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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
by David Finch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.31

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Over-Hyped/Hyper: Not About Asperger's: Look Elsewhere, 14 May 2013
For those who know someone with Asperger's, or who have some form of it, give this book a pass! Finch is a guy (he claims "clinical-strength egocentricity) who enjoys constantly taking photographs of himself, including when he is using the toilet, "to see what I might look like to other people at any given moment: me watching TV; me about to sneeze; me on the toilet, looking pensive" (Finch 2012:14). The author has multiple personality issues and problems, described in excruciating detail, that cannot be attributed to Asperger Syndrome. Even the bit about Finch NOT wanting to fold his laundry just-so rings false. I normally would never give a book only one star out of respect for the effort it can take to get a book published. But other reviewers were right, this "Journal" is not Asperger-appropriate. Rather, it's the result of a clever marketing ploy, with very little useful information for those who seek more understanding on this subject.

The book's only funny part is early on, in the introduction, with the Asperger-quizz Finch's wife shares with him; she got the questions off the internet, and they are great. But the book is not. A master manipulator (by his own lengthy admission), Finch would pass any test for any condition put to him, should he be so inclined. The disruptions in his life and relationships are not about Asperger's. He enjoys being a raving "egomaniac" with OCD and ADD, who has been on Ritalin for decades. Who knows the affects of this medication over the long-term? He mentions his terrible temper-tantrums, and being raised in an oppressive home. But he comes off as just another egomaniac who won't control himself. He even brags about often being two hours late for work because he needs a particular food for breakfast. Most of the book consists of narcissistic navel-gazing over every little precious "quirk." One teenager with Asperger's sums up this kind of wanna-be-aspie perfectly: a misanthrope who wants to find a clever label to cloak being an immature, typical jerk. He misuses the label "egocentric" to justify his vanity and narcissism. When this rather dated term is used to describe aspects of Asperger's, it's not "ego," but those who are introverted, obsessed by various interests, and adverse to group situations. For real information, I suggest: The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome and Inside Asperger's Looking Out.


Afterlife: Series One & Two [DVD]
Afterlife: Series One & Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lesley Sharp
Price: £9.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly Drama: Through the Glass Darkly, 14 May 2013
Those who enjoy ghostly mysteries will appreciate this series, set in the haunted seaside city of Bristol, U.K. I don't understand why "Afterlife" is not better known, considering the quality of the actors, stories, and care with the sets. In Series 1, we meet the tattered and battered by life Alison Mundy (Lesley Sharp), washed-up in Bristol. Allison is a survivor of a horrific train crash, with scars on the inside and out, who sees apparitions of her fellow travelers. She must come to terms with her psychic sensitivity, living with one foot in this world, the other the cold side of the grave. When Alison walks the hilly streets of Bristol, she is often unsure if the people she sees are really alive, or if they are restless spirits. Alison's narrow town-home is an artifact, marking her oddness, out of step with time, stuck in a previous period; 1970's avocado green looms in patterned wallpaper that is beyond retro, its dank hideousness dominates; vinyl records are stacked on the floor; even her phone is old-fashioned. Lesley Sharp, as Alison Mundy, plays the character impeccably, with such depth and conviction, that she makes even the less credible stories more palatable and believable; she is a remarkable actress. Alison confronts professor Robert Bridge (Andrew Lincoln), a psychology lecturer grieving the loss of his young son Josh. Robert feels responsible for his son's death, since he was driving the car in the accident that killed Josh three years ago. His marriage subsequently collapsed, and his wife has moved on with her own life. Robert is a complete skeptic about psychic mediums like Alison, but she is no fraud. His interactions with Alison constantly challenge his assumptions, but she must face him, since his son is one of her perpetual haunts. Josh's lost spirit keeps trying to make contact with his unwilling father. Alison must also cope with the damage to her body and spirit from the train wreck, and face her fear of fellow survivors who, like her, carry a burden of grief and guilt. Phyllida Law adds depth as a woman widowed by the crash, who organizes a seance in a scary old house, enlisting Alison against Robert's advice, in the magnificent closure of Series 1, with "The 7:59 Club." The painful journeys of the train crash survivors ultimately defy gloom with transcendence. But the consequences are dire for Alison.

