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John Davison "John Davison"

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Harry Potter Et La Coupe De Feu
Harry Potter Et La Coupe De Feu
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars keep going, 19 Nov. 2010
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After Azkaban [no 3] I thought this one was going to disappoint. I am not terribly interested in sports, so several chapters devoted to a Quidditch match were never going to float my boat.

Towards the end of this book I could hardly put it down. I would rush home from work to get on with the next chapter, and I read the last one hundred pages in one go, deep into the night.

I'm not going to be detailed and specific, because you can find out the details for yourself. I just wanted to assure you that it's worth embarking on the journey.


Eat Right 4 Your Type
Eat Right 4 Your Type
by Dr Peter D'Adamo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth looking into, 12 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Eat Right 4 Your Type (Paperback)
There are two dietary systems on the planet that I have found useful: one is macrobiotics (yin and yang) and the other is Peter d'Adamo's blood group diet. Having known about the first for forty years and the second for ten, I think it helps to have a working knowledge of both.

Someone who understands macrobiotics but doesn't have d'Adamo's information could continue to eat foods which don't suit their digestive system, as I did; someone who follows d'Adamo but doesn't have the yin/yang information could end up getting rather tight and depressed (especially a woman following blood group O) or weak and tired (someone following blood group A and who doesn't notice d'Adamo's one-line entry about "a good balance of grains and vegetables").

As a type A you could, for example, centre your diet on coffee, red wine, apricots and pineapple juice, and you would be following d'Adamo's list of "Highly Beneficial" foods, but you are extremely unlikely to feel very good, because these foods are all very yin, and excessive yin leads to fatigue, worry and general reduction in one's ability to cope.

One of the better and less extreme books on macrobiotics is by Craig Sams: "About Macrobiotics". It's been out of print for many years but the occasional copy turns up on eBay and in libraries. And pure macrobiotics is an extreme diet - it suits a very, very small number of people. I recommend getting to understand the principles, more than the practice, most especially if you are vegetarian and feel at all weak, tired or anxious.

The general caveat I would give is this:

Don't elevate these people to guru status. Anyone who is evangelising for their system tends to go over the top. Craig Sams, for example, spent years preaching against the evils of sugar, and now he manufactures Green and Black's chocolate. Peter d'Adamo says that all foods on the "Avoid" list for each blood group act like a poison. Well no, Peter, or there would be a lot of extra corpses around the place.

The great thing about d'Adamo's diet is that within the Highly Beneficial and Neutral lists there is generally a big range and a lot of flexibility. You don't have to go around feeling martyred. Moreover, I find some things matter more than others: since reading d'Adamo I have almost completely given up cows' dairy produce. I'm sure a lot of people who try to give up dairy altogether and suffer as a result would do fine on goats' milk and cheese, as I do. I am not, however, prepared to give up wholewheat entirely (I am type A) and I get by OK.

If you accept d'Adamo's principles they call into question every other nutritional system: yes, St John's Wort and echinacea are medicinal, but only if they suit your blood group; yes, wholewheat is a "health" food - but not if you are type O - it could be making you ill; yes, bananas are a relatively healthy way of absorbing concentrated sugars - but not if you are type A, because then they tend to interfere with digestion.

One of the most useful how-to books I have ever read.

UPDATE, JUNE 2015: I have been working on a health issue, and eating mainly brown rice (highly approved of by macrobiotics and Peter D'Adamo) and the issue got worse, not better. I then found online the advice to avoid starchy foods. I cut out the rice and things started to improve. It also said coffee is a no-no, so again D'Adamo may not always be right.

I still value D'Adamo's book because by avoiding the foods he lists as unsuitable for my type, I have completely cured indigestion.

So in conclusion I would hazard that his ideas are generally useful in terms of what foods NOT to eat, and not always so useful when he is telling us what we SHOULD eat.


Grandma's House - Series 1 [DVD] [2010]
Grandma's House - Series 1 [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Simon Amstell
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it, 23 Sept. 2010
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The secret of enjoying Grandma's House is to let it wash over you. Every couple of minutes in the manic conversation someone, usually Liz, will come out with something that has you rolling on the floor.

And Granny - I love her to bits:

Liz: "Dad's got cancer."

Grandma: "Would anyone like a banana?"

The people who complain about Simon Amstell's acting are missing the point - he is a painful actor making a virtue out of being a painful actor.

This is great stuff.


Harry Potter et le Prisonnier D'Azkaban (Harry Potter (French))
Harry Potter et le Prisonnier D'Azkaban (Harry Potter (French))
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant plot, 14 Sept. 2010
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I didn't join the Harry Potter bandwagon when the craze started; I thought the style was not great, the narrative clunky, and that basically it's a load of kids and teachers behaving like your average school but with a few dragons and potions thrown in; in short, I felt it lacked magic.

I am now working through the series in French, and, perhaps because I am working in a foreign language, I am reading the books as a child might read them. The things that irritated me don't anymore, I am charmed by J K Rowling's wacky sense of humour, and dazzled by the skill with which she weaves the plot - and the plot in Azkaban really is beyond clever, winding the up tension to the very last pages.

