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Chappers "chappers" (LONDON, United Kingdom)
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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King (BBC Radio Collection)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King (BBC Radio Collection)
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Audio CD

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious!, 21 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A glorious, faithful, moving dramatisation of the complete Lord of The Rings trilogy, with inspired casting and superb music. Very faithful to the book: it omits only the Tom Bombadil section, and retains all major scenes albeit in shortened form. I particularly appreciated that the adapters were careful to retain the integrity of each of Tolkien's characters and tell the story in chronological order.

This fine production is enhanced by the inspired voice casting, especially in the principal roles. The pronunciation used is quite 'Queen's English', which might come as a bit of a shock if you're expecting it to be as modern-day as the Peter Jackson films, but in fact the voices fit very well with the formality of Tolkien's original dialogue and they sound exactly right. Especially wonderful are Bill Nighy as the irrepressible and doughty Samwise, Peter Woodthorpe as hissing gangrel Gollum, Michael Horden as wise and stern Gandalf, Peter Howell as the traitorous Saruman and Andrew Sear as gentle Faramir. Initally I thought that Robert Stephens' Aragorn was a little too regal-sounding, but as the story progressed I appreciated just how fine his voice was to portray the proud and patient Future King. I also liked Gerard Murphy's quiet and solemn narration. By the end of the production the only voice that sounded out of place to me was that of the rather slack-vowelled announcer who reads each book's closing credits.

With 13 hours of audio I felt that nothing had been skipped in the telling, and that sufficient time had been given to each of the interweaving tales. The dramatisation is enthralling throughout, and in places so moving and atmospheric that the hairs rose on the back of my neck. 'The Paths of The Dead' is a particular favourite - very spooky!

Personally I also loved Stephen Oliver's music (except, perhaps, for the discordant song of the Eagles!). There are beautiful and memorable tracks interspersed throughout the drama and I appreciated having the extra CD of his complete musical score - though I'd have preferred if they'd included Bill Nighy's simple, unaccompanied version of the haunting 'Gil-galad was an Elven King' that was used in the production.

All in all an excellent buy and very good value for money, especially since I've already listened to the whole boxset several times in the 6 weeks since I bought it. (A brilliant accompaniment to redecorating!) These characters and their glorious tale are now very dear to me, thanks to this splendid production. It's even prompted me to re-read Tolkien's novels and rediscover the story again in its original form.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2013 1:44 PM GMT

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the label, 18 Oct 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ultra lightweight, good quality, mid-olive green colour, soft to the touch, and large enough to cover your modesty. (I'm approx 5'4, medium build, and it wraps fully around me with a bit to spare, and it covers from beneath my armpits to below my private bits). I use mine in the communal showers at my local gym and I feel both secure and serene! Very handy, as they not only mop up the water efficiently but they also dry rapidly. No need to carry heavy, bulky towels when I have these lightweight items which pack down relatively small in my gym bag. Each towel comes in its own netted bag with a carrying handle (which I use to carry my showering paraphenalia instead).

Sony ACU50A.CEK AC to USB 5V power Adaptor
Sony ACU50A.CEK AC to USB 5V power Adaptor
Offered by A to Z
Price: 6.99

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neat and simple, 18 Oct 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Relatively expensive for what it is, but also reliable as befits the Sony name, and will charge other mp3 players. I've used it to charge my Sony Walkman, iPod Shuffle, and Creative Zen Stone, all without a problem. It looks exactly like the photo: it's a simple plug with a slot at its top, into which you insert your mp3's USB cable. Very neat, very simple, and it works without any worries.

The Complete Book of Sauces
The Complete Book of Sauces
by Sallie Y. Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.39

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the sauces you'll ever require!, 12 Aug 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A fantastically useful cookbook, with no pretensions of grandeur. No spectacular colour photographs (I think the only photo is the one on the cover!), but occasional simple line drawings scattered through the text, which surely covers just about every sauce that you've ever heard of and many, many more!

Nice-sized text so that you don't have to peer at the page to read the list of ingredients. The paper isn't glossy but matter-of-fact plain and workaday, almost begging to have sauce-fingerprints liberally scattered across the pages. The book is squarely aimed at people who like getting in the kitchen and trying new flavours, rather than at those who like sitting reading glossy coffee-table type cookbooks.

The book's categorised into the basic sauce types:
- Stocks
- White sauces
- Wine sauces
- Emulsified butter sauces
- Mayonnaises
- Compound butters
- Marinades and barbeque sauces
- Tomato sauces
- Pasta sauces
- Salsas
- Salad dressings
- Fruit sauces
- Sweet sauces

There are both simple and extravagant sauces, all clearly described with the full list of ingredients followed by the technique used to create the sauce. Some ingredients in the more complex sauces will be hard to find, but all of the everyday sauces and ingredients are there too.