Series 2 drops this interesting story-line, with Alison as the train crash survivor, and unfortunately suffers from new writers who inflict typical TV-grade cliches, making Alison even more maladjusted than before, not just a psychic medium, but a real nutter. Viewers are inflicted with her new, annoying OCD and other irritating quirks, like head-on-wall banging. Despite an unsavory environ, all the sorting of Smarties can induce hunger in viewers. Not until Alison resolves her issues with her father, and freakish dead mother, does she begin to seem less afflicted with hysteria. The whole story-line with Alison and her mother-issues is done with too heavy a hand, scrawling "End of the Series" on the wall. But the last two episodes, "Things Forgotten" and "A Name Written In Water," are excellent, weaving together Robert's life-story with his grief over Josh, coming full-circle in a powerful and profound way.

The topics and stories of "Afterlife" exclude jolly cheerfulness; the spirits that contact Alison are troubled, damaged souls with terrible, violent ends and unresolved issues. Some of these spirits even have deadly agendas towards the living. Overall, this is an interesting, experimental series that deserves a wider audience. Just don't watch this by yourself, if you're easily spooked!


Taggart - The 2009 Collection [DVD]
Taggart - The 2009 Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Blythe Duff
Offered by rightpricediscs
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Cast, 14 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't know why later collections of "Taggart" aren't better known, but little has been done to assert the presence of this Glasgow detective drama. By this collection, "Taggart" has moved beyond a simple police-procedural, with deepening characterizations and plenty of local colour. Blythe Duff is a remarkable actress who merits further renown; she is calm perfection as DS Jackie Reid. Alex Norton is superb as the bulldog-gruff chief, DCI Matt Burke. John Michie as DI Robbie Ross, and Colin MeCredie as Stuart Fraser, grow in their roles as well. Glasgow, of course, is another ripe character here, proud of its contract to the more "refined" Edinburgh. The teamwork of this excellent cast makes for a great alternative to the common formula of older mentor/DCI, plus young upstart. In this collection, each of the four must confront fraught unresolved issues; this is deftly woven in the mysteries progress. Oddly, 6 episodes remain unavailable. At least what follows continues the story with very little break:

The 2009 Collection: Genesis, The Caring Game, Lifeline.

Special 25th Anniversary Edition: Judgement Day, Island (beautiful scenery), Trust, A Study in Murder, Point of Light. This collection features an enlightening Special Feature, "Taggart: 25 Years of Murder Documentary." You'll glimpse the old series with Mark McManus, and a piece on the the hilarious French voice-over, where a Marseille accent is used to mimic "Glaswegian."

The Knife Trick Collection: Safer, Homesick, Crossing the Line, Cold Reader, Grass, The Knife Trick. "Homesick" features another memorable appearance of Brian McCardie (featured in an earlier episode) as a menacing Bad Guy again. We need to see more of him; he's also the only stand-out in Season 5 of "Murphy's Law." A wonderful Special is the "Outtakes," where you'll laugh yourself silly.

The 100th Episode Collection: So Long Baby, Fact and Fiction, I.O.U., Local Hero, The Rapture. In "So Long Baby," the actress Michelle Fairley is a perfect doppelganger for the actress Joan Allen, of The Bourne Trilogy.

New Blood, Six New Cases: Bad Medicine, Abuse & Trust, Silent Truth, Fallen Angels, Bloodsport, The Ends of Justice. The series, for all STV filming in HD, squandered a superb, long-running show. The stories now mimic American police dramas, without the in-depth character development in previous episodes. After 14 years, Colin MeCredie's Stuart Fraser suddenly departs due to a nasty firing after ITV and STV fought over the budget. This collection is the end of the line for the series, and it shows, with a dispirited cast, poor scripts, and an awkward filming style that is reminiscent of old "NYPD Blue." A shame.


