Micro Men

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Just watched the whole of this programme on BBC4, loved it! Brought back so many memories from the 80’s with the Sinclair and Acorn, learned a lot of things that I didn’t know as well.

Imagine what would have happened if Chris and Clive had worked together with the personal computer? The BBC Computer was used in all schools and this is where I started off myself, but then things went off at a tangent. The Acorn Archimedes was a super machine and had a super ARM processsor that was really ahead of its time, but the PC ruled! I remember making a bold decision for our school when I went for the PC route and bought new PC machines for each classroom. At the time other schools thought I was mad, but how right I was!!

The Acorn didn’t have the backing that it deserved. Gosh! How stunned I was with the graphics of My World with Dress Teddy and the Weather Map!

They were great times, I can still picture myself sat in my loft room with the Sinclair Spectrum, home made interface and 300baud modem talking on bulletin boards before the word ‘Internet’ had even been invented!
A nice bit of the programme was the thing in the paper that showed how many were returned faulty. When I worked at TAM my job was repairing computers returned to the shops. The Sinclair Spectrum was the worst, mainly because the memory chips failed. It was easy to diagnose…the chips got HOT! Boy, Have I changed a few of those!!
I went through gallons of ‘Freezer’ spray diagnosing faults on these beasties!

Monty Python

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Another 40th Anniversary!


I watched the first series of this back in 1969 (along with Rowan and Martin’s Laugh in!) At first I thought some of it really funny, but was a bit nieve at the time to understand some sketches. It was on TV on Saturday Night just after Rowan and Martin, totally different humour than the american stuff. I still laugh at some of the sketches, like the ‘Parrot Sketch’. It was on quite late at night, I watched it because I was baby sitting my brothers and sisters at the time when Mum and Dad went out.

Later in the 70’s I got more into Monty Python, I went to see ‘The Holy Grail’ with Kath when we were going out together. It’s still a funny film


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Found these photos by accident on Facebook!

The Navada was an intitution, roller skating and great bands. When I was at school lots of kids from my form went to the ‘Nav’ on Tuesday nights. I never really fancied it at the time. When I left school the Navada along with BIT was the place to be. I remember my first visit to the Nav with Neil (G3ZPL) and two girls. I could skate (quite well really) and Lynn was brilliant, but Neil had never had skates on before so I spent some time showing him how to skate. I remember watching Lynn skating around the arena with the music playing and she was fantastic!

Would you believe that the bar was upstairs!

You had to climb up the stairs with your skates on and carry the drinks down again, it was pretty scary.

One of the best nights at the Navada was watching ‘MUD’ not skating this time, because they often had good groups playing at the Nav. They were excellent!

Such a pity the place burned down…we were all devastated when it happened, it was an icon of the 60’s and 70’s.

50Mhz Contest

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Had a great time last week with the 50Mhz contest. My Yaesu FT-817 puts out about 5 watts and fed into my vertical antenna I wondered what I would manage top work on 6m.
Loads of stations on that night, so managed to work:


Not bad considering I have not been on the air for ages! I have started to pull out my old stuff in the loft and have set up my FT101E and VHF / UHF Receiver. Maybe I am getting the bug back. I must admit that I find it hard to get back into the old days of Amateur Radio. I would dearly like to go back to the old days (before the days of mobile phones!!)

Chadwick St

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I went past Chadwick Street today to find that the Campus there is being demolished!

Back in 1989 I did my PGCE at Chadwick Street which was part of Bolton Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) then. My PGCE was actually from Manchester University, but Chadwick Street was the Teacher Education Centre.

I had just completed my Open University Degree and decided to give up my job as an electronics technician to become a teacher! My year at the college was memorable, a great atmosphere and I made loads of friends there. I had never been to University and this was the next best thing to me.

Had a whole year as a student living on my grant…loved it!!

Spent my placements at Salford College in Worsley and Bolton College. Gosh…can’t believe I taught IT to twenty four girl hairdressers at Salford College and Science to sixteen A level nurses!!

Must admit that working in a college is nothing like working in a school!

Turing apology

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“Gordon Brown has said he is sorry for the “appalling” way World War II code-breaker Alan Turing was treated.”
“A petition on the No 10 website had called for a posthumous government apology to the computer pioneer. “
Alan was a genious, he is the master of computer technology today. Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers built the first ever number crunching computers based at Bletchley and Manchester University. The trouble was that nobody knew about the computers, later, “Collossus” the first programmable computer, was a secret and after the war, instructions were given to dismantle the machines and hide them away! Fifty years later when the secrets were revealed the machines were ‘found’ and rebuilt. This was all too late for Alan…a sad story!

What was it that Winston Churchill said…something about owing so much to so few…well Alan Turing, you rank high in the league table!

I signed the petition and now he has got the apology deserved!

Iron Maiden

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I was astounded when I stumbled on this picture!

Back in the early 70’s I went to a gig at a Methodist Church on Chorley Old Road with Neil and my girlfriend at the time Carol. Now I have seen a few pop groups live before now at the Palais and places, but never a group like this!!

Iron Maiden were LOUD and I remember two brass horns on either side of the stage! My first real experience of Rock, it was brill!!

Then there was this other guy called SAG who danced in the middle of the floor covered in foil and flashing lights. What I didn’t know at the time is that my wife Kath (and a few others) dressed him up in foil and they all danced. Now SAG is quite a guy, wore a huge chain with his name on it or sometimes with flashing lights and did his famous ‘back dance’.

I will never forget the amazing Moss Bank Park festival with other other local groups like ‘Black Cat Bone’ and a girl called Jacky from Radcliffe who came with Kath and myself and another girl who got lost!!

A great site!!