What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

Tag: local (page 2 of 2)

It’s only two weeks late and probably over-budget, but Wakefield’s new market hall opened for business this morning.

Good to see that among the stalls which are there are Cryer & Stott (the cheesemongers, who frequently take vast amounts of money from me for cheesey goodness), Mark the Greengrocer who used to be outside on the north entrance to the old market hall, and a fishmonger who doesn’t open on Mondays although I’ll probably pay a trip tomorrow. It was good to be recognised by some of the traders – I’m a big proponent of supporting your local market and doing at least some of your weekly shopping there.

So what of the building? It’s a lot more airy than the old market, although I’m not sure of the wisdom of the higgledy-piggledy way that the stalls have been arranged to make it look more busy than it actually is; also the food market is woefully small – I counted 5 stalls, with another 4 pitches left empty. Wakefield Council stated in a press release that all the inside stalls had been let but it does seem a bit sparse. The cynic in me would suggest that maybe it’s like that to prevent it looking smaller than the old market hall, which it most certainly is.

There’s bugger all recent coverage over at Wakefield Express save for a “coming soon” type article, but the council’s own web announcement is here, which also has opening times and details of “specialist days”. There’ll be an official opening in a few weeks presumably when everyone’s moved in and the place is actually finished.

[ On that note, chatting to the traders it seems that they’ve only been allowed in this morning. The café owner told me that there was quite an issue regarding getting access for builders and electricians recently, and several outdoor traders were on temporary pitches as their permanent ones were inaccessible. Mark mentioned that the place was still gated with the protective builders’ barriers when he arrived this morning! ].

However, it shows promise. It’s an airy place to do your shopping and definitely needs to be supported by the community. Might have just been the curiosity of the first day, the place being smaller and more warren-like, or just the time of day, but it did seem a lot busier this morning.

Previous photos of the move from the old market and construction of the new market here.

I showed up to demonstrate the restored Domesday Project at the Wakefield Acorn Show today, which took place at Cedar Court Hotel just off M1 J39.

I was a bit late to be honest – I’d nipped via the office to pick up some speakers and then via Maplin to get a cable for the Music 5000 system, arriving at the hotel around 9:30am (with the show opening at 10am!). Thankfully there were quite a few helpers on-hand to assist in getting everything upstairs, and the organisers had laid on some cages-on-wheels to transport stuff to the stand.

My demo chiefly comprised the Domesday Project, but I’d brought along a BBC Master with Sprow’s ARM7 coprocessor, a Music 5000 system, and some games (mostly educational). I was pleasantly surprised the Domesday LVROM started up without any problems, and for the first two hours the demonstrations went without a hitch.

A gentleman showed up on the stand during the morning, asking if I was interested in some more laserdiscs – of course I was, although I thought they might be videodiscs. However, when he brought them up they were some of the ‘very hard to find’ LVROMs including a full copy of the Countryside Disc and some other ones I’d not seen before. Some digging led to the discovery that these were designed for use on an A3000 with a VP506 laserdisc player – what a great find!

Meantime, all the fiddling with these ‘new’ discs did something to the Domesday LV player itself – the damn thing stopped reading the discs. I carry the service manual on my laptop which led to a quick faultfinding session resulting in error code 004: the tilt unit. This bit keeps the laser perpendicular to the (slightly curved) surface of the disc which curves into a convex shape due to its weight. I was just about tearing my hair out when Rick Sterry mentioned he’d got his toolkit, and with the judicious application of a toothbrush and a good old fashioned blow of air, the dust came out and it started working again although I declined to change the disc after that “just in case”.

All was going so well – then the Music 5000 packed up. Grr! Good job I’d got the old Podd game to keep people amused, although I bet you didn’t know Podd can’t smeg.

Interesting bits: seeing an EeePC running RiscOS; noting that Virtual Acorn seems to be a bit happier on Intel Mac hardware nowadays (the guy on the stand was a bit curt but did say it had been out since last September, but I wasn’t in the mood to buy a copy when he’d been quite snappy with me); the RiscOS package project now has a Kerberos port (but no ssh for it, limiting its usefulness for anything I’d do with it).

