These are the top 5 things I have bought. They have to varying degrees provided me only with pleasure. They have not required that I go back to the shop and complain and they have not left me with that nagging doubt that I could have got a better deal or should have bought something different instead.
1. Engagement Ring
2. Apple 20GB iPod
3. Fulham Season Ticket
4. Canon Ixus II Digital Camera
5. Pure Digital Radio
Yes. OK. I am a chicken. Jane doesn't really know about the fact I'm writing this blog, she's giving me enough grief about the Fulham one, but she will inevitably find out soon and when she does I am not a brave enough man to put the engagement ring anywhere other than first on this list. It is almost certainly the single most expensive item I have ever bought that didn't require a mortgage or loan to pay for. It is a single square diamond which we got from Swag in Richmond back in ... er ... 1992, I think. It is perfect in every sense and despite it costing a fair penny back then I have never for one minute regretted buying it. The fact that it took us another 7 years before we finally got married meant that little ring probably earned its keep by remaining as a shining reminder that we were committed to each other, and it's still a beautiful peace of jewellery.
My iPod is wonderful. I don't care what people say about other MP3 players, the iPod is cool. It's white. It's got a cool click wheel. It's shiny on the back. I got my 20GB pod direct from Apple about two years ago. 20GB is a lot of music, though mine tends to stay consistently around the 16GB mark. It's more CD's than you could ever take on holiday with you, and lets me take all my favourite albums with me wherever I go. I've had no problems (touch wood) with the battery life and use it nearly every day. The shuffle facility has opened up whole areas of my music collection I had long forgotten (it's like listening to Radio Chop which only ever plays really great music). It occasionally displays an unnerving level of sentience, "Hello Dave .. today I am playing you a selection of New York Punk, later though we might try some soundtrack music". Though at other times the contrast of Folk followed by Garage Rock followed by Indie works just as well.
I bought my first Fulham season ticket in 1996, Micky Adams had just taken over as manager of the club and there was an air of optimism about the future. Previously the four of us who went regularly had found it just as easy to turn up when we wanted, but as the team improved and eventually rose through the divisions, we realised we were going to nearly every game anyway and a season ticket made more sense. It makes you feel a bigger part of the club, and also ensures that you are there for all the good games whereas when you pick and choose you nearly always go to the worst games. Having made the Premier League and enjoyed a couple of seasons in the top flight, the financial reality of supporting two children began to tell and I had to drop the ever more expensive season ticket. This coming year Fulham have made an unbelievably good offer for Season tickets in the part of the ground I normally sit so I am once more going to be a full ticket holder. I can't wait.
My digital camera is a Canon Ixus II. It's a 3.2 mega pixel camera with a 1GB SD memory card. It's shiny and silver. It's very small. It may not compare with the current cameras on the market and I might well buy a new one in the next couple of years, but I have been very happy with my Canon.
I had admired the Pure digital radios from afar for a long time. I first saw one at a party in Reigate and was struck by it's retro styling with wooden trim which looked great and nicey understates the level of technology involved. I kept an eye on the price for a long time. They stayed the same. Hardly dropped a penny. Then we bought one for my Mum and Dad. It looked nice and they seemed to like it. We didn't really need one though. The price still didn't drop. Eventually we just caved in and bought one anyway. An Evoke XT1 in beech. It is, much like the iPod, both beautiful and reliable.