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since 16/06/2000


Wickes Cement Mixing Tray 16/07/2000

Save the mess!

Wickes Cement Mixing Tray For the DIY person who mixes the occasional load of cement for those odd jobs in the home or garden and if you don't have loads of free space (or even if you do) then a Wickes cement mixing tray could be for you. The tray is about four foot square and made of a tough rubberised material. It provides an ample space on which to mix a sizeable load of cement and being a tray the mess is kept where you want it not spread all over the place. This tray could also be used as a tipping space for a mixer if required. For about £5 I reckon this is a bargin. 15/07/2000

What else but great! What else would you expect from Auntie Beeb. This is of course one of the most comprehensive and informative internet sites. There is everything from up to the minute news, sports and travel to in depth features covering the absolute best of BBC programming. My particular favourites are the gardening, antiques, scientific and archealogical sections which feature articles from the best of antiques roadshow, gardeners world, one foot in the past, meet the ancestors and so on. Although I do not agree with the proliferation of soap operas and game shows on the BBC I have to say that this site is an absolute winner.

Portsmouth in General 15/07/2000

Historic Portsmouth

Portsmouth in General Portsmouth has long been associated with the Royal Navy being one of the Home Ports. The naval dockyard occupies a prominent part in the cities story both past and present and as such offers some very interesting visitor attractions. The most famous is of course HMS Victory, the famous flagship of Lord Nelson and the ship upon which he died on the verge of the historic victory over the French at Trafalgar. The ex service personnel who act as guides to the Victory offer a great, fact filled tour lasting about 40 minutes. As well as the Victory there is the more modern HMS Warrior - one of the first Iron Clad warships, which does not require a guided tour to visit. Then there is the flagship of Henery VIII the MAry Rose. Lifted from its resting place a few years ago, what remains of the ships hull is displayed in an enclosed spray chamber where the painstaking preservation process can be observed. A seperate Mary Rose museum has many artefacts from the ship on display. It is possible to visit one or all of these attractions and there are a variety of options for return visits.

London Gatwick, LGW 14/07/2000

Modern facilities

London Gatwick, LGW People may complain about this country but one thing you can say is we have pretty good airports and Gatwick as Londons number two airport is no exception. The airport is well served by road and rail links with the M23 providing the main arterial road link and the Gatwick express service providing high speed rail links to London. There are ample parking facilities and for anyone using GAtwick as a holiday departure point there are a number of off site car parks offering competative weekly rates with complementary bus service too and from your terminal(Gatwick Parking and BCP are two I have used). SInce the second terminal opened a few years ago I find that the airport is less congested - you just have to make sure you know which terminal you are leaving from. Inside the check in facilities are sopacious and well organised. There are excellent shopping and restaurant facilities (try Garfunkels for early morning breakfast).

Black&Decker GL535C 13/07/2000

Neat edges at last

Black&Decker GL535C Are you tired of getting a bad back from trimming lawn edges, well I was so I invested 30 quid in a Black & Decker strimmer. This model includes an auto feed on the cutting line and an edging facility (basically you can swivell the end through 90 degrees to cut a right angles. This makes trimming the lawn adge a bit easier. The 12m cable is adequate for modest size gardens. Whilst I have been fairly pleased with this product I think the auto line feed isn't up too much - the first line went through in no time because it kept coming out too far and the replacement line doesn't auto feed at all - but this is a minor niggle. The only other thing I would say is that the cutting line is actually quite powerful so becareful not to damage your lawn and mind out for animals and feet.

Qualcast HM420 13/07/2000

Short Back and Sides!

Qualcast HM420 Last year I invested in a hedge trimmer - mainly to save my arms from any more pain of using some old manual trimmers. I have been very pleased with the Qualcast electric trimmers despite some reservations about chopping through the cable, which I have to say I do find somewhat unwieldy, but a circuit breaker takes care of that. This model has 12m of cable which is adequate for most smaller gardens. The 380W motor seems to cope pretty well with cutting up to 0.5 cm but does tend to stick on anything much larger. It certainly makes getting a neat edge much easier. 13/07/2000

Comprehensive I believe this page is from the London Evening Standard but I am not absolutely sure. Anyway its a very good news site with loads of up to date content. Major sections include business news, sport, entertainment and late breaking stories. As the title suggests this is a London based news service but would be useful for anyone considering a day or night in the city as an entertainment guide. The site is well laid out and easy to navigate. The site includes a guide to stocks and shares on the LSE with updates about every 30 minutes. The only drawback I have found with this site is that it is sometimes very slow to load even over an ISDN line.

British Toys and Games - The Garden Game 12/07/2000

One for the green fingered

British Toys and Games - The Garden Game This is an interesting game but the scoring rules are too complex. The game is for up to four players each of whom must collect seeds and plant them in their garden. The game board consists of an outer section around which the players move their gardening characters and an inner section representing four gardens (one for each player). As a player moves around the board he or she collects seed packets representing various plants of diffent categories. At various points a player gets an oportunity to convert the seed packets into plants by placing them in their garden. There are scores for the individual plants but the skill comes in planting particular combinations which attract bonus scores. From time to time various gardening disasters may strike - slugs, birds, gails, drought etc. At the worst these may destroy your entire seed cupboard or plant stock. This is quite a good game but the scoring system is really far to complex.

