After such a successful season in 2019 all here at the Blatchington branch were
really saddened to have to make the decision not to open during 2020 due to
the Covid 19 virus problems.

We hope to be back in 2021 meanwhile there's bits of trackwork being done and
work on my house and garden are also well underway - keep an eye on these
pages for details.
This week I lost a very good friend to cancer, Tom Cunliffe who I first met 
when working in Hastings 30 years ago lost his battle with cancer last
week.  Tom was always very supportive to me in many ways especially when it
came to music, a excellent guitarist and mandolin player he gave me the push
I needed to keep playing and to try new things.

In the YouTube link above you can see him performing one of his own songs which 
is, in my mind, brilliant and is part of a lovely legacy - please do give it a 
listen and also please do search for his many other musical clips on YouTube.
Not that I'm much good at it but over the last few weeks I've been playing a
lot more with my guitars and added a couple of new ones too.  None of them are
high value instruments but all play nicely and are fun!  The latest two to 
enter the collection are a Revelation RTE54 which is a very close run thing
to a Telecaster and a Vintage V100 which is similar to a Les Paul.
Here's a couple of things that might entertain you whilst you try to keep clear 
of anyone else during the continued lock down.

Firstly my good friend Eamonn MacNeill has been compiling a database of folk
and acoustic artists from all round the world, the database contains reviews,
links to the artist home pages and YouTube clips.  Do have a look and feel
free to comment and offer Eamonn further suggestions on the pages and
other artists he might include:-
Eamonn's real music pages
Secondly many of you will already know that apart from the railway round my 
house I also have an N gauge model railway indoors.  This model has engines 
fitted with DCC sound i.e. the locomotives sound like miniature versions of the 
real things.  This is all very well I thought but the rest of the layout seems 
dead so with that in mind I started my 'soundscape' project to pipe various 
sounds into the layout.  Now birds, dogs, cats and many other noises can be 
heard, follow  the link below to have a play and please do let me know what you 
think - especially have a play with the Tannoy announcements!
The soundscape project
With slightly over a week till the next open weekend I was invited by Len 
Fisher of Seahaven FM to come along to their studios to talk about the railway
and what we get up to over the open weekends.  All went very well as you can
find out for yourself by clicking on the listen again links below!
The branch on the radio part 1 - about 1 hour
The branch on the radio part 2 - about 30 mins
There are now several text to speech services that you can plug into your web
site to get them 'talking' to you but so far few sites take advantage of this
facility.  

I've recently been playing with such systems to get the Tannoy working on my 
soundscape project and as a result of this work have added some new features to 
the feedback form on the contact details page listed in the contents section above. 

Now if you miss a field in the feedback form and try and submit it you will be
told which field is missing or if there is a problem with the email address,
please try it and let me know if it is useful or annoying!  I certainly think 
that the technique would be very useful on large forms where it can be quite
tricky to spot where you've gone wrong.
NVDA 2020.2 has now been released offering the usual range of updates and 
performance improvements including technical upgrades that will make 
differences possible in future releases, link this with BRLTTY 6.1 and Firefox 
80.0.1 and users will have a very fast and effective web access suite which is
all free of charge! (please make donations to the products if you can to keep 
the development of future releases possible).
Many visitors to my garden railway will have come across my good friend Marc
Tiltman who helps me run & maintain the engines & track, few will know that he
suffers from Meniere's disease which effects his hearing & balance.  To help
spread the knowledge about this disease we have drafted a new page on this site
with details of the problem & possible sources of help.
The new Meniere's page
Following a visit from David & Alexander Henshaw from Miniature railway 
magazine earlier this year I'm very pleased to say that the Blatchington branch,
my garden railway, is featured in issue 39 of the publication which is released 
today.  For more details click on the link below:-
Miniature Railway issue 39 is out now as a 99p digital download!
For those of you currently on DLA you might find the following link of interest,
it's a very strange & scarey process for many, people being told that you cant
be blind as you are looking at them etc. & that is from the expert assessing 
you for the benefit!  Don't panic though, many are successful with their claim.
PIP assistance
Went to my good friend Mike gold's 50th a few days ago & Jan managed to catch
this picture of St. Paul's church Chigwell - hope you like it.

Great to be able to say something nice about a shop for once, I'd like to thank
the staff at Morrisons Seaford for their friendly help when I visit the store 
with my guide dog Kraken.  Even at the busiest times they manage to assist.
Thanks to John Squire I was lucky enough to get a trip to the Lynton & 
Barnstaple railway in his 1931 Rolls Royce to attend the lines gala weekend at 
the end of September.  Pictured above is the car with Sid, one of the locos 
that was in steam for the weekend - a boys dream too, I had the chance to drive 
the loco for a couple of minutes!  Many thanks to Tony Nicholson for the copy
of the picture - my camera decided to play up at the vital moment!
Just to show the world my mum was not the only person with green fingers in
this family, mind you it does help that it is the sort of plant you can
forget for up to a month without the bloody thing dying on you!
There are several reasons for why I started to build these pages, firstly it
gives me some practical purpose to play with HTML & Javascript, secondly it 
will eventually, hopefully, provide examples of both attractive and accessible 
web page design which can be used as an outline reference for others involved 
in web page creation - who knows, the contents might even be useful!

This site is constantly being tested with a variety of screen readers & access
devices including:-

* NVDA version 2020.2 with Espeak, Vocalizer and BRLTTY 6.1,
* Various Alva Braille terminals, mainly Alva satelite 584 pro,
* Brave browser version 1.1.23 on Windows 10 (Android testing soon)
* Mozilla Firefox 80.0.1 (64 bit), Brave 1.10, Google chrome, Opera, Microsoft 
  Edge and Vivaldi  on Windows 10 Creators edition 64 bit.
* Firefox on Samsung galaxy S9 running Android 10.0 (Talkback version 6.2?) &
   BRLTTY 6.0

I'm no longer testing with:-
* Jaws screen reader due to lack of Braille support on 64 bit systems and
  price.
* Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8.1.  7 & 8.1 should not be a problem.

The upshot of all this testing is that these pages should be fully accessible 
by the blind & many of those using speech recognition systems.

I will be adding more detailed notes on design considerations with examples
of small HTML changes that will make all the difference to disabled
users being able to access your web pages easily.

The contents of these pages are always changing so please do visit frequently
to find updates.

If you have noticed any bugs on these pages or have found a broken link please
do let me know via the feedback form which can be found along with my contact 
details.

I'm always looking for bits to add so let me have links I should include
especially if they use fancy HTML that is still accessible.

Just a small bit of legal stuff here, although most of the material contained 
in these pages is largely in the public domain please do contact me before 
using any text, photos or videos to double check that they are free to use.

Thankyou to Responsivevoice.org provide the spoken prompts on these pages