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G. Macpherson (France - not bi-lingual yet)
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Pentel QE519A Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil, 0.90 mm, Black Barrel
Pentel QE519A Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil, 0.90 mm, Black Barrel
Offered by LBM The Art & Stationery Store
Price: 4.40

4.0 out of 5 stars For musicians, 4 Jun 2014
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Very pleased. Good for music - strong refill doesn't s snap easily; useful rubber provides for many changes of fingerings and interpretation.


Roberts Stream 106X Internet Radio
Roberts Stream 106X Internet Radio

4.0 out of 5 stars Great, if everything else is working, 14 Jan 2014
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The book of instruction is excellent - and needs to be. This radio is not for the faint-hearted. It needs a good signal from WiFi or from some reliable and steady internet source. Our signal is via a router and 'extender' plugged into the mains. It works very well. The radio has Roberts' usual excellent sound quality. It's good to look at, a sensible size for beside the bed or carried about the house (as long as you still have signal). What you can do with this piece of equipment is remarkable - choose a radio station almost anywhere in the world and in no time you can listen to it. The radio will wake you up, switch off when you go to sleep and tune in automatically to the last programme you selected. We have bought two 106X radios now and are very pleased with them. Where we live, it is not easy to tune in to one's 'home stations' except via Satellite dish - or via the computer. This radio is becoming very popular amongst ex-patriates in this part of France.


The World We Made: Alex McKay's Story from 2050
The World We Made: Alex McKay's Story from 2050
by Jonathon Porritt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History in both directions, 14 Jan 2014
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The World We Made is full of surprises. In turning over each page I wasn't sure what I was going to find, although it follows very logically and is both informative and entertaining.

The first few surprises were coming to a page on blue paper, then opening up a double-page colour photo crammed with creative solutions to matters such as growing vegetables, using a roof that collects electricity from the sun, and sharing the family saloon with the neighbours. Nothing ‘new new’ except the way they are integrated and laid out – the photo is dated January 7th 2050.

Jonathan Porritt's subjects are those that have held my interest for many decades: world politics, food, the environment, energy, terrorism, human collaboration for positive ends, fairness and above all, leaving the world a better place for our successors. Jonathan's breadth of approach is breathtaking. It makes me feel I have only dabbled on the edges of my special subjects - agriculture, forestry, fisheries and renewable energy. He has gone much wider.

It is written many years ahead of now, yet, as I read, I have to check the dates he gives 'has this happened yet, because it's something I've always feared, hoped for, predicted or expected'. So often the date in the book might be 'in 2024 or 'I remember back in 2030...'.

We read how 'the banking crisis' was resolved in the twenty twenties; and how the multi-nationals lost their evasive powers when they had to pay tax properly following governments got their act together. We see, in projected future news reports, how nuclear power met its match when hackers and cyber-invaders were able to disable operating software.

On the move
It starts with history, passes through the present and glides forward to relate logically concluded future history. I cannot agree with the reviewer on Amazon who says it's boring! Anything but! The illustrations ̶ hand-drawn diagrams and flow charts ̶ the photographs, maps and graphs are inserted at just the right moments. It’s history in both directions!

Knowing Jonathan Porritt's previous work and his interventions into our thinking, I know that I can depend on the science and statistics that he quotes. It's a solid piece of scientific and economic prediction. It's not science fiction. I disagree that the subject has been dumbed down. It is not pompous, stuffy and over-written. It's plain speaking and I can see academics, scientists, technicians and intelligent teenagers enjoying it as a text book - there's so much to discuss and ponder.

I recommend this book most highly and congratulate the author and the team that must have helped in its production.


The Maiden's Prayer
The Maiden's Prayer
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dusting old treasures, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Maiden's Prayer (Audio CD)
This CD is full of reminders of the 20th Century - for those of us old enough to remember them! Beautifully played pieces we might remember from our childhood - and from the childhood of our parents, in some cases. The acoustic is just right - it sounds like a gracious room; and the CD has all kinds of moods reflected. When is 'Maiden's Prayer Part II on sale?


The Usborne First Thousand Words in French
The Usborne First Thousand Words in French
by Heather Amery
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Now to learn French better!, 30 Aug 2013
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It may be second hand but my 'First thousand Words' arrived when it was expected, in very good condition, nicely packed. It's just what I hoped it would be - large, busy pictures that encourage discussion with a teacher on 'what's happening?' The pupil is aided by labelled icons around the margins of the page giving the French word for the mini-picture. I'm delighted with the book and hope there's a Second Thousand .......


Last Man in: The End of Empire in Northern Nigeria
Last Man in: The End of Empire in Northern Nigeria
by John Hare
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Northern Nigeria made interesting, 5 Aug 2013
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Great to be able to buy such a well produced hardback book with such an attractive cover! Inside is no disappointment, either. John Hare has spelled it out as he saw it - from the unlikely position of colonial administrator responsible for towns, villages, mountains, valleys, tribes, court-houses, schools - you name it. His task, to convert all this, and its population, to be part of an independent democracy within a matter of months.

John Hare has not fallen foul of political correctness but says this is the language, as used in the the mid-nineteen fifties and early sixties. Everyone old enough to remember what happened then, will expect plain speaking and those young enough, ought to forgive its directness but will benefit from its clarity.

The book is full of tales: memories, facts, myths and comments. It names names, except when John has, or had, an issue with someone, in which case he calls them P or N, leaving one to wonder who it must be. Those in the know, will know, but John must have his defence against libel in place. It means he does not have to exclude the juicy bits. He can't resist the occasional joke and funny quip, describing, for example the dress of women and girls in one tribe, which consists of one leaf 'in front' and 'a little bunch' behind. The leaves need to be fresh to be effective and when the Forestry Authority forbade their harvest it led to an embarrassing protest march.

