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Girlitude: A Portrait of the 50s and 60s
Girlitude: A Portrait of the 50s and 60s
by Emma Tennant
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, 29 Jun. 2017
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This memoir by a girl born into the Glenconner family who was a debutante in the 1950s will be evocative of the times to those contemporary in age to the author.

Her family were comparatively new members of the peerage, looked down upon by older aristocratic families, and although she was widely believed to be an heiress, her family gave a lavish coming-out party for her, the family fortune such as it was passed down the male line.

Her supposed prospects led to her being pursued and seduced by a fortune hunter. She became pregnant and had an abortion in an age when society was less tolerant than today. She kept moneyed but louche company, she describes herself as a ‘moll’ which she seems to have enjoyed, but conformed to social expectations by marrying, apparently without much enthusiasm for the match by either participant. She had a son to whom she was devoted but otherwise found married life empty. She portrays the difficulty girls of her class had adapting to married life at a young age. Servants ran the home, leaving a girl with limited intellectual and cultural interests with little to interest or occupy her. Almost inevitably her marriage failed as did two subsequent unions.

Obliged to find a means of earning her living she turned to writing, working for a number of magazines, and later publishing a succession of novels. In doing so she alienated members of her circle who recognised themselves in unflattering terms in her books. Increasingly disaffected from the world in which she grew up, she claims she invariably voted Labour, she mixed with all sorts of people from all classes, including many public figures.

She was conscious of her difficulty in growing up, hence the title ‘Girlitude’ but she describes her travails with charm and wit. Her habit of interpolating long parenthetical passages in her sentences, widely separating the beginning and the end, doesn’t always make for an easy read but whatever her shortcomings as a writer she has the gift of bringing people and scenes to life. Not a book for everyone perhaps, but for those who remember the times she describes, a rewarding and enjoyable read.


The Witty Vagabond: A Biography of Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930) Author - Artist - Adventurer
The Witty Vagabond: A Biography of Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930) Author - Artist - Adventurer
by David Tovey
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Humour and Adventure, 27 May 2017
The Witty Vagabond – A Biography of Crosbie Garstin (1887-1930) by David Tovey

David Tovey is best known for his outstanding series of books on the artists who worked in St Ives in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. In the course of his researches into the artists, both as painters and in their social life, he became intrigued by the character of Crosbie Garstin and this biography is the result.

Crosbie Garstin led an extraordinary life so full of adventure that this biography reads more like a work of fiction than fact. Leavened with much humour It drew me in and kept me enthralled and entertained to the end. A man who lived such an adventurous life was perhaps unlikely to die in bed and Crosbie’s death occurred in mysterious circumstances, his body was never found, and this led some to believe he had chosen to disappear, but the probability is that he drowned. Age only 42 at his death Crosbie had packed in enough adventures to fill several lifetimes.

Crosbie was a son of the artist Norman Garstin principally known for his famous painting of Penzance “The rain it raineth every day” reproduced innumerable times as prints, on mugs, calendars and cards.

As a lad Crosbie was the source of despair to his parents. An adventurous boy he got into all kinds of scrapes. While he had an enquiring mind he proved useless academically, being in his father’s words “practically immune” to education. Despite repeatedly coming bottom of his class he was later described by his headmaster as a “genius” with “too rare a mind for any school curriculum”.

Given his inability to pass any form of examination his career options were limited. Encouraged to draw from an early age he showed a talent for caricature but his abilities as a painter were not such as to enable him to make a living. Attempts to force him into a variety of careers in the Forces, in Industry and the Civil Service proved abject failures.

In 1910 he set off for Canada determined to try his luck at gold mining. To raise some capital he took a variety of arduous but well paid jobs but returned home empty handed in 1912 having been conned during his gold mining venture. Offered the job of a bush ranger in South Africa he accepted but tiring of this he attempted to establish a cattle ranch in Bechuanaland.

What he saw as “exile” in South Africa came to an end on the outbreak of the First World War when he joined a colonial cavalry regiment and served in France, Italy and Ireland. A skilled horseman he was lauded highly in the history of his regiment as a Riding Master. He saw action at the front including at Passchaendale and Cambrai.

During the war he made a reputation as a writer with a series of comic pieces about life at the front which appeared in Punch. These were later published in book form and were followed by a book about his experiences in South Africa which cemented his reputation as a comic writer. He produced a large number of short stories based upon his own adventures and anecdotes heard on his travels and again these won many plaudits.

