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Sixtyplusurfers Reviews

Lonely Courage
By Rick Stroud
Review by Simon Fine

Lonely Courage by Rick Stroud

The Special Operations Executive (SOE) set up by Winston Churchill in 1941 “to coordinate all action by way of subversion and sabotage against the enemy overseas” saw its role in France as helping the Resistance by recruiting and organising guerrilla fighters; supplying and training them; and then disrupting the invaders by any means necessary.

The basic SOE unit was a team of three: a leader, a wireless operator and a courier. These teams operated in Resistance circuits and the agents were given random codenames. The aim of this work was to prepare for the invasion of Europe by Allied forces and the eventual liberation of France. It was soon decided that women would play a vital role.

There were 39 female agents recruited from all walks of life, ranging from a London shop assistant to a Polish aristocrat. What linked them was that they knew France well, were fluent in French and were prepared to sacrifice everything to help defeat the enemy. The women trained alongside the men, learning how to disappear into the background, how to operate a radio transmitter and how to kill with their bare hands. Once trained they were infiltrated behind the lines by parachute or tiny aircraft that could land in remote fields. .

Stroud tells their stories in considerable detail, skilfully engaging the reader in the lives of the women, their recruitment, training and deployment, making contact with the Resistance, sending and receiving coded messages, evading betrayal and capture. Some of the women went on to lead thousands of Resistance fighters, while others were arrested, brutally interrogated and sent to concentration camps where they endured torment and death.

The brutality and inhuman treatment that they endured was truly sickening. One of the women was Noor Inayat Khan. An Indian Muslim, born in Moscow, she volunteered in 1943 and was parachuted into France, making her way to Paris where she worked as a radio operator in the “Physician” network. Like many others, she was betrayed by a double agent and arrested. Following months of interrogation, she was transported to Dachau concentration camp where she was shot dead. A memorial to her was unveiled in 2012 in Gordon Square Gardens, London.

Twelve of the 39 women were executed and two died of illness. The book concludes with a review of what happened at the end of the war for each of the survivors and their lives after the war including the recognition and awards given to all those concerned. Painstakingly researched, Lonely Courage tells their story and sheds light on what life was really like for these brave women who played such a selfless part in the liberation of occupied France and the ultimate defeat of the Nazis.

Rick Stroud

               Author, Rick Stroud

Rick Stroud is a bestselling historian who specialises in unique stories from the Second World War. His previous books include Rifleman, The Phantom Army of Alamein, and Kidnap in Crete. He is a trustee of the London Library.

Lonely Courage: The true story of the SOE heroines who fought to free Nazi-occupied France is published by Simon & Schuster. Price is £20 for the hardback.

For more information visit the website at www.simonandschuster.co.uk
 

An Unlikely Agent
By Jane Menczer
Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

An Unlikely Agent by Jane Menczer

An Unlikely Agent is set in London, in 1905. Margaret Trant lives with her ailing irascible mother in a dreary boarding house in St John's Wood. The pair have fallen on hard times, with only Margaret's meagre salary from a ramshackle import-export company keeping them afloat.

When a stranger on a tram hands her a newspaper open at the recruitment page, Margaret spots an advertisement that promises to 'open new horizons beyond your wildest dreams!'

After a gruelling interview, she finds herself in a new position as a secretary in a dingy backstreet shop. But all is not as it seems, she is in fact working for a highly secret branch of the intelligence service, Bureau 8, whose mission is to track down and neutralise a ruthless band of anarchists known as the Scorpions.

Margaret's voracious reading of detective fiction has scarcely prepared her for the reality of true criminality. Her journey of self-discovery forms the heart of this remarkable novel, as she discovers in herself resourcefulness, courage, independence and the first stirrings of love.

Menczer conveys the fog and grime of Edwardian London in an espionage thriller that evokes the humdrum dinginess of spywork as it alternates with thrilling danger, in a manner characteristic of John le Carr
é. Margaret Trant is a heroine to remember.

I'm always on the lookout for something original and different to read, so I was intrigued when I received An Unlikely Agent. I immediately sympathised with the dowdy and disillusioned 
Margaret Trant who is down on her luck and living in a miserable boarding house with her difficult, elderly mother.  