In general there was a lot less 8-bit stuff around this time. The charity stand had a few odds and ends (mostly ones I’d brought although there was a Torch Z80 Disc Pack) but no other 8-bit exhibitors other than myself. Jonathan Harston had booked a table but didn’t show which was a shame. I think for future shows I may suggest a larger table for 8-bit amusement since visitors were obviously interested and kept asking if I’d brought more software to play with; perhaps that’s a cue for an Econet next time round!

All told I came home with less junk than I’d taken, some more LVROMs to play with, an Acorn User Group mug, and a RiscPC that was on the charity stand (and which I’ll probably use as a spare).

Photos are here.

It’s the Wakefield Acorn Show tomorrow, Saturday 26th April. The show takes place at Cedar Court Hotel on junction 39 of the M1, and is bigger than last year (they’ve actually been turning companies away for stand space!).

Apart from myself doing old 8-bit demos and showing off the Domesday Project (which still doesn’t have working sound but is fine otherwise), I can see that JGH is there too. There’ll also be most likely some 8-bit fun to buy on the charity stall.

I have a box of things which will be ‘for sale’ based upon ‘give what you think it’s worth for the charity box’. Looking over at the box now there’s some BBC motherboards, some networking gear, some internal boards, manuals/books, and a pile of software. No I won’t send it anywhere, this is exclusive to the stand tomorrow 😛

Show opens at 10am. See you there 🙂

Eagle Press, the last non-chain stationer/art shop in Wakefield, is closing its doors for the final time next Tuesday. It’s been there as long as I can remember, and can be seen in old photos of the area.

They do however have 50% off everything in the shop, and I’ve taken the opportunity to acquire myself a mount-cutting setup and a load of art stuff for the kids.

The locals are really taking advantage of the cheap sale – there’s sod all office supplies left in there but absolutely tons of pens, pencils, paper, paints, craft stuff and art packs – very very good if you have kids and you’re in the Wakefield area.

I went into Wakefield this morning to do some shopping – I favour the market over getting stuff from Sainys and co, because I actually feel they give a toss. Dropping by for some tripe this morning I was saddened to note that Hey’s Tripe Shop on the outside of the market hall is closing today. I was even more saddened to note that they were given 2 days’ notice by the owners, who presumably will be concentrating on their other business. Given that the Leeds stall closed a while ago (or hasn’t been open while I’ve been visiting), the nearest tripe shop is now Dewsbury.

Without being histrionic, this is another death-knell for Wakefield – another local specialist stall closing down. Half of the market is now car-parking as seen in this photo. Back in April 2006 I noted the lack of fishmonger in Wakefield. At least Cryer and Stott will be moving to the new market hall in May.

On another note the Ridings Centre is undergoing a facelift, with more chain-stores in the bottom where the ‘Garden’ food concessions were originally. Given that today there were at least 6 units empty with ‘To Let’ signs, one wonders if this is going to compete with the forthcoming Trinity Walk development (WMDC site here) at all.

Note: I did try to get information about the Trinity Walk development and other local stuff from the Wakefield Express website, but just came up against a brick wall with error messages and articles which ‘don’t exist’ despite the search system forwarding me. I eventually resorted to Google…

Last night saw me popping off to the Wakefield Beer Festival, which (as seems to be usual now) took place at Lightwaves Leisure Centre. I arrived before any of my compadres so managed a few more than usual, half a pint of each of:

  1. Magna 800 (Wapping)
  2. Ale To The Tsar (Fernandes, Wakefield)
  3. Best (Ludlow Brewery, Shropshire)
  4. Idle Chef (Idle Brewery, Notts)
  5. Grasshopper (Westerham, Kent)
  6. Chameleon (Kelham Island, Sheffield)
  7. Woodcote (Hammerpot, West Sussex)
  8. Scotts 1816 (Copper Dragon, Skipton)
  9. Best Bitter (Ballards, Hampshire)
  10. Seasider (Ramsgate, Kent)
  11. Bishop’s Farewell (Oakham, Peterborough)
  12. OSB (Oldershaw, Lincolnshire)
  13. Takeout: Pater 6 (Sint Bernardus, Watou)

I was joined after the fourth by Lee and his friend Jerry, some odd nutter of a gentleman we’d never met before appeared around the fifth (he wah’d about his wife, then disappeared), and around the sixth Colin and Howard turned up. Howard flaunted his ginger beard in our general direction, which was nice.

