rain, and we are lucky to have been limited to this small area. The very small patch of darkened wood around the vent has started to dry out and revert to normal already.

Then there were the odd minor electrical issues. The radio volume control was not working, the fridge thermostat control was not allowing the compressor to cycle properly, and the piezo spark igniter switch on the cooker was not working - all fixed quickly with a blast of aerosol switch cleaner.

Then it was time to start the engine for the first time since last October. After the usual fluid checks had been made, it fired up immediately. However, after around 5 minutes running the warning buzzer started to sound. Oh no - not another alternator problem? No - it transpired that the coolant temperature gauge had flipped right across to its end stop, with the corresponding warning light and buzzer. This was before the engine had warmed, so must have been a fault in the monitoring circuit, which it was - a short circuit sender.

Enquiries were made with the local Barrus agent about a genuine replacement. £120 + VAT! I don't think so!

Further enquiries were then made with ASAP Supplies where a 'Faria' replacement was found for £24 + VAT. Now that's more like it. Checks were made with the helpful staff that the resistance scales would match my existing instrument before ordering, and that is now on its way. The connector wires have been left off temporarily so the engine could be run up as I first intended. Everything else was fine, although I replaced the alternator belt as a matter of course ready for the new season.

Finally. It is hull blacking time again this year. We have decided once again, (for ease) to take K-L to a local marina close to our home mooring, where they can do the hard work. (I'm not lazy - just not up to that scale of manual labour any more). I have left instructions that all waterline corrosion be treated with Fertan rust converter after first removing all loose material, and prior to painting this time. K-L has been blacked with a standard bitumen based product every 2 years, but she will be 10 years old in September, and I decided it was time the waterline was treated. The stern tube gland packing will also be replaced while she is out of the water. This will all happen in the Spring, just before the cruising season starts proper. She has been booked in for a week's stay at the marina.

The rest of the week was spent walking and relaxing in the unexpected fine weather.







Site of the 'airman's grave', 1st lieutenant Arthur Brown, USAF, who managed to crash his stricken Thunderbolt aircraft away from the town centre on January 14th 1944.

The River Weaver in Nantwich

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Important Changes To Your Medical Records, (England)

The following information has been provided by: http://www.care-data.info/ and it relates to the fact that your GP practice will soon be required to supply patients' personal and confidential medical information, on a regular and continuous basis, to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, (HSCIC).

The data upload is due to commence in March 2014, and all householders should receive a leaflet 'Better Information Means Better Care' through their letterbox in January, although it will not be addressed, and you could have already disposed of it as 'junk mail'.

There are implications to allowing this information to be shared by your doctor, who cannot object - but you can. My suggestion would be to follow the above link, and make sure you fully understand what is about to happen with your personal data, and should you wish to opt out, then here is a link to obtain the form above.

There is no need to contact or make a special appointment with you GP about this, should you wish to do so, simply fill out the form and hand it in to your surgery.

The link to the above form is: http://medconfidential.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/caredata_trifold.pdf

For the 'official' take on this read here: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Pages/care-data.aspx

*Update. I have just received a call from my own GP's surgery after I used the above form sent by fax to them, and after all the official documentation I have read today stating that there is no need to visit and that a generic form may be used, they have insisted that we use their own form to complete this request - handed to them in person. Bureaucracy gone mad!

Friday, 7 February 2014

The British Tourist Abroad

We have now been back from our P&O Cruises holiday on board Adonia for nearly a week. I had considered, as I have done in the past, reviewing our experience, but have decided not to this time, as it is sufficient to say in just one line......

We had a fabulous holiday this time, extreme value for money, with none of the perceived quality issues we saw during a couple of the sectors of our 2012 full world cruise, which we believe were also a result of the company having to sell parts of the cruise too cheaply, simply to keep the ship full, in these hard financial times we currently live in. This cruise was just fantastic.

However, I have started to notice the behaviour of some of the middle aged to elderly world tourists from the UK, who are the target market of the company on this type of cruise, leaves something to be desired in some cases, sometimes leaving us ashamed to be associated with them by our nationality.

The Parade Of Chefs During Our Last Night On Board


Our Tour Guide For The Day At Salalah, Oman
We sat at dining tables at various venues around the ship, (not our table companions in the main dining room I must add), and witnessed some pretty appalling behaviour towards some of the (usually Indian) waiters, often with a noticeable lack of manners. It costs nothing to say "please" and "thank you", even to someone who is serving you. Then there was the elderly gent, a guest from another cruise line who were also using our Dubai hotel. We were up very early for a transfer to the airport at the end of our stay, and a special early continental breakfast had been arranged just for us, to be taken in the lobby. This stuffy old fart's response to the fresh tea, coffee, fruit juice, croissants and pastries on offer, was to demand breakfast cereal. When the waiter, who obviously had little understanding of English queried his request he just shouted back rudely "No cereal? I have a plane to catch for a long flight". When the waiter still didn't understand, reiterating his offer of the continental breakfast, this bloke shouted "Oh never mind you useless ****" and stormed off. He reminded me of a Basil Fawlty character. It was all I could do to stop myself from lamping him!

We have watched as some have complained about the hot weather to our Arab tour guides - as though they could do anything about it! And heard them complain, in their 'cut glass accents', when in a beautiful hotel restaurant in Wadi Musa, Jordan, that "you would think they would be able to speak English wouldn't you". The same stuffy old couple also complained that they had been seated too far away from the buffet, as well as other mundane issues.

It seems these people are only interested in taking their own little bubble of British life wherever they travel to, and expect everyone else they meet around the world to fit into it. I wish they would stick to Bognor Regis, (no offence intended Bognor Regis). To a certain extent, I believe our politicians suffer the same problem. Many of them have no experience of British life outside their home counties location complete with village green, and have no concept of everyday life in inner city Salford, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham or Bradford for example.

For us, we enjoy experiencing different cultures, and ways of life, even if in certain places around the world, their standards might seem to fall short of the life we are lucky enough to be used to in Britain. Being associated with some of these morons sometimes made us ashamed of where we are from.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Back Home And Reminiscing On A Wonderful Trip.

We are now back home to this wonderful British weather, which to be fair has been fairly decent by our standards today. On our last day in Dubai, we sat in the warm sunshine (30 degrees) beside the fountains at Dubai Mall and watched this spectacular show, set to exactly the same music as is on the following video, (which doesn't do the live experience justice, but spectacular just the same).