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Stucumber "Stucumber" (N. Wales)
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Philips AVENT SCH540/00 Baby Soother Thermometer Set
Philips AVENT SCH540/00 Baby Soother Thermometer Set
Offered by KrystalDirect
Price: 30.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Product as described!, 22 Feb 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Objectively, there is little to say about this set, positive or negative. Two electronic thermometers; one of typical form, the other mounted in a dummy. One goes in one end and the other: the other(not at the same time). They work at measuring temperature, which is what you want them to do. Our little fella doesn't take a dummy, so should we need to take his temperature we have another option.

5 stars, just for being exactly as described, though I struggle to get enthused about it.


Hudson's Historic Houses and Gardens, Castles and Heritage Sites 2010
Hudson's Historic Houses and Gardens, Castles and Heritage Sites 2010
by Hudson's
Edition: Paperback

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty but of limited use., 21 Jan 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great big book, full of useful information and well produced. There may be, however, one glaring drawback which prevents this being essential for anyone not in the tourism sector but I'll get to that later.

The first section of the book comprises magazine style articles, from organizations such as English Heritage, Historic Scotland and Cadw, interspersed with adverts and offers from periodicals. The rear section contains information concerning properties that host corporate events, civil weddings, have accommodation or otherwise hold special events. There are more adverts for hotels and several pages of maps covering Britain and Ireland.

The main 'meat' of the book is a comprehensive list of, what appears to be, almost every visitable place of historic interest in the country. Briefer listings include contact details, website, opening times, admission and a short description. Longer entries cover more important or popular places, with colour photos and more in depth descriptions. There are hundreds of entries and it's nice just browsing through them.

The drawback I mentioned earlier? Well, I can't seem to see what purpose I would put this book. One the one hand it is comprehensive but so is the internet and that's free. This does have it all in one place though, but do I really need all that information, am I likely to need to find a place to visit in Cornwall, for instance, before the details in the book is out of date? If you are the sort of person who has the time and resources to visit several places throughout the year (lucky you), you might find this book useful. If in the course of your work you might find it useful too. For anyone else, this might be a nice book to flip through and dream but will find little practical use.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2011 4:24 PM GMT


Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Take with a hefty pinch of salt., 27 Oct 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On the face of it Superfreakonomics is an enjoyable and fun read. It purports, like its predecessor, to uncover the reality behind certain situations using the techniques of economics. Indeed, their main contention is that many human situations are best understood through the analytical power of economics. The book certainly contains many 'aha!' moments, when, if their argument is correct, what you thought was the explanation for a phenomenon turns out to be almost the polar opposite. Of course, that is if their arguments are correct.

Their definition of economics is broad, encompassing great areas that are classically thought of as logic, sociology, science and psychology, not just the financial definition that we're used to. What becomes grating, however, is the insinuation that the economics model is naturally superior to other models developed within their own fields. Sometimes an economic model does offer a good explanation for a system, particularly one that deals in the exchange of goods or services, the chapter on prostitution being one example. There is a feeling of superiority over those with specialised knowledge.

However, I have reservations as to whether take all that they say at face value after reading the chapter on Global Warming. Here it seems that their rigorous approach has not withstood their own prejudices. I can't work out exactly what they believe on the subject. First of all they bring out the old trope about the so-called predictions during the 70s, that we were entering an ice-age, thereby discrediting climate scientists, which for a couple of smart guys seems really disingenuous considering that those predictions where based on some very small scale research and some rather larger-scale media reportage. They then further rubbish climate science, claim that climate scientists don't know what the major contributor to sea level rising is(which they do, thermal expansion), claim that increased CO2 would actually benefit plant life without mentioning ocean acidification and then conflate media scare-mongering with environmentalists and the IPCC. And anyway it was warmer 80 million years ago (so what?). A quick unsupported claim that the Earth is actually cooling and bizarrely drag out Boris Johnson in support of your position.

