The Anonymous Widower

Countryfile Is Showing The Gormley Statues

Just watching Countryfile and it’s showing the Gormley statues on Crosby Beach.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Was This What Really Annoyed The Board At The Co-op?

Prufrock in The Sunday Times looks into the trouble at the Co-op and has this interesting paragraph.

Apparently, certain senior members of the Co-op movement first decided Sutherland had to be stopped after he cut a long-standing entitlement to first class travel for the 20 board members, whose number includes a farmer, a university lecturer and a nurse. Free travel is a perk that disappeared years ago from all but the most lavish plc boards.

So I conclude that to really live well as a socialist, it has to be at the expense of others.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | Business, News, Travel | | Leave a comment

Celery, Ham And Spinach Gratin

This recipe from Lindsey Bareham was my supper last night and there is enough left for lunch today.

Celery, Ham And Spinach Gratin

Celery, Ham And Spinach Gratin

Perhaps the most interesting thing is the topping. I just took two slices of Genius soft brown sliced loaf, took off the crusts and then blitzed them in my Little Chopper with a couple of table-spoonfuls of finely grated parmesan. Simple, efficient and perfect every time! I use the same topping in Cinty’s fish pie.

I said I would have it for lunch today.  This is the cold gratin on my plate.

Cold Gratin For Lunch

Cold Gratin For Lunch

It was very nice and the crust held-up well after a night in the fridge.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

Mayors Are The Future

This is the theme of an interesting article in The Spectator entitled Governments have failed – mayors are the future. It is a must read.


As a Londoner, I always argue, that London’s transport system and especially the Underground, Overground and buses are so good, because they are controlled and often designed by people who answer to the people, business and visitors to London.

I can remember, when I left London in the 1960s and started to use Liverpool buses a lot, how I found the plastic covered seats strange, compared to the cloth ones on the RT buses in London.

Even in those days, London did its own thing, because that is what London Transport, the controlling Greater London Council and electorate wanted. Ken and Boris have raised this local control to a new level. And it’s not just these two, but the next London mayor, whoever he or she is and which party they belong to, will raise the standard higher.

This paragraph is very much to the point.

Londoners (there are more of them than Scots and Welsh put together) can argue that Boris has made more of an impact on their lives than David Cameron. And this is with the Mayor of London having fewer powers than most mayors. He is one of many from around the world — Tony Tan in Singapore, Yury Luzhkov of Moscow and Wolfgang Schuster in Stuttgart — who argue that the city is the optimum government unit.

So when voters outside of London complain that London gets too big a slice of the cake, is the problem not London, but their second-rate politicians, who fight local squabbles, rather than do the best for their electorate?

You also have the problem that central government doesn’t like giving power to elected mayors in cities, as it reduces their own power.

But surely, if say Leeds wants a tram system, then that should be a decision for the people, businesses and local politicians of that city.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

The Punishment Of Nigel Evans

The Times is reporting that Nigel Evans faces financial ruin because of the £100,000 he spent paying for his defence on serious sexual assault and rape charges.

Surely, as the Court found him not guilty, his costs should be met from public funds.

I know it was a civil case, but I was once sued by a veracious litigant and defending the action cost me ten grand. I could afford the legal costs at the time, but how many other people are found innocent or win their case and are seriously out of pocket?

It is an unfairness that should be removed from our legal system.

April 12, 2014 Posted by | News | | 1 Comment

Open Data Will Improve Public Transport

I was actually looking to see if anybody else had spotted that London buses now have time displays, which I reported here.

But I did find this article entitled, Smart data will only work if the network data is truly open.

The article says that London has one of the biggest real-time passenger information systems in the world. All of the data is available free for developers. The article then says this.

Developers have created more than 100 apps for the city’s buses alone. They offer everything from route planners for the disabled to scalable tube maps, with live updates when lines are disrupted, and apps that let you know where to board a train so you can get off as close to your exit as possible.

So is it right to think that as time goes on, more and better apps will be written to make difficult journeys easier?

You could envisage apps, where you entered your start and destination and the system made suggestions, as to how to get there fastest, when say the local low life had nicked the signal cable or a bus or train had broken down.

The one thing that the article misses, is the data connection from the smart device to the central system.

Surely to cope in the near future, all vehicles will have a wi-fi connection. First Manchester is reported here to be fitting wi-fi to all its buses.

Once you have a fast local connection between vehicles and passengers, other possibilities will become feasible.

As an example, I often catch a 38 bus to the Angel, where to get to Kings Cross, I change to a 73 bus or take the Northern line. If the bus had a rearward facing camera, I could link to this to check for the 73 bus.

One of the great things about this technology is that you don’t need everybody to be using it on a bus, as bus passengers will talk to each other and share their information. I say this because you see people at bus stops texting to find the arrivals and then showing them to other passengers.

None of the apps because of the open data will cost Transport for London a penny. The reverse could be true in that the apps might encourage more passengers to travel and travel on the more lightly-used part of the network. If more people travelled by bus, hopefully this would reduce car traffic, thus allowing more road space for buses.

Such is the power of software!

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , | Leave a comment

If You Want To Know The Time Get On A Bus

I was on three big red taxis today and they’ve had a software upgrade on the information display.

I haven’t noticed the time before, but I was away Tuesday and Wednesday and only took one bus yesterday.

Since I created this post, I’ve been on about six or so buses.  All were showing the time! Even a very elderly example! I did see a New Bus for London pass and it looked like this was showing the time as well.

It will be interesting to see the indirect effects of this technology change!

Will people be on time more, as they should spot they are late, even when they’ve left their watch at home?

Will it cut watch thefts, as people might wear them less on public transport?

Will there be a clamour for more clocks on the Underground, the Overground and trains?

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Do British Trains Do Toilets Well?

I travel on trains a lot and so I tend to use the facilities quite a bit.

I have come across the concessional blocked one on a train, but in the last few months, all have been immaculate.

A lot of the ones I’ve used in stations over the last year, have been immaculate too, like the ones at Southport, Wigan and Lowestoft!

In my travels across Europe, if I give the British toilets say  eight out of ten, some countries don’t get above five. And we’re not talking about countries with lower standards of living than the UK.

So perhaps toilets are something that British trains do well?

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Why Is Liverpool Street In London So Named?

I pass through Liverpool Street station in London several times a week. As I have strong educational and connections to Liverpool, I’d started to wonder why the street that gives the station is so named.

Liverpool Street is the street that lies in front of the main south entrance to the station and you cross it going between the heart of the City of London and the station.

It is obviously, a road that doesn’t go or point anywhere near Liverpool.

So it is either a name chosen by some developer in the mists of time or perhaps it is named after a historical figure.

The obvious candidate is one of the Earls of Liverpool. According to Wikipedia, it was named after the Second Earl of Liverpool, who was Prime Minister from 1812 to 1827.

Wikipedia doesn’t record if he visited the city after which his title was named.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Travel, World | | Leave a comment

Painting The Bridge At Hackney Downs

There no messing about here, as they get to work painting the railway bridge at Hackney Downs station.

Compare these pictures with those I took on Wednesday in Manchester.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 752 other followers