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James Stephenson "oncodoc" (Newcastle, UK)

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen: A Year of Things to See and Do in England
Mad Dogs and Englishmen: A Year of Things to See and Do in England
Price: 6.02

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely produced, quirkily arranged., 10 Sep 2013
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This is a robust, well-produced hardback that anybody holidaying in England should look at or possess. It is nicely printed and illustrated. If you have a holiday cottage that you let to overseas guests, you should leave a copy on the bookshelf. If you live in England and enjoy weeks/weekends/days away you should have a copy and flick through it for ideas.

A drawback is that the proposed activities, visits, outings and so on, are arranged by month, not by geography. So, you are in the Cotswolds in May and you have 4 suggested activities: watch the Cheese Rolling at Cooper's Hill, the Tetbury Sack Race, the Cotswolds Olimpicks near Chipping Camden and admire the view from Selsley Common. The first three you can only see on the day that they happen? You can walk on Selsley Common any day.

We are off to North Yorkshire for a week next week. According to October's chapter there is nothing worth doing there (although plenty in other destinations that we could do any day of the year).

Going through the whole of the rest of the book chapter-by-monthly-chapter to look for things to do I N Yorkshire, it recommends two pubs, a seaside resort (and its theatre), a natural feature and a stately home; all accessible year-round but arbitrarily assigned to months rather tied to a destination. The index doesn't allow the reader to search by area. None popped up in the October Chapter.

A good book to keep on one side to help plan holidays. However, most of the activities suggested are not time-sensitive but you have to work your way through to discover which events are for a day or three and which are there year round.

More a bogside/bedside planning book than a definitive "where are we going next month" holiday arrangement accessory.l


Good Produce Guide 2012
Good Produce Guide 2012
by Rose Prince
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent contents, badly arranged, 10 Sep 2013
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I bought this expecting to be able to look up good food suppliers wherever I happened to be on holiday, on a weekend away or on a day trip. What I can do is look up, say, butchers and find one in the right area or fishmonger, or greengrocer. So, if I'm going to, say, the Cotswolds I would like to be able to look at a county chapter and find which food shops are worth a visit. Instead, I have to page through individual trades, rather than geographical areas. A complete organisation, by County or any other geographical area, would improve this book enormously. Failing that; a second index by County, City or arbitrary national division would be useful.

Once you get to what you want it is useful but the organisation of the contents is clumsy and wonky.


Monopoly and Cluedo Compendium
Monopoly and Cluedo Compendium
Offered by EveryThing4You
Price: 129.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solidly made for a Cleudo or Monopoly fan, 25 Aug 2013
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Bought at a good (discounted) price for a 20something son whose stage career has paid homage to Cleudo and who loves both main games. At a discount price a good buy.


Pack of 6 300 Litre Wheely Bin Liners
Pack of 6 300 Litre Wheely Bin Liners
Offered by pendlegamesonline
Price: 3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 25 Aug 2013
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Flimsy bags, designed as "wheely-bin" liners. They arrived promptly. I can only imagine that they save your wheely bin from getting dirty if they don't tear, we wanted them to line a planter, which they've done very well. Good price, good delivery. Don't expect to be able to fill them and cart them somewhere


Le gratin des champignons : Portraits mycologiques
Le gratin des champignons : Portraits mycologiques
by Roland Sabatier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.14

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like fungi, you'll love this, 25 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
O.K. It's in French! But! It offers caricatures of all of the edible fungi (of France and Britain) and of the common poisonous and inedible fungi. This may seem trivial; however, it accentuates the features of each mushroom/toadstool so as to enhance anybody's ability to identify a specimen.

And! It's fun.

If you are a collector of mushrooms and/or of mushroom books then this is for you.


St. Nicholas Owen: The Priest Hole Maker, Elizabethan, Catholic, Martyr, Saint, The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, John Gerard, Jesuits
St. Nicholas Owen: The Priest Hole Maker, Elizabethan, Catholic, Martyr, Saint, The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, John Gerard, Jesuits
Dvd ~ Mike Pailthorpe

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, uninformative, amateurish production, 25 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Priced at the top end of video disc prices (more than most Blueray at 16:99 ) I had expected something a lot better than this. Now, I accept that the profits from this product go to the Catholic Family who produce the video (no suggestion on their website that they give any of the money to a charity) but why do so many of the cast have the same surname? At almost 17:00 this is a rip-off, playing on the Catholic heart-strings. There is very little factual content, it doesn't consider the various versions of Nicholas Owen's life, nor the controversy over the cause of his death. No decent, comprehensive footage of priest-holes he is known (or surmised) to have constructed but footage of houses with which he was not associated. The "actors" ( many of which seem to share a surname) were amateurish (probably because they weren't trained actors), wooden and dressed in generic "period costume" fished out of the dressing up box. All in all, a lazy, cynical effort at ripping off the faithful for profit.

I can only imagine that this is aimed at Catholic primary school children or 70+ dementing residents in Catholic care homes. There is nothing here that you couldn't discover in 5 minutes on Google without the embarrassment of watching family am dram in costume. Please don't buy this unless you have 8 year olds or demented elderly Catholics to whom you feel an inescapable desire to impart the most basic of facts/suppositions about Nicholas Owen, priest hole maker.


