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Midlander (Herefordshire United Kingdom)

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The Old Courts and Yards of Norwich: A Story of People, Poverty and Pride
The Old Courts and Yards of Norwich: A Story of People, Poverty and Pride
by Frances Holmes
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detailed book, amazing value, 3 Dec. 2015
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Absolutely excellent book, crammed with information, memories, maps and photographs of the many courts and yards of this beautiful historic city. Given how attractive and unspoiled Norwich appears today (only York is up there with it IMHO) It is surprising and disappointing to see that so much has been lost, much of it in the orgies of redevelopment of the 30s and 60s. The causes of this vandalism are examined as well as the detailed effects - mainly Government financial inducements to demolish and replace rather than improve. But this book is a very worthy record of what has been lost and the considerable heritage that remains - superbly written, illustrated and printed. Printed and bound in Norfolk (Aylsham), it is good to see.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2015 3:46 PM GMT

Panoramas of Lost London: Work, Wealth, Poverty & Change 1870-1945, an English Heritage Book
Panoramas of Lost London: Work, Wealth, Poverty & Change 1870-1945, an English Heritage Book
by Philip Davies
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent English Heritage book, 3 Dec. 2015
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Superbly produced hardback with big, finely detailed photographs of central London from about 1900 to immediate post-WW2. Most streets and buildings illustrated have since been destroyed.
PLEASE NOTE if you also have Mr Davies's "Lost London", also published by English Heritage, you will find a substantial number of pictures duplicated between the two books and you may therefore hesitate to have both. Personally, I'm more than happy to have the two.
You may also like London - Hidden interiors by the same team which comprises more recent colour photos of interiors, most but not all of which are still extant but not easy to get into.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and incredibly good value for money, 3 Dec. 2015
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Excellent and incredibly good value for money. Very sturdy, but light in weight. Assembly was exceptionally easy - just lie the table-top on the floor with the underside uppermost, then screw each of the four double-ended screws in for 2 or 3 few turns. Press each in turn onto a protruding screw and tighten by hand.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC/6 - The Missing FAQ - Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Lightroom Users
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC/6 - The Missing FAQ - Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Lightroom Users
by Victoria Bampton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.05

5.0 out of 5 stars This is the third edition of this excellent book that I have owned, 22 July 2015
This is the third edition of this excellent book that I have owned. I have previously reviewed the Lightroom 4 edition of it and almost wish I'd not given that 5 Stars as I've nowhere higher to go!
It is excellent in every way. I particularly like the Q&A format and Victoria's clear style of explaining this immensely powerful but unusual and quirky program. These are just right - you go quickly to the issue on which you need guidance, and get a friendly explanation of the particular problem. Never can a 596 p-age reference book been a greater pleasure to browse.
Regreatably, the Lightroom 6 update of the program has not made the sometimes strange and quirky interface of the pogram any easier, so a helping hand remains very welcome for most users at any level.
The organization of the book has been improved and the layout and appearance very much so. I never saw any need for colour in the previous versions, but having now got it, it does make for greater clarity - not so much to display the photos but to to illustrate screens and tools as they actually appear and to highlight key points in bright blue side-boxes.
I use the program a great deal and have come across few issues that this book and its predecessors have been unable to answer. By buying it you can also register for online help from Victoria and other members, but I've seldom needed to do that since my early struggles. You can also use the PDF version of the book which of couse is very searchable, though I personally find the book more accessible for most puposes as the logical layout usually gets me straight to the relevant area.
If I can't find an answer here (rare) I usually Gooogle my question as I find Adobe's online Help desperately clumsy to use - which is another good reason to invest in the book.

Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes (PC DVD)
Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes (PC DVD)
Offered by Soprano Entertainment
Price: £34.95

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's excellent - with minor reservations, 23 Oct. 2014
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This is the final revision of my review, having now completed the whole game.

