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Fred Coombs (Manchester)

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Dixon Traditional D Whistle
Dixon Traditional D Whistle
Offered by Tony Dixon Music Ltd
Price: £17.25

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic instrument, accessible to all., 12 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have not been playing the tin whistle long. I got it simply to have fun with and to give me something light-hearted and fun to work on outside of my job. This certainly fits the bill and then some. In terms of £/hour of amusement, this has been a fantastic buy.

I started my whistling interest with a blue-headed Generation D. Whilst I can't fault it for 'giving me the bug', I, like many others found it to have an inconsistent tone. It sounded hollow and a bit 'hooty' in the lower register with a shrill squeaky tone in the upper register. To accompany the idiosyncratic tone, the brittle head soon cracked and broke, imparting an unwelcome fizzing/buzzing noise to the already sub-melodious character of the instrument.

After much searching, I discovered consistently good feedback on all of Tony Dixon's instruments.Tempting though the more expensive offerings were, the simple, beguiling brass whistle in D seemed a logical progression from the somewhat disappointing Generation.

I wondered how different a pipe with a few holes in could sound, very was the answer. The tone is sweet, even and melodious throughout the range. You can even get a little way into the third octave with an increased puff, widening the range of music you can attempt to learn. The higher notes are very well defined indeed. They do not screech, squawk or howl; they are pleasingly piercing without being painful.

Despite being able to write at length about the whistle, my whistling talents are fairly limited. I tend look up tunes on youtube and learn them by ear. I also 'treat' my pals renditions of 'The Final Countdown', 'Livin' on a Prayer' and other such fripperous tunes; they are shared by mobile phone on whatsapp for free!

Buy this whistle with confidence and expect many hours of simple pleasure from it. Perhaps even buy one as a present for a friend, child,parent or grandparent since they are a beautifully simple and accessible route into making your own music and having fun.

Once up and running with this beguiling brassy beauty, I asked a couple of questions via the Dixon website. They replied quickly and concisely, encouraging me to look into their free tutorials, which was nice.

Leatherman Wavemulti-Tool With Nylon Pouch
Leatherman Wavemulti-Tool With Nylon Pouch
Offered by Barcleys
Price: £82.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First one was stolen; only natural to buy another., 18 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to have a black leatherman wave. It served me very well as a bicycle fixer, watch fixer, student house fixer, work tool (had a part time job in events rigging etc), lawnmower fixer and so on.

I had my previous one stolen and have waited till now (they are on offer) to get another.

The joy of having one of these is that you will use it for everything; mostly just small, mundane tasks. You will take it for granted and then one day it will save your bacon. I work in construction now and despite being office base, I am sure this will earn its keep and then some.

My only small displeasure is that the new sheath seems a little poorly made and I don't quite understand the hole in the bottom of it. Nevertheless this is an accessory and not the tool itself. I also have a spare old-sheath at home so 5 stars is the only rating I can give.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2013 12:18 AM GMT

Mondaine Giant Size Analogue strap watch
Mondaine Giant Size Analogue strap watch
Price: £141.41

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought one, 26 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mondaine Giant watch

Before buying this watch, I spent a considerable time assessing which watches Mondaine make, which ones I liked the most, and the respective availability and prices of those models.

Deliberations about what permutations of day and date I wanted, I settled on a plain face. Whilst it is nice to have extensive functionality on a watch, there are chronographs, digital watches, smart phones, and even apple watches for that sort of thing. These watches mimic a design icon, the Swiss railway clock; with that in mind, a plain, striking uninterrupted face is what I chose.

Further choice is presented when choosing whether you would like a lugged or lugless watch body. Again, appreciative of the minimalistic aesthetic of the Swiss railway clock, I plumped for the giant, the only lugless model available.

The final decision was strap colour. White would get too grubby or require too much cleaning, red seems unavailable on the giant; black was he only remaining option, not that a brightly coloured strap or metal bracelet would enhance the appeal of this beguiling watch.

On delivery day, the opening process was a treat. The box is bold black and white, weighty item, with red accents. The lid lifts back to reveal the striking black and white face of your new watch, accented only by the mighty, bulbous red second hand and a tiny red rectangle beneath the Mondaine motif.

Removing the watch from the box, the bright body is pleasingly heavy without being cumbersome. It too is accented by a single point of red, the enamelled red crown with an `M' in silver. In contrast to the bold body, the strap is thin, fine, supple and elegant, seemingly disappearing beneath the giant face of the watch.

