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David Croucher "Davidinnotts" (Sherwood Forest)
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Melitta Aromaboy Coffee Filter Machine, White
Melitta Aromaboy Coffee Filter Machine, White
Price: £32.96

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The old way is often the best, 4 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Never thought I'd rate a coffee maker so well, but this one deserves it!

This machine has deservedly become a European classic since it was introduced in the 1970s. It makes just enough coffee for a large mug or two cups and does it without fuss or problems. It's extremely easy to clean and has no fancy parts to give problems. There are no capsules to pay a huge premium for; just simple, throwaway filters. A huge variety of ground coffee and beans are available to choose from, far more than are produced in those capsules. I think that this method is far better than the currently-popular brand-tied alternatives - unless you prefer ultra-strong, cheap coffee based on espresso, of course.

When recently visiting my son in San Francisco, I was amazed at how he, and most of his friends, had become very discriminating about coffee taste. Nearly all of the better cafés there use slow-drip filter machines, grinding the coffee only as needed and buying the coffee they use from specialist roasters; indeed, the roasters have their own cafés and people avidly discuss the merits of different beans and roasts, buying them for home use. After a couple of weeks trying these, I came to see how much better coffee could be than I was used to with British big brands - and to get the best (at a lower price!) you need to come back from capsules to loose coffee. The California way is a separate grinder and hand-filtering jugs, but I prefer ground coffee kept in the freezer and the Aromaboy!

I inherited my old Aromaboy from my father and have now used it occasionally for over a decade, until I broke the jug and couldn't find a replacement to match the serial number. (This is in cream and dark brown, the 70s' favourite colour scheme and still available in Germany, with brown smoked water container. The current model has white instead of cream, with a white rather than brown lid.) So I looked for a replacement and found only two sellers at a sensible price, one of them also on Amazon Marketplace. My new Aromaboy, which has pretty-well taken the place of all our other machines, turns out to be almost identical to the original from 1972; the biggest change is that the hotplate is now non-stick coated. So, not realized even by the maker's agent, all parts are interchangable - I've done it!

So, to sum up:

GOOD: Simple, trouble-free coffee-making; huge variety of coffees available; inexpensive both to buy and to use: a true classic.

BAD: it takes nearly half a minute longer to measure out the coffee and set up the machine to brew, compared with a capsule machine; though cleaning is quicker.


Vivicam X60 Digital Camera (10.0MP, 6x Optical Zoom ) 2.8 inch LCD
Vivicam X60 Digital Camera (10.0MP, 6x Optical Zoom ) 2.8 inch LCD

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than it seems. Excellent value!, 21 Jan 2008
All cameras seem to look the same in the pictures, and the descriptions tend to major on good points. You find out the problems later.

This camera is sold under at least four names and is still available from Aldi at £110 under the name 'Traveler' (which is how I bought mine) with a 3-year warranty.

It really is a bargain for the features and quality. I'll list them by comparison with others - it's easier to scan.

1. The image collector and lens are of good quality, so the pictures are good for maximum enlargements (A3) without much fuzziness or undue noise. That's most important in a compact camera, as even the big names often fall down on this.

2. The 10MP and 6X zoom are exceptional for the price.

3. It has full manual control as well as auto and program settings, timer, flash control, etc. Just like a DSLR. There's even zone focussing, with a green square in the viewfinder for the spots that are in focus. No auto anti-shake or face recognition, though - not at this price!

4. There are two batteries and an external charger.

5. It really is compact - I can hold it in a fist. It's about twice as thick as the thinnest Sony's on the market, so for a 6X zoom, amazingly thin.

6. The large rear screen is bright enough for most daylight use and has all control data in it. There's no optical viewfinder, but you don't need it.

7. It's just point-and-shoot on the basic auto setting and this covers almost all conditions.

8. There's a simple to use Macro setting for closeups.

9. It has very rapid startup for a big zoom camera, and initialises as fast as the lens can wind out. I find that I never have to wait to take the first shot: by the time I'm ready, so's the camera. Only a heavy flash shot makes me wait to take the next.

10. The menus are easy to navigate and understand.

Overall, it's more than a match for anything comparable on the market and I can recommend this amazing little camera. It's compact enough for a shirt pocket and matches a DSLR for most use. I was arguing this point with a photo magazine editor recently, but even she couldn't tell whether my shots were taken with a Canon 5D or this one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2008 4:32 PM BST


The Message Large Print Hardback
The Message Large Print Hardback
by Eugene H. Peterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.46

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent bible for the beginner, 13 July 2007
I've been using The Message now for more than six years, and I still find it one of my most-used versions, both to read and for quotes and references. In the 'large print' edition, the print is the same size as in ordinary books, rather than the tiny print that is usual to get a full bible down to a managable (and affordable) size. If you want print comparable to the 'large print' library versions of novels, you need a 'giant print' bible - and that will be in several volumes and very expensive.

I'm a Gideon. In the UK, we distribute Scripture almost entirely as the NIV, which is still my favourite version. But for many people, this still has sufficiently high-level English to prevent smooth reading. For those who find the NIV and other mainstream versions hard to plough through, I find The Message clarifies right away - so it's the version I recommend for beginners.

