One of the reasons, I wanted to use the bus to get home, even if it meant a change, was that it was raining hard. If I could have ended up on any one of several routes, I would have been dropped within a hundred metres of my house. Usually when you change buses, you don’t get that wet too, if you choose the changeover with care.
I have three choices of train from Stratford. I usually take one of.
- The Overground to Dalston Kingsland and walk.
- The Overground to Hackney Central and get a bus.
- Central line to Bank and then a bus.
All though would have meant a ten minute walk in the rain. And I didn’t have an umbrella with me.
So in the end, I took the Overground to Canonbury, then back on the East London line to Dalston Junction and then a bus along the Balls Pond Road. Not the simplest, but definitely the driest. It was very wet as this picture at Canonbury shows.
To make matters worse, my preferred route via Hackney Central requires a walk over an uncovered bridge and I wasn’t the only person, who on seeing the weather there, declined to get off.
The Overground is one of those modes of transport, that is very good in fine weather, but some stations get you very wet, when it rains heavily.
The amount of passengers using the line is starting to cause problems. I left Stratford in the rush hour and getting to the platforms was difficult because of large numbers of passengers going the other way. I used the lift to avoid them. The platforms also need a Next Train indicator, as is common on many parts of London’s railways, both over and under the ground.
In common with many others, I like the bus spidermaps that London uses.
They effectively solve the problem of when you are out of your normal area and need to get someone you know. Often a point on a map will be well-known to you, so you just get the bus that goes there. In East London, there are also well-known points like the Angel, Aldwych, Bow Church, Clapton Pond and Walthamshow Central, where bus routes tend to cross. With the spder maps, which list every stop in a vague geographic way, it is easy to locate the place where your local route crosses one from the place you are.
But there is no spider map for Stratford City, despite it having an impressive bus station.
I was told that it was coming and to look on the Internet. All that was there was this piece of designer tosh, that is very useful, if you know the bus you want, but useless if like me, you don’t know your way home. It doesn’t even have the detailed list of places where the buses go, which is common to all spider maps.
So in the end I came home by train.
The Waitrose at Westfield Stratford City is the only place I’ve found the delicious Genius gluten-free fruit bread.
As I needed one or two other things and also a prescription dispensed, I took the train to Stratford and walked to the centre.
But I didn’t get anything I wanted, except for the drugs.
- Waitrose were out of the gluten-free fruit bread and also the normal Genius bread as well.
- Marks didn’t have any gluten-free bread either, but they did have three gluten-free ham sandwiches. So at least they must be stocking them now!
So I left a few minutes after I got there and returned home.
I think though, I can recommend the Boots pharmacy there. I got everything I wanted without waiting, as obviously, the store isn’t the place where people would normally go for their prescriptions. It’s lovely to shop without queues.
One thing that annoys me about the centre, is that to get between the main entrance and Marks at the front and Waitrose and John Lewis at the back, means that I have to run the gauntlet of a crowded corridor and lot of shops with the exception of Starbucks and PC World, I never have visited and never will. It would be much better if the two end escalators were round the other way and I could walk across at first floor level, descending as required. There is also no direct link between John Lewis and Waitrose inside the store, which puts me off visiting both on the same visit. I should say I don’t buy much in Waitrose on most days, as I’m only getting my supper. For a big shop I go to Waitrose in Islington and get them to do the carrying.
For my Day 1 trip from Accrington to London, I booked an advance ticket on the 10:05 from Leeds to London, that arrived at 12:30. The ticket cost me £26.45.
But at the time I booked, I hadn’t thought that I could fit in the Aston Villa part of the trip.
So I found that if I took an earlier train from Leeds, it would give me more time. But no matter, it said that I could exchange the ticket for a fee.
So I looked it up on the web this morning and found that there were tickets for earlier trains still available, albeit at a higher price. There were also Super Off Peak tickets available at £28.90, which is probably what I should have bought in the first place.
So I went to Kings Cross and found out that to exchange the ticket for a named train would cost me a fee of forty-one pounds or so. I’ve changed advance tickets in the past and I think I got charged five or ten pounds or so. That would have been reasonable, but not ideal, as in fact, I’m not sure which train I want to take. As it’s a Saturday, I have a feeling that a Super Off Peak ticket allows me to travel on most, if not all trains.
