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Monday, 26 September 2016

My friend Jane does an amazing thing for charity, I go a bat walk and a trip to the Museum:

On Thursday, I met my friend Jane in town to photograph her "Braving the Shave".

After having six plaits cut off, which she has since donated to the Little Princess Trust to be turned into real-hair wigs for young cancer patients, she then had her  remaining hair shaved off in order to raise money for MacMillan. There's still time to sponsor her here.

Before
After




















As I have mild alopecia, I am unconvinced that my hair would grow back properly, so I am not brave enough to do anything even remotely similar myself. However, I am incredibly proud to be friends with someone so thoughtful and selfless! Jane has since said that the new morning hair regime is much swifter, but it's still not enough to tempt me.

On to other things! On Friday evening, Beloved, LittleBit and I, joined a guided bat walk at our local nature reserve.

Moore Nature Reserve is around 200 acres of woodland, lakes, and meadows, which is free to visit, and the ranger, Anne-Marie, was our guide for the evening. She loaned out bat detectors, and our group went for a gentle, hour long stroll through the moonlit reserve. We were taught how to use the detectors, and which frequencies to listen to for each of the three types of bat at the reserve. Each of us managed to pick up a number of bats on the detectors, and we were able to see a few, although it was difficult in the darkness. Because of the low light levels on the reserve, we also had a great view of some recognisable constellations, although my photographs weren't fantastic.


It's getting a bit late in the year, and a bit too chilly now, so there won't be any more bat walks now until next year, but we will absolutely go again! We really did enjoy the evening, it was nice to be out for a walk, even in low light and especially with the added excitement of the bat detectors, an item which has since been added to our family Christmas list for this year - we'd like to know what type of bat the one that sometimes flitters past our garden is.

Anne-Marie also mentioned that there is a deer in the reserve, apparently it's very rarely seen, but Autumn is a good time of year to try and see them, especially around dawn, so we plan to go and try to spot it one weekend, although I've been warned, it's notoriously difficult to photograph, it won't stop me trying!

Sunday saw Beloved in the office to do overtime, again. So LittleBit, her friend and I went in with him and left the car in his office car park, while we went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

We stopped at the Roman Gardens in Castlefield on the way to the museum, as we were there a little bit early.
 




The kids watched a couple of child friendly live shows, took part in a weaving workshop and spent at least an hour playing in/on/with the interactive exhibits.











LittleBit's Weaving
My favourite part this time, (it's usually the Manchester Mills show, but the kids didn't want to see that this time, killjoys) was the exact replica of The Baby, the first computer with programmable memory, built by engineers at the University of Manchester back in 1948. Neil, the volunteer on duty on Sunday, was happy to answer questions and show us things, including the cathode tube which was the 1948 equivalent of a pen drive!

The Replica of The Baby

Volunteer Neil and the removable Cathode Memory:
Less space than is needed to store a tweet apparently!


The display screen and keyboard of The Baby

Apparently, if you can read and write in binary, you can use an online simulator to create a programme for the Baby, and if you save it to a usb drive and take it to the museum on a day when the Baby is up and running, they will run your programme on the replica there in the museum. Alas, I have stupidly lost the card I was given with the web address on it, but I'll be near to the museum for a leaving do on Friday, so I shall endeavour to call in and copy the web address down again!

Edit: found the card!


In case you're struggling to read my awesome (if somewhat wonky) scan of a laminated card the links are as follows;

How to set up and use the simulator: http://goo.gl/HG6a6d
For the online simulator: www.davidsharp.com/baby
More Manchester computer history links: http://goo.gl/1i0Qmc and www.computer50.org

The café and restaurant at the museum are not cheap, but the museum does have a picnic area, so we headed off to a local shop near the River Irwell, to purchase a picnic, and made it back to the museum's indoor picnic area just as the rain turned from spitting to proper rain.


We used the lockers available to store bags and coats, it's worth noting that the coins used to operate lockers are non-refundable though. I realise it goes towards the upkeep of the museum, along with our donations on entry, which I don't begrudge, but it does contribute towards a not very cheap day out. It was a fun day though, and the kids had a great time, although apparently the best bit was the drive through fast food children's meal they ate in the car on the way home...




Earlier in the week, I found a new shop in the Old Town, Honey Bee, which sells bathbombs! I purchased one (a very reasonable £2.99) and LittleBit used it on Sunday night. It fizzed up beautifully, didn't leave too much glitter in the bath for Beloved, and smelled really rather lovely!


Once LittleBit had finished in the bath, I left Daddy to tuck her in, and went off to book club!

I also visited the local butcher, as I've been told he makes (and sells) both sausages and burgers which have less than 5% fat. I bought a few to try, and so far Beloved has eaten the less than 5% sausages, which we were challenged to see how much fat came off on the griddle when we cooked them (answer: none at all), Beloved also says they were nicer than the ones we usually buy! We've also tried the beef burgers (still have Pork and apple for later in the week) which are around 150Kcal each and I really enjoyed them. I was very disappointed that there were more calories in the bun than the burger though, someone really needs to find a really low fat version of bread, that tastes exactly the same as normal bread... If you're interested in giving them a try, the Butchers is Shaw's on Church Street in Runcorn.

Finally, Because I didn't do a proper post last week... Whilst Beloved was doing his Sunday overtime (every weekend in September) LittleBit and I headed to Dunham Massey for a morning walk, an unusual breakfast (of Victoria Sponge) and a nosey around the house, and we spotted these magnificent beasties, just chilling in the sunshine!


We (Beloved and I) also went camping for our wedding anniversary, I had the worst case of Yurt envy I have ever had, and we took lovely long walks in the forest, and also to the pub, and we may possibly have rescued some books from charity shops one afternoon...




It's been a busy old week, and I haven't even talked about going to the zoo, LittleBit's medal from Cricket, my rail replacement bus trip, or a host of other things we've crammed into a week and a bit! I haven't even talked about book club, but Runcorn Readers Book Club has it's own blog now, so you'll have to check that out when the review of this week's meeting goes up later on this week!

Until next time.

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