I liked the way the story was cleverly constructed as we follow Margaret and watch her situation change and her character grow in confidence and maturity. As she takes on more responsibility in her role as a secret agent at Bureau 8, and gets increasingly tangled up in the mysterious web of the Scorpions, we wonder if this ruthless group of anarchists will ever be stopped?

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Jane Menczer, it kept me thoroughly engrossed over the Easter break. I would heartily recommend it if you enjoy spy novels with a twist of romance, elements of danger and plenty of nail-biting suspense.

Jane Menczer

             Author, Jane Menczer

Jane Menczer was born in Winchester and now lives in Cambridge. She has worked in a West End Theatre, as a nanny, as a waitress, and as a bookseller.

Working with Germaine Greer on her dissertation awakened an interest in all the talented and heroic women from other eras who have been overlooked or forgotten, and directly influenced the creation of the character of Miss Trant.

Jane currently teaches drama at a comprehensive school near Cambridge. An Unlikely Agent is her first novel.

An Unlikely Agent is published by Polygon on 11th May. Price is £8.99 for the paperback. It is also available as an eBook.

For more information about the book visit the website at www.polygonbooks.co.uk
 

Improve Your Digestion
By Patrick Holford
Review by Simon Fine

Improve your Digestion by Patrick Holford

A recent survey of 59,000 people’s digestive health has found that British digestive problems are worse than ever. The survey found that two in three people experience bloating after meals, eight in ten don't go to the loo every day and one in four women complain of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In his latest publication, Improve Your Digestion, Patrick Holford explains the complex workings of our digestive systems and provides an easy to follow roadmap of how we can improve how we digest, absorb and eliminate our food. The objective is to banish common digestive problems such as bloating and constipation, indigestion and heartburn, food intolerances, IBS and inflammatory bowel disease, candidiasis and other gut infections.

The book contains a great deal of explanation about how the digestive system works, and the symptoms and causes of digestive illnesses, supported by recent research. There is a chapter dedicated each common digestive problem along with step by step solutions. These involve adjusting our diets, avoiding certain trigger foods where necessary and adding vitamins and supplements as required.

Taking drugs is a last resort rather than the first port of call. Each chapter concludes with a helpful summary of the main points. The book provides the information and empowers the reader to understand their condition and to tackle their problems in a structured and easy to understand way.

The book concludes with a selection of gut-friendly breakfasts, main meals and snacks. This is a valuable resource for the many people who suffer from digestive problems, and provides potential solutions which are based on eating the right foods, taking supplements where necessary and adopting healthy habits.

Patrick Holford

             Author, Patrick Holford

Patrick Holford is one of the UK's best-known nutrition experts and a leading spokesman on nutrition in the media. He is the author of over 30 books. In 1984 he founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, an independent educational charity.

He is CEO of the Food for the Brain Foundation and Director of the Brain Bio Centre. He is also an honorary fellow of the British Association of Nutritional Therapy, as well as a registered member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.

Improve Your Digestion is published by Piatkus. Price is £14.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book visit the website at www.patrickholford.com
 

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet
By Tom Kerridge
Review by Simon Fine

Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge enjoyed the celebrity chef lifestyle when it came to eating and drinking. But as he approached his fortieth birthday he realised that, at 30 stones, he needed to take drastic action to lose a lot of weight and become slimmer and healthier. Tom has positively transformed his lifestyle and his body shape over the past three years, shedding eleven stones and has got his weight firmly under control.

To emphasise his achievement, the introduction of his recently published book, Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet, features a remarkable full page photograph of Tom wearing one of his old suits. You could almost squeeze two Toms into the waistband of the trousers and the jacket hangs off his shoulders. It is a very positive statement from a chef who enjoyed rich foods and plenty of meat. And still does.

How has he done it? Well one big change Tom made was to cut out the alcohol. He found it quite a challenge at first, but soon felt the benefits, especially the morning after! He also swims every day. So, although the book is essentially about food, it is not the only element of Tom’s weight loss strategy.

Tom explains that he spent ages researching diets to find an approach that would work for him but found that most diets were either “too fussy, too restrictive or just plain unpleasant”. He decided that a high-protein/low-carb diet was right for him. His ethos is to eat as many foods that stimulate the production of dopamine as possible.

