Chris Croft's Personal Blog

April 28, 2011

Favourite countries to visit

Filed under: Lists, Travel and driving — chriscroft @ 12:40 pm

Personally I seem to have a thing about countries beginning with i:

Ireland, because it’s the friendliest place in the world – except possibly for…
India, which has those great people, great buildings, great food, warm weather, fab shopping, and just all round amazingness
In Europe the winner has to be Italy, with the weather food and people
Iceland is good too, certainly for one visit if not repeats – nowhere on earth is remotely like it.

Norway is the most beautiful country in the world and has to be seen – just don’t eat or drink anything there unless you are a millionaire!

And a vote has to go to Australia, for laid back easy sunshine, people more friendly than we are led to believe in the UK, and great outdoor activities if not architecture…

My oddball choice goes to Guatemala. Much better than I expected, with jungle pyramids, restful lake Atitlan, volcanoes, the superb Antigua, the incredible colours of clothing, and the friendly people.

Sorry Finland, Boston and SanFran, (the USA can’t be lumped in as one), Marrakesh, Peru, Greece (both Athens and the Greek Islands are pretty good), Holland, Denmark, and Nepal you nearly made it to division 1.

Still unknown, might be added later: Vietnam, Thailand, sub-Saharan Africa, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, China, and Japan

No comments either way on Germany, most of USA, Egypt (see the pyramids and then get out), and Canada

Down in the relegation zone are France and Spain, sorry guys, must try harder…


April 4, 2011

Urban i-Spy

Do you remember those lovely old fashioned books of things to look for on a long journey?

I mostly entertain myself by looking for Worlds (see but what about a journey with kids.

In these modern times I have the following list for you to print out and use:

5 Points
Tailback of greater than a mile
Someone over 40 wearing a mini-skirt (can look good, you still get the points)
Aftermath of an accident
Underage smoker
Someone throwing litter out of their window
Missing hubcap / wheel trim
Man driving while wearing hat
Pregnant woman
Dog with head out of the window

10 points

Someone jumping the lights on amber
Fluffy dice
Flat hedgehog
Boarded up shop
Man with pony tail
Couple with matching anoraks
Car with fog lights on when it’s not foggy
Car with only one headlight working
bottom of dress caught in door and flapping

20 points

Dog actually doing a poo
Fat man on small moped
Workman’s cleft
Person who looks like their dog

50 points
Couple with matching sweaters
Seeing an accident happen
Person under 10 years old smoking

Pet Hates

Filed under: Gadgets, Lists, Travel and driving — chriscroft @ 5:23 pm

OOOH, I’m Mr Angry of Parkstone! Here are just SOME of the things that really annoy me!

People driving with foglights on when it’s not foggy
People who put very bright rear foglights on when there is a tiny bit of rain, or…. fog
People with only one headlight working, especially when they put the one on full beam
Warning triangles right next to the car instead of way before you come upon the broken down car (“warning”)
Motorbikes that are slower than cars
Very loud little mopeds
People who sit for ages outside your house in their car / van / taxi with the engine idling

Hairs on soap
… which go round the back when you try to wash them off
Showers that are little more than a dribble
Showers that have sudden temperature fluctuations
Hairs in the plug hole
Upside-down light switches
Builders like Barratt who call their houses “Homes” – no, you are selling a HOUSE, I’LL decide when it’s a home

… who say “I’m not comfortable with that” and “I have issues with that”
… who try to make you drink more (what’s it to them?)
… who write on books
Being made to drink weird foreign drinks by friendly foreigners in order to prove your manliness


Upside down 8s on petrol station signs and house numbers
Houses which have no visible number so you can’t find the one you want
Cats who pretend to be friendly and then are suddenly vicious – make your minds up!
Badly attached buttons on new shirts
Supermarket trolleys that won’t go straight (making you look like a bad driver)
When your wife ‘helps’ you steer by pulling the front of the trolley sideways slightly while you’re pushing it (I can do it!!)
Trolleys left in parking spaces – you have to get out and move the trolley before you park – or maybe you could slowly ram it….?
Two different colours of handwash in the toilets, not labelled – what are they, which one should I use?
Footballers who fall down and writhe in agony, but then within seconds are up and running around again.
Tennis players who when serving take several balls and then reject the ones that are 1% less (or is it more?) fluffy

my MPG experiment in my Audi

Filed under: Lists, Random stuff - uncategorisable, Travel and driving — chriscroft @ 5:15 pm

(It’s a 2 litre diesel, by the way)

Of course, you never know if the instrumentation is telling the truth, but I tried putting cruise control on at various speeds on a flat road (hey Mr Plod, it might not have been in the UK…) and this is what I found:

80 mph – 55 mpg
85 – 45
90 – 37
100 – 32
110 – 28

so the conclusion is that speeding is not only dangerous (yes yes Mr Plod!) but also quite expensive!

I’ll try it for 50 and 70 when I can find a road where I can go that slowly without annoying all the other drivers…

though early indications are that the mpg at 50 or 70 seems to be worse than at 80! Could it be that my car has an optimum speed of 80? (Which is of course illegal, Mr Plod, yes I know – what a shame!)


April 3, 2011

My favourite iPad apps

Filed under: Gadgets, Lists, Music — chriscroft @ 10:25 am

I’ve been using my iPad for a months now and have sorted the gimmicky apps from the really useful ones. So I hope the following is useful

I use Calengoo for my google diary and my google jobs to do lists – using makes it easy to view these on my desk PC, my laptop, my phone, my wife’s computer, internet cafes, etc

I love the mind map software Ithoughts, and icardsort (free)

IMDB is good for “What film was that actor in?”

I use AlarmClock, and TVGuide works really well

Also birthdaysPro (free) tells me who is coming up

I don’t have much time to play games, but one that I actually paid for and like is Super 7 HD
Also Harbourmaster is fun – and free
I bought Angry Birds but, unlike the rest of the world it seems, it doesn’t do much for me

BBCNews I use mosst days

FileMagnet is good for any files or photos you want password protected

Movies is good for seeing what’s on locally and viewing trailers,

and Loopseque is a fun free music thing, thou not as awesome as GarageBand which is brilliant value and very easy to use !


Recommended by others but not explored by me yet:

Dropbox is an obvious.

Plane finder HD and ship finder HD are good for giving live info on planes and shipping, comes up on a map and you can tap the planes / ships to find info. Quite amazing.

Auto trader and parkers guide are good if you’re interested in cars.

The paid-for F1 app is meant to be amazing, you can actually see the cars going round the track in real time with onfo on lap times etc, but I think it’s about £18

and lots of retailer apps like Argos, B&Q, Amazon

eBay for iPad is also a good one.

For facebook I use the Friendly app as I find it best. Twitter is also a must!

For travel planning I find Kayak HD on the iPad the best

Sky+ app is a must if you have iPad and or iPhone, it’s brilliant if you forgot to set something to tape.

I’ve also got Skype but haven’t used it too much yet on the iPad

As there is no alarm clock with the iPad I downloaded nightstand for using as a clock.

For security I’ve got Find my iPad, which when set up can locate all your iPad/iPhone devices at any time they are on. It also allows a remote lock and or wipe function if your device is lost.

For fun, goskywatch is a good one for the planets and stars and uses the movement of the iPad to identify which planet you’re looking at, defiantly worth a try, you’ll be amazed.

Flixster gets a lot of use for the cinema listings

Loads of games, my better half loves angry birds and where’s wally HD. I like kingdoms live game which I have found addictive made for iPhone but can also work on iPad. Also game called bejewelled blitz2 which has an app and you can also play through facebook. Geared is a great game.

Wunderadio is good for radio.

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