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hfffoman (Kent)
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Igenix IG6711 Counter Top Fridge with Lock, 47 Litre, Stainless Steel
Igenix IG6711 Counter Top Fridge with Lock, 47 Litre, Stainless Steel
Price: £97.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, small and (almost) silent, 29 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's hard to tell from the official picture so I took one showing it with some other objects so you get an idea how small it is. It's suitable for an office for storing lunches or somewhere you just want to chill a few drinks. I have it under a small table. It could equally go on top of a surface without looking overly bulky.

It's pretty simple, with a single shelf but it has an ice box and, most important, it is really quiet. (Remember, kitchens are noisy - put a fridge that seems normal when in a kitchen into a quiet room and it will disturb you.

(Sorry the photo is rotated; whichever way I orient it, Amazon is determined to display it on its side)
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Merivel: A Man of His Time
Merivel: A Man of His Time
by Rose Tremain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing follow-up to the excellent Restoration, 28 Jan. 2015
The best I can say is that it was a moderately enjoyable read. It didn't give me much of a historical feel as Restoration did. Perhaps it was exaggerated, or perhaps it is that in the intervening time I read 4 CP Sansom novels set in te time of Henry VIII which set a higher standard of historical accuracy.

The sub header - a man of his Times - is, I think supposed to indicate that the book is about Merivel's decline along with the crown. The author seems to have decided that a good way to express this was by making both Merivel and the king extremely lewd and though I am sure that people in those days were as rampant as they are today, the impression given just wasn't very believable.


Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II OC 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU II OC 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Price: £185.00

5.0 out of 5 stars it was good value for money but you have to check the ..., 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At the time I bought this, it was good value for money but you have to check the latest tables and prices. What I can say is that it is well designed and very quiet. As soon as I installed it I noticed a big difference in the sound compared with my previous Zotac. It also seems to stay very cool even when working hard.

I found the Asus installation very quick and easy and the software very good. You get simple access to fan control and speed settings and performance data. There is no need to fiddle around install special windows tools without which some cards overheat.

I was initially concerned about compatibility with my slightly old PCI slot and the power cables. Neither was a problem. It has an 8 pin slot while my power supply has 6 pin cables. Fortunately it comes with a cable adapter with an 8 pin slot on one end and two 6 pin slots on the other.


The Night Watch
The Night Watch
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

2.0 out of 5 stars Totally unengaging, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
This is a story of several connected lives in London during the war and after. It feels like a series of finely drawn portraits of a range of situations and experiences. It is reasonably well observed and competently written. However, it completely failed to engage me and I stopped reading before the end.

The main problem was that I didn't care about any of the characters. On another level, I wasn't convinced. Since not much happens by way of plot, the book relies on its dialogue and tiny incidents. Only a really good writer can make this work: the dialogue has to be absolutely spot on and, while the dialogue here is not bad, it is not good enough to fulfil that role. I often felt it was padded out and going nowhere or missed its pitch and didn't feel real. I kept thinking of A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman by Margaret Drabble which demonstrates the consummate expertise required to bring this off. Drabble's observation and dialogue is not just finely drawn, it is absolutely right.

One final point is more an observation than a complaint: I am neither offended nor excited by sex in novels but I couldn't help noticing that the author is very uninhibited in describing the male genitals in action, and the liquid they produce, yet seems to shrink from describing lesbian sex although most of the women in the book are in fact active lesbians.


Metro 2033
Metro 2033
by Dmitry Glukhovsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars Good if you like paranormal sci-fi, bad if you don't, 21 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Metro 2033 (Paperback)
I found the whole concept of a post-apocalyptic society living on Moscow underground to be interesting. The struggle for survival is well described and seems to be decently thought through so that it felt realistic and scientifically sound (at least it felt that way though perhaps it wasn't actually realistic). Adding giant mutants caused by radiation was a stretch but not an unreasonable one. But then he adds paranormal forces. For me, the whole concept of doing that to a post-nuclear premise felt absurd. Consequently I stopped reading half way through. That doesn't mean it's a bad book but it's only good if you take a liberal view of when it's appropriate to bring in the paranormal.

