Posts Tagged ‘review’

A change from the usual moans for a review!

Buying a suit is one of the rites of manhood. It is not the same as picking up a pair of jeans and should not be treated so lightly. In the same vein as using a saw correctly, being able to light a fire, growing a beard and looking under a bonnet and being able to actually fix something, it is what separates the men from the boys.

The art of tailoring, for it is an art, deserves some time spent on it. It should not be hurried at the back of M&S, it should be savoured, admired and enjoyed. To go somewhere and be properly measured, attended to and to be provided with a superior service and finally an excellent British suit that looks and feels great is one of life’s experiences.

I can heartily recommend Charles Hobson’s of Easingwold. I visited their establishment today to purchase my third such suit from them, and it gets better every time.

From the moment you enter you are treated as a valued customer, however many times (or not!) you have visited before. You can immediately tell it is a gentlemen’s tailors and outfitters and not a run of the mill clothes shop. Today I visited with Mrs Spider and whilst she was brought a cup of tea on a comfortable sofa I was measured and then we went through a number of samples and sizes until everything was perfect. I should add that for those that don’t know me my weekend appearance is scruffy to say the least and it matters not a jot. Even just trying a sample on that you know fits just right makes you feel great (and finding one to fit my awkward shape takes some doing!)

The service is second to none. Previously whilst serving in HM forces they held my sizes and sent shirts overseas to me when I needed them at short notice. Whilst there today Mrs Spider was chatting to another customer who had made the trip from Cambridge just to visit them.

But surely all this comes at a price you may think? Well certainly it is not Primark. But for a similar price to an off the peg suit from Debenhams or some such you would normally make do with you can treat yourself to the real thing. A suit that fits you and makes you feel like a gentleman.

I may be gushing in my praise for this establishment and therefore you may wonder as to my objectivity. For regular readers you may note that in the three or four years I have been polluting the internet with my ramblings and rants there are a mere handful of reviews with this sort of recommendation. I seriously hold the experience in that high a regard.

Craftsmen (and woman) of Couture

Bravo Zulu.

…and before you wonder, no, there was no discount, bribe, or incentive for the review. Just good service!

So I’m back on 2 wheels!

Thanks to some serious encouragement by Mrs Spider I’ve got myself another motorbike, a kawasaki VN900SE. With the advent of it’s 1000th mile this weekend I thought a quick piece on it was warranted.

I’d seen the VN900SE a while ago and drooled over it’s matt black finish. I’d wanted a bit more grunt than my other bike – a 750 Honda magna, but not too much more weight and it needed to be low (I’m very conscious that as I was short changed in the leg department it’s always useful to be able to reach the floor when pulling up at the lights!)

Anyway I’d seen one of these roaring it’s way around Parliament square whilst on visit to London and at first thought it was a custom job, but with a little research discovered that they were a Special edition produced by kawasaki, with little tweaks to the colour cheme each year.

I must admit I baulked at the price a little bit to start with, and I was seriously considering selling up my Delica monster truck and getting a sensible eurobox car. But Mrs S campaigned hard for me to get a new bike and garage/workshop… I suspect just because she likes either drving over small cars in the truck, or having picnics in it regardless of the weather!

Anyway, after seeing a second hand one with 400 miles on the clock at a good price I followed up, narrowly missing it. Which was fortunte as it turned out as the dealer then offered me a brand spanking new one at the same price! I must admit that travelling 300 miles to collect wasn’t my preferred choice so I tried every nearby network dealer and challenged them to get close to the offer price with no joy. So having paid the deposit I set off on the trains to Aldermaston to collect my new bike from Pegasus Kawasaki.

After enduring British rail, which has not improved in the years I’ve managed to avoid it, either in ticketing (Buying 4 seperate tickets was half the price of actually getting just a ticket for the journey) or the company of passengers (loud arses and mobile users in the quiet carriage) I arrived at the dealership to immediately see my new pride and joy parked awaiting me.

After a surprisingly easy transaction (and a good talk over with the mechanic – cheers!) I was off on a brief ride home… not sure how many bikes do 320 miles on a first run? Wth plenty of stops and sticking to the guide for running it in it took a fair while. Needless to say it pissed it down, so I can’t ever claim it’s only done dry miles. Good omen though – After a fair break from bikes I got off after 8 hours and felt great!

The 600 mile service came round very quick. All of 6 days. So off to the local network dealer so I can maintain the warranty.

(A brief aside – I emailed Kawasaki to check if as the warranty book claims you have to use a kawasaki dealer to maintain the warranty. Got an increadibly carefullly worded reply, which basically says, no you don’t but you have to have Kawasaki parts used and if you try to claim on the warranty they’ll investigate whether the work was done to their spec – Basically you don’t have to but we’ll make it a sod to claim. If you want to see it email me and I will forward it on)

There upon the only hiccup so far as I gained a small leak from the the sump plug which has taken a couple of attempts to solve. A new plug and washer has cured it. At no extra cost obviously!

