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S. Wilson (Nottingham, England)

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Plain Plastic Scraper Flexible blade. 4.5 x 3"
Plain Plastic Scraper Flexible blade. 4.5 x 3"
Offered by Bar Equipment Direct
Price: 1.45

4.0 out of 5 stars I like it, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
They are a bit small for my hands so I can only go four stars, though you could argue this is the fault of my hands rather than the scrapers.

Nottinghamshire Air Crashes (Landmark Collector's Library)
Nottinghamshire Air Crashes (Landmark Collector's Library)
by David Needham
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Surly Bonds of Earth..., 12 Feb 2009
"Oh I Have Slipped
The Surly Bonds of Earth...
Put Out My Hand
And Touched the Face of God"

Lines from the grave of Pilot Officer J G Magee - crashed and buried in Lincolnshire, narrowly missing inclusion in this book.

This is local history to me. One of the crashes was within a half a mile of my home, though I knew only vague details before reading this book. I now know the address of the affected houses and, as part of the account, can see them as they are now, complete with 1940s repairs.

Research standards are good, with contemporary details when possible and pictures of locations, memorials and graves as appropriate. In some cases there are contemporary photographs: in others, interviews with eye-witnesses. It's an important book for anyone interested in local history as there is now little to show where the crashes occurred and although each one is only a small incident they all meant something to someone. Taken as a whole, 100 crashes in one county, mainly from 1939-45, shows the true nature of the words "war effort".

As aviation history, local history or as a war memorial this book has a lot to offer. It's the nature of books like this that available details can be patchy so some have better stories than others. This is the fault of wartime censorship rather than the author, who stays readable throughout the book.

Any Chance Of A Game?
Any Chance Of A Game?
by Barney Ronay
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Dribbling in the Last Chance Saloon, 12 Feb 2009
This review is from: Any Chance Of A Game? (Paperback)
Men like to be in groups and they like football. However, there is a time in any man's life when he has to grow up and concentrate on his family. At that point they change emphasis to bringing up the next generation of footballers and give new meaning to the expression "The older I get the better I was."

This book covers that time in Barney Ronay's life. The limbs are stiffening, he is finding it harder to fight off Sunday trips to B&Q and Bolingbroke Athletic have got to the point where they have to look up in order to see oblivion from the wrong direction. In the world of park football they are about to drop off the map despite new training ideas and Slovenian energy drinks. Splits start to open as they gradually go "so what?" in the face of adversity and discuss whether to start the Bolingbroke Bowls team next year.

It's a book about mates and coming of age as much as it is about football. As the book ends, with a baby on the way and probable oblivion facing the team, you have the sense that life is changing for many of the players, not just Barney. I'd love to say they manage to stay up for one more year, but we never find out. It's slightly frustrating, as I would like to know more about the team members, but in reality things do just slip away, don't they?

A good read. Bitter-sweet and true to life. I'm waiting for his book on child care, I bet it will be better than the normal ones...

Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World
Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World
by Harry Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top man, 11 Feb 2009
It's worth buying this book just for the mental picture of Ian Hislop waist deep in manure.

That, I admit, isn't much of a review, but it still brings a smile to my lips. On a more serious note, I'm not widely read in the matter of cricketing books so I can't tell you how well it stacks up against Rain Man or Fatty Batter. I have, however, read plenty of humour, anthropology, sport and travel books: this book is as good as any of them.

This isn't just a humorous cricket book; it's an examination of cricket and what it means to people around the world. It shows the best and worst of people and it's a study of obsession, showing what you can achieve if you stay single-minded and how you can elevate failure to a guiding principle. No matter how many people cheat him, lie to him or let him down Thompson keeps on going. It's also one of the funniest books I've ever read. Thompson doesn't need to cart a fridge around to inject humour into his book; it's there in whatever he writes. It might not all be laugh out loud humour, at times it might be the sort of humour that makes you go away and think, but it's there and it's well worth reading. Whether it's Ian Hislop waist deep in manure or one of his mates sneaking a cricket ball into the grave, there's humour here to suit everyone.