If you get past the paranormal problem, the book has good points including a rerun of the struggle between communism and the market economy as well as discussion of the associated issues. I talked about it with a Russian friend who had this to say: "Russian literature is kind of grim and political almost always. The most likely explanation is that literature in Russia in many cases was a substitution of politics. There is never a proper parliament in our frozen country"


The Resistance Avalon Card Game
The Resistance Avalon Card Game
Offered by Euro Games
Price: £14.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent game, simple, clever and with lots of interaction, 20 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is one of the best family board games I have played. It is simple to learn, has no complicated details, encourages a lot of interaction, and moves along quickly. The only disadvantage is that it works best with a large group. You can play with 5 but 7-10 is better.

The game is a variant on Are You a Werewolf, but with several twists that makes it more involved. I won't describe the exact rules as other reviewers have already done so, but in outline you are dealt cards which determine your role and which of two teams you belong to. Different people have different information about who is in their team (this leaves some scope to cheat so it may not be ideal if you are unlucky enough to have friends and family who do that). There are two aims - to sabotage or complete missions and to find out, or avoid being found out, who is in which team. Missions are notional - nothing actually happens. The game is about determining who forms the team for each mission, as the success depends on which side the members are on. This leads to a delicious mixture of strategy, bluff and double bluff, lying and lie detection. I can't recommend is too highly.


Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics)
Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Geoff Wilkes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting description of the ruthless, and ludicrous, behaviour of the Nazis in government, 20 Jan. 2015
This is a story of people living under the Nazi regime during the war and the terror they were subjected to: the cruelty, the complete disregard for justice and the fear that dominated civilian life. It is an interesting story and shows how the civilian population was effectively terrorised into slavery and no longer lived or even behaved like ordinary people.

For the faint-hearted, please be warned there are some very unpleasant scenes. I am not an expert on Gestapo brutality and don't know if the book is well researched and accurate but I will give it the benefit of the doubt and say that the violence was well described and felt authentic.

Apart from the violence, I found the book evoked little of the terror which the citizens lived under. I felt it much more strongly when I read about life under Stalin. The behaviour of the Nazis in this novel comes across (to me) as mostly ludicrous. There are two possible explanations for this. Perhaps it is because the Nazi regime was indeed ludicrous. Although it was probably even more brutal than Stalin's regime (although Stalin is thought to have killed more civilians) Nazism had none of Stalinism's ability to work its way into peoples' minds. Unlike Nazism, Stalinism spread widely around the world. Perhaps that is why accounts of life in Russia are more gripping than this one. Furthermore if the book is to be believed (and I have no way of judging this) the majority of civilians and many of the Nazis themselves were perfectly aware of how ludicrous the regime was.

On the other hand it may be something about the writing that didn't bring out the terror: perhaps his habit of telling you what is going to happen in advance, perhaps the peculiar flipping between present and past tense, perhaps the dialogue which is generally weak, or perhaps it is that he doesn't get beyond a superficial depth into his characters' minds.

Overall, a recommendation but not 5 stars. If you start reading and don't get drawn in, do persist. The book gets better as it goes on and the last part is the best.


Starlight G45 6w = 40w Frosted Golf Ball / Mini Globe LED Light Bulbs E27 ES Edison Screw Cap 6400k Daylight White Energy Saving Light Bulbs 240v
Starlight G45 6w = 40w Frosted Golf Ball / Mini Globe LED Light Bulbs E27 ES Edison Screw Cap 6400k Daylight White Energy Saving Light Bulbs 240v
Offered by ENERGY SAVING DEALS
Price: £6.59

5.0 out of 5 stars The best of 3 options, 14 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are 3 brands of this type of bulb on Amazon. I bought the ones by LE which were terrible. 5 out of 5 bulbs failed quickly. I got replacements and they failed too. The Eco Halogen bulbs are no better (from the reviews). This is the last hope. Based on the performance they are excellent. They come on instantly and are a lot brighter than the LE which have a similar rating. The colour is a sweet white. If you prefer yellow, you may not like them.

