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Jeremy Watson (England)

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Soups (Hamlyn Cookery)
Soups (Hamlyn Cookery)
by Ingeborg Pertwee
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Soups (Hamlyn cookery), 19 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Soups (Hamlyn Cookery) (Paperback)
I came across this book not long after it was published - 1996 - and have used it continually ever since.I just look in my fridge to see what I have and then find the receipe, or make a special purchase.Each receipe, although simple, has a special ingredient that turns the soup into something special.

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
by Benjamin Wallace
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Arrogance of Wealth, 16 Oct. 2008
Having spent 50 years at the sharp end of the Wine Trade I found it fascinating to read about the ephereal aspect which one only encountered through reputation and the more elite journals of the business.
Apart from being saddened by the discrediting of one much loved personality in the trade I enjoyed the discomfort of the exposure of a well known charletan and the unveiling of the enormous vanity of his hugely wealthy clients whose judgement deserted them when social acceptance was the carrot. To be the owner of a bottle of wine more than 230 years old with ownership attributed to Thomas Jefferson but without any clear provenance distorted the sensibilities they would regularly apply to their own businesses.
These bottles included the most expensive ever sold, which was a direct consequence of the self same vanity of the purchasers. But it was an enormous confidence trick that was compounded by the greed of the subject's clients as they increasingly fell under the spell cast by the opportunity to own a priceless, but also probably worthless bottle of wine.

The Dark Side of the Balcony
The Dark Side of the Balcony
by Patrick Gooch
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Original and Remarkable Debut, 24 Mar. 2008
First I must confess to personally knowing Patrick as a former work colleague in the 1980s and 90s, aswell as having a greater than usual interest in the making of string instruments thanks to the growing success of a member of our family who is building a strong reputation for Robert Young Violins and Cellos.
Patrick surprises with his original idea, story construction and the extensive research of an unusual subject in this book, it just proves there are no short cuts to writing good fiction. That he is able to combine a rattling good story with such an in depth study of the Cremonese Luthiers of the 18th century and before is hugely to his credit and I thoroughly enjoyed almost every page - just occasionally I was confused by the actual characters concerned at certain stages in the narrative though I liked the way he used short chapters on ocasions.
If I have a criticism it is that I wonder if the title is sufficiently snappy for a thoroughly good yarn. This book should outsell the Da Vinci Code!
Jeremy Watson

Villas of Alderley Edge
Villas of Alderley Edge
by Matthew Hyde
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Value, 14 Sept. 2007
For those interested in the history of Alderley Edge and the houses built there in the last half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century this book contains some fascinating references and profiles. The Edge is an unusual geological feature in the Cheshire plain and was originally adopted by wealthy Victorians as a place in which to live. Over the past 150/200 years it hasn't changed that much except for a greater concentration of development and the broader category of people who live there. No longer is it a place restricted to wealthy business and professional people as it has found favour with Premiership footballers and other wealthy celebs.
It is and has always been a lovely town on the main line from Manchester to London with a warmth and conviviality amongst its inhabitants that is in keeping with the NW of England.

Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past
Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past
by Giles Tremlett
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Reading for Hispanophiles, 23 July 2006
The subject of this book, as contained in its title, is only part of its undoubted value, as it also contains the key to understanding the Spanish way of thinking. The author's pedigree of having lived in Spain for the past 20 years working in both Barcelona and Madrid as a foreign correspondant, means he is very well placed to capitalise on the opportunity to make observations on Spain's recent past and the dramatic changes since the return of Democracy in the late 1970s.

At times the Guardian influence comes through, not least when he avoids any real explanation as to the causes of the Civil War in 1936. It could be read as a way of justifying a Republican stance on the whole affair, but for an erudite man like Tremlett it should be impossible to ignore the 200 years of moral and political depravity that pervaded Spain while the Empire collapsed, without needing to justify what followed.

Regrettably, that prolifgacy is fundamental to the reasons why the nation was condemned to the ruthless Franco regime, and like it or not, this was just about the only way this great nation was going to be revitalised.

Nevertheless, this book makes many valid observations on the Civil War issue and its appalling and long lasting impact on a society, giving important insights into how Spaniards see each other and live their lives. He conducts thorough reviews of the tortuous problems in the Basque Country and the overly obsessive attitudes of Catalans to their language and culture. He goes further and explores the oft overlooked Galicia, gives an interesting and original account about real Flamenco and, amongst a number of other subjects, he examines the impact of tourism on not just the econmomy but the culture of Spain.

While he reflects at length on the presence of the Moors for 800 years, he does not address the ongoing influence on the nation whether it be their physical appearance and personality or the language. Indeed he misses the opportunity to highlight the remarkable differences in the people that one meets across the country, by disabusing his readers of the fact that Spaniards are by no means all Latins and highlighting the phlegmatic nature of their character.

However, Giles Tremlett has written an interesting, informative and perceptive book that should be read by all foreigners who live in Spain or possess strong emotional attachments to this wonderful country, and probably quite a few Spaniards also, though it is highly unlikely that their pride would allow the latter to ever acknowledge the need to understand themselves better.

As one who has had a life long love of this country and lived and worked there for several years, I highly recommend it.

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