I wrote the following review five years ago when the Hardback Edition first came out, and it still stands:

There have been many recent efforts to put the Bible into contemporary language. In our varied Western cultures and our so-flexible English language, the translator will always have an impossible task, trying to get across the original sense with a single translation, yet read elegantly and simply.

Some don't try - they render the original (or a 17th century AV) idiom, often trying to translate the ancient language word-for-word and yet somehow get this foreign syntax to read well in modern English. They might, if we're lucky, give us some help to understand this. These can make 'worthy' translations, but they aren't rated well for being intelligible to ordinary folk.

Others go too far with idiomatic paraphrase in addressing a particular sector of readership: think of the 'hip' testaments; or there's the 1000 word Simple English NT that jumped through hoops to 'avoid difficult words', ending up with such clumsy phrasing that intelligibility was compromised to avoid just one more well-known word!

Most modern translations steer a middle course, and for the past 35 years, all those I've seen have done it pretty well. A few are outstanding. The Living Bible and Good News Bible are the two popular versions which get quite colloquial. Both have been criticised for it, usually for missing important - to the critic - nuances. Well, of course! You can never have it all!

Eugene Peterson's 'The Message' New Testament is in the tradition of Weymouth, Moffat, Rieu and Phillips, aiming for an idiom that will be easier to understand than the more formal and especially the 'literal' translations, yet avoiding 'street language' that outdates faster than fresh fish. It first appeared in 1993 and, with help, he has expanded it steadily to finally see a full Bible this year.

It is colloquial, sometimes in the extreme, and uses a homely North American idiom which still feels comfortable in Britain and the Antipodes. What have ensured its steadily rising popularity, though, are Peterson's subtly 'right' turn of phrase, his terse yet apposite choice of words and, above all, his sheer poetry in many places. All of these are shown well in the earlier Psalms.

It isn't an even translation. Some parts are merely well-translated and without the spark of the best. However, I love it for the wonderful passages I keep finding when I look through a dozen versions for quotes to use in talks and prayer notes - and find Peterson has done it again!

No translation can keep everyone happy all of the time, and some reviews here show discontent in those who like their scripture smooth and erudite. Peterson is earthy, pungent and frequently poetic, but his scholarship is good (though imperfect as any mortal's). He hits my spot so often that I like to keep his translation near me for variety, along with the AV, NIV and NLT. Long live the people's translator!


Food Combining for Health: The Original Hay Diet
Food Combining for Health: The Original Hay Diet
by Doris Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and still the best after 22 years, 23 Feb 2007
I spent 20 years looking at all I could find about healthy eating, high-fibre diets and so on, and I've thought for all that time I was a healthy eater. Yet I was still overweight and had recently had increasing dyspepsia. Increasing the fibre as per doctor had no effect.

Then I came across the Hay System through the Anthony Robbins Organisation. Following its advice to avoid eating 'foods that fight' in the same meal, the dyspepsia disappeared in four days and only returns when I unwisely ignore the rules: I can get tempted when eating out and I pay for it!

I've now used the system for nearly three years and I can vouch for its value: I get much less illness and I have been steadily losing weight all that time; now I'm not far off my ideal weight. I've had the occasional relapse, which just reminds me of the gains of 'sympathetic eating' - better fitness, more vitality and that 'zing' that makes each day much easier to get through even though you know you're going to face a lot of problems. In relapse (the supermarket shelves can be sooo tempting) I quickly feel lethargic and incisive thinking becomes very difficult. This can take a day or two of eating to the system to correct.

This book is the one that launched the revival of the Hay System in the 1980s. It became a bit of a craze for a year or two, with top London restaurants opening a 'Hay bar'! But, the craze over, the Hay System has continued, successfully renewing the digestively challenged and helping people recover from a wide range of illnesses, including diabetes and arthritis. The key to it all is to eat a more alkaline diet (even acid fruit can help in this!) and to avoid eating 'foods that fight', as Doris Grant so cleverly and succinctly puts it.

In this book Doris Grant succinctly explains the origin and success of the diet. She then goes on to explain how it works in clear and simply language, including the management of many conditions it should relieve - look at previous reviews for examples. Jean Joice next introduces the System in practice and gives sensible advice on the ease of following it and the pitfalls. Over 100 pages of sample recipes and meal plans end the book.

I have looked at all the books on the Hay System that I could find. This one tops them all, covering everything you need to know in one inexpensive volume, and making following the System easy for anyone with enough willpower to avoid overindulgence. You might like to note that my 1991 copy was £3.99, and it's not much more 15 years later!

I will give one warning. Dr. Hay was wont to tell enquirers in the 1930s that if they weren't committed to improving their health, they needn't bother with this system. Most modern convenience foods are OFF the diet (as you'd expect) and the fat-and-sugar, fat-and-starch rich foods of today are not compatible with the plan. But then, you'd expect any healthy diet to be like that, wouldn't you?