Putting the watch on, I was slightly dismayed to find that the strap only did up on the penultimate hole. My wrist is 20cm / 7.9" around. Men, or even women with larger wrists than me would need to buy a new 22mm leather strap that is longer than the original. This expense is not ideal but shouldn't put you off of buying the watch. Both Amazon and eBay offer a bounty of straps to fit this watch. The short `tail' pulled through the buckle of the strap means that the second, floating keeper I obsolete, perhaps I will remove it.

Adjusting the time on the watch is easy enough but the crown can feel very small and slippery as it lacks any knurling or texture.

The large, lightly domed glass atop the watch insures an unobstructed view of the beautiful face of the watch. My only worry is that it is the highest point of the watch and may become scratched or damaged if rubbed or bashed into things like walls and door frames. Durability is only established over time, but I haven't read of anyone breaking one yet...

Whilst I have tried to be as honest as I can, picking up all faults where possible, really, there aren't any. They are minor niggles that can be worked around. I bought this watch because it is aesthetically unique and completely different from my usual watches (Casio G-shocks). I bought this watch because I can't think of an occasion or event where it wouldn't be acceptable to wear it; for that reason it represents good value to me at just over £150 (considering what could be spent on a `smart' watch). I bought this watch on the strength of the reviews I have read.

Finally, I treated myself to this watch as I have wanted one for a long time and I am extremely pleased with it.

PS In a half hour lunch break, I got two compliments on the watch - which was nice...

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable and iconic but a few niggles..., 15 Oct 2010
I bought two pairs of "Ultimate 81's" (red/yellow and black/yellow/green) just before summer and they have seen good use so far. I do not use them as sports shoes, merely for going to university, going out and driving to and from jobs.

These shoes are priced to compete directly with aesthetically similar models from puma (lab 2 which I own also) and adidas (Beckenbauer) so complaining about being over or under priced is unfounded as alternatives cost the same.

Comfort is good although I would perhaps like a little more arch support (this could be achieved with aftermarket insoles I expect). Otherwise theses shoes are very comfortable and flexible; the heel is amply cushioned making these shoes comfortable to drive in.

Durability is my only concern with these shoes. Whilst there has been no dramatic failure of the structure of the shoes, the front of the sole that wraps round the toe is slightly detaching after moderate use; a problem that my puma lab 2's don't share.

Cleaning and proofing is easy with kiwi aquastop and kiwi suede and nubuck cleaner (available at supermarkets).

These shoes look good and are comfortable though I wonder how my opinion of their durability will change as I wear them more. I understand footwear degrades over time but I have an idea of how long they should last and wouldn't like these to fall short of that.

FoneM8 - Blackberry 9700 Screen Protector (PACK OF 5)
FoneM8 - Blackberry 9700 Screen Protector (PACK OF 5)
Offered by FoneM8store
Price: £0.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Ever so slightly ill-fitting, 15 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these protectors as an auxiliary measure of protection beneath an "otterbox defender" case. They certainly stop the screen getting scratched and are easy to apply, remove and replace. The only complaint I have is that they do not cover the entirety of the screen, leaving 0.5mm either side for dirt and dust to insidiously sneak in over time.
This said they are much better that a scratched up screen and are incredibly cheap for peace of mind.

No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puma Lab 2, 15 Oct 2010
Having preferred skate shoes to now I have (with help from the missus) been encouraged to buy things that are colourful and dare I say it a little fashionable. Before buying these shoes I bought two pairs of Onitsuka Tiger "ultimate 81's" which are great to wear but are not hugely durable. I am glad that I bought these since they are more comfortable and the material seems more durable.

They are great to cycle or walk in as they have a mesh top which lets a breeze in keeping would-be hot feet cool. They also have good arch support which for me is a big plus. Without being garish, they are equally presentable with jeans, shorts or tracksuit bottoms.

I didn't buy these as sport shoes, merely as casual shoes for going to university in, going out in and driving to and from jobs in. They certainly provide pleasant relief for tired feet that have sat in work boots all day.

Though not a downside I would recommend some spray on waterproofing; kiwi aquastop was the readily available supermarket option.

Only time and extensive use will reveal just how durable these shoes are and whether they suffer from poor stitching or gluing. However, to date they look as new and feel brilliant so I have no choice but to give them 5 stars.

6 FT. Y adapter 3.5 mm Stereo plug to 2 phono for IPOD/CD
6 FT. Y adapter 3.5 mm Stereo plug to 2 phono for IPOD/CD
Offered by T2 Enterprises Ltd
Price: £1.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and very effective, 15 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ideal for transforming an old hifi into an ipod compatible stereo or equally valuable for a more modern stereo system without ipod/mp3 player compatibility.

