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Mondoro (United Kingdom)
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Remnants of Empire: Memory and Northern Rhodesia's White Diaspora
Remnants of Empire: Memory and Northern Rhodesia's White Diaspora
Price: £5.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The past is another country', 9 April 2015
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Unlike Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) and South Africa, Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) lacked its Doris Lessing and Nadine Gordimer to provide an image of its colonial society. Pamela Shurmer-Smith's collection of oral evidence from the relatively small number of white people who settled there prior to independence in 1964 will thus fill a gap, and appears just in time to capture the very varied testimonies of the 'white Diaspora'. Her book is particularly valuable for putting to rest the common stereotype of the white settler sitting on his veranda enjoying his sundowner while his labourers toil in the fields. Her informants varied tremendously in background, from the Afrikaner miner who brought his racist ideas to the Copperbelt to the paternalistic civil servants sent out by the Colonial Office, and those who fled the austerity of post-war Britain to find a new life in the sun.

'Remnants of Empire' reviews these experiences, moving through the rapid changes of the late 50s that completely transformed what had been a very quiet and seemingly permanent political system. The year 1964 saw the independence of Zambia in what in retrospect was a fairly peaceful transition, in contrast to what happened elsewhere in southern Africa in the 1970s onwards. The diaspora, the emigration of whites from Northern Rhodesia, was similarly a smooth process. The later chapters of her book discuss the experiences of the Diaspora in some detail, ranging from the anger of those who felt betrayed by British policy to those who left bidding Zambia all the best, but leaving with a slight twinge. Indeed, it is surprising how many renewed their acquaintance with Africa later.

As a historian I was particularly interested in her initial chapter about memory: what we remember, what we don't want to remember, what we should remember, and what we choose to forget. It is all too human to distance ourselves from views we had in the past which are no longer acceptable. Colonial rule and the race prejudice that unfortunately flourished under its wings was one such.

A valuable historical record of a relatively unknown former colonial territory.


Pacsafe Women's Citysafe Travel Handbag - Black
Pacsafe Women's Citysafe Travel Handbag - Black

4.0 out of 5 stars Small, 3 April 2015
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I already own a rather masculine pac safe [which is wonderful but not pretty ]and thought I would get this as it is a much more 'traditional feminine handbag' shape. It is,indeed, a 'girly' shape so lived up to my expectations in that respect however it is surprisingly small. I had hoped to carry passport, wallet, camera, glasses case [two glasses cases when I am on holiday as I always carry sunglasses] etc but I can't get everything in this little bag. I accept this is entirely my fault - I should have compared the measurements with a regular handbag [or even my original pac safe!]. I cannot fault the bag in any way from the security point of view - it would be impossible for a passerby to cut through the strap and it can be 'locked' shut which is extremely useful. It is just a bit too small to cope with everyday female clutter! I shall use it for occasions when I don't want to carry a camera and sunglasses but am disappointed that I will not find it to be of any use on holiday.


Fiddle For Dummies
Fiddle For Dummies
by Michael John Sanchez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful for beginner or as a refresher for some one out of practice., 31 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Fiddle For Dummies (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
an excellent introduction but also a very useful book for someone who has tackled this instrument in the past and wants a refresher before seeking professional lessons from a trained tutor. My daughter learnt this instrument at school and recently thought she might like to take it up again. Having worked through this book it not only re-kindled her interest but she felt confident enough to enrol for lessons on a one to one basis. Recommend. fjs.


The Essex Murders (Black Heath Classic Crime)
The Essex Murders (Black Heath Classic Crime)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic who done it - should keep you guessing., 28 Mar. 2015
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Well written - of its time, of course, so policing was not quite as scientific as it is today. Just a good yarn - read it on a train journey and it certainly made the time pass swiftly! fjs


The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers
The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers
by Paul Torday
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern morality tale, 24 Mar. 2015
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'Money. It was all about money'. The first sentence of the author's note to reading groups says it all. This is a modern morality tale about the harm created by greed, that leads to those affected to suspend judgement and sign up to any scheme that promises fabulous returns with no risk attached. This book is a telling indictment of the 'loadsamoney' culture that took over in the first years of the new millennium, and the inevitable crash in its final years. There are two heroes- if that is the right term - 'Eck', a fundamentally decent person who has been scarred by the new kind of warfare pursued by the modern British Army, and is seduced by the lure of the hedge fund culture in the form of the Mountwilliam Partners, headed by the obnoxious Bilbo; and the eponymous Charlie Summers, a kind of down at heel petty conman who flourishes on the fringes of society, and comes up with one ridiculous scheme to make money after the other, all of which end in failure. There is obviously a parallel to be drawn between them, as many reviewers have pointed out, though the author has painted a particularly sympathetic picture of both. They are both, in the sense, the victims of modern society. Paul Torday (who will be greatly missed) has clearly drawn on his own experiences to create a wholly credible world of finance and its operation. Yes, it is a deeply moral tale, and the author does not hesitate to make this point with the symbolism of the notorious Styx fund - a sure route to loss and oblivion - and the shadowy figure from the Middle East that Bilbo asks Eck to entertain, who is clearly up to no good, the only question being who or what he represents.

The end of the novel is both appropriate and fitting : I can say no more without providing spoilers. Maybe not in the same category as his debut novel, but still a work by a talented author reflecting on a major theme in modern life.


