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since 20/03/2006

20

Bissell 1698 05/04/2006

Bex Bissell carpet washer

Bissell 1698 I have had my Bex Bissell carpet washer for six months and it is very difficult to describe how good it really is. I have two big dogs ( dobermans), hence eight muddy feet, plus my husband ( I often think he must have eight muddy feet as well, the mess he makes and although I have stone floors in the utility areas to 'save' my carpets, they do get really soiled on occasion. Hiring a carpet cleaner I have done this several times and the machines have been fine, but they do not dry the carpets enough, and they are quite expensive. (£45 a day, plus the costs of the shampoo and defoamer). The Bex Bissell This is an upright machine and it looks like a slightly bigger than average upright vacuum cleaner. It is very simple to use - warm/hot water goes into a bucket with handle which you get to by releasing the handle on the cleaner and lowering the handle to the floor. You then just simply pick up the handle on the water bucket, pull it upright and the bucket lifts straight out. You can fill the bucket from the hot tap to the m ark on the side and replace the bucket ( which is shaped, so you cannot put it back incorrectly) back into the cleaner. The water bucket is a very clever design, as it has a flexible inner membrane, and as clean water is pumped out of the bucket, the dirty water is collected under the membrane in the bucket, so you only ever put clean water onto your carpets. The shampoo dispenser just lifts out, you fill to the mark, and tip it ...

Mrs McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie 31/03/2006

Mrs. Mcginty's Dead, how did she die?

Mrs McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie I love books with Crime and Thrillers being my favourites, and Agatha Christie, known as the Queen of crime writers is a favourite of mine. The book " Mrs. McGinty's dead Why did she die? Stocking her neck out just like I" Mrs Mcginty is a charwoman, who makes end meet by taking in a lodger. She 'does' for several of the local households and is viewed as a treasure. She is an honest and dependable old woman - but she comes across some information that she realises may be worth some money, so she writes a letter..... When Mrs McGinty is found brutally murdered there is only one suspect, hwe lodger, a rather pathetic young man, who is charged, tried and convicted. The policeman in charge of the case should be happy, but he is very uneasy and is unsure why. So he asks his friend, renowned private detective Hercule Poirot to investigate - but time is running out as the gallows beckon.. The setting is a small village, so the number of possible alternative suspects is not huge and Hercule sets about whittling down the possibilities, using his famous little grey cells... Opinion Christie is a master at creating the world of a small village set in the thirties. You get to understand the slower pace of life, the absolute class distinctions, fabric of the close knit communities of the time. Camphor, open fires, draughts, motor cars, chauffeurs are all increibly real. Equally good is the mapping of the personnel who come across as real people, complex, all ...

The Saint - Leslie Charteris 31/03/2006

The Saint - written by Leslie Charteris

The Saint - Leslie Charteris I grew up with the Saint. The television series of the same name, starring Roger Moore was iconic during my childhood and essential viewing. Backgound to the Books. The Saint is the psuedonym of adventurer playboy Simon Templar, around whom all the Saint books revolve. He is a wealthy, very good looking thirty something, who will verge to just outside of the Law if he feels the end will justify the means. He loves women and fast cars, but has a strong alruistic streak and is definitely a hero. He gets involved in all sorts of mayhem ( some definitely not believable) but he always comes out on top, saving the girl on the way. A feature in most of the stories are the ongoing tussle he has with authority in general and the police in particular. He has a healthy disregard for officialdom and enjoys getting the better of the authorities, particularly the police. As a consequence, he is always on their wanted list for something, but they are never able to prove a case against him. He is an accomplished safebreaker, for example, but always escapes. The police, most usually in the guise of Inspector Clause Eustace Teal , have a torrid time dealing with Templar - but are not averse to asking for help on occasion when the need arises. Opinion. I have not gone into depth on any specific stories because it would spoil them - but the true value of them is in the humour that runs through. The sparring between Templar and the police is very cleverly done and you ...

The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean 28/03/2006

Alistair Macleans the Guns of Navarone.

The Guns Of Navarone - Alistair MacLean I bought my copy of this book in a small bookshop in Stockton for £3.97 in their sale. I bought it specifically because my husband had bought the DVD and I always like to read a book before it is interpreted for film. I have read one or two of Maclains other books and expected to enjoy this one, but was quite unprepared for just how good this book is. It has all the necessary ingredients for a totally absorbing book: a truly great story very well written the right length The story: Set in world war 2 (WW2) the Germans need to bring Turkey into the war on their side - and use the theatre of the Greek Islands to demonstrate their strength and organisation and engineering prowess. The Allies have a large contingent of soldiers on the isalnd of Crete under threat from the Germans and plans are made to evacuate the men onto a fleet of Navy ships. The only problem with this plan is that the ships have to pass close to the isalnd of Navarone - where the Germans have several huge guns, powerful enough to reach any ships passing through the straits, These guns have been placed in battlements dug out of sheer rock faces and are totally inaccessible to an conventional assault. The safety of the ships and the thousands of troops on Crete depend on the destruction of these seemingly impregnable guns. In London a small team is put together whose task is to rendezvous with the Resistance on Navarone and disable the guns, using the only way thought possible: that of ...

