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weatherwitch (Lost in the woods of Yorkshire)

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Robin of Sherwood - The Complete Series (Reconfiguration) [DVD]
Robin of Sherwood - The Complete Series (Reconfiguration) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Praed
Price: £23.20

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Subtitles!, 4 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this series, owned a few older format dvd copies I'd got second hand but when this reconfigured box set came out with 8 discs, I thought fantastic, I'll get it. It really is a fabulous show, I loved the whole programme when it first came out & now, nothing has ever compared to it. But, & this is a BIG but, it is the 21st century, the dvds have been done up, look & sound better, but why on earth are there no subtitles for those of us with hearing problems?? I have ancient Ealing comedy films on dvd that few now know yet they have subtitles. So why on earth doesn't the dvd of this BAFTA award winning, world renowned series have no subtitles? That is a serious mistake.
The series however is no mistake, it is fantastic, enthralling & the out-takes the best ever! But come on producers, it is the 21st century, there is NO excuse for dvds of such popular series to not have subtitles.


Chimneys and Chimney Sweeps (Shire Album)
Chimneys and Chimney Sweeps (Shire Album)
by Benita Cullingford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.71

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping through the ages, 11 Sep 2007
This fascinating book tells the social history of this ancient trade that dates from the twelfth century. The author draws on material from original manuscripts and autobiographies by master sweeps as well as other studies. It discusses the five chimney sweeping acts and the role of the journeyman, apprentices and master sweeps and the industry of soot, a byproduct producing good money for the master sweep something I had never been aware of. The chapters deal with the development of chimneys, early chimney sweeping, the eighteenth century, the early nineteenth century, the victorian era and the twentieth century. There are plenty of good illustrations and good photographs all in black and white. This really is a fascinating little book and well worth it's tiny retail price.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2011 5:14 PM GMT


A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE
A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE
by Sarah Helm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, unbiased and exceptionally well researched, 11 Sep 2007
There is so much to say about this book. It seems there have been several conspiricies put forward about Vera Atkins, yet this author has dispelled them with excellent research of her own. Vera Atkins was a major player in the SOE (Special Oerative Executives) F (France) section and undertook her own search to find out what had become of her agents. Her boss Buckmaster made some highly damaging decisions, that condemned the lives of many agents, ignoring key information and clues and giving the Germans information that endangered the lives of his agents. Atkins fought against the War office and government to discover the fate of her own people and for the recognition of the women agents who fought as FANY to be recognised as military with the same rights. This book follows the training of the agents, then Veras lone search through the chaotic Allied occupied German and also to the Russian zone. The fate of the female agents was harrowing, all the more so for how the author feeds us the information, in the same way as Vera found it.

There is no doubt that Vera was a phenomenally brave and strong woman but she was always seen as cold. This book deals with much of that and of Veras secret past. Vera's life was surrounded and shrouded in secrets for almost all of it with good reason and the author reminds us of the social and political world and domestic views then which seriously affected Veras life. Even her own family knew virtually nothing about her past and her war work. Vera was awarded for her work but also blamed for it too. Whilst she went out of her way to trace her agents, she also blocked information that could have greatly helped others in the search for their own loved ones.

Many media reviews for this have called it as reading like a thriller. I understand how they mean it, but these were real people horrifically tortured and mistreated at the concentration camps. I don't find that a 'thriller' book. Vera was a strong, powerful woman focused on her work and to ensure the best for her agents in their memory. The book is a difficult read because of the topic and because I can't quite decide how I feel about the woman personally although she did great work in terrible circumstances and I have a huge respect for her. The author Sarah Helm has done a phenomenal job on a contraversial subject (SOE) and on a highly contraversial woman without bias. Full marks for a truely excellent book.


Scandal in the Church: Dr.Edward Drax Free, 1764-1843
Scandal in the Church: Dr.Edward Drax Free, 1764-1843
by R.B. Outhwaite
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining and extremely accessible, a great scandal indeed, 11 Sep 2007
Modern vicars compare nothing to this man! Oxford University was relieved to get the opportunity to free themselves of this appalling troublemaker and then the troubles of the villagers of Sutton started. Because of the social and historical time they were forced to put up with Dr Free for many years, the final court case taking six years, after which he baracaded himself in to the vicarage, hardly surprising given his type of behaviour. Dr Free got his housekeepers pregnant, kept pornography, fought with the villagers, refused to hold the church services for weeks on end (usually because he was trying to avoid being served with court papers) and when he did hold a church service he used the opportunity to verbally abuse whoever was his latest victim. Dr Free refused to baptise or bury the dead without payment, which was an illegal payment he personally charged. He demanded tithes, he kept sheep, horses, cattle and pigs in the graveyard and stabled the horses and sheep in the church porch over night. He locked the church against his own staff, stopping them from performing their own duties and sold the lead off the church roof for his own gain. He argued with all and sundry and is probably the most outrageous Rector in the history of the church in England! To my mind he definately beats Harold Davidson! The book makes fantastic reading, has a phenomenal bibliography and notes source listing, and is of interest to those seeking ecclesciatical court and law courts accounts and history. It is a facinating piece of work and the author has to be applauded on bringing this Rector back to life for those of who never had to actually suffer him. Scandal in the Church indeed, the News of the World would have loved him!!


