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Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK)

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By Paul Noble - Learn French with Paul Noble
By Paul Noble - Learn French with Paul Noble
by Paul Noble
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Tried and Trusted Format, 19 May 2016
I have read some glowing reviews of this course and some critical ones. My own view is that it is good, and worth the money, but it is not enough on its own.

Firstly let's get the comparison everyone makes out of the way. Some people, and especially those who are selling "Michel Thomas Method" courses, have claimed that Paul Noble's course is little more than an unauthorised copy of the Michel Thomas French course. That statement is false and rather sad, as though these people think either MT or PN invented the didactic method. Sure, the intro with Paul Noble is very reminiscent of MT's intro on his course, but it is very clear that the courses take a different approach, are structured differently, and only really bear comparison because they are both good courses.

What this course does is introduce some basic vocabulary, a number of verb tenses and other rules of French grammar in a relaxed manner that avoids complex grammar explanations. It does that very well, and is a nice introduction to the language.

like all audio courses, it suffers at times from being slow. Some things are over-explained, but you have to bear in mind that the course is meant to be useful for everyone (and it is) but that means that sometimes it must spend more time over-explaining things that many, but not all people will get quickly.

The course gets past the need for the student to take notes or repeat sections by relying on a great deal of drilling and repetition. This is a tried and tested formula that works. It really does work, and students will make good progress with this course. What it is not, however, is novel. It is not new and special, it is the way that good language teachers have taught language for a very very long time. Paul Noble did not invent a new methodology here, and he did not steal MT's. He just does what language teachers do everywhere, but puts it together into a well structured course.

There is a downside: all that repetition can get tedious. Sorry, but there were times towards the end I was just sighing and wanting to get on with it. This really would be a criticism of any good audio course though.

The other criticism I would have is that all that repetition, and all the silences for you to try things out, mean that there is still a whole lot of French to learn.

I used this course at the same time as following traditional text and online materials, and I found them complementary. I liked the way Paul Noble explained things and found the course gave me confidence too, but I cannot imagine it would have been enough on its own.

I listened to MT in the past and tried to use that on its own and that was not enough either. I went to France and was pretty much unable to communicate. The same would be true of this course. However if you make it part of your French learning and not the whole thing, this course is recommended, and particularly as it is more affordable than some others.

One thing that caused me some angst was the rather gauche way that Paul Noble's IQ is touted in the publicity. To be honest it would be better to take that out. It grates, and inasmuch as the man has put together a good course in a tried and trusted methodology but avoiding confusing grammatical terms that put people off, his works stands for itself. If he is good at IQ tests, that is really not important.


Bosch Genuine F016L65351 Drive Belt
Bosch Genuine F016L65351 Drive Belt
Price: £9.77

1.0 out of 5 stars Not for (all) Bosch Rotak 370s. Beware., 5 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the listed part number for a Bosch Rotak 370 ER mower but it is clearly the wrong part. It is too small and the belt it replaces has another part number that is unavailable. Contacted Bosch 2 weeks ago and they have only sent me the standard "your query is important" reply. Clearly not important enough to actually bother replying. As far as I can tell, some Rotak 370 mowers have a different motor than listed, so if buying for that be aware - this belt is several cm too small and no amount of hot water is ever going to make it fit.


#1 BEST RATED LED DIMMABLE LIGHT BULB - 10 Watt - 900 Lumens Bayonet Cap B22 - Great to use at home / outdoor / bathroom - 3000K Warm white color - 90 W Halogen Bulb equivalent - 6 Year Warranty
#1 BEST RATED LED DIMMABLE LIGHT BULB - 10 Watt - 900 Lumens Bayonet Cap B22 - Great to use at home / outdoor / bathroom - 3000K Warm white color - 90 W Halogen Bulb equivalent - 6 Year Warranty

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I am extremely disappointed with this sub standard and misdescribed product, 16 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am extremely disappointed with this sub standard and misdescribed product. The write up says "90W Halogen Equivalent" which is simply untrue. Indeed had I researched the details better I would have seen this. the measure of the strength of the light is given as 900 Lumens, which makes it equivalent to about 60W incandescent (so about 50W halogen). I can confirm that the lights are just too dim.

Next problem is the "dimmable" claim. These bulbs are not suitable for traditional dimmers. They flickered and whined and were quite unsuitable. You need to buy LED dimmers to dim these lights. LED dimmer switches are not expensive but a description that just says "dimmable" will be assumed to mean dimmable in traditional dimmers, and these bulbs are certainly not that.

LED light bulbs have come a long way, and if you want a 60W equivalent non dimmable bulb, this would be a great choice. What it is manifestly not is a brighter dimmable bulb.


Trademarket® New Replacement Battery for Iphone 4 S with Repair Tools kit for Apple iPhone
Trademarket® New Replacement Battery for Iphone 4 S with Repair Tools kit for Apple iPhone
Offered by Smartize UK
Price: £11.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Product may be okay when it turns up, but ..., 28 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Product may be okay when it turns up, but it is still on h ocean between here and China, and I had no idea that it was going to take over a month to deliver when I chose the fast free UK delivery option. It took a bit of detective work to discover that the seller was in China (the only clue being that on their detailed seller page, their phone number as a Chinese country code). This seems to be a common problem with market place, so check the seller carefully or the delivery estimate after you have ordered rather than taking the fast delivery options on face value.