Dopamine is a “feel good” chemical which is released in our brains. Tom's 'dopamine heroes' include dairy products such as double cream and yoghurt, eggs, fish, fruit, good-quality meats including beef, chicken and turkey, vegetables, spices and even chocolate. By ditching alcohol and starchy carbs in favour of plenty of protein, fresh fruit and veg, Tom eats meals that help him lose weight, whilst offering a satisfying intensity of flavour.

The book contains a hundred recipes from soups to salads, omelettes to stews, roasts to sweets and breads. These are recipes that do not feel like diet meals, and can be shared with friends and family. Rich mussel broth, sausage, sage and onion omelette, poached salmon, samphire and seaweed, Chinese pork hot pot and blueberry bread and butter pudding do not sound like a diet that will leave you hungry. The dopamine diet has worked for Tom and it can work for you.

Tom Kerridge worked as a chef in restaurants across Britain before deciding to set out on his own, and take over a rundown pub in the quiet town of Marlow. He opened The Hand & Flowers with his wife Beth in 2005, and it went on to become the first pub in the world to acquire two Michelin stars.

As well as hosting his own BBC television series, Tom has recently been at the helm of the BBC's Food & Drink and Spring Kitchen series, and appears regularly on major broadcasts such as Saturday Kitchen, Great British Menu and MasterChef.

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet is published by Bloomsbury. Price is £20 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit the website at www.bloomsbury.com
 

Shopping & Reviews


Fabulous Gifts
from Prezzybox

 

Retro Pineapple Ice Bucket from Prezzybox


Prezzybox offers a great selection of gifts for the home, entertaining and the warmer weather ahead. Check out their extensive range of products which are suitable for every occasion.

Make a fruity statement with this Retro Pineapple Ice Bucket, just like we used to have for parties back in the 1970s. Perfect for keeping your drinks cool, this realistic pineapple has a removable top, complete with leaves so you can fill and store your ice inside. You can even fill it with tropical fruit, a boozy punch or a delicious cold dessert.

Use if for a tropical party, serving cool drinks at your barbecue, entertaining in your garden or a hot conservatory. The Pineapple Ice Bucket includes a glass liner to keep your ice chilled and ready to use. It has a capacity of 1500ml and is presented in a retro style gift box. Price is £27.95.

Beach Hut Planter Set from Prezzybox

Give your home a fresh seaside feel with this eyecatching Beach Hut Planter Set. Ideal for anyone who likes to grow their own herbs or vegetables, the hut contains everything you need to plant and grow your very own mint herbs.

This cute beach hut includes its own wooden fence with rope detailing that sits around a plant pot with a drainage tray. The beach hut can be lifted and used as a storage space for the included soil pellet and mint seeds. Hand painted and made from wood, dimensions are 15cm x 25cm x 26cm. Price is £19.95.

Shake 'n' Make Ice Cream Maker from Prezzybox

Enjoy your own delicious home made ice cream in this fun to use
Shake 'n' Make Ice Cream Maker. Quick and easy to use, just mix salt and ice in the base, add your mixture to the stainless steel dish and shake the ice cream maker for just 4 minutes to make perfect ice cream every time!

Create your own ice cream with milk, yogurt and all your favourite ingredients. Make your ice cream healthy with plenty of fresh fruit and as little or as much sugar as you want to use. Recipe ideas are included in the enclosed instruction leaflet. Easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Hand powered, there is no need for batteries. Price is £12.95.

Pusheen Chocolate Brownie Kit from Prezzybox

Enjoy some simple Summer baking with this fun Pusheen Chocolate Brownie Kit. Perfect for easy baking with your grandchildren or a quick tasty treat, the cute brownie mug mix kit contains three individual portions of high quality ingredients with no added nasties.

The kit includes enough ingredients to make three mug cakes. You just need to add a bit of butter and milk. Ready in just 60 seconds. You can decorate your cakes with the mini marshmallows which are included to finish off your yummy dessert. Enjoy your Brownie Cakes with a cup of tea or coffee. Price is £4.95 for each kit.

