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ravingreviewer

ravingreviewer

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And now another Ciao member has jumped on board, apparently the title of my latest review is not suited to 21st century Britain - even though it is linked in to the review!

Reviews written

since 28/03/2014

345

Don'ts for Wives - Blanche Ebbutt 15/10/2017

Wives, submit to your husbands...

Don'ts for Wives - Blanche Ebbutt Having recently had the opportunity to help my parents to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, I found this particular book to give them just as a joke as an 'added extra' - although it was in fact within a much larger book, with the 'Don'ts for Husbands' by the same author within the same one book. However the latter mentioned title is of course not the subject of this particular review, although the idea behind it that we will soon find is exactly the same as the volume for women. With an RRP of £6.99 for both volumes together, I found it for sale in a local Card Bar/ Thorntons outlet but it also the sort of thing that you would be able to find in your local garden centre or other such similar outlet. Being written by Blanche Ebbutt and published in 1913, it was of course originally written at a time when women stayed at home and looked after their house and husband as opposed to going out to work. Of course at the time it was meant to have been a serious source of information for women, but in today's society it is more of a fun look at what life was like nearly 100 years ago. Covering some 73 pages or thereabouts, this little book contains the following chapters (all of which are very self explanatory): 1. Personalities - how to cope with the various personalities within the home, including the different moods of their husband. 2. How to Avoid Discord - how to keep the peace within the home, including when dealing with the children. 3. Habits - how to ...

The Piglet Files - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) 04/10/2017

Should be filed away for good.

The Piglet Files - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) Introduction The Piglet Files was a television comedy series that ran for three series between September 1990 and May 1992, and was based around the few years that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It shows the adventures (or indeed the mishaps!) of the main character who was played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, who at the start of the show was a polytechnic lecturer. He was however almost poached by MI5 in order to help them to combat the negligence of one of their previous agents, whilst taking on a code name and by helping the MI5 in getting back some of their equipment - all whilst at the same time in trying to keep his somewhat secret identity from those closest to him, including his wife. Series Two DVD The main cast list for this series is as follows: Peter "Piglet" Chapman – Nicholas Lyndhurst (Only Fools And Horses) Major Maurice Drummond – Clive Francis (Yes Prime Minister) Major Andrew Maxwell – John Ringham (Just Good Friends) Dexter – Michael Percival (A Fish Called Wanda) Sarah Chapman – Serena Evans (The Thin Blue Line) Flint – Louise Catt (unknown to have starred in anything else) Lewis – Steven Law (various bit parts in The Bill) Episode One - The Wright Stuff, Dexter is writing his memoirs unbeknown that a former Director General is doing the same but Piglet's wife works for the publishing firm handling them both. Episode Two - Red Spy At Night, a former spy presumed dead and buried over a decade ago ends up on the ...

Mattel Apples to Apples Party Box 24/09/2017

One of your five a day.

Mattel Apples to Apples Party Box Having received this as a birthday present completely at random and then playing it with three or four friends elsewhere also more recently, I felt it would be appropriate to write a review on the game that is known as Apples to Apples. It cannot really be described as a board game as such but as more of a card game, as we shall soon see. This particular game is published by Mattel, who are also well known for producing such brands as Barbie; Fisher Price, and Matchbox toys - therefore, you know that you are in good company. There is no minimum age limit for this particular game, although it is perhaps advisable for those people who are perhaps of at least upper junior age - as we shall soon see. The game consists of 108 green cards, all of which have an adjective word on one side of them (a describing word). Further to this there are 324 red cards, all of which have a noun word on them (the name of a place; a person; an object, and so on) along with a description of what that thing actually is. And there is also a tray in which to hold the cards in, but I have never used this when playing the game. It is advised that the game is played with between four and ten people, and is extremely easy to set up. At the start of the game, each player is given five of the red cards which they look at and keep known only to themselves for the time being. And also at the start of the game, one person is assigned to be the judge - this role however does pass on to the next person at ...

The James Street Vaults, Plymouth 17/09/2017

James Street Vaults.

The James Street Vaults, Plymouth Not really being much of a fan of the alternative scene in terms of music or social life but much rather the more mainstream and more normal one if there is such a thing, the James Street Vaults is one of those pubs that one would only really personally go to if one had to – such as my nephew and his band playing there; another special charity fundraising event, or one of my many friends holding a birthday party or other such similar event there. It being one of only a very small handful of pubs that very heavily support the punk music scene in Plymouth, it is also the only pub apart from the Student Union bar to be on the actual main University campus in the city. Although of course there are others close by and knowing that students do not really want to go very far, this is also a pub that is very popular with the student population too – and so therefore in this particular pub, you get a mixture of young spotty fresh faced people who make half a shandy last all night; those dreadlock and combat trouser sporting people who are older than they care to own up to, and people who just like me would only really brave it for a quick visit in between pubs. Generally open between the hours of twelve and twelve, it is the sort of pub that on paper has to offer most soft or alcoholic drinks of sorts – it does however tend to attract those people who drink pints, mainly of lager or similar, and indeed of certain ales but these do tend to change over on a fairly regular basis. ...

