Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yes I'm Still Here and Facebook Comments

It seems that Facebook is taking over the online life style these days and I confess that I am somewhat of a victim, thus the lack of posts here.  But lately I am tending to move away from Facebook.  It's just that it tends to present too much of an artificial view of those who post on it.  And it tends to sort of remove people from real communication.  On Facebook everyone's life is wonderful, their kids are beautiful, families are united, pets are cute, their diet is healthy, and the food they cook must be shared by all.

Best of all everyone needs to know about their political views, their organic diets and their veganess.  The whole thing is just way too artificial. 

When it comes to family and friends, pictures are nice, but to tell the truth I'd much rather get a single phone call or even better a video conference with Skype than see 50 pictures.  And I'd rather hear about the reality of a friend's or family member's life than the artificial one presented on Facebook.

In defense of Facebook, I do like the fact that it keeps me a bit in touch with old classmates, casual friends, new Facebook friends, and others that are not really part of my closer relationships. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The week from auto mechanic hell.

Sunday I left to take Julia and 3 girlfriends to the beach for a couple of days in the camper.  We were not 30 minutes away when I heard a bang and smoke coming out of the left rear wheel.  We stopped on the Autostrada and eventually made it to a garage where the owner said he would fix it for the next day.  Next day Luisa took me Julia and two friends, one dropped out, to pick it up and we departed again after paying 215 euro.  Another 20 minutes or so down the road the other side did the same thing.  We limped off the autostrada and found another garage in a small town.  We ate lunch waiting for it to open.  Then the girls and I spent the day inside the camper inside the garage waiting for the owner mechanic to fix it only to be told at 5 he could not do it until the next day.  So beach trip canceled and Luisa had to pick us up again.  Next day paid another 400 and drove it home thinking all was done.  The day after I decided to give it a bit of a test drive and discovered that the cable that controls the hand brake was loose. 

I should mention that the reason for all this trouble was that during the bi-annual check up we were told that the rear brakes were bad.  So we paid about 400 euro to have them completely replaced.  And the cause of our problems was that when installing the new brakes they tightened up the nut holding the bearings on too much, causing them to self destruct. 

Now comes the really fun part.  I went back to the original  brake installer to ask for some money back.  They denied that anything could have been their fault.  After an hour or so of arguing back and forth the father at this father and sons operation angrily told me that if one independent mechanic told me it was his fault he would pay me back the money I spent. My next move was to take the camper to a mechanic we knew to fix the loose cable and ask him what he thought.  He was too busy so he recommended another who it turned out was also too busy.  Finally the third one was available.  This company named Bristot was highly recommended by a friend but I had never used them as they are a bit outside Belluno.  So, we left the camper there thinking they would fix the cable and check over the work done by the others.  And also each of the three said that it was obviously caused by the first mechanic.

So back I go to tell the dad that it was agreed by not just one but three others that it was caused by his work.  Then of course he said it was not really his fault because there was wear in the other parts causing them to inadvertently make the nuts too tight.  But after a long "discussion" he did give me back 300. 

Now I get a call from the final mechanic telling me to come over and discuss the problems they found.  Well, it seems none of the other mechanics that fixed the problem did the job correctly and to top things off the original mechanic had put on the completely wrong brake sets, which is why the hand brake cable came undone.  So after some discussion the head this other father and sons team Mr. Bristot agreed to go with me to find the original brakes that were removed to see for sure which of a series of brake sets were the original equipment.  We found them in the presence of the owner of this first garage and he finally realized that they had really screwed up.  I suppose that also in the presence of another mechanic he had no choice but to face the truth.  He agreed to pay for all the work to put things right again.  And when we went to pick up the camper after it had finally been properly repaired we happened to see him leaving having paid the bill in full. 

Now we are preparing to leave for a couple of weeks in the camper and I have to confess to having a bit of fear that something else will go wrong.  But at least I am confident in the work done by Mr. Bristot, it's just too bad that he told me will retire soon.  I just hope his sons are as good as he is. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's Wrong With Italian Business

A part broke on our campers electric step.  A camper company in the UK helped me find what I needed, and quoted me a price.  In order for them to give me the best price they had to have it shipped from Germany to the UK then ship it to me.  OK, so then I asked a camper company an hour from here for a price.  You can guess what the result was.  The price from the company in the UK was still 5 euro less than the price from the dealer in Italy.  So the part will be shipped to the UK then shipped to me from there.  In another example some time ago, we needed a new fuel tank for the camper.  The Fiat dealer quoted me 600 euro, I bought one from Germany for less than 150 delivered to my door.  Is it any wonder business is in the crapper here.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Carnival in Switzerland, they take it seriousaly.

Castello di Soave

We stopped here for the night on our way to Erin's house. There is a nice parking area for campers with electricity for 5€ a night.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Some of my Pots

I took pictures the other day of all the pots that I have made over
the years which are still surviving here at home. So here are some of