Tommy - Greedy Green Frogs 12/07/2000

Hungry Frogs

Tommy - Greedy Green Frogs Greedy Green Frogs is a very simple activity type game suitable for younger children. Up to four can play. Each player has control over one spring loaded flipper from which they have to launch plastic flies into the mouth of the giant frog as it rotates in the centre. As it rotates the frogs mouth opens and shuts making it that bit more tricky. As a player gets more skilled he or she can get up to three flies per rotation into the frogs mouth. The winner is to get all his or flies eaten. This game lasts only about five to ten minutes but can be great fun.

Battleground Shiloh (PC) 12/07/2000

One for the Wargamers

Battleground Shiloh (PC) I purchase Battlegroung Shiloh as a set of three similar games as a bargain pack from PC world. It is one of a series of similar product mainly covering American Civil Waer and Napoleonic scenarios. Its a typical war gaming strategy type game based on a two day battle in the American Civil War. You can re-enact either the complete battle or selected parts of it. You can take the part of Confederates under Johnston or the Unionists under Grant. Each game scenario is reenacted over a predefined number of game moves representing the duration of the actual battle (or battle phase). During this time you must try to outwit your oponent and try to re-write (or conform to ) history. The game allows you to experiment with variations on the historic reality by changing the location, time and nature of your attacks. Being a turn based game in which each turn is divided into a number of intermixed attack and defence phases, it is quite a slow game to play. Would probably suit more tradditional war gamers, not suitable for those into fast moving action games.

Unknown - Pass the Pigs 12/07/2000

What a Porker!

Unknown - Pass the Pigs Every now and then you come across something that is just that bit different and Pass the Pigs is one of those things. This is a simple gambling game with a difference, instead of dice or cards the game objects are - yes you have guessed it - two small rubber pigs! This is basically a gambling game (although can be played without money changing hands). The object is to score points by throwing the two pigs so that they land in certain positions. Each position has a very peculiar name (including makin-bacon!) and depending on the chance of the combination occuring will generate more or less points. A player may continue to throw the pigs durring his/her turn as long as he/she likes or dares, the score continues to add unless the pigs land in a particular way in which either the score for the go or worse the players total score is forefeit. The object of the game is simple - its to be the first player to reach a pre-defined score. Its a test of nerve to see how much you gamble with your score! This game is an ideal travel game.

Covent Garden Market, London 12/07/2000

Treasures and Trash

Covent Garden Market, London Covent garden market, formally the fruit and veg market is now a magnet for tourists. The vegetable produce has been replaced with a mixture of tradditional market stalls offering everything from coins, clothes and collectables to jems and junk. There are also a number of stores selling pottery, toys, books and assorted other things generally at high prices. A number of large stores (Dr. Martens can be found around the main square. To me, however, the main attraction of Covent Garden is not the shops and stalls, but the people and performers. It is fascinating to sit in one of the street cafes and watch the tourists and to watch with amusement the various street artists plying their trade. Somehow Covent Garden sums up what it is to be a tourist in London.

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins 11/07/2000

A hard start but worth the effort

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins I bought this book because the bookshop had it as one of those £1 special offers. I started to read it at work for something to do a lunch time and being in a busy office the reading came in fits and starts. I found it a very difficult book to get into at first, this was partly because the book was printed with a small font size but also because the style was that of a retrospective diary being read by a crusty old butler with a very odd turn of phrase (understandable as the story is set about 100 years ago). However, as the story progresses the mystery of the Moonstone (a very arge diamond stolen from an Indian temple by some cad in the army) begins to unfold in twists and turns with plenty of red herrings andf cold trails. The book also moves on to the acounts written by other characters which all give a different slant. By about half way through I was glad that I had persisted and was hooked. A great book with some great twists.

Ben Hur (DVD) 11/07/2000

Its an Epic

Ben Hur (DVD) A film in the true style of Holywood epics with many stars - Charlton Heston at his best. This is really one for those who love sitting in front of the TV over Christmas saying 'Do you remember so and so', or 'What was that actor in?' Watching could not exactly be described as fun but its certainly worth the effort. It contains some great cinematography and the spectacular chariot race is really well done (may be not up to current thrill and spill films but pretty good considering its age. Of course there is plenty of drama and romance etc as the story unfolds and there are many biblical incidents. Definately worth a watch when its next on the telly - try Christmas (or about every couple of months on cable).

Jenga 11/07/2000

Fun for the kids

Jenga Jenga is really a cross between one of those booby trap games, card house building and childrens building blocks. Starting with a tower of wooden blocks, with each layer consisting of three oblong blocks which are not quite even, each player has to remove a block from the tower and add it to the top. Needless to say as the game progresses the tower becomes more and more unstable until the poor unfortunate who removes the wrong block or adds one to many to the faltering tower causes the whole lot to collapse. Not a really absorbing game but can keep the kids amused for half an hour or so.
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