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Reviews Written by
Mr. B. P. Van-asten (London, England.)
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Russell Hobbs 18554 Brita Filter Kettle
Russell Hobbs 18554 Brita Filter Kettle
Price: £22.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but the later models are better!, 20 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Kettle is good but compared to the last one we had it has a fixed filter which means you can't clean the inside of the kettle. It also feels heavier to lift when filled. It also took over a month to arrive. Not good if your kettle is broken and in need of a new one!


Ramble On: The story of our love for walking Britain
Ramble On: The story of our love for walking Britain
by Sinclair McKay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.83

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ramble On - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 19 Oct. 2014
Published in 2012, ‘Ramble On’ is an interesting book which charts the development of the popularity of walking for pleasure, from its working-class origins where cheap train travel offered escape and fresh air to the workers of the northern industrial cities during the weekend, through to the conflicts of private land owners to today’s financially rewarding ‘tourist’ and ‘day-tripper’ walks where just about anyone can soak up British heritage in exchange for ‘small payments and donations’. Walks influenced by literature and TV programmes: think of the Bronte’s and we have the delightful ‘theme park’ of Howarth to explore. McKay delves into the Kinder Scout trespass and the beginnings of organised rambling through the establishing of walking clubs. We also read of the development of the National Parks and the Long Distance Walks such as the South Downs Way and the Pennine Way etc; night walking, woodland legends, Youth Hostelling, ley lines and stone circles, the Grey Man of Ben Macdhui...
MacKay mixes a good measure of anger with his passion as all true walkers do (counting myself amongst the strange collection of oddities that enjoy the beauty of Britain by foot in all weather), for although a friendly and hardy bunch, sometimes drawn to the solitude and spiritual essence of the land, there is always a seething rage for any evidence of nature being mistreated and spoilt; for access denied to paths etc. In fact, it is people like MacKay and the adventurous ramblers who keep the arteries and byways of our land open for all to enjoy! Worth reading!


Pushkin:
Pushkin:
by John. BAYLEY
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Pushkin by John Bayley - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Pushkin: (Hardcover)
John Bayley, a professor of English at Oxford, is an excellent Pushkin scholar and this biography really brings to life the events of the great Russian poet and author of short tales, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799-1837). Bayley does a fine job of revealing Pushkin’s birth and beginnings in Moscow and sheds light on his exile and finally the day of the fateful duel which ended the poet’s life. Very enjoyable!


Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History by Nicolson. Adam ( 2009 ) Paperback
Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History by Nicolson. Adam ( 2009 ) Paperback
by Adam Nicolson
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Sissinghurst: An Unfinished History - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
Adam Nicolson, grandson of Sissinghurst’s former and most famous occupants, the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) and author Harold Nicolson (1886-1968), has written a wonderfully passionate and evocative account of the house and garden which details beautifully the lives connected to its landscape in Kent. For me, the history and development of the house and garden, especially during Vita and Harold’s duration there is fascinating, but some of the political red-tape and discussions concerning the property under its ownership by the National Trust, becomes tedious and Nicolson’s frustration at the obstacles he encounters and the slow pace of the project to re-form Sissinghust as a workable, self-sustaining farm is felt throughout many of its pages. If you love gardens and their history, this is definitely a book for you!


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4.0 out of 5 stars Isaiah Berlin: A Life - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
An interesting biography of the political philosopher and historian Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) accounting his time at Oxford University and his understanding and thoughts on the nature of liberty and his ideas on analytical philosophy. Berlin was a great and influential mind and Ignatieff captures beautifully a time of great historical importance and change during his life. We are shown a glimpse behind Berlin’s facade though never enough to expose all of his weaknesses and desires. Fascinating and definitely not dull and stuffy!


The complete works of Algernon Charles Swinburne,
The complete works of Algernon Charles Swinburne,
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Works of Algernon Swinburne - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) was educated at Balliol College, Oxford where he mixed with the Pre-Raphaelites. His ‘Atalanta in Calydon’ a poetic drama published in 1865 was highly praised for its Greek imitation complete with choruses. This brought him great celebrity and other works followed: ‘Chastelard’ (1865), ‘Poems and Ballads’ (1866) which contains some of his more scandalous poems – ‘Dolores’, ‘Itylus’, ‘Hymn to Proserpine’, and ‘Faustine’ etc, describing Swinburne’s pre-occupation with Sado-Masochism and anti-Christian ideals. ‘A Song of Italy’ (1867), ‘Songs before Sunrise’ (1871), ‘Bothwell’ (1874), ‘Erechtheus’ (1876), ‘Mary Stuart’ (1881), ‘Tristram of Lyonesse and other Poems’ (1882), and ‘Marino Faliero’ (1885).
Swinburne was a master of many verse forms from the Classical metres, to burlesque and ballads. He also wrote a considerable amount of critical works and he had a lasting influence on many of the poets who were to follow him. No examination of English verse can be considered complete until one has meandered from the path and got lost in the dark woods of Swinburne’s terrain. Recommended!


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5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Thinkers – by Isaiah Berlin - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
Published in 1978, Isaiah Berlin’s ‘Russian Thinkers’ is a masterpiece on nineteenth-century Russian intelligentsia formed from a collection of his essays such as the fascinating ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’ which discusses the Russian author Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) and the tension that exists between monist and pluralist interpretations of history and the world. Truly enlightening!


The Poems of Catullus (Oxford World's Classics)
The Poems of Catullus (Oxford World's Classics)
by Catullus
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Poems of Catullus - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
The Roman lyric poet Gaius Valerius Catullus (c.84-c.54) wrote many poems concerning love, showing a depth of sincere feelings; elegies and satirical epigrams and many other forms. During the Middle Ages his work became mostly forgotten until he was re-discovered in the 14th Century. His work influenced later poets such as Robert Herrick (1591-1675), Richard Lovelace (1618-1657) and Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892). Very enjoyable!


Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938: Always Your Friend
Gonne-Yeats Letters, 1893-1938: Always Your Friend
by Maud Gonne MacBride
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The Gonne-Yeats Letters 1893-1938 - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
The poet W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) fell passionately in love with the Irish actress and beauty, Maud Gonne (1866-1953) and these letters (mostly Gonne’s as much of Yeat’s letters were destroyed) are a beautiful testament to the poet’s passion for the great lady. Maud was a strong, proud woman who believed deeply in Irish Nationalism. Yeats asked her to marry him but she refused and later married John MacBride, yet the fire in Yeat’s heart never extinguished and she influenced many of the poet’s great works. Interesting and beautiful, but a pity the correspondence is mostly one-sided and the poet’s voice remains silent!


ESP: Beyond Time and Distance
ESP: Beyond Time and Distance
by T.C. Lethbridge
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ESP, Beyond Time and Distance - A Review by Barry Van-Asten, 1 Sept. 2014
First published in 1965 by Routledge and Kegan Paul, ‘ESP’ by Thomas Charles Lethbridge (1901-1971) is a fascinating journey into the world of ‘Extra-Sensory Perception’. Lethbridge, born in Somerset, was an archaeologist and explorer, educated at Cambridge. He became interested in the paranormal when he moved to Devon with his wife, where he believed that their home ‘Hole House’ was haunted. He made many experiments in pendulum dowsing and the book examines his theory that objects transmit rays of energy which can be perceived through the art of pendulum dowsing. Sadly he was never fully accepted by scholars in the field of the paranormal and his theories remained somewhat ignored. Perhaps it is time for his rare genius to receive the recognition it so rightly deserves! Marvellous stuff!


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