So I left, after realising I had a nice story for my blog and of course, I still had a valid ticket on the 10:05, even if it is a bit tight to get to Aston Villa.
At home, I found that the £28.90 ticket was still there, so to see if I could get it cheaper, I tried the TrainLine. But that wanted £40.90. I don’t pay booking fees to anybody, so they can go and find some other mugs.
So I went back to East Coast and eventually bought the ticket at £28.90.
It’ll be interesting to see what price, I could pay for a walk-up ticket at Leeds on Saturday.
To return to the title of this page. I don’t consider, a forty pound plus fee acceptable, when I can buy a fully flexible ticket for about two-thirds of the sum.
This trip is starting to get interesting. Perhaps I should follow Tony Hawks lead and travel with a fridge. The problem is that I’ve had enough medical problems in the past few years, I don’t want another caused by humping a fridge.
Richard Bacon on BBC Radio 5 Live, has just asked the comedian, Paul Foot , if after his degree in Mathemetics at Oxford, he was planning to be an accountant. Mathematicians would never lower themselves so much to do something as boring as accountancy.
Does this just show how narrow the average interviewer on the media is?
Waterloo is south of the river, so it doesn’t connect well to civilisation using the Underground.
On my trip between Accrington and Aldershot, I’ll need to travel from Kings Cross to Waterloo. I’ll also have to come back to get to the Arsenal. I did do a recce earlier, but today I checked out using the Bakerloo and then the Piccadilly or Vict0oria lines.
Going south, it’s just a Victoria line to Oxford Circus and then a cross platform transfer to the Bakerloo line for Waterloo.
Going north, you walk to the left on coming off a train at Waterloo and take the escalator down marked Bakerloo. At the bottom, you go through the gates and take another escalator. Then you can actually turn immediately left and take a shirtcut throgh to the northbound Bakerloo, where I found it was better to get in about the middle of the train. This means at Piccadilly Circus, you just walk to the back of the train to take the subway to the Piccadilly line. Get in towards the back of the train and you’ll be well placed to go straight up the escalators at Kings Cross. But as on Day 1, I’m going to Arsenal, I’ll get in towards the middle.
Hopefully, I’ll save a minute or so.
I wanted to get my ticket from Waterloo to Aldershot today for next Saturday.
As I wanted to get a ticket from the Zone 6 Boundary, and I have a Freedom Pass, I had to queue up at Waterloo.
I waited about twenty minutes, as they just didn’t have enough staff and I was not buying a ticket for today.
The good thing was that the ticket cost me just £6.20 return with a Senior Railcard and the Freedom Pass.
There has been a discussion on polygamy this morning on BBC Radio 5, after reports that it is increasing amongst Muslims in the UK.
As someone, who was with my late wife for over forty years and married for all but about two years, and know how hard work it is at times to sustain and keep reinventing a relationship to make it an undoubted success, anybody who wants more than one wife, is either insane or so weak that they can’t be bothered to make one marriage work.
As a taxpayer, who pays for all the mess, when it goes wrong?
I’m not saying polygamy and polyandry should be banned, but those that practice it, should pay directly for the consequences when it goes wrong.
I also think too, that the marrying of first cousins should be looked at. Two of my mother’s brothers married first cousins and although both marriages were successful and lasted until one partner died, my mother didn’t think it was a good idea.
My uncles didn’t have problems, but a doctor has told me, that in certain Muslim families it has happened so often, there are severe genetic problems.
On a practical side, surely finding a partner is a lot about the joy of the search. Marrying a cousin is just a cop-out that doesn’t challenge or stretch either partner.
I always remember a family in the 1950s, where two boys effectively grew up with the girl of a similar age next door. It was always expected that she might settle down with one of the brothers. In the end, she didn’t, as she felt it would be like marrying her brother.
The BBC were interviewing Ed Balls today at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. He was pontificating on the solutions, that he would do to could Britain out of the financial mess, that largely his party got us in.
Who is right or wrong on the solution is a matter for the future.
Butb I think, that the solution to our problems was behind Ed Balls in his BBC interview. But then politicians never look behind themselves, except to see where the knife is coming from.
