3 Piece Luggage

City Scape

Getting Away from it all

An often overlooked item when taking a vacation, is the humble suitcase. Yes, the tickets are important and you won’t be going abroad if you forget your passport. But that old suitcase carries all of our possessions and we expect it to protect its contents and keep them secure.

stack of five suitcasesCheap Suitcase = “NO”

Which is why a cheap suitcase is really a false economy on so many levels. You don’t want the suitcase to fail, to cause damage to its contents or to allow someone to gain access when not in sight.

Replacing cheap suitcases, on a regular basis is then no longer cheap. An upfront investment in a sturdy suitcase or set of suitcases works out cheaper because they last for such a long time.

Quality Suitcase = “YES”

The function of a suitcase really hasn’t changed very much since its early beginnings. Probably the most useful addition is that of the zip and the casters. So avoid gimmicks and designer chic. They don’t add anything and are best left out. There is one element we like but we’ll come to that later.

So what would we recommend? We think that the ones to go for are the 3 piece luggage set, like the ones shown here 3 piece luggage set bargains

First they fit nearly inside one and other, when not in use. Great for storing away when not in use. But nowadays they come in a fantastic sets of patterns, colours, designs. This is really useful if you’ve ever been waiting at an airport carousel and seen all the hundreds of lookalike cases and bags going round. Something different instantly stands out and helps you through the airport a bit quicker.

Features to Look For

Concentrate of zips and casters. Zips should be big and chunky. They have to withstand s lot of punishment and keep the contents secure. The stronger the zip the better.

Casters enable a suitcase to be easily maneuvered around. But avoid the small cute little wheels. They’ll almost certainly be the first things to go wrong or jam up on a heavy case. Go heavy duty here as well.

A good quality set of cases, while expensive initially, will last you a long time. So they actually work out cheaper in the long term.

Great Shona Sculpture

Our Garden

pink rose from our gardenWe’re very happy with our garden. Both me and my husband put a lot of effort in. It’s hard work, at times, but it’s good exercise, plenty of fresh air and the garden looks terrific.

I was browsing the internet (when I should have been gardening) and I came across this site Shona Sculpture Which introduced me the the possibility of garden sculpture. I had never thought of that before and was intrigued. The site specializes in Shona sculpture which is a type of African sculpture from southern African region.

Shona Sculpture

Shona WomanI loved it and was determined to get a piece for my garden. One of the pieces was quite high, about three foot high. But as soon as I saw it I new where it was going to go, near the the corner of the garden between the trees. I had two shrubs with a gap between them were a drain cover sits.

It’s almost as though the sculpture found me. I tried potted shrubs before and an old wheel barrow, painted white. But there was always something I want quite happy about.

Well I bought a the sculpture of an African woman, quite abstract, very African. But most important it looks fantastic and looks beautiful in its shady position.

These sculptures are carved from stone. You can oil them but I’m not going to bother. I prefer the sculpture to weather naturally and blend in more with the genes of the shrubs I have in that corner.

Stone’s Heavy

Something I was surprised at and should be aware of too, is that these sculptures are heavy. Really quite heavy for me and I had to get one on my teenage sons to help manoeuvre it into position for me. It’s on a drain cover as well, which was a bit of a worry but I’m told, it’s okay – those drain covers can hold quarter of a ton.

So all in all, I’m very pleased. I highly recommend a sculpture in the garden. I’ve already thought about getting a second one, Shona of course. But this one will go beneath a tree where nothing grows. A sculpture there will hide the bare earth, which is a real eye sore.

But that’s for another day.

House Water Softeners

water dropWhat are the Benefits

I want to tell you and everyone else that reads my post about the benefits of soft water. Most people in urban areas live in hard water regions. But water is water right?, Well yes and no. Soft water is preferred if you can get it but hard water is okay if you live in a hard water area.

Well now there’s a solution to hard water and that is to make it soft. But is this really a solution that’s looking for a problem? Is hard water really so bad. What is hard water anyway?

What is Hard Water

Well let’s examine each of those points in turn. First, what is hard water?

