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Reviews written

since 28/03/2014

352

Eden Project, St. Austell 26/11/2017

The garden of Eden.

Eden Project, St. Austell Having lived within a close enough travelling distance of the Eden Project to be able to make a day trip of it without having to leave home in the early hours of the morning or return home late at night, one would have to admit that I have never visited this particular site until only recently when a trip was made with the autism group of which I am a part of. This is actually quite a significant detail which is the main reason behind my first ever visit, which is something that is going to come up in no doubt at some length during the course of my review. Opening all the way back in 2001, the Eden Project is situated in Cornwall and is to be found some three and a half miles or thereabouts away from St Austell which is it closest town. The entrance prices are as follows: Ticket Type Full-price Ticket Advance Annual Pass/Advance Ticket Adults £27.50 £25 Students £22.50 £20.50 Children 5–16 £14 £12.60 Children 0–4 Free Free Family ticket £71 £64 There is also the opportunity to become a member, which allows you to get updates on what is happening; cheaper prices at certain times of the year, and priority invites to events and so on that occur here including priority parking. The prices for this are as follows (the first price is the cheaper option if you pay by an annual direct debit, and the second price is what you pay if you pay by credit or debit card): Individual Membership (1 Member plus 1 family guest) £52/ £58 Individual Over 60 Membership (1 Member ...

Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty 19/11/2017

Wisdom in its formative years.

Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty WARNING SPOILER ALERTS Having originally been introduced to this particular novel whilst studying for my GCSE's back in the mid to late 1990s, I was encouraged to pick it up and read it again after the daughter of a good friend of mine recently rediscovered it for the same purposes as I had found it so many years ago. It was written by Berlie Doherty, who is well known for writing children's books and 'young adult' fiction - that is, fiction written for those aged between twelve and eighteen in an attempt to prepare them for the more adult form of novel scripts. She has also written a number of novels for adults too, as well as varying plays for radio or theatre. Having also worked as a social worker for a number of years, she is quite well known for drawing on experiences that she has dealt with - hence why this particular book is written on the subject that has been chosen, as we shall soon see. Written in 1991 and set in Sheffield, it tells the story of the struggles of two young people who are studying for their A-levels and preparing to go off to university. The book starts with Chris receiving a parcel of letters from who he realises to be Helen, all of them starting 'Dear Nobody'. As we follow the story on through the book, we then get to experience the last nine months or so their journey together. Having fallen pregnant after having made love for the one and only time, emotions run high and low on both sides of the story throughout - with an attempt to get rid ...

Hyundai i30 1.6 17/11/2017

Heads up for Hyundai!

Hyundai i30 1.6 Not really ever having been much of a fan of the Hyundai car, I went in to driving one with trying to have an open mind - and was so glad that I did, as they are to me quite an enjoyable driving experience. And although as with any car manufacturer there are certain cars that people don't like to drive, I have to say that the I30 is definitely one that is an absolute pleasure to drive. It is a five door estate, and is roughly the same size as an Astra or a Focus estate with a 1.6 engine which comes with either a petrol or a diesel engine (although I shall for the purposes of this particular review be taking a look at the petrol engine). Starting at around the £22,000 mark new in local dealerships with second hand and rentals being priced accordingly, it has a fuel tank capacity of fifty litres with an average fuel economy of around the 70 mpg mark. With it being an estate car, it does also have a boot space of 528 litres - giving you plenty of room, and is an excellent vehicle to have as a family car. Its internal features may not be as up to speed as some of the other similar vehicles to this one, however it does have all of the bulk standard features that you would expect to find in a car of this size - parking sensors; radio/ CD player, and a five speed manual gearbox to name but a few. To me it is also a car that handles really well on all forms of road, and also in all weather types - meaning that it is one of those cars that I will happily drive time and again. This ...

Euronics (Shop) 16/11/2017

Helps to keep you warm. And fed. And watered.

