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C. Nation "chrisnation" (Bristol UK)
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BMW Boxer Twins (Haynes Great Bikes)
BMW Boxer Twins (Haynes Great Bikes)
by Ian Falloon
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive review., 29 Oct. 2011
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We must be grateful for authors like Mr Fallon for the amount of work that goes into producing a book of this depth and detail. He seems to have missed out nothing in his comprehensive description of the evolution of the BMW Boxer.

It's well presented, crisply written and with excellent illustrations. I can't imagine a better account of these bikes.


BMW K100 and K75 1983-87 Owner's Workshop Manual
BMW K100 and K75 1983-87 Owner's Workshop Manual
by Jeremy Churchill
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for owners and prospective buyers, 29 Oct. 2011
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Any owner of one of these bikes is going to save the cost of the book from something they read in it, even if they don't actually do that job themselves.

And anyone looking to buy one of these models is going to learn a great deal about their characteristics and the process of maintaining one.


Kingston DataTraveler USB Flash Drive 8Gb 101 G2 USB DT101G2/8Gb
Kingston DataTraveler USB Flash Drive 8Gb 101 G2 USB DT101G2/8Gb
Offered by zoombits
Price: £3.29

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent design. Excellent value. Excellent function, 29 Oct. 2011
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These usb sticks are great. No cap to lose. No sliding mechanism to go wrong, as I have read from many reviews of that design of stick. The folding metal cover for the plug does the job of protecting it well enough. There are heavy duty protective designs for those of you who like to beat their gear up or operate in tough conditions.

It functions perfectly. It will not hold every last bite of 8 gig because, for those who don't realise [as one 3-star reviewer did not] a small amount of the memory is taken up by files which instruct the thing to do what it's told.


Crucial Sodimm Laptop Memory Upgrade (4GB,204-pin,DDR3 PC3-10600,Cl=9,1.5v)
Crucial Sodimm Laptop Memory Upgrade (4GB,204-pin,DDR3 PC3-10600,Cl=9,1.5v)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value and quality, 29 Oct. 2011
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If I say "it does what it says on ..." you have my permission to shoot me.

There is no tin. It does come in a very tough plastic package though and you can't pull this apart without risking damage to you and it. You need scissors.

Installing these memory cards is simple, as long as you take it calmly and carefully.

It worked, as I expected it would. I've had Crucial memory cards before and they've always worked straight off and never failed.

Dell want some silly money for the same thing. Get a Crucial.


Tommy : The British Soldier On The Western Front 1914-1918
Tommy : The British Soldier On The Western Front 1914-1918
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 20 Oct. 2011
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I enjoy Richard Holmes's books. They are based, as far as I can tell, on primary source material. This gave Holmes the opportunity to refute some of the more imaginative descriptions and accounts of people and events of WW1, particularly verbal accounts of 'eyewitnesses'

For example I was particularly struck by the repudiation of the 'eyewitness account' of 2nd Lt Beadle, 33rd Div artillery F.O. officer of the 'charge into High Wood' on 14th July 1916 of the Deccan Horse and 7th Dragoon Guards.

Lt Beadle's account is quoted in Lyn Macdonald's book 'Somme' and in Prior & Wilson's account of the battle. Holmes identified the elements of Beadle's account which makes it implausable and thus unreliable. It does point up the danger of inaccuracy or plain, though unwitting, fantasy of verbal accounts summoned from the memories of participants of any event. Books based on accounts 'in their own words' are suspect in this regard.

Reliable is a word you can count on with Holmes's book. As a historian, lecturer at Sandhurst, Co-Director of RMC Sciences, Shrivenham and one time most senior officer of the Territorals, one would expect Holmes to be accurate and meticulous with his facts.

In certain sections there are too may facts . Anyone not personally interested in the make-up and evolution of a particular regiment, division and battalion will find that there are lengthy passages which describe in excessive detail the permutations of British Army units.

There are also repetitions of passages, not only from his book 'Redcoats' but also from chapters earlier in this book. There are passages I have read 3 or 4 times, in 'Redcoats', 'Tommies' [perhaps twice] and 'The Western Front'

I recognise that the history of the British Army soldier is a continuum. Changes to any aspect of the Army between wars are bound to be part of any book describing those wars. Thus, a considerable amount of description of many aspects of soldiering and soldiers between the end of The Boer War and WW1 are to be found in 'Redcoats' and 'Tommy'

Having said all that, 'Tommy' is excellent. There is no aspect of soldiering that Holmes has not covered, from the activities of Army chaplains, disciplinary and legal proceedings, medical and provisioning, morale and social attitudes. It could probably have benefited from a reduction by 100 pages or so - it's a big book - but it is full of interest, written in typical Holmesian crisp, unpretentious style and restrained humour.


Loos 1915: The Northern Battle and Hohenzollern Redoubt (Battleground Europe)
Loos 1915: The Northern Battle and Hohenzollern Redoubt (Battleground Europe)
by Andrew Rawson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good basis for making a start, 18 Sept. 2011
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Monday week, 26th Sept 2011, is the 96th anniversary of the battle of Loos. I've just last week been on a 3 day tour of the scene of the battle, lead and presented by a senior member of The International Guild of Battlefield Guides [I'm a ranker in the Guild myself]. I had not read anything on Loos before and chose to read this book before leaving for France.

The battle of Loos was a chaotic affair. The ground over which it was fought was much smaller in extent than battles like the Somme or Ypres III. This did not result in any less complication of strategy and tactics. In fact, because French decided to impose on Haigh the introduction of battalions of Kitchener's Army in most unsuitable circumstances, the events that followed means that a description of the battle becomes extremely confusing, mirroring the confusion of the troops in action.

