Little Venice Rhyl

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Little Venice Rhyl

Now this will come as a surprise to many of you as it did to me, but if you spent any time in the welsh holiday town of Rhyl you may well remember the fun fair, sea front arcades and the beach. But did you know about the underground canal system known as Little Venice. No? Nor did I until someone mentioned it to me and I thought no way – I’ve been going there for forty years and have not heard about it.

So after a little research it turns out that Little Venice Rhyl really did and may still exist. It was a small system of canals under the Queens Palace hotel and ballroom built in 1902. Little Venice was one of its attractions along with the ballroom and a theatre and for a fee you could be taken by gondola around the subterranean river system. Little Venice Rhyl was an ornate affair of Victorian grandeur with sculpted archways, decorated ceilings and over 100 electric lights (in 1902 this was an attraction in its self).

Now there are many rumour’s surrounding Little Venice and I cannot confirm or deny them as the evidence has been lost by time. Many reports say that the system of canals were vast, extending far out from the grounds of the Queens Palace; but the plans for the canals do not hold this out to be true. There is also a rumour that a branch line of the system extended all the way out to Prestatyn a few miles along the coast. This apparently was for wealthy Victorian gentlemen to travel to the Queens Palace unseen accompanied by someone other than their wife – but again no evidence of this has come to light.

The main reason that the existence of Little Venice Rhyl had been forgotten is that it closed in 1907 after a fire and was never reopened. Reports from the time suggest that the fire started in the canal system and spread upwards. When the Queens Palace reopened Little Venice did not, we do not know the extent the fire damaged but it appears that the entrance was sealed over and forgotten about.

Today the Queens market stands on the site, the structure is still partially that of the old Queens Palace in fact my father remembers seeing part of the old ballroom only a few years ago. Apparently the stairs leading down to the cellars still exist but there are unsubstantiated reports that Little Venice was filled with concrete many years ago, there are also reports from people working at the Queens Market that it is still down there.

More than a few people have tried to have a look (asking for permission from the owners or just trying to sneak in) but to no avail so for the moment we don’t know if Little Venice Rhyl is still there but I for one would like to see it.

Windows 10 Upgrade

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Like many people this morning I booted my computer to find that Microsoft had added a “get windows 10 icon” to my taskbar. Having no idea what it did and me being me, I clicked it.

This is the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft promised all Windows 7 & 8 users, you can reserve your update slot for Windows 10 when it becomes available (should be later this summer). The big question is do I want it.
There are no easy answers to this.

If you are still running Windows XP and unless you know what you are doing please upgrade to a newer version of Windows (you are vulnerable to attacks).
If you are running Windows 8 and are happy with the way it works why do you need to move to Windows 10. Microsoft will say that you will keep everything that you love about Windows 8 and get lots of new exciting innovating products and experience a better way to work.

I don’t know if this is true as I have not spent much time with Windows 10 but from what I have seen it doesn’t seem to be that different from its predecessor. However, if you wish to keep up to date with patches and updates then I would definitely do this (it is free after all).

If like me you are running Windows 7 and really don’t like Windows 8 then we have a problem as support for Windows 7 is likely to start dropping off soon. Mainstream support ended January 2015, extended support will continue till January 2020. But as many people found with XP the updates started to become less regular in the last few years. Now I do not think that Microsoft (or any other software company) should support an old version for ever but this shift to the new interface and way of working will leave me and may others with nowhere to go.

Let me explain the problem that I and many others have; we work with computers in many different ways I primarily work within the CAD/CAM (Computer-aided design/Computer-aided manufacturing) world. Most of my day is spent with my right hand on the mouse using all three buttons and the scroll and my left hand on the numerical keypad I need to swap between programs quickly. Windows 7 fits my needs perfectly it has an always ontop taskbar and start menu I am familiar with, so when I need to launch a new program I do not have to return to a home screen. Windows 8 slows me down and as I am self-employed and cannot afford to waste time this is not a good way to go
Many people out there will tell me I just need to get used to Windows 8, and I did try by purchasing a new computer with Windows 8 installed and used it as much as I could for all non-work related things and then slowly integrated it into my day.

This did not go well the habits I have picked up and used since 1995 do not die easy. Time and time again I could not find what I needed or hit the wrong thing. After 3 months I concluded that Windows 8 does not fit with the way I like to work and installed Windows 7. I am not alone in finding this many within my industry have said the same and many other people are finding Windows 8 hard to work with.

So if you don’t like or cannot work with Windows 8 what are your options?

Not many as far as I can see: most of the software I work with is not available for the Mac or Linux. The ones that are available work well but I still need all the others on one machine.

In conclusion, I and many others find themselves in-between a rock and a hard place – do we carry on with Windows 7 and hope that Windows 10.1 (or 10.2) will meet our needs? Or do we upgrade to Windows 10 now and try to cope as best we can.