We learn, in easy-to-read prose, about the beliefs, customs, appearance, noble acts, crimes, tricks and well-timed political moves of a great number of small ethnic groups and their leadership. There are scary tales of witch-craft and sorcery; and vile practices long since abandoned, (like trial by ordeal and cannibalism).

John Hare remembers so many local people, their names and careers, that, although they are too many to remember, those whose grand-parents or relatives are mentioned, will treasure the knowledge thus recorded, even though it may tend to be from the point of view of a colonial master.

'Last Man In' is going to be relished and argued about by generations of Nigerians to come, and should prompt a few families to dig out their history from the old folk, perhaps to publish their side of the story.

This is a most entertaining and informative book - full of colour and interest. I would recommend it to anyone interested in adventure, 'the Old Africa' and its recent history of change.


Lovers and Husbands and What-not: A Biography of Margaret L. Macpherson
Lovers and Husbands and What-not: A Biography of Margaret L. Macpherson
by Reynold Macpherson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.92

4.0 out of 5 stars What a woman! What a life!, 30 May 2013
Margaret L Macpherson, married three times, mother of seven - or was it nine children? She nurtured her first-born, without ever naming his father, whom the author, Reynold Macpherson, (her grandson) has yet to identify; she deserted several of her other children as she changed husbands, countries, religions, political campaigns and nationalities. To many Macphersons both in the UK and New Zealand, where she descended from middle class journalist to poverty as a miner's wife, she was referred to simply as 'That Woman'. Some of her descendants find the book too much to swallow - so angry after a few chapters, giving up in disgust. I'm not a descendent or close relative and I made it to the end - fascinated, at times slightly horrified; at others, inspired by her writing and behaviour. I could have endorsed so many of her campaigns - for equal rights for women and subjugated indigenous populations; for egalitarian government policies and the challenging of fascism, long before WW2. All the way through, she proves to be a woman too early for her time, burning with indignation and passion that, at that time, was not acceptable from a woman. Her anger at class discrimination,(especially in England); at the unfaithfulness of one of her husbands, (she divorced him for it)and her submission to powerful men for the sake of survival, are remarkable. You can't believe all she wrote or said, according to Reynold: many contradictions blur various aspects of her life but she was convincing enough to become 'a leading New Zealand writer' and to be included in many notable gatherings of intellectuals. She was born in 1895 in Yorkshire and battled with the world and its people until she died in 1974. It took years for Reynold to collect information for this book and he has presented more than 500 pages of it - too much for some tastes but nothing wasted. Future researchers, both in the family and outside it, may be able to solve some of the mysteries that are still numerous, without covering old ground. The book is a source of personal human history relating to New Zealand and its development, both cultural and political.'That Woman' broke the rules, railed against injustice and war. Her selfish pursuit of her own aims evidently damaged the lives of many of her descendants - but what a woman!
There were parts of the book that I felt devoted too much space to some family members other than herself - if this was her biography, rather than a family history. Other pages dwelled too much on 'what she said in each chapter of a book'. Most of the many illustrating photographs have been reduced to be as small as possible. I wish they could have been larger and been captioned. Perhaps it was one way of making sure one read the text - you have to, to discover what the pictures are about. There is so much reported, far more than only the facts, because Reynold does not hold back on gossip and comment (or perhaps he does!) and the whole work adds up to a fascinating, long read. It contains ample material for a period TV series of the stature of Downton Abbey. You could call it 'Downstairs Upstairs Down Under'. There's glamour, scandal, intrigue, wonderful settings - the lot!


Part Of The Furniture
Part Of The Furniture
by Mary Wesley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Wesley's best, 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Part Of The Furniture (Paperback)
This was Mary Wesley's last novel - I believe. She said it was very hard work - but it's such an easy read and so rewarding. One of the sweetest romances one could find. Set in World War II London and the West Country, it contains many echoes of her other books but to me, is one of her best told stories. A young woman, abused by young men and with very low self-esteem is rescued from an air raid by a charming war veteran who promptly dies - having first given her an introduction to his father on the farm in Devon.


The Woodcutter
The Woodcutter
by Reginald Hill
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars What a book!, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Woodcutter (Hardcover)
This is a story and a half! It is intricate, entertaining, wide-ranging and very interesting. There's sufficient romance for me to enjoy even parts that I would normally not choose - such as violent scenes. The plots are complicated but not too difficult to keep in my head as I go through the long book - real value for money in terms of 'buying a good read'. Towards the end it gets so complicated I almost lost it - but muddled through to a satisfying conclusion. This book was recommended to me by the former head of English at a well-know English public school as an example of 'a good novel' so that I can improve my own. Thank you Philippe! The story is so encouraging - that someone's life can, for no fault of his or her own, get worse, worse and truly appalling: but that person can come through it stronger, resilient and still resolute. Plenty of 'skin-of-teeth' situations, too.


Chopin: Etudes, opus 10 & 25
Chopin: Etudes, opus 10 & 25
Price: 14.28

4.0 out of 5 stars An historical recording - every teacher should have this, 13 Jan 2013
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What grabbed me was the first track - the study in C Major. Not the technique, which, throughout the recording is not quite as fluid, fast or accurate (not sure about that! He knows much better than I) as some of the young performers of today. It was the acoustic combined with the music itself that gave me so much pleasure when I heard it on Classic FM: so joyous and celebratory. To have a teacher who can play such difficult music as well as this with such panache and feeling and still be able to market the recording many years later is a great achievement. It is an historical recording and today's teachers could use it to illustrate differences in style, tempo and technique - faults and all. I am enjoying this CD often.


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