This book is eminently useful in introducing the reader to the battle of Loos. There are good maps and diagrams, the text is clearly written and the events described in a sensibly ordered manner, given the mess and muddle on the ground.

I have to admit that my head was spinning by the time I finished and I wrote to the leader of our trip to tell him I was glad he was presenting the tour, not me.

But the battle of Loos was an important one and this book deserves a place on any bookshelf dedicated to the Great War.


Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 (University Paperbacks)
Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 (University Paperbacks)
by Michael Howard
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Sept. 2011
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This is a superb book on this topic. As a battlefield guide with many trips to the Western Front and the Normandy beaches under my belt, it was remiss of me to go so long without reading an account of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

History is a continuum but I do feel that the F-P war was the starting point of events in Europe that culminated in the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, essential to have a good grasp of it.

This book gives a detailed but not tedious description of the political, historical, military, technological and social background to the state of France and Prussia in the mid 19th C. It then describes the almost ludicrous French taking of Bismarck's bait, followed by the engagements, from division level and upwards and finally the collapse of the French body politic into near anarchy and revolution in defeat.

The writing is concise, free of academic waffle and the treatment is comprehensive. It's said that this is the definitive single volume on the subject still, after over 40 years. I think it would be very difficult to beat it, unless by the inclusion of much new information and rediscovered archive material, which has not happened to date.

I deducted one star because, as so often with books on military history that have been republished in p/back, the maps and diagrams have been reduced to near illegibility. I read this book with a large scale French road atlas to hand. Without this, much description of troop movement becomes incomprehensible.

But a very highly recommended book, nevertheless.


How to Buy a Home in Spain: The Complete Guide to Finding Your Ideal Property
How to Buy a Home in Spain: The Complete Guide to Finding Your Ideal Property
by Harry King
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Available new for £0.01. Hardly surprising, 23 Aug. 2011
This sort of book is a waste of money. Anything to do with taxation, the property market, and legislation in general is almost certain to have changed by the time the book first appears. After all, the author must have handed in the final draft many months before it was even printed. This one was published in 2006. The world was a very different place back them.

As well as the recent capital gains changes, this month [Aug 2011], the purchase tax on new property has been halved for a period. And today I received notice that a flat I have in my 'favourites' list has been reduced by 17%.

Ex-pat fora and estate agents sites are the source of up-to-date, real-life info.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2014 12:32 PM GMT


Canon Digital IXUS 200 IS Digital Camera - Blue (12.1 Megapixel, 5x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
Canon Digital IXUS 200 IS Digital Camera - Blue (12.1 Megapixel, 5x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent camera but ..., 26 July 2011
I like to shoot with a lens as wide angle as I can get. So when this model came out with a 24mm equiv lens it was hot fave to replace my IXUS 800, which has a 28mm lens.

However, in making this move, I would be losing one of the 3 must-haves that I specified for a compact - an optical viewfinder. I had to weigh that up against the wider lens and the smaller form-factor. The 200 won.

That's not to say I don't miss the v/finder - I do, a lot. Taking pix by holding a camera at arms' length is clumsy. It is a terrible way to frame a shot and can very often lead to camera shake. And with light shining on the screen, it's pretty much a lottery. The screen just reflects back at you and you see nothing of your subject.

This is a real problem with compacts and I was interested to see that Which? has started a campaign with the big manufacturers to get them to reintroduce ranges of cameras with optical viewfinders.

The 200 takes excellent images. I'm particularly impressed with its capability in low light, without flash. It has enough options and settings to provide good images in most conditions, if you can be bothered to hunt about in the menus. As with all these cameras - which are basically computers with a lens and sensor attached - there are probably far more options than most people, including me [a pro for 30 years] really needs.

The zoom range of the lens is another very good feature. 24mm is properly wide and the tele end of the zoom is great for head-and-shoulders portraits.

The close-up setting works very well, too. You can get really tight to a pretty small object, say a 5p coin, and still hold focus and get crisp results.

One more criticism of this camera. Miniaturisation is now approaching the point where the anatomy of human beings is the limiting factor in operating a device's controls. This camera has some extremely small buttons. The tiny on/off switch is a fancy-dan triangular shape. I defy anybody to turn it on or off without a very precise press with the end of their fingernail. Only fairy fingers would be small enough, otherwise. The catch for the battery/SD card compartment is similarly minute. The cover is, again, an unnecessarily groovy triangle.

If it was possible to give scores for different aspects of this camera, I'd give the optics and image quality a 4.5, the size a 5, the ergonomics a 2 and the lack of optical viewfinder a 0.


Rome: The Complete HBO Season 1 (6 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [2006]
Rome: The Complete HBO Season 1 (6 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Kevin McKidd
Price: £17.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Completely OTT. Great!, 9 Jun. 2011
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Based loosely on Roman history, this rollicking tale of emporers, gladiators, generals, scrumptious-looking women from Cleopatra to slave-girls, is brilliant entertainment. Masses of it.

The production values are right up there. No expense spared. The casting is a little patchy. I never did quite believe in the callow youth who became the ruthless and mighty Augustus Caesar. He was OK as a lad but didn't come near Mark Anthony as a maaaaan.

These are minor quibbles. 'Rome' is hours and hours of really good watching. One weekend I'm going to go through the whole thing in one splurge. I'll need a supply of pizzas and steak & chips, wine and whiskey and it will be wonderful.

Then, a couple of years later, I'll do it again. It's that good, I reckon.


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