Walk The Chalk

This was another Surrey Hills Walk that can be found on the iFootpath app. Its a linear walk of about 7.5 miles from Dorking railway station to Gomshall station.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/denbies-hillside/documents/walk-the-chalk-leaflet.pdf

We arrived at Dorking railway station as the guide suggests and parked in the station pay and display car park. The cost was £3.55 for the whole day and you can pay by app if you forget to bring any change.

We followed the guide and made our way down an underpass, past a school and to the start of the first footpath. One moment you’re walking down streets in a town and then the next you’re making your way into the countryside climbing the Denbies Hillside.

This was perhaps my favourite walk so far. Some spectacular views over the surrey countryside with the sun rising above the mist. There was plenty of wildlife including cattle and deer. You follow the line of the railway tracks for much of the walk and occasionally would see a train going past in the distance below you.

There were some short steep climbs in places to keep it interesting, an old carriage road, chalk footpaths, quite a few pillboxes and some benches to have a quick rest and take in the views.

At the end of the walk you arrive in the beautiful village of Gomshall. . There is a mill, a shop with some model dinosaurs at the front and a café for some refreshments. The station is a short walk but does not have a ticket office so you are expected to buy a ticket on the train or prepay online. We arrived at the station at about 11.55 and the train arrived at about 12.12 after a short delay. A few minutes later after looking back at the views of where you have just walked,  you arrive back at the other Dorking Station, Deepdene. A 2 minute walk sees you back at the Dorking station car park.

I’ve collected some more photos in an album again. Click on the link below:

Walk The Chalk 20.10.18

 

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Day trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park

It was a beautiful sunny late September day when we went to the wildlife park.

We started with the walled garden complete with penguin and lemur enclosure. The garden is small but spectacular and still very much in bloom. They had a few angles trumpets we also have at home. You walk around the lemur enclosure and stand just a couple of feet away from the penguins. This is close to the entrance and you have a shop with the usual sorts of gifts and a small windows where you can order a hot dog and a coffee.

Further into the park where the main house is situated, you can find a much larger restaurant. The food is simple and when we visited had been under hot lamps for a while so was not particularly appetising but this is normally the case I find with these sorts of places.

 
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Entry to the park is £16 and you can take dogs into the park although not everywhere. I recommend taking the little train that goes around the park as it gives you a good idea of what there is too see and where it can be found. You cannot drive through the park but its small enough to see everything in half a day. I think my favourite part was the tropical greenhouse where there are a variety of birds, sloths, rat-like creatures running around your feet. It reminded me a little of Kew Gardens and the Eden Project.

Centre for computing history Retro Computer Festival 2018

We visited this festival again for the third year in a row, I think it is.

Held at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. It’s tucked away in a little industrial estate with limited car parking.

Once through the inconspicuous doors that hide a gem of nerdiness, you are met with a little reception desk and small shop area with an array of computer related gadgets and niknaks.

There is s small hatch which serves drinks and some limited snacks, tables to sit and eat and a huge working microprocessor simulator occupies a couple of the walls.

This weekend they break out all the arcade machines, consoles, handhelds, computers, mainframes and associated hardware and software. You can interact with many of the most influential computers in silicon history. I love this festival because there’s also a large number of enthusiasts and experts to tell you about the systems and I love the stories they tell that help to bring them to life.

If you were s child of the 70’s and 80’s particularly then you will love this.

In a side room is a mockup of a 70’s/80’s office and in another room were some enthusiasts displaying their personal collections.

I went over to talk to a man who sells the RC2014 z80 kit. I bought one last year and haven’t been able to get it fully working yet. He was able to test most of the PCB’s and confirm they were working. It could still be the CPU PCB or the TTL connector kit. I bought one of his Raspberry Pi expansion PCB’s so I can connect it to a Raspberry pi for video output and bypass the need for the USB serial TTL connection. I now need to get home and check all my solder joints on the CPU assembly.