In brief, I found the installation no problem at all, the game very good in content, the gameplay rather linear, character development excellent, and the case completion/deduction quite outstanding and probably a breakthrough in game design.

It took me only 35 minutes to download and install the game through Steam on a modest 6mbps line. Not much longer than a DVD install and in that time I could use the computer with no real limitations so it wasn't time lost. Incidentally I find downloads happen quicker if I do some other activity that doesn't use the internet - like browsing my photos or playing Windows games - during the download. Furthermore, you can pause and resume the download and you are said to get patches and updates automatically as they are published.

I slightly resent like having to use Steam (as I've said in other posts) but most high-end games have been driven to it by the crooks who peddle rip-offs on-line. It's a form of Digital Rights Management. Specifically, Frogwares appear to have been taken for a ride by the publication of the compilation set of their earlier games - see the reviews of that. So I think it unfair to be over-critical of the Steam link and it is mentioned on the box. It also enables you to compare your results with a statistical analysis of other players which is useful because of the remarkable deduction process.

The game itself is a first person or third person (you chose and can switch anytime) adventure/detection game using point-click and a number of keyboard shortcuts. F1 brings up the key to these. There's no manual as such but there is on-screen guidance as the first case progresses and the Casebook can always be brought up which gives you a reminder of things you are trying to do, a summary of the dialogue so far, character assessments etc. So far there are few risibly contrived Blue Peter-style improvisation of objects to make tools that are usually characteristic of adventure games - that's fine by me!

I downloaded the walkthrough from Frogwares website and printed the first 4 pages which are as near as it seems we can get to a manual. This is useful as the game play involves several key-uses as well as the usual point-and-click. There are onscreen prompts but they are easy to miss, especially the Q-press which is often needed during interrogation and needs to be pressed quickly, as soon as a swirly list of extra questions appears top-left-centre of screen, otherwise you will need to keep asking the question that prompts it to pop up. I soon got used to the game play and needed very little help with the later games.

Games plural, yes. There are 6 separate games: three are based on Conan Doyle Stories These are two Sherlock Holmes stories: Black Peter and The Abbey Grange and one non-Holmes: Riddle on the Rails which appears to be loosely based on the non-Holmes short story "the Lost Special". I found these easier and less interesting than the three originals . There are quite separate and do need to be played in the given order. The best is, I think, the last "A Half-Moon Walk" which takes us back to Whitechapel, the scene of two of the earlier Frogwares Sherlock games. This has depth and is quite thought provoking with an intriguing conclusion, so long as you don't jump to conclusions too early in the game.

The graphics and English dialogue are awesome - better even than the previous Frogwares Sherlock Holmes games. Instead of one long case there are now six shorter ones and the inevitable puzzles you do now have a skip button. I used it on two early ones that I found impossible, but from reviews other players had difficulty with different puzzles and some coped with all of them - which suggests a good variety of types. Except that there are a lot of locks to pick, all using very similar gameplay. I found these rather easy but still enjoyable.

As with all adventure games you do have to look carefully at clues, sometimes more than once. I previously reported being stuck: it was just that it was necessary to rotate and examine Neligan's ring three times to get all the info. so that Holmes commented on it as you do it. This sort of thing is pretty much inevitable in detection games as they need to be linear as you need one clue to find others.

There is no game save option, unfortunately. Each individual game does save at certain points automatically but all saves use the same generic picture so you have only the sequence and time of the save to give you an idea of the point to which you are returning. The onscreen prompts include alerts to the deduction screen which such a great feature of the game. You are not obliged to choose the first conclusion and accusation that comes up, you may continue to investigate and this may turn up more information. Don't feel rushed to a conclusion until you are reasonably happy with it.

This remarkable deduction process is a development of the caseboard that Frogwares introduced in previous games in that clues are interpreted and linked to lead to a conclusion. The previous pin-board has been replaced b a "neuron detection chart" representing Holmes's brain, with individual neurons (brain cells) representing clues with alternative options and linkages swirling around which can be interpreted and linked in many different ways with coloured codes and extra options cropping depending on what you do. These can be played with and altered right up to the final conclusion. Brilliant!

When you decide on the killer you have the moral choice to have them arrested or absolved and the game takes you through the appropriate sequel. If satisfied you are then shown the %age of players who shared your conclusion or there is an option to have your conclusion assessed with a warning that to do so might spoil the experience. I was content with my conclusion without the assessment with all but one of the games and then wished I hadn't - I'd advise leaving it and settling with the % who agreed.

My only other minor reservations are the near-uselessness of Watson, as mentioned, by another reviewer, and the fact that you are always prompted to use Holmes special observational powers and his ability to visualize the crime or the consequences of an action (the t and f keys). It might be better to leave the player to decide when to use them.

Excellent, certainly 5 stars notwithstanding the little niggles.

I can also recommend the earlier Frogwares Sherlock Holmes Games. I think they are all very good except Curse of the Mummy(which is hopelessly outdated). In particular, The Awakened, Jack the Ripper and the witty Nemesis are absolutely brilliant, the later includes remarkably accurate portrayals of the Tower of London and parts of the National Gallery and British Museum. But it may be best to buy these separately rather than in the box set for reasons I've mentioned that are to be found in the box-set review on this site.

Q-Connect KF02293 Heavy Duty Stapler - Black
Q-Connect KF02293 Heavy Duty Stapler - Black
Price: £15.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 24 Jun. 2014
I bought this for stapling together wads of papers, such as articles retained from old magazines. Using this machine and 923/14 staples I've just stapled a 6mm thick wad of Cricketer articles successfully. It could do a little more than that I think, but the pages love to slide around so get help in holding them together or use cheap plastic DIY clamps as I did.
14mm staples seems a good size - smaller staples would give little benefit over a standard stapler while larger ones might (I've not used them) tend to bend out of shape as the staples used are fairly thin.
To change staples, jiggle the silver bit at top left of the photo until it lifts up - as others advised in response to my question.
So I'm happy with it. I doubt you'd get a usable alternative without paying MUCH more for a professional job.

Cuprinol 5L Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds and Fences - Harvest Brown
Cuprinol 5L Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds and Fences - Harvest Brown
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for timber sheds, 18 April 2014
My shed is about 12 years old and has been coated several times over the years with Cuprinol wood preservative, which worked well but needed redoing every year or two and was unpleasant to use because of the white spirit fumes and the tendency of the thin fluid to run and splash everywhere. Not so the Ducksback!

So this product was bought as an easier and longer-term solution. It is really excellent. It is more of a paint than a stain but the woody texture is not lost and the finish is pleasantly matt. I was concerned the colour might be too light when I opened the tin and started work, but it darkens nicely as it dries. The previous use of traditional preservative did not impede the adhesion at all, nor did the previous use of fillers.

It needed little mixing and was a of thickish paint-like consistency that was easy to apply with hardly any running to waste. There was hardly any odour and the brush could be cleaned in water. Can't yet say if it will last 5 years but the surface feels very durable and looks smart.

Ronseal HPWFD275G 275g High Performance Wood Filler - Dark
Ronseal HPWFD275G 275g High Performance Wood Filler - Dark
Offered by LightingandMobileAccessoriesUK
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to use and difficult to get a neat finish, 18 April 2014
Bought this to fill cracks and holes in my garden shed.

Good points:
+ Sticky and tenacious, so it stays in deep holes - IF you can get it into place!
+ Nice deepish brown, like Cuprinol Harvest Brown fence & shed paint

Bad points:
- Difficult to mix.The stickiness makes it hard to turn as instructed, particularly as the idea is to mix evenly a golf-ball size of filler to a thin 38mm length of hardener. The 10 minute workable period is MUCH to short to do this AND to get it into place so...
- Difficult to insert into anything other than a roundish hole on a flattish surface. But few gaps in wood are like this - most are elongated gaps between warped, shrunken or ill-matched pieces, often at an angle to each other. These need time to do properly.

If the workable time was 30-60 minutes, instead of 10, this would be excellent. As it is, it really isn't good enough for much more than knot-holes and similar cavities.

Finally, a couple of tips:
1. Use the black spatula provided for spreading as cleaning tools is hard work because of the excessively fast drying time
2. Have a couple of disposable rags and white spirit (or brush cleaner) to hand at the start of the job. This will make it possible smooth over the job before it hardens

Sherlock Holmes: 1964-1965 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Sherlock Holmes: 1964-1965 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £11.93

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, with slight reservations, 5 Mar. 2014
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I was delighted to see that most of this series survived and has been reissued on a DVD set. I was attracted to the Sherlock Holmes stories when I watched these programmes back in the 1960s and have been a fan ever since. They also arrived very quickly, at a remarkably low price and the quality of the films, artistically and technically, is very good.
They are pretty true to the original short stories but extended quite sympathetically to fit the one-hour length. I used to read them on a half-hour trolleybus ride! in my view. Douglas Wilmer's Holmes is excellent, rather more good humoured than in most more modern interpretations without being in any way a send-up.
But it is annoying that we have to import them, all the more so because they have the scandalous regional coding which means that they won't play on most DVD players outside North America. They will play on computers (use the free VLC Media Player, or Media Player Classic, as they don't want to know where you live). They will also play with DVD recorders or players that can be made region free. But when I used one of the latter the format kept switching between the traditional 5x4 of these programmes and the slot-shaped format of modern TV programmes. I didn't get this problem on the computer and it may have been the new Panasonic TV - but I've not had the problem before. I should add that region-free North American NTSC format DVDs usually play fine on my UK equipment.
This is the first DVD I've had with no programme listing! Many thanks to Allan Broadfield for giving us one. It's also a shame there are no notes on the series - we expect them with reissues.
Anyway, at least we can now see these programmes again.
But when we see Rupert Davies's Maigret?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2014 10:21 PM BST

Unreliable Sources: How the Twentieth Century was Reported
Unreliable Sources: How the Twentieth Century was Reported
by John Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, particularly on wars and foreign policy, 15 Sept. 2013
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My high expectations of the renowned author and its topical subject were entirely justified.

Mr Simpson gives many of examples of how the news has been twisted to suite the business interests of newspaper proprietors, the prejudices of their target market and the convenience of journalists who made up stories in hotel rooms rather than visit the site. They still do.... There are also examples of journalism at its best too, but they are unsurprisingly outnumbered.

The subject of how the news has been reported in Britain over the previous century is, of course, vast and it has to be selective in some way. The book really concentrates on foreign affairs, particularly wars and matters appertaining to them. It is particularly strong on reporting in the lead-up to wars and the commentary and reporting of the wars themselves. These produce some of the most shocking and the most inspiring parts of the book. The jingoism of the Boer War ignored both its land-grabbing purpose the later deaths of innocents in British concentration camps. The jingoism was echoed in the lead-up to WWI. Indeed, although Mr Simpson doesn't say so, one gets the impression that the acrid reporting of the incredibly unlucky chain of events leading up to that catastrophe meant the press practically propelled us to plunge into other peoples' maelstrom with no clear national justification.

I was hoping to see more about the role of the press in the fall of the Attlee Government but, their policies being essentially based on home affairs, there is not a great deal. But there is enough to answer my question! The fact the Truman Government had demanded their war loans back was virtually unreported, thus doubtless giving the impression that the financial troubles were all down to the great social reforms of the Attlee years.

At 594 pages of solid reading, I cannot fault the book at all for concentration on foreign policy. Some selection was need, and better a topic-based selection than one based on angle or political viewpoint. Most of the content comprises examples, with a and the commentary putting the matter in context. This makes it very readable, quite un-put-downable in fact.

Very highly recommended, and a bargain at the price.

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