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Borg

Borg

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since 16/08/2001

333

The Living Years - Mike Rutherford 07/03/2016

Read it loud....

The Living Years - Mike Rutherford Autobiographies, or in this case memoirs, are not the types of books I read normally: I think I have read about a handful in my entire life. I generally concentrate on fiction rather than fact, and visit worlds created by authors, not based on real places. So The Living Years was not the sort of book I would be interested in at all, and it was my brother who suggested I gave it a read as we were both fans of Genesis. He was always more crazy about them than I was, buying their albums on the days they were released, whereas I was a late bloomer. He saw them countless times on tour, I just caught them on their Invisible Touch tour way back when. Mr bro did, in fact, lend me his copy and although I would say that this is probably a book for Genesis and Rutherford fans, I was quite surprised how much of a page-turner it turned out to be. I think it only took me a week or so to read it, and that is good for me these days. It is a potted history of Genesis and Mike’s other band Mike and the Mechanics, interceded by various parts of Mike’s father’s own unpublished memoirs and Rutherford’s personal life. We travel back in time with Rutherford as he recalls his early life at public school, meeting up with other musicians before forming Genesis along with Peter Gabriel, Anthony Philips, Tony Banks, and Chris Stewart, and of Jonathan King discovering them and giving them the name Genesis. Rutherford remembers how sad he was when his old friend Anthony Philips left the band due to his ...

Review of the Year 2015 22/02/2016

Borg's '15

Review of the Year 2015 So… here we are again, another new year, another account of the year that has passed, a year that has walked across the finishing line like a tired, but pretty content runner: he didn’t come first, he didn’t come last, no PB’s here, but he finished it. This year I have been a bit slow to post my year, but I have decided to do my year that was in a different way. I am going to do it has prose, so let’s go. He sat down, having packed Christmas away into boxes to hide under the bed for another year, to sleep, perchance to dream about next year when once again, Christmas will be the focus of attention. Looking out the patio doors at the grassy lawn he wondered what kind of year he had had. He didn’t know why, but he felt as though he had walked a tight-rope that year, not that it had been a bad year, but it hadn’t been a good year either. At the end of last year he had wished for 2015 to be a year that he reduced his debt a bit (didn’t happen), go on more holidays (several short breaks) and finish he next ‘So… I Met’ books. He didn’t have a lot of debt in comparison to some, but he did need to reduce those credit card bills a bit, so his plan was to make an effort to do that this year. In April he had a few nights in South Wales with the kids and the father in law. It was a lovely quiet break. In summer he went to Keswick on a camping trip and lots of ale and a climb up Skiddaw. A few weeks later another camping trip, this one in York, where it rained, but was still a nice ...

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Bedale 21/12/2015

Peaceful Thorp Perrow

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Bedale This autumn during half term we decided on a trip to Thorp Perrow, it having be recommended to us by a relative. I knew very little of the place, other than that it would be a good day out, looking at various kinds of trees and birds of prey. Always happy to try something a little bit different, though, we took a journey across the Lancashire border to Yorkshire to see what all the fuss was about. Where is it? Thorp Perrow is situated in Bedale in North Yorkshire. If you head for the A1 and come off at the B6268. The B6268 is quite a winding road, but you can’t miss the turn off for the place. On arrival there is a large car park and then the entrance to the place. We took walking boots and wellies as it was winter with fallen soggy leaves. The Admission You are greeted by friendly staff and can pay by cash or card. Entry Prices (as of 2015): Arboretum and Falcons. Adults - 8.30 Concession - 7.00 Child (4-16) - 5.00 Family (2 + 2) - 25.00 Family (2 + 3) - 30.00 Season Tickets Adults - £28.00 Child (4-16) - £12.50 Arrival Once inside you arrive at the tea room. Here you can buy sandwiches, other light lunches and drinks. The prices were quite reasonable, and after our journey there we bought a coffee each which were just over £2.00 per mug. Quick toilet stop and off the look around. We returned later for lunch. The queues were quite long at that time, but the overall service was good. There were plenty of places to picnic if you brought your own food and drink as well. ...

