The Anonymous Widower

Easing London’s Housing Crisis

It’s now four years since I bought this house.

It had been built rather badly by a company called Back Street Developments about ten years ago and there seemed to be no NHBRC registration for it. In the intervening years the previous owners had put tenants in, and they had done there best to wreck it. The owner obviously skimped on maintenance, but then all these facts were reflected in the price I paid.

Some time ago, I started to get the house straight. Finding a builder has been a nightmare!

The first builder walked away from the job after personality clashes between the owner and his work-force, leaving me without a bathroom.

I’ve got one coming in fom outside London, things seem a bit better.

An illustration of the problem is that people locally are always asking, if I know a good builder. I also want to sort my dreadful kitchen. I have asked several companies to look at it and not one has ever made a fixed appointment or even turned up.

I suspect that kitchen companies would prefer to fit out some multi-millionaire’s house in Mayfair, rather than my small kitchen.

I do wonder how many properties are not lived in, as the owners are waiting for a builder to sort it out. And how many people are put off downsizing, as theycan’t be bothered to go through all the hassle of finding a builder.

So if we sorted out the refurbishment of small and medium sized properties, would we release more properties for occupation?

The first thing we should do is to seriously analyse the homes market and identify why properties are empty or under-occupied!

Any soutions we propose should of course be nationwide, as I don’t believe this is just a London problem.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

I was on the bridge at Royal Victoria DLR station this morning and took this picture of the works creating the Crossrail tunnel portal at Royal Victoria.

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

When completed the tunnels will go under where I took the picture to the next station, which is Canary Wharf. Custom House station and the crane used to put the pieces together is in the distance to the left of the electricity pylons.

According to the documentary on Crossrail, it was a tight squeeze at Tottenham Court Road, but this shows it’s as tight as a duck’s arse, virtually everywhere.

Rude words are allowed when talking about Crossrail, as one of the female project managers used the F-word in the documentary.

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

How Would The Scottish Diaspora Vote On Independence?

I ask this question as the BBC has a story about five famous Scots, who live outside Scotland would vote.

I can’t find a poll of Scots outside Scotland asking how they would vote, but I can add an anecdote.

I used to play real tennis with an American, who was an academic at Cambridge. His research area was  the relationship of the diaspora, with their original country. He had found that a lot of the troubles in the Indian sub-continent had been funded by donations from abroad. As a Bostonian, he did add that he didn’t think that the Irish in his home city, had helped find a solution in Northern Ireland.

I also think, that we all like places where we grew up or to which we have a strong connection, to do well and have control of their destiny.

For this reason, it could be that if Scots living outside Scotland had the vote, then the referendum would more likely be a vote for independence.

So could Alex Salmond have got it wrong, on not allowing Scots abroad to vote, if he wants the vote to go his way?

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I was in St. Pancras recently and someone has put pointless stained glass in front of the clock.

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I suppose it’s art, but for those of us who don’t wear watches it’s a big annoyance.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The Scotties Steal The Show

It is generally reported in the media, that the Scotties stole the Opening Ceremony of Glasgow 2014. Look at what the Aussies said for example.

But it would appear, that finding enough dogs might have been a problem, as according to this article, they had to bring in Archie from Ringwood in England.

Perhaps they should have shared the duties around and perhaps got in a corgi for the Welsh team to add a touch of humour near the end.

Queen Elizabeth would have been amused!

It will be interesting to see if sales of Black and White whisky increase.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Liverpool Gets The Puppets Out Again

In 2012, Liverpool staged the Sea Odyssey: Giant Spectacular to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

On Friday, they’re staging another giant puppet show to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War. It’s reported here in the Liverpool Echo.

I wish I could go, but I’ve got to be here for my builders on Friday, which would be the best day.

You may question, if a free show like this is a good idea, as surely it costs a lot to setup. This is what Wikipedia said about the financial benefits of the Sea Odyssey.

An independent report into the impact of Sea Odyssey concluded it was the most successful event in Liverpool’s history. The report showed that 800,000 people took part in the event, which resulted in an economic impact of £32 million.

So it would appear that spectacular events are a good idea financially.

How much did Leeds, Cambridge and London benefit from the Tour de France? And after the Commonwealth Games, how many people having a holiday in Edinburgh, will now take the trip across to Glasgow?

What odds will I get on the French puppeteers turning up in Liverpool again in a few years time. Perhaps they’ll bring a puppet of Red Rum to the Grand National!

July 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Will This Become One Of The Iconic Photographs Of the Queen?

Last week, the Queen opened the new Reading station. It’s reported here on the BBC.

The picture of her sitting amongst Network Rail’s orange army, will surely become one of the most iconic photographs of the Queen.

The Queen With The Orange Army

The Queen With The Orange Army

I wonder how many mantelpieces, it’s already sitting on.

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

My Tired Hotel

If there was one thing that spoilt my holiday to Iceland it was the hotel.

This picture sums up the hotel.

My Tired Hotel

My Tired Hotel

It was tired and in need of a stiff makeover.

But there were some faults you just can’t excuse.

1. The shower was stuck on hot and unusable.

2. The gluten-free bread they produced was frozen and inedible.

3. They had a glut of Earl Grey teabags, so that was what you got in the room. I hate the stuff.

4. I had a top floor room, which suffered from top-floor-too-hot syndrome. They kept the fire escape open to try to cool the top floor.

But the biggest problem was that it wasn’t the city centre hotel I asked for and it was claimed to be ten minutes walk away. You might have been able to walk it to the centre in just over that, but walking back up the hill would have been a lot more for me.

If I’d have donre my research better, I wouldn’t have booked it, as some entries on Trip Advisor said that all was not well!


July 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Google Chrome Problems

I use two computers; an old Compaq 6720s, running Windows Vista and Office 2007 and a newer Sony running Windows 7 and Office 2010.

To access the Internet, I generally use Google Chrome. And to update this blog, I use Chrome, as sometimes Internet Explorer doesn’t work with WordPress.

I’m putting this post on the Internet using Chrome on the ancient Compaq, as for some reason Chrome on the Sony won’t access this web site.  I can access it and create new pages with Internet Explorer.

With all the money they make, you’d think Google could get a browser that worked corrrectly.

I spoke too soon, as Chrome now won’t access this web site on the Compaq.  So I’m creating this post in Internet Explorer on the Sony.

If anybody has any problem accessing this blog in Chrome could they please tell me!

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Computing, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

A Worrying Report On CFCs And HCFCs

It is being reported that mysterious CFC and HCFC gases have been found in the atmosphere. Here’s the first part of the report.

Scientists have identified four new man-made gases that are contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Two of the gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among researchers.

Worries over the growing ozone hole have seen the production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases restricted since the mid 1980s.

I have no theory about how these gases got there, as I’m no chemist or environmental scientist.

But I do feel that there are an awful lot of unnecessary drug inhalers powered by HCFCs used in the world.

I don’t mean unnecessary from the medical point of view, although in the 1990s, there were some amazing anomalies in the prescribing of these devices.

Some years ago, I backed a company that went on to produce an inhaler, that used no compressed gases, no batteries or any other noxious or environmentally-unfriendly substance.

It was so impressive that we were brought up at the Montreal Protocol talks, where some delegates tried to get the banning of HCFCs as well. They failed as some countries and Big Pharma didn’t want a ban.

So what happened to our device?

We sold it to Bohringer Ingelheim for a lot of money and it is described on this website.

March 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , | Leave a comment



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