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P. Barclay "professional technophile" (Cheshire, England)
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Swimming Studies
Swimming Studies
by Leanne Shapton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.40

4.0 out of 5 stars There is something compelling about the subject matter, 16 Mar 2014
This review is from: Swimming Studies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Leanne Shapton details her formative years as a would-be Olympic swimming hopeful in Canada. She writes poetically with short, rhythmic sentences. Whilst submerged in the water, Leanne Shapton is ‘deprived of taste, scent, sound, and most sight’, ironically in her book we are exposed to all senses though minutiae of day-to-day living. We bob up and down on a sea of description – one moment she is competing in Canada and the next minute, she is swimming in open water in London. All this is juxtaposed with modern art illustrations which includes viewing swimming as the shapes of pools she visits. Her mental health deteriorates after Leanne ceases competitive swimming and it is only when she returns to the waters that her health simultaneously improves. Is there life after the rigours and discipline of swimming? Leanne explores her art and thoughts as she continues to submerge in the swimming pools and open waters around the world. The noise of competitive swimming continually gets drowned out by the silence of art and introspection and by being underwater.

The author gives us a unique insight into the world of competitive swimming – as seen through the eyes of this Canadian Olympic hopeful - the hours she trained up and down, the food, rivalries, timings and tapering to get there. It is interesting and beautifully portrayed. The author becomes more introspective as her life becomes more devoted to art after she leaves the intensity of the swimming arena.

Swimming and art are viewed as disciplines – Leanne experiences a mental breakdown after giving up serious swimming and the juxtaposition of art and swimming details on the pages mirrors this – there is a cacophony of competitions, training and pictures. Can you ever truly give up swimming? Can you move on and find a new focus? The author struggles which suggests perhaps not.


Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies
Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies
by Rob Yeung
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for all interview candidates, 16 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been an NHS Consultant for 15 years and have interviewed many people for various positions in medicine and nursing over that time. It is far easier sitting on that side of the table – all you have to do is just ask your one or two questions and compare each candidate’s responses! A change of personal circumstances meant that I needed to find a new job in a different city so I thought it would be useful to brush up on interview techniques.

This book proved to be an ideal companion. It starts with the very sensible advice that all interviewers, no matter which post they are trying to fill, are looking for the 4 C’s: Competence, Confidence, Commitment and Chemistry. The first chapter then explores further the “interview game”, showing how you demonstrate that you have the key skills required of the job such as teamworking. This is then explored in further detail later in the book. The idea is that having read the first chapter, you then skip directly to whichever chapter is most relevant to your job interview.

Above all, it helps get you in the mindset of being in an interview situation – I found it very helpful to read through the points again on the day of the interview so that I could avoided the Ten Cardinal Sins of Interviewing and project a confident self image.

With all this helpful advice did I get the first job I applied for? Yes!

Would I recommend it to anyone attending a job interview? Definitely.


Bleak Expectations: Series 5 (BBC Audio)
Bleak Expectations: Series 5 (BBC Audio)
by Mark Evans
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 16.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Radio 4 Comedy at its best, 28 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Radio 4 comedy is a mixed bag - some is instantly forgettable whilst others become true classics that stand the test of time and reward further listening.

Bleak Expectations is a brilliant parody of all thing Dickensian yet told from a very modern perspective. The script is excellent, the acting is superb and the whole thing romps along as any ripping yarn should do.

A modern classic.


Bundles of Joy: Two Thousand Miracles. One Unstoppable Manchester Midwife
Bundles of Joy: Two Thousand Miracles. One Unstoppable Manchester Midwife
by Linda Fairley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.29

3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read, 28 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The book narrates the tale of midwifery in the Manchester region and the changes it and the narrator’s life undergoes through the years and decades. It is depicted against a background of political and social changes which places the plot into recent historical context, the most noticeable being Margaret Thatcher’s rise to office and the reflection this had on midwifery which was and is female-dominated and the notorious doctor-murderer, Harold Shipman of Hyde, with whom Linda Fairley had shared more than a cup of coffee. Linda Fairley, the main character, makes a sentimental journey through the years which is at times a little over nostalgic and this in turn, reduces Mrs Fairley to a rather self-indulgent narrator.

Mrs Fairley’s writing style is agreeable if rather bland. She does not rise to the heights of comedy nor plumb the depths of tragedy and we, the reader, in turn, are left therefore mildly amused or moderately entertained rather than being thoroughly absorbed and interested in any one of the characters or actions that occur in the plots. It is not a page gripper by any stretch of the imagination but is nevertheless, very readable.

Overall, this is a pleasant read of a slightly ordinary subject matter.


Andrea Grace's Gentle Sleep Solutions: Teach Yourself
Andrea Grace's Gentle Sleep Solutions: Teach Yourself
by Andrea Grace
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An ideal present for a new mum!, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One of my colleagues had dreadful problems with her baby keeping her awake all night long. I gave her this book and was impressed at my thoughtfulness. Some of the ideas seemed to make a difference and her babies sleep pattern was improved.


AVES Aqua Portable Bluetooth Speaker w/ Noise-reduction Mic Handsfree Phone Kit in Black
AVES Aqua Portable Bluetooth Speaker w/ Noise-reduction Mic Handsfree Phone Kit in Black
Offered by Audio Electrical
Price: 12.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good portable speaker for your smartphone, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Aves Bluetooth Aqua review

The device is both compact and lightweight. It is well built and does not look cheap.

The instruction leaflet is nicely produced in English with clear instructions and plenty of diagrams. There is the odd typo such as referring to a "Mirco Fiber Pouch".