At the back of the book there's an extremely useful section which categorises all of the recipes according to the food which they best accompany. For example, "Sauces for beef dishes", "Sauces for Egg dishes", "Sauces for Chicken", "Sauces for barbeques" etc. It's an imaginative way of expanding a cook's repertoire in the kitchen and encouraging one to try something a bit different. My only criticism with this section is that it should have given the page number next to each sauce mentioned. Instead, having chosen the sauce you want to try, you then have to look it up in the index. The index itself is comprehensive.

This is a book for cooking with, and a great addition to my kitchen shelf. If you're enthusiastic about cooking then you'll be referring to this little number again and again. Brilliant.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful stuff!, 12 Aug 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lovely item - looks and feels expensive, and Gizmo Deals offer it for a great price, with no P&P charges either! Fits the iPod Nano like a glove, with the screen, controls and dock connector all accessible. I like the hidden magnet closure, which means that the lid doesn't flap open, and the belt holder/headphones storer on the back. As another reviewer has said, the finish is also excellent (no loose or sloppy stitching). I bought this flip case to accompany a silver Nano as a gift, and the recipient was very impressed with this black leather accessory. It looks smart and cool, yet cost hardly anything. Delivery by Gizmo Deals was also very swift. All in all, an excellent purchase.

Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista
Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista
Offered by BESTBUYIT
Price: 5.58

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 stars for effort, 10 Jun 2008
Usually I'm a big fan of Belkin products, so I blame Microsoft for the rubbish software (the hardware itself works without a fault). The only reason I moved to a Vista pc was because my XP's disc had been poorly partitioned and I'd completely run out of space on my logical C drive. Imagine my mood when this software insisted on installing to my XP's C drive AND wanted 500MB of spare disc space to install itself, thank you very much..

When I finally got it installed I couldn't work out for love nor money how to "select individual files or directories" - it seemed to want to transfer everything or nothing. Intuitive it is not.

At that point I gave up and bought myself a Lexar 4GB USB flash drive - also on sale via Amazon - very quick, under my control, completely reusable, and worked fine without me losing my temper!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2012 2:44 PM GMT

Creative Zen Stone 1gb MP3 Player - Black
Creative Zen Stone 1gb MP3 Player - Black

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the price but by no means perfect, 4 April 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought my Zen Stone 5 months ago and so far I've only had one glitch where it stalled and outright refused to play. Luckily it reset itself when I plugged it into my pc. (On the other hand, my iPod Shuffle gave up the ghost completely after 4 months, so maybe it's luck of the draw on which of these dinky MP3 players bites the dust first.)

Things I like about it:
1. It's small and light enough to shove in a pocket, and cheap enough not to worry about its welfare.
2. The ability to divide your tracks into different folders, so you can skip between music, radio, etc. A brilliant bit of design!
3. Creative Media Lite - it's a simple-to-use freebie player for your pc, downloadable from the Creative site, which gives you all the controls you need for recharging and loading tracks onto your Zen player.
4. The ultra-short USB lead is fine for me as I've got extra USB ports on the front of my pc, but this would be a real pain if all your ports are sited at the back of your desktop pc.

Things that niggle me:
1. The battery life is way too short - I estimate about 3-4 hours. I make a point of recharging it every time I've used it but it's irritating, especially on a long journey, to have the thing die on you before journey's end.
2. The pesky central 'nipple' Play/pause control is hard to locate, and the surrounding rim of Volume and Forward/Rewind controls are almost impossible to find when scrabbling around in one's pocket!
3. The lack of an integral clip. How exactly are you meant to carry this player if you don't have a pocket? I bought Creative's day-glo skin clips which broke within weeks (bad buy), and I don't fancy their wristband option either, with the earphone cable stretching up one's arm like a hospital patient on day-release...
4. The supplied earphones are straightout uncomfortable - the earbuds are huge, as if they were designed for Big Ears, and I couldn't even fit them into my ears. I replaced them with Creative Labs own EP-630/A model, which are extremely comfortable, with great sound: a very good deal.
5. The player only plays MP3 tracks, so if you've any MP4 versions you'll need to convert them before Creative Media Lite will recognise them and allow you to load them into your Zen Stone.

All in all, I quite like my snippy little player, for all its design faults. I think it's cheap enough not to worry about, but oh how I long for a version with an integrated clip and better battery life!

Zen Stone Silicon Skin 3 Pack
Zen Stone Silicon Skin 3 Pack
Offered by ASK
Price: 2.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clip breaks too easily, 4 April 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this 3-pack of 'day-glo colour' skins for my Creative Zen Stone so that I could clip the player to my pocket-less clothes. The skins are made of thin rubber so they expand sufficiently to slip over the Stone.