Taggart - The Knife Trick Collection [DVD]
Taggart - The Knife Trick Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Michie
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £9.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Cast, Spotty Writing and Poor Management, 14 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't know why later collections of "Taggart" aren't better known, but little has been done to assert the presence of this Glasgow detective drama. By this collection, "Taggart" has moved beyond a simple police-procedural, with deepening characterizations and plenty of local colour. Blythe Duff is a remarkable actress who merits further renown; she is calm perfection as DS Jackie Reid. Alex Norton is superb as the bulldog-gruff chief, DCI Matt Burke. John Michie as DI Robbie Ross, and Colin MeCredie as Stuart Fraser, grow in their roles as well. Glasgow, of course, is another ripe character here, proud of its contract to the more "refined" Edinburgh. The teamwork of this excellent cast makes for a great alternative to the common formula of older mentor/DCI, plus young upstart. In this collection, each of the four must confront fraught unresolved issues; this is deftly woven in the mysteries progress. Oddly, 6 episodes remain unavailable. At least what follows continues the story with very little break:

The 2009 Collection: Genesis, The Caring Game, Lifeline.

Special 25th Anniversary Edition: Judgement Day, Island (beautiful scenery), Trust, A Study in Murder, Point of Light. This collection features an enlightening Special Feature, "Taggart: 25 Years of Murder Documentary." You'll glimpse the old series with Mark McManus, and a piece on the the hilarious French voice-over, where a Marseille accent is used to mimic "Glaswegian."

The Knife Trick Collection: Safer, Homesick, Crossing the Line, Cold Reader, Grass, The Knife Trick. "Homesick" features another memorable appearance of Brian McCardie (featured in an earlier episode) as a menacing Bad Guy again. We need to see more of him; he's also the only stand-out in Season 5 of "Murphy's Law." A wonderful Special is the "Outtakes," where you'll laugh yourself silly.

The 100th Episode Collection: So Long Baby, Fact and Fiction, I.O.U., Local Hero, The Rapture. In "So Long Baby," the actress Michelle Fairley is a perfect doppelganger for the actress Joan Allen, of The Bourne Trilogy.

New Blood, Six New Cases: Bad Medicine, Abuse & Trust, Silent Truth, Fallen Angels, Bloodsport, The Ends of Justice. The series, for all STV filming in HD, squandered a superb, long-running show. The stories now mimic American police dramas, without the in-depth character development in previous episodes. After 14 years, Colin MeCredie's Stuart Fraser suddenly departs due to a nasty firing after ITV and STV fought over the budget. This collection is the end of the line for the series, and it shows, with a dispirited cast, poor scripts, and an awkward filming style that is reminiscent of old "NYPD Blue." A shame.


Inside Asperger's Looking Out
Inside Asperger's Looking Out
by Kathy Hoopmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book for Aspies & Those Who Know 'Em, 14 May 2013
I live with an adult Aspie, and this is simply the most helpful book we've encountered. The format may be geared for children, but even adults with Asperger syndrome will find this tremendously helpful and uplifting. The astute narrative helps partners of Aspies, not just parents, have more understanding and compassion. The photographs are absolutely wonderful and extremely emotive, more than words alone! The tiny, fuzzy creature on page 59, with a blurb "I dunno" and, "because we always have a logical reason for what we do, even if we don't know how to say it in words" is perfection! Even the author's dedication, at the front of the book, is delightful: "thank you for giving me the time and space to write and for not making me earthbound." Also, Hoopman's All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD better help me to understand my hyper Aspie (who loves these books too). Enjoy!


Ashes to Ashes - Complete BBC Series 1-3 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Ashes to Ashes - Complete BBC Series 1-3 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Philip Glenister

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starry, Starry Night: A Must-See for "Life on Mars" Fans, 14 May 2013
Why this series is not more widely available remains a mystery. You'll need a Region-free DVD player to enjoy it. Alter expectations a bit, "Ashes to Ashes" has tough boots to fill, but Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) continues his biting humor and gravitas. This vehicle occasionally goes off-track: spare us the clowns! It's one thing to have Sam Tyler tormented by a little girl & her puppet/doll, but in Series 1, "Ashes to Ashes" overly focuses on a grotesque clown (like one in David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" music video). This repetitive image antagonizes, even when we discover its true identity (thankfully, end of clown!). And, for inexplicable reasons, the writers moved the narrative from the lively, pungent, evocative streets of Manchester, to a London barely seen (filmed mostly in Wales, a country with the best rugby team of all time). They make the lead a woman (no problem there), but she is brittle and shrill (no fault of the actress), and fixate on her attributes, something Sam Tyler (John Simm) never had to endure. Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) is tarted up in inappropriate outfits for a DCI, even if it's the 1980s; a DCI would never dress like a Flashdance wannabe while at work. This doesn't come across as cutting-edge, just bland pubescence from the writers. Keeley Hawes is a fine actor; as Alex Drake she was unfairly criticized by those who expected another Life on Mars. Compared to Annie Cartwright, the female characters are weak, including Shaz (Montserrat Lombard), again no fault of the actors involved. But persevere, the outcome of "Ashes to Ashes" is well worth it!