Lightwaves is an odd venue for a beer festival – the main hall has no natural light, and gets very very stuffy during the course of the day owing to a lack of ventilation, plus of course the odour contributes to the general atmosphere (I pity the poor sods who’ll be wanting to use the changing rooms where the nearest toilet was – it stank).

A nice touch this year was the cheese stand provided by Cryer & Stott, my favourite cheesemongers who had some excellent Fountains Gold and the ubiquitous Yorkshire Blue.

Photos here.

I just got a text from Jon who’s down at Clarence Park taking pics of the Music Collective setting up the festival:

“11:10 and the bandstand doors are finally open. They’re fucked and the council had nailed them shut…”

The sheer mentality of Wakefield District Council escapes us all, I feel.

It’s been quite a while since we last visited Wolski’s: it was my favourite eatery in Wakefield for a while, but went through quite a bad phase with the lunchtime ‘buffet’ being little more than left-over slops and the evening meals having so much sea-salt as to be almost inedible. However, that was a couple of years ago so last night myself and Nicky went to see what they were like now.

The first impression seems to be that it’s quiet. We turned up at 8:30pm, and had a bit of a battle getting through the front door with two smokers blocking our way and reluctant to shift to one side (we later discovered that they either worked there, or were friends with a waitress). Once inside, we ordered a gin and tonic each and browsed what was on offer.

The menu hasn’t changed much – they offer a range of nice dishes such as lobster, New Zealand mussels, and various cuts of ostrich, alongside the usual 70s-style cuisine of prawn cocktail, etc. I went for a starter of chicken liver pate followed by lobster in cream and garlic, whereas Nicky ordered duck spring rolls followed by rib-eye steak.

Once shown to the table the starters arrived, and they were very good – there was a lot of pate and not much bread to balance it out with but I understand the economies of scale in these things. A substantial amount of foliage accompanied, and I left a lot of it with the thought that if I ate it all I wouldn’t have enough room for a main course. Nicky’s duck spring rolls were stuffed full of meat – very substantial, and according to her very tasty. Good start so far.

At that point it occurred that we had no drinks, and it took a few attempts to order a bottle of wine (I must admit, if I’d forgotten to serve wine when I worked as a waiter back in the early 90s I’d have probably been disciplined!).

The main course arrived and I had feared the worst – yes the lobster was smothered in way too much sauce again, drowning out the delicate flavour of the lobster (which at least had been dressed properly). Judicious use of a knife to scrape away large dollops yielded a reasonably cleaner dish, and again piles of seasoned salad had been provided to pad the meal out. Nicky’s steak was chewy, and the large jenga chips were a bit crozzled, but otherwise OK.

For dessert I tried a raspberry creme brulee – way too heavy, and the vanilla cookie with it was surplus to requirements owing to the sheer stodge. Nicky tried a toffee crumble which was largely a pile of sweet sludge. Low points on the pudding, chaps.

In general, it’s got better – maybe they’re good at larger parties of fixed menus, just not a la carte offerings for a quite meal for two. Perhaps we just caught them on a bad night, or something – the waiting staff weren’t very attentive, and I still object to having a mandatory 10% ‘gratuity’ adding on to a bill (I’d probably have left that anyway if the service was reasonable but gratuity does not mean mandatory in my book).

Two of us on a three-courser including a bottle of wine and two G+Ts came to just short of £70 – still a bit overpriced for what it was, but it’s showing upward signs in what was once Wakefield’s premier restaurant.

After yesterday’s torrential rain, Westgate Beck overflowed in town causing mayhem – at one point most of the arterial routes into the city were closed thanks to standing water. I was suffering some ennui so got in the car and went to take some photos; I mostly seem to take pics of the kids so it was an opportunity. As it was, I bumped into an old school friend I’d not seen in many years whose parents’ house had been a victim of the water.

It wasn’t just Westgate End which had suffered (and goodness knows what damage will have been done to St Michaels Church), but also Thornes and up towards Denby Dale Road. There’s a visible tide mark of foliage, sediment and rubbish around the high water-mark up the junction of Horbury Road and Dewsbury Road.

Photos are here.