Tefal Secure Aluminium Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Tefal Secure Aluminium Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Price: £49.11

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely useful piece of kitchen equipment, 19 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is nearly fifteen years since I last used a pressure cooker [I couldn't get spares for my last one] so I was a little apprehensive about re-introducing one into my life. I need not have been,there are clear, simple instructions which make it is very straight forward and easy to use. Food cooks beautifully in a fraction of the time in any other cooking utensil I have come across. The pot is large enough to take both vegetables and meat for a main meal. It also makes soup very quickly - no one with a pressure cooker would ever need to buy ready made or packet soup again. The pot comes up to steam quickly and I was particularly impressed to find that these days the weight is a fixed part of the lid so there is no chance of mislaying it [which I remember doing, albeit temporarily,the past!]. Ideal for any busy person.fjs


SEVEN  NOVELS: Fear Stalks The Village, The Spiral Staircase (Some Must Watch ), Wax, The Wheel Spins (The Lady Vanishes), Steps In The Dark, While She ... Air (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 3915)
SEVEN NOVELS: Fear Stalks The Village, The Spiral Staircase (Some Must Watch ), Wax, The Wheel Spins (The Lady Vanishes), Steps In The Dark, While She ... Air (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 3915)
Price: £1.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant collection of crime novels., 19 Mar. 2015
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Ethel Lina White was a new writer to me, revealed after a recent showing of the classic movie 'The Lady Vanishes' when I read the novel on which the film is based: I reviewed this a few weeks ago on Amazon. Deciding to investigate further, I downloaded this very inexpensive series of novels which includes that book and six others plus a delectable short story that acts as an encore and demonstrates the author's skill in this genre as well.

The setting for these novels places her typical heroine, a girl trying to manage on her own in times of difficulty (the 1930s) and forced to take up thankless tasks such as being a companion or some kind of housekeeper, to elderly or difficult employers. 'The Spiral Staircase' is about one such household ion the remote countryside, where members 'disappear' one by one, leaving the heroine alone with her batty female employer, while outside a gale brings down the power lines... a creepy story that the less confident might not want to read on their own at night. The heroine in 'Steps in the Dark, is better off but she is a vulnerable young widow with two small children who were swept off her feet by a Swedish account - there are early hints that not all are as they seem in a cleverly devised plot. The best and the most complicated and ingenious novel is the last one 'She Faded Into Air', featuring a young actress try to make a living in London who is drawn into a very dangerous environment involving kidnappers, in which she shows a great deal of initiative when things suddenly go wrong.

I think it's important to say here that although her main characters tend to be cut from the same cloth, each of them operates in a different location. Unlike Agatha Christie, who tends to have a number of stock character-types and stock locations, White has managed to create something fresh in each of the locales of her stories. An author who deserves to be better known, and I do feel that this kind of presentation will do much to publicise her considerable creative skills as a crime writer.


Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 64 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)

5.0 out of 5 stars Adds ability to access the internet to the benefits of a portable library., 13 Mar. 2015
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I am very pleased with this. I probably have not yet explored it full potential but just being able to access my e mails, complete searches and - of course - read books from my kindle library is a joy. I was very resistant to buying a new kindle as I was very happy with my 3 year old 'books only' kindle but having been talked into it by my husband [an already satisfied user!] I am pleased to have made the upgrade. I don't think I realised how much I would appreciate being able to access the internet away from my desk but it is very useful [curling up in bed on a cold night instead of sitting at a desk is great!]. Still love my old kindle but very happy with this one too. fjs


Igenix IG5250 Convector Heater with 24-Hour Timer and Thermostat 2000 W
Igenix IG5250 Convector Heater with 24-Hour Timer and Thermostat 2000 W
Price: £35.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Rather fiddly to set up, but an efficient little heater., 8 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Setting up was relatively straightforward except when it came to attaching the legs. This needed a fair amount of patience, and ideally a pair of tweezers to locate and hold the screws in the deep recess of the leg. All four of the holes were slightly out of line and the legs had to be tightened a few days later, after the screws had 'settled in'. This was the only problem I had in setting it up. The rest was comparatively straightforward, and the connector heater works perfectly. The thermostat cut out properly when the room was sufficiently warm, and the timing settings, although a little delicate, operated accurately. The choice of three power settings (750 to 2000 watts) gives plenty of flexibility for users.

Its adaptability, working as a freestanding or wall-installed heater, is one of its main virtues. It is light and easily portable, although you need two hands to move it-the handles remained cool enough to enable one to move it when no longer needed. We will probably be using it to warm up a cold room quickly (e.g. a conservatory) when it is needed rather than as a permanent Installation.

Recommended- the missing star relates to the rather poor finishing referred to earlier in this review, and the tricky screw fixing required.


Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph
Price: £10.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial if a little too ambitious, 7 Mar. 2015
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A long and magisterial biography that can be seen as an attempt to provide a definitive account of Beethoven, the composer, the man, and his principal works. Arguably this is too ambitious a project for a single book, and the average reader will feel rather overwhelmed by this time he reaches the last page. The author has provided information on the composer's life, dismissing many of the familiar legends, rightly querying much of what Anton Schindler recorded. Also, he puts into perspective Beethoven's various love affairs, doomed as much by his personality as by the class differences that existed at the time. He paints a realistic and insightful picture of a man who was chronically ill for much of his life, not forgetting the progressive loss of his hearing, and the various quack remedies that were tried out vainly to prevent this.

The reader has been provided with a lot of analytical detail about his principal works, especially the piano sonatas, the principal symphonies and his still rather underrated Missa Solemnis. Someof this is too technical for the average reader, and perhaps might have been dealt with in a separate study, but there is certainly much value in his long essay on the Choral Symphony, and especially his analysis of the final movement with its 'Ode to Joy' text. All lovers of Beethoven will warm to his comments on its slow movement, perhaps the perfect music he ever wrote.

The author has also provided a detailed political background for the composer's life, from the hopes of his early years during the heyday of the Aufklarung, the 'age of reason', to the stark repression and censorship of the Metternich years, during which Beethoven wrote his finest works.


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