In 2008, Drake is a policewoman with the London Metropolitan Police; she has been studying Sam Tyler's records after he regained consciousness in the present. After a harrowing hostage situation, witnessed by her young daughter Molly, she is shot by a vicious criminal named Arthur Layton, who claims to know her. To her shock, she wakes up dressed as (you guessed it) a slag for hire in 1981. Keeley Hawes as Alex Drake is excellent at conveying the torment about being away from her daughter, and her pain in dealing with her parents in 1981. Like Sam Tyler, she has to face them as an adult, creating some of the best scenes in "Ashes to Ashes." Hawes is impeccably convincing. Alex tries to save her politically active parents, who are lawyers during Margaret Thatcher's reign. The return of the magnificent three: Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), Ray Carling (Dean Andrews), and Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster) are back. Each character grows tremendously as the series progresses. They are another reason you don't want to miss "Ashes to Ashes." And the music is also great, though towards the end of Series 3, some pretty soppy stuff is inflicted, another departure from the cool of "Life on Mars." Just because there was some insipid music in the early 80s doesn't mean we have to hear it. A highlight in Series 1 is a piece from Visage, Fade To Grey.

Series 2, set in 1982, has the Falklands War as a disturbing note. Gene Hunt confronts a growing web of corruption with the police force, while Alex contacts a disturbing man named Martin Summers who claims to know that she is from the future. He says he is another patient in the same hospital she is lying comatose in. Martin Summer's menace grows throughout Series 2, he seems to pose a physical threat to Alex both in the past and present.

By Series 3, Alex finds herself disoriented and out of touch in 2008, missing her colleagues from 1981 more than she anticipated. She becomes confused about whether she is in 2008, or back in 1983, in hospital in a coma in the past. This narrative is superbly done. After she awakes, unfortunately, the horrible Jim Keats (Daniel Mays) is a thorn in everyone's side (including viewers). Supposedly, he is a discipline and complaints officer. There are too many indulgent close-ups of his jeering, wet-lipped laughter. And later on, his snarling and barking is over-the top. We want Gene Hunt to rid us of this weasel, but inexplicably, he does not. Series 3 finally explores who Gene Hunt really is, while Drake's suspicions about him mount. She finds herself increasingly haunted by a dead young policeman, a tragic apparition that she wants to help. Drake is oddly demure now, while Chris and Ray are given great story-lines and real focus. Watch for Philip Glenister's real-life wife Beth Goddard, as a fulsome broad with a dating-agency. She is perfection in her role as a woman trying to run a dating-business in 1983, who seems to appreciate Gene's honesty about what he really wants from women. The final episode brings together all the mystery of "Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes," while not over-explaining things. Overall, this series is definitely worth viewing. Break out Gene Hunt's favorite's, Crawfords Garibaldi Biscuits, or a pint of Newcastle Brown Ale, as happily, even The Railway Arms, with its great bartender, returns from Manchester.