Ants of the British Isles (Shire natural history)
Ants of the British Isles (Shire natural history)
by Gary J. Skinner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing, 11 Sep 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having suffered yet again another invasion of ants in my home I wanted to know more about these tiny creatures so bought this book. I have learnt so much about them from it, there's over 10,000 species of ant in the world, and in Britain there are around 50 different of species ant alone some of which use stings or squirt formic acid as a defense mechanism. Some more of the fascinating facts about ants from the book include that some ants tend and milk various aphids in order to extract the honey dew and at the height of the season in late May they will bring back to the nest around half a pound of aphid sugar (honeydew) a day which is astounding! The Workerless Ant (Anergates atraulus) no longer has workers of its own species but uses those of another species to do its work and the Queen Wood Ant can live up to 15 years old! The book of only 24 pages has good illustrations, plenty good clear concise colour photographs and is an extremely unusual fascinating read jammed full of facts and information. However there was nothing on ant mortuary practice in the book which is a shame as this is an aspect that I find fascinating having watched them collect their dead and carry them back to the nest.


Mice of the British Isles (Shire natural history)
Mice of the British Isles (Shire natural history)
by Michael Leach
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent value, highly informative, 9 Sep 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another one of Shires excellent natural history books. Only 24 pages long but extremely informative on four species of mice in the United Kingdom. It covers the house mouse, wood mouse, yellow necked mouse and harvest mouse. The book has chapters on Identification, Food, Breeding, Behaviour and Ecology and has many clear colour photographs, a few black and white photographs and several line drawings too. Although I wished to understand more about the house mice I've had here over the years (despite having three cats!) I bought it mainly because there are many wood mice here and I wished to know more about these fascinating creatures who I share my garden (and sometimes again home!) with. I was fascinated to discover many unknown facts about all the mice that feature in this book, especially that these mice use ultra sound as well as the audible squeaks humans can hear them make. For such a tiny price this little book is an absolute gem in understanding the lives of these British Muridae family.


Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca
Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca
by Candace Savage
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appallingly incorrect!!!, 5 Sep 2007
For a hardback lavishly illustrated book I was very surprised at the excellent price. I expected high quality from this publisher and to all intents and purposes this book provided it, or so I thought. I enjoyed four of the long chapters although I did chringe at some of the more appalling 'american' terms used within the book, they really irritated me and made it seem almost immature. The chapters, Secrets of a Shapeshifter, Conjuring a Nightmare, Old Wives Tales and Romancing the Witch often gave different outlooks and opinions on the causes and problems of the ideas and trials of a witch even though this is clearly written from a feminist point of view it was still interesting. The book is brightly coloured through out, illustrations are of woodcuts, paintings, pictures, photographs and are nicely presented and printed with clarity unlike some books. I found it to be informative, and will use some of the stories mentioned to look into other areas and cases of witch trials although some of the interpretations I found to be unusual.

I was finding the book to be fairly good right until I got to to the last chapter being number five, which was called Lifting the Curse which was when it all fell apart. I was aware that the author was American, I was not aware however that she would use the American interpretation of 'wicca' to mean all witchcraft of today, in particular she believes that is a predominantly female movement, and her biggest mistake from which I am still reeling is that in this section that purports to be about Wicca today, has no mention of Gerald Gardner whatsoever. The father of Wicca is not mentioned which I find astounding. The mother of modern witchcraft (which in this book means wicca) is mentioned and she is apparantly is Starhawk, a woman who was born the year the witchcraft laws were repealed in the UK, and was still in nappies when Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente were writing and working their magic in this land. The author's idea of wicca today does not reflect true Wicca (regardless of whether you believe it should be coven based or self iniaited) but the American version where anything goes and those who fought the battle for the freedom of the laws and modern witchcraft are ignored. I really expected better of this highly respected publisher than to print a book that is so dreadfully and terribly misleading about Wicca.

I certainly don't recommend this book from a scoharly point of view, the basics are there, but after such an ending I have little faith in the authors ability to tell fact from fiction. But I am holding onto this book, the woodcut and illustrations are excellent and are its saving grace. It will do as a starter point to research other cases mentioned which is something i like to do. But this was a book about witches through the centuries, their perscution and their battles, their changing image and perceptions of them through the centuries right up to todays modern witch and that todays witchcraft is now called wicca. The latter being something I vementently dispute.

The bibliography seems long for someone who never refered to a Valiente, Gardner, Sanders, Farrar, Cochrane or even Fortune or Crowley book for early and mid 20th century occult and witchcraft work, but did however refer to three books by Starhawk for her research. When the modern day witchcraft chapter is so poorly researched it brings into question the validity of the the information given in the previous sections for the early history of witchcraft.

