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Views, news and features about the Goulburn Valley. Showcasing a variety of local writers and their views.


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USB on Tap!

USB on Tap!

What a great idea.  No need for adaptors, just plug and play!

Plug all your gadgets – phones, tablets, smart watches, fitness bands, Go-Pros, bike computers – straight into these powerpoints for super fast charging. With 2 x 2.1A sockets, they charge all your devices at their maximum charging speeds.

This is brilliant because inferior alternatives (eg. 0.5A & 1.2A) will have you waiting for far too long.

Available through HPM: http://www.hpm.com.au/Products.aspx?pid=20

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Alan Rickman Dies Hard at 69

Alan Rickman Dies Hard at 69

Alan Rickman, the British actor who played the brooding Professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" films years after his film debut as the "Die Hard" villain Hans Gruber, has died after a short battle with cancer, a source familiar with his career said yesterday..

He was 69.

A smooth-voiced London native, Rickman worked on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in UK television projects before earning his first film role: the German terrorist Gruber, opposite Bruce Willis' John McClane, in 1988's "Die Hard."

He had been in Hollywood only two days.

It ended up being one of film's more memorable villainous roles, but he told The Guardian in 2015 that he almost didn't take it.

"What the hell is this? I'm not doing an action movie," he said was his reaction after reading the script.

But, he said, the progressive storyline won him over.

"Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent," he said. "So, 28 years ago, that's quite revolutionary, and quietly so."

Despite wide acclaim as an actor, Rickman never won an Oscar in a career that spanned parts of four decades. He did win a BAFTA Award for supporting actor in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and was nominated three other times, including for his roles in 1990's "Truly Madly Deeply" and "Sense and Sensibility" in 1995.

He won a Golden Globe in 1997 for best actor in the HBO biopic "Rasputin."

Rickman is probably best known to younger filmgoers as Snape, the antagonistic and bullying wizard who, in the end, plays a crucial role in the Potter saga.

He took the role in 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" without knowing much about the role.

"People thought I knew a lot, and I didn't," he said. "When I was asked to do it, there were only three books written."

But that changed over the course of the series, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2011.

"It was a punctuation mark in my life every year, because I would be doing other things but always come back to that, and I was always aware of my place in the story even as others around me were not," Rickman told the newspaper.

His presence was invaluable, "Potter" producer David Heyman told the LA Times.

He had a real understanding of the character, and now looking back, you can see there was always more going on there -- a look, an expression, a sentiment — that hint at what is to come," Heyman said. "The shadow that he casts in these films is a huge one, and the emotion he conveys is immeasurable."

Rickman fans still have a few more things to look forward to.

His film "Eye in the Sky," about drone warfare in Kenya, is set for a March release. He also did voice work for the upcoming "Alice Through the Looking Glass."


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Longleat Winery Cruise

Longleat Winery Cruise

Longleat Winery, 105 Old Weir Rd, Murchison — 31 minutes drive from Shepparton

Longleat is a picturesque Victorian vineyard on the west bank of the Goulburn River at Murchison. The 16 hectare property grows Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for premium red wines and Semillon and Riesling grapes for delicate white wines. There are 9 hectares under vine with room to extend plantings to around 12 hectares.

The oldest vines are 27 year old Shiraz from which we produce our premium red. The Cabernet, Semillon and Reisling vines date from the early 80's.

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Full Steam Ahead for Tornado

Full Steam Ahead for Tornado

The Brits love their nostalgia. In particular, they love steam trains. They have such an affinity with old steam locos that on any given weekend you can choose from up to 50 volunteer-run steam railways across the nation.

One of my most exciting experiences while visiting in Yorkshire was to see the 60163 Tornado in final stages of construction.

Funded and by a Trust made up of volunteers and supportive philanthropists, the project saw the birth of a class of train that had never before graced the railway lines of Britain. The Peppercorn Class Tornado, unlike the Flying Scotsman, never went into service as it was designed around the time diesel class trains were taking over.

The Darlington group, which started in 1990, raised millions of pounds to make their dream come true. And as the build of the steam engine was a "new" build rather than a restoration, they were able to introduce modern-world safety features like bigger, better brakes, better lights and larger water carrying capacity etc.

This meant that the train meets safety standards for running on the mainlines of the UK and sets her free of the limitations of preserved lines. No other steam train gets permitted to run on the main lines without a special permit. It also means the train can be wound up to its top speed, which is more than 100mph (160kmh).

This makes her faster than The Flying Scotsman and our Australian steam equivalent, 3801. Her mainline trips attract many thousands of trainspotters and has revitalised the entire steam enthusiasts culture.

The Darlington group has plans to develp, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam loco.

There is no substitute for a the romance of steam.

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