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N. E. Fountain "bluecrow" (Hertfordshire, uk)
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Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart
Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart
by Tim Butcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.26

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking & interesting, 21 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A friend said I had to read this book. He was so enthused about it, I ordered it straight away - bargain at 1p too! Not my normal sort of read (big Discworld fan) but it was about a subject I didn't know much about and I wanted to understand what was going on in that part of the world. I had seen ER do a series based in the Congo and the country is never really out of the news.

The book is about Tim Butcher's quest to follow H.M Stanley's exact path, along the river Congo. I thought I was going to be reading a grim recollection of the conflicts and gruesome finds along the way but it isn't. What you discover is how much grief he has to go through to be able to travel between areas, the offical paperwork and bribes that are part of the routine. How much research he undertakes and how much mental preparation he needs to follow his dream.

Everyone says he is mad to try it and he will die or fail. Every town and village he comes accross, he finds a couple of willing people who will help him along his journey, when everyone else says no.

Really this is a historical account of when the Congo was discovered; he touches on the slavers, Belgium occupation, colonial rule, various mining ventures or rather the plundering of natural resources by greedy foreign corporations which only benefits them and not the people, Stanley's part in all of this and what happened when the country got it's independance from Belgiums rule.

Along the way he sees evidence of the turmoil that has rocked the Congo since it's independance - but somehow he escapes anything bad happening to him. There's one town where the priest begs him to leave as soon as possible because it was so volatile there but otherwise, he doesn't suffer anything other than discomfort from the conditions (which are harsh). The living condtions are so basic, you can't begin to fathom and I think the most shocking part of his story is that his own mother travelled through the Congo when she was younger on holiday. There were roads, railway, riverboats, electricity, running water and even though it was under colonial rule - it was a thriving country. It had trade, it had law, it had visitors. Now there is only decay - nothing is left but ruins - nothing works, there is no travel, there is no transport, there is no food, no electric, no schools, no doctors, no running water, disease and poverty. Above all there is no law. There is nothing in place but corruption. The rich pocket aid money and the poor starve to death.

People Tim talks to on his journey remember a better life. He meets people who walk hundreds of km with pushbikes loaded up with palm oil, to trade 300km away. It takes them weeks, they get robbed along the way, they don't get a good price in the town and then they have to walk back. It is a sad existance but they all speak of hope and the better times. I think the epilogue was the best bit - the 'what happened next' when he got home. I found this book very interesting. It is an easy read but hard to palate that such places can exist in our modern world. Yet he reaches the captial city and it's like being in utopia! Extreme wealth, enjoyed by a few who profit from mining ventures etc.

A Maylaisian captain on a boat Tim hires, speaks of how the Congo is rotten. Tim says it's because of the independance. The captain states that his country was in the same state under colonial rule and became independant around the same time as the Congo, yet his flourishes - trade, travel - everything. So why is Africa so rich for the pickings but so poor? No law - just corruption. There is no hope for the Congo until there is some kind of order restored, a law that is adhered to and a stop put to corrupt officials milking the aid money for their bank accounts.

It's not preachy. It's an interesting, factual read. He made the journey inspite of every doubt laid at his feet. No one expected him to survive it but he did. So kudos Tim for your tenacity and vision in following your dreams, no matter where they take you.


A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

5.0 out of 5 stars HURRY UP GEORGE, WE WANT MORE!, 17 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I like many others was very disappointed when this book came out but that was only because we had already read it! If you have the hardback Dance with Dragons, then you already have this book. The hardback is made up of parts 1 & 2 of this soft cover one.

The whole series is excellent. I think so many people left negative feedback because they were really looking forward to picking up the story... then discover it's only the softback version split into 2 books.

The actual book/s Dance with Dragons is a continuation of the epic story of The Game of Thrones. If you've been sucked in, then I don't need to tell you about how detailed the characters are and the colourful imagary you are left with after spending time in that world. Infact, watching the second series of Game of Thrones, the characters aren't quite how you pictured them. That's how good George is at spinning his tale.

So if you have the hardback book - which is a huge volume and difficult to get comfy with unless you have a pillow on your lap - do NOT buy this book.
If you do not have the hardback version - buy part 1 & 2 and get ready to pick up the story where it left off. Hate how he leaves you hanging for more...!

Personally, I think these books are excellent. I cannot wait for the next one. HURRY UP GEORGE!!!


Xbox LIVE Gold 12-Month Membership Card (Xbox One/360)
Xbox LIVE Gold 12-Month Membership Card (Xbox One/360)
Offered by Global Xpress
Price: 31.55

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gold!, 12 Jan 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Saved loads of money ordering it off Amazon. Arrived quickly.

Shame that Microsoft have to use so much packaging on a scratch card though... and why does it cost more to download it than the physical card? It should be cheaper to download - saves money on dispatch and packaging.


Seagate ST3500413AS 3.5 inch Barracuda 500 GB 7200rpm SATA Drive with 16MB Buffer
Seagate ST3500413AS 3.5 inch Barracuda 500 GB 7200rpm SATA Drive with 16MB Buffer
Offered by BK Service GmbH
Price: 44.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorted, 10 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Spot on for under [] but it would have been nice if they'd mentioned that the cable is sold separately. Went to fit it and then realised no cable, ordered one and have to wait a few days before I can transfer all my stuff over. For the sake of one line in the description, this could save a lot of bother to customers.


