Winchester Waitrose

Just come back from the new Winchester Waitrose. Upsides are: Large; decent selection of food. Looks like usual upscale Waitrose food quality. Pleasant, well-turned out, professional staff (Sainsbury’s Winchester, I’m looking at you here). Clean and well-presented store (once again, a glance in Sainsbury’s direction). Downsides: It’s too far out of town. OK, it probably isn’t if you have a car, I admit. I’m in the minority by avoiding one for cost reasons (which might cause one to question why I choose to shop at Waitrose, so it probably works for most of their customers).

Threadless's Customer Service

Ordered a t-shirt from Threadless. It never turned up. They offered to refund me in full, no complaints needed. They also gave me a $5 voucher for future orders, bringing the whole deal even further into the red for them. This is pretty excellent customer service. I struggle to see this happening in the UK.

TripIt is ... er ... Really Good

I grumbled to the nice folks at TripIt because I wasn’t eligible for their referral competition, so they sent me a T-shirt instead. So I think it’s only fair that I put in a good word for them: Try it. If you travel a lot it’s invaluable. It’s free. It’s better than Dopplr. Er… that’s it.

Not-so-Jubbly Line

I’m beginning to enjoy transport in London almost as much as Richard. Got to Waterloo this morning to find that once again, the Jubilee line entrance was closed - this happened last Monday too. Not being a fan of taking replacement buses and braving the crowds with two large bags half-way across London, I copped out and got a taxi. But what’s going on here? And why are TfL incapable of communicating with me when it does?

Tesco Are Clever Again

I got a new Clubcard from Tesco again today. On the back of the key fob version is a phone number and and an ID number. If your cards get lost, the finder is exhorted to call the number to arrange for your keys to be returned. Who knows if it would work, but it’s an potential extra benefit for little cost to me - since I’d put the key fob tag on anyway.

On a More Positive Note... Travel Tip #1

Always add a note to your hotel reservation requesting a high floor if possible. Some hotel chains will let you do this on your frequent traveller profile, for others you may have to request each time. It’s worth it, for two reasons: You typically get a better view and a quieter room. You sometimes get upgraded to a better class of room, without having to explicitly ask for it - they are often high up.


Today: Got an SMS this afternoon saying flight to Terminal 5 had been cancelled. A request to call BA at my own expense. Rapid call to BA asking for a rebooking on an earlier MalĂ©v flight to Gatwick, followed by a semi-run to the hotel. Panic rush to airport; in the end, got there too early! Checked in; panic over for the moment. I’ll have ‘fun’ when I get back checking whether I can claim compensation - I think I can.

Fraport Badness

Normally I find Germany to live up to its reputation for competence and organisation. Today’s trip through the bureaucracy of Frankfurt airport, however, has been marred by duplicate security checks, far too many passport and boarding pass checks, annoying queues, and unclear instructions at the gate - and I haven’t even got on the plane yet! I’m not impressed. Perhaps Frankfurt is suffering from the Heathrow disease of being just too big for its boots.

Excellent Service from TripIt

As I’ve starting travelling a lot recently, I’ve been making reasonably heavy use of both Dopplr and the less well-known TripIt. The idea behind Dopplr is simple: tell it which cities you’re travelling to and it will share that information with your other Dopplr contacts, notifying you when you’re in the same place. You can also syndicate your travel plans - I have mine published on Facebook and available as a feed via Google Calendar.

RIAS Home Insurance Need Some Data Washing

Hmm. Got this letter through the door the other day: Dear Ms Ferrier [sic], **Born before 1958! Your age could save you money on your home insurance.** Let's face it, you are bombarded with messages promising you cheaper insurance... [etc. etc.] Quite entertaining that they managed to get both my sex and my age (quite significantly) wrong. I don’t think they’ll be getting my business.