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Peter Wade (Colchester England)
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A Portrait of Basildon Plotlands: The Enduring Spirit
A Portrait of Basildon Plotlands: The Enduring Spirit
by Deanna Walkder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic look at the development of Basildon, 13 Jan. 2011
Nostalgic look at the development of Basildon

My first job after I left college was for Basildon Urban District Council as it was in those days. I worked in the legal department of which there were four of us plus the solicitor to the council.

I bought my first house in Basildon and as a result I was aware of the plotland development and how Basildon had been formed after the second world war.Both my children were born in Basildon hospital.

Later when I worked in Wickford I saw all the old title deeds and found the estate agents advertisements of champagne specials where they used to entice Londoners to come out to Essex and buy plots of land for £5.

These plots were then either used as holiday homes and over the years some became permanent homes.

I was told that a lot of them became occupied during the war as people in London were bombed out and they would go and live on their plots. The owners of the plots either disappeared or they abandoned them.

I thought that era had finished by the time the Basildon new town became developed certainly by the time I was there in the early seventies.

The author describes her family having bought the plot in the 1950s and them using it as a holiday home right up until the 1980s when the development corporation acquired all the remaining homes.

I know the areas they are talking about but this book is a great social history or an era. This was before people thoughtof going to holiday camps or flying for holidays abroad.

it was simpler era when people were happy to travel from Dagenham and arrive in Laindon on a Friday night and spend the weekend in a shack with no water or electricity. For kids it must have been a great adventure and for adults it was a change of pace from their normal lives in London

I looked at the Basildon Council website and they still say that there are nine remaining plotlands development sites but these days they are permanent dwellings with draining and all the services.

I now live in Colchester but if you want to see plotland development as it was you need to visit Jaywick which is amazing and is undeveloped. A massive variety of properties on little plots.

For the author it is her personal history and it is good she has preserved it for the rest of us. It is now history and little remains of it apart from The Haven in Third Avenue which is the plotland museum. It must be like looking at the prefab at the Imperial war Museum or the pillboxes that you see scattered around the countryside. You see them but later generations have no idea what they represent.

A great book and she has done well to preserve the history of ordinary people which can sometimes be overlooked.


Trumbo [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Trumbo [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not America's finest hour, 6 Jan. 2011
I was entirely ignorant of Dalton trumbo until recently.

He was accused of being a communist during the McCarthite period. As a result he lost his livelhood and went to jail.

He was a great screen writer and is acknowledged as having written some great films and we all know at least one of his lines " I'm Spartacus".

It is a documentary film with actors reading his lines and interviews with a lot of the Hollywood greats and plenty of footage of Trumbo himself.

He didn't come off the blacklist until 1960 after having gone to prison in 1950.

Educate yourself and look up how many films he was involved with the list is fantastic.

Great film and an education in itself. I will be watching it many times.


Kevin Bridges - The Story So Far...Live in Glasgow [DVD]
Kevin Bridges - The Story So Far...Live in Glasgow [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Bridges
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stand up comedy, 6 Jan. 2011
Before I write a review I always read the worst reviews.

A comedian is either funny or not. Why worry if they are not doing anything completely different. How many types of humour are there.

I am amazed that stand up comedy is still so popular as it has been around for a while now but along come a new crop that are just as funny. He is on a par with Dara O'Brian, Lee Mack and John Bishop who have come to the fore recently.

I saw him on his first mainstream appearance doing the bus stop joke. He obviously appealto a younger audience and he has loads of Scottish references which his audience love.

Stand ups have to be the master of verbal decterity and they are intelligent to notice what we all see but can't make humour out of.

I wonder if the critics have the skill to make an audiennce of complete strangers fall about laughing. I dont mind the eff word as long as it is funny. He is not as offensive as Frankie Boyle but they all have their place. He kept clear of bodily functions which suits me as I regard that as lazy comedy to just talk about bum. fart, willies.