Each skin has a separate long plastic clip which slots into a pocket on the back of the rubber skin. (Whoever designed it clearly didn't compare it to the iPod Shuffle's clip mounting, since this one hangs in the opposite direction from one's belt/clothes. So switching from the iPod to the Stone I found I was replaying a track when I wanted to skip forward, and lowering the volume when I wanted to increase it. A small point but irritating.)

My complaints with these skins are twofold:
1. Although the plastic clip has small teeth, the plastic is too slippery and it slips off clothes too easily.

2. The plastic that holds the metal hinge in place is simply too fragile and breaks very easily. Within a month I'd managed to break two of the clips at the hinge section - yet I wasn't doing anything other than wearing it!

So now I'm left with 3 very nice rubber skins but only one clip - which I don't use because I'm terrified of breaking that one too! Only buy this pack if you want a cheap and colourful protective rubber skin for your Zen Stone - but forget it if you're after a long-lasting clip.

Rowenta Prelude Illumination Kettle, Stainless Steel, 1.7 Litres
Rowenta Prelude Illumination Kettle, Stainless Steel, 1.7 Litres

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vacuum flask boiler, 6 Mar 2008
I have very hard water, and my old Rowenta kettle took its regular descalings on the chin, giving me years of faithful service before finally leaking too heavily from its viewing window for me to ignore the signs. (It was probably stuck together with limescale and courage by the time I got rid of it.) So I opted for this new Rowenta Prelude in the hope that it'll also do me proud. I boiled it several times before using it and haven't experienced any problems with aftertaste.

This kettle is quite an unusually large shape and size: it reminds me strongly of a family-size vacuum flask. It's 9.5 inches tall (a fair bit taller than the usual squat designs) and 6.5" in diameter. Its large capacity of 1.7 litres is great if you often need a fair quantity of boiling water. It handles well: it feels very well-balanced, solid but not heavy, with a comfortable handle and accurate pouring. It's also ultra-easy to replace on its base. There are enormous viewing windows on either side so it's easy to see how far you've filled it, particularly when it's turned on and the internal green light comes on. One quibble is that the fill indicator marks on the viewing windows (0.5L, 1 Litre, 1.7L max) are a bit small and I can't read them properly. It boils half a litre (enough for 2 mugs of coffee) in under a minute, and switches off precisely.

The flat lid flips vertically when you press the opening button on the top of the handle, so that the lid hangs vertically, half-way in and half-way out of the kettle. This takes some getting used to, but it does provide enough space to get the tap in to fill the kettle. The more I use it, the more I like it, although returning from holiday I couldn't remember how to open the thing! The button opening is very convenient if you want to re-fill immediately after boiling, as you completely avoid prising open the lid and possibly scalding yourself on the escaping steam. Also the spout is large enough to fill from the tap too. The on/off lever is tucked away at the base of the handle, which I personally find a minor fiddle trying to locate in my bleary-eyed mornings, but no doubt I'll get used to that in time.

Living with constant limescale, I'm impressed with the manufacturer's recommendation to descale regularly using simple white vinegar, as this seems to be doing a good job and will save me from buying the specialist descaler stuff! The lid comes off completely so you can access the whole of the inside when cleaning (the diagram for how to remove the lid is stamped on its underside). The mesh filter in the spout is a bit delicate and fiddly to unclip, but can be wiped clean in situ if necessary. The brushed stainless steel body disguises water marks fairly well, and a brisk rub with a damp cloth is recommended to take off any stains. Personally I use white vinegar on a kitchen towel to rub down the outsides, then a damp cloth to remove the smell and buff it dry, and this works better with my limescale problem.

All in all, when I first got this kettle I was a bit shocked and disappointed at its size and quirky features, but I've quickly grown to like it - quite a lot, actually.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2008 9:41 AM BST

This Happy Breed [1944]
This Happy Breed [1944]
Dvd ~ Celia Johnson
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: 14.99

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Speckled, muted transfer of a fine film, 29 Oct 2007
This review is from: This Happy Breed [1944] (DVD)
A wonderful, warm, witty, observant movie made during World War II, which follows the everyday lives of an ordinary family between the two World Wars. Somehow the simple plot manages to encapsulate the British character, particularly their fortitude during lean times and their quiet pleasure in small joys. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Noel Coward, with top-notch acting by the strong cast including Celia Johnson, John Mills and Kay Walsh.

Being raised on 1960's television, I'd previously only known Robert Newton as the bawdy Long John Silver (!) but here he delivers a blinder of a performance as the hardworking, upright and loyal head of the family.

This film is definitely in my Top 10, so it's a great pity that this dvd release by Carlton International is ruined by dreadful speckling and muted colour. I compared it last week to Film Four's current screened version, with its beautiful lush colours and pure picture, and I realised how badly this dvd version rates in the comparison. In my view, save your money and trust that a newer dvd release by another company will do this fine film justice.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 7:43 PM BST

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