OtterBox Defender Series Three-Layer Protection Case Cover with Screen Protector and Holster Style Swivel Belt Clip for BlackBerry BlackBerry Bold 9700/9780 - Black
OtterBox Defender Series Three-Layer Protection Case Cover with Screen Protector and Holster Style Swivel Belt Clip for BlackBerry BlackBerry Bold 9700/9780 - Black
Price: £6.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bombproof but slightly flawed, 15 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a student at the University of Manchester which may lead to the question "why does he need this case anyway then...?"

When I am not at University I work either labouring, doing groundworks/landscape gardening or working for an event management company, rigging and derigging gigs, corporate events and private parties etc. All of these A) require me to have a phone and B) put a phone in stressful situations where crushing, water damage, dust, mud and various impacts are commonplace. Aside from my jobs I am a clumsy idiot at times and drop, knock or tread on phones and ipods frequently.

As a student the last thing I need is expensive bits of kit being wrecked or hefty insurance excesses to get goods replaced and this case is absolutely ideal for that. Admittedly it is slightly pricey but against the cost of a new blackberry or a £50 insurance excess (considering my line of work and track record) it is a no-brainer.

So far I have dropped this phone down carpeted stairs, onto tiled and wooden floors, out of the car onto tarmac (then trodden on it getting out of the car), used it in the rain all the time, thrown it about to prove how tough the case is (not ended up with egg on my face yet) and squashed it against the side of an articulated lorry trailer countless times loading and unloading flight cases. None of these incidents have damaged the phone at all yet and when the case is removed the phone is absolutely pristine beneath. It was installed the first day I got the phone and it has only been removed to clean the case and phone twice.

Though this case it absolutely brilliant at protecting a blackberry, functionality is slightly inhibited. The raised plastic surround to the keyboard makes the keys on the periphery of the keyboard ("Q", "A", "Alt", "Enter", "Del" and "P") slightly more difficult to use, sometimes leading to a "double-press" or smudge onto another key. This said the cover for the keyboard is excellent at preventing the ingress of dust and water whilst retaining full trackpad functionality.

Another slight quibble it that inside the case, over time detritus (pocket lint and dust) will build up. This is easily remedied by taking the case off and cleaning the phone with a lens cloth and the case with a dry tea towel or similar. The only thing I would suggest is putting a screen protector beneath the case (as well as the integral plastic screen) just in case a piece of sand got trapped beneath and damaged the screen.

The belt clip is useless, bulky and a sure fire way to lose your phone.

All in all a brilliant case scoring 4/5 stars due to a couple of small and completely tolerable quibbles.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2010 5:22 PM GMT

Casio GW-M5610-1ER Wave Ceptor Radio Controlled G-SHOCK Mens Digital Resin Watch
Casio GW-M5610-1ER Wave Ceptor Radio Controlled G-SHOCK Mens Digital Resin Watch
Offered by trendor
Price: £101.20

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bombproof Bargain, 10 Nov 2009
I am amazed that this watch is still this cheap.
-It will never run out unless you work on a submarine or live down a mine
-It is always exactly right with regards to time, date daylight savings etc
-It is not easily damaged. I have bashed mine into the door frame, come off of my bike wearing it, done manual labour whilst wearing it, dropped it more than once and will be wearing it for some fieldwork next week and I am absolutely sure that it will be up to the task.

I like the automatic light feature for driving at night and although I don't really go lamping any more I would imagine it would be useful for that too All you have to do is roll your wrist and TA-DA! it lights up.

The countdown timer is useful for students (like me) if your oven has no timer, the stopwatch has a 5 second countdown feature which is good for timing runs or cycle rides. Though I have not been travelling with it yet I am going to S Africa over christmas and new year. I know it will not get a radio-signal there but I am sure that the solar cell will enjoy the sun...I will have to find out which city code is the correct one too...

As for the review which only gives this watch 2 stars - I have an 8" wrist and it fits fine...

In short, if you are considering a 5600 of any variety, get this one. It has a theoretically limitless lifespan, doesn't have any gimmicky tide graphs on and is old-school without being intrusively bulky.


Nixon Peak Big Bill Tri-Fold Wallet
Nixon Peak Big Bill Tri-Fold Wallet

5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy, 3 Nov 2009
Bought one in St Ives last year and it is the best wallet I have ever had. It is durable, stylish and very supple. It is understated and holds enough cards. Perforated leather can hold plaster dust and debris from manual labour but that is my fault... Treat yourself, you won't regret it.

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