Evil Angels Among Them (A clerical mystery)
Evil Angels Among Them (A clerical mystery)
by Kate Charles
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Traditional whodunit, 11 Feb 2009
Malicious telephone calls, poisoning, a missing child and the politics of the parish council, all set against the backdrop of a sleepy Norfolk village. It's a good thing the vicar knows David Middleton-Brown and his girlfriend Lucy Kingsley.

Sorry if I sound a bit jaded but I do find David and Lucy, a solicitor and an artist, a bit irksome. Twee, irksome and dated in fact. Having read four books in the series (though this is the first I've reviewed) I find that they haven't grown on me and I'm now at the point where I'd hide if I saw them coming down the street. I also find the vicar and his wife close to being indistinguishable from every other vicar and his wife Kate Charles writes about.

The book isn't bad. It flows nicely with a good complex plot and enough drama to keep you turning the pages. That's about it, a traditional whodunit that relies on the plot and carries about enough characterisation and atmosphere to get by, but not to stick in the mind. First published in 1995,it could be 1935 or 1955, as modern issues (apart from a strange fascination with homosexuality that runs through most of her books) seem to pass by this book unheeded. We have a rebellion about paying the Quota to the Diocese and the election of churchwardens but neither is really developed. It could be better. To be fair some of the others have been better.

The Brutal Art
The Brutal Art
by Jesse Kellerman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 11 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Brutal Art (Paperback)
Once you get past the idea of the manic artist drawing over 100,000 interlinked drawings the rest falls smoothly into place. Ethan Muller launches the drawings into the art world and that is when his life takes a turn into unpredictability. This not a blood and guts, in your face thriller, more a puzzle that draws the reader in bit by bit.

He finds a retired police officer is investigating cold cases linked to the drawings. Somebody sends anonymous letters. He is attacked and a box of drawings is stolen.

Running alongside his story is a family history going back four generations. As Ethan's investigations progress we see the two strands converge as a shameful family secret emerges from the past, a murderer is revealed and Ethan is finally able to shake off three decades of emotional baggage and move on to a new life. Take away the genre tag and this is still a very readable novel about family and Ethan's personal journey.

It's a nicely-paced, well written and multi-layered. More important than that, the characters live. They may be stock characters, as suggested elsewhere, but a man needs a mother, a thriller needs an ex-cop, what's wrong with that? These people live. A day after finishing I'm still thinking about the characters. What more can you ask?

All the Colours of Darkness: The 18th DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks Mystery)
All the Colours of Darkness: The 18th DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks Mystery)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on details, short on soul, 9 Feb 2009
According to the jacket blurb "Peter Robinson has for too long, and unfairly, been in the shadow of Ian Rankin... [he deserves a place] near, perhaps even at the top of the British crime writers' league"

The Times

That might be their opinion but it isn't mine. I stopped reading Inspector Banks novels a few years ago when I finally realised that there were far more rewarding reads out there. He's always seemed manufactured to me and the rest of the book has had trouble compensating. I decided to try this one to see if he had changed, or I had changed, and within the first few pages regretted the decision.

There is a body in paragraph two, which is good, though this pacing was not reflected in the following five hundred turgid pages. This is immediately followed by a list of trees and flowers, with a smattering of birds appearing over the next couple of pages to prepare you for the tedium of the lists of music.

In other words, you can still see the joins where Banks is put together. By the end of the book (which is, frankly, too far from the beginning) I'm still not left with much impression of a man, just a two dimensional character.

Robinson can be a very effective writer and there were moments when I did feel real emotion for the characters. Unfortunately, there weren't enough of these moments within the five hundred pages, certainly not enough to compensate for the introduction of the intelligence services, and the final act reminded me of a 1970s spy story, as well as bringing the words deus ex machina to mind. The whole thing, in length and subject matter, had the feel of someone trying to mix and match a best seller. It didn't need the car bomb in London, which I didn't feel was necessary or well done.

This is genre fiction; Banks is not strong enough to make it anything else. The sense of place is strong when sticking to the tourist trail but not so strong when it comes to the council estate and the plot is not going to provoke much thought. It's pleasant enough as long as you don't expect too much and have the stamina to plough through where the pacing of the story flags. Robinson may well be near the top of any league of British crime writers, but he's not, as suggested by the jacket blurb, anywhere near the class of Rankin. If you're going on a journey and want to fill some time, this book will serve the purpose perfectly, but don't mistake it for top class crime fiction.

