Sunday, 8 December 2013

Mixed bag

Good morning/ afternoon/ evening (depending on what time of day you are reading this).

The title of this entry is "mixed bag" which is exactly what it is - a round up of various bits and pieces that aren't enough to justify a full blog entry on their own. I'll kick off with a few town centre related items since I'll be posting this in the town centre chat page on facebook. Note to chat page readers: I don't plug all my blog entries on facebook as that would be against the rules of the page, and even as the page owner, I don't feel I have the power or right to abuse this position. It is important I portray the image of a benevolent and kind ruler, generating a peaceful and prosperous feeling among my subjects. After all, I might want to run for mayor one day. I can always turn into an evil genius and take over the world once I am established in my position of power.

Right then, first stop Nando's. Now as you all know I like to be first with the exclusive news whenever a new restaurant opens in Bicester, getting down there on the first day and then getting my review out before everyone else. I then sit at the computer watching the hits flooding in, hoping that at least one of the 800 or so people who read it on the first day might be so overawed by my writing that they might fork out a few pennies for one of my Kindle books. Generally this doesn't happen, but no matter, my purpose is to inform and entertain primarily, not cynically market my books. Honest!

So down to Nando's we went yesterday afternoon at 4pm which I figured was the ideal time, nicely between lunch and dinner and perfect for my two kiddies to eat. I was very much impressed by the decor of the place, it was welcoming and friendly, and as for our waitress, Lisa, she couldn't do enough for us. Staff like this are like gold dust for restaurants - people will forgive a lot for some friendly service. It wasn't too busy so we got a nice big table and the boys got some crayons and activities to play with, always a nice touch.

Our friends Leanne and Gary were there when we arrived and I liked the look of what Gary had so asked him what he'd ordered, so my decision was easy - it was a case of "I'll have that". We ordered two kids meals and chicken and chips for me and Claire.

It did seem we had to wait rather a long time for the food, but this was probaby because the kids weren't behaving their best and being rather obnoxious. Children the age of mine aren't generally used to waiting for food. In reality it was probably only about 15 minutes which isn't too bad, but 15 minutes with kids misbehaving can seem like an hour. Anyway, both Lisa and another girl that works there, Daanii, came over and apologised for the wait. The food when it came was most enjoyable, and it was a nice meal. Overall we paid £38.90. This seems a lot to me, but then it probably isn't really as I am still getting used to having to pay for the kids as well as for us, we're past the phase now where we can get away with bringing their own drinks in for them, or just ordering them a side order - they need a full meal now. The kids meals are about a fiver but you do have to pay for an additional drink.

There was no sign or any Wi-fi - again as I say in all my reviews I think that EVERY restaurant needs to offer this now, but still those that do are in the minority. Anyway, these are minor gripes and overall we very much enjoyed our visit and will be back again I am sure - but before that we've got Prezzo opening which I am really looking forward to. Three years ago this weekend Claire and I went to Cheltenham for the weekend for Christmas Shopping and the races. We had rather a lucrative day at the track and went to Prezzo in the evening and really pushed the boat out - it was a most enjoyable evening so I remember, let's hope the Bicester branch can live up to this.

The other major event of the town centre over the last week or so was the switching on of the Christmas lights. I covered this in great detail last year so won't go into huge detail again, suffice to say, I think this year was a big improvement on the previous year. There seemed to be more going on in general and a really happy friendly atmosphere around the town. Crown Walk and Pioneer Square have really improved things and there was a lot more going on down there. The pop up shops in Crown Walk have really revitalised the place and let's face it - it was needed. However, I'm still not convinced that the sound system is up to the job - when I was standing down the south end of Sheep Street I could not hear anything from the stage. We didn't want to miss the switch on countdown again so we went and stood right next to the stage, in the doorway of the new Costa and it all went off according to plan - the lights did in fact click on exactly on zero! I am not sure what the reaction was down the other end of the street, but perhaps it is time for our old friends the Sheep to deliver their verdict...

"Bah" I really thought we might hear something this year? I'm getting old though. Can you?
"Bah - no. Let's go and stand over by Edinburgh Woollen Mills. We might hear better
from there and we can eye up all the sexy jumpers through the window".

And finally a few bits and pieces about me. My Oxford Mail column has been running now for the past month and it is going really well. If you haven't had a chance to catch one of them yet, they are in the paper every Friday, or alternatively you can find them online here:

And regular readers will also know that I've been teetotal for quite a few weeks now and this is having some very beneficial effects. Not only am I feeling better but I am also losing weight which has got to be good for my health. I have struggled a fair bit in recent months with various ailments and I am feeling better now than I have in a long time. I shall doubtless be relaxing the alcohol embargo over Christmas but the long term plan is to drink more selectively - holidays and special occasions. The future is looking bright, and with this in mind, I am delighted to announce the launch of Jason version 2.0.

Jason 2.0 will be released worldwide on Monday 6th January 2012. This new improved version benefits from a significantly improved graphics engine and greatly enhanced gameplay, all presented in sleek new slimline packaging. Not only that but it runs on a new environmentally and financially friendly hybrid engine which runs on a combination of both water and alcohol - in fact it can run for several hundred miles on water alone, and has an improved top speed over the old model which did tend to plod along a bit.

Fans everywhere will be massively keen to get their hands on this new edition, and all major online sites are taking pre-orders now. Order early to avoid disappointment!

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.


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