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since 16/09/2003


Nairns Oat Biscuits 20/10/2006

Taste good and good for you - at the same time! 17/07/2006

Recycle your mobile for C A S H !!!

Karcher B203 10/01/2006

A water gun for adults?

Edinburgh Service Station Directory 08/09/2005

Find the cheapest petrol and diesel in Edinburgh

Everest: Mountain Without Mercy - Broughton Coburn 27/02/2004

Everest Conquered - fifty years on

Everest: Mountain Without Mercy - Broughton Coburn The year 2003 was a special year for Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. It was the 50th anniversary of the first totally successful ascent and descent. It was of course a British triumph back there in 1953, 29th May – just a few days before the coronation of her majesty. I do remember both events but didn’t realise they were so close, time wise. (Yes I am that old, but in mitigation I was only a child at the time!) But hold on a minute – a British Success? Well I suppose it was a British funded and organised expedition but the two mountaineers who actually made it, were Edmund Hillary a New Zealander and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay a Nepalese. The Sherpas were originally recruited as porters but Tenzing Norgay turned out to be an excellent high altitude climber as well. To mark the anniversary the Mount Everest Foundation, The Alpine Club and The Royal geographical Society, sponsored the production of a beautiful book chronicling the attempts to climb the mountain, mainly from a British perspective but also including the failures and successes of others especially where this seemed to enhance the British success. For instance a Swiss team tried twice in 1952 and there is no attempt by the writer to disguise the obvious delight felt in England when both attempts ended in failure, allowing the British team to succeed the following year. The book is called simply Everest – 50 years on top of the world. It is 256 pages long, approximately A4 in size and hard backed ...

The Path Between the Seas - David McCullough 18/02/2004

Building the Panama Canal

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self - Claire Tomalin 25/12/2003

Pepys - an alternative to the diaries?

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self - Claire Tomalin I first came across Samuel Pepys in a TV serial, with Peter Sallis (of Last of the Summer Wine fame) in the lead role. That was a good few years ago – anyone else remember it? Since then I have considered reading the diaries themselves.However I have always been put off by the thought that it might be a tedious read, if modern diarists were anything to go by, and the comments of others who did try Pepys. That all changed earlier this year when I was looking for holiday reading and came across this biography in a three for two display in one of the High Street bookstores. The cover proclaimed that the book was the “2002 Whitbread Book of the Year” and that the Sunday Times had described it as “A fabulously entertaining biography of the great diarist” The book itself is published by Penguin at £8.99, and is 500 pages long. More than 100 pages are reference pages, backing up quotes in the main text. In this respect the book itself is very thorough, not only referring to the diaries themselves but also to other official documents of the day in which Pepys, as a senior civil servant appears regularly. Pepys lived from 1633 to 1703 and looking back crammed a lot of history into those seventy years. He spent most of his life in London and witnessed many of the now famous events of his generation – he was present, as a fifteen year old, at the public execution of Charles I, survived the Great Plague and the Great Fire, served under Cromwell and several monarchs and lived ...

Lowepro Soft case Camera (19408) 09/12/2003

A Lowepro for a digital

Lowepro Soft case Camera (19408) Time was when a camera equipment bag was enormous and included extra lenses, extra rolls of film, a tripod, a flash gun with lots of spare batteries and of course the camera itself which was, most likely, an SLR of significant proportions and weight. I think they were called gadget bags. Time was when a camera price included a sturdy case! How things have changed! My new digital camera, a Pentax Optio 430RS has a built in, powered, telephoto lens, built in flash, a very thin but long life rechargeable battery (50x35x6mm), and the one piece digital film (42x36x3mm) can hold several hundred photographs depending on the mega or giga bytes. All within very small dimensions – 90x60x35mm - about the size of a credit card and a wee bit thicker! Now admittedly in the case of certain of the accessories the SLR add-ons are of significantly better specification but still, how the manufacturers of gadget bags must have suffered! But that’s progress. Or is it? My £300 digital camera had a major omission – it didn’t come with a case of its own, not even a relatively cheap nylon version to protect it from scuffs. This omission is not peculiar to Pentax and is mentioned in many camera reviews. It does have a wrist strap supplied.WOW. But the good news for you all - this gave me the opportunity to hunt for one to my own specification and to write about it for Ciao! This specification was fairly simple – having bought a small camera (remember, credit card size in width and height ...

Stenaline 08/12/2003

Sea travel between Scotland and Northern Ireland

Pastabake Sauces 08/12/2003

Pasta Bake to the test!

McCain Wedges 03/12/2003

McCains Turn Sour!

McCain is a very familiar name in precooked potato products starting with Oven Chips many, many years ago. Their latest flavour offering in potato wedges is Sour Cream with Chives. With these types of convenience items, it usually takes an offer to persuade me to buy and this time it was two for one, a few weeks back. Although I hadn’t tried this particular flavour, I thought there was little risk with a McCain brand. Tesco is currently quoting £1.18 per 750gm pack The pack is the usual McCain branding; mainly green, with the McCain logo, a large photo of a serving suggestion and a prominent ‘NEW!’ The wedges are suitable for most diets except Nut or Gluten free. The other essential information on the diet front – 193kcals and 6.1g of fat, both per 100gm. The wedges are heated in the oven or grill and take up to 20mins depending on how much extra charcoal flavour you like. What then about the taste. I sprung them on my wife without warning, and having suitably apprised her of the need for objectivity for a Ciao review, asked her “what flavour have you been eating”? The answer – “don’t know” – “just a spicy wedge”. Perhaps not too surprising an answer given that McCain has placed the flavour at the ‘Mild’ end of their spiciness meter. I was certainly aware of the separate flavours of sour cream and chives but they are not too prominent. Tasty yes but not dominant. So would I buy them again? Probably not. Perhaps the main reason for the answer is that the ...

Tesco Low Fat Yoghurt 02/12/2003

Diet Yoghurt?

Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup 02/12/2003

A Very Expensive way to Buy Soup

Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup It comes in the usual bright red branding of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup, its microwaveable, in its own plastic drinking cup, with a lid that wouldn’t be out of place in Costa Coffee shop (except its bright red) so what exactly is it? That was the question I asked myself when those nice friendly people at Heinz emailed me a 20p off offer coupon with their monthly newsletter. Being a devoted Ciao–er I had to find out more and report back to my devoted reader(s) (thanks daughter) - so it was added to the weekly shopping list and off to the shops. Eventually I found it amongst the cup-a-soups in Tesco and into the trolley it went along with some normal tins of the same soup. I’m sure the pack didn’t realise the analysis it was about to go through! Now in addition to the Cream of Tomato Soup the range includes Sun Dried Tomato and Basil, Forest Mushroom, and Chicken and Golden Sweetcorn. Source: Tesco web site. On to the facts about what I’d bought. It’s called Cup Soup (not Cup-a-soup because that’s something else with someone else owning the brand name). Its 275 ml of soup in a plastic container, with a use-by date about 12 months away. Take off the plastic lid, remove the thin film covering the soup, lid back on and into the microwave for just over a minute, take it out, (the packaging carefully warns that the cup may be hot), lid off, stir the contents with an implement not supplied, lid on, leave for a minute, and you have a container of delicious Heinz cream of ...
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