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Audio Book) - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry (Narrator) 25/03/2006

Audio Book -Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Audio Book) - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry (Narrator) I would think that few people, adults or children, have not heard of Harry Potter, the young wizard created by J K Rowling in her series of books. The books were written for children, but have taken the adult world by storm as well. Background Harry Potter is an orphan living with his aunt, uncle and cousin. He is very poorly treated by them, definitely an outsider within the family group. On his 11th birthday, however, everything changes with the arrival of a letter inviting him to attend Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.. Harry's aunt and uncle go to extreme lengths to stop him going, only to find out that the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore, is more than a match for them and Harry is transported to the castle which is home to the school for young wizards and witches. Up until then, Harry had no idea that he possessed any magical powers, but he soon settles to school life and makes friends, particularly with Ron Weasley, who is one of 7 children and part of wizard family, and Hermione Grainger, a very intelligent girl whose parents are both muggles ( a wizarding term for non magic people). Harry also finds out that he is unique in the wizarding world - he is the only person known to have survived the killing curse. He has a zigzag shaped scar on his forehead as a result of the curse, which was inflicted by a black wizard, Lord Voldemort, who was responsible for a large number of killings including the deaths of Harry's own parents. Each ...

Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie 22/03/2006

It was never going to be a simple bridge game....

Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie The exotic Mr. Shaitana is a collector of many different and usually expensive items, but there is a dark side to his character and to satisfy this side of his nature he collects - secrets! The secrets in this case are murder which has been accomplished and passed off as accident or natural causes. Telling possible murderers that he has information about their supposed crime is not at all clever.. Set in the stylish thirties, the book opens with Shaitana setting up a bridge party with eight very special guests - four possible murderers and four crime specialists - though only one is a policeman. The outcome of the party is murder - which was definitely not what the host intended! His aim was to amuse Hercule - and show off his knowledge to the four unsuspecting possible murderers - a society lady, a doctor, a young companion and a gentleman guide. The crime specialists , including Hercule Poirot, decide to investigate independently, each according to their own methods.with each being sure that they will uncover the murderer first with fascinating results. They agree to pool their information and each takes one of the four suspects to interview in their very different ways - a private detective, a policeman, a crime writer and Colonel who is used to catching saboteurs etc. The small number of players in this novel gives Christie time to spend on giving them real depth, and she recreates the stylish 30's background effortlessly. Once you start to read this book you ...

Rage of Angels - Sidney Sheldon 22/03/2006

A lawyer, a politician and a mafia boss.....

Rage of Angels - Sidney Sheldon I love books of all types but I like them well written and when it comes to thrillers I like a well constructed plot with strong characters - and this book has it all. The lawyer is Jennifer Parker who is a bright young lawyer, beautiful with a very good legal brain. A simple mistake at the beginning of her career brings her to the notice of the Mafia. The Politician is destined for the very top - the Presidency is not out of the question - and he is married. His meeting with Jennifer and their subsequent relationship is at the heart of this book. The Mafia boss is also married - but totally besotted with the lawyer and wants to bring her totally under his control. His jealousy and her aloofness create unbearable tensions. The book follows Jennifers rise in her profession and her growing reliance on the mob, while her attachment to the politician gets ever stronger. Strongly written with well developed characters you can believe and a powerful storyline this book is very hard to put down. Jennifer is highly believable and very easy to identify with. Its quite unusual for the main character is a thriller of this kind to be a woman unless she is a secret agent or super policewoman. Jennifer is very feminine and very intelligent and emotionally strong as well - independant as well. The strong sexual undertones are well written as are the more explicit scenes - earthy, and basic and to the point, so to speak. The politician vacillating between his duty and his ...