Jack Rabbit, Plymouth 14/09/2017

Jumping Jack Rabbits!

Jack Rabbit, Plymouth Finding what could be classed as a ‘normal pub’ in Plymouth these days where you can go for a meal and a drink (or indeed just a drink on its own) are getting very few and far between these days, with the advent of the university creating more student type bars; there being many restaurant chains now opening in the area, or indeed most pubs just being the sort of place for people to get drunk and rowdy and cause trouble for those people who just want a quieter time. However the particular pub that is the subject of this review is a little different to the aforementioned types of establishments, inasmuch as it is a pub cum restaurant that is situated on one of the main routes out to the north of the city – close to the main hospital and out of town shopping areas, it also has a large number of residential properties close by it that all lie within the slightly more wealthier parts of the city. And so therefore, one feels that in order to create somewhere that is in fitting with the area Vintage Inns decided to open up this particular place a number of years ago. Having an Innkeepers Lodge situated at the entrance to its car park, it does also share a rather large corner plot with the local Mercedes-Benz/ Smart dealership and was built to look just like it is an old building that has been there since before time began – indeed, its original tag line was ‘Innkeeping with tradition’. Vintage Inns do of course come under the same overall parent company as Harvester and Toby ...

Skoda Octavia 1.9 Tdi Estate 10/09/2017

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Skoda Octavia!

Skoda Octavia 1.9 Tdi Estate Still having the old jokes about the reputation of Skoda from some twenty or so years ago going about in the back of my mind, I was excited when I started in my new job a few months ago to be able to have the chance of driving a few Skoda vehicles to see if they had improved at all - and I think that it is now safe to say that this is the case, as time and again I have been impressed by how they have vastly improved. And none more so than the Octavia model, which I am going to be reviewing today - however as the subject matter would tell you, this is the 1.9 estate version of the model that I am going to be reviewing and so therefore other models may slightly differ in terms of engine size and the respective configurations or specifications that they come with. It being an excellent car for both business and family purposes alike, it comes with a five gear manual transmission and an average fuel consumption of about 53 mpg (which is about the same as the Ford Focus or the Vauxhall Insignia). The boot space alone boasts some 580 litres with the rear seats up (compared to the Ford Focus which only has 476 litres or the Vauxhall Insignia which only has 530 litres), which also have the options of split level movement - meaning that you can have one seat down on its own; two seats down, or all three in any one given period of time to suit your own needs. Starting at around the £13,480 mark to buy, I have only driven the diesel fuel option although I am reliably informed that ...

Smart ForFour 1.5 Pulse 03/09/2017

Bouncing along.

Smart ForFour 1.5 Pulse Never really seeing the point of a Smart car in the past (after all if it is going to be a two seater then it has to be a proper bona fide MG sports car all the way!), I was mildly perturbed when I saw that a four seater option was going to land on the market with a bump – just like all of those ones that one can feel when driving it, but more on this will come a little later on in the course of my review. Being called the Smart ForFour, this is because it is a car that is marketed for four people. Originally coming on to the market all the way back in 2004 and made for about two years up until 2006, it then remained dormant until 2014 when it made a comeback and sharing its platform with the Renault Twingo and its mechanics with the Smart ForTwo. With five doors; four seats and a luggage capacity of 270 litres, to me this car is everything that a Mini is – but without a Mini badge on the front of it, but without the same level of class or style that to me a Mini has. It also has a fuel tank capacity of 475 miles, and an average fuel consumption of 46 miles per gallon – which actually to me is its only real plus, as this is I have found about average in terms of what a lot of smaller cars seem to be able to do fuel wise. However this is enough praise from my point of view for the car, as to my mind the rest of it is not that great. Size wise if I wanted a car just like this then as already alluded to I would probably be more than likely to go for something like a Mini, ...

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje 26/08/2017

More confusing than a consultation with your GP.