Still I'm holding onto this book, I like the illustrations.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2011 12:16 PM GMT


Witches in Old North Yorkshire
Witches in Old North Yorkshire
by Mary Williams
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely informative, highly researched, 5 Sep 2007
I recently reread this fascinating book after some years. The author has done excellent and intelligent research into her subject, which is backed up with a good bibliography. There are black and white photographs of witch artefacts now held in museums and also copies of drawings of witches up to suposed mischief. I particularly like the front page photo of the witch-post in cruck house now in the Ryedale Folk Museum.

The author has drawn upon the extensive research by two late 19th century historian `witch hunters' Richard Blakeborough of Guisborough and Canon John C Atkinson of Danby both of whom travelled the locality to record the stories of people who were alive at the times of the witches antics so long ago or record the tales as had been passed down through the generations. Where names of witches have been given the author has checked extensively for the authenticity of the person named, something many of the currents books today fail to do.

Mary Williams points out that whilst witch hunts and persecutions were bad in other areas with panic and fear rife, in North Yorkshire the magistrates were much calmer and more likely to dismiss such things or see them with a far more rational perspective than happened elsewhere in general during these times. There were less persecutions and less punishments metered out to the witches of North Yorkshire than anywhere else. The stories and reports are clear and well written. I like this book because I am interested in knowing about the real trials and stories of witches, and the author has carried out extensive research to verify various details, even going through parish records to authenticate a persons existence or not. It has a rather light hearted writing style but this book is aimed for the non scholar despite it's obvious research.

It is a real shame that this is out of print since this is a fascinating and accurate book on a subject that is all too frequently poorly researched and usually misleading.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 10:04 PM BST


Witchcraft in Cornwall: 1400-1900: A Comprehensive Guide to Witchcraft
Witchcraft in Cornwall: 1400-1900: A Comprehensive Guide to Witchcraft
by Kelvin I. Jones
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting ..., 5 Sep 2007
Kelvin I Jones really does present his information sources clearly and consisely. Along with records and stated fact he backs it up with where it was found, something I do find a lot of todays witchcraft authors fail to do. My complaint with Jones is that he mixes up witchcraft and wicca referring to them as the same - they are not. He refers to "witchcraft or wicca craft in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries" something that as an opening line to the book made me groan outloud expecting to find the book a waste of money. When I found also in the same introduction, "This account of Cornwall's wiccan tradition" I nearly gave up. I am glad however that I carried on.

Jones has used archives at Exeter, Goal book entries as well ancient books not usually referred to for his information and he clearly states his sources. Chapters are The Early Persecutions, Wise Women and Sacred Places, The Aftermath, Ill Wishing, Legends About Witches, Beliefs, Rites and Methods, and Modern Witchcraft.

For this type of publication there were surprisingly few typos until page 27 where mistakes galore occur! But ignoring these along with references to the "Old Religion" (something I find exceedingly annoying) and the mix up with wicca and witchcraft this is a fabulous little book at just £2.50. Often quite hard to come by but worth it, this really is a fascinating read and essential to anyone interested in Cornish witchcraft, the social history of witchcraft or the witch trials.

I won't be parting with my copy.


The Ancient British Goddess: Goddess Myths, Legends, Sacred Sites and Present Revelations
The Ancient British Goddess: Goddess Myths, Legends, Sacred Sites and Present Revelations
by Kathy Jones
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different ..., 5 Sep 2007
I have to say that this book certainly got my attention both for good and for bad reasons. As someone who studies British Prehistory and its archaeology, those who know me, know it does get my back up when people claim that `this' was exactly how rituals were done in the prehistoric era and `why' the monuments were built etc. Having said that the book does capture the imagination and rather than using the Wheel of the Year uses a British Medicine Wheel, fortunately not based too closely to the Native American one.

The author has used a lot of guess work and stated it as fact, particularly for things of which there can be no record. Yet ignoring this, she really does believe things to have been this way and it does give the book an endearing quality. It is refreshing to see a book that ignores Wicca and deals with the Goddess of the land in her many forms and away from the usual portrayals. The Goddess is discussed in her many different British guises and in ways not usually associated with the British Goddess, including being depicted as sows and cows. In this book, Brigit holds the white rod of power throughout Spring and Summer and Cailleach takes it over at Samhain and transforms it in a black rod for autumn and winter which is not a concept that I have come across before.

There are many photographs and unusual illustrations throughout the book. I was left not being totally sure what category this book falls into, and although the author does seem to have an obsession with the vulva of the Goddess being found everywhere in the landscape, it is not feministic, nor new age either. The author tries to capture the Goddess and her portrayal throughout prehistory, and how she is still found in the landscape today. Ignoring ritual interpretation for which there is no evidence at all, but was stated as fact anyway, this is still an interesting read and makes us think more about how our ancestors may have worshipped the Goddess in the past. It's also quite refreshing to find a book about the Goddess without any reference to Wicca and it does make you think about Goddess perception over millennia as well. Worth reading for a very different perception of Goddess worship.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2011 12:22 PM GMT


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