Friday, 6 October 2017

Memory Walk raises cash for a great cause
SWMBO plus one of my BILs (brother-in-laws), two SILs (sister-in-laws) and a rescue greyhound completed the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk at the weekend, raising around £1,200 for the charity.
Yours truly and my other BIL provided essential supervisory and tactical support for the 7.5 kilometre walk.
This included seeing them off at the start, chatting over a few coffees, making sure the burgers on sale at the Norfolk Showground were up to scratch and taking Finish Line photos for posterity.
BIL, I should point out, is somewhat indisposed on the physical front at present with hip problems while I am just plain lazy.
A massive well done to the walkers and a big thank you to all the family members and friends who gave so generously.
A wonderful way to remember MIL.
To find out a bit more about the walk, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-almond2.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Ryan Air to charge for hand baggage? Told you so in 2012
OK. Hands up those of you who were shocked at the latest Ryanair antics? What, not a single hand?
I guess we have all become used to the customer unfriendly antics of the lowest of the low-cost carriers.
Ryanair has been battling to save its reputation (can you save something you haven’t got?) since it announced a couple of weeks ago that more than 2,000 flights that will be cancelled up until the end of October because of a huge admin blunder involving its pilots.
To make matters worse, many travel insurance companies have refused to meet claims for the disruption caused, leaving travellers with no real option hut to throw themselves at the mercy of the airline.
My reader will know that I have had a bee in my bonnet about Ryan Air for a number of years. At this stage I will lay my cards on the table and say I have often used the airline – in fact, we flew Ryan Air to Berlin only a couple of weeks ago.
Both flights that time were fine – still a bit heavy-handed with the full-on sales and marketing on board from the crew but plug in your headset, switch on your favourite movie/ album on your smartphone and the time passes relatively peacefully.
So why do I use them and then abuse them? Simples – the airline still offers exceptional value for money, with a return fare to the German capital costing less than a return train fare to London from our part of deepest Suffolk.
But you must be prepared to take the risk that something untoward is bound to happen at some time during the experience. Keep your wits about you, keep calm and take control and all should be well.
Back in the day when I was flying down to the Algarve every six to eight weeks on business I used both Ryan Air and Easyjet and rarely paid more than £50 for a return ticket.
What got my goat on more than one occasion was what seemed to be the continually changing policies of Ryanair. One minute they’d let someone haul a bag the size of small country on board and the next they’d stop everyone and penalise half the flight for having a bag too big or too heavy.
You just never knew what you might face departure gate so I vented my travel frustrations in those days by blogging about them – see http://thelowcosttraveller4.blogspot.co.uk/
On January 12, 2012 I wrote: “Michael O will undoubtedly have a long list of more wheezes to extract more dosh from punters. Next? Forget the €1 to go to the loo – people would just train themselves to avoid using the on board facilities. But my money is on a fee for carry-on bags. Over the last couple of years I have seen many, many occasions when, on a full flight, overhead space simply runs out and some bags end up in the hold.”
I followed this up on March 14, 2012 with: “So what is Ryanair's end game? Well, how long until we have to pay a "Priority Cabin Baggage" charge of, say £5 per case each way, if you  want overhead storage? Sounds impossible - or is it?”
And what did Ryan Air announce not so long ago? “From 1st November 2017, Ryanair customers will have to pay £5 for priority boarding if they want to carry a wheelie bag on board.”
Let me know if you want some tips on picking Wednesday’s National Lottery numbers.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A nasty, personality stealing and frustrating illness
I doubt my reader will have noticed, but it is two months since I last shared my ramblings.
The primary reason for this lack of interesting, intellectual and invigorating view-sharing is family related.
SWMBO’s mother, my mother-in-law, MIL, passed away at the end of July after a short stay in hospital. As you can imagine, this sad, but not totally unexpected, event, stopped the flow of my creative juices.
The family had celebrated MIL’s 90th birthday at her residential care home just 11 days before she died. As seems to be the case with all our family get-togethers there was plenty of fun, loads of laughs and lots of sharing of memories.
Thank goodness for that – we have a lovely afternoon to remember her by.
MIL had Alzheimer’s, a thoroughly nasty, personality stealing and frustrating illness.
Which is why SWMBO is taking part in the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk in Norwich later this month.
Every penny raised for the Society gives all of us a better chance of living with this terrible illness.
Living longer has many, many advantages. But it is a double-edged sword as the longer we live, the more likely we are to suffer from some form of dementia.
The generosity of our family and friends means SWMBO has already raised a considerable sum.
If you slipped through the net when we contacted people about the walk, please do have a look at SWMBO’s Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-almond2.
Thank you.