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje The English Patient is a novel written in 1992 by Michael Ondaatje, who is a Canadian poet and novelist who was born in Sri Lanka - this is his most well known work after its being adapted in to a film in 1996, but he has also written such works as Coming Through Slaughter and Running in the Family. Without wishing to give away too much of the plot, the basics of the book are that it is centred around one major character with three other characters - these are just as important in terms of what happens during the course of the story, although it is the effects of the main character that cause them to come to the fore. The book is set in the Italian campaign than took place during the Second World War, and is centred around the main character who is a badly burned male patient and who is thought to be English (hence the name of the film). As a result of his accident, the only thing that he has with him is an old book - Herodotus's The Histories, which is an account in itself of the Persian Empire and the events and struggles that surrounded it including wars/ battles and suchlike. This is read to the patient, who in turn has many flashbacks to his own experiences before he was injured in the parachute accident - but this proves to be very confusing for the reader, as the events very quickly change between his past efforts and the trials or events of the current war effort. These have a strong effect on his nurse who is the one who does the reading to him besides ...

Members Advice on Autism 20/08/2017

Normal is as normal does.

Members Advice on Autism The following review tells the story of my own journey in to the world of autism, which I hope you find useful and interesting in some small way. Growing up at school, I was always seen as being a bit of a loner – I had very few friends; I suffered with a really bad stammer, and I just kept my head down and tried my best to study and get some fairly decent grades. I wasn’t very much in to sport, or even not even very good at it when I put some form of effort in – apart from swimming and surfing, which was something that I knew that I could do in my own time and at my own pace. Dates; facts, and in fact anything technical in terms of maps and similar things always fascinated me – I could also pick something up and start doing it almost instantly, including learning to use a computer (or laptop or any other electrical piece of equipment that is used in day to day life) and even driving a car (which is good in the job that I am currently doing!). However, there were certain things that would always throw me rather much off course in my life – I like to know how and when things are going to happen (or at least have a general idea of how the day will pan out), although this is something that in recent weeks or months I have learnt to adapt to a little as my current job is one whereby anything could happen once the initial plans have been made (but with the changes actually being nothing to do directly with me as such). I also need to have fairly clear instructions laid out ...

Mercedes Vito 111 CDI 18/08/2017

I never realised Mercedes made vans too!

Mercedes Vito 111 CDI Following on in my more recent run of reviews on vehicles that I have had the privilege or pleasure of using and abusing during the course if my daily working life, I would just like to carry on with this in writing a review on the van known only as the Mercedes Vito 111 CDI. It has to be noted from the outset however that this is the van model that I am reviewing, and is not to be confused with the Viano which is the people carrier version of it - the main difference of course being that in the Vito the only seats are the three that are to be found in the drivers cab (one for the driver and two for the passengers), with the Viano being of course one with at least two further rows of seats behind the front ones. Coming with a 1.6 litre diesel engine with six forward gears (some only have five or have automatic gearboxes), this particular brand is one that is in the same league as the Ford Transit; Vauxhall Vivaro, and the perhaps slightly less publicised Renault Trafic. Sizewise they are all pretty much the same size inside and out, however the Vito does have the added advantage of not only having the luxury of a Mercedes badge on it but it is also much more comfortable - both in terms of when sitting in the cab whilst driving, and also in terms of the way in which it handles the road. With an average fuel consumption of 34.9 miles per gallon, the tank can hold up to 75 litres - which at today's prices, can be about £65 - £70 give or take a pound or two. I have found this ...

Old Station Yard, Cullompton 10/08/2017

Good for a quick stop,but not much else.

Old Station Yard, Cullompton Having travelled up and down the M5 on a number of occasions either for work purposes or to go further afield to visit family, we are often making use of the various motorway service stations that are on route. Normally going for the larger ones at Bristol or Taunton there was on one occasion when we missed them, and ended up at the Old Station Yard - or as is more commonly known in local circles as Cullompton Services. And unlike most other services that are only accessed from one direction of the carriageway (with quite often there being services found on both sides of the carriageway as you travel in one direction or another), this particular one is slightly more different - inasmuch as although it is only really signposted more properly from the northbound carriageway as you are travelling away from Exeter towards Bristol at Junction 28, you can in fact access it from the southbound carriageway too as the service area is to be found off the main roundabout that services the junction. But with its position on an area of old reclaimed land on the main Bristol to Exeter railway line, this did in fact used to be an old station yard - hence its name. And this with its position right next to the main motorway, it is not as big as one would expect from other motorway service stations - but it is in fact almost more of a quick top shop than somewhere you could relax for rather more longer. Owned by Extra MSA, this particular company also run a further eight or nine sites ...

TomTom Start 52 08/08/2017

Please do tell me where to go!

