Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review : December

The final month and a bit quieter until the last few days. I fitted in 2 trips to Derby and also visited the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley at long last. At the start of the year i wanted to expand my horizons a bit and visit many more places in this great country and i certainly did that but there will be more to come in 2016 and i am already busy planning things.

Many people will reflect on the year of course, to me 2015 is an important year in history as it marked quite clearly that we are headed into darkness in the years and decades to come. The optimism for the future which was common only a few years ago seems to be dissipating as people come to grips with a world and environment we have done our best to abuse and destroy over the last few centuries fighting back.

Personally i feel its too late to stop the rot, which might be why i am so keen to do stuff now. I can see an end to our glorious industrial civilisation. I hope i'm wrong but i feel we will look back on this time as a golden age and regret we didn't heed the warnings before it was too late (and let's face it the warning signs were there back when i was in school and even earlier). That doesn't mean that i think we are all doomed but unfortunately we are going to have to accept things will have to change and not always for the better. But on that happy note i would like to visit my readers a happy new year!

Song of the month was "Who's on the line" by Device.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Derby yet again

I was able to fit one more railway photo shoot in this year and visited Derby yesterday, for the second time in the month. To be honest it was a little disappointing compared to the visit on the 17th though i did see a Class 47 light engine and its always good to see these old stagers which have been around since long before i've been born! You can see the photos here.

2015 Review : November

OK can we start slowing down yet? Well maybe a little. November was still fairly busy including trips to Leamington Spa, Tamworth and a very memorable trip to London where i enjoyed the amazing Clapham Junction again (the busiest station in Europe it is claimed, i can believe it!)

I created a new blog, TOPS Tastic, and also mused on 20 years in the workforce. Unfortunately it doesn't mean retirement is due any time soon but i am nearly half way there.

Song of the month was "Sunflowers" by La Casa Al Mare.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Review : October

At the risk of repeating myself October was another very busy month. It started with the Diesel Gala on the Severn Valley Railway, one of my favourite events from 2014 and this year's edition did not disappoint either especially with some of the more unusual locos on display like the Class 17 Clayton. I also attended Tyseley Loco Works' open day for the first time since i was a small child and visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway which is a great preserved line up in Derbyshire i shall be visiting again in 2016 for sure. Oh and i also visited Worcester (railway station and canal) and did some photoshoots at Erdington and Duffield too!

My model railway saw a major change in direction. Frustrated by the lack of availability of HOe stock i decided to change to N gauge.

Song of the month was "Celebrate" by Metric.

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Review : September

September has to go down as one of the busiest months. It started with a long delayed but finally realised and much enjoyed trip to Lapworth and its canals and railway. A week later i went to Crewe and the wonderful Crewe Heritage Centre and of course spent some time in the station too. Finally at the end of the month i made a second trip to the LT Museum Depot and also visited a live railway depot for the first time namely the Heathrow Express Depot including the change to walk underneath a train!

Interestingly after finally getting into the cab of a working locomotive after many years of being an enthusiast only back in July, in September i managed to get into the cabs of a Class 332 and a Class 87 too. Not only buses come in threes it seems.

I also bought myself a Chromebook Pixel a lovely computer which replaced my fading iPad as my "personal" computer. Its a beautiful piece of kit and in some ways more powerful than my Macbook though probably a bit overpriced for what it can do and what i use it for. However it should last me a number of years so should be seen as a long term investment.

Song of the month was "Can you blame me" by Matt & Kim.

The National Museum of Computing

Somewhere i've wanted to go for some time is The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley and today i finally went! Seeing all of the old computers, especially the "old iron" (mainframes and minicomputers), filled me with nostalgia even the stuff i hadn't ever seen before! I've always been fond of computing like this, many years ago i learnt to program on a Prime minicomputer via a dumb terminal after all! There were no Primes on display though i was told they did have one in storage.

They did have rooms full of computers and cabinets full of exhibits, happily quite a few of them i own myself too! You can see my photos here.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Review : August

August might be considered a slightly quieter month but it still saw my first trip proper to Princes Risborough (as opposed to just the station) and Monks Risborough. A return to Banbury and a trip to Hereford too.