Underworld - Symphony X 26/10/2015

Symphony of the Underworld

Underworld - Symphony X When the first ever Prog Rock charts were issued in September 2015, a few people would have been surprised with the inclusion of Symphony X, nestling strongly alongside the likes of Pink Floyd and Muse, but there they were in the top ten. And well deserved in my opinion. But they are not really what one would look upon as ‘Prog’. Or are they? I guess Prog Rock has evolved over the years, transforming itself from self-indulgent epic fantasy opuses to what it is today. I have been an admirer of Symphony X for over a decade, first falling for "Candlelight Fantasia" taken from their 1997 album “The Divine Wings of Tragedy”. I would play it over on YouTube again and again. I have often felt that, though their music was good, the production often let them down. There was usually sometime not quite right. Over the last few albums this has improved, and with “Underworld” we have perfect production. It is a complete package and is, in my opinion their best album to date. Let’s take a look at the Band: Russell Allen - lead vocals Michael Romeo - guitars Michael Pinnella - keyboards Michael Lepond - bass guitar Jason Rullo - drums So… onto the Songs: Overture Romeo (2:13) A fitting intro to such a great album. We have a flurry of brass, strings and choir-like vocals, chanting the intro like some background music from a hobbit epic where we find him on a quest to destroy a ring of power. Nevermore Romeo, Lepond (5:29) This has to be in the top ten of guitar riffs, it really ...

The Book of Souls - Iron Maiden 17/09/2015

Soul Believer

The Book of Souls - Iron Maiden Since the 1986 album Seventh Son Of a Seventh Son, Iron Maiden have released mostly ‘good’ albums, with the occasional classic song here and there, so I was expecting more of the same with this 2015 release. I wasn’t expecting much, but like all good fans I bought it (on CD) on the day of its release, popped it in the car stereo and listened. I must admit the first three songs were just run of the mill, ‘good’ songs which didn’t really offer anything new… until I got to track four The Red and the Black, but I will get to that in good time. After hearing that song, and not being able to move on but to play it over and over, I knew that Maiden fans were going to be in for a treat with The Book of Souls. Do Iron Maiden need an introduction? They are a British Heavy Metal band who aren’t ashamed to admit it. There is no silly quotes such as, ‘I always thought of us as more a rock band,’ from these guys. They are Heavy Metal and they are proud and that is why we love them. Formed in the seventies by Bass Player Steve Harris, they have had the occasional band change and some members have left and come back, but this incarnation has been making records since 2000. The line up being: Steve Harris – bass, backing vocals, keyboards Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals Dave Murray – guitars Adrian Smith – guitars, backing vocals Nicko McBrain – drums, percussion Janick Gers – guitars The Book of Souls’ release date was delayed as lead singer Bruce had to have treatment for a cancerous ...

York Marine Camping & Caravanning, Bishopthorpe, York 25/08/2015

York Marine

York Marine Camping & Caravanning, Bishopthorpe, York Before This year I decided to re-acquaint myself with the joys of camping. This was after a two year absence following the great wet and wild camping trips of ’13. I bought a new suitable tent that was more capable of dealing with rainy days away than the last one, and me and the kids went on our travels. My first trip was to my favourite place, the Lakes and the second one was to York Marine Campsite. This was a new site to me, but I knew someone who’d been before and gave it good reviews. So, I checked out the website. Two miles from the city of York, very close to a small village with shops and pubs. It looked very picturesque. The tariff around the usual price you pay, maybe a few quid more. All looked good. A few days ago I rang to see if they had any places left for a two day, mid-week break. They did. Deposit? Not needed, I was booked in and I ready to go. I write this piece of the review on the eve of our journey. The camping gear is ready to be packed, the food sorted and the drink bought (plenty of beer, it’s the law). So, let’s go… A59… past Skipton, and Harrogate. After… Well, a few days since our trip and I have had time to let our experience sink in. Overall I am pretty happy with our trip to Yorkshire and our stay at York Marine campsite. I’ll just get rid of a few slight negatives to begin with. The site is on an actually marina with boats in the river and the place can look a little bit grubby upon entering. There is no shop on the site for you to ...

