Monday, 16 July 2012

An expensive few days

My recent search for a new umbrella (to replace my lost one) was based on 3 main aims - it had to be large enough to protect me and my capacious rear hatch, really waterproof and robust enough to withstand driving wind and rain. I focussed on Ebay for ideas. It soon became obvious that a typical garden or patio umbrella would not be up to the job, being more suited to sunny situations. A hand held brolly would be too restrictive. So something else was needed.

It was not long before I hit on fishing umbrellas. These achieve all my aims and range from simple second hand ones for a few quid (usually collection only) to more expensive new ones from dealers.

I opted for a secondhand one (only used a couple of times) but one that would retail at the higher end of the market. It's green (colour is an important consideration), big and strong. The seller said it was for collection only but I got her to agree to send it.

It's called the 'Nash Peg One'. It has the added benefit of having two zipped flaps at the back for ventilation or to push your landing net or pole out of. As I don't have either of these things, I think the ventilation option will be useful and it might help to see through when the umbrella needs to be set at a low level. I'll report on this once I have set it up on the boat. If it fails to do what I want, I'll either sell it, use it in the garden or take up angling.

I'll try and paste a photo in. Here goes......

The laptop took a bit longer to sort out. Having had a computer for many years at work (my first one took up a whole room), I wondered if there might be other options now that my time is my own. My son Matt, the RAF's key communications expert, suggested I looked at Tablets and Notebooks.

The Apple iPad, appeared to be world leader in the tablet field and looked like a good yard stick but it was expensive and tended more towards social networking. I was not sure I could get on with the limited functionality of tablets, the touch keyboard and lack of USB points (do I sound like I know what I'm talking about yet?).

Matt suggested I look at notebooks (also called netbooks) as they fit somewhere between tablets and laptops. The Samsung NC110 stood out as a leading product, being well designed, sturdy, high spec. and much cheaper than you would think. The addition of a 2GB RAM thingey (£10) to replace the built in 1GB RAM seemed a good option as this would make it run much faster. I decided I could do with one of those. 

I feel another photo opportunity coming on...

NP-NC110 1 Front

To me, it looks like any other laptop but, if you look at the reviews on Youtube, you will see it's quite small - only about 10" wide. This makes it easy to transport in your handbag or in a large pocket. Apparently it has a bright 10" screen, traditional 'island' keys, about 10 hours of battery life between charges and lots of places to plug stuff into. I placed my order yesterday on Amazon (the cheapest supplier with free P&P) and am now sitting in eager anticipation.

BTW, my last phone at work was a Samsung G2 with an android screen (I think it was called). This was really good, not only as a mobile phone but it also had GPS (useful to find my way to the office and back home), a good camera, and lots of apps to help fill the hours during the day. I heard Samsung had either overtaken Blackberry or was on the point of doing it, so this must mean a lot in terms of what you get for your money.  

I experienced another expensive outing today. Kay and I popped into the county town of Ipswich (not yet a city I hear) to get her a new lilo for our planned camping holiday with the rellies next month. Her last lilo failed the 'What happens if I put it on this rough ground next to the tent to top up my sun tan' test.

So a visit to Millets left me £10 poorer but left Kay with a big smile on her face from ear to ear - easily pleased or what?

So, as I said, it's been an expensive few days.

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