Renting a car hurts

I have just gone through the process of renting a car for a forthcoming trip to the UK. I had briefly looked at rates during the week and knew I could get the car for under £100. Today, the rates were about £160. I was shocked at such a large difference. Fortunately, I remembered that I had looked at the UK site earlier in the week and now I was looking at the US site. The same rental enquiry on the UK site returned the sub £100 rates.

I booked the car, although I would suggest to the rental car company that when asking for a billing address it might be a good idea to allow selection of a country other than the United Kingdom.

I needed to return the car to a location that is different from the pickup location. The site offers that function. I entered Carlisle for the return location and was asked to select one of two locations. I picked the railway station. I was then told that the station was not a valid drop-off location. If it is not a valid return location, why does the site offer it as an option?

I shall not disclose the name of this rental car company that has some odd issues with its website and a policy to rip-off its American customers.

Published in: on 23 October, 2011 at 11:52  Leave a Comment  

Harvest Time

I spent this morning in Alexander Valley, helping with the grape harvest. My friend’s husband’s cousin owns a private vineyard. He has been making an excellent Shiraz for several years. I helped with the 2007 harvest; in the intervening years I have been unable to attend. This weekend everything aligned and once more I was in the field with a small curved blade cutting bunches of grapes for the vine.

We tasted the 2007, a vintage whose quality is obviously improved by my cutting. The 2008 does not seem as good. The yet to be bottled 2009 shows great promise.

The owner and winemaker seems to have a slight case of Anglophilism. In his garage are two Jaguars and a Triumph. He also has a Morgan that he wants to rebuild. I assume he likes puddles of oil on the garage floor.

Published in: on 22 October, 2011 at 19:52  Comments (1)  

Candy for Halloween

A local business has a notice in the window offering treats to anyone who drops by on 31st October, with extra treats for any in costume. The notice includes a picture of a pile of candy, removing any doubt as to the nature of the treats. What makes this offer of free candy a little odd, is that the business is a dentist. I suppose it could be a creative way of causing tooth decay to increase business.

Published in: on 18 October, 2011 at 20:44  Leave a Comment  

More Capitola

The video below is one that shows the beach at Capitola. Not an action packed Michael Bay picture, just a slow panning shot of a bay.

Published in: on 16 October, 2011 at 16:56  Leave a Comment  

Capitola By-The-Sea

We have spent an enjoyable couple of days in the charming beach town of Capitola. It lies in a steep-sided river valley in a sweeping bay. Colourful houses are stacked up the hillside looking down on a sandy beach and an ocean dotted with surfers.

Capitola Surfers


Capitola 060

We stayed in a delightful bed and breakfast, The Monarch Cove Inn. It gets its name from the Monarch butterflies that arrive in early October and winter there before flying North in February. They had not yet arrived in numbers this year, but we did several of them fluttering among the eucalyptus trees.

We had supper on Friday night at the rightly famous Shadowbrook Restaurant. It is located on the river bank. We parked at the top of the valley and took the inclined elevator down the hill to the restaurant.


Dinner was blackened lamb with forest mushroom bread pudding and coriander carrots. This was complimented with a glass of  a very tasty Zin from Sobon vineyards.

The dangers of surfing were made apparent as on both Friday and Saturday as we sat enjoying English grub in a seafront bars, the emergency services were present tending to injured people.

Published in: on 8 October, 2011 at 12:31  Comments (1)