Well water falls to earth in the form of rain, sleet or snow. Well we all know that. But before it gets to you it goes on a journey and that journey takes it through mountains, underground water courses to lakes, to reservoirs. Along its journey it accumulates (dissolves) salts. These are normally compounds of calcium and magnesium and this is what makes your water hard. So what’s the problem?

limescale and tapWhat is Limescale

Well there wouldn’t be a problem if those salts stayed in the water. But they don’t they leach out and the leach out faster when the water is heated. This results in the limescale deposits as seen around taps, on baths and especially in showers, where it leaves an unsightly hard white chalky substance. Which is quite difficult to remove.

But it gets much worse than this. It’s the limescale you can’t see that’s the problem. And that occurs inside your water pipes. These get clogged up bit by bit, year by year. Slowly reducing the efficiency of your plumbing. its similar to cholesterol found up in peoples arteries and in bot cases, it’s not good.

Taps won’t turn, stopcocks seize, heating elements use more energy but produce less heat.

The Solution

But there are solutions. Water softeners as seen here Great Whole house water softeners They remove the water hardness aa the water enters your premises. The result is better household water. It really does make a difference to the quality of you life. A big difference that will save you money too.

Tents for the Car Traveler

tent at duskCamping on the Road

Tents come in all shapes and sizes. And now there are so many variations of tent out there, it’s hard to know what to choose.

Here we look at the bigger tents for a family of five our a group of four adults. In particular were looking here at a tent that acts as a permanent fixture for the duration of a vacation. A base camp if you want.

One of the main features is that it should be easy to assemble. Easy is a bit of an odd word for describing tent assembly. But it does get easier the more you do it. In a similar way take down should also be just as easy. But in the beginning it’s quite a puzzle packing it all away.

But for our party and for a duration of several days, what size tent should you look for? Well the bigger the tent the better. A four man tent for four people will be cramped. You choose these if your group are constantly on the move and setting up camp each night along the trail.

camp fireTake a Look Here

But for our fixed location, go bigger and by that we mean minimum of a six man tent but an eight man tent is better as you can see on the this really useful site Probably the best 8 person tent

The eight man tent gives you space. It surprising how you’ll use it all up. They’ll be bags, rucksacks, camp beds and/or sleeping bags. But you’ll still want to move around inside it. A bigger tent gives you all this without treading over things and people.

Other features to consider, which we think are a must, are as follows.
Make sure the tent has a zippable groundsheet. Most do but do check. They prevent rain getting in and prevent little creatures from entering as well.
Double skin breathable fabrics. These are both waterproof and prevent condensation (a real problem with a lots of adults sleeping in a tent). The double skin also acts as a type of double glazing should the nights get cold.

Take look here for more camping tips

Automobiles – Welcome

AutomobilesWe all love our cars, we wash them, take care of them, take them to the car doctor when they feel sick. Heck, we love them more than our families. This is a blog about all things automobile. Over the coming months and years, we’ll be adding lots of articles, tips and other useful nuggets of information, in fact anything we can find that we think will be of interest to our readers.

Some folks prefer to fly, others take the railroad but we travel the freeways. We have great freeways and there’s always places to explore and new people to meet. The automobile makes the whole of America accessible. Better, in our opinion, to be moving than sitting in some departure lounge for hours or hanging around a railroad station because the train is going to be late or heaven forbid “canceled”.

So what are we going to talk about? Cars mainly, great places we’ve been to. Mods, we’ve made to our cars. Great gadgets that we’ve bought and played with. We’re suckers for technology and we love to try stuff out. Most of the time, we use these things once, think they’re great but never use them again. That’s the real test of a new gizmo – do yougo back to it, and can’t live without it?

Not so sure about electric car, great for driving around towns but not for cruising – not yet anyway. Maybe in time as the technology improves and batteries last longer. But for us the revving of a combustion engine, the growl under the hood as you press your foot to the metal – is why we drive in the first place. A purring electric motor doesn’t cut it for us.

So bookmark our page and keep coming back for more great stuff over the coming months. Safe Driving!