The Anonymous Widower

Transport for London’s Latest Plot To Get Us To Climb Stairs

London’s buses are effectively computer terