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signet (UK)

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Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East
Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East
Price: £27.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raptor heaven in digital format., 26 Feb. 2016
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This review is for the Kindle version of this book ( I have a 7" HDX ) and it's a pleasure to report that finally we, in the UK, have a decent e-guide that is both easy to navigate and photographs that are sufficiently clear in their original format without resorting to enlarging them to distortion.
As for the book itself, this is the usual expert treatment we have all come to expect from Dick Forsman with detailed analysis of every species of raptor within Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Text is easy to read and understand with introductory chapters on the general complexities of watching birds of prey in flight.There are comprehensive species accounts with incredible images of all species encompassing a wide variety of moult and age and informative comparisons regarding difficult birds: I particularly like the chapters referring to hybrids such as harriers, buzzards, and kites, which just enforces how difficult identifying raptors when one is abroad.
If I had one gripe, it would be those marvellous photographs! If you're like me, most raptors are distant, silhouetted and covered in heat haze, so it maybe a little difficult to discern iris colour! It would have been nice to include some long distance shots- especially for eagles and buzzards- to accompany the text to emphasise general impression.
It is testament to the format of this book that I have downloaded it onto my Samsung Galaxy A3 phone which does not have the largest screen and it's still crystal clear and easy to read.
A worthy and essential addition to any birder's library whatever the format.


Jeff Lynne's ELO - Alone in the Universe
Jeff Lynne's ELO - Alone in the Universe
Price: £7.99

145 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is wrong with the ELO fans these days?, 14 Nov. 2015
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I downloaded this album yesterday upon its release after a few tasters and I cannot understand how so many reviewers - so called ELO/Jeff Lynne fans- can be so negative about this long awaited collection of superb songs. If you want Out of the Blue or New World Record, then just listen to them, rather than comparing albums 40 years apart.
Let's face the music(!!)here: Jeff Lynne is, was and forever will be ELO and whilst one cannot ignore the musical contributions of Richard Tandy or Bev Bevan, he is THE driving force behind everything to do with the name. Jeff is 40 years years older since NWR and we all move on. It seems that some of us of a certain age have moved with him, but it's obvious that some haven't or won't.
Anyway, enough of this negativity in some circles, onto Alone in the Universe. I won't bore you with my opinions of every track- music is SO subjective isn't it?- suffice to say that if you have loved Jeff's songs as long as I have, you will love this. There's the Showdown echo of Love and Rain: the Roy Orbison-like Blue: When I was a Boy, All of my life and the title track are sublime ballads with trademark soaring harmonies: Dirty to the Bone & Ain't that a Drag are upbeat tracks with instantly hummable tunes and the rather rockabilly sounding Fault Line which is my personal least favourite song on the album and the only one I wouldn't rate that highly. 11 songs out of 12 is a cracking ratio these days and believe me, I am not easily pleased, but I was so relieved and delighted that this album delivers to a most ardent ELO fan. Yes, as has been stated, this is very akin to Armchair Theatre, but who cares if it's this good. This is probably the best new album I've heard in years by anyone.
Consider this: All the best songwriters of the last 50 years e.g.. McCartney, Bowie, Jagger& Richards even Elvis Costello and the like had a creative shelf- life of about 10 years before they eventually succumbed to musical block writing total tosh in comparison to their earlier works. Jeff Lynne has proved beyond all doubt (as if any of us did really) that he has not suffered such desperation by Alone in the Universe and he is not just a master songwriter, but a rare, genuine tunesmith. Do not compare this with the mid 1970s output: just enjoy the melodies on show here. Then play back to back Mr Blue Sky against All of my Life. Genius developed within a radius of 40 years. Brilliant. Buy this and forget the nostalgic cynics.
Comment Comments (24) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2016 6:31 PM GMT


