Saturday 30 November 2019

When in Warwick

Today I visited Warwick, another place I do frequent fairly regularly but usually for some other reason such as the canal that passes through the town. The town itself I have largely neglected, well lets change that as there is a lot to see in Warwick not just the castle! I had a walk around the town including it's rather fine town centre church and the Lord Leycester Hospital which is a superb example of medieval town architecture. You can see my photos here.

Friday 29 November 2019

BGLR : Return of the railcar

The railcar has made a brief return to the BGLR line. It still runs fine... though noisily and the ride is somewhat lively. If the railcar had any passengers aboard then they would very quickly become rather queasy. For that reason we've decided to call it Mr Wobbly!

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Churches (44) : St Mary the Virgin, Tutbury

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, also known as St Mary's Priory Church, is located next to the castle in the Staffordshire village of Tutbury. The oldest part of the church, the Western part dates from about 1160CE. The church was used by the monks at Tutbury Priory but after the end of the monastry St Mary's became the parish church. The Western part of the church was retained for this though the Eastern part (along with the priory itself) was demolished during the Reformation.

The South tower was added to the church in the sixteenth century, a North aisle was added in the early nineteenth. Above the Western door is an alabaster archway which is thought to be the only remaining external alabaster archway on a church in the country.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

History of the World in Apple Objects (15) : Macintosh LC

In the final instalment in this series we have the Macintosh LC. The LC stood for "Low Cost" though that was in relative Apple terms. The LC came in a slim line box known as the pizza box and was equipped with a Motorola 68020 processor and 2MB of RAM. It also had a hard drive.

It went on sale between 1990 and 1992 later superseded by the LC II and LC III, one of which I did have once too.

Monday 25 November 2019

Aylesbury Arm

The Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal links the town to the Grand Union Canal proper at Marsworth. On Saturday I had a walk along part of the canal arm, since I have been here last time work on redeveloping the basin area with a university college and a theatre have been completed and very nice it all looks too. You can see my canal photos here.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Back to Aylesbury

Yesterday I visited Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire again. Well I have been before but mostly to change trains or walk the canal so I thought it was time to explore the town itself, especially the old town around the church which is rather nice with it's quaint old houses and narrow winding streets. No doubt very expensive and a nightmare to find parking of course! You can see my photos from Aylesbury here.

Friday 22 November 2019

BGLR : Future rotations

Last week Ruby returned to active service replacing Tango. But which loco will be next to return from storage? The aim is to rotate a loco every two to three months (the shunters are on a different schedule as there are only two them!) Next to return to the layout will be Bear which will probably return to the layout next month replacing Growler. Meanwhile Black Beauty has been the busiest this week.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Churches (43) : St James the Great, Blakedown

The church of St James the Great in the Worcestershire village of Blakedown was built in 1866 by the Gothic revivalist George Edmund Street. The church is fairly modest in scale and made from red sandstone rubble in a fourteenth century style.

The church has a nave and chancel with a North vestry which has the bell tower above it. An aisle was added in 1905.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

History of the World in Apple Objects (14) : Workgroup Server 60

The most unusual Macintosh in my collection, the Workgroup Server 60 was a version of the Centris 610 to support small networks of Macs (it came with AppleShare software). The Workgroup Server 60 was released in the Summer of 1993 and sold until the Autumn of 1994.

It had a Motorola 68LC040 processor, 4MB of RAM, an 80MB hard drive and mine has a CD-ROM (an early type of CD-ROM at that with a CD caddy). Not a bad computer for it's day!

Monday 18 November 2019

Type sketch art

Humans have always found ways to use and push technology in ways never originally intended, especially to create art. Human ingenuity has enabled for example music to be created using the clicks and whirrs of a floppy disk drive, in earlier times expert use of the typewriter was used to create artworks. The use of typewriters to create images goes back to the earliest days of the typewriter in the late nineteenth century.

It can still be done nowadays but the heyday was undoubtedly when millions of people daily used typewriters for work in the first half of the twentieth century. One example from the early 1930s was a competition in the New Movie Magazine for typists to recreate photographs of movie stars using their typewriting skills in this case Greta Garbo.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Wilnecote and Fazeley

Yesterday I headed up to Staffordshire and Wilnecote which is just South of Tamworth. I walked across into Fazeley and then finally to the end of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. This is the canal that passes my house and I have walked much of it over the years though until now have not been to the Fazeley end and the "terminus". It joins with the Coventry Canal and I walked that for a bit, rather muddy towpath though not as bad at Burton-on-Trent a few weeks ago!

