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since 22/06/2004


The Statue of Liberty, New York 08/06/2007

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses

The Statue of Liberty, New York I visited NYC in 2004 and The Statue of Liberty (or Liberty Enlightening the World, to give the correct title) was one of the things I really wanted to visit - other than that, I was happy to wander around the city! Having read how busy the statue can get, we made our way to purchase tickets early in the morning. The ticket office is located in Castle Clinton (originally built to protect against the English) on the southern tip of Manhatten. There were a number of ticket options available :- Visit to the Island, Tour of the pedestal, Tour of the Museum etc. We opted for the full package which came to around $20 each (£10ish). It should be noted that there is no charge for visiting the island - the charge is for the ferry ride (which is the only way to get there!!). Waiting for the ferry, we were entertained by street acrobats - well worth a couple of dollars of anybody's money and we then proceeded through security where we walked through metal detectors and bags were x-rayed. There was more security here than at the airport! Still, I'm sure if somebody wanted to blow up the statue, they would queue up, buy a ticket and take the ferry rather than just take a speedboat!! At least we felt safe! Upon arrival at the island, you are greeted by people trying to sell you audio tours etc. Whilst annoying, they do not pressure you or hassle you once you have said no. The island itself is full of greenery and the views to Manhatten are amazing. Unbelieveably, you can't see ...

The Bloke's Guide to Pregnancy - Jon Smith 18/11/2005

"Darling, I'm Pregnant!"

The Bloke's Guide to Pregnancy - Jon Smith "Three little words guaranteed to strike fear into the most grown up of first-time fathers-to-be." As an expectant father (Due May 2006) I can honestly say that this is one very true statement! Shortly after we found out our news, we decided to buy a couple of books on the subject of pregnancy. The other half went for the serious medical and health type ones whereas I wanted something I could relate to. Just reading the back cover of this made me buy it and I am so glad I did. This book was written by a bloke like me, for guys like me and answers such important questions as: --MONEY--Do we really have to spend my entire lager allowance on that hand-held breast pump? --SEX--Will it harm the unborn baby? (Or am I just being arrogant?) --BREASTS--Will they stay that size forever? (Or am I just being hopeful?) --HOSPITAL PARKING SPACES--Am I going to have to fork out £50 every time she thinks she is going into labour? All of the chapters in the book have blokeish titles, (the first chapter is entitled: "He shoots, He scores!") and all are guaranteed to raise a smile. The book goes through every single stage of the pregnancy and continues a little after the birth as well. It starts by telling us the story of exactly what went through the author's mind when he was told the three words from the title of this OP (Can I afford it? Where will we live? etc etc) and how he overcame all these initial worries. I can honestly say that I also thought every single one of his ...

The Great Escape (DVD) 05/11/2005

Come on then, whistle along to the tune..

The Great Escape (DVD) "It is the duty of any officer in time of do all in his power to escape" - General George Harsh. Never has this been shown in such passionate detail as in the The Great Escape. Based on a true story, it is set in 1943 in a brand new POW camp in Germany. This camp was constucted by the German's to hold all the troublesome Allied POW's - Summed up by Von Luger, the Commandant in the movie as "Putting all our rotten eggs in one basket". The film stars world renowned actors such as Steve McQueen(Hilts - The Cooler King), James Garner(Hendley - The Scrounger), Richard Attenborough(Bartlett - Big X), James Donald(Ramsey - SBO), Charles Bronson(Danny - Tunnel King), Donald Pleasence(Blythe - The Forger) and James Coburn(Sedgwick - The Manufacturer). All these stars play huge parts in the film with none having a 'more important role' than another although viewers will tend to remember Steve McQueen more due to the charasmatic character that he plays. The storyline centres around the extraordinary efforts of the POW's when trying to escape, the friendships that are built and the inevitable letdowns when things go wrong - tragically shown by 'Ives' who is so desperate to escape, he makes a futile effort to scale a fence and is shot and killed immediately. Although ultimately ending in tragedy, with 50 officers murdered by the Gestapo in revenge (a true story), the film is a story of achievement against impossible odds. There are also a number of light-hearted ...

Will Hay - Oh Mr Porter (DVD) 03/11/2005

Oh Mr Porter what a funny man you are...

Will Hay - Oh Mr Porter (DVD) This is, in my opinion, Will Hay's best film. Will Hay plays the lead character - William Porter - a clumsy railway porter who longs to be a station master. The railway try to sack him due to his continuous cock-ups but his sister, who is married to the Railway Superintendant, tells her husband "Either you give Willie a job or he comes to live with us" There is a position available at Buggleskelly in Ireland which has gone through 5 stationmasters recently with no explanation.. --Superintendant - "What happened to the last one?" --Clerk - "I don't know sir, but I know we sent a wreath." Needless to say, the delighted Superintendant offers Porter the job straight away! Buggleskelly is an old deserted station which is said to be haunted by One-Eyed Joe. Upon arrival in the pouring rain in the middle of the night, Porter knocks on the ticket window to be greated by toothless old man Jeremiah Harbottle(Moore Marriott) who tells him very sharply "The next train's gone!". Marriott is the deputy stationmaster and there is also chubby young loud-mouthed porter Albert(Graham Moffatt). They both survive by stealing goods from the railway (chickens, pigs etc) and, for me, these guys really steal the show. Porter attempts to revive his station by stopping passing trains without warning and renovating the appearance of the station with a coat of paint. Many hilarious scenes follow, mainly with Marriott and Moffatt laughing at Porter for his pathetic efforts and there are some ...