Personalised Sparkling Rosé Wine Gift Set from Prezzybox

This stylish  Personalised Sparkling Ros
é Wine Gift Set is perfect for any occasion. This 75cl bottle of Sparkling French Rosé is produced from only red grapes and has a natural sparkle resulting from its fermentation process.

Make it special with your own personalised label. Choose the design and personalise with the recipient's name (up to 25 characters) and a special message (up to 80 characters). Perfect for housewarming parties, a retirement gift, thank you gift, birthday or anniversary. Price is £21.95.

Digital Luggage Scale from Prezzybox

If you're setting off on holiday but only have a limited luggage weight allowance, then treat yourself to a Digital Luggage Scale. The scale is small enough to slip into your hand luggage, but can hold a massive 50kgs of weight – so you can be sure that your luggage is always the right weight!

Portable and easy to use, the scale has a clear LCD display and is powered by a 3 volt lithium cell battery, which is included. The scale includes a built in auto-weight lock function, so that once the weight is stable, the display locks so that you can easily read it. Measuring 13cm x 3cm. Price is £10.95

Luxury Half Circle Two Person Willow Picnic Basket from Prezzybox

Get ready for the warm weather with this charming Luxury Half Circle Two Person Willow Picnic Basket. Handwoven with willow, this delightful basket is ideal for a Summer picnic on the beach or at the park.

Made from a light woven wood with a striped blue lining, the inner cooling section is perfect for all your sandwiches, drinks and desserts. It's also perfect for camping or taking to festivals or concerts.

Luxury Half Circle Two Person Willow Picnic Basket from Prezzybox

The inside of the hamper has dark brown straps inside so that you can keep the cutlery and plates secure within the basket and transport it safely. Contents include plastic plates, knives, forks, tea spoons, salt and pepper shakers, a corkscrew and plastic wine glasses. Fill it up with delicious food to enjoy on your picnic. Price is £39.95.

For more information about Prezzybox visit the website at www.prezzybox.com

 

Gorgeous Gifts from The Contemporary Home for May

Wooden Seagulls from The Contemporary Home


Liven up your home with the gorgeous selection of gifts from The Contemporary Home.

Whether you're lucky enough to live by the sea or not, these beautiful Wooden Seagulls will bring the beach right into your home.

Available in two sizes (small and large), their bodies are carved and colour washed in soft brown and white, with long yellow beaks. Great for gifts too.
Price is £12.00 for the Small Wooden Seagulls and £15.00 for the Large Wooden Seagulls.

Nautical Be Lucky Terrier Mug and Ship Mate Nautical Mug from The Contemporary Home

Cheer up your home with a Nautical Be Lucky Terrier Mug or a Ship Mate Nautical Mug.

The Nautical Be Lucky Terrier Mug is the perfect mug for dog lovers and seaside fanatics. With a strong greeny-blue sea background, the design features a happy terrier, a few spilt ice creams, several yachts and a flashing lighthouse. It's a great gift idea for those who love the sea and terriers, and is the perfect addition to nautical themed kitchens.

The Ship Mate Nautical Mug is the perfect mug for salty ship mates, or those aspiring to become one! With a strong greeny-blue sea background, the design features a rosy-cheeked shipmate, a pair of yachts, some friendly seagulls and flashing lighthouses. It's a great gift idea for those who love the sea, or the perfect addition to nautical themed kitchens.

Both mugs are dishwasher safe and matching items are available. Price is £12.00 each.

Builders Tea Tin Tray from The Contemporary Home

There's something wonderfully retro about serving drinks and food on a tin tray, especially when the design is as pretty and vintage-looking as this fabulous Builders Tea Tin Tray.

Featuring a traditional stripy mug of strong builders' tea, this lovely tray will look great in any kitchen. Measuring 32.5cm in diameter, it's strong, durable and easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. Price is £10.50.

Dragon Fly Jug from The Contemporary Home

This sold glass Dragon Fly Jug will quickly become a household staple. Whether you use it for water for dinner, as a vase for flowers or even for a Pimms in the garden, it will be a firm favourite.


Made from recycled glass with an embossed dragon fly design, it's the perfect jug for entertaining or as a welcome in your new home gift. Price is £15.00.