Michael Wood's Story of England [DVD]
Michael Wood's Story of England [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Wood
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars This Plot of Earth, 10 May 2013
Kibworth, Leicestershire, is an English village that presenter Michael Wood believes encapsulates the whole history of a nation. Just dig a hole behind the pub "Coach and Horse," and you'll unearth evidence that people lived in the village for thousands of years; a coin is found that features the Emperor Augustine, dating to the 330's A.D. The Hallaton Treasure from the 1st century is discussed, while an Anglo-Saxon comb dating from 500 A.D. is discovered, along with Rhineland glass beads. Wood ties Kibworth's history to Offa, a Mercian king who was a contemporary of Charlemagne. Wood can be a bit neo-Marxist in his social/historical interpretations at times. He also places an "us versus them" template over the relationship between Normans and Anglo-Saxons that doesn't reflect the social complexities in that these groups were already intermarrying prior to the invasion. Certainly the Norman's dominated the social hierarchy of the Saxons, but the picture is perhaps not as black and white as portrayed by Wood. Outside of Kibworth, powerful Anglo-Saxon families married into Norman hierarchy, even adopting Norman names and culture (such as the Neville family, with ties to ancient Scottish, Anglo-Saxon, Northumbrian, and Norwegian kingdoms), whilst retaining enormous power.

This series shines when Wood carefully explains the connections between villagers and their small shareholdings of land, their lives revolved around the church, the seasons, and their plots of earth. I wish there was more of the fascinating "Interview of an Anglo-Saxon Ploughman," 1000 A.D., featured in the narrative. Even after the Viking invasion, Kibworth's field names were primarily Anglo-Saxon. A neighboring place is called "Crackley," meaning Raven's Wood, (crack = raven) (ley = wood). Aelfric was the Thane of Kibworth, and St. Neot's Ware is unearthed in a woman's lovely kitchen garden. The series most succeeds in specifics, and it's beautifully filmed; the sequence about the ancient tree-meeting place is another evocative piece. Although Wood frequently imposes current emotions and values upon the past, overall the series is worth a look, especially the early portions. It's impressive what extensive research materials are secreted away in various archives, from Oxford, to the National Library. Wood assists Kipworth's contemporary citizens in navigating this wealth of material, so that Kipworth's history becomes part of their own journey.

I also highly recommend the archaeological, in-depth format of Time Team: Unearthing the Roman Invasion. Enjoy!


Life on Mars - Complete BBC Series 1-2 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Life on Mars - Complete BBC Series 1-2 (New Packaging) [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Simm
Offered by alentertainment
Price: £64.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Planets Have a North!, 9 May 2013
This series is a work of genius, its multilayered narrative weaves together such a complex story that watching this rivals and even surpasses reading a great work of literature. The past is another country; on the stage of this purposefully disoriented landscape, actors are given the freedom to stretch their considerable skills and fly. Falling from the present back into 1973 might be a nightmare for many. But here, you'll come away with a greater appreciation for the rock n' roll and muscle-cars of the '70s, while exploring a question we all ask, "What am I doing here anyway?" Manchester's cityscape offers another layer of gritty beauty to "Life on Mars," and that feisty Ford Cortina Mk III GXL handles curve-balls and thugs with tenacity. David Bowie's unique musical imagination is another launching pad for this innovative series; the soundtrack Life On Mars adds brilliant narrative. This world is more vivid and fully realized than any CGI could depict. Bring on the polyester!

After being hit by a car and falling through cracks in time to a less than pastoral past, is DCI Sam Tyler alive, dead, in a coma, or what? Follow his journey through a maze of mysteries and superbly crafted police-procedurals, in a world shockingly alive with great music, toughs, and pubs. Sam's trials and tribulations mirror the growth of a soul. In order to cope with his "present," he must face his distant past in-person. How clever that the show's creators took Sam Tyler's name from the world of Doctor Who (the good Doctor is even mentioned in an episode), and fully explore dimensions of being through the incredible talent of John Simm; what an actor! We all appreciate poetic "fart in a tart's cup" Philip Glenister; he is magnificent as Tyler's foe and friend Gene Hunt. Gene's filthy office sports a lurid poster of Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly; when asked which he most resembles of this trinity, he says "all of 'em." Hunt is gifted with all the staccato brilliance of Dashiell Hammett, as in: "All in all this investigation is going the speed of a spastic in a magnet factory." In contrast, policewoman Annie Cartwright defies sexism with gentle strength, portrayed incisively by Liz Smith. Dean Andrews is incisive as the gum-chewing, throwback oaf Ray Carling, and Marshall Lancaster's character Chris Skelton grows throughout this series and its sequel. also add to an amazing team. Sam Tyler's mother is perfectly evoked by Joanne Froggatt ("Downton Abbey"). Lee Ingleby (The Street and George Gently) is superb as the menacing Vic Tyler, Sam's enigmatic father. Ingleby sinuously moves between being Sam's apparently loving father and/or a menacing underworld character, keeping the viewer guessing. Overall, another satisfying element is that there are enough people populating this world, unnamed elderly policemen lurk in the office's background, with wafts of incessant cigaret smoke unfurling. Ashtrays abound; these folks authentically smoke like chimneys, twitchy nerves and jitters expressed with each puff. You'll believe you are somehow seeing Manchester in 1973. Sam is lurches into the dark corners that crease this utterly real world, while we happily careen along with him.