As reported, yesterday I went up to Stanley Ferry for the Wakefield RISC OS show where I was holding a stand to clear out a lot of the 8-bit stuff in the loft. Our aging Citroen Picasso was bulging with goodies for the 8-bit enthusiasts including some really weird, odd and wonderful items. I arrived around 9am and started to set up, Chris and co from WROCC being good enough to find me a small extra table so hardly anything needed to be on the floor.

Once I’d set up, it was pretty evident that there was a huge amount of interest. The show opened at 10:30am, and by 11am I’d sold five of the Beebs and pretty much all of the cheese wedges. It felt good being the ‘voice of expertise’ there, helping folks with hints on how to get their old 8-bit kit up and running, and for a change being able to say things like ‘it’s probably the 7438 that’s gone in the DFS, here it is on this board – it’ll be that one’ – remembering early copies of The Micro User where they had that cartoon touting the help desk at the Alexandra Palace show.

I was sited next to the charity stall who passed over 8-bit kit as it arrived so we could say ‘yep it’s worth something’ or ‘no that can go in paper collection at the end of the day’: I even managed to acquire an external Master 512 Turbo to have a fiddle with (my only purchase, save for a bacon sarnie and a pint of Coke).

I’d got a full Beeb setup going as a draw for punters – it started out with a demo on there, but the disk was a bit flakey so I shifted to a copy of James Lawson’s random sentence generator. Thankfully about an hour later a copy of Elite surfaced on the charity stall, thus I booted that up and folks were sitting for 5 minutes attempting to dock or battle in space – great fun, and a good draw for the crowds! Even the young lad helping on the charity stall had a go, and got pretty good by the end of the day when we lost power to the stand.

Sadly, it was so busy I didn’t really get a chance to have a proper poke around the show. That said, I was piqued by Virtual RiscPC for the Mac which is unfortunately not available for Intel architecture (or I’d have bought a copy). When quizzed I got the impression I’d caught the gentleman on the stand pretty late on in the day – maybe he’d been asked that question way too many times already!

The show itself was really good – I enjoyed it. Thumbs up to the WROCC chaps who did it and I’m looking forward to next year when I may hold a stand again. By the end of the day I’d got about a third of the stuff left which will end up on eBay, and it all fit in the boot rather than having to put the seats down.

Photos are here.

OK, so I didn’t really go for the RISC OS stuff at all, I went purely to meet up with the 8-bit chaps and do some serious Beeb geekery. Photos are here.

The charity stall rendered a fantastic pile of goodies, mostly to assist me in my evil projects: an ARM710 module for the RiscPC; an old Arc Beebug disc buffer; 4-slot backplane for an A310; SJ Research Econet clock box, ATPL BBC Micro mouse (the rubber on the ball’s gone all sticky and gooey tho); ROM cartridge for the Master populated with a couple of ROMs I’ve not ID’d yet; internal 65C02 copro for the Master (swiped from under the nose of the bloke who kept bagsying the cheese wedges); some manuals including a pre-release of the original BBC Micro manual; a MEMC1a; some RO3 ROMs for Kieran; a couple of replacement mouse balls; a Beeb with 1770, ADFS, and various other bits; an 80-track double-sided 5.25″ drive; and an Econet module for a BBC Master.

I’m especially chuffed I got the clock box. Those things are like hen’s teeth.

Dropped into Jonathan Harston’s stand and purchased one of his 8-bit IDE interfaces for the Beeb – he’d got one of Sprow‘s MiniB devices as well but sadly no power for it, which rendered it pretty useless 🙁

Next door were the guys from Binary Dinosaurs and the computer museum at Bletchley Park, who had a variety of interesting stuff including a full, working, original BBC Domesday system. It was acting up a bit later on in the day but seems to have been largely reliable.

There didn’t seem to be much RiscPC which I found interesting other than a podule to do USB and a laser keyboard thingy.

Socially it was nice to see old colleagues, but there were a lot of people missing and the show was half the size it was last year. This is it really – the RiscPC stuff is still too new to be nostalgic, which I think is why there was so much fascination at the old Beebs. I mean, I was only 15 when they stopped making the damn things!

As I write this I’m battling installation of a pile of stuff on the various Beebs so more later once I’ve stopped swearing. Really.

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