Set of Three Cake Tins from The Contemporary Home

This delightful Set of Three Cake Tins makes a welcome return to The Contemporary Home collection this season. Beautiful and practical, the tins are sold as a set of three.

The largest tin (22.5cm diameter) features a yummy cup cake design, the medium tin (20cm diameter) is covered in wonderful fresh eggs, while the smallest tin (17cm diameter) is greeny-yellow in colour and features a raspberry jelly design.

All tins are airtight, safe for use with food products and easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. Now you can bake to your heart's content and store your produce in style. Price is £30.00 for the set.


Beach Rules Lighthouse Sign from The Contemporary Home

For all those who love days by the ocean, this Beach Rules Lighthouse Sign spells out the things you must do the next time you visit the sand - they are the beach rules.

From soaking up the sun to collection seashells, there are eleven simple tasks to undertake when visiting the beach. This is a great, fun interior accessory to brighten up your home wherever you live, or as a gift for the beach-lover. Price is £7.00

Wooden Recipes Storage Box from The Contemporary Home

We are all partial to a new recipe, and this stylish Wooden Recipes Storage Box is a great way to accessorise the home without causing unnecessary clutter while storing all of your favourites recipes and cooking cuttings.

In rustic wood with limed effect finish, its A4 size will keep your recipes neat and tidy. Price is £17.00.


For more information about The Contemporary Home visit the website at www.tch.net
 
 

   Sixtyplusurfers Competition

  Win a Large Talking
    Thomas Soft Toy


Win a large Talking Thomas Soft Toy from Golden Bear


Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Golden Bear to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a Large Talking Thomas Soft Toy.

Peep Peep Peep! Start your own little adventure with everyone’s favourite little blue engine. Large Talking Thomas from Golden Bear is fantastic for all fans of the show and features his iconic phrases with a squeeze of his body!



Suitable for children aged 10 months +, these soft toys are perfect for little hands and inquisitive minds. RRP is £14.99.



For more information about Talking Thomas click on www.goldenbeartoys.com

   For Your Chance to Win

Tell us what is Talking Thomas?

  a) A steam tram
  b) A steam train
  c) A steam tractor
  d) A steam tugboat


 To Enter the Competition

Tell us what is Talking Thomas? Then send in your answer, together with your full name, postal address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address
as shown below:

sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

* Please label your entry
Talking Thomas Competition
 

     * This competition is open to our
                      UK visitors only

 

  Simple Smartphone
for Elderly & Disabled

The new amplicomms M9500 Smartphone

The New amplicomms M9500 is the first Smartphone that turns into a remotely controlled device so that Care Givers can support operation of the Phone or provide help in an Emergency.

Features include:

· Unique HELP Function for Relatives to remotely operate the phone.

· Care Giver Function – remote Call In for status check, Find My Phone operation etc.

· SOS Button For Emergencies with Google Map GPS location of caller.

· Press & Hold Operation to avoid accidental touch dialling.

· Hearing Aid Compatible with Amplified Ringer (90dB) and Calls (40dB).

Specially designed to help older or disabled users connect to the wired world, the new amplicomms M9500 offers all the benefits of a Smartphone with some exceptional features.

HELP Button for Remote Access

For the first time, family members can support a loved one by remotely operating their phone, as if it were in their hands


For the first time, family members can support a loved one by remotely operating their phone, as if it were in their hands. Pushing the Help button on the M9500 will give a choice of authorised contacts to receive an automated link via email, text or Whatsapp, enabling a screen share for complete control of the phone. Apps can be loaded, settings changed, emails constructed, etc.

Care Giver Function

Using the Care Giver function, selected relatives can initiate a remote “Call In” and have a two-way hands-free conversation, remotely activate “Find My Phone”, check the battery or signal status or do a complete a restart.

Emergency Service

The SOS button can be programmed to call up to five contacts with a pre-recorded voice message, followed by a text containing a Google Map link of the phones location, in an emergency this could be a lifesaver.

Press & Hold Operation

The menu is displayed as large slices, with a “Press & Hold” long click function to avoid accidental touching (speed adjustable) when navigating the menu, making it easier for people with dexterity issues or those not used to a touch screen.