"Life on Mars" is a rollicking, incredible experience. Its superb narrative reinforces the fact that some series are truly an art-form, combining many layers of talent in order to create a completely real palette/stage where the actors push their craft to the max. The best stories hit on prime, timeless questions, like what is life, why are we here, does what we love define us, and where does pain and fear fit into this bangers and mash blue-plate special that is life? You can't go wrong venturing into this territory. Wonderful Manchester vowels add more rich character (helpful subtitles are provided, so you don't have to miss one precious word). Enjoy!


A History of Ancient Britain - Series 1 [DVD]
A History of Ancient Britain - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Neil Oliver
Price: £7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Vivid Exploration of Britain's Prehistory, 9 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Those of you who enjoyed archaeologist Neil Oliver's excellent A History of Scotland [DVD will savour this story of how Britain came to be forged over thousands of years of ancient history. It's one of the most lucid descriptions of prehistory I have encountered. Neil Oliver's narration helps the past feel present to viewers, Ty Unwin's music is extraordinary, and the cinematography of Britain's landscapes, by Patrick Acum and Toby Wilkinson, is superb.

Age of Ice
This Paleolithic Age begins with a chilly landscape, when the ice was one kilometer deep over Scotland, and Britain was part of the European peninsula. Neil Oliver shows the gorgeous horse-carved bone and Ibis cave, 14,000 - 15,000 years ago. On the island of Colonsay, in the Scottish Hebrides, during the Mesolithic, 7,000 - 9,000 years ago, 1/3 million pounds of hazelnut shells were piled in mounds from food production. The resourcefulness of people on the islands during the Mesolithic is remarkable. On the other side of Scotland, in the Montrose Basin of the northeast, 6,100 years ago inhabitants did not fare so well, when an enormous landslide in Norway caused a giant tsunami to rush 40 kilometers inland, with massive loss of life, and permanent, large-scale alteration of the geography. Britain became an island.

Age of Ancestors
Neil Oliver describes this Neolithic Age, visiting the Isle of Mann, and western Ireland, with its expansive Neolithic cattle enclosure complex, dating 5,500 years ago. A delightful moment occurs when Oliver and fellow archaeologist Seamus Caulfield agree, whilst digging peat, that the weather is "truly foul."

The Age of Cosmology
Neil Oliver describes that during this period, human lives became ruled by sun and stars, with Britain in the throes of a Neolithic revolution. He visits the central fells of the Lake District, with Mark Edmonds, of the University of York. In the Lake District's magnificent landscape, they explore a Cumbrian axe factory, with exquisitely worked and polished stone axes. Then, Oliver takes us to 3,100 BC and the Orkney Islands, and the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, which was occupied for 600 years! He discusses stone circles, from Maes Howe, to the Ring of Brodgar, to the Stones of Stennes, and then beyond, to Stonehenge. With Clive O'Gibny, a sea-going Irish "currach" is tested as a means of transport, then Neil Oliver visits Newgrange tomb.