Breville Lightning JK73 Brushed Stainless Steel Jug Kettle
Breville Lightning JK73 Brushed Stainless Steel Jug Kettle

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous - should be recalled!, 11 May 2010
I wanted a kettle that wouldn't show up the hand prints when 'him in the shed' came in to make a brew - so chose a black one of this model. Loved the blue light (although it's a waste of electricity) and it boils really quickly.

Lid was easy to use and didn't have any problems with it other than the fact it pours boiling water all over the worktop and your feet. How you ask? The lid doesn't seal shut, so as you pour from the spout, water leaks up the sides of the lid and runs down the kettle - onto the work top and your feet. Thought it was us being dim or something but it is definitely a design flaw. Gutted because I really liked that kettle and now can't find another one that has good reviews. The replacement Breville I bought is equally rubbish and I don't think I'll be buying that brand anymore.

I've seen another reviewer say the same thing, so now know it wasn't me being dim!


The Path of the Blue Raven
The Path of the Blue Raven
by Mark Townsend
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All paths are entwined, 26 Dec 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love books. I have many books that I've picked up, flicked through, started reading and then left half-read. I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend and with a title like Blue Raven, this Blue Crow couldn't NOT read this book. Other than the Discworld books I love, this is the first reference book that I've bought, read cover to cover and then felt inspired to write about my own journey.

It is an interesting journey of one man but in telling his story, shows that many others have also found themselves on the path of the Blue Raven. There are some lovely pieces from others also telling how they crossed over from the Church to the nature-based paths they walk now... in a natural progression of their spiritual journey. As someone who anti-church, I found this book ... peaceful. It radiates understanding, love and enlightenment and this personal story becomes part of your own. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is leaving the confines of a dogmatic religion and find themselves drawn to the world around them. We are all connected in this web between worlds. I feel so inspired to write, that I'm about to jump into writing about my own journey. Thank you Mark - blessings to you and yours.


Extreme Streetfighter Motorbikes
Extreme Streetfighter Motorbikes
by Frank Allmann
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Xtreme bikes not for power rangers!, 27 Nov 2009
This book starts at the begining of the Streetfighter in the days of the Cafe Racers back in the 1950's explaining what makes a Streetfighter. Big difference between a street bike (anodised bolts, twin spots, renthals) and a real Streetfighter! If can be changed and made bigger - top bananas!

If you have a nice bike with all the trimmings and don't look at it thinking how good it would look naked with a bigger engine, fatter wheels, stubby exhaust and half another bike strapped on - then this book isn't for you. Power rangers need not apply.

Excellent pics. Brillient write ups. Well worth every penny. If this has whet your appetite, try the Streetfighter magazine out monthly and packed to the brim with hooligan bikes.


Finding
Finding
by Tiana
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Finding yourSELF, 12 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Finding (Paperback)
I met Tiana at a concert in Cornwall last year and immediately fell in love with her artwork. I bought 2 large prints and wished I had the wallspace and funds to buy all of them - they are truely wonderful, spiritual pieces. I jumped at the chance of owning her first book (bought both), the artwork is just as stunning, the words are perfect. It's one of those where not many words say so much to your soul... you won't be disappointed. Check out the other works from slipperyjacks press - there's some amazing talent centred there. Simply beautiful.


Remember Me
Remember Me
by Tiana
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Stunning!, 12 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Remember Me (Paperback)
I met Tiana at a concert in Cornwall last year and immediately fell in love with her artwork. I bought 2 prints and wished I had the wallspace and funds to buy all of them - they are truely wonderful, spiritual pieces. I jumped at the chance of owning this book, the artwork is just as stunning, the words are perfect. It's one of those books where not many words say so much to your soul... you won't be disappointed. Check out the other works from slipperyjacks press - there's some amazing talent centred there.


One Lump Or Two A Humorous Story Of One Man's Fight Against Testicular Cancer, Winner of the AmazonClicks.com Readers Choice Award Aug 2008
One Lump Or Two A Humorous Story Of One Man's Fight Against Testicular Cancer, Winner of the AmazonClicks.com Readers Choice Award Aug 2008
by Darren Couchman
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The danglies of a book!, 31 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I met Darren and Dicky at Stonehenge last July when they were promoting the Testicle Tour. Of course, I wanted to know why the were carrying a pair of huge fluffy balls with them, which is when Darren said about his fight against cancer. I related that a former boyfriend was also a fellow Womble after fighting testicular cancer in 1995. I've since added them to my Facebook friends and kept track of the fundraising and madcap adventures they have all the name of promoting a serious illness.

The book is very easy to read. The sign of a good book is how it absorbs you into the world within. You become part of Darren's life when you're reading this. Like being a fly on the perverbial marital bedpost... and as a consequence I no longer like tuna melts.

One minute you are laughing. The next there's a lump in your throat... then you're laughing again. You become part of the journey, you become part of the family, the hopes and fears and the jubilation of knowing the cancer has been beaten. Cancer is no stranger to his family, having lost both his parents by the time he was 19. Glad that chapter is last... it's heartbreaking. But out of the heartbreak, shines the courage and strength to perservere and never give up.

I will be giving this book to my friend who has just lost her dad to cancer. I know she will find solace in reading Darren's story and find her own strength through another's experience.

Keep up the good work Darren. You're saving lives - your parents would be indeed be truely proud of your achievements x


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