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Matthew’s blog

Guitar player, amateur cook & all-round engineer

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Manic March :D

Hey everyone!
Seeing as I haven’t posted in three weeks, I thought I’d make this post a long one. These last few weeks have been action packed and full of surprises!

On the weekend beginning the 20th of February, the students union was hit by a huge event- the ale festival. The great hall was packed with a large array of locally and distant brewed beers, ales, ciders, meads, wines and lagers. The nights’ entertainment included genuine pub quizzes (complete with the same questions form that weeks “never mind the pub quiz” in the Taff ;) )and live music. The music consisted of acoustic covers of pop songs and country and folk music, which was excellently organised – even if most of the bands would’ve benefited from a sound check! At the event, it was the first time I’d ever tried mead and even though I was told it was brewed from honey, I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the drink actually was. Definitely one on the “must buys” for the drinks connoisseur ^^.

The vast array of ales at the February ale festival

Last weekend I had the chance to go home for the weekend. As it’s moving closer to April, our valley has just started to have newly-born lambs springing everywhere which brightens up the fields. Unfortunately, I also had to revise for an electronics test planned for Monday, but it wasn’t too bad as it was a lot quieter at home than Senghennydd.


So, back down to reality on Monday morning with the DMT deadlines over my shoulder. For those who haven’t heard of it before, DMT is a “design make and test” project. Basically, the idea is that in our tutor groups of six people we have been tasked to design a “spring powered car” that has to travel 6 meters down a pre-set track. We have a selection of materials that we can use, but the design and implementation of the project is mainly in the hands of our group. It’s the first real chance I have had to work within a team to create and manufacture something and I’m really enjoying it. Due to competitive reasons, I can’t tell you our design but what I can tell you is that it’s going to be a good one! :P.

I take the lot! :P

Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with the EnginSoc to Alun Griffiths civil contractors in Abergavenny. I actually come form that area, and so it was cool to go and see around a company that has directly impacted my home community. Alun griffiths have done many projects in the area, including renovating the “Brewers yard” in the town, and the “valleys line” in Ebbw Vale. We were invited to lunch which was shared with the CEO of the company and a former European politician who gave a talk on how we have an obligation as engineers to do our job properly. We even managed to check out the huge plant machinery in the company’s yard and how the inside of the business works. Thanks to EnginSoc for organising such an informative and enjoyable day!

The brewery yard, Abergavenny (Copyright Alun Griffiths UK)

Interestingly, in my Monday afternoon maths lectures, the overall turnout has been steadily declining. I don’t know the reason behind it but I think I should probably mention that: out of a cross engineering discipline lecture where there should’ve been 380 people, this week only 24 people actually turned up to both hours. I have mixed feelings about this. Even though I am disappointed at our year group’s general attitude to learning, it does open up more opportunities to ask questions for the people that enjoy elaborating to subjects.

The determined few…

Recently, I decided to splash out on a new pool cue. It’s made out of ash and rosewood with leather tips. It feels really nice to use – especially when compared to the ones normally available in the Taff! :) I wish it would make me play better, however as I still can’t manage to beat my mate Sam in a pool game. I suppose it’s just another excuse to have more practise :D.

Form an ordely cue, please!

Something cool I found on my travels around Cardiff was to catch a rare glimpse of an Austin Martin DB9 parked outside of the students union. I’ve always been an Audi man myself, but as an engineer I can appreciate the skill that goes into creating such a machine. If I had ninety grand… :D

This Tuesday, I had a very interesting thermo-fluids lecture. Our lecturer used a box of “wordpads” which were effectively audience participation handsets. The lecture involved 3 quizzes ranging from Bernoulli’s equations to properties of fluids. It was nice to see the use of technology to compliment teaching, rather than being a detrimental effect or solely used for power-point. It made the revision more fun as well!

Ask the audience: A,B,C or D?

All of this week, the Christian Union are holding events to do with the topic; “Jesus ETC?”. The events include a pub quiz on Monday, and a variety of talks and free meals throughout the week. For more information check out my facebook profile picture.

I’m really looking forward to this Easter break. This last term has been very intense and full of deadlines. Even though the exams and DMT are straight after, it will be nice to get away from the busy city life for a while and recharge the batteries.
Have a nice Easter, and good luck revising!

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