Easy Camp Boston 500A 28/07/2015

Easy Camping

Easy Camp Boston 500A Before Okay… so I decided to get a new family tent. Yes, after vowing never (ever) to go camping again after the wet and wild camping trips of 2013… I was going to try again. I guess when you are a camper, you remain a camper. Forever… The result of my search? An Easy Camp Boston 500A. You see I wanted my new tent to have a few important features. I wanted a five man tent with a fair amount of space, but I also wanted two separate bedrooms (so that the daughter could have one room with the dog) and I wanted to ensure that I got as wet as little should we witness a wet camping trip again. I write this part of my review before having used the tent. I have put it up in the garden and have given it a once over (good size, good quality). So far, so good. So… what little features does this tent have that can enable the trip to be as dry as possible in wet? First of all there is a built in awning that is 1m by 3m but most importantly there is a side ‘annex’ of 1.15m by 1.8m that is separate to the main tent, allowing wet boots to be removed and sodden dogs to be dried. That is the hope anyway. Other sizes are main room 1.8M by 3m and bedrooms 1.2m by 3m and 1.6m by 3m. Other features: Fire retardant; 3000mm; taped seams; sewn in ground sheet (main area); anti bug mesh; mains access. For anyone wondering what 3000mm means it’s the Hydrostatic Head. ‘But Borg, what’s that?’ I hear you cry? Well, that is basically the used to denote the amount of pressure of water that is ...

Review of the Year 2014 25/01/2015

Borg's Personal 2014

Review of the Year 2014 Borg’s 14 Here we are again, with another annual look at the year which has just passed by. Overall it has been a good year for me and my family: I wouldn’t say it has been perfect, but it was far better than 13! As the year began, my daughter was still living with me full time (as she still is now) and contact with my son was getting much better due to the court proceeding I had started due to his mother. My daughter was suffering from severe anxiety as the year began, it having rolled on from 2013. She was seeing a counsellor and this therapy seemed to be working. Life was mainly about her anxiety and the court proceedings in the first half of 2014. Plus my daughter and her mother started going through joint counselling of their own in a bid to try to have some form of relationship. ‘13 was a bad year for their relationship, but as ‘14 progressed so did their relationship and they now see each other often, although my daughter never stays over at her mother’s or anything like that. The court proceedings ended in July , and a firm contact order was put in place in regards to my son. The ex still tries to ‘mess about’ in regards to my boy, but things are much better than they had been in ‘13. The first half of the year was also about change: I got a ‘newer’ car in February and it is running nicely (touch wood) and in May we moved to a brand new house in a village not far away, which was very near to my sister’s. The only thing about getting a new house is having to buy new ...

Mr Mercedes - Stephen King 08/10/2014

Mr Average

Mr Mercedes - Stephen King I love Stephen King books, I love his horror, love his stories about growing up, love his adventure tales, his Dark Tower series, and although I liked Mr Mercedes, I didn’t love it. It was an okay read. Perhaps this is because I don’t read Thrillers/Detective stories, I think they usually end up the way you expect, whereas horror stories don’t always do that. Mr Mercedes is a thriller. The Story Bill Hodges is a retired detective, depressed, feeling useless now his career is over. Until one day he receives a letter in the post from Mr Mercedes, a multi killer who ran into a group of people waiting for a job fair to start. Bill Hodges never caught Mr Mercedes and this has always bothered Hodges. The letter taunts Hodges, but it does make him look at his life and where he is, depressed and contemplating suicide. The letter sort of re-invigorates Bill, and with the help of some friends he starts to look into the case again. Mr Mercedes has invited Bill Hodges to talk to him on an on-line chat site called Blue Umbrella. A technophobe, Bill Hodges asks his gardener and friend, the young Jerome to help check the site out, find out if it is a safe site. Brady Hartsfield is a techno whiz and he is Mr Mercedes – we find this out pretty quickly, so this is not a spoiler. He lives with his alcoholic mother and they have an unhealthy relationship. We learn his father left when he was young and his brother died of an apparent accident – or did he? Brady Hartsfield is unhinged, like any ...