He will be lucky to last long in such a competitive profession but he certainly has the skill.

The DVD industry and the media must love stand ups as they are a cheap form of entertainmnet. One bloke on a stage talking about his life what could be simpler.

I am definitely not his target audience as I am far too old but I thought it was great entertainment and I give it five.


Hops, Doodlebugs and Floods: A Memoir of Growing Up In Essex
Hops, Doodlebugs and Floods: A Memoir of Growing Up In Essex
by Alan Whitcomb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad., 2 Jan. 2011
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

I picked this book up after having read E J Rudsdales Journals of Wartime Colchester. I saw it was pu8sblhed by the same publishers Historybooks. I was wondering whether they have cornered the market in local history books.

I flicked through it and apart form those items covered in the title I was interested to note that he had been in the merchant navy in the 1950s and I had been on the same type of ships in the late sixties.I liked his merchant navy days as I knew all that was true as I had the same experience ten years later.

I was also interested in how someone who wasn't particularly famous would tell a story of their life or of a period that would retain ones interest,

It says on the cover that the author has published over thirty academic titles so obviously knows how to write a book but not necessarily tell a story.

Having been born in 1940 he remembers the war therefore the doodlebugs and he went hop picking with his family just after the war. They moved to Canvey Island and was involved in the 1953 floods.

He repeated a few times that he had not passed the eleven plus. This may seem old hat now but it was a big deal before comprehensive schools came along. In theory you were branded a failure if you did not pass the eleven plus.

If anyone made it in later life the newspapers used to highlight the fact that the person had not passed the eleven plus. He was a product of that period being ten years older than me he was unqualified and only in later life did he try for a qualification to become a teacher. Later again he went for a degree being a masters degree then a doctorate.

He describes in detail how he did it and you have to admire him as for many it scarred them for life as they were stuck in jobs that would never let them rise to the top.

I only have a couple of minor criticisms. I got confused by the chronology as he does jump about a bit. Also he is coy about using real peoples names and the name of his school. I suppose he was worried about defamation and as a result does pull some of his punches.

The book also lacks an index which isn't good for a non fiction book.

It ably achieves its task of evoking a time gone by with the first half of the book and the second half when he takes up teaching is well covered and you can see how he did so well in his profession.

He seemed to have fallen into writing accidentally as he sent in suggestions to an author who suggested he write a book. He approached one publisher who said no but others were happy to produce his work and seems to have been very successful indeed. It goes to show that it does not matter how may experts there are out there you can always rewrite the book for another audience.

They say academic authors are some of the best paid because the works are constantly being updated and used as set books.

I liked the quote which I had heard before and I used it in the title of this review. I liked it as the subejct matter interested me and it was a dole to doctorate story.


I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
I Am Legend [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Will Smith
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.57

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars we were rooting for him and his dog, 29 Dec. 2010
This review is from: I Am Legend [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I remember when this film first came out it was well advertised but I did not know what it was about.I looked up the background and I liked it as I am more an aficionado of British post apocalypse films or stories such as Day of the Triffids or the Village of the Damned also more recent ones such as 30 days.

I read that this was an older story being written in1954 and has been made a few times before.

The only problem with these films once you have the set up that is that he is the last man standing and he discovers what is wrong with everyone else where does the story go.

You have to find someone else which of course if you are a bloke has to be a good looking woman. You then have to decide what you are going to do. You would like then to settle down and restart the human race against all odds or they have to battle the triffids/ zombies and win or if you really want a sequel then you don't win.This of course leaves it open to I am legend two.

This film cheats but not telling you much and filling in the background with a load of flashbacks. They tell you when you write a screen play not to do long expositions or indulge in flashbacks then do it themselves.

It differs from the 1950s films in that now we can have loads of special effects. Directors now make up for lack of story by having a lot of special effects. That was why I liked Day of the Triffids/ Village of the Damned as you had to have more story and less special effects.