Farmer Giles of Ham
Farmer Giles of Ham
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A MINIATURE GEM, 29 Jun 2006
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. So different to Tolkien's great works, this is nevertheless a miniature gem. It's a great story for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller.

Tolkien was one of the great experts on Dark Ages history and tales -- especially English folktales -- and his wide knowledge is reflected in the setting and background to the story. The characterisation is simple yet true to life, and the plot twists in delightful ways. If you like historical novels, you will also enjoy the detail and the 'in jokes' in this short tale. Full of amusement yet so authentic in its feel, 'Farmer Giles of Ham' almost makes me wish that this story WAS dug up from among musty manuscripts in a forgotten archive to confound some dull scholar!

I read it first in the original edition, again to my children some 20 years ago, to their great delight, and yet again recently; it remains as fresh as the first time.

By the way, have you tried "Leaf by Niggle"? This is another little Tolkien beauty!


Canon EOS 30E Body Only
Canon EOS 30E Body Only

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STILL HOLDING UP IN THE DIGITAL AGE, 24 Oct 2005
Why keep a film camera in the digital era? Especially when you have digital already?
Well, no reason at all, if the digital cameras do everything the film cameras can do. And they often do. But this is where the EOS 30E scores its points and earns its keep.
The 30 has excellent metering and a very rapid response. The selection system is easier to remember than the 300D's and the 350D's and it's arguable that scanned 100asa negatives or large prints give a higher overall resolution than either of these digital cameras. I'm sure that it'll be overtaken eventually, but so far (2005) I get more useable blow-ups for Photoshop than from the digitals - the grain is kinder than blockiness and JPEG artifacts, sensor kludges and noise.
What else? Well, its metal chassis is a lot tougher with little extra weight, it's nicer in the hand to use and I get best advantage from my older EOS lenses - my 19mm is STILL a super-wide-angle, not a standard lens! The only contender would be the EOS 1D, I suppose, if I wanted the complexity. And could stand the bulk and weight. (Who am I kidding? I'd love to be able to justify the cost!)
But for me, the over-riding advantage (even over the EOS 1/1D) is the eye-guided focussing. Autofocus is pretty good today, but I love being able to steer the focussing system with a flick of the eyeball! There's none of the "aim at the focus point / half press shutter / move to compose the scene" with the 30E! I just compose, stare briefly at the desired point, the sensor box flashes red and I squeeze the shutter. Great! Change my mind? Stare again, flash, squeeze.
You might think this could be unreliable, but it only fails in very low light, and it adjusts for several users. Glasses (I'm VERY short-sighted) make no difference.
So I choose to take my 30E on most trips along with digital, for those shots I know the digital won't cope with, and I long for the day when a cheaper digital SLR has ALL its features as well as a full 24x36 sensor, to use my lenses properly. Ten years? Oh, I hope not!
David Croucher.


The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Bible Message)
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Bible Message)
by Eugene H. Peterson
Edition: Hardcover

146 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring new twist on the good old theme, 19 Nov 2002
There have been many recent efforts to put the Bible into contemporary language. In our varied Western cultures and our so-flexible English language, the translator will always have an impossible task, trying to get across the original sense with a single translation, yet read elegantly and simply.

Some don't try - they render the original (or a 17th century AV) idiom, often trying to translate the ancient language word-for-word and yet somehow get this to read well in modern English. They might, if we're lucky, give us some help to understand this. These can make 'worthy' translations, but they aren't rated well for being intelligible to ordinary folk. Others go too far with idiomatic paraphrase in addressing a particular sector of readership: think of the 'hip' testaments; or there's the 1000 word Simple English NT that jumped through hoops to 'avoid difficult words'!

Most modern translations steer a middle course, and for the past 35 years, all those I've seen have done it pretty well. A few are outstanding. The Living Bible and Good News Bible are the two popular versions which get quite colloquial. Both have been criticised for it, usually for missing important - to the critic - nuances. Well, of course! You can't have it all!

Eugene Peterson's 'The Message' New Testament is in the tradition of Weymouth, Moffat, Rieu and Phillips, aiming for an idiom that will be easier to understand than the more formal and especially the 'literal' translations, yet avoiding 'street language' that outdates faster than fresh fish. It first appeared in 1993 and, with help, he has expanded it steadily to finally see a full Bible this year.

It is colloquial, sometimes in the extreme, and uses a homely North American idiom which still feels comfortable in Britain and the Antipodes. What have ensured its steadily rising popularity, though, are Peterson's subtly 'right' turn of phrase, his terse yet apposite choice of words and, above all, his sheer poetry in many places. All of these are shown well in the earlier Psalms.

It isn't an even translation. Some parts are merely well-translated and without the spark of the best. However, I love it for the wonderful passages I keep finding when I look through a dozen versions for quotes to use in talks and prayer notes.

No translation can keep everyone happy and some reviews here show discontent in those who like their scripture smooth and erudite. Peterson is earthy, pungent and frequently poetic, but his scholarship is good (though imperfect as any mortal's). He hits my spot so often that I like to keep his translation near me, along with the AV, NIV and NLT for variety.Long live the people's translator!


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