Joyland - Stephen King 26/05/2014

Utter Joy

Joyland - Stephen King There is no introduction needed for Stephen King, as I am sure you have heard of him. For those who haven’t, he is the multi selling author of many books; in fact he has sold over 350 million and many have been adapted into movies and TV, most notably The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie and It. His first novel was Carrie and he started off as a teacher when he left university. Joyland Joyland was first published for the Hardcase Crime series, an American imprint of Hardboiled Crime novels founded in 2004. This is Stephen King’s second book to have been published by Hardcase, the first being The Colorado Kid. The story is told in the first person by young Devin Jones, a young guy who is on the brink of splitting up with his long-term girlfriend. To earn some money over the summer holidays he applies to work at a North Carolina amusement park, Joyland. Here he meets some great friends who will be lifelong friends and is also told by a resident fortune teller that he will help two children. At the amusement park it is hard work, but he sometimes ‘Wears the Fur,’ which is to dress up as Howie the Happy Hound, and it becomes clear he is quite good at this. There is a story of a woman who was murdered at the park, and he ghost still haunts the ride on with she was killed, The Ghost Train. After his friend says he saw her, Devin becomes obsessed in trying to find her killer. We meet the children that he helps... a girl and a boy. And the boy’s mother. He comes to terms with the ...

The Silence of Ghosts - Jonathan Aycliffe 05/02/2014

Silence Will Fall

The Silence of Ghosts - Jonathan Aycliffe Aycliffe Jonathan Aycliffe is an author I have admired for many years. He writes short, sharp novels that cut quickly and deeply. The tension is slow and gripping and when the horror explodes, boy does it explode! Some of you may remember his most famous book, Naomi’s Room. I have interviewed Mr Aycliffe (whose real name is Denis Maceoin) in the past and have created a website for him which can now be found at: http://jonathanaycliffe.blogspot.co.uk . When we corresponded I found him to be a polite and extremely intelligent man. Ghosts! The Silence of Ghosts was released last year – nine years since the last Aycliffe, A Garden Lost in Time. 216 pages long and published in paperback by Corsair, it is set during the first world war and contains two of my greatest loves: The English Lake District, and Ghosts! The story is about Dominic Lancaster, who loses a leg in the war then to convalesce he goes to stay at the family house at Howtown near Ullswater, taking his deaf, young sister Octavia with him. His family are in the importing and exporting business, quite snobby, but very rich. He has a nurse (Rose) who comes to see him from Pooley Bridge and he quickly falls for her, however , things are not all happy. While his relationship with Rose grows stronger, his sister can hear whispering in the house – even though she is deaf and there is the occasional sighting of four strange young children both in the house and out. Aycliffe slowly builds up the tension in the ...

Jennings Cocker Hoop 20/01/2014

A Corker of a Cocker

Jennings Cocker Hoop Having received some lovely gifts of Real Ale recently, I have decided to devote my reviewing time on this site to mostly these ales. Don’t go expecting any deep and thought-provoking reviews full of suspense and comedy and over descriptive writing, this is just a catalogue of some of the ales that are out there, bit of history and my own personal opinion on the ales in question. What is Real Ale? In the seventies, CAMRA termed the phrase Real Ale, to help people distinguish between insipid process beers that were being served up by the big breweries and traditional beers. As per the CAMRA website “Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.” And do you know what? I love it! I like it because you do not know what you are going to get from one ale to the next, whereas most lagers or bitters are similar to one another. I like the quirky names these ales have and sipping them and discovering their textures. Cocker Hoop Cocker Hoop is a 4.2% in bottle (4.6% in draught) and made at Jennings Brewery in Cumbria (in between Keswick and Cockermouth to begin with but moved to Cockermouth in the late 1800s). It was founded in 1828 by John Jennings. As per the website Cocker Hoop is an ...