Wars of the Roses: Stormbird: Book 1
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird: Book 1
Price: £3.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting me Interested in the Middle Ages, 22 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read all of Conn Iggulden's earlier works and a firm fan of his writing. He writes fluidly, creates interesting multi-faceted characters and sets his stories firmly in a historical setting that is entertaing, enjoyable but also quite educational.

Battle scenes are a particular strength of this author, and I often feel myself immersed in the battle scenes. This was true also in this story of a brief naval battle, where the descriptions of how the ships moved and were swept by the seas were very cleverly done. Conn Iggulden writes excellent stories, and this is one such, and highly recommended.

I am a fan of some historical fiction, particularly the classical period, but have not read much set in the late Middle Ages, other than a bit of Shakespeare (mostly for school). My knowledge of the War of the Roses was mostly from playing Kingmaker when I was younger! Thus this was a period I was not very familiar with, and not one I thought myself much interested in. Nevertheless I greatly enjoyed the developing story around Henry VI, his illness and weakness, the loss of France, and the machinations of Richard of Yourk, and have already bought the sequel to this book.

Having said that, in books where I knew the history better, I have noticed Conn Iggulden's tendency to tweak the history to make a better story. He is quite up front about doing that in this book in his epilogue, and you realise, when you get to the epilogue, that the fast moving events of this story actually played out over a longer period. I don't fault him for that, as he has told us what he has done, and this is not a history text book, it is a story, and a good one.

I cannot imagine anyone with the vaguest interest in historical fiction being disappointed with this book.


New GoSea Padded Kayak Thigh Straps
New GoSea Padded Kayak Thigh Straps

1.0 out of 5 stars Not Suitable for Rolling, 30 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These look the part with brass fittings, and as long as I was just paddling,they worked just fine. However I tried to use them to roll my kayak this weekend and they immediately snapped on my first attempt. The stitching gave way, roll obviously failed, and although I was able to reverse some straps and tie things together, the straps are nnot up to the job.

If you just wish to stay in touch with your kayak, these might be ok, but then I suspect if they could give way on a roll on about their third ever use, and first ever roll, then they would not last the rigours of repeat use either.


For Apple MacBook Pro A1278 / A1286 / A1297 Replacement 4 Pack Rubber Feet / Foott Kit 13" / 15" / 17" - Brand New
For Apple MacBook Pro A1278 / A1286 / A1297 Replacement 4 Pack Rubber Feet / Foott Kit 13" / 15" / 17" - Brand New
Offered by Topalli
Price: £3.53

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Product, Beware the Seller, 17 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product is what it claims to be - replacement plastic feet for your Mac laptop. No problems with that, does the job and looks fine.

However beware the supplier. I bought mine from "Crown Trade" but this review could turn up under the same product from other suppliers. Crown Trade seem to be based in the Far East, although they don't tell you that. This means that they will promptly post your order and then you get to wait a month as it makes its way overseas on a container ship. For a small replacement item, this is clearly nonsensical, so you will want to find a trader that is closer to home.

How you do that, though, is not clear. Checking Crown Trade's page, the only clue they are in the far East was that they say they work on HK time - presumably Hong Kong (although the item was shipped from Singapore). It may well be that all the other suppliers of this item are also based overseas, so you may wish to email the supplier ahead of placing the order, or else go look for it somewhere that is genuinely UK based.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2013 2:55 PM BST


Black Rubber Feet For MacBook Pro A1278 A1286 A1297 13" 15" 17" Replacement
Black Rubber Feet For MacBook Pro A1278 A1286 A1297 13" 15" 17" Replacement
Offered by CrownTrade
Price: £2.55

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Product as described - Beware the Supplier, 17 Oct. 2013
This product is what it claims to be - replacement plastic feet for your Mac laptop. No problems with that, does the job and looks fine.

However beware the supplier. I bought mine from "Crown Trade" but this review could turn up under the same product from other suppliers. Crown Trade seem to be based in the Far East, although they don't tell you that. This means that they will promptly post your order and then you get to wait a month as it makes its way overseas on a container ship. For a small replacement item, this is clearly nonsensical, so you will want to find a trader that is closer to home.

How you do that, though, is not clear. Checking Crown Trade's page, the only clue they are in the far East was that they say they work on HK time - presumably Hong Kong (although the item was shipped from Singapore). It may well be that all the other suppliers of this item are also based overseas, so you may wish to email the supplier ahead of placing the order, or else go look for it somewhere that is genuinely UK based.


Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg)
Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate, Funny and Cracking Story, 9 Sept. 2013
I won't curse this story with the much over-used "better than a book about kids on broomsticks" style comment. All such comparisons are bound to disappoint, and in any case would invite comparisons with other books that this one defies.