1 [Limited Edition]
1 [Limited Edition]
Offered by Amore DVD
Price: £28.49

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection with some omissions., 10 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 1 [Limited Edition] (Audio CD)
Like most Beatle fans, I didn't need the CD, but ordered this well in advance of the release date for the newly restored DVDs. Am I disappointed? An emphatic no will be my answer, but with slight reservations- after all, how can you NOT give the most influential, creative band that ever existed five shining stars?
The music needs no further discussion- we know how good it is- but this collection of video promos gives a new dimension on those classic tracks. There are some I've never seen before- the actual Hey Bulldog recording in the studio, John Lennon making a chip butty whilst miming to I I Feel Fine, the Beatle "dance off" in Hello Goodbye and the entire Revolution take: these are my personal favourites, but there's the official promos for Strawberry Fields, Ticket to Ride, two versions of Rain( John is trying to mime convincingly to the backwards bit) and 23 "extra" videos as well as some more familiar films that appeared on the Anthology series, but it's nice to have it in one collection. There's an "appreciation" by Mark Ellen which is informative and every video has details of how, where and when it was filmed: these form a great booklet in conjunction with the discs.
However, some videos are a bit of a let down to be honest. Examples of this are Words of Love, Something and The Ballad of John & Yoko which are just either a mix of photos or familiar footage set to the track. Within You Without You/ Tomorrow Never Knows is from the Love travesty with lots of effects which do nothing to enhance either song and perhaps should have been left well alone as individual songs and not mixed together. There are a few commentaries by Paul and Ringo for a few videos which are rather glib and even less informative about the time ( " This is us in a park...." Paul's monumental statement in Strawberry Fields) . You can tell Ringo's recollections are heartfelt though: that shines through his rather brief intros. It would have been nice if the two surviving Beatles gave more insight on more of the , songs.
In spite of my few gripes, this is a fabulous collection and if you are a Beatle fan- and everyone in the world MUST be surely?- this is a must buy, even though there are a few exclusions( the I am the Walrus promo for the Magical Mystery Tour film for example), but perhaps we'll all have to fork out more dosh at some stage, after all, we are talking Apple here....
By the way, did the BBC really broadcast that entire Hey Jude transmission in 1968? Paul's reference to the Band's song The Weight would cause a furore now, never mind then....
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2015 10:33 PM GMT


Panasonic Panasonic 52mm Lumix G Protective Filter
Panasonic Panasonic 52mm Lumix G Protective Filter
Price: £18.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 6 Nov. 2015
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I have bought several, cheaper protective filters and they all somehow downgraded the image. However, this does not. I bought it for the Panasonic FZ200 and it works a treat when photographing wildlife in rather inclement environments, though for every day photography, it will not be needed.


When I Was a Boy
When I Was a Boy
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the rest......, 1 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: When I Was a Boy (MP3 Download)
Jeff Lynne is a master songsmith of the highest order and if you think that his and the ELO heydays were back in the 1970s, then get an earful of this. This tune from the forthcoming Alone in the Universe album has echoes of a lot of his great ballads- Midnight Blue comes to mind here- but nevertheless distinctively different if you can understand that! Two other tracks have recently been released- When the Night Comes and One Step at a Time- and it's a great return to form ( I still rate Zoom as one of ELO's best: Ordinary Dream and One Moment in Paradise are true Jeff Lynne masterpieces) and I'm looking forward to getting the rest of the album in the next week.
I am 58 years old and, from what I've heard of Alone.... , I feel as though I'm 14 again when I couldn't wait for the next T.Rex single to come out. Thanks Jeff, you've made me feel like a teenager again and there are very few artists who can do that these days.


When the Night Comes
When the Night Comes
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic is still there....., 31 Oct. 2015
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Alone in the Universe album is not yet released yet, but I pre-ordered this and as a result, have three tracks downloaded including this one. It's great to see that Jeff Lynne has not lost his touch for a great tune coupled with amazing arrangements. You can tell a JL song a mile off and this doesn't disappoint. I have everything ELO and JL have recorded since the Move days and if this album is as good as these songs then it'll be up there with Out of the Blue etc. I still think that JL is still, after all these years, is still so underrated and we should value him more than we do. If you are a Jeff Lynne or ELO fan, just buy it!


Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
Price: £4.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 5 Star reference work, 24 July 2015
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I have just purchased this for the incredible price of a fiver- a whopping £65.00 off the hard book price! As I will be using this as a research tool-albeit infrequently- I thought this was too good a price to miss whatever the format or its shortfalls.
I've spent an hour just casually reading through it and there is an awful of data there, thanks to bank of 40,000 or volunteers and when any reader ploughs through this tome, you will realise what a monumental amount of work has been carried out here from the methodology used to collect and collate the data, right through to the actual analyses of observer records; these chapters are very lengthy and are probably worth a volume in their own right.
The species accounts are my main resource and are more than adequately covered, though population numbers are not given, but are compared to the atlases of 1968-72 and 1981- 84. As one reviewer has noted, trying to isolate a single species can be problematic as the index is designed for the printed version only; by accessing the search tool and then typing in the species, a list of every mention of that species is offered, but is subtitled to the various chapters and by scrolling down to "Species Accounts" , you can find what you are looking for; not the most efficient method, but perhaps can be improved upon at a later date, surely? Also, some introductory paragraphs are repeated, perhaps due to the conversion of a Kindle format. If you feel as though the info is too crowded on your Kindle, you can still read it on your PC, which I probably will most of the time.
In spite of these minor gripes, this is an excellent purchase for the current price of £5.99, though whether I would splash out the RRP as an e-book is debatable.


Bill Oddie Unplucked: Columns, Blogs and Musings
Bill Oddie Unplucked: Columns, Blogs and Musings
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humour in bite sized chunks, 20 April 2015
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This latest book from Bill Oddie is a much more upbeat affair than his last volume "One Flew into the Cuckoo's Egg" and a return to his splendidly humorous prose style which is so effective in its simplicity. Unplucked... is a collection of various articles written over the last few years that have formerly been published in newspapers and magazines and here, you have the "uncut" versions of them. Having given up on reading the so called popular press years ago, these essay- styled musings are new to me and loved them all. All the articles are short in length and range from the state of modern birding to the tadpoles in Bill's garden! Included in the book are some of Bill's blogs( so you finally found out how to use a computer then, Bill- welcome to the 21st Century...) that originally featured on his website.
I think it's because we are so familiar with the sound of Bill's voice, that his words on a written page resonate so much and I have personally found this adds to the enjoyment when I read any of his books, and this one's no different.
This book is a joy to read and it's great to see Bill back to his comic self.


One Flew into the Cuckoo's Egg
One Flew into the Cuckoo's Egg
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT a funny book, it's much more than that., 31 Mar. 2015
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I have read and reread this book several times over the last few months and I may have to read it again a few times more. I have read all of Bill's books over the years and being a fellow birder, chuckled and roared over his writing. Written in the same unpretentious style as his other volumes, this is a more general autobiography that covers Bill's early life, his rise into fame and, of course, his illness that has been misinterpreted in my opinion by the media in general. His passion for wildlife- birds in particular- is all all too evident here, but takes more of a back seat and his childhood and later life takes precedence.
My overall impression is that the author is a good man at heart, but there is an incredible sadness that is written between the lines of this book that is never truly stated openly as such, but nevertheless, pervades from start to finish. There are few laugh out lines in this autobiography, indeed Bill's comic tendencies are tempered by some very serious moments. The self- interview towards the end of the book can appear very self indulgent at times, however it is very revealing about the man himself and is worth sticking with.
I learned a great deal about Bill Oddie from this book and whilst it may not be an easy read at times, it is highly engaging with the reader at the same time. If you want a book concentrating on Bill's birding exploits, then don't buy this: give yourself a treat by buying " Gone Birding" which is probably my favourite birding book. However if you want to know more about the man behind the Goodies, the writer, broadcaster and the wildlife TV presenter, then get this book: it will dispel many preconceptions. A very brave book, Bill; you have my eternal admiration.


The Champions: The Complete Series [DVD]
The Champions: The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Gaunt
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £24.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Champion of a series!, 29 Mar. 2015
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I was a mere lad of 10 when this was broadcast and although styles have dated it little, the series itself is still slick, well acted and vibrant of colour( as most series of this kind were at the time). All 30 episodes are shown plus a documentary about the reunion of Stuart Damon, William Gaunt and Alexander Bastido in 2006- together again for the first time in 40 years- which is hidden gem on disc 8.
Whilst the discs are great, there are two booklets accompanying them which tell how the series was made, but the black typeface is really small against a fire engine red background that is very hard to read properly. Still, this doesn't detract from what is an excellent piece of British 1960s nostalgia. If you remember the programme, buy it and enjoy how proper TV was produced.


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