Debbie and I played games on a few of the consoles including the original pong on a TV console. Obviously I won as can be seen on the video:

About a year ago I purchased a Lego 1093 Interface A set which came with the electronics but no software. I have tried searching online,in forums and even Lego but could not get hold of the required software to use this. I recently found that the Museum had a copy somewhere. On Saturday there was a volunteer demonstrating some similar PC controlled Lego kits and I mentioned this all to him. He was kind enough to locate the software and spoke to a colleague who is going to make a copy and send it out to me. Looking forward to that.

Another exhibitor at the event was the ex managing director of Commodore, David Pleasance, who has just released a new book about his days running Commodore. He has also released an accompanying Blu-ray with interviews and a music CD. He has a musical history as well as looking after one of the most iconic computer companies of the 80’s. We bought his book for £30 and Blu-ray for £20 and he threw in the CD. After some problems taking electronic payments, he signed both and allowed a photo opportunity. Looking forward to reading the inside story of Commodore.

 

One of the things I always enjoy about this event is seeing the enthusiasts and volunteers who continue to maintain old systems and in some cases develop new hardware and software to keep these systems alive and popular as ever. Retro is definitely in.

One of the volunteers was showing off his Altair 8080 emulator. A hardware version of the classic computer that is fully working with an authentic looking control panel.

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Some of the great systems to see and play!

 

 

Day trip to Brighton Burn Up

Sunday the 9th September was the Ace Café Burn Up Event for motorcycles and my brother and family decided to visit. He has a motorcycle and wanted to go to see all the other bikes.

We parked at the Marina, where car parking is free for the whole day. When we got there, level 9 is used for a car boot sale on Sunday’s so we had a little walk around and bought a couple of lego bits. They have quite a nice collection of sellers selling some quirky items and antiques. Quite a different vibe to our local car boot sale in Slough.

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After a short while at the car boot, we headed to the Harvester for an all you can eat breakfast! Its a good deal for about £8 including continental and drinks. Beware the cold beans though. The chef seemed to struggle with providing hot beans!

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We then started the long walk from the Marina to the town centre past the nudist beach and the motorcycles already doing some stunts.

Once we got to town we headed to our favourite art shop, Cloud Gallery. I saw three prints I liked from my favourite pop culture artist, JJ Adams, although Debbie was not so impressed:

I cant believe I managed to resist buying one on the spot. Maybe a Christmas present?

We did some window shopping in the lanes and bought one more item ready for our annual Halloween party. It’s a hand made chest we thought might look good:

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After some brief rest, we headed for our 2.30 appointment on the British Airways i360 experience. A 450 foot tall ride in a doughnut shaped metal/glass 360 degree panoramic view elevator. I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. But once inside and its climbing slowly, its very smooth and spacious and you have the choice of sitting down on seats, buying a drink at the bar or walking to the glass windows and taking in the views over Brighton on a glorious sunny afternoon.

Once at the bottom, you exit through the shop and we purchased the souvenir photo book with keyring. An eye watering £20!.

Outside there was a colourful and somewhat noisy Hare Krishna procession and we just caught the end of this including some of the crowd pulling a large wooden contraption.

 

On the way back to the Marina and the car we used the Volks Electric railway to save our feet and had an ice cream by the beach. I’m disappointed that the staff at the station were very unhelpful with my Mum who wanted to take her mobility scooter ono the train. They made no effort at all even though when folded it takes up no more room than a pushchair that they did put with the driver. She had to drive it back to the Marina as they wouldn’t help her get it on the train – Bad staff!

Looking for somewhere to have lunch/dinner

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We ended up in a Weatherspoons. Here’s mum and Michael looking happy?IMG_1358

This is their idea of keeping important IT equipment safe by leaving it on the floor by my feetIMG_1359

Next time I must try out this Mexican restaurant we saw on the road leaving Brighton for the A23/M23. Brilliant weather, brilliant day with the family  and as always we love Brighton. Cant wait to get back next weekend for the Chilli festival!IMG_1360