Negative Nancy

It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to

I recently mused that if I carried on complaining about things in New York / America I’d earn myself a Grumpy Old Man badge, and then had a friend tell me that I sound frustrated or angry all the time.

Whilst it’s fair to say that a healthy percentage of my content has been more critical in tone, I feel it would be remiss of me to not point out the following (some would say obvious) fact: moving countries is hard work.

This blog was always intended to cover the trials and tribulations involved in uprooting ones entire life and moving it three and a half thousand miles across the ocean and, guess what, there are many vexatious things about a country in which you haven’t spent your entire life!

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Timehop: Paris

I reinstalled Timehop just over a year ago; the infamous app that lets you relive past triumphs, miseries, and WTFs all in one handy place on your phone.

It recently reminded me that it had been two years since we opened our office in Paris – it’s gone now, replaced by the acquisition – and I felt like doing some rambling reminiscing on the matter.

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You say tomato …

You say ‘toe-may-toe’, and I say ‘toe-mah-toe’. You say ‘Poe-tay-toe’, and I say ‘poe-tah-to’.

‘Trousers’ are Pants’. Holidays are ‘Vacations’. Pavements are ‘Sidewalks’. Flats are ‘Apartments’. ‘Fucking awful drivers’ are ‘Drivers’.

And, apparently, ‘On Time’ is ‘Five minutes late’.

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Pack it up, pack it in

Let me begin

If you’ve ever moved house, you’ll be familiar with the chore that is packing. If, like me, you’ve moved eight times in the last four years, you will be so intimately familiar with it that the mere mention of packing sends you into a whimpering foetal position.

Packing to move house is easy though, really. You get a load of boxes. Put your stuff’n’things into said boxes. Hire a van, lorry, or friends & relatives, and cart it all off to your new place. It’s laborious and tedious work for sure, but it’s not rocket science.

Moving countries is a little more complicated. Especially when you have nowhere to live at the other end.

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Cruise Noob

Memoirs of a cruise virgin

If you’ve ever cruised before, skip this post. Otherwise, read on.

As I write, we’re docked at the pretty little town of Charlotte Amalie, on the beautiful island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. It’s Stop #3 on our 8 night cruise and I thought now was as good a time as any to recap some of the first days at sea and in the Caribbean. Plus, this being a US territory, there’s data here so I can post.

I’d never been on a cruise before, but always kind of fancied the idea. I like seeing new places, and the idea of being shuttled around in what is essentially a big hotel, visiting some of the most amazing places on the planet, seemed like one I could get on board with (pun fully intended).

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BMW 116d SE

Do BMW actually make a bad car?

After my brief tango with the Mercedes C220d at the start of June, I found myself in need of another car for August, to move my things from London to Wales in preparation for their ultimate shipment from the UK to the US.
I rebooked with Sixt, choosing as I did before the Mercedes A-Class ‘Prestige’ option, for just north of £200. That gave me the car from mid-morning Thursday to early morning the following Monday, with full insurance cover.

I was pleased when I found out that they had a BMW 1 Series for me, instead of a Merc A-Class. I was less pleased when I saw, written on the receipt, what model I was being given.
Whereas last time I was upgraded to the pretty-swish and pretty-loaded C220d, this time I was being given a 116d SE. Or, pretty much, the bottom of the range.

There were a few options installed – a quick check of the BMW configurator reveals that the car currently sat on the driveway would cost just a shade over £28,000 to buy outright – but the initial impressions were pretty disappointing. After owning an M135i, and having spent the weekend riding in and photographing an M140i, this was a big step back.

Or so I thought. Continue reading “BMW 116d SE”