Tomorrow, I’m attempting to get to Ipswich to see them play Nottingham Forest. The East Anglian main line through Chelmsford is shut as far as Ilford, so you have to take a tube to Newbury Park station and then get a special bus to Ingatestone, where you get the train to Ipswich. It started to go wrong today with a serious road crash outside Newbury Park. Earlier this evening, I was passing Liverpool Street station, so I went in to buy a ticket. I said that I wanted to be in Ipswich by 15:00 and wanted to return home any time after 17:00, so could I have a Cheap Day Return. The man in the ticket office didn’t think he could sell me one and wanted to charge me about £46.00 for the return. He said that I might get it cheaper, if I nomininated particular trains. But when there’s a coach service in the middle, I’m reluctant to do this.
When I returned home, I phoned National Express East Anglia and they said that Cheap Day Returns will be available.
But what with coaches, a Bank Holiday and new fares coming in, I think we have a recipe for disaster, so I’m looking at serious alternatives, including going to Cambridge and getting a train to Ipswich from there. It will be more expensive, but probably a lot more reliable. It’s also a few minutes quicker and I could have lunch in Cambridge on the way out or dinner on the way back.
I picked up my paper and then walked through to the Kingsland Road, where I got on the towpath of the Regent’s Canal and headed east.
Unfortunately, my camera was low on power, so I couldn’t take any pictures. I will later in the year and they will be so much better with the sun.
Next time, I must, as it an interesting walk under the bridges with the last stretch smelling of woodsmoke from the heaters in the barges parked for the winter.
I emerged on Roman Road in Tower Hamlets, before taking a 277 bus back to the stop around the corner.
The last bit brought back memories, as my late son and his family used to live just round the corner. But I wouldn’t dwell on what might have been!
In a previous post, some of the comments were about smart phones in hospitals.
I’m all for allowing patients to have laptops in hospital. I had my stroke in Hong Kong and I was allowed one there. It allowed me to do things like listen to Radio 5, talk on Skype, do the Sudokus in The Times and send e-mails, that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
I could also have done things like watch videos, which I never do anyway.
In Addenbrooke’s laptops were effectively banned and I don’t think it helped me.
The reason they are banned is that if they were allowed, it would mean they’d lose all that money they get from that crap Patientline system. The bandwidth wouldn’t be a problem, as they can now get enough Megabits easily.
The laptops could also be integrated into patient care and support. For instance, a physio in Hong Kong told me that typing would help my hands work properly again. She was right!
So let’s have some 21st century, healthcare thinking!
Remember too, that happy patients are less trouble for staff and might even leave earlier.
To me allowing laptops in hospital is a no-brainer. But then what do I know about healthcare? But I have seen good healthcare at work and know what works.
I am also in contact with universities, where they are developing computer games to help stroke patients. Let’s make those free and downloadable!
Euston has hardly changed since it was rebuilt in the 1960s. The black marble inside the station has always made it a bit of a black hole and I’ll admit it used to be worse as you walked down the ramps to the trains. They seemed to have brightened up this area with perhaps just a few more lights and some new paint.
But it is in the Underground and the connections to it, that it is really lacking; from the inadequate escalators from the station and the rather dull tunnels connecting you to the Northern and Victoria lines. Compared to later stations like Liverpool Street, it is all very poor. It will look even more so, once King’s Cross and St. Pancras are finished.
Euston also needs to be properly connected to the Metropolitan and Circle lines, which run just in front of the station, by some form of proper people mover.
Perhaps in the future, all the Marylebone/Euston Road stations could be properly linked, so that passengers arriving at Marylebone and Euston could be quickly whisked to St.Pancras and King’s Cross for Paris, Brussels and the North East.
I think, I would ban cars and lorries from the route, put a travelator down each side, with trams and gardens in the middle and cafes and restaurants along the side.
Whilst waiting for the train, I noticed this at Coventry station.
If only the rest of Coventry thought so much about visitors. After all, the city is just an hour from Euston and so would make an ideal day trip if the city got its act together. I’m sure Virgin would co-operate as there is plenty of space on the trains.
It was in some ways a disappointing draw for Ipswich, as they dominated for long periods and should have scored two before they actually did.
But we did have the pleasure of seeing the odious Marlon King sent off for a tackle well up with the sort of behaviour that got him doing time in prison.
I had been assured by one of the stewards that there would be buses from Tesco’s after the match.
Wrong! Especially, as he’d checked on the radio.
So it was a taxi to the city centre, which cost me as much as my lunch and about the same as a one-way ticket to or from London. Still the vehicle was clean and the driver was pleasant enough.
I do find it rather sad, that in some of these cities, like Coventry and Middlesbrough, it seems that the limit of ambition of many Asian youth is to own their own taxis and consequently, these cities seem to have thousands of taxis, completely non-functioning bus systems and no decent walking and cycling routes.
Perhaps though, it is not the limit of their ambition, but surely there are other worthwhile professions they could enter.
Or is it down to that belief typical of many young men and probably me at 20, that you aren’t anybody unless you have your own car.
