I’m using fountain pens for years and I would not change it. I’m very happy with my Pelikan Souverän M600 with fine 14 K gold nib, but I also have a few other fountain pens. However none of them is made from alligator leather…
The new Montblanc Masters for Meisterstück Firenze Alligator celebrates the city of Florence’s rich artistic traditions in leather manufacturing. How? Well, the barrel and cap of this fountain pen is covered by black alligator leather with hand-stitched seam. Quite unusual!
The handcrafted rhodium-coated Au750 / 18 K gold nib is decorated with the cupola of the cathedral “Santa Maria del Fiore“, the same theme you can find on the cap-top where is also a Monblanc emblem made of mother-of-pearl.
I think it is a very nice pen… Price: £2,370.00 / $3,025.00.
When I saw the title of this book for the first time I knew, that it soon must be in my library. That happend and now, after reading, there is my short review…
Title: Murder at the Manor – Country House Mysteries
Author (editor in this case): Martin Edwards
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press in association with the British Library
Published: February 2016
List price: $12.95
The book Murder at the Manor – Country House Mysteries is a part of the British Library Crime Classics series – a series of short crime stories by various authors which have in common some main themes. In this case the main theme is, as you may expected, the english country house (manor house).
There are 16 stories in total:
– Arthur Conan Doyle: The Copper Beeches
– Dick Donovan: The Problem of Dead Wood Hall
– E. W. Hornung: Gentlemen and Players
– W. W. Jacobs: The Well
– G. K. Chesterton: The White Pillars Murder
– Ernest Bramah: The Secret of Dunstan’s Tower
– J. S. Fletcher: The Manor House Mystery
– J. J. Bell: The Message on the Sun-Dial
– Sapper: The Horror at Staveley Grange
– Anthony Berkeley: The Mystery of Horne’s Copse
– James Hilton: The Perfect Plan
– Margery Allingham: The Same to Us
– E. V. Knox: The Murder at the Towers
– Ethel Lina White: An Unlocked Window
– Nicholas Blake: The Long Shot
– Michale Gilbert: Weekend at Wapentake
The list of writers represented in this collection is in my opinion very interesting – from great names of this genre such as A. C. Doyle, G. K. Chesterton, Anthony Berkeley or Margery Allingham to a little known writers – I have to admit that about some of them I have never heard of. The stories in this collection, written over a period of around 65 years, are also very various but all have in common the main theme – classical ‘whodunit‘ crime located at the manor.
The quality of the stories is variable, some of them are very exciting, some are good and some are – well, not so engaging. But certainly it is a very good anthology to see how the genre developed over time. The short introduction of the author before the each story is also very convenient.
In my opinion, Martin Edwards has done a good job – all stories are overall interesting, some of them are known very well, but some of them you will probably read for the first time. I think I can recommend it as a perfect book for winter evening when sitting on the chair near fireplace and sipping good scotch whisky… The only drawback for me is the paperback binding – I prefer hard binding even for this genre.
Bentley announced its fastest and most powerful production model to date – the new Bentley Continental Supersports. It is still a luxury grand tourer or it is a true supersport car? Let us see…
The main question at first: how fast is the fastest and how powerful is most powerful Bentley today? The 6-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine with new high-performance turbos and new engine hardware is very powerful – 710 PS (700 bhp), 1,017 Nm (750 lb.ft.). This represents an increase of 80 PS (79 bhp) and 217 Nm (160 lb.ft.) over the 2009 Supersports model. That means 10 percent power-to-weight and 25 percent torque-to-weight ratio improvement.
That’s a lot of power but what about a speed? A top speed of the new Continental Supersports is 336 km/h (209 mph) and the 0-60 mph time dropped by 0.3 seconds to 3.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds). Bentley says that it is the world’s fastest and most powerful luxury four-seat car – well, with this numbers it can be true.
The engine isn’t of course only thing that has been changed compared to the previous model. The new Supersports is fitted with high-performance carbon ceramic brakes, lightweight 21” forged alloy wheels with black and bright-machined finish (20 kg weight saving), optional titanium exhaust system (5 kg weight-saving), ZF 8-speed automatic with wheel-mounted paddleshift, all-wheel drive system etc. Exterior changes also include newly sculpted front and rear bumper designs with a carbon-fibre parts (splitter and diffuser).
Some changes are also in interior – there is available a very interesting tri-tone interior scheme, new diamond-quilted design on the seats and door side panels, new Supersports emblem stitching and so on. For those who needs more personalisation there is, of course, Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding department – Mulliner.
The new Bentley Continental Supersports will be also available as a Convertible – but I would prefer the neat silhouette of the coupé. What about you?
A big estate with acres and acres of land requires a vehicle with good off-road capabilities. Let’s take a look at two modern cars from the ‘ultra luxury SUV‘ category to see which is – on paper – better off-road. So who is in today’s duel?
Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB
Range Rover is the legend of the luxury SUV category – in fact it is a founder of this category. The current fourth generation is produced since 2013 but in terms of Range Rover’s life-cycle it is still a new car (the first Range Rover prototype was built in 1967!). For this off-road duel I chose the Range Rover with extended wheelbase in Autobiography Black specification (in photos is the limited edition Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB Holland & Holland) with 5.0L V8 SUPERCHARGED engine.
Bentley Bentlayga is the latest adition to the luxury SUV category and the first Bentley’s SUV at all. You can buy it even with a V8 diesel engine but for this test is better choice the ‘full-size’ 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI. With it’s 608 PS is more powerfull than the Range Rover’s V8 (510 PS), but the difference in power isn’t in real world as big as you may expected. Bigger difference, however, is in max torque: 900 Nm vs 625 Nm in Range Rover. In photos is a Bentley Bentayga Fly Fishing Mulliner specification.
Off-road features shootout!
|Main off-road features
|Approach angle deg:
||26.0 (standard height) / 34.7 (off road height)
|Departure angle deg:
||24.6 (standard height) / 29.6 (off road height)
|Ramp breakover angle deg:
||18.4 (standard height) / 26.1 (off road height)
|Wading depth mm:
|Four-wheel drive system:
||permanent 4 wheel drive with standard locking centre differential & Terrain Response 2, standard rear locking differential
||permanent all-wheel drive, Torsen centre differential, open rear differential with Electronic Diff Lock
And the winner is…
Well, the answer isn’t so straightforward. Yes, on the paper is better off-road Range Rover with better ground clearance and approach / departure / breakover angles, better wading depth and more capable all-wheel drive system. Bentayga, on the other side, is slightly shorter in both lenght and wheelbase which is always handy in off-road driving.
In my opinion the most important thing in this shootout is your personal preference. Both cars are capable enough in light / medium terrain (for hardcore off-road you need another car anyway), so it is on you whether you choose adventurous character of Range Rover or luxury and style of Bentley.
Scotch whisky is my favourite drink. Generally I prefer single malt scotch whisky, but time from time – when I’m in the mood of exploring – I give a chance to other types of scotch. And not a long ago the well-known scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker (Diageo) introduced the limited edition Blenders’ Batch Red Rye Finish. So, what are my tasting notes?
A little introduction first. Blenders’ Batch Red Rye Finish is the first “experimental blend” from the limited edition Blenders’ Batch (there will be three blends in total if I’m correct). As the name suggests the basis for this blend is the standard inexpensive “bottom-shelf” Red Label. And to be honest Red Label isn’t the best blended scotch I ever tasted. But I was curious enough about this “limited experimental blend” so let’s look at it…
Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Red Rye Finish is sold in light brown cardboard box. On this box is a short description: “Malt and grain whiskies including now-closed Port Dundas aged in first-fill boubon casks, finished in rye casks.” The bottle itself is slightly different than the bottle of basic Red Label – in my opinion looks with white label a bit nicer – and is individually numbered on label. But the content is more important than the bottle…
Gold I would say. But, of course, colored with caramel (E150).
Completely different than Red Label. Heavy sweetness, maybe a bit chemical – sweetmeats, chewing gum. Bourbon. After a while a trace of pungency. Overall much more interesting than classic Red Label, but – for me – too much chemical-sweetness hints.
The Palate & Finish
Again completely different than Red Label. Sweet, hint of nuts and vanilla, but overall a little bit “orderless“. Finish: short to medium, hint of spice and bitterness, not very convincing.
An interesting alternative to traditional Johnnie Walker blends. Nothing extra special (still cheap “blended scotch”), but in terms of inexpensive “limited edition” scotch whisky worth the taste…
Let’s take a look at the latest video by Bentley promoting their Mulliner workshop, Bentley’s customisation services. I think it is a very nice video about posibilities of car personalisation – from monogrammed upholstery to the tailored body modifications…
Look at the previous post. Do you see it? My last post here was published 3 years ago. Yes – three years ago! What a long time!
In the meantime a lot of things happened.
But now… The Old Manor is back!
Yes, I’ll start a new chapter in the history of this blog. You can look forward to the new posts, reviews, my opinions, interesting links etc.
And the first step (or better the first page?) in this chapter is the new design (theme) of this blog. The previous design was a little bit out of dated, so I decided to get a new one. And this one perfectly suits to my needs – it’s simple and clean with accent to the text and pictures without any disturbing elements.
In the header, as you can see, is picture of the Anglesey Abbey in the winter time. I have to say, that it is just a (random) illustrative picture and there is no relation between Anglesey Abbey and this blog (or myself). It is not “The Old Manor” my blog name is reffering to. It is just a nice picture. I’ll change this header photo from time to time.
As always you can leave comments: Do you like the new design? Are you happy with my blog’s comeback? Leave your comments below!
Let’s go to the new chapter!