Posted in Railways on Friday 23rd January 2004 at 11:57pm

A lazy start to my last day of holiday. Up and out for the 11:34 to Bristol TM after needing to write a disagreeable email which took me right back to work mode a weekend early.

Mooched around Temple Meads for a bit, getting some pictures of the Class 31's on the Brighton service. Finally away on time - a promising start arriving early at the first couple of stops prior to Bath Spa.

After Bath, things started to sound a little odd from the front of the first coach. We struggled into Salisbury a minute or so early, and a fitter took a look at 31452 which was leading. With some help from an EWS driver who signs 31's and was travelling with us, they noted that fuel was not getting to the engine - a switch had been set which prevented a flow from the main tank on each engine leaving us with the emergency header tank. The engine speed governor had then shut down the engine. We appeared to have 450 gallons or so of fuel, so that was not likely to present a problem. Off we went, much more smoothly from Salisbury onwards.

Things got sticky again on the South Coast, and by Worthing we had real problems. 31454 had shut down after leaving Worthing, and on entering Southwick, 31452 failed. We were approximately 4.5 miles from Brighton, and were blocking the entire South Coast route. Within 20 minutes of desperate efforts to get started we had nine services behind us, and no local hope of a rescue. Since nothing was getting into Brighton, nothing much was getting out in the opposite direction. Well and truly stuck.

I fell in with a Wessex guard I recognised and some EWS staff who'd come some distance for 31 mileage, and we shared a taxi to Worthing in the hope of getting something back towards the West Country (at least trains stop at Worthing - which appears not to be the case at Southwick!). Long wait for a Bognor Regis train as far as Barham, and then a Southampton service. This ended up terminating at Fareham (South Central not wanting to stray too far away from their home area in the chaos of which we'd caused). Hopped off at Cosham for refreshments (courtesy of the now legendary Dong's takeaway) then onto the 20:39 to Bristol - which arrived on time but lost minutes as we continued. I finally arrived back at Temple Meads at 23:02 - with only 20 minutes to spare before the last Weston train. A bit of an epic day - quite sociable in many ways, despite being disappointing in terms of traction.

The eventual cause of the failure was pretty frustrating - we ran out of fuel in both locomotives. They'd been taken to Merehead for refuelling the previous day, and the driver who did so had not checked they were filled before returning to Westbury. A faulty gauge (reporting 450 gallons back at Salisbury!) had not helped at all. Someone has a lot of very expensive explaining to do!

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Posted in London on Wednesday 21st January 2004 at 11:51pm

I could barely afford to travel to London this week, given the time of the month, the fact its January and the ridiculous fares during the week. However, having checked all possible discounts I settled on a trip the 'long way round' via Salisbury to Waterloo.

Hopped off at Clapham Junction in fact, and headed directly south to Wimbledon and then Haydon's Road for Lambeth Cemetary. Quickly found the entries I wanted in the Burial Registers, but had less success with Cremation records. Richard and Janet Kent's grave now appears to be unmarked, which closes off another potential lead - and considering Richard's standing in the local community during his lifetime, is rather sad.

Back onto the train to Farringdon and then to the London Metropolitan Archives to peruse the records of London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. Spent most of the rest of the day scouring minute books and membership lists for mentions of William Kent, with some success.

Wandered by the tiny church of St. Anne and St. Agnes, and only found out later in John Fleck's blog that today was in fact St. Agnes' day.

I'm often accused of imagining a London without people (and therefore without a purpose) so I took the opportunity today to plunge myself into the evening rush hour. I'm not much for crowds usually, but it was strangely exciting to be part of the exodus from the City towards the stations. Walbrook once again sent a tide down to Dowgate. In honour of T S Eliot I crossed London Bridge in a vast crowd (all be it in the opposite direction to that in the verse). Squished into a Networker for the short skip to Waterloo East (subject of a recent thread on uk.railway which is sort of my fault too!).

A long, tiring and enjoyable day. Like always, I've come away with more things to investigate than I arrived with this morning.


Posted in Computers on Sunday 18th January 2004 at 11:58pm

I love my digital camera. Its a Kodak DC210. It only works via the serial port, and its old. I specifically sought one out on eBay because I'd borrowed one and it worked perfectly in the old gtk 1.x version of gphoto. More importantly, it was so simple even I could take reasonable pictures with it.

Time moved on, and gphoto2 arrived. I never really got the camera going with this, so I keep around an old RPM of gphoto, dreading the day it stops working for me.

Until today. I decided to try another old friend from GNOME 1.4 days - gThumb. During the build I noticed it also looked for libgphoto - so I dutifully downloaded it, just to see...

...and its great. gThumb has matured into a flexible but simple photo management app. The HTML gallery export is neat and clean looking, and the various tools for editing photos are easy to use.

Best of all, it seems to recognize (via gphoto2) my Kodak DC210, and can import pictures directly.

I'm truly impressed.


Posted in Computers on Sunday 18th January 2004 at 9:09pm

Since I managed to get an improvement in quality on the LCD using the DVI port on the Radeon, I decided to try setting up my old Dell Ultrascan 15" monitor on the VGA port.

With some very simple tweaking, got X running both heads sensibly. Starting GNOME also 'just worked' without any setup or reconfiguration. I'm very impressed.

I now have an IRC window open on the Dell, whilst the LCD handles other applications. Its going to take some getting used to.



I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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