Mission: Impossible 1 And 2 (DVD) 22/03/2006

Mission: Impossible (Box Set)

Mission: Impossible 1 And 2 (DVD) As a devotee of the original Mission: Impossible television series I was looking forward to seeing these films. In their time the television series was very cutting edge in its story lines and effects. Mission: Impossible 1 opens with the hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) leading his team of operatives on a mission which goes horribly wrong. His team is wiped out ( with the exception of 1) and he is blamed by his spy bosses. As a result he is put out in the cold - and he decides to find out what went wrong and who was responsible. He contacts other agents who are beyond sanction and starts work. Vaneesa Redgrave has a cameo role in this film - not entirely believable in her part but it does not detract from the storyline. The special effects in this film are magic - hi tech and brilliant to watch. The various computer elements look great - whether actually possible or not I wouldn't know, but looks great. The resolution of the mystery is very clever and definitely up to the wow standard of the original series. Crise is a very convincing Hunt as well. Great film. The sequel, when I read the jacket, I thought sounded it bit lame, but it was excellent - and a totally different type of story which was good. The film also does have a strong storyline - very well acted and this time with a strong love interest for Hunt that was believable without undue sentimentality. The plot revolves around a very nasty airbourne virus called chimera. Ethan has to destroy it and ...

Murder At 1600 (DVD) 22/03/2006

Murder at 1600 - White House in trouble again...

Murder At 1600 (DVD) This is a sit down and enjoy movie. The start of the film and the setting up of demarcation lines between a police investigation and Secret Service responsibility following the discovery of a body at the White House is a little bit slow but the detail is necessary to lay the foundations for what lies ahead. I like Wesley Snipes as an actor and he plays the lead Police role in the film. He has just the right amount of edge and push to the character to make it thoroughly believable - and this is the cornerstone which makes the movie work. With possible white house family involvement, missing video footage this has all the twists which you would expect from a film of this sort, but the whole rises above the average due to an outstanding performance from Wes Snipes and another by Daniel Benzali as the head of the Secret Service detail in the White House. The ending has an unexpected twist to it that adds to the overall good experience. I have now watched the film more than once and still find odd bits that are actually important that I missed in the earlier watching. This is an ideal film for watching when you want to relax and enjoy a good storyline that pulls you along nicely, doesn't expect you to be a mental genius but does have the odd surprise - old fashioned entertainment. Movie length: 102 minutes approx Format: Pal Age certificate: 15 Dolby Digital Original cinema release 1997 ...

The Bourne Identity / The Bourne Supremacy (DVD) 22/03/2006

Bourne Identity/Bourne Supremacy DVD

The Bourne Identity / The Bourne Supremacy (DVD) Robert Ludlum writes exciting, fast moving spy thrillers with well drawn characters, and he does it so well you do not want to put the book down. I was very interested to see how this translated to the big screen, particularly as I always read a book before seeing a film made from it. The Bourne Identity is the first of a trilogy and opens with Jason Bourne suffering from complete memory loss. Worse, someone is trying to kill him and he does not know who or why. As the movie unfolds he gradually works out that he must have been an assassin and he learns to deal with that knowledge and his pursuers. A strong love interest is added to the mix without overdue sentiment - it defintely adds to the suspense rather than detract. I won't go any futher into the plot because it will spoil your enjoyment. The plot is quite convoluted in true ludlum fashion and this is not a movie to watch when half asleep. It commands your full attention and concentration and you then gey back the full power of the plot and the excellent filming and screenplay. Matt Damon is a very good lead actor for this role - he has a non expressive face best suited to this part. He looks and acts stoically. The filming has been done in such a way that you feel very much that you are experiencing everything first hand - as though you are Jason Bourne. The crowd/bystander scenes are the best I have ever seen in that they look completely natural as though the events that happen in the open really are ...

King Arthur - Directors Cut (DVD) 22/03/2006

King Arthur the Roman Knight!

King Arthur - Directors Cut (DVD) This is a King Arthur you have probably never before contemplated - taken by the Romans to serve a 15 year term as a soldier when he was a mere lad. After this opening the action and story starts with Arthur ( Clive Owen) and his band of Knights ( taken to serve as he was) returning home on the last day of their 15 years service. They are all battle weary and looking forward to their ongoing lives. Arthur himseld intends returning to live in Rome which he cosiders to be the centre of the civilised world, and where his mentor lives. He believes that all men are born free and none are born into serfdom, teachings handed down to him by his mentor and which are to be at the heart of the major action of the film. On their returning day they are forced into one last task before their freedom will be given which necessitates them travelling North into invading Saxon territoy to rescue a Roman family who have strong political links to Rome. This task coincides with Rome's decision to pull their troops out of England, leaving the natives exposed to the onslaught of the savage Saxons, led by Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgard). Arthur finds himself suddenly out of step with the Roman view and with the Romans he is dealing with. The climax of the story and the battles are unbeatable, both for pace, writing and cinematography. The bond between Arthur and his knights is evident and very well done - nothing mawkish. Lancelot (Ioan Griffudd) and Bors (Ray Winstone) are outstanding in ...

