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Thanks to all you kind people working your way through my back catalogue.

Reviews written

since 28/03/2003


Who Touched Base In My Thought Shower? - Steven Poole 22/03/2015

Newspeak Had Nothing on the Real World

Do You Support BBC's Decision To Suspend Jeremy Clarkson? 21/03/2015

It's All About the Motivation

Low Life - Jeremy Clarke 21/03/2015

Lowly Offer

Complete Clapton - Eric Clapton 16/03/2015

Soundtrack of a Life (or two)

The Stupidest Angel - Christopher Moore 15/03/2015

Buy Early For Christmas

Death and the Maiden - Gladys Mitchell 14/03/2015

Another Death, Another Maiden

The Life You Longed For - Maribeth Fischer 13/03/2015

Fighting for Life

Drapers Hall, Shrewsbury 10/03/2015

Shrewsbury Drapery

Three Woods Walk, Craven Arms 09/03/2015

A Walk in the Woods

The Shadow of Tyr - Glenda Larke 08/03/2015

One Woman Against the Brotherhood

White Teeth - Zadie Smith 28/02/2015

Equal Measures of Sympathy and Derision

Winterton Dunes, National Nature Reserve, Winterton-on-Sea 26/02/2015


Winterton Dunes, National Nature Reserve, Winterton-on-Sea Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a pushover for a dozen red roses and a box of chocolates as the next traditional female, but I also like to think that I have a touch of the poetic in my soul and a need to buck convention when it comes to romance as in all other things. I also hold that men should be able to read our minds and know what we want when it comes to gifts and treats and surprises and days out and just about everything else really. However, my holding that something should be so and an absolute belief that it is or ever will be are two different things. Accordingly, I figure that part of the reason my beloved is so good at delighting me, is that I tell him what I want. Heavy hints are dropped before birthdays, the 'dear Santa' letter no longer goes to the north pole, but to an address very close to home. And when it comes to Valentine's day… Well, to be fair, that's the one I've sometimes left to him, have often missed entirely by being on the other side of the planet, and have sometimes taken control of by inviting him for dinner. This year… I decided to revert to the more normal M.O. and told him what I wanted to do. Rather than roses and dinner, I said, I want to go out. I want to go walking on the coast, regardless of the weather. I've got a walk planned at Winterton. And so that's what we did. It didn't go entirely to plan… I envisaged getting to the coast early, a walk, a coffee, a wander around the village, a time on the beach, and finishing up in the pub ...

Lake Sandoval, Tambopata Reserve 22/02/2015

Lake Surface to Tree Tops

The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic and Victorian Britain - Dr Nicola J. Watson 21/02/2015

Literary Pilgrimages

The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic and Victorian Britain - Dr Nicola J. Watson As our resident travel writer this might interest you… came my introduction to this book. Misguidedly as it turned out, for the emphasis in Watson's work is much more heavily on the literary than on the tourist. I use the word heavily advisedly. It is a scholarly work – and I'm afraid I use the word scholarly in its most pejorative sense. In The Literary Tourist, Watson (an academic veteran of Oxford and Harvard and currently Senior Lecturer in Literature at the Open University) has clearly sought to produce a thesis for use and debate in those illustrious circles, which is a shame… because it limits what could otherwise have been a truly enthralling book. The purpose of the work is to chart the development of literary tourism, primarily through the 18th & 19th centuries although she strays well into the 20th century – stopping just short of the final exposition of the phenomenon in which we long to visit the places which have stood in for fictional landscapes in the film of the book. I'm thinking particularly of New Zealand's understudy role for Tolkien's Middle Earth. Watson splits the concept of the literary tourist into two separate types of pilgrim. Although the first clearly predated the latter, the two have continued to exist in tandem for the last hundred years or more and are now rarely camps into which individuals divide. The first is the seeker after the author. Ironically this began by a search for graves and monuments, only then moving on to birth-places, ...

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Tambopata 20/02/2015

Reservations Overcome at the Inkaterra Reserva

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, Tambopata Getting There If I'm honest the one part of my trip to Peru that I wasn't looking forward to, was the Amazon rainforest. Yes, I know how special it is and all that, but the facts are: I'm over-weight and unfit and don't really do hot sweaty environments and if there's an insect within a ten mile radius it will seek me out and bite me… and then… well, yes, then there will be spiders. Don't even make me think about spiders! But it was part of the deal. And if this is the price to be paid for all the other wonderful stuff, then take a deep breath and resolve to at least look like you're having fun. I couldn't have been more wrong. The short time spent at the Inkaterra reserve was nowhere near long enough. No, scrap that. For this trip, it was long enough. I'd brought the wrong clothes, and it was the end of the tiring trip, but… it was long enough to know that I want to go back and spend longer. I want to go back and make it the point of the trip, not just the add-on at the end of something focussed elsewhere. This review is being written some 18 months after the event (Feb 2015 thinking back on a trip taken in October 2013) so details may vary, but hopefully the feel of the thing, and importantly the lingering impression, will still be of value. Where I've found updated info I've included this. I guess that like most people on their first trip to Peru, the driving purpose was Machu Picchu. We did lots of other wonderful things, but that was the focus. So anything after ...
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