Suddenly though GW is real. Most of the last chapter is taken up by an account of a plan to reverse GW by a company called Intellectual Ventures by emitting large amounts of sulfur dioxide. The authors seem to really admire these guys, they're capitalists, so now GW is real and luckily here come the men with the fix, and luckily it's a cheap, simple fix. So no worries, business as usual. It's an embarrasing volte face and unfortunately for the authors the fix is not quick, cheap or simple like they think. The problem is they misrepresent those men, Ken Caldeira of IV has gone as far as to say so, he also believes CO2 to be "the right villain" and the book contains "many errors".

I'm left with serious doubts now, about the veracity of the authors' prior accounts. Have they dissembled elsewhere as egregiously as in the GW chapter? Entertaining but spurious and biased.


I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue 11 (BBC Radio Collection): v. 11
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue 11 (BBC Radio Collection): v. 11
by Humphrey Lyttelton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 11.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant nonsense., 21 Oct 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Should you be a long time Clue fan you'll know exactly what to expect from this compilation. It has the usual mix of hilarious puns and very near the knuckle innuendo from Humph. If you're like me, a relative newcomer to the show, you'll be bitterly regretting having not been listening for the last few decades.

This set is, for me, a way to catch up on exactly what I've missed: some of best radio comedy since The Goons.


David Attenborough's Life Stories (BBC Audio)
David Attenborough's Life Stories (BBC Audio)
by Sir David Attenborough
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 14.12

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of wonder., 21 Oct 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Given the affection in which David Attenborough is held and his reputation as a natural history programme maker, it would be understandable to have high expectations for his Life Stories. These expectations are met on hearing just the first of the stories he narrates.

Each 'Life Story' takes for its subject an animal, plant or Attenborough's career with them and with his usual enthusiasm conveys how really fascinating each of them really are. The mix of subjects is eclectic from three toed sloths to amber-trapped insects, from exinct dodos to 'living fossil' coelacanths and each is an illustration of how amazing the natural world is. At just under ten minutes a piece, each story, I've found, is a perfect length for a kind of adult's bedtime story. Alternatively Radio 4 listeners, (via which these were first broadcast) who can't stand the Archers have a fall back option should they not feel like visiting Ambridge.

We are all, probably, familiar with David Attenborough's voice from his television work, this collection shows just how important that voice is for that work. Calm, clear, well-paced and authoratitive, it's a great pleasure to listen to and to share in the wonder that it invokes.


Fish Pies and French Fries, Vegetables, Meat and Something Sweet ... Affordable, Everyday Food and Family-friendly Recipes Made Easy
Fish Pies and French Fries, Vegetables, Meat and Something Sweet ... Affordable, Everyday Food and Family-friendly Recipes Made Easy
by Gill Holcombe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyday Inspiration, 26 Aug 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Most people who have been students, will be aware of student cookbooks: usually taking the reader by the hand, to guide them through a range of simple, fairly easy dishes. 'Fish pies and French fries' has a similar feel, though is perhaps a step on from the student versions.

There are loads of recipes in here, some very simple such as Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta, through to the more sophisticated like Fresh Mackerel Fishcakes with Lemon and Roquefort. There are replications of fast-food favourites like Southern Fried Chicken and Keema Kebabs, standard British classics like Cottage Pie and more unusual fare in Hot Tomato Jelly and Nettle Soup.

Recipes are easy to follow with clear instructions and a certain amount of leeway when it comes to quantities. They are like the sort of recipe you might write down for a friend and have the room to add your own touch.

The organization is somewhat haphazard, which is one of the book's main drawbacks, thankfully the index is extensive. A useful feature is the menu section where whole three-course meals are planned for you.

Not for foodies or wannabe Jamie Olivers, this book is more useful for everyday family eating and is all about practical and (usually) affordable meals.


Remington D1001 Spin Curl Hair Dryer
Remington D1001 Spin Curl Hair Dryer

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What does baldy know about curls anyway?, 20 Aug 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my other-half and she loves it. Not a person who spends a lot of time on a beauty regime (I don't think she needs to) she likes anything that can give good results for minimal time and effort. She has always liked having curly hair but the time it takes to do (coil wet hair into ringlets and let dry naturally) has been up to three hours, which is a bit long really.

