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John Grimbaldeston (Preston, Lancashire)
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A Farmer's Lad
A Farmer's Lad
by Geoff Tomlinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Farming without muck-spreading., 7 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: A Farmer's Lad (Paperback)
A well-written look back at a life spent steeped in the farming community of the Fylde in Lancashire. Despite the title there is no muck-spreading. There are no scandalous or embarrassing revelations, any skeletons from the many rugby tours remain firmly locked in their cupboards, the farmers of Out Rawcliffe and Pilling can sleep easily knowing their secrets are safe. Any words of criticism are mild; an "ineffectual" vicar and "poor" Grammar School teaching, otherwise the anecdotes are homely, affectionate and amiable and the characters populating the book are positive and amusing.

A decent, likeable chap has written a decent, likeable book. Mine's a pint, Geoff.


Margot at War: Love and Betrayal in Downing Street, 1912-1916
Margot at War: Love and Betrayal in Downing Street, 1912-1916
by Anne de Courcy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking a little focus, 26 Nov. 2014
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An interesting but in the end curiously superficial look at Asquith's almost affair with Venetia Stanley. The issue of whether the affair was consummated is only discussed two thirds of the way through, the views of others on the conduct of the protagonists are hardly discussed, nor is the effect on Asquith's ability to govern. Inevitably wider issues such as the almost stumbling into war have to be mentioned, but they occasionally are irrelevant to the upper class world with which the author is concerned: the references to how specific 'ordinary' people experienced life in Berlin after war was declared, the inevitable reference to the Christmas truce somehow feel gratuitous and deflect focus from the book's titular concerns. Other central figures, especially Edwin Montagu, Asquith's Private Secretary and also enamoured with Venetia, are only sketchily drawn. Interesting, always readable, but in the end, a little dissatisfying.


Traditional Houses of the Fylde
Traditional Houses of the Fylde
by Richard C WATSON and Marion e McClintock
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-discovering the vernacular, 29 Aug. 2014
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A ground-breaking survey in that the book raises to consciousness the sort of ordinary house which was once so common on the Fylde it would paradoxically be barely noticed, and then having done that, as so many of the houses described have been pulled down, by implication the book stresses the importance of preserving those few that remain.I say "those few," but after reading the book and then touring the Fylde, one is surprised at how frequently the basic structure can be seen, only not easily recognised because of modern augmentations.


Personal (Jack Reacher 19)
Personal (Jack Reacher 19)
Price: £4.31

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back, Jack., 29 Aug. 2014
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Yet another Reacher book that fairly races along, and something of a return to form as the plot is less convoluted than recent offerings and the author seems more certain of where he is going. Reacher speeds between Europe and America with barely time to relax, the book is not over-long, unlike many of today's thriller offerings, and all the bad guys and some of the good are kept deliberately vague and shadowy which creates a suitable atmosphere of mystery. Kott and the other possible snipers are described almost entirely through the eyes of others, and though this works, it might be nice to know a little more about what motivated Kott over the 16 years plotting his revenge, and I'm not sure Bennett, Welsh, part shadowy sage, part buffoon, convinces.
There is also some awkwardness - an author who obviously knows London quite well has to describe the City as though through the eyes of a main character who is supposedly new to it - "the car was a local General Motors model, called a Vauxhall" - , and then can fill his temporary partner in on the history of Boots the Chemist: "John Boot set it up in the middle of the nineteenth century."
What does work well is Reacher working with an ingenue new partner and laying to rest the ghost of a previous partnership that did not turn out so well, the Paris scenes, and the final twist, for which clues had been laid all along and which isn't too 'clever.' The Serbian gangsters are barely delineated, enough that they are Serbian and thus ruthlessly evil, and the "Romford Boys",Charlie White and "Little Joey" are straight out of a Guy Ritchie movie, but when the story has to rattle on, stereo-types save on any distracting descriptions.

Good fun, and welcome back, Jack.


The Amritsar Massacre, 1919: General Dyer in the Punjab (Uncovered Editions)
The Amritsar Massacre, 1919: General Dyer in the Punjab (Uncovered Editions)
by Tim Coates
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Prime primary source, 16 Aug. 2014
A summary rather than the full version of the Hunter Report into the Amritsar massacre. Dyer's complex character comes across, though a full biography such as The Butcher of Amritsar: Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer: 1 is necessary to understand how such a catastrophe can come about. It is though, a fascinating insight into the attitudes of the time and always an interesting read, especially the way the protagonists use language to illuminate or obfuscate their roles in the events.