The Two Minute Rule
The Two Minute Rule
by Robert Crais
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars I was sorry to finish this book, 8 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Two Minute Rule (Paperback)
Max Holman was a violent criminal. Ten years later he is determined to take the chance of a new life and to rebuild links with his wife and son on his release for jail. His son, a cop, is gunned down before Holman can make contact; his wife is already dead. All he can do, with the help of a one-time accomplice and a retired FBI agent is to set things right by discovering his son's killer. It turns out to be a tough task, hampered as it is by police, FBI and the need to stay out of jail.

The plot has its twists and turns, though it isn't by any means the most complex of books, and the outcome was not a surprise when it arrived. Pacing is generally good, though has to take second place to character at times. And that is where the book is strongest. I really cared that Holman found out the truth about his son, that he cleared his son's name, that he kept out of jail and that...

I won't tell too much.

Holman isn't Elvis Cole, as people have pointed out, and the book has faults. However, it also has the imperfect, complicated character of Holman, and Pollard the messed up FBI agent. I was involved with these characters until the end, and sorry to reach the final page. For me the characterisation takes this straight to five stars.

Man Buys Dog: A Loser's Guide to the World of Greyhound Racing
Man Buys Dog: A Loser's Guide to the World of Greyhound Racing
by David Matthews
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars One man and his dog, 8 Feb 2009
John Ruskin had a view on price -

"There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person's lawful prey.
It is unwise to pay too much, but it is also unwise to pay too little.
When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do."

Matthews could have done worse than consulting Ruskin when he bought his dog.

Life can be very unfair. Basically, an idiot pays too much for a dog, when for a little more money he could have had a better one. Whenever I've done something like that I just end up losing money. David Matthews manages to turn it into an entertaining story.
As Kevin the dog falls out of mainstream racing with a string of erratic results, Matthews manages a journey of his own. He meets, and describes, many characters along the way. He also manages to give a history of dog racing, an overview of the current scene and an inside look at the addiction to gambling he picks up along the way. Mind you, he seems to keep a reasonable distance from the gutter at all times, despite his tendency to tell you how hard his life is. If I have a criticism of the book it would be that details of his life sometimes intrude. Christmas in Barbados and a job with the Evening Standard aren't going to persuade me that he has it hard.

It's an entertaining look at an aspect of Britain I knew little about. It doesn't pull punches when looking at the industry of greyhound breeding (and the fate of the dogs that don't make it) or the problems of gambling. Visits to the coursing field and a day with the hunt are not a comfortable version of modern Britain and the likely end to Kevin, mistreated in Spain or simply put down, don't bear thinking about. In the end Kevin retires to the country.

It's a challenging book at times, but it's always engaging and it was a privilege to follow both author and dog and to see them develop. I was sorry when it was time to leave them.

A Very British Coop: Pigeon Racing From Blackpool to Sun City
A Very British Coop: Pigeon Racing From Blackpool to Sun City
by Mark Collings
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, 8 Feb 2009
I read this after Man Buys Dog by Dave Matthews and it suffers by comparison. The jacket promises more than the book delivers. It's an interesting enough journey from northern England to South Africa with quirky characters and a decent feel for the sport but unfortunately I don't get the feeling of being "in the thick of it" as promised.

Collings drifts through pigeon racing, looking for someone to help him send birds to the Sun City Million Dollar Classic. It's a meander rather than a journey and you have to ask what, apart from a new book for his CV, changes for the author in the year. Not much, to be honest and I find that to be a problem. Matthews engages you and takes you on a journey through his life. At the end you feel you know him and you worry about what will happen to the dog. Collings is still pretty much a cypher by the end of the book and to be honest, who gives a damn about the fate of a few pigeons? Even the spectre of bird flu doesn't have me on the edge of my seat.

If you like pigeon racing I'm sure you will enjoy the book. It's pleasant enough and informative with an easy style and a sympathetic look at pigeon men. It's not a bad book, but not one I want to read again. The problem isn't so much with the book as with the pigeons. That is my difficulty in marking the book. It doesn't draw me in and if I saw another book by Collings I wouldn't rush to buy it. It's a three, not because it's bad, but because I can't persuade myself to give it four.

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