Egg, known to his family as Egbert (for his sins, which appear to have been legion, but mostly committed when he was too young to understand) is a boy just touching 13 years old and on the brink of a fantastic adventure that will rip him out of his small, somewhat smelly home on an island aptly named Deadweather. Growing up surrounded by veteran pirates of assorted shapes and missing appendages, and the younger brother of nasty siblings, less aptly called Adonis and Venus, Egg is a boy with a natural gentleness and a love of books. That the only book he read for a long time was "Citrus Cultivation" is hardly his fault. His life changes, however, when he meets Millicent...oh wait, no I am getting ahead of myself. His life changes when his father discovers an ancient secret long buried on his plantation. No I think I had it right the first time - it was definitely Millicent.

Anyway take my word for it, this is a cracking good read. There is everything in this book a young adult reader would want. There are pirates and treasure, twisted and evil men scheming and plotting. There is murder and theft and some shockingly bad food. There are tourists... wait..tourists? Yes really! Tourists. There is a one handed boy called Guts with a penchant for biting people and, oh, more pirates too. And did I mention Millicent?

This is the first book by this talented writer, but it doesn't read like a first book. It reads like the work of someone who can write like a pro, has written Hollywood scripts for some first rate films, and who has a sense of humour every bit as hilarious as JK Rowling or Angie Sage. (Yes I promised no comparisons, but see I am just telling you that this is one very funny writer, and if you don't believe me, check out the letters to his kid on his blog. This story is not at all like kids on brooms. Believe me, it hardly even mentions magic at all. It is not like that).

But yes, the writer has written before - just not books. That is a pity and I can only hope he rectifies that by writing many more, because I devoured this one and so would anyone else.

Age range? Well there is nothing in these books that would stop you giving it to younger children, and in the same way that people can love... er... books about kids on brooms... from age 8 up, this one could also be enjoyed that young, but it is really aimed at the young adult market. As to older readers - well I am well above the target range and loved this, and again in the same way kids on brooms can have a kind of universal appeal, you won't go wrong by giving this one a try.

Thoroughly recommended.


The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2)
The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2)
by Michelle Paver
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Story, Rich and Unusual Setting, 20 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Michelle Paver is a first rate writer, and her previous success with her books should be enough recommendation for this one. However I feel the need to write a longer review, because having completed the book a few days ago, this book has left me hankering for more in a way that is unusual for me these days. I simply have to say something to recommend it!

Before I say more, I would point out that this is book 2 in the series. The first book, "The Outsider" is also first class, good enough that I put this one in my kindle wishlist long before it was published. If you found this review first, don't forget to read "The Outsider" first.

Having said that, the book would almost stand alone. Hylas is trying to find his sister from whom he was separated in book 1, but at the start of this story his journey takes a wrong turn when he is caught by slavers who transport him back in the direction he came from, to a volcanic island where his new masters are mining copper. Condemned to work in the mines, Hylas would come close to despair, but in Michelle Paver's stories, the gods may have a greater purpose, and unwilling as he may be to do so, he will play an important part in it.

I doubt my synopsis truly does this work justice though. Here is why it ticked the right boxes for me though: I have visited the bronze age copper mine on Llandudno's Great Orme a few times in the past, and on each visit I found myself captivated by what I saw. What would it be like to be a copper miner in such a place? We know they used children as miners, but what was life like for such children? I remember walking on the Great Orme wishing there was a book in just such a setting, but it seemed that no one had found a way to make the bronze age sound interesting.

Well now that has all changed, with Hylas and Pirra presenting a captivating pair of protagonists, and the tensions with his friend, or ex friend, Telamon producing a wonderful tension that makes you desperate to know what will happen next.

The different aspects of the culture around bronze age Greece are also well represented with Hylas a poor goatherd and now a slave set off against Pirra, daughter of a priestess and Telamon, a noble born "crow" warrior. The way this unlikely trio are brought together might stretch credulity if we did not see the hands of the gods in this, but the way that Michelle Paver writes it, you never think it unbelievable.

The book is written for children, and I would have no problem with my 9 year old reading this, and my 12 year old devoured the first in the series last year and is now reading this one. However Michelle Paver never speaks down to her audience, and the book is also gritty and realistic.

There is also a lion cub in this story, Havoc, who is an interesting addition, if not a huge surprise that Michelle Paver writes about an animal alongside the human heros.

Anyway this book had me hooked. Bronze age Greece is not a pouplar setting, perhaps because we know less about it. No Zeus and Hades and other such gods here, but the other thing that struck me about this book was that it was beautifully researched. Michelle Paver has clearly studied how animist religion was slowly developing at this period towards an ordered pantheon, and although we cannot know for sure what was believed then, the beliefs put into the mind of Hylas et al., are convincing and well thought out.

Likewise the historical setting shows a lot of careful research, and comes across as believable. The description of the mining is terrifying, and the whole work is educational without ever seeming that way.

Highly recommended. So far this is my best book of 2013.


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