Ringwood Forty-Niner 11/01/2014

Golden Rush

Ringwood Forty-Niner Having received some lovely gifts of Real Ale recently, I have decided to devote my reviewing time on this site to mostly these ales. Don’t go expecting any grandiose writings full of padding and descriptive writing, this is just a catalogue of some of the ales that are out there, bit of history and my own personal opinion on the ales in question. What is Real Ale? In the seventies, CAMRA termed the phrase Real Ale, to help people distinguish between insipid process beers that were being served up by the big breweries and traditional beers. As per the CAMRA website “Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.” And do you know what? I love it! I like it because you do not know what you are going to get from one ale to the next, whereas most lagers or bitters are similar to one another. I like the quirky names these ales have and sipping them and discovering their textures. Ringwood Forty-Niner Forty-Niner is brewed at Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, not far from Salisbury. According to the website: “Beer has been brewed in Ringwood for centuries ever since medieval man first mixed the crystal water of the River Avon with the malted barley harvested from the surrounding fertile ...

Review of the Year 2013 04/01/2014

Borg's Personal '13

Review of the Year 2013 Borg’s 13 It was the worst of years... it was the worst of years... My god and am I glad to see the back of it. Okay, it was not all bad and I am absolutely certain that others have had much worse years than mine, but it just seems that this has been particularly bad for me. Things started pretty quiet. My daughter who had started living with me full time in June ’12 was still with me and is still with me full time, after a big fall out with her mother, which I won’t go into. Their relationship has been strained this last year – actually ‘Non existent’ is more appropriate a phrase. I got myself a new phone in January, and nice little HTC windows phone and I am quite pleased with it. My daughter and I took our still small puppy spaniel to Beacon Fell and I took picture using the said new phone. In February several members of the family decided we would do this year’s Blackpool fun run in May. In fact my daughter volunteered me for the task, even though I had thought I had retired from all that. We were running for the children’s charity “Wish Upon a Star,” who did a lot for my young nephew, who died ten years before of leukaemia. So I went out for my first run in over a year and felt just awful, coughing my guts and cursing my aching limbs... In March, one of my favourite authors of the past, James Herbert died. I grew up reading Herbert, and although I had stopped reading his later books, I have fond memories of Moon and The Rats. I will just take a moment here to ...

Hawkshead Brodie's Prime 30/12/2013

The Prime of Hawkshead Brewey

Hawkshead Brodie's Prime Having received some lovely gifts of Real Ale over Christmas, I have decided to devote my reviewing on this site to mostly these ales. Don’t go expecting any novellas full of suspense and comedy and over descriptive writing, this is just a catalogue of some of the ales that are out there, bit of history and my own personal opinion on the ales in question. What is Real Ale? In the seventies, CAMRA termed the phrase Real Ale, to help people distinguish between insipid process beers that were being served up by the big breweries and traditional beers. As per the CAMRA website “Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.” And do you know what? I love it! I like it because you do not know what you are going to get from one ale to the next, whereas most lagers or bitters are similar to one another. I like the quirky names these ales have and sipping them and discovering their textures. Brodie’s Prime: Today I am going to review Hawkshead’s Brodies Prime (the bottle version). Hawkshead brewery was first established in Hawkshead village in the Lake District. Imagine the surrounding hills, such as nearby Coniston and lakes, such as Windermere transgressing their very essence into the ...
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