Tag: history

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An outing to Chirk Castle

I first visited Chirk Castle (near the Welsh border, not too far from home) during primary school, although I don’t remember much about this particular trip other than my Dad telling me a story about the red hand symbol that appears on the front gates and how that symbol came to be used (a story I’ve not been able to corroborate from other sources, so could well be complete hogwash – but never mind, eh?)

I went back there in around 2008 on a whim and found it to be a truly fascinating place with wonderful gardens and great opportunities for an amateur photographer bod like myself, and I now make a point to go back there at least once a year – mainly just to chill out in the grounds, but sometimes to take some new photos.

I went today with Jem, and somewhat ironically of the photos that I took (and present to you above) there aren’t any of the Castle itself. I did take quite a few, but they all look a bit “meh” so I’ve not bothered selecting them for display here.

I was also quite surprised to find that a couple of new areas had been opened up in the Castle state rooms, places I’d not been in before. In some of these rooms were seats that did not have holly placed on them – meaning that they can be sat on if desired. Despite this, most of the seats in question looked rather old and it irrationally bothered me that people were sitting on them, rather than just leaving them be.

Anyway, enjoy the photos! I’ll no doubt go back next year (or perhaps even again this year if the weather allows)

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My Old Game Reviews

I’ve been programming these computer-ma-whatsits since the tender age of 6, when my Dad brought home from work a Sinclair Spectrum 48K.

Well, I say that, but my time with that machine was somewhat limited as I had two brothers living at home then as well, Bob and Mike, and they were even more interested in this alien bit of kit than I was, both of them being nearly 10 years older than I was.

Nevertheless, that lovely old squidgeboard was my introduction to the world of computer programming. 48K Sinclair BASIC isn’t exactly a powerhouse of a language, but it was more than enough for my tiny brain.

I never really managed to do anything particularly great with it though – it was only after I’d migrated to the Commodore Amiga that I started really digging my teeth into the biscuit that was creating my own computer programs. Initially I used AMOS BASIC, followed by AMOS Professional, and ended up using Blitz Basic 2.

Using AMOS/AMOS Pro, I created a number of games for the Amiga that I released on Aminet in the mid-to-late 90s. At the time, I was a subscriber to Amiga Format, and they ran a seemingly popular “Reader Games” segment – kind of like Readers’ Wives, but (certainly the first couple of times) making myself look more of a tit. Naturally I submitted my games for review in this magazine section.

I present these reviews to you now, for you to make up your own mind. They’re in the order of publication.

Amiga Format #97 (May 1997) – Alien Pong Trilogy (no, I don’t know either)

Amiga Format #102 (October 1997) – Alien Pong Trilogy 2 (Pong Harder?)

Amiga Format #103 (November 1997) – Shoot Out (I still like this idea)

Amiga Format #107 (February 1998) – Shoot Out 2 (I like my sequels)

Amiga Format #135 (April 2000) – Shoot Out 2000 (Why 2K? Let’s run this into the ground!)


Amiga Format ceased publication after the following issue, #136. Obviously this was nothing to do with me, but I still feel a little bit guilty.

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A Brief History of Wheels (2004-2014)

UPDATED: March 1, 2014

I’ve been told that I change cars more often than some people change their pants, so I thought I’d drop a post on here about my car history over the last 9 years.

I learned to drive in 2002, but failed my first driving test (it was an intensive driving course, all done within a week, and I didn’t have enough "on-road" experience to handle all situations, which led to some stupid errors) and couldn’t afford to continue with it until 2004, although I kept up private practice with my partner at the time supervising in the snot green 1.0L Nissan Micra that she had.

Although I passed in August 2004, it wasn’t until November that I bought my first car. If you want to get technical though, my first car actually arrived 5 years earlier. It was a 1.1L Ford Fiesta Popular Plus bought for me for £50 by my Dad…

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