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Reviews Written by
P. B. Hall "Ben Hall" (West Sussex, UK.)

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The Rings Of Saturn
The Rings Of Saturn
Price: 3.95

5.0 out of 5 stars mesmerising, 19 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great deal more like an Alain de Botton book than I expected, which is not a criticism. Historical anecdotes galore. Empty East Anglian Landscape in spades. The accreted significance of places in decay and on the point of vanishing.


Roberts Unologic DAB/FM RDS Digital Radio with Built-in Battery Charger - Black
Roberts Unologic DAB/FM RDS Digital Radio with Built-in Battery Charger - Black
Price: 50.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Small but effective, 11 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using one of these for 2 years now. Excellent compact size for the tiny kitchen in our small flat, but with a long aerial if needed. That the recharger is able to make use of replaceable standard AA rechargeable batteries was a big factor in my choosing this model and should ensure that it will work for years more. Surprisingly loud considering the the size of its one speaker. The only limitation we've discovered is that recharging can interfere with DAB reception if listening to a channel with a weaker signal.


Success ...and How to Avoid it
Success ...and How to Avoid it
by Mat Coward
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Sparklingly hilarious, brilliant and informative expose of the writing buisness, 22 April 2013
Like the previous reviewer I also bought this as an add-on to an Interzone subscription, expecting some mildly witty parody of a writing manual. Instead I found one of the funniest and most interesting books I've ever read, not just about the writing, but about the nature of the entire UK freelance media labour market since the 1980s. It's a Vonnegut-ian autobiographical rant of the utmost clarity and hilarity. It's unashamedly politically biased (because real life is too, kids), so if you're offended by enthusiastic support for the Morning Star then turn away. It should be compulsory reading for all careers advisors, teenagers with 'media' pretensions and industrial relations academics. Indeed anybody, not just writers, who feels that the UK labour market is like mandatory participation in some sort of sadistic circus that last most of your adult life, then you will find a sane voice, a friend, even, in this book. A great work which I have purchased and given away as a gift many times over.


Lorus Time Teacher Watch Bright Pink RG265HX9
Lorus Time Teacher Watch Bright Pink RG265HX9
Offered by WatchMad
Price: 16.60

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long, 12 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm pretty annoyed with the strap on this. It is far too long for my 5-year-old daughter's wrist and the placing of the velcro strips means there is no way it can be trimmed.


Diamond Hill: Memories of Growing Up in a Hong Kong Squatter Village
Diamond Hill: Memories of Growing Up in a Hong Kong Squatter Village
by Feng Chi-shun
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an authentic voice, 26 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is people like Feng who made Hong Kong what it is today. A streetwise kid from a cohesive family with little money but a strong work ethic, who climbed the academic ladder into the medical profession. He is of the generation who saw Hong Kong only as a place to leave, to move onto better things, but this book is in many respects a bold repudiation of this emigrant ethos. Times have changed, Hong Kong is now a place where people have roots, and this book is Feng's examination of his roots.

I loved Feng's use of language. It is the authentic voice of an English-speaking educated Hong Kong Chinese. Possessing literary flair and equally at home with American and British idioms in a way which no Briton or American could be. For the benefit of his English-speaking audience he is also able (with frequent generosity and clarity) to explain the subtleties and infinite punning possibilities of the Chinese dialects.

A book which will stick in my mind for a long time.


Mercury Falls (Mercury Series Book 1)
Mercury Falls (Mercury Series Book 1)
Price: 3.49

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the tradition of Douglas Adams..., 14 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An enjoyable religious satire about a jaded journalist who finds herself caught up in various plots and counter-plots by different factions of angels and demons to derail or subvert impending Armageddon. Kroese cheerfully depicts heaven and hell as mind-numbingly complex bureaucracies, populated by immortals who are often as clueless as to the 'grand plan' as we are. The comparison with Adams is obvious, and Kroese acknowledges this by having his main character quote 'The Hitchhiker's Guide' at one point, but his grasp of kooky religion has something distinctly American about it. Atheism does not escape ridicule either, in case you're wondering.


Apple iPod shuffle 2GB - Silver (discontinued by manufacturer)
Apple iPod shuffle 2GB - Silver (discontinued by manufacturer)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars clever but....those headphones, and try teaching that voiceover to say "symphony #7 In A, Op. 92 - 4. Allegro Molto", 23 July 2010
Some excellent design and software ideas here, but with severe limitations.

The headphone cable-mounted control works well, but it means you are either stuck with the ipod shuffle's own headphones (which won't stay in my ears unless I glue them) or have to buy an non-apple adaptor. The available adaptors are short, meaning that the controls are near the ipod, not up near the wearer's neck, which rather defeats the point.

The voice-over software is clever. I discovered that it speaks Czech and German quite well when I load Czech or German classical music. However, many of the tracks in my classical collection are lumbered with long titles full of numbers, abbreviations and # signs (e.g. Beethoven: Symphony #7 In A, Op. 92 - 4. Allegro Molto) and it can't really cope with these.

Finally, I encountered a very irritating bug. No matter what I tried some of my playlists would play only in reverse order. I have no idea why.


Philips SHS8000/00 Earhook Headphones
Philips SHS8000/00 Earhook Headphones

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They work! Good customer support too., 15 Jun 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Maybe it's my aural anatomy but normal in-ear headphones just don't work for me. They fall out. These don't and the sound is excellent. They are supplied with three sizes of ear cap in order to accommodate all ear types.

The only problem is that the ear caps can come off, and my two year old daughter certainly delights in pulling them off. What do you do if you lose them? Don't worry. Philips will send you new ones for FREE. Call Philips on 0800-3316015. Tell them you need new ear caps for SHS8000/00 earphones; part description 'earphone caps SHA1100', part number 867000034573. They'll post them to you.


Normandy (AA Road Map France Series)
Normandy (AA Road Map France Series)
by AA Publishing
Edition: Map

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for planning your invasion of Normandy., 21 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used this map to plan a short trip around the Seine Valley and I wasn't disappointed. All medieval churches, abbeys, ruins, chateaux (both open and closed to the public), national parks and scenic routes are clearly marked. The most useful feature, however, is that the name of any town or village of tourist interest is underlined in red. This led us to some charming locations which we'd have otherwise overlooked.

The only problem with this map is that it is too big to unfold. For our holiday a smaller map of Seine Maritime would have been adequate, and for driving a ring-bound road atlas would have been much more usable. Still, for planning, this was the best tool.


Sony KDL-26V4000 - 26" Widescreen HD Ready Bravia LCD TV - With Freeview
Sony KDL-26V4000 - 26" Widescreen HD Ready Bravia LCD TV - With Freeview

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than expected, 26 Oct 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent picture quality and sound and as big as you'll need in a small living room.

Some reviewers have complained about the KDL26V4000's ability to tune to a weak Freeview signal. The digibox I had with my previous TV was never able to pick up Freeview using our existing elderly aerial. This set has located it with little problem however.

Gives a fantastic HD picture from freesat too. Pity that Sony don't make a freesat box which can be controlled with the TV remote.

I was slightly worried that it would be vulnerable to the attentions of our toddler, but the heavy metal base is quite enough to stop it falling over even if pushed, and the on/off controls are located on top of the set where she can't reach them.


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