Wheelybug Bee Ride-on (Large)
Wheelybug Bee Ride-on (Large)
Price: 53.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous hit, 29 July 2013
Very solidly made. Attractive design. Seems very robust so far and eclipses plastic junk.
The attenae were an immediate hit with my grandson (a very tall 1 year old) as they "boiiing" very satisfactorily on their coiled spring stalks. At the moment it's being used as a walker and tops the brick truck because it goes in any direction. I've no doubt it will last years and several children and will be put to use as a ride upon once he gets the idea. My only slight regret is that wheely bugs don't do a more car-like toy and the company that makes a bumper car version doesn't do a large size.


Cast Protector - Adult Foot / Ankle - 254mm (10'')
Cast Protector - Adult Foot / Ankle - 254mm (10'')
Offered by Mobility Choices
Price: 12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars I can have a shower again!, 25 July 2013
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This works like a dream. It keeps even my size 15 foot completely dry under a powerful rain shower. Recommend without hesitation.


Goldblatt's Descent
Goldblatt's Descent
by Michael Honig
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction or memoir?, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: Goldblatt's Descent (Paperback)
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The broad sense of the book has been dealt with in Quicksilver's review. At 480 pages it is overlong. It would undoubtedly have benefitted from the attention of a sympathetic editor. However, it is worth ploughing through for the nuggets of humour and wisdom that it contains. It also shines a light into the darker recesses of the workings of the NHS.

It is quite dark behind the comedy, much of which is not so much "poking fun" at medicine in the 21st Century NHS as mirroring and, no doubt, retelling events that Honig experienced at first- or second-hand while working and training as a junior doctor. It is very much of its time, just as Colin Douglas's books about life in a ("fictional") Edinburgh Royal reflect the life of junior doctors in the late 60s and early 70s. The organisation changes but the things that make life miserable for trainees of all grades don't seem to. It has a procedural content but you should understand that the organisation of junior doctor training has changed since Honig's time as a clinician. F1 and F2 doctors now work shifts, covering patients they never get to know because the shift changes and the patient moves on through the system. At night the most junior trainee may be solely responsible for the routine management of all of the patients in a hospital, or at least a sizeable proportion of them. They will be more inept at simple procedures (taking blood for example) than even the benighted (and nameless) House Officer in Goldblatt's Descent and less willing to admit that their shortcomings are anything to with them. Nor is it done to admit drowning under oceans of menial tasks and the accumulated heartache of dealing with sick and dying patients.

Registrars accepted for training will nowadays progress from job to job until they have their certificate of training. That is the way the postgraduate deaneries "function". At that point they WILL get a consultant job, no matter how unsuited they are for it.

The politicking at ward and academic unit level is, sadly, all too accurately described. The NHS was once described as "Like a cesspit - the big chunks float to the top": it remains so. The interview process is, sadly for the NHS and its patients, described with ruthless accuracy; as is the crushing of Goldblatt for his intelligence, individuality and willingness to question stifling orthodoxy.

Having sat on countless NHS appointment panels for junior, consultant and professorial appointments I can attest to the accuracy of the "wise men and the anointed" concept. I was a wise man three times and the anointed once. As a consultant I have seen the best candidates for numerous jobs rejected in favour of "local" second-raters, usually because the consultant(s) representing the speciality appointing to the job felt "threatened" by the best candidate. Forty years ago my then boss, speaking of consultant appointments, said, "First class men appoint first class colleagues: second class men appoint third class colleagues." This remains true. The advice remains ignored. The NHS and its patients suffer as a result.

I have seen brilliant but questioning young doctors have their careers derailed because they dared to question and scrutinise the boss's policies (usually with good reason). I have seen consultants who did likewise marginalised or, in a couple of cases, eased out of jobs into retirement or to an overseas job.

Honig captures all of this with the black humour that medics (and, I suspect, lawyers) employ to ensure their version of sanity. However, as he points out, alcoholism, adultery and suicide are more common in the medical profession. An SHO my daughter was working with hanged herself on nights.

The book is well written, but I did have to use the online dictionary about half a dozen times. I suspect Honig used a dictionary now and again. I suspect he has also worked in the US. Certain passages are laugh-out-loud funny (at least to a medic's ear), for example the persuading of the drug-addict, Simmons, that he does not wish to stay in hospital a day longer. This is exactly reminiscent of the world-weary and perhaps cruel approach of an awful lot of medics, after a year or so of dealing with the manipulative selfishness of the addicted.

Despite its wordiness it contains so many truths about the NHS that I think it should be required reading for any UK medic, whatever grade, for NHS management and for nurses (who figure little in the book, despite their importance to junior doctors as a source of knowledge and of succour).

If you are not "medical" you should still read it. Don't for one moment believe that the worst of what happens to patients or of what doctors do to each other is not true. The book reads more like a memoir than fiction.


Keep Reaching Up
Keep Reaching Up
Price: 11.13

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really did not enjoy this, 2 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Keep Reaching Up (Audio CD)
Not the best "Northern Soul" I've ever heard and, all-in-all, a disappointing purchase. I won't be taken in by a record reviewer who only ever gives 5* reviews to albums.


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