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Sizewell

May 31st, 2024

A pox on the weather forecasters! I booked the hotel for this trip a few days in advance when the forecast was still “sunny with clouds” but by the night before it had deteriorated to “heavy rain”, which unfortunately proved accurate.

So I spent the first half of the trip getting increasingly wet. But it eased off eventually and finally stopped once I arrived Sizewell, best known for its two nuclear power stations.

Sizewell B

The big white golf ball is Sizewell B, which is still operating. Lurking behind it is the grey shell of Sizewell A which was decommissioned in 2006 but won’t be demolished until 2098 at the earliest.

Southwold

May 22nd, 2024

Time to continue my trek around East Anglia after a long pause since my epic mission to Great Yarmouth last year. This time I’m off to Southwold via Lowestoft.

Great Yarmouth in the fog early on a Saturday morning is not the most inspiring place to be. The town has clearly seen better days. I’d spent the night in a Wetherspoons which sounds grim but was surprisingly nice.

Ness Point

After a frustrating section trudging through sand dunes I eventually came to Lowestoft, and this nondescript disk which is Ness Point the most Easterly place in the United Kingdom.

UKD Orca after passing through the bridge

Lowestoft harbour has a rather exciting bridge which splits in the middle and raises up to allow ships through. In this case it was UKD Orca, “a modern and highly versatile trailing suction hopper dredger”, so there you go.

Southwold pier

After a brief detour through the lovely interior of Suffolk I arrived in Southwold, snapped a picture of the pier, and then ran off to catch the last bus back to Lowestoft followed by another one and a half hour bus to Norwich. Hooray for the £2 fare cap.

Tring to High Wycombe

May 19th, 2024

Last month I had to go empty a bucket (don’t ask) and to not make the whole day a total write-off I went for a bit of a walk too, from Tring to High Wycombe. Route-wise it was more-or-less a direct repeat of my walk to Aylesbury in 2015, although I only realised that after the fact.

At Wendover I passed through the massive HS2 construction site. This was most definitely not here the last time I passed through.

HS2 construction site

March March March

March 31st, 2024

The official website describes the March March March as “a long, flat, pointless walk across the Fens from the town of March to Cambridge, a distance of about thirty miles”. With a description like that I simply had to experience it. Except I did it in the reverse direction from Cambridge to March.

A flat field and a flat, wet path

It certainly was long (33.9 miles) and very flat. And arguably quite pointless.

There was almost nothing of interest along that route except the end of the the Hundred Foot Drain, which I failed to get an adequate photo of.

Yet another perfectly flat field

Huntingdon

February 29th, 2024

A few weeks ago we had a “day of care” and it was one of the very rare dry days this winter so I set off towards the nearby town of Huntingdon.

For me at least I only know about Huntingdon because of the company Huntingdon Life Sciences which was targeted by animal rights extremists for many years. But apparently it was also the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, so there you go.

American cemetery

On the way I passed through the American cemetery at Madingley. Jazz musician Glen Miller has a memorial here, along with thousands of other Americans who died in the second world war.

Wind farm at sunset

Predictably I underestimated the distance again and walked the last hour in darkness.

Crossing the Fens

January 26th, 2024

A long and rather featureless walk through the bleak fens last weekend. There was no one else around. It was cold, and rained slightly.

The black soil here is quite typical of the fenland: it’s actually some of England’s most fertile soil. A result of the drainage several hundred years ago.

Thetford Forest

December 10th, 2023

The days are short and cold and strangely misty so I went for a less ambitious walk this week from Thetford to nearby Brandon.

Between the two is the aptly named Thetford Forest. An enormous man-made forest planted after the first world war to replenish Britain’s stock of trees. There is something quite regular about the rows of trees.

When I got to Brandon they were having some sort of Christmas fête to which the ever-present mist gave a somewhat gloomy and mysterious atmosphere.

The train back was one of two trains per day scheduled to call at Shippea Hill which was once Britain’s least-used station until its notoriety led to an increase in passengers (no one got on or off today).

Melton Mowbray

December 9th, 2023

Last time when I stopped in Oakham I forgot to mention one of its most famous attractions: Oakham signal box which was used as the template for an Airfix model.

Oakham signal box

And here’s the model of it

Oakham has one other attraction which is the “castle” you can see in the photos below. (It’s not really a castle, it’s a “hall” at best.)

From Oakham I walked on to Melton Mowbray. My first visit to Leicestershire and I was pleasantly surprised! Lots of rolling hills and even the remains of this iron age fort at Burrough Hill.

Hill fort on Burrough Hill

Melton Mowbray is of course famous for its PIES (and Stilton cheese apparently) so I had to sample one and very tasty it was too.

A Melton Mowbray pork pie from Melton Mowbray

New NVC version 1.11.0

December 6th, 2023

This is a major new release with much improved support for VHDL-2019. Consult the features page for the current status of each LCS. This release also brings full support for cocotb!

Download: nvc-1.11.0.tar.gz

This release is signed with my PGP key ID 74319F1A: nvc-1.11.0.tar.gz.sig

  • New command --cover-export exports coverage data in the Cobertura XML format which is supported by most CI environments such as GitLab.
  • Generics on internal instances can now be overridden with the -g elaboration option. For example -g uut.value=42.
  • Implemented the 'reflect attribute and associated protected types from VHDL-2019.
  • Added support for VHDL-2019 sequential block statements.
  • Implemented the VHDL-2019 directory I/O functions in std.env.
  • Added VHDL-2019 assert API (with @Blebowski).
  • Implemented 'image, 'value and to_string for composite types in VHDL-2019.
  • Implemented the “closely related record types” feature from VHDL-2019.
  • Implemented the “composition with protected types” feature from VHDL-2019.
  • The new --shuffle option runs processes in a random order which can help to identify code that depends on a particular execution order.
  • Updated to OSVVM 2023.07 for nvc --install.
  • Various enhancements and fixes to the VHPI implementation.
  • Implemented the VHDL-2019 changes to instance_name and path_name for protected type variables.
  • VHPI error messages are no longer reported as diagnostic messages on the console. The new --vhpi-debug option restores the old behaviour.
  • Support for type conversions between arrays with closely related element types.
  • Added support for FSM state coverage collection (from @Blebowski).
  • An alias of a type now correctly creates implicit aliases for each predefined operator of that type (#776).
  • Improve overload resolution where a partial named association implies the formal parameter must be an array (#793).
  • Handling of implicit conversion for universal types has been reworked to better comply with the LRM.
  • Fixed a crash when string literal characters have a type which is an alias to another type (#801).
  • Added a warning when calling the predefined "=" and "/=" operators on arrays and the left and right hand sides have different lengths.
  • Expressions like abs(x)**2.0 are now parsed correctly (#805).

Special thank you to @bpadalino, @tmeissner, @Blebowski, @amb5l, @m42uko, @a-panella, @nv-h for sponsoring me!

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Rutland Water

November 19th, 2023

Recently I’ve been following the Birmingham to Peterborough railway line (in the reverse direction) and the next stop is Oakham in Rutland, England’s smallest county!

Today’s walk traversed three counties! Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland. The latter two are firsts for doof.me.uk which is always exciting.

This is Rutland Water, England’s largest reservoir by surface area. It’s also man-made: that building was once the church of the village of Normanton which was flooded when the reservoir was constructed.