A week in review – Road tax, Apple Genius Bar and Camping

Wednesday

We headed up Whiteladies Road in search of a Post Office, eventually finding one hidden away inside a Tesco. ยฃ140 later we had a Road Tax disc for our new car. Driving on the roads in Britain is not a pleasurable experience, the potholes, lack of proper road signs, signs hidden behind trees, raised drain covers, uneven surfaces etc. make sure of that. Having to pay ยฃ140 for the displeasure really is shocking.

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Thursday

We went to the Apple Store.
We met a hipster. ๐Ÿ™
I had a problem with my iphone5 because despite purchasing it as an unlocked phone, it was locked-on to the Orange network. I’d bought a new nano sim on the 3 network to replace the Orange SIM card because it offered better a better deal, but it wouldn’t work in my iPhone.
I’d tried all the obvious things to fix my phone; a restart, resetting to factory settings etc. but nothing resolved the problem.

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So we had to go to the Apple Store to get them to sort out my iPhone.
We arrived at the Apple Store just after they’d opened. As we walked in we saw several members of staff standing chatting amongst themselves. One of them, the hipster, stopped talking and greeted us. He asked us how he could help. I told him about my iphone 5 being locked on to the Orange network. He said I had to speak to someone in their customer care department; Apple Genius Bar. But instead of him just phoning upstairs to the on site Genius Bar, or sending us straight up there, he said I had to download an app, and the use the app to book and appointment for the Genius Bar. Whilst I was downloading the app, and going through the booking process, he continued to stand holding his iPad in its red cover, and rambling on about various services and stuff that I had no interest in. He also said that I’d have to come back when an appointment was available, which may be in a couple of days, or a couple of hours. I told him that we didn’t live in Bristol so this was inconvenient. He said that I’d have to go to another Apple Store and make an appointment at their Genius Bar, unless I could get an appointment at the shop I was standing in.

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There were no other customers on the ground floor of the Apple Store, but there were about half a dozen staff, milling about doing nothing. Why they couldn’t help me, I don’t know.
Anyway, the hipster, was still blathering away, patronising us – as in ‘are you sure your iphone is unlocked, you old people you don’t understand technology, have you had your iPhone for long’ etc. I told him that we’d been users of Apple products for many years, and had iPhones for several years too, and that yes of course I was sure my iPhone 5 was unlocked. Honestly!
Eventually he finished his scripted nonsense about various services available at Apple. He glanced at his iPad, with its red cover, and said, “there’s an appointment available for you now, go upstairs and speak to any member of staff holding an iPad with a red cover.
A red covered iPad! Er, like the one he was holding, and the ones all of the staff on the ground floor were holding. Yep, like that.

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It must be tiring being a hipster, I say this because the clearly exhausted guy never once stood up properly during the whole time he was trying to sell us this, that, and the other Apple products and/or services. He was so tired he’d remained slumped against the counter.
Anyway, having been in Apple for what felt like weeks, we walked upstairs where we saw, surprise surprise, several members of staff holding iPads with red covers.
In the far corner of the too floor was the sign ‘Genius Bar’. We walked over to be greeted by a young lady, holding a red covered iPad. We told us to wait. Wait for what I’m not sure, as she wasn’t doing anything. About a minute later she said she was ready to help.
So, having been through everything downstairs with the hipster, the hipster with a serious attitude problem, I had to go through everything again.
Eventually the young lady began the process trying to fix my iPhone 5. She started by asking me if my iPhone was definitely unlocked. Yes, it’s unlocked! She checked the serial number. Then she told me that, yes, your iPhone is unlocked. Der!

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Having established what I already knew, that my iPhone was unlocked, she then began tapping away on my iPhone, and her iPad. During this time she also called a colleague over, to ask his opinion. He asked us what the problem was, despite the girl already having told him. We told him; iPhone 5, unlocked, but locked on to one network. His response? “Wow!” I guess geniuses don’t want to waste their precious brains in conversation. Having said ‘wow’ he then wandered off.
The young lady continued clicking various things in the settings on both my iPhone 5 and her iPad.
Eventually, after what felt like another week, we were told the phone would now work with my 3 network nano SIM card.