Age of Bronze
This journey begins with the exploration of ancient mine-shafts in Norfolk; 433 mines for flint dot the landscape. Then ancient copper mining on Ross Island, County Kerry, Ireland, is explored with William O'Brien; see his Ross Island: Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland (Bronze Age Studies). By 2,500 B.C., the Beaker People arrive from Alpine areas; an example is the earliest copper knife, in Wiltshire. Along the Cornish coast, and in Ireland and Scotland, copper and tin are mined and combined, creating Bronze. Metal axes become the norm, and Neil Oliver describes sword casting. The flow of metal and trade created wealth in Argyll, Scotland, in places like Kilmartin, where I have worked; Oliver examines a jet necklace imported from Yorkshire 2,150 years ago. The narrative travels to the marvels of the round-house settlement of Flag Fen, dating from 1,300 B.C., in Cambridgeshire, and we meet another old colleague, Francis Pryor. Twisted yew branches, called "withies" were used in the construction of round-houses, an enduring form of architecture that lasted 1000 years. A poignant site is out on the wonderfully bleak hills of Dartmoor, in Devon, with a complex of field systems and housing on a grand scale that ended when the climate changed again and the soil was depleted.

The series is 234 minutes, with English subtitles. I highly recommend this vivid journey through ancient Britain. You'll need a Region-free DVD player. Enjoy!

For Britain's post-Roman history, I highly recommend the excellent DVD series Time Team: Unearthing the Roman Invasion.


Lewis - Series 7 [DVD]
Lewis - Series 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Whately
Price: £13.97

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last of the Lewis Series: A Fine Trio of Mysteries, 9 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lewis - Series 7 [DVD] (DVD)
This is the last venture for the superb duo of Kevin Whately as Detective Inspector Robert Lewis, and Laurence Fox as D.S. James Hathaway. The series balances their relationship, each with his own strengths, no egos running amuck. Kevin Whately brings depth and drollery to his characterization of the widowed Lewis, whilst Laurence Fox as Hathaway adds wry humor as an ex-seminarian with issues of his own. Fox is gifted with a remarkable voice that would not go amiss in other ventures. Clare Holman as Dr. Laura Hobson adds another rich dimension with her elegant intelligence. Rebecca Front is great as the formidable "Mum," Chief Superintendent Innocent. Of course, it's a treat to meander through Oxford's beautifully filmed spires, cobbled streets, and nearby countryside. The tensions between upper-class academics and regular citizens of Oxford are examined.

Each of the three episodes is feature-length, total running time is approximately 266 minutes; English subtitles; but no Specials! The three episodes:

Down Among the Fearful
Cramped in rooms in his Oxford college with his wife and baby, psychology student Reuben Beatty leads a double life, moonlighting as a psychic. He hopes to make more money for his young family, but these aspirations are dashed when he is found mysteriously murdered after a session; his wife has no idea what her husband has been up to. Lewis and Hathaway investigate the world of psychic mediums in Oxford, not all is easily explained through rational means. Meanwhile, Dr. Laura Hobson subtlety seems to recognize that her feelings for the kind and jocular Lewis have deepened.

The Ramblin' Boy
All goes awry after a party at a local big-shot's (Peter Davison) mansion. At the mortuary, bodies appear to be getting mixed-up, whilst an old philandering colleague of D.I. Lewis, Chief Superintendent Martin Cornish, has gone missing. The narrative expands from the environs of Oxford, to Bosnia. The best part of this is that it shows Hathaway off on a "sabbatical," searching for meaning by volunteering in poverty-stricken areas. One story-thread follows a suspicious female professor who has a bad history with men, who is overly obsessed with the girlfriend of another suspect, the "ramblin' boy," who is failing university. His emigre father has serious booze issues, and was present at the party that started the mystery. The relationship between Laura and Robbie deepens, over delicious take-out.

Intelligent Design
Beautifully filmed, in a loving ode to Oxford, this last mystery resolves loose threads; it's s worthy send-off. We're back in traditional Morse/Lewis habitat now, with power-hungry Oxford Dons, gleaming science laboratories, and voraciously ambitious students. A man is released from prison, soon to meet a grisly end. Turns out he is a highly accomplished Oxford scientist who thoroughly disliked his holier-than-thou wife, and that he had killed a young girl in a drunk driving accident. In true "Lewis" style, a la Morse, during construction, a dessicated body is found in the Church attic where the murdered man's wife is Reverend. Meanwhile, Lewis considers retirement, in order to spend more time with his family and on his relationship with Dr. Hobson. Hathaway is disgusted by his own growing cynicism towards all suspects. All concludes at a familiar table at a pub, with pints at sunset. Enjoy!

If only there were a Special, with interviews, to follow this up ...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2014 9:39 PM BST


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