I had some trouble with my iPhone which suffered from a swelling battery. This soon rendered it unusable. I therefore got a new phone, a Lumia, but to my surprise Apple replaced the iPhone free of charge anyway even though it was out of warranty so i ended up with 2 phones. I continued to use the Lumia as my main and the iPhone as a backup until yesterday when i finally switched back to the iPhone as a main.

Song of the month was "I don't want to" by La Casa Al Mare.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 Review : July

July was another busy month (to be honest every month has been fairly busy this year!) It saw a fascinating visit to the Severn Valley Railway when they held their behind the scenes open day which included a chance to visit places like the carriage shed and Bridgnorth workshop and also enter the cab of a diesel locomotive for the first time. Earlier in the month i also returned to the great railway spot Derby and to Leamington Spa where i saw a "Thumper" DEMU for the first time as well as walked the Grand Union Canal there.

As well as taking photos of trains i experimented with a cheap wireless camera though it did not reallt work out due to a lack of wi-fi range.

Song of the month was "More than you" by Class Actress.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Review : June

After the very busy May June was slightly quieter but did include a trip to Aylesbury which is somewhere i've wanted to go for some time. I enjoyed the railways getting to the Buckinghamshire town and a long walk along the Grand Union canal. The following week i returned to Wootton Wawen and had another canal walk.

I also returned to study by beginning a short course on meteorology though i did not complete it, i found it a bit boring to be honest and not really what i was hoping for. I might try a short course again next year but stick to history!

Song of the month was "The shade" by Metric (which is also my song of the year to be honest).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Review : May

May was a busy month which included 2 trips to London. On the first i travelled around South London taking in the likes of Clapham Junction and Peckham for the first time, as well as going to Chelsea Dock. On the second trip i went to the London Transport Museum Depot in Acton for the first time, its somewhere i've wanted to go to for a long time and i really enjoyed it. So much so i later became a friend of the museum.

I also went to Leamington Spa and the Severn Valley Railway this month. Song of the month was "Let the good times" by The Charlatans.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Review : April

For Easter i went to Cardiff for a short holiday, a lovely city which i hugely enjoyed and will surely visit again one day. Of course i took a lot of photos especially around the bay and Penarth Marina and of the various railways around the city. Later in the month i also went to Stafford for the first time and that was enjoyable too. Indeed one theme for this year has been quite a lot of trips and visits to places for the first time. Lets hope that can continue in 2016.

Garden wise the herb garden was developed and has remained largely the same since. Actually the garden has done pretty well this year with a lot of the overgrowth finally cut back and got rid of.

Song of the month was "Collect yourself" by Idlewild.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Derby video and more

A day off yesterday gave me the chance to visit Derby on a weekday, my two previous visits had both been on Saturdays and while i had seen plenty of Network Rail RTC research and engineering trains i reckoned that a weekday would yield even more. Oddly enough for the first hour of so it was all rather quiet and i was starting to get a bit disappointed. Then around lunchtime it all kicked off with interesting traction and trains in all directions. You can see my photos here. I also took a video for the first time and it turned out fairly well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Review : March

Spring approaches and life becomes slightly more busier. March saw my first ever trip to Derby, one of the key spots of the railway network, and also a return to my beloved Banbury. With the weather improving my attention returned to my garden and i began a very successful experiment in growing herbs instead of other vegetables. I'll continue doing this in future as i do tend to use what i grow much more...

The model making season also began. Song of the month was "Stones in the road" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

2015 Review : February

February is usually a quiet month but improving (yet still a bit nippy) weather saw my first trip to the Severn Valley Railway of the year. A first trip to Tamworth station was also made this month though it was a bit chilly as was my second trip there a few weeks ago - i must go there in the Summer for a change!

Song of the month was "White foxes" by Susanne Sundfor.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 Review : January

Lets begin the traditional review of the year a.k.a. an easy way to fill up the blog in December! January saw my first visit to Leicester and very nice it was too plus a trip to Stratford. Oddly considering how many times i have been to the town in recent years that is still my only trip there this year (so far). I also returned to Nottingham at the very start of the year. Really January set the pattern for the year, a lot of trips around the Midlands and lots of photographs taken. Most of them of the railways of course.

Song of the month was "Eyes be closed" by Washed Out.