TomTom Start 52 In line with some of my more recent reviews on cars that I have driven, I would just like to write a review on something that has helped me whilst driving some of those cars - this being a satellite navigational system known in this instance as the TomTom Start 52. A fellow work colleague of mine actually sold me his after he left for £20 because we got on well and he wanted to see me do well, even though he said it cost him over £100 last year through the Halfords website - anyone else he said he would have charged a lot more, but as we got on well he was happy to offload it to me for a lower price! With a five inch screen from bottom left hand corner to top right hand corner, it came with an extra device to attach it to the windscreen of the car; a USB cable and car charger, and the relevant documentation to it including some of the sites to go on to seek extra advice or support. It came with a guide of having a one hour battery life when being used, however this is without the car charger being put in to use - this is something that links in to the cigarette charger or equivalent, and thus allows you to use the item for however long you need to use it for. Upon turning the device on, I find that I am presented with a number of options - including a system update device; the option to start a new journey, or the option to upload a previous journey that I have already done (the latter is useful if I know that I am returning to the same address to deliver a car if I am ...

KIA Optima 2.0 MPI (2011) 06/08/2017

The best ride I have had in years!

KIA Optima 2.0 MPI (2011) In true style to my latest run of reviews on cars that I have been having the privilege of driving recently, my most latest offering is that of the Kia Optima. It is of course as the name would suggest made by the Kia motor company, thus making it a Korean export. With its Korean name deriving from the characters used by their language meaning 'to come out of the east' or thereabouts, Kia is now a part of the much larger Hyundai motor company (although the two do still trade under separate names). The Optima was first unveiled in 2000 with production properly starting in 2001 and with production on the vehicle still being in process to this day, it took over from the Credos in the Kia stakes. Originally only being manufactured as a saloon style car, it has since 2011 also been made available as an estate version - the one in fact which is being reviewed here today. Coming with a six gear manual transmission generally (there is also a five gear automatic model that is also on sale), fuel tank capacity averages just under seventy litres with the average MPG usage on motorways being about 34 (with other styles of roads differing according to driving style; weather conditions, and so on). With the overall length and size of the car being not too dissimilar to the Astra estate in my mind, I was a little concerned when first getting in to it as I am a little on the shorter side in comparison to some of my work colleagues. And on sitting in the driving seat what also confused me ...

Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi 05/08/2017

One star will have to do...

Peugeot 208 1.2 VTi Having personally owned a Peugeot or two of my own in the past and being more than a happy camper whenever I have driven one, I am always keen to get my hands on another one to drive - hence I jumped at the chance in my current employment when I first got the opportunity to drive one, but was almost instantly bitterly disappointed. Needless to say that from now on, I am glad that I only have to drive this particular model of Peugeot about once or twice a week at best as I have to wonder just how they could make such a naff car. Being marketed as a supermini, it was first introduced to the unsuspecting car buying community in March 2012 as a three door model with the five door offering being made available from June of that same year. Roughly designed to take over from the 207 which ceased being made in 2014, the 208 is lighter in weight by about 170 kg - yet offers more space overall than it, a boot space of 285 litres (which is fifteen litres greater than the 207) and five centimetres more leg room for those who are sitting in the back seats. However to look at the car from the outside one would dispute this, and even on sitting inside the car and driving it do you really get the feeling that it is a lot more cramped. In comparison to many of the other cars of a similar size that have been made both by Peugeot and other car makers, this one feels as though you are almost sitting on the floor - with a front driving seat that tries to think it is in a much larger car, as ...

Ford Transit Connect 03/08/2017

Boneshaker!

Ford Transit Connect The company that I now currently work for is a vehicle rental company, and although the majority of what we rent out are cars we do quite often also rent out vans or minibuses that can vary in size - and the Ford Transit Connect is one of them. Marketed as a compact panel van (also known as a 'car derived van), it is a van that is smaller version of its larger counterpart with rear side windows (and often with no rear windows on the very rear of the vehicle either). It is one that has actually been based on the Ford Focus, and its overall size is that of a large car that is not a people carrier - if that makes sense! The van is made up of the driver's cab with one or two further passenger seats, and the rear luggage compartment that is accessed by one sliding side door and two rear doors that open out in the same way that the ones on larger vans or minibuses also do. It has a pretty bulk standard layout in the driving cab, with the gear lever being mounted on the front of the dashboard in front of the radio; the radio is also fairly common of the older style vehicles inasmuch as they are the more than usual bulk standard on/ off switch and tuner to get to whatever station it is that you are after. Generally speaking there is no satellite navigation built in, however on many of the models that I have driven there is a cigarette point which allows you to connect a portable one up to it. In terms of comfort there really isn't any comfort in this particular van, not like you ...
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