Again although chocker block full of special effects you did actually what to know how things turned out.
I saw the reviews were split on this but I came to it without any preconceptions so I enjoyed it for what it was. Will Smith was good as the hero and you were rooting for him and his dog.

I would happily watch it a few times and it was a good film.


Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ivana Baquero
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy meets fascists, 29 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I got this for Christmas which was a complete surprise to me as it was not on my wish list and I had ever heard of it before.

It is a Spanish film with English sub titles. It does mean however that you have to watch it closely as you will miss things. Set in the forties after the fascists have won the Spanish civil war but they are still hunting their enemies and wiping them out.

The story has the backdrop of the fighting and the guerrillas as the step daughter of the fascist captain goes into a fantasy world.

The two do eventually collide.

I would not have chosen it as a film to watch but I always like to extend my cultural knowledge and this certain to do that. My like or dislike of a film is whether I would want to watch it again and I will be watching this again.

It is rated 15 but there is no sexual content but at least one violent scene which is hard to stomach and another scene that even I had to look away.

You only hope that the fascists will get their come uppance but as they remainedin power until the death of Franco in 1975 I wasn't too hopeful I wont gie the end away.

I can see why certain reviewers said it was a slow film but it was worth the wait and it was a good film. some of the reviews are mixed but I cam in with no preconceptions so I like it.


E. J. Rudsdale's Journals of Wartime Colchester
E. J. Rudsdale's Journals of Wartime Colchester
by Catherine Pearson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of the war on the homefront in Colchester, 27 Dec. 2010
I got this as a surprise Christmas present. I am interested in local history and live in Colchester so I like the subject.

The diaries cover 1939- 45.He was never called up in the army but work for the museums service was on the war agricultural committee and later in the Royal Observer Corps.

The diary format is easy to read because you can read as much or as little as you want at any one sitting.

I know most the places he was referring to and I live not far away from the road that is name after him ( Rudsdale Way). I have read ooks onthe war in Colchester so I was aware where the bombs had fallen and the damage that the Germans did to Colchester.

I have also visited all the airfields he mentioned and it was interesting to hear his views on the Americans when they came to build the airfields and the objections that were made as of course they were using up agricultural land.He did not like the Americans and that seemed to be a common theory. He did not really criticise other allies or give tough views on any of them. He would describe every time he saw strange sights like Indian cavalry on horses or ANZAC soldiers marching through the streets.

The theory of the second world war is that the whole population pulled together to beat the Hun but this diary proves that was mainly propaganda.

Most people did not go until they were called and they did their up most not to go. Eric did not get called up because he claimed he had a reserved occupation but he did do other work such as work for the War Agricultural Committee. They had the power to tell farmers what to do and confiscate land if the work was not done.

He reports on what people were thinking as the war went on. There was a considerable amount of misinformation and people claiming they knew what was going to happen and it did not. It is amazing how little things have changed even in these more communicative times as even today we are awash with rumour and misinformation.

It is the story of Colchester but it is really the story of a nation at war on the civilian front. He knew he was writing history as he worked in a museum and he would read the diaries of famous diarists like Kilvert.

We are much more used to oral history but nothing beats writing it down as you go along as there is less chances of editing or using hindsight. I know as I write a diary and things can change on a daily basis but it all gets polished a few days later.

Again I moan on about no index but apart from that it is a great book . He died young at only 41 in 1951 so we never had his skills for later years but he has left a great legacy and has had a road named after him.


The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18
The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18
by John Brophy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a jewel, 27 Dec. 2010
This book is a jewel

I remember when I was at primary school in the mid fifties that I heard and knew Mademoiselle from Armentiers. It is interesting because it is a first world war song not even from the second world war which had only finished ten years before. I knew it was rude but did not know why.It was the Inky Pinky Parley Vous bit that fascinated me

This book according to the foreword was first published in 1930 and again in 1965.