You can see my canal walk photos here. Photos of Wilnecote station and a few of Wilnecote and Fazeley can be seen here.

Saturday 16 November 2019

BGLR : Return of Ruby

Ruby has returned from the reserve fleet to replace Tango as the BGLR shunter / light duties loco. Now there is a question mark over Ruby as it's two sister locos are both stricken with motor issues. Lets hope it's a case of third time lucky!

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Churches (42) : All Saints, High Wycombe

All Saints is a large church in the centre of the Buckinghamshire town. There has been a church on the site since early Norman times, this early church was completely rebuilt and replaced by the current church in the late thirteenth century. Much of what was left of the Norman church was the tower but this was replaced itself in the early sixteenth century [1] after concerns it might collapse.

The church was greatly expanded from it's original size during the rebuilding, especially the nave and chancel which was extended. Nave arcades were added in the fifteenth century and a chantry chapel though this was later demolished.

The church was restored in the mid-1870s. The church is flint faced except the tower which is stone faced.

[1] Nikolaus Pevsner, Buckinghamshire (Penguin, 1960) p. 161

Tuesday 12 November 2019

History of the World in Apple Objects (13) : Macintosh IIcx

The Macintosh IIcx was introduced in 1989 and sold for two years. It was similar to the IIx though in a smaller and easy to open case which was also used by the more powerful Macintosh IIci which succeeded it. The IIcx came with a Motorola 68030 running at 16Mhz and could support up to 128MB of RAM (though that would have cost the GDP of a small country back then).

The IIcx ran Mac OS 6 up to 7.5.5. Unfortunately this one is unlikely to run anything anymore though still has the cute case!

Sunday 10 November 2019

Tanworth third time lucky

I have planned to visit Tanworth-in-Arden for a number of weeks now. Two weeks ago I had to postpone the trip due to adverse weather, last week it was postponed again due to a cancelled train. Finally i made it there this week!

Tanworth has no railway station itself but is about a mile away from both Wood End and Danzey. I alighted at Wood End, walked to Tanworth to take some photos of the rather nice church before heading out to Danzey and the train home. Not a journey without hazard, i had to walk along the road most of the way and was caught out by ice a few times (luckily didn't fall!) You can see my photos here.

Friday 8 November 2019

BGLR : First plan of the N project

It has been planned for some time now but I think th N gauge layout project will finally begin in 2020. After all I have the board already (a packing pallet) and all the rolling stock. All I need is some new track and somewhere to place the layout... well maybe by next year the space will be available. I have begun designing the layout, it will be fairly simple but should be interesting.

Thursday 7 November 2019

The Lost Key

There should be more blog posts about typewriters, well here is one anyway. The Lost Key of QWERTY explores a key which had three dots in a vertical line. It appeared on the very earliest commercially successful typewriter, the Remington Number 1, back in 1873 but then vanished on subsequent models and has never been seen since. It certainly isn't on my Brother Deluxe.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Churches (41) : St Mary the Virgin, Rickmansworth

The church of St Mary the Virgin is the parish church of Rickmansworth and also used by the Methodist Church. It is an example of a church completely rebuilt in the nineteenth century so that not much of the original church was left.

The church was built on the site of an earlier church which dated to the late thirteenth century. The church was rebuilt in the 1820s to a fifteenth century style with most of the medieval church pulled down and replaced. The West tower however dates from 1630CE and is a fine example of the Gothic style built from flint and stone.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Derbyshire Places (5) : Ambergate

Ambergate is an example of a settlement that can remain sleepy and unchanged for centuries before new technology in the form of transport links can change it profoundly, even changing the name!

Although the village of Ambergate is situated where the river Amber joins the Derwent it is infact named after a gate on a turnpike road. Until the early nineteenth century the village was known as Toadmoor and was a tiny collection of cottages for many years until the arrival of transport links and change.

Amber Gate was the name of the tollgate on the Nottingham turnpike, the name was adopted by the North Midland Railway when they built Ambergate station in 1840. The Cromford Canal also passed through Ambergate though these days Ambergate marks where the canal "ends" on the stretch from Cromford before coming back to life again near Langley Mill.

The village grew greatly in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the church of St Anne being built in 1892 for local worshippers who up until then had had to use a variety of different venues for worship, even the pub!