The instructions state that the Bluetooth speaker must be fully charged before it is used. However, there is no mention of how long this is likely to take, just a bland "Charging times may vary". I plugged it in and returned 2 hours later to find that the LED had changed from Red to Green, which meant it was now ready for use.

I switched on the device and "pressed" the on/off and handset button simultaneously. The instructions state that you should "press and hold" but the controls are on a stiff plastic case and are in fact touch-sensitive. This is confusing but it is just like touching the screen on my iPhone.

I touched the on/off and handset buttons again and was very quickly able to pair the device and use it with my iPhone 5. No pairing code was required as the iPhone 5 has the latest Bluetooth 3.0 - older devices will need a pairing code.

The sound quality when linked to my iPhone 5 was quite good and a big step up from just using "speaker" on the iPhone. There are two holes in the top of the unit, which each seem to contain a 1.5" loudspeaker, driven by a 6W amplifier but the sound is monophonic as the speakers are close together. Aves do make a Portable Stereo speaker but it is far less attractively packaged, less portable and more expensive.

Instead of listening to a quiet, tinny sound from the single speaker in the iPhone, the Aves provided a far more enjoyable way on enjoying music on the move. It even allows you to remotely pause and resume playback of the tracks, whilst your iPhone is up to 10 m away!

The ability to charge from a standard mini USB lead or supplied charger offers ideal flexibility when travelling.

The only misnomer is the name: the Aves aqua is certainly not waterproof and the Warnings in the instruction manual are very specific that "the product should not be exposed to "dripping" or "splashing" and that objects fill (sic) with liquids, such as vases, should not be placed on or near the product."

It has a stated battery life of more than 6 hours. What about auto-power off? Ideally the device would switch to a low power standby once it has become disconnected from the bluetooth sound source for a period of time. This is fairly standard for bluetooth headphones. The device does have a physical on off switch at the back of the device. However, there is no mention in the instructions about auto-power off. It just says that the "bluetooth speaker will turn itself "off" automatically when the battery is drained. By which time the device is no longer usable unless a power supply can be found. However, it should preserve its bluetooth settings, which is of some value.


"Just a Minute": The Best of 2009 (BBC Audio)
"Just a Minute": The Best of 2009 (BBC Audio)
by Just a Minute
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 11.47

5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic from Radio 4, 6 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Just a Minute has been broadcast on Radio 4 for over 40 years, with Nicholas Parsons presenting every episode. The show is timeless - a celebration of the best of Radio 4 in a format that has been broadcast and copied around the world. These episodes from 2009 showcase the wit and mastery of the English language of the current crop of comedians. Paul Merton, in particular, has truly found his niche in this particular programme and manages to take the audience with him on a flight after flight of comedic fantasy that bypasses hesitation, repetition or deviation.

An ideal gift for any Radio 4 listener.


Mix and Match Menus
Mix and Match Menus
by DK
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful addition for any cook's bookshelf, 28 Aug 2012
This review is from: Mix and Match Menus (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This would be a very good comprehensive cookery book for new cooks and a very useful addition to any cook's bookshelf.
I liked the format that enables the choices to be displayed as one page but this means that the print is quite small.
The spiral bound book is easy to use as it stays open on the work surface.The combinations of starter,main course and dessert are endless.
There is a helpful guide to planning menus at the start of the book.
The book has a good variety of recipes - some very basic and others more complicated .The cooks notes on each page are a novel addition to the cookbook.
The recipes are varied in time of preparation and cooking so that a quick easy three course meal could be made or a more complicated meal requiring more time and skill. There are also some interesting new ideas for cooking dishes in the microwave - always helpful for the busy household.


I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: Humph Celebration Concert (BBC Audio)
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: Humph Celebration Concert (BBC Audio)
by Humphrey Lyttelton - Humph Celebration Concert (Comedy and live music) (Music CD)
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 9.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect tribute to Humphrey Lyttleton, 28 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"I'm sorry I haven't a Clue" is one of those Radio 4 institutions that seem part of the fabric of British life. Most presenters introduce the panellists and let them get on with the job of entertaining the audience as unobtrusively as possible. The News Quiz was wonderful for many years when presented by Barry Took but did not suffer when taken over by Simon Hoggart or Sandi Toksvig.

Humphrey Lyttleton, by contrast, was the very essence of ISIHAC. His role as Chairman Humph was to disdainfully oversee proceedings whilst managing to remain above the whole, slightly embarrassing, debacle. To achieve this required masterful comic timing with an ability to feed off the humour generated by the panel, in much the way that his band would "improvise" their way around the jazz standards.

This CD is a recording of the wonderful tribute assembled by the BBC as a tribute shortly after his death in 2008. Being narrated by Steven Fry, who similarly brings a magisterial sense of comic authority, the CD traces the life of the legend that is Humph together with a few tit bits from the original shows. As such this functions as both an ideal present for aficionados of ISIHAC and an introduction for those who wondered what the fuss was all about.


Flight Simulator X - Stuka vs Hurricane (PC CD)
Flight Simulator X - Stuka vs Hurricane (PC CD)
Offered by Satsumo
Price: 19.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: Misleading title and misreading leads to disaster, 28 Aug 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To infrequent or novice pilots - this is not the game for you!

Please do not be misled to buying this game with the intention of the game being a sole purchase as it is merely an add-on.

Stuka vs. Hurricane may look like a full complete package to beginners but is merely an add-on for Microsoft FS2004 (Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004) and FSX (Microsoft Flight Simulator X).To be able to play the game either of these programmes have to be downloaded or installed on to your computer. This could possibly come as an unnecessary to new players who have already splashed out on purchasing this game which can amount to a hefty expense.

Without being careful you could easily spend more money than intended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2013 3:37 PM GMT


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