It is broken down into soldiers' songs,soldiers' slang and music from the music hall,chants and sayings
I first went to the battlefields in1990 but I had wanted to go for a long time before that. Visited Ypres, Poperinge the Somme etc. I then understood the first world war as it was a very static war.

The literature and songs of the first world war is very varied and the book describes it as a literary war with all the poets and writers. I have followed the life of Edmund Blunden buried in Long Melford churchyard in Suffolk and a good friend of Siegfried Sassoon.

The more I study it the more I understand about the language my mother and father used as they were using snatches of music hall songs and sayings that went back to the first world war. My mother for instance would use expressions like He would be better of in a home which comes from the words of a song.

My father was in the RAF so lot of military expressions were used in our house and a lot are still in the English language.

If you are interested in language, British history or the first world war this book is must.

If there is a criticism and I keep repeating this one. There is no index. Every serious non fiction book should have an index so you can look things up quickly. They are very easy to produce these days with a dictating machine and software that puts lists in alphabetical order. It is used to be a specialised art but not any more.

I am a great fan of Of what a lovely war which contains a great slew of first world war songs.

I will finish with the opening words and also the title of this review. This book is a jewel


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Great flavour , inconvenient size container, leaky shaker, 18 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great flavour , inconvenient size container, leaky shaker

We are creatures of habit and it takes a while to create a new habit particularly if it is a positive one.
This is my second purchase of whey powder. I go the gym regularly and most days apart from those when I am taking a days rest I go twice a day. I did 36 visits during February.

I know you are supposed to take the whey powder after exercise but I usually go straight to work or come home and have a meal.

Someone I spoke to in the gym said that you should l only have 25 grams at a time. I have now decided to split it into two drinks a day of 30 grams as that is what is in each scoop.

I always have it with milk as it tastes great as is like a super milk shake so it is no bother drinking it.

It also resolves one of the problems I I was having in that the shaker that everyone seems to use are notoriously bad at keeping a seal. I found when it was full of milk that I was taking a risk it would leak. I have the result of this on my office floor as a whole bottle leaked so I have a white stain on my carpet.

Now I have two smaller drinks so it is less likely to spill as it is no where near the top of the bottle.

I carefully put the lid on the shaker but I cannot resolve the problem of making it water tight.

The other criticism I have is the container which seems common in the industry are ridiculous shape . They are large and too bulky to carry around. As a result I leave the container in the kitchen, when I go on holiday I will have to transfer it to a more convenient container.

Along with the exercise it seems to be working as I am a lot stronger and now I have created a new positive habit I will keep it up.

I have ordered banana as my next flavour and I will you know how it goes.

Highly recommended


How to Make a Million Before Lunch
How to Make a Million Before Lunch
by Rachel Bridge
Edition: Paperback

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No nonsense guide to working for yourself and making money, 18 Dec. 2010
As I read the Sunday Times I had heard of Rachel Bridge and I either have or have read most of her books

She has had the advantage of interviewing a lot of tnereprenures for the paper and most of her earlier books are compilations of her articles.

She has taken the opportunity of putting this all into one book setting out everything she has learnt.

At the end of each chapter she has an action plan. This sets out in short form what each chapter is about.

If you dont want to read the waffle just read the action plan.

She has good advice about building an on line scalable business. So many want to open resatruants and shops which are hard work and don't succeed.

Sell goods or services that can make you money whilst you are not there. Build a business you can sell and that can operate without you being there.

As she and they have pointed out the Dragons never invented anything they just took an existing idea and did it better and made money.

People are obsessed by inventing things and trying to sell it. Don't bother just nick an idea and do it better. She covers areas like how do you get paid.It is cashflow that kills most firms.

Outsource as much as possible. It is now feasiable to run and iternational buiness with no employees and no stock from a laptop. This is what she is trying to teach you.

One of the best practical books on runing or starting your own business and I have read a few.


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