I installed four of these on 14 Jan 2015 and will edit this review if they fail.


Legion of the Damned (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
Legion of the Damned (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Sven Hassel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Either a fraud or a fantasy, 9 Jan. 2015
We have all heard that the WWII Russian front was one of the nearest things there has ever been to hell on earth and reading an autobiographical account of it promised to be both enlightening and fascinating. At first it was. The hero seemed to give an honest account, full of humble reflections, of the extraordinary suffering and extraordinary heroics in which he had become embroiled. Unfortunately it was too extraordinary. The further I read, the more incredible became the exploits of bullet-dodging Sven, his friends and their uniform-wearing, vodka-drinking cat who was happy to live in a greatcoat pocket in a tank in the middle of roaring artillery.

A bit of research shows that it was certainly not an autobiographical account. It is possible that the author fought in the war and wrote a fictional account in which some (probably a minority) of the events were real. But there is evidence that he neither fought in the war nor even wrote the book himself, but paid someone else to write it based on second hand stories he had picked up.

So shouldn't we just read it as a novel and enjoy it, like All quiet on the Western front? That seems to be a popular view since this Danish book has enjoyed its greatest success among English readers. I would guess that the English enjoy reading about a Danish German soldier who not only loathes the Nazis but constantly slates nearly everything about the German military while killing an astronomical number of Russians.

That won't do. The book is not presented as fiction. It contains many comments about his thoughts as a writer looking back on real events which strongly suggest it is autobiographical. Many reviewers seem to have been taken in by this, as I was. Once you take away the autobiographical side of it, there isn't much left. To be one of about three survivors from a 6,000 regiment is impressive in real life. In fiction it is cheap. All Quiet on the Western Front is fiction but it is not exaggerated. We learn a great deal about the war from reading it. Legion of the Damned is so exaggerated we cannot extract any truth from it. It is simply a fantasy.

I give it two stars instead of one because the anti-war message was thought-provoking, though rather simplistic. He says all generals and their political associates are corrupt, soldiers in all armies should rebel and military spending should be switched to cars and houses. Of course he was talking about the Nazis 70 years ago who have nothing in common with today's generals and leaders. However, he makes one point we should not be smug about, that many powerful men benefit from the fighting in numerous ways and at times fall prey to destructive self interest. Anyone who believes the British are immune to this should read the introduction to Pakenham's history of the Boer war, titled "Milner's War". I get the same feeling sometimes when I listen to senior military on the Today Programme insisting that the £60 billion Britain paid for the Afghanistan war was money well spent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2015 6:47 PM GMT


Philips GC4522/00 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 200 g Steam Boost and Safety Auto Off, 300 ml, 2600 Watt, Black
Philips GC4522/00 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 200 g Steam Boost and Safety Auto Off, 300 ml, 2600 Watt, Black
Price: £67.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, though I would recommend a steam generator in preference, 22 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This iron has a good quality sliding plate, a good length cord and a good decalc system. For controls it has a single temperature dial with stops and indicators for the temperature of different materials.

If you are definitely wanting an iron in this price range, this seems to me quite a good choice. But I would say that I find ironing difficult and not much fun and, if you can afford it, I think it is worth getting the best iron you can find. I have been using a steam-generator iron and coming back to this one I realize how much easier the steam generator is. Like other irons in this price range, this one carries the water on the iron instead of a tank on the base station. That makes the iron much heavier and more awkward to use. The steam generator is also faster to use because it produces much more steam. This one has a booster button but it just sprays water.

You might also consider getting an iron which makes the temperature selection automatically.


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