So now with a few miles on her, what’s she like? (Like all ships, bikes are female…)

Well, comfortable to say the least. Loves thumping along at about 60-70 but will stretch her legs if you give the grip a twist. Surprisngly agile in the bends and feels great leant over, the sacrificial metal on the bottom of the pegs already has some scrapes! Had a run out with a friend last night (600 CBR) and felt very comfortable keeping up.

The economy is also great, and was a factor I must admit. I’m seeing between 55 and 60 mpg depending on the run. (60+ mpg on the slow ride home first day at 60 mph), and the wallet is noticing it after running the truck every day.

Parked in Richmond Square I also noticed that a lot of the bikers milling about siddled over for a good look at her as well. Something that bit different. Now be honest, who doesn’t like that?

I still think it’s a fantastic looking machine. Mrs S says “it’s very you”.. By that I think she means low, wide, reasonably powerful and devastatingly handsome. But I might be wrong.

Downsides? None really. The ride to work can get a bit wayward if I’m up early and it’s nice out. What is a 9 mile journey stretches to 30 or 40 down to the beach and back. But there are worse problems in life.

So what next? I’ve got a back rest sorted, currently being turned black by a good friend and top vehicle bodywork chap Pete (see good stuff!), enabling Mrs S to join me without being left at the lights as I pull away. And to be honest thats about it. It doesn’t need anything else!

…Although I’ve a sneaking suspicion the next service won’t be too far off!

For those of you that still have an active imagination I would like to recommend some audio treats. I have been a big fan of radio, especially comedy but also good drama, for a long while. I realised that for some of my favourites which I have subsequently collected on cd I have lost count of the number of times I have listened to them…

Anyway these are a few of my favourites…

Old Harrys Game
Andy Hamilton’s comedy of life in hell, particularly the first 5 series from the point of view of the Professor who is banished there for his staunch atheism. The comedy often revolves around Satans futile attempts to convince the Prof of mankinds base immorality, or later on to try and stop the overcrowding problems in hell by returning to Earth to help mankind mend it’s ways!

Hut 33
Set in one of the outlying code-breaking huts at Bletchly park during the Second World War. The comedy revolves around the hapless 3rd Lieutenant running the hut, the stuck up Oxford Prof and the working class hero northern maths genius… Listen out for the Polish resistance fighter Minka whose propensity for violence knows no bounds for Germans (“Off to the wood… dig, dig, bang, bang…”)

The Scaryfiers
I only discovered these last year. Ham filled tales of daring-do set in the 30’s as Insp Lionheart of the Met and Prof Dunning take on all manner of demons, ghost, ghouls and foul fiends intent on nefarious deeds. If you love Lovecraft, Sherlock Holmes or Doc Savage then this is for you. There are free downloads on the website, try them out – the trailers give a good feel for the pace and wit of the stories themselves. They even managed to get Brian Blessed to star in the latest story!

The next instalment “the Secret Weapon of Doom” is due for release this summer. I will have it on pre-order, what better recommendation can I give?

A review! Something else to fill the ether with…

I tried out the comedy club at the ARC in Stockton last night, accompanied by some friends and wife and I must admit to being surprised.

I was happily surprised by the acts. Seymour Mace (Lately basking in the considerable reflected glow of Johnny Vegas) was great. Quite disturbing in parts, I think he would make an excellent rapist/stalker (see the act, you’ll understand) if he hasn’t already done so, and it’s hard to believe this man didn’t back Gladys Knight with his display of deft dance floor moves. But for me the undoubted star of the evening was the MC Jason Cook.

Now I’m usually a grumpy bugger about comedy and those who make me truly laugh are rare comic geniuses (Eric Morcambe, Andy Hamilton, Bill Bailey, Ade Edmonson) but JC was great, suitably obscene for my tastes, courageous with his admission of women’s underwear wearing (which he then went on to prove, good man) and relentless with his delivery, especially when it came to hecklers – which leads me to my second surprise.

Now I’m a somewhat of a pessimist about our species. The average Joe Public (obviously not you, kind discerning reader) is illiterate, uninformed, uncouth scum. But it eludes me as to why someone would pay for the pleasure of sitting in a comedy gig, shout out unfunny – and at times unintelligible – drivel in order to try and spoil the show for everyone else when they know what’s going to happen? Now don’t get me wrong. A good heckle can make a show. But for the Boro troglodytes who manage to knuckle their way down the A66 for the evening, do me a favour next time and stick to your usual white lightning fuelled, puerile, drug addled, binge drinking night fighting amongst yourselves over whose biffer of a moose looked at who.

The rest of us can enjoy the comedy…

Top one Jason, see you next month.