I would rate it even more highly if it were not for the author's 19th century approach to animal welfare. Animals, and especially birds, J.K., do not belong in cages.

One more thing - don't judge the book by the film, because the latter misses the point entirely. At least I think this is true - I got so cross with the film I gave up a third of the way through.


Panasonic HT090E-H Lightweight Headphones - 5m Long Cord (discontinued by manufacturer)
Panasonic HT090E-H Lightweight Headphones - 5m Long Cord (discontinued by manufacturer)
Offered by OptixMania
Price: £19.99

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most beautiful sound, 11 Sept. 2010
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To put this in context, I have just spent nine times this amount on a pair of German headphones which will cancel out background noise. The sound on the inexpensive Panasonic headphones is much, much clearer and more true.


Panasonic RPHT030ES Monitor Headphones - Silver
Panasonic RPHT030ES Monitor Headphones - Silver
Offered by DREAM FIELD
Price: £12.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most fabulous sound, 4 Sept. 2010
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I first discovered Panasonic headphones when I was using a Yamaha keyboard as a practice piano. The sound is true and pure and beautiful. Going by my two purchases, Panasonic are to headphones what Stradivarius was to violins.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2011 3:35 AM BST


Zoostorm Intel Celeron Dual Core E3300 2.4ghz Windows 7 Home Premium PC, 320GB HDD, 2GB Ram, DVDRW, 7871-0031
Zoostorm Intel Celeron Dual Core E3300 2.4ghz Windows 7 Home Premium PC, 320GB HDD, 2GB Ram, DVDRW, 7871-0031

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I nearly gave it one star - read on, 13 Aug. 2010
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I am extremely sensitive to noise, and wow was this one noisy. I rang Zoostorm and they told me I could safely disconnect the second fan below the power socket. I have done this and the PC has gone from being the noisiest I have ever owned to one of the quieter. Zoostorm, do yourselves a favour and rectify this!

Two months on, and the main fan has become rather noisier than I would wish. I am going to get it replaced with a freezer fan, which apparently runs almost silently.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2011 5:44 PM GMT


Rosamond Lehmann: A Life
Rosamond Lehmann: A Life
by Selina Hastings
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.50

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for the author, if not the subject, 26 Jun. 2010
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I bought this book knowing nothing about Rosamond Lehmann, but knowing the most essential thing about her biographer - that she writes wonderfully.

I now know that Rosamond Lehmann was born the day after Queen Victoria's funeral; that she was a novelist; that her love-life was eventful and a bit of a mess; and that she had endearing qualities which made up for a rather alarming egotism. She was also very beautiful. For much of her life she was under the influence of the atheist/agnostic culture of the Bloomsbury Group, but later became deeply involved in spiritualism.

It would be nice if publishers could be a bit more generous with photographs. The ones included are fascinating - in particular Rosamond on a motorbike sandwiched between one of her husbands and his gay best friend - but one would like to be able to put a face to every significant character.

I am unlikely to rush out and buy the collected works. I finished this book with only the mildest inclination to read any of Rosamond's purple prose, but with my veneration for her biographer absolutely intact.


Evelyn Waugh: A Biography (Vintage Lives)
Evelyn Waugh: A Biography (Vintage Lives)
by Selina Hastings
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure pleasure, 29 May 2010
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I am reading this book for the second time, and have been trying to work out why reading Selina Hastings is such unalloyed pleasure.

I got a clearer idea when I picked up a book by another writer I had ordered and skimmed a few pages, only to be hit by a familiar weariness.

Too many writers in English fall into one of two categories: their style is too academic or too informal. In both situations the reader is aware of the writer as an uncomfortable presence.

Selina Hastings' writing is absolutely clear: she never uses a difficult word when a simple one will do the job better; it is absolutely graceful: she is incapable of either pretentiousness or vulgarity; she is sometimes laugh-aloud funny, and she is always amusing.

One of her great gifts is to present a short account of each of Waugh's books which such economy and clarity that she arouses one's interest whether one knows the book inside out or has never read it.

Above all, and what a relief this is, she is non-judgmental. She presents her subjects exactly as she finds them, and yet manages to make them lovable. This is particularly useful here, because, as she states in the opening chapter:

"The reputation of Evelyn Waugh rests on two premises: that he was one of the great prose stylists of the twentieth century, and that as a man he was a monster."


A Brief History of Life in Victorian Britain
A Brief History of Life in Victorian Britain
by Michael Paterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars something for everyone, 18 May 2010
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The author takes various aspects of the era - transport, clothing &c - and devotes a chapter to their development throughout the century. It was slightly disconcerting therefore to travel with Queen Victoria herself from her birth to her death in one of the first chapters, only to start at the beginning again with the next subject.

But once you get used to this it makes for great clarity, and also means you can pick and choose. I am frankly uninterested in the history of people killing each other in battle, and was a little put off by the author's [moderate] flag-waving for the British Empire, but lapped up the chapters on food, transport and fashion [the last of these not previously an interest, but Michael Paterson had me fascinated].

And if you like good clear writing, this author will delight you.


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