Iphone 5 and iPad 3

We said that as we’d also purchased another iPhone 5 at the same time as the iPhone she’d just fixed, would that also be locked, despite it also being purchased as an unlocked phone. She said it may be. She then checked the serial number of the other iPhone, and yes, it was also locked. She said both iPhones had locked on to the networks of the first nano SIM cards we’d put in them. This iPhone had a 3 network nano SIM card in it, which is the network we intend to stay with. But we don’t want any problems in the future is we decide to change mobile networks. So the girl said she would make sure this didn’t happen. She said it may take a couple of days, and a message would be sent to that iPhone confirming that it was unlocked.
At the time of writing, 4 days later, no message had been received.

I am a fan of Apple. But this whole experience was ridiculous. It was obvious that I could have, and should have been seen within seconds of entering the Bristol Apple Store. There were no other customers, there were lots of staff doing absolutely nothing, and yet I had to waste my valuable time going though the lengthy appointment making nonsense, listening to the diatribe of the hipster, being patronised and spoken to as if I’m an eejit who knows nothing about technology,
and finally explaining my problem to 3 members of staff. What a joke!

Friday

We caught a taxi from our hotel to the car auction where we collected our new car. Our first trip in our new motor was to a petrol station.

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ยฃ83 later the car was full. Mrs.R was so shocked by the price on the pump, she took a photo of it – much to the amusement of the ladies behind the counter. When I walked in to pay, they were laughing and saying, ‘she’s probably shocked by the price’. I said, yes she’s is that’s why she’s taking a photo. They laughed some more, but probably not as much as the chancellor of the exchequer.
Tank full, of expensive fuel, we pointed the car East and headed towards Reading, Berkshire.

We went to Decathlon where we purchased a tent, a couple of sleeping bags, air bed, pump, gas stove, a couple of foldable chairs, and a few other bits and bobs.
We were going camping!
We didn’t go camping.
The weather had started cloudy, and by the time we’d bought the tent etc. the skies had darkened and it was raining, heavily. So, being the hardy people we are, we decided to book in to a hotel. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ We chose a very nice coaching inn in Ripley, Surrey. Much better than a tent. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Ripley was a nice little village, with a good choice of amenities. The high street had various shops, as well a couple of cafes, and pubs. We went for a beer in one of the pubs, follows by a late lunch in one of the cafes. Mrs.R had a cheese ploughmans, I had a chilli sausage in a baguette. The food was nothing special. The coffee menu sounded impressive, several different coffees from various countries, with detailed descriptions of taste, flavours, brewing dates etc. Unfortunately the coffee menu was far more impressive than the actual coffee which tasted like warm water. Disappointing.
We spent the evening relaxing in our hotel.

Saturday

Early in the morning we drove from Ripley in Surrey to see my parents in Croydon.
After a pleasant visit we headed across London to the M1.
This is when it all went horrible wrong.
We were both tired, and not really with it.
It was the Troop in the Colour. We didn’t know.
We were both tired, and not really with it. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Despite knowing the way from Croydon to the M1, for some unknown reason, I decided to use Google maps on my iPhone 5.
To cut a long story short, we basically drove round in a big circle, spending one extra hour getting to the M1. Eeejits!

Once on the M1 I drove until I felt like stopping, which happened to be in Coventry.
Not wanting to get our brand new tent dirty, we once again booked a hotel for the night. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Coventry was not our sort of place, which may or may not explain why we drank more beer than was sensible in the Wetherspoon pub in the town centre. The pub was packed, to overflowing, everyone seemed rather squiffy – when in Rome, or Coventry………..
We did have an early night though, which was sensible as we set off early the following morning.

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Sunday

Bright and early we set off from Coventry to Nuneaton to visit Mrs.Rs brother.
Once again we weren’t with it, as we were unaware that this Sunday was Fathers Day.
We arrived in Nuneaton intending to go out for lunch at a country pub.
The first pub I drove us all too was closed down.
The second pub, was fully booked with families celebrating Father’s Day.
The third pub, a Brewers Fayre at the Marina, was also very busy with families out for Father’s Day, but thankfully we managed to find a table.
Well, actually we found 3 different tables. Initially we sat inside by the bar with our drinks. Then we moved outside to the terrace, overlooking the canal boats on the water, and watching the ducks, and a swan with her 4 signets. It was quite chilly sitting outside.
Finally one of the staff found us a table inside, upstairs, in the warm.
We ordered lunch. Mrs.R had lamb with mashed potato and peas, her brother opted for the carvery, his friend ordered vegetarian lasagne, and I had a steak and ale pie. The food was nothing special, but it filled a gap.
After lunch we returned to Mrs.Rs brothers home for the night. We chatted, we drank red wine, we chatted. Mrs.R was very happy to be spending time with her brother after being away travelling for so long.

