Archive for August, 2009

Cambrian Steam Tour/Birthday Happenings

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
The Cambrian Steam Tour

The Cambrian Steam Tour

I’ve not been overly obsessed with railways since I was a child, but this was a great day out. On the 17th of August I went with the family on the Cambrian Railway steam train. We started out at 8am, and despite going the wrong way at a contraflow roundabout with a convoy system in effect, we made it to Macynlleth for 9:35. We powered out of the station. I’ve never been on a main line steam trip before, so being behind one at full line speed was most fun. Coal bits kept flying in through the windows, and cars were being left behind on the roads that followed us. We got to Pwllheli and had some fish and chips, before returning for 5:00pm. Seven and a half hours for a return journey was long, but it was a good day out. I believe our engine for the day was 76079, as evidenced by the photo to the right.

4MT 76079

4MT 76079

We saw both the Talyllyn and WHHR railways, who both conveniently had locomotives out waiting to greet our train. No better advertising than having a train whistle to the engine only to have it whistle back! There were only a few service trains in the morning, nothing really to wait for. On the way back though we had to wait at several stations for oncoming trains to clear the single track sections. While the level crossings at the stations are barriered, they are activated manually by plunger, so some people got up to leave before the stations!

This was all in aid of my birthday, which was on the 18th August, on the day we went to TGI Fridays in Ellesmere port for a family meal. As gifts, I had some money from my parents that allowed me to invest in some new computer hardware; a Cooler Master 850W modular power supply, an nVidia GeForce 295 graphics card, and a 1TB internal hard drive. The graphics card has allowed for much improved FPS rates in many games, and I’m certain that when combined with better processor and RAM, and a fully PCI-E 2.0 motherboard, will function excellently.

A power supply and 295

A power supply and 295

Two of the products are shown to the left. Putting it all together was easy enough, I took out the old PSU, then the old 8800GTS, and then put the new 295 in, followed by the PSU. The modular system was really easy to mess around with. Never seen a five pin Molex connector before though. I was surprised it all worked straight away, but then managed to bruise my chin by leaning on the fan grill for two long. There were multiple bruises and they looked like I had a fight with a dot matrix printer.

The guys from work got me a wonderful birthday card and cake, and then on Friday we went out for an Italian meal, and then a visit to one of Wrexham’s newest bars, Groove. I ended up treading on a piece of glass and then falling on my arse on the dance floor. Hurray me.

Finally, on Saturday, I ended up getting a watch from my parents. They originally wanted to get me a gold ring, but I don’t like jewellery, tattoos, not even face paints as a child, so instead they got me a watch. I like the watch, it’s a Rotary one, which means it’s waterproof, and has a leather strap. A photo can be seen below.

My new Watch

My new Watch

Woo new hardware

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I have bought myself a BFG Tech Geforce GTX 295 tonight, combined with a new PSU to power the computer with the new requirements. This, coupled with 64bit Windows in October, should really increase performance for the machine. They both should arrive on Tuesday, naturally I will photograph the installation process and post results here!

Also on Tuesday it is my birthday. Woo!

On Monday I’m off to Machynlleth, to ride on the Cambrian coast behind a mighty Steam engine. But first and foremost, tomorrow I am off to the wonderful Llandudno again.