Jigsaw Puzzles For Children 22/03/2006

A satisfying mind stretching hobby for life

Jigsaw Puzzles For Children Jig saw puzzles are probably the first problem solving a very young child gets to do. The baby level puzzles of perhaps two pieces which lift out of a solid wood, or very deep dense cardboard base with a little lifting handle on them can be bashed about until the baby realises that the piece can actually fit the hole. The amazement on their faces is incrdible, and after that they will always want to make the piece fit the hole. You can then graduate to very large piece puzzles - there are a good range of large piece floor puzzles available now for the 2-5 age range. The alphabet and number train puzzles are excellent as they fulfil two functions - helping to improve dexterity and hand to eye coordination and learn their ABC/numbers. The child is learning while they are having fun with the puzzle. I have always found the 6-9 age range the hardest to get decent puzzles for - they are either too easy or too many pieces and enthusiasm wanes. I was delighted when I discovered Orchard and KSG puzzles. Their ranges have suggested child age ranges on them and have really interesting ( to children) subject matters. I was particularly pleased with the glow in the dark ones from KSG - my grandson absolutely loved them. I have also been lucky enough to come across the puzzles in a tin - thes eare 500 pieces, and are made of wood and are packed into a tin in the shape of an oversized soft drinks tin which doubles up as a money box. They are inexpensive, have lovely designs, ...

The Osterman Weekend - Robert Ludlum 21/03/2006

Ludlum at his Nazi infiltrating best

The Osterman Weekend - Robert Ludlum Omega and undercover Nazism outside of Germany figures strongly in many of Ludlums books and this is no exception. This book deals with a seemingly innocent weekend gathering of four families. Jon Tanner is looking forward to the gathering and is horrified when the CIA tell him that they think the weekend is a cover for a possible Omega meeting - and one or more of the other families may be involved. The book deals with Tanner and how he deals with the resulting weekend and his friends. Jon Tannier is a typical Ludlum hero - and like all of the people in his books, he seems completely real. Ludlum is a supreme storyteller, with the ability to create really believable people in his books so that you get sucked into their lives and thoughts as you would with a living friend. This skill, plus the very clever and intricate plots, make Ludlum books such a good read. I found it hard to put this book down, even though it is too long to read at one sitting. I also find that I have reread all my Ludlam books more than once because there is such a wealth of details there is always something new to discover.

Shattered - Dick Francis 21/03/2006

A racegoing glassblower is the unlikely hero here

Shattered - Dick Francis Dick Francis was an oustanding jockey who diversified into an outstanding author who uses his equine background to great effect in his books. Shattered is different to the many other books of Francis that I have read because the racing element is barely there at all. Glass blowing is the featured ocupation in this book, and the research into this world has been done meticulously as always in Francis books. I found it fascinating and enjoyed the detail that was included. Gerrard Logan is the hero of the piece - a glassblower of growing repute with his own business, who gets drawn into a web of murder and intrigue. One or two of the characters I found a little unbelievable - Marigold and her chauffeur particularly coming to mind - which is unusual as Francis is normally excellent with characterisation. I prefer not to give too much of the characters or the plot away in case it spoils the read for someone, but the intrigue starts very early indeed in this novel. As usual with Francis books, there is a romantic element that is very subtle and interesting as well as several subplots. Greed, fear,bravery and stupidity all have their part to play in a complex thriller which is quite dark in places. A really good read which does ned some concentration in places.

Jackdaws - Ken Follett 21/03/2006

Required: 6 outstanding women..

Jackdaws - Ken Follett I bought this book on impulse because I have enjoyed several of Folletts other books, but I have to say this is the best book I have read for a very long time. The story The story revolves around one central character, Flick Chairet . an Englighwoman married to a French Resistance leader.Flick is an English spy and the main contact between the Resistance in this large area of France and England. The resistance group led by her husband fails in an attempt to destroy a major telephone exchange in the chateau of the town they live in, and Flick is noticed just prior to the attack by a German Major, Dieter Franck. The book is set just prior to the proposed Normandy invasion by the Allied forces - and the communications centre chateau beomes a vital target for destruction to break German lines of communication to aid the invasion forces. Flick devises a plan which necessitates a team of women operatives. She puts together a team from the unlikeliest places, and which includes a lesbian aristocrat and transsexual man. The code name of her team is the Jackdaws. The book follows the training and the operation to destroy the telephone exchange. Characters Follett writes extremely well, and particularly about women. Flick is a beautiful, sassy, highly intelligent woman who has survived in an extemely hazardous environment for more than two years. Her main adversary is Major Franck who is a dedicated German Officer who is working directly for Rommel. He will ...
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