Monday

We woke quite early but didn’t rush off anywhere. We drank coffee, and chatted some more. Eventually we said goodbye to Mrs.Rs brother and began driving to York, our initial destination.
After a while we felt like stopping for a stretch, drink etc. so I stopped at a motorway services.
The car park was crazily busy. I drove up and down the aisles, eventually finding a free spot.
Mrs.R was hungry, so she popped in to M&S where she bought a few things for us to share, a pack of 3 sandwiches; prawn, BLT, and ham with mustard mayonnaise, a pack of 3 mini sausage rolls, an apple & mango smoothie, and a large bottle of mineral water.
We sat in the car park for ages, not sure why. We were knackered. We sat watching the craziness of the overflowing car park and numerous vehicles driving up and down looking for parking. We soon realised that most of the cars were full of people who’s obviously been to a festival. We later heard on the radio that it had been the Download Festival at Donnington.
We are so put of the loop with what’s going in in Britain. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
After resting for a long time at the services, we planned to rejoin the M1, intending to drive on to York. Mrs.R said I looked exhausted, so we changed our minds about York and decided to stop for the day as soon as possible.
Once again we had intended to camp in our new, and as yet unused tent. But as the cheapest campsite was not cheap, and the cheapest hotel was only a couple of quid dearer, it seemed like a no-brainer. Why stay in a tent, when we could stay in a hotel complete with hot running water, electricity, heating, TV, and no need to blow your own bed up?
I used the Booking.com app to book a night in – no bloody idea, somewhere near Rotherham. We’re too far from the South to have a clue where we are. ๐Ÿ˜‰
So, we didn’t quite make it to York. It seemed mad to continue driving up North for the sake of it. No doubt, it’ll still be there tomorrow.
We checked-in, then had a much needed afternoon nap. Lovely!

Tuesday

We were up early, so we drove to Bridlington, which we really liked, but unfortunately there were no houses for sale in our price range. ๐Ÿ™
Then we drove up the coast to Scarborough where we stopped for lunch. We chose a busy little cafe, which seemed popular with the locals. Mrs.R had a vegetarian lasagne, I chose chilli-con-carne.
After lunch we had a little wander round town, took a few photos, and then returned to the car and motored on to Robin Hoods Bay where we spent our first night camping in our new tent.
We’d been to Robin Hoods Bay many years ago, we liked it then, and it hadn’t changed at all. Last time we’d visited in the Winter, and we’d been there very early once morning so there was no one about. This time it’s the Summer (supposedly ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and there were quite a few tourists, and a couple of large groups of children on school trips.
We had a pleasant stroll down along the sea walls and in to the village. There were a few people on the beach, mainly people walking their dogs. We did a little window shopping, and then had a very slow walk back up the winding road to one of the pubs where we sat outside with a drink.
After our drinks we went to our campsite, Hooks Farm. We quickly put the tent up, it took about 10 minutes in total, from erecting it to securing it with pegs and guide ropes. Not bad for a ‘2 second’ tent. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Then we sat admiring the beautiful view down across Robin Hoods Bay and out to sea.
It was a bit too chilly for us to sit outside for long, so we relaxed in the back of the car watching a film on the iPad.
During the intermission, I made dinner. As we weren’t able to purchase anything decent in the local shop, I sautรฉed some onions and garlic with some curry powder, in to which I scrambled some eggs. It was a tasty dinner.
The campsite was fairly busy, with an equal amount of people in tents and caravans.
Just after dark the police turned up. We watched as they ‘knocked’ on one of the tents, receiving no reply, the policeman undid the zip, and then shone his torch inside. There was obviously no one at ‘home’. After chatting to one of the campsite owners the policeman left. They returned the following morning, just as the tent was being dismantled. Not sure what happened.
After we’d eaten dinner, and washed up, we watched some more programmes in the iPad, before retiring for the night.
The campsite was really peaceful, we drifted off to sleep with the sounds of birds singing and sheep being sheep in the neighbouring fields.
And so ended this week.