Over the last twenty years or so, Liverpool has been transformed, from a basket case, to one of the most vibrant cities in the world, by developing the city in a professional and quality manner. Liverpudlians will point to the European City of Culture in 2008, as a catalyst for a lot of the change, but in some cases it just gave developers a reason and possibly an excuse to invest.
London too, is changing and has been greatly improved over the last few decades. The development of Docklands started it and now the Olympics is pushing the city to new heights.
You could also argue, that Manchester got a kick start from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, but just as with Liverpool and London, the process was going to happen anyway and perhaps these events were just advertising for the place on a wider scale. Wikipedia says a lot about how the Games got Manchester moving after the 1996 IRA bombing. One might even say now that Manchester’s driving force is football.
Liverpool is getting a lot of publicity over the next couple of days, and how many will think about going there for a weekend break? When I was there last, I met a plumber who had come to the city for the day to ride his bicycle along the Mersey. Liverpool is almost becoming a seaside resort!
These three cities have benefited from a process that could best be described as Infrastructure for All.
I could also add how Newcastle has benefited from the waterfront developments along the Tyne. Other cities, like Leeds and Birminghamhave also been improved to everybody’s benefit.
I should also ask, if Glasgow is seeing the benefit for the 2014 commonwealth Games yet.
We must do this more in our run-down cities and districts.
Even on a local basis, Dalston has improved a bit in the year I’ve been here, mainly because of the opening of two new railways, that got built early because of the Olympics. But even if the Olympics hadn’t happened, they would have still gone ahead.
So we should look at all the infrastructure projects on the stocks and do those that are most valuable as soon as finances allow.
Priorities should obviusly go to those that give the greatest benefit. I would start with.
Housing, which would provide homes for our ever increasing population. It should be energy efficient and hopefully built, so that people who live there, don’t need to own one car per person, as we must wean ourselves off our own personal travelling spaces, they cost everyone else dear.
Selective rail projects, to remove bottlenecks and level crossings, improve stations and add a few new ones. In Suffolk, they are adding a new loop at Beccles so that more trains can run from Ipswich to Lowestoft. How many more Beccles-like problems are there out there, that need urgent removal. Many of these projects would have positive knock-on effects in other areas. Some level crossings, like the one in the centre of Lincoln, would have enormous benefits to road traffic, if they were removed.
Rail freight projects, which remove trucks from the roads. This would mean a few more interchanges such as Radlett, but the benefit to roads like the A14 and M1 would be high.
Personally, I would add a better bus network, with much better ticketing and disabled-friendly, information rich two-door buses, like you have in London. I have a free pass for buses, so why do I have to be issued with a ticket when I use a bus in Cambridge. It should be just touch in on all buses.
And of course, it’s important that we create interesting places for people to go. Some sports clubs have been trying to build new grounds for years and this process should be speeded up. And we don’t want any more stadia, like Coventry, Scunthorpe and the Rose Bowl designed solely to be driven to. They should be built near the transport hubs., which in itself would probably make them more financially viable.
You will notice, I’ve missed out new roads.
In many ways they are not infrastructure for all.
Some may need to be built or widened, but our priority should be to get unnecessary traffic off the roads.
I believe that we are seeing a drop in the number of trucks from the roads, as more and more container traffic is diverted to the trains. But this process needs some selective action at rail junctions, and it also needs more rail-based distribution centres near large conurbations. But the Nimbys don’t like these. Some also object to freight trains passing through at night.
There has been talk for years about taxing foreign lorries in this country, just as the Swiss do. The last time I drove the southern part of the M25, it was full of trucks registered aboard. We have the Channel Tunnel and goods to and from Europe should go through it on container trains, just like most of the freight goes in and out of the ports at Southampton, Felixstowe and Liverpool.
Every truck removed, is an increase in road capacity.
We also need better interface between the roads and rail. How many cities build large car parks in the centre, when perhaps building them on the outskirts and providing a tram or rail link to the centre? Cambridge was very much derided by doing this with a guided busway, by many including myself, but they now seem to be making a success of it.
Greece is the Pakistan of Europe.
It is corrupt, totally resistant to change and bankrupt in both a financial and moral sense. And as I pointed out earlier, they can’t even spell tax.
When a company goes bust, you put in administrators to see if they can sort out the mess.
Where are the administrators for Greece?
Let’s face it, I’m sure Disney could make a better job of running the Parthenon!