That's why she really likes this hairdryer, it's fast and the results are the kind of natural curls she goes for. Locks of hair are spun in a vortex (created in the attachment which snaps onto the front of the dryer) curling the hair as it dries. The results look good too, very natural.

My sister, a much more girly-girl, has borrowed the drier for an extended period and loves it as well. She tells me that she doesn't need to use any 'serum', I don't know what 'serum' is but she assures me this is a good thing. She knows about such arcane feminine mysteries, so I take her word on it. I've spotted my Mum sporting newly curled hair too, all seem happy.

Reported Pros:
Easy to use
Good results
Quick
Long cord
Decent hairdryer for people not wishing curly hair too

Reported Cons:
Quite pricey


Welcome to Britain
Welcome to Britain
by The Caravan Gallery
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing and weeping., 23 July 2009
This review is from: Welcome to Britain (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was aware of the Caravan Gallery from their range of postcards, depicting a side of Britain not seen in the tourist brochures. It's a Britain that we're all familiar with; mundane, strange, funny, bewildering, smutty, and eccentric. A Britain of picnics on the hard shoulder, mock-Tudor semi's, people following dogs with little plastic bags and line dancing.

The authors have toured our island photographing the things that reflect real life here in Britain, to display in the their caravan-cum-gallery. Often the results trigger a smile of recognition or at others a bark of laughter. As often, a scene sends you to a slight despond, as only grey concrete and dog-muck can. There is genuine affection here though and a sense of hope, even if it's just that Britain will continue on its own bloody minded way.

A million miles away is the Sceptered Isle, of Kings and Queens, of history and heritage. Instead here is Britain as most of us live it. If you didn't laugh you'd only be crying, crying into your polystyrene tray of chips.


Galileo's Dream
Galileo's Dream
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dip in form., 16 July 2009
This review is from: Galileo's Dream (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Some may be familiar with Kim Stanley Robinson. He is one of the best 'hard' science fiction writers and the author of several acclaimed novels, including his excellent 'future-history' Mars trilogy. They are three of my favourite books and his last series continued to prove his ability as a writer. However Galileo's Dream was, for me, somewhat disappointing.

KSR tells the story of Galileo's life, from the creation of his first telescope, through his trial by the catholic church and up to his death. He creates a vivid evocation of Galileo's time and the society from which he came. Intertwined with his story is another of alternate histories and a future society in conflict over the past, a past some of them want to change. The author uses these devices to illustrate how contingent our own world is and how much Galileo mattered then and matters now. Although he succeeds in this, I felt the two strands; the real and historical, the fictional and fantastical, jarred uncomfortably.

The characterisation, unusually for KSR, was not universally strong. The 17th C. characters felt more real, more fully fleshed than did the future ones. Perhaps it was because we spent little time with the future characters, KSR usually builds his characters over a longer period.

On reflection, KSR tells his story with genuine feeling and understanding. Even in his lesser novels though, he provides compelling ideas, and his Galileo is a very real person, even if some of the situations he finds himself in feel a little contrived.


Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living
Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living
by Robert Vale
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and level-headed., 15 July 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's obvious to many that we are at a point in the human story where we need to to make some serious decisions. An exponentially growing population striving to reach the levels of attainment enjoyed in the developed world is just not feasible. Indeed as is pointed out in this book the products of at least three Earths would be needed for everyone to live the way the modern American does. In order to make our decisions we are going to need to base them on sound evidence, this is what Robert and Brenda Vale have set out to do and they have succeeded admirably.

There is a lot of well-referenced and researched material here, presented accessibly in a clear and straight-forward manner. In keeping there arguments convincing the authors' have gone into a lot of detail; you'll need to be prepared to work a little to get the most out this book. That's not to say that reading this is a chore, not at all, rather we're encouraged to engage with what's presented and draw our own conclusions.

Much of the information is in the form of tables and figures, all of which are easy to read and often illustrate a point much more succinctly than the text. In fact these tables and figures are so good I wish there had been more of them to help with every eventuality. Of course that would have created a ridiculously long book (not to mention self-defeating).

At heart this is an optimistic book because it shows us we can be better. If we heed the authors' advice we can begin to avert real disaster before it's too late.


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