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M. E. Jones (England UK)

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Sir Henry Fowler Kbe
Sir Henry Fowler Kbe
by John Kyte
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engineer Ahead of His Time., 8 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Sir Henry Fowler Kbe (Paperback)
Having spent just short of 50 years on train footplate and driving cab prior to retirement I am usually interested in accounts of engineers, etc, who designed or built the trains that I drove.
Such a one is Sir Henry Fowler, though having started work in 1962, shortly before the ending of steam, I had little opportunity to work on one of his locomotives. Nevertheless, I found this book a very interesting and informative account of a locomotive engineer for the Midland Railway and subsequently the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. From simple beginnings in Evesham, the town of his birth, to Chief Mechanical Engineer he was very forward thinking for his time, having a strong and life-long interest in metallurgy which, it would seem, was not commonly found in mechanical engineers of the time. He also found himself constantly frustrated by the Midland policy of only using small and lightweight locomotives, a practice that led to frequent and wasteful double-heading of freight and express passenger trains, which got heavier as more use was made of them. It came as a relief to him, therefore, when Sir Josiah Stamp took over leadership of the LMS and changed that policy, allowing Fowler to press ahead with designs for much needed large and high-powered locomotives, of which perhaps the most famous example was the good-looking Royal Scot class of express engine.
According to his biography Fowler was an extremely energetic man with a lively mind who took an interest in a number of things outside his career, not least of which was his old Grammar School in Evesham, writing articles in the school magazine, the Henrician, and instituting a prize to be awarded at each Speech Day and which subsequently became known as The Sir Henry Fowler Memorial Prize for Mathematics.
For someone whose engineering and metallurgical knowledge was advanced for his time and who topped his career by becoming President of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, it is perhaps surprising that Sir Henry Fowler's name is not as well known in the public mind as those of Sir Nigel Gresley or Sir William Stanier. This biography by John Kyte goes some way to redress that balance and I recommend it to all who have an engineering and general interest in railways.

Vaughan Williams: Complete Symphonies, Tallis & Greensleeves Fantasias, Lark Ascending, Wasps Overture
Vaughan Williams: Complete Symphonies, Tallis & Greensleeves Fantasias, Lark Ascending, Wasps Overture
Price: £16.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best performances yet., 9 Jan. 2015
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It has always been my feeling that the best performances of music by English composers are made by English musicians. They are best in touch with the spirit of the composition, the "Englishness", if you like, and so perform as the composer intended.

Such is the case with these recordings of the Vaughan Williams symphonies by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. They are masterful performances in all respects and the music seems to flow effortlessly from the instruments. The distant horn that opens the first movement of his 4th symphony, for example, can give me goosepimples as it creates mental images of vast open spaces under scudding clouds.

This box set is amongst the best, if not the best, recordings of Vaughan Williams's music and I can recommend it without hesitation.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2017 2:25 PM GMT

Top Gear - The Perfect Road Trip [Blu-ray]
Top Gear - The Perfect Road Trip [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jeremy Clarkson
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £5.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An amusing jolly, 20 Jan. 2014
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What better place to start a road trip than on a boat? If your name is Clarkson or Hammond then of course it makes good sense to do so. Leaving the boat they don their usual Top Gear persona and have a great time driving some pretty impressive cars across Europe while challenging each other to greater and greater excess. That it's a film for petrolheads there is no denying, but those who simply want to watch two middle-aged men acting like teenagers can also derive quite a bit of amusement and escapism from this dvd. My biggest laugh was at what happened to them at the film's end. In Hammond's final comment, "You idiot, Clarkson!", there was a very apt full stop.

Flowers of War [Blu-ray]
Flowers of War [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A story of the Japanese invasion of China - not something that is often heard about., 16 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Flowers of War [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
While Christian Bale played his part in his usual very professional way, making his character thoroughly believable, he was backed up by a cast also played their parts well. A couple of scenes, especially of the two girls who returned to retrieve items and were captured, were rather gory, but apart from that it was a believable and well put-together story line.

Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved [DVD]
Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved [DVD]
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £13.21

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic at 100. Mystery Solved, 2 Nov. 2012
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Having previously watched the Discovery boxed set, Titanic, which told the story of the 1990s investigation of the wreck I was intrigued to know what there was that was new in the latest exploration. I was not at all disappoionted in what I learnt. The Woods Hole team decided that they intended doing something completely different to previous explorations by looking for and finding the missing centre section of the ship. It took them just about a whole year to do so and they found that the forces involved were such that the missing parts were scattered over no less than fifteen square miles! Using digital equipment to photograph their finds they then used the photos to 'build' a virtual Titanic in a virtual hanger similar to the way air accident investigators re-assemble crashed aircraft. They also investigated why such a huge ship should sink so quickly (was it badly built,etc) and whether the correct number of lifeboats would have saved more people. The answer regarding the lifeboats was whether or not they could all be launched in time and also the manner in which the ship sank. As to whether Titanic was badly built, their investigations brought the team to the conclusion that the opposite was true and compared the sinking to later disasters, viz: the Lusitania turned on its side and sank quickly, as also did the Costa Concordia, sinking in just 65 minutes, whereas the Titanic stayed afloat for 2 hours and 40 minutes AND stayed upright, allowing the boats on both sides to be launched, thereby saving 700 lives. For those interested in the Titanic saga, this is definitely a dvd to buy.

Underwater Sunlight
Underwater Sunlight
Price: £12.11

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underwater Sunlight, 29 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Underwater Sunlight (Audio CD)
I remember going to the Birmingham concert part of Tangerine Dream's tour to promote Underwater Sunlight back in 1986. Having heard but not seen them before I was impressed with their stage set-up and music, and I particularly remember Paul Haslinger standing up in between his two keyboards and playing both with a hand on each while gazing out over the audience. An act of pure showmanship, and note perfect with it!

The digital remastered version of the re-released Underwater Sunlight has such quality of recording and such stereo separation that it is like being back in that concert hall all over again. It is especially suited to the first two numbers of the Song of the Whale, music that is stately, grand and symphonic in style. In the occasions when a guitar solo can be heard, these stand out clearly, especially if you are listening in surround sound.

Underwater Sunlight was made when Tangerine Dream were at their peak in the mid-1980s. The original vinyl album was good. This digitally remastered version on CD lifts the music onto another level.

Moon [DVD] [2009]
Moon [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sam Rockwell
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.33

10 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It wound me up!, 9 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Moon [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
No matter how many buttons I pressed I couldn't stop the film crew talking over the film. I threw it away.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2010 1:38 PM GMT

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