Married in 1924 the ‘vagabond’ never settled down. Determined to write a historical novel he set off for North Africa and Spain to gather material. Now almost forgotten the resulting trilogy is rated by the author of this biography as superior to the Poldark series.

In addition to his works in prose Crosbie had a talent for poetry and sketching in pen and ink. He had many works published. He was also a fine raconteur with a wide circle of friends, many of whom will be familiar to readers interested in art and literature.

The Witty Vagabond paints a vivid picture of a remarkable individual and his life and times. Highly recommended.


Travesties
Travesties
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy, 26 April 2017
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This review is from: Travesties (Kindle Edition)
A most entertaining show with a brilliant performance by Tom Hollander. Familiarity with Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' is essential for full enjoyment and it is hard to gauge how much of the humour would be understood without a knowledge of this play. For those who know their Wilde Travesties is highly recommended.


Australia's Impressionists
Australia's Impressionists
by Christopher Riopelle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... who saw the exhibition a pleasing reminder of a fine show and a book worth acquiring even for those ..., 26 April 2017
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For those who saw the exhibition a pleasing reminder of a fine show and a book worth acquiring even for those who missed it. The pictures are unusually well reproduced, the standard of reproduction so often being disappointing in exhibition catalogues, and include the pages depicting the pictures on show, some magnified detail, and accompanying articles about Australian Impressionism and the artists. Highly recommended.


Small Hotel [DVD]
Small Hotel [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gordon Harker
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good acting and period charm., 26 April 2017
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This review is from: Small Hotel [DVD] (DVD)
A slight piece but enjoyable for the quality of the acting and, for those who remember the times it depicts, pleasing for a certain period charm.


Dell XPS 13 Laptop with Full HD InfinityEdge 13.3 inch Screen (Intel Core i5-6200U, 8 GB, 256 GB, Intel HD 520 Graphics, BT, FHD, Windows 10) - Black
Dell XPS 13 Laptop with Full HD InfinityEdge 13.3 inch Screen (Intel Core i5-6200U, 8 GB, 256 GB, Intel HD 520 Graphics, BT, FHD, Windows 10) - Black
Offered by TECK POINT

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive laptop offering excellent value for money., 26 April 2017
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On receipt the battery charged but would not power the laptop when it was disconnected from the mains. Returned to the supplier a new battery was installed and since then the laptop has given every satisfaction. Of pleasing appearance and well constructed this laptop is highly portable because of its compact size and light weight. Purchased on the basis of an enthusiastic review in 'Which?' I would endorse the magazine's favourable assessment and warmly recommend this laptop to anyone contemplating the purchase of a machine in this price range. I doubt there is any laptop on the market offering better value for money.


Catherine of Aragon,
Catherine of Aragon,
by Garrett Mattingly
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 26 April 2017
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This review is from: Catherine of Aragon, (Hardcover)
A wonderful book which cannot fail to appeal to anyone with an interest in history. Catherine of Aragon was a most impressive woman of exceptional personal qualities and extraordinary courage who coped with much misfortune from early in her life. It has been said that she was Henry VIII's one true love and if she had succeeded in bearing him a male heir it seems likely that she would have remained married to him. It was not to be and tragedy ensued. The story of Catherine's life in turbulent times is recounted in detail but in a most readable style and her character is brought vividly to life. Highly recommended.


Sea Change - Fine and Decorative Art in St Ives 1914-1930
Sea Change - Fine and Decorative Art in St Ives 1914-1930
by David Tovey
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation., 26 Dec. 2016
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An outstanding account of the activities of the now sadly neglected St Ives artists with many excellent illustrations of their work. A most enjoyable read packed with information based upon a formidable depth of research. Highly recommended.


GHB 58 in 1 Magnetic Precision Screwdriver Set Magnetic Driver Kit for Cell Phone Gaming PC Laptop Glasses
GHB 58 in 1 Magnetic Precision Screwdriver Set Magnetic Driver Kit for Cell Phone Gaming PC Laptop Glasses

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact & Comprehensive, 26 Dec. 2016
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A neatly packed compact set containing a wide range of bits which should fit most, possibly all, types of small screw heads. To date I have only used it for one job but it fully met the requirement. My only reservation is about whether the flexible extension could apply adequate torque to shift tightly secured screws.


In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology, and British Naval Policy 1889-1914
In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology, and British Naval Policy 1889-1914
by Jon Tetsuro Sumida
Edition: Paperback
Price: £33.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of date, 8 May 2015
I agree absolutely with Book Junkie's review. The later book by John Brooks has made Sumida's work obsolete and anyone who reads it believing it to be authoritative is being misled.


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