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I bought my second Orange mobile phone one year ago, a Nokia 3210, to replace my old nk402. It is still going strong, and I would seriously recommend anyone considering using the Orange Just Talk (pay-as-you-go) service to buy one of their phones. The choice of mobiles they offer are good, however I would say to go for a Nokia, as many people have them and they are great for customising. You can change the colour of the whole phone to match your mood, you can compose or download your own personal ringtones, and you can even download new logos for the screen of the phone. I find the Orange mobile network on the whole reliable, however living in the countryside I can occasionally be left without a signal – although this is the same as friends who are on other networks such as BT Cellnet and Vodaphone. I like the flexibility of Orange’s pay-as-you-go service, as you get the choice of two talkplans, which you can switch between easily and for free. The first is ideal for heavy users, where the first few minutes of calls each day are quite expensive, but then all further calls are really cheap. The second is more like a standard service, where calls are charged on a peak/off-peak basis. You also get a choice of off-peak time bands to suite your lifestyle, which may be handy if you make calls in these particular time bands (however I find evenings the most likely time to be making calls anyway). In addition to these options, I believe it is possible to purchase other discounts for a small one-off fee: Orange Out Here costs £15 and gives you £5 calling credit, 5 free text messages every day, and two 30-second calls every time you run out of credit. Orange On Campus is ideal for those who have many friends using Orange and also with the On Campus option. It gives you greater discount when phoning these people. Top up cards can be bought from most shops nowadays. I would suggest to anyone considering using Orange Just Ta
lk to buy a £50 top-up card – it really saves a lot of money as you get cheaper phone calls and text messages. Also, a handy tip for anyone who spends lots of money on phone top-ups and petrol is to buy your £50 top-up cards from Safeway, using the main (conveyor belt) tills. You will receive 5% discount on your top up card (making it £47.50), and as you have spent over £40, you will also get 5p per litre off your next fill of petrol. Simple, but effective. The only bad point I can find about Orange, although I suspect it is the same as with other operators, is that to phone people on other networks costs a fortune – at all times. My advice is to buy a phone on the same network as your friends and family: it will be the cheapest option. Also, the cost of phoning any mobile from a landline is crazy, however I suspect this is more the fault of the landline provider than the mobile provider. Orange are a good, capable and reliable network operator with many options available to the customer, even for pay-as-you-go customers. Remember, there is ‘ouch’ in their vouchers, and no ‘eak’ in their off-peak, however if all your friends have a Vodaphone and you plan to use your phone for calls (rather than text messages) I would not recommend you to buy an Orange as it will cost a LOT of money on credit top-ups.
After seeing my dad restoring his own VW Beetle, I had caught the bug. I knew that my first car had to be a Vee Dub. I now own my own 1973 Volkswagen Beetle, 1303 model. It is my first car, I love it, and use it every day to get me to work, uni and see my friends. VW made several models of the classic beetle, and regularly updated the practical features of the cars over the years, however they made a point of never changing the styling simply for the sake of change. The original models had small engines of 1200cc, until the 1300cc version was added to the range in the '60s. Later came a more powerful 1500 in addition to the others. These models were all based on a torsion bar front suspension system, which is renowned for its poor handling. However, the comfort level on normal roads is reasonable, especially considering the age of some of these cars. The 1302 model (often referred to as the Super Beetle) was released at the start of the 1970s. This featured a completely new front suspension system, incorporating 'Macpherson Strut' style springs instead of the torsion bars. The rear suspension now used 'IRS' - Independent Rear Suspension. These upgrades drastically improved the car's handling. It also menat that the front boot-space could be increased in size, although the changed design meant a slightly more bulbous look from the front, which many did not like after being used to the same basic shape of the original beetle. My model of car is the 1303 (Super Beetle), which further improved on the 1302 model and began production in August 1972. This version of the popular Beetle came with a curved windscreen, proper dashboard, larger tail lights and improved cabin space. Both the 1302 and 1303 models had 1300 engines, however an 'S' model (ie 1303S) was also available which included front disc brakes, and a 1600 engine. The 1200 (budget) models continued production alongside the 1302/3 models, but still use
d the original basic beetle shape and suspension. I would recommend anyone who is an enthusiast to purchase an old-style beetle. They are fun to drive and, despite popular belief, surprisingly inexpensive to maintain - I would know, I'm a student! It does, however, help if you are able to carry out repairs yourself or know someone who can. As with anything that is almost 30 years old, some things will and do occasionally go wrong. My advice would be to spend a bit more initially and buy a car that someone else has spent the time and money on. This way, you are less likely to have things going wrong. Watch out for very rusty cars that seem 'a good project' - often they are a waste of time and money, unless you are looking for an older (pre 1965) model which can be quite rare, and are viewed as a 'classic' car. These will be more desirable and fetch a higher price if you sell it in future. I would also say to try and buy a car which is tax exempt (built before 1973). You will save a lot of money this way through not having to pay road tax. The later the model of car you are buying, the more sophisticated it will be. Many of the idiosyncrasies such as filling the fuel tank from the front boot are removed and the cost of repairs tend to be cheaper. Fuel consumption of the Beetles is not at all bad, considering the age of these cars. 30mpg is what I achieve on average - this is the same, if not better, than most of the New Beetle models. Yes, old Beetles can be quite noisy, but the sound of that wonderful aircooled flat-four engine is music to my ears. As for comfort, they are quite cramped in the rear seats, however for sitting in the front they can be surprisingly comfy (depending on the age of the car, and how many miles it has covered). Many find the driving position and pedals awkward - I would just call it different. After about four short journeys, in my opinion the floor hinged pedals feel completely natural and no
t at all uncomfortable. In conclusion, I would definately recommend buying an old-style beetle. They are great fun and very different to the other, boring cars on the road today. If you don't fancy the work involved in maintaining a very old car, you can still buy brand-new old-style beetles in right-hand-drive from the UK, which are specially imported from the VW factory in Mexico that produces them. They come complete with fairly powerful fuel-injected 1600cc aircooled engines. They cost about the same as any other new small car, however they will hold about 80% of their value after three years, as depreciation rates are minimal. Do it - buy one. You know you want to catch the bug too!