St Annes on the Sea: A History
St Annes on the Sea: A History
by Peter Shakeshaft
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars More than just St Anne's, 30 July 2014
Knowledgeable and readable. A real contribution to our understanding of the Fylde, especially to the development of the local moss into fertile agricultural land, a subject on which there is relatively little literature.


In a League of Their Own! the Dick, Kerr Ladies 1917-1965
In a League of Their Own! the Dick, Kerr Ladies 1917-1965
by Gail J. Newsham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Footy Femme Fatales, 30 July 2014
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Very thorough and always interesting. Some questions are raised which aren't followed through, especially the ways the ladies were taken advantage of financially, and there are a few too many exclamation marks for my liking in the style, but one is left admiring the players for their skill and gutsiness, and Ms Newsham for her research.


Cat Toys Megapack - 1 x Interactive Catnip / Feather Toy On A Stick, 3 x Wicker Bell Balls, 1 x Handmade Mouse Chew Toy - The Best Toy Pack For Cats or Your Kitten! 5 Great Toys / Accessories For Kids to Play With The Cat
Cat Toys Megapack - 1 x Interactive Catnip / Feather Toy On A Stick, 3 x Wicker Bell Balls, 1 x Handmade Mouse Chew Toy - The Best Toy Pack For Cats or Your Kitten! 5 Great Toys / Accessories For Kids to Play With The Cat
Offered by The Natural Pet Company UK
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Moggy toys, 22 July 2014
Fast, friendly service, and an interesting assortment: my cantankerous cats are impressed with the two mice, one on a stick, unmoved by the three beribboned balls, and haven't managed yet to destroy anything. I still have to clean up carnage every morning, but that's not the product's fault.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2014 7:08 PM BST


Hidden Files- Echoes of JFK (PC DVD)
Hidden Files- Echoes of JFK (PC DVD)
Offered by Zartek UK
Price: £7.47

1.0 out of 5 stars Loading problems, 15 Jun. 2014
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Can't get past first base with this. Firstly a "dll" file was missing, then the first instructive demo hangs with a black screen in the middle, and then the computer crashed. Whether it's just the disk I had or whether it's a general problem I don't know, but my particular version should have come with a computer health warning.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 20, 2014 4:25 PM BST


Want You Dead (Roy Grace series Book 10)
Want You Dead (Roy Grace series Book 10)
Price: £3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Dead Gothic, 11 Jun. 2014
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Almost Deaver-esque in the twists and turns, and as ever Mr James draws you into the world of the book and makes you keep flicking the pages - or rather tapping the right hand side of the 'Kindle' - furiously. But after the dust, or perhaps more properly, ash, has settled, the holes become apparent. "Red?" What is that short for? If it is her hair colour the police would not use it but use her first name. Bryce, or whatever his alias - how can he have a colourful career in the US, be a talented magician with sophisticated surveillance skills, escapologist, pyrotechnician etc., a sort of Jack Reacher gone bad, yet be incapable having the patience to handle either a real job or relationships. The recurring motifs - the Queen of Hearts, the Van Morrison track, the Groundhog Day visions / feelings Roy has etc. - all create a Gothic unreality that takes us into an off-kilter parallel universe, reinforced by Sandy's almost mystical presence. The names add to the unreality: Cassian Pewe, Alison Vosper etc. And the plot holes: would the escaping Red not go straight to the police, as another reviewer has pointed out? The fireman false suspect just doesn't add up either. There is the obvious cliched manipulation of our sympathies as the unlikely happiness of a couple of characters is stressed so we just KNOW disaster is around the corner. Perhaps most disturbing is the nod in the acknowledgements to "those involved in the struggle against domestic abuse," when Mr James has provided outlandish situations aplenty for anyone who gets off on reading about it.

It is a tribute to Mr James's skill as a writer that these thoughts were delayed until the book was over, but nevertheless they remain as the book's after-life in the head: seductive though the writing and plot are, the whole thing is engaging - but bonkers.


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