Simple to Use

The 5” touch screen has big app icons and an XL horizontal keypad with the option of voice assistance, or message dictation facility


The 5” touch screen has big app icons and an XL horizontal keypad with the option of voice assistance, or message dictation facility. Messages of any type, text, emails, notifications and images all arrive in the phone’s Message Centre making it less confusing.

Additional features include hearing aid compatibility, amplified sound, vocalised Caller ID, double-sided camera, Dual SIM Card Slot, and built-in music player, FM Radio, torch calendar etc.

The new amplicomms M9500 helps avoid isolation and depression for people living independently.

The new amplicomms M9500 Smartphone

The new amplicomms M9500 Smartphone is priced at £179.99,
SIM-free.

Available from www.hearingdirect.com

Tel: 0800 032 1301.
 

     Retro Gifts from
Jeremy's Home Store

Bird's Custard Jug from Jeremy's Home Store

Check out the eyecatching range of retro gifts from Jeremy's Home Store.

Enjoy a jug of custard or cream with your favourite pudding in this eyecatching Bird's Custard Jug. Sure to be a talking point in your kitchen. The jug has a 750ml capacity. Price is £14.99.

Kellogg's Vintage Frosties Wash Bag from Jeremy's Home Store

This lively Kellogg's Vintage Frosties Wash Bag is perfect for a weekend away. Use it for your toothbrush, paste and other essential toiletries.

The bag features Tony the lovable tiger and the iconic Kellogg's Frosted Flakes logo. It has a zip fasting and a Kellogg's logo zip pull. Price is £7.99.

Marmite Tin from Jeremy's Home Store

This nostalgic square retro Marmite Tin is the perfect gift for Marmite fans. Decorated with the famous Marmite logo and iconic jar, it will make a great talking point in your home.

Use it to store your Marmite, crackers, biscuits and other tasty treats to enjoy with Marmite. It's also a great tin for trinkets and small items. Price is £4.99.

Retro Space Hopper from Jeremy's Home Store

Jump back in time with this iconic Retro Space Hopper! Still as much fun today as it was back in the '70s, the hopper is perfect for children and nostalgic adults.

The Space Hopper can inflate to 60cm using the foot pump included. Price is £12.99.

Tiddly Winks from Jeremy's Home Store

Tiddly Winks was everyone's favourite childhood game, and now you can enjoy it again with all the family with this fabulous vintage version.

The retro style box opens up into the playing board which can be played by up to four players. The game comes with full instructions. Price is £3.99.

Family-Fun Bingo Game from Jeremy's Home Store

Entertain your friends with the Family-Fun Bingo Game. Suitable for up to 18 players, the set includes a Tombola cage, 75 bingo balls, caller board, 18 player cards, 150 marker counters and complete instructions. Price is £14.99.

For more information about Jeremy's Home Store click on www.jeremyshomestore.co.uk 
 

 Totally Funky Gifts

Unicorn Powerbank from Totally Funky

Check out the cool range of gifts from Totally Funky, perfect for a special treat or birthday gift, there's plenty of treats to inspire you.

There is no denying the mystical powers of the mighty unicorn and these powers even expand into battery power. Pop this Unicorn Powerbank in your pocket or bag and when you need to boost the battery on your smartphone. Let this 2000mAh battery work its magic. Price is £14.99.

Pillow Egg Cup from Totally Funky

This Pillow Egg Cup is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys boiled eggs. At first glance, it seems as if the egg is perched on a small, soft, fluffy white pillow. But despite first impressions, this plush resting place is made from fine glazed ceramic and neatly holds your morning egg in place.

The prospect of a perfectly presented boiled egg for breakfast will help to drag your sleepy head from the pillow. Give your egg the royal treatment with this posh egg cup holder. A great gift for eggheads and early risers. Price is £11.99.

Flamingo Watering Can from Totally Funky

This fabulous Flamingo Watering Can is the ideal gift for green-fingered adults and little gardeners. Made from lightweight plastic it has a generous 1.5 litres capacity. Price is £17.99.

For more information about Totally Funky click on www.totally-funky.co.uk