Only now, when driving is off-limits to me, do I realise that there is something better. Certainly in London, I am more mobile now on the buses after a stroke, than I was in my twenties, when I had a car and all the attendant costs and problems like finding a place to park.
In an earlier post, I said how disappointed I was with Coventry yesterday.
To be fair to the city, I think I should say what I had intended to do and talk about some of it.
When I got my fixture list, I saw that Ipswich Town were playing there on New Year’s Day, so I made a mental note that if I had moved to London by then, I would go and visit the cathedral, as it is a mystical place, where I could contemplate the recent deaths of my wife and son. I thought too, that I might sample a good curry before the match and perhaps visit an art gallery or a museum.
The day had started well, with just the minor distraction of being unable to buy my copy of The Times at Euston, after a twenty minute bus ride from the Balls Pond Road, just round the corner from where I live.
The train left London dead on time and all the way to Coventry, I had two seats side-by-side in Standard Class all to myself. My only complaint would be that the seat back tables are a bit difficult for me to balance a magazine on, but then that isn’t serious and as I was paying just over £10 each way, it was good value and comfortable.
Arriving in Coventry, we were still on time and as I don’t know the city well, I decided to look for a map or some form of tourist information. Perhaps, I should have gone elsewhere or perhaps come on a different day, as I couldn’t fmind anything. I almost felt that I’d come to Coventry on the wrong day for the match, as the place was totally closed. Even the WH Smith’s was closed, so I couldn’t get my paper.
outside of the station, the forecourt was equally dead with no buses or taxis. Eventually, I found a helpful Coventrian, who pointed me to a rather scruffy underpass and bridge that led towards the city centre. It wasn’t the best marked walk, but I got there passing perhaps half-a-dozen people on the way. Comparing this to the busy Upper Street, the bus had taken me through on the way to Euston, just reinforced my fears that Coventry was in fact shut and I should make my way home as soon as possible to watch other football on Sky.
There was few people about, as I walked up past a few smark banks and endless dreary stores, which seemed to be mainly amusement arcades or pawn shops.
The cathedral is surrounded by a few mediaeval steeets and I did find a Pizza Express, where I decided to have a salad Nicoise for lunch, as time was now running short and I hadn’t seen an Indian restaurant, let alone one that looked to be decent. The salad was acceptable, but the waitress got it delivered with bread sticks, so I sent it back. Although she talked and behaved like one of Catherine Tate‘s creations, I put it all down to bad training, so it wasn’t her fault.
I then walked to the cathedrals and like the rest of the city they were deserted. Perhaps, not a bad thing really, as I was able to pay my respects to both my wife and son and those who died in Coventry’s Blitz in almost absolute silence.
After the visit I walked towards the bus station and found a Sainsburys, where I was finally able to buy my copy of The Times. But was Sainsbury’s busy? No! Of course not. Perhaps, evrybody was sleeping off last night’s excesses, but it was now after two.
It was now getting to be like one of those series, where everybody has died from some sort of bug and there is no-one left. Now that I’d got the paper, I actually checked that Ipswich were playing in the city, but couldn’t find the fixture list.
The bus station was totally deserted except for a few Coventry fans looking for transport to the Ricoh. But there was none, until two kind Coventry fans suggested they give me a lift.
Surely, Coventry City shouldn’t have been selling tickets, as they did to these fans, without making sure that the transport was in place.
I hate smart phones and I did try one once and found that it gave me no advantages, but many disadvatages over my Nokia 6310i. To be fair for someone like me, who’s had a stroke, smart phones are just not robust enough.
One of the major troubles with iPhones and their cousins is that people spend so much time playing with them, that they don’t do their jobs properly.
So perhaps, if they had a higher rate of VAT, then the extra revenue raised could be used to fix the problems that smart phone addicts don’t solve.
Radio 5 this morning, is headlining a story that there is a bug in the iPhone. What do they think? I’ve been writing software for nearly 50 years and if you show me a man, who says he’s got a bug-free program, I’ll show you a liar.
To tell my story of yesterday, I send an e-mail entitled “Fix the iPhone, How About Fixing Coventry First”
I went to Coventry to see Ipswich play. As I can’t drive because of my strokes, I took the excellent train from Euston. However, there were no buses running from the city centre to the Ricoh Arena. Coventry was like a morgue too, with few restaurants and shops busy. In the end two kind Coventry fans took me to the stadium, but the taxi back cost more than my lunch and almost as much as a one way ticket on the train. No wonder a only a small crowd turned up to the match.
Surely, if cities like Coventry want to attract visitors, they should put in public transport that works. I suspect though that they’re all still in bed, as the Christmas iPhones don’t work.
I tweeted the whole journey on my elderly Nokia 6310i, that has no bugs and an alarm that works.
After I’ve posted this, I’ll be sending copies to disinterested parties, who don’t care. I don’t anymore, as I won’t go to Coventry again to see football, without a cast-iron guarantee that buses are running to the Arena from the Station.