Euronics (Shop) Always being one to try and do my bit to support the more local businesses wherever it is possible to do so, I am quite often popping in to one of my local Euronics stores to check out deals and so on for certain goods - I shall now endeavour to try and do a little bit of justice in the next five minutes or so in explaining why! Euronics is a European wide brand name, and works with the more smaller or independent electrical businesses in bringing the best service to its customers. It is not a franchise business in the true sense of the word, but markets itself as a cooperative style affair moreover - thus, allowing stores to allow their customers to not only gain from the more local yet strong levels of customer service whilst still working with larger organisations in providing the best possible prices which is something that on their own a local business would not really be able to offer to people. This is also true in some areas I have found inasmuch as although the overall business is able to source top quality goods at slightly prices for their stores, they do also recongise when local businesses use other local businesses to buy from - and so therefore as well as supporting a local shop that sells goods to its customers, it also supports the slightly wider community in buying from them too. The goods that are sold within the stores are what you would expect to find from any electrical retailer, and range from larger goods such as washing machines and tumble ...

Peugeot 3008 1.6 VTi 05/11/2017

I've been to the year 3008...

Peugeot 3008 1.6 VTi My apologies for not having written at car related reviews recently, however I would just like to take up from where I left off a while ago in reviewing some of the cars that I have had the pleasure of driving over a period of time in my line of work. The Peugeot 3008 1.6 is of a fairly similar size to a Vauxhall Astra hatchback or a Ford Focus, but you may well be wondering why I am comparing an estate sized car to a hatchback - and this to me is purely because of how differing car manufacturers sell and describe cars, therefore what is something for one thing is different for another. It has however also been classed as an SUV, which would also therefore put it in the same class as the likes of a Renault Kadjar and a Nissan Qashqai - cars which one would personally class as being a little bit more on the larger side of this particular one, and so therefore one can assume that this particular car is one that is able to crossover may forms. Averaging roughly between 46 and 64 mpg depending on road type and weather conditions, it has a fuel capacity of around the 60 litre mark. Pricewise for a new car it starts from about the £20,000 mark - but as always, older cars if buying outright will of course cost less and rental figures will vary according to wheresoever it is that you are renting from. To me, this is the sort of vehicle then when first starting out may come across as being a little sluggish. However I have found that once you have gotten more used to it which to ...

The Lady in the Van - Alan Bennett 27/10/2017

Crazy Lady!

The Lady in the Van - Alan Bennett Having heard so much about this book (and the film that was released as a result of the book being so popular), I decided to buy a copy of it and see what all of the hype was about - and I was so glad that I did, as it certainly did more than enough to quench my desires for it. Behind the book is well known playwright Alan Bennett, who has written many radio plays; monologues; film scripts and television scripts, many of which are if not real life episodes then are events that are based on real life happenings. In other words he is able to take an event that is well known to many people, and turn it in to a production that many people can actually relate to from real life. This book is actually an account of the true story by the author, who tells the tale of an elderly lady who parks up on his driveway in a caravan in the mid 1970s - and lives there for the next fifteen years or so. The person behind the apparent crazy exterior turns out to be quite an accomplished pianist; rejected as a nun amongst other things, and was quite an eccentric who nearly ended up being committed to an institution. Written in a diary and a biographical form, this to me does actually in fact show a whole range of emotions - from empathy and understanding, to despair and disbelief about her lifestyle and way of thinking. This is the sort of writing that I enjoy reading from time to time, as it provides a good level of relief from the more mainstream forms of the written word, Originally ...

Victoria Wood - Live In Your Own Home (DVD) 22/10/2017

The Queen of comedy!

Victoria Wood - Live In Your Own Home (DVD) Victoria Wood is of course the late great comedienne, who sadly passed away only last year. Being well known for observing cultural and social occasions and utilising them in such a way that people get to have a look at them in a more fresh way, she was originally seen on our screens first all of the way back in 1974 - this was on a talent show known only as New Faces, which down the years has seen Lenny Henry; Les Dennis; Roy Walker; Joe Pasquale, and the Chuckle Brothers appearing as contestants on the show. Therefore, Victoria Wood even in her early days had the pleasure of mixing with some of the top stars in the business - of course, with the exception of the Chuckle Brothers. But having been firmly established herself on the comedy scene within some ten years of appearing on the original show, her original run of shows were mainly of the stand up variety and short sketches that all made up a big part of her shows - and this also included a song or three, depending on what the show actually was of course. She then of course also went on to create comedy series, including Dinnerladies and Acorn Antiques as well as more serious items such as Housewife 49. However, she is perhaps still well known for her stand up comedy shows - of which, this is of course one of them. Originally being released back in 1994 as a Christmas special on VHS, it has since of course been re-released on DVD. It stars the comedienne as herself doing many different stand up routines talking ...

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 ...
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