Bensons Bed Shop 21/03/2005

Ah yes, wonderful Bensons

Bensons Bed Shop Many years ago, fresh out of uni, I went for a job with these guys as a store manager. I was offered the job and went to work,then things changed. They are a nightmare both to work for and to buy from. Things may be different now but I wouldn't bet on it. Firstly, they do not care about their customers whatsoever They delivered only one day a week. In my area it was a wednesday which was inconvenient for all the customers (it cost £25 for delivery by the way) and as a result most customers had to arrange for a local delivery from the shop which they had to pay extra for. Head office would never ever do anything to resolve complaints and they caused most of the problems with deliveries not turning up and not contacting customers etc. There was no support for the guys in the stores and the amount of flak that I got as a manager was unbelievable. Customers were often very unhappy and we had to deal with it as best we could with no help or support at all. Oh I should mention the prices as well. Not sure if its still the same but they always had a sale on with most beds marked at half price. This is perfectly legal as they sell beds in certain stores at double the price for 28 days then they can claim they are on sale. The "sale" price is the price you should be paying anyway. If you try to buy a "non-sale" bed, the assistant will try to talk you out of it even though they would earn more for selling it to you...Why???...well they have a "price promise" which means if ...

Panasonic KX-TCD 515 SMS 10/03/2005

Panasonic 515

Panasonic KX-TCD 515 SMS This is quite simply the best digital phone on the market at the moment and probably will be for some time to come. This is the top of the range Panasonic model and it's easy to see why. 30 mins of recording time on the inbuilt digital answering machine. Loudspeaker handsfree option. Icon based menu which is very user friendly (similar to that on some mobile phones). 200 name and number directory. Long standby time. The ability to send sms text messages. Sleek design with a small base. You can add extra handsets and if you buy them as a package, you can save yourself a tidy sum. And the best part.....They never go wrong!!! I work in a shop which sells these and I don't ever recall one going wrong since they came out. If you dont need an answering machine, go for the Panasonic 505 (exactly the same but withouth the answering machine) If you really don't want all the wonderful features, there are many Panasonic DECT phones on the market, all of which are very very reliable and knock the spots off all the other brands. Don't consider anything else such as binatone or other such brands unless you fancy regular trips back to the shop you bought it from. If you must consider something else, make sure it is a top of the range BT model. But please, please, please go for the Panasonic everytime. ...

Nikon Coolpix 2100 03/01/2005

Nikon 2100

Nikon Coolpix 2100 Have had mine over a year and am still happy with it. Takes great photos and is really easy to use and it comes with its own battery charger. Now it is slightly dated and there are better cameras around ie greater number of pixels and a better zoom but that is not to say that this is not good and at the moment it suits my purpose. I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't want to spend a large amount of money but still wants a decent camera. When I replace it, I will almost definitely go for another Nikon, probably an updated version of this one. Hope this helps you make a decision if you are looking into getting one of these. ...

Dixons (Shop) 18/10/2004


Dixons (Shop) Now that Nick Wood (who was previously MD of The Link) is in charge, I have seen a fair change in Dixons. They have closed about 100 stores which were not making money and have revamped a lot of their older looking stores which were nasty places to shop. They have also started a new format called Dixons XL which is (as the name suggests) a large store which contains everything that you could possibly need, just imagine a "Currys" size store stocking Dixons products. Unfortunately there are only a few of these stores in existence at the moment. I know a few guys who work for Dixons and they have all said that things are changing for the better, apparantly it is a good and exciting place to work with lots of changes ahead, the staff are being encouraged to "do deals" and "use the discount button if neccessary" which they have previously been told not to do. I have had good experiences with Dixons and have always been happy with the service I have received. Their major problem is that they have a poor reputation which is very difficult to get rid of and a lot of their shops are too small for the range of products they stock (widescreen tv's for example). As for a service agreement, I'll let you make your own mind up.......weigh up the pros and cons, check out the price and consider if you will really need it. I have it on my digital camera as I take it out to pubs and on days out and holidays but I probably wouldn't bother on a playstaion or TV for example. Cheers for ...

The Link 23/06/2004

Helpful advice

The Link OK, I'll be honest from the start. I work for The Link as a manager in one of the stores and please allow me to share some tips with you as customers. I cannot speak for any store other than my own so I do not disbelieve anyone who has left a review. Firstly, it is very common for customers to say they have been mislead or that the salesperson lied to them. If I found any member of my staff misleading a customer, I would take it VERY seriously and the staff member would be in a lot of trouble. However, unfortunately, the vast majority of complaints are simply when customers have either misunderstood or simply not been listening when things are being explained to them.....a typical example is that people say "I was told the insurance covered me for loss".......NO you were not, no-one in my store has ever said that to a customer, in fact we labour the point that it is not covered so as to cover our own backs. If you are not sure about something...ASK!! Yes, we know you are excited to be buying a new phone but please listen to my staff when we are trying to help you. Secondly, if you are not happy, speak to the store manager as things can often be resolved pretty quickly. However, one thing I will say is that being rude, abusive or not willing to listen will either result in you not being helped or being removed from the store. I do not put up with anyone being rude or abusive to me or my staff for ANY reason and I do not hesitate to call the police to have these people ...
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