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Reviews Written by
D. SPENCER "Calm As Custard" (Norfolk)

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Community Orchards Handbook
Community Orchards Handbook
by Angela King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Expectations, 29 Jan. 2014
From young Pips do not grow true apple varieties. For anyone contemplating a valuable community orchard project this book should be your companion - it's informative, practical and constructive. It contains the inspirational that will help galvanise the community but it also usefully covers the minutiae of small practical matters that may never enter the mind but nonetheless need to be tackled. Alongside the practical, there's a well-paced coverage of the history, tradition and values of orchards and pointers to source material, websites and case studies which remain helpful and relevant. Thoroughly recommend it as a book to help with the process, but if you want to find out more about particular species then Sue Clifford and Angela King's "Apple Source" book is a great companion tome.


One Breath
One Breath
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It's great when you vacillate, yeah?, 29 Jan. 2014
This review is from: One Breath (Audio CD)
I found this album to be six of one and half a dozen of the other. When it's good it's sublime. The way tracks such as 'Sing to me' and 'Carry me Over' build to their climax is brilliant, beautiful, bravura. But when it's bad, like the track 'Piece by Piece' it verges on self-indulgent twaddle and you wonder how an album can oscillate between these extremes? Mind you, beauty is in the ear of the listener and my rhubarb might be your crumble. Six of the tracks are absolutely knock-out and on their own are worth the money. Maybe with time the tracks that feel like experimental filler will grow on repeated listening. Oh, and the packaging is quite lush for those who appreciate such things.


A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 [DVD]
A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paul Kelly
Price: £9.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London Observed, 17 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A remarkable chronicle of a city. Beauty is everywhere for those who want to behold and thankfully the Saint Etienne gang has sieved, searched and recorded some tasty vignettes of the other side of the city, which make you value and appreciate what a fascinating, absorbing, evolving and inspiring place London is. As someone who was So Tough once said: A man could lose himself, lose himself. In The London.


The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens (Shire Archaeology)
The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens (Shire Archaeology)
by Tom Williamson
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Concise and informative, 28 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Being a boy from the Brecks I bought this book to learn myself more of the landscape around me but as this book reveals, rabbit warrens are widespread and their subtle impact on the landscape still tantalisingly within reach. Tom Williamson writes authoritatively and succinctly and this book is an excellent introduction. Really good value. My only small criticism is that if I had 10p for every time the word 'amorphous' was used, I would probably have £2 by the end of the book. It's a good word but others are out there!


Fishing Up the Moon: Norfolk Seafood Cookery - The year of a Norfolk Longshoreman
Fishing Up the Moon: Norfolk Seafood Cookery - The year of a Norfolk Longshoreman
by David Stannard
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the serious fisherman, 27 Oct. 2013
There is no doubt that.the author has an impressive knowledge and passion for the fruits of the sea to be found off the Norfolk coast and consequently this is a book which only those with the access to the coast on a regular basis can only really benefit from. There are some interesting recipes but many of the fish, crustaceans and molluscs referred to, will only be available to those who are already longshore fishermen or those who are prepared to brave the creeks, marshes and inshore waters.


You Can Get Arrested For That
You Can Get Arrested For That
by Rich Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars More a Travelogue than a Crime Novel, 31 Jan. 2013
The concept is a good one and anything that exposes the absurdity of the fringes of law-making must be a good thing. Rich Smith has an engaging writing style and it is a warm and friendly account of two young chums working their passage around the USA attempting to expose themselves to 25 questionable laws. Buy this book if you want a gently funny account of a road trip. The book is light on the reasons behind these bizarre laws and the attempts to break them are passed off almost incidentally within the book. This is a book more about the relationship between the author and his partner and their encounters in small town America.


Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge & the Ordnance Survey
Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge & the Ordnance Survey
by Mike Parker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Addicts will be hard to Please, 20 Jan. 2013
I like maps and make maps for a living so I was really looking forward to reading this. Initially, the early chapters were amusing and the resonance on map collecting made for an eerie, introspective read. The chapters on the history of the Ordnance Survey, how borders were drawn and the politics of map making are the reasons to buy this book if you are indeed a map addict. the latter chapters dwindle into the personal odyssey of the author. I wanted to read about maps, the psychology of map collecting, but sadly not the Mike Parker life story. The writing style is humorous, gentle and observant and if you like maps and enjoy Mike Parker as a personality on Welsh TV then this book is definitely for you. Otherwise for serious map collectors it is a bit hit and miss, although the hits do just about outweigh the misses.


Standing At the Sky's Edge
Standing At the Sky's Edge
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Effort focuses on the Guitar, 20 Jan. 2013
When I first tuned into Richard Hawley it was all a fey, melodic throwback to the 1950s. Then it went a bit gooey around Coles Corner and Lady's Bridge but when you're in love, you can attune to those sepia tinged albums of a past generation when love was a simpler courtship. Standing at the Sky's Edge is a harder album and it rocks, grinds and slithers its way through the 9 tracks over 50 plus minutes. Many of the tracks are hypnotic, concentrated refrains, punctuated with guitar solos which blow the ears off your head - full tilting, pedal soaked stompers which make you want to open all the windows, turn it up to 11 and shake up the neighbourhood. It feels like ages since a record rocks with its heart on its sleeve. It is different from the previous twang-laden albums but variety is the spice of life and sometimes you need something hot to make you sweat.


Summer Special
Summer Special
Price: £11.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1846 seconds of pure pop, 20 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Summer Special (Audio CD)
More often than not, quality is the victim of quantity, and with a welter of albums under his svelte Welsh belt, one had to wonder whether Euros' grip on quality control could match his prolific output. Thankfully, Summer Special is a belter of a pop album, meeting all the pop criteria. It's short (just over 30 minutes), it brims with melodies and it provides a breezy, lilting musical high to beat the mid-winter blues. Tracks like 'Be Be High', 'I'm Seeing Her Tonight' and 'Clap A Chan' are out and out pop gems. Whilst 'These Dreams of You' is possibly one of the most achingly beautiful paeans to love committed to high fidelity disc. If you love Keybpards; soaring melodies; and, um, the roogie boogie, then make Summer Special your all year round special.


Sugaring Season
Sugaring Season
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Diss the Music, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Sugaring Season (Audio CD)
A very welcome return from Beth Orton, who in the 37 minutes of this album brings back home a mellow return to the furrow she was last ploughing 6 years ago. I've read other reviews which interpret this album as a change in direction, ditching the electronic touches of Orbit et al and developing a leaner sound built on honed guitars and the folk influences of Sam Amidon. I'm not so sure, perhaps my old ears are deceiving me but I'm still hearing a strong undertow of what makes Beth Orton one of the greatest singer-songwriters to come out of Norfolk (a county that also gave the world Cathy Dennis, Myleene Klass and Hannah from S Club Seven). Undoubtedly, the folky production values of Tucker Martine (Decemberists) are at play but in opening track 'Magpie' and 'Call Me the Breeze' there remains that driving, upbeat, outward looking songwriting which really highlights Beth's richly layered vocals and her ear for a devilishly good melodic simplicity. Elsewhere, 'Candles' has hints of the slurred bass and drifting beats which ran like a seam of rich coal on Beth's earlier albums. 'See Through the Blue' is the odd juxtaposition, a jerky, waltzy hurrah before the album settles down to a trio of gentler folk songs. This is an album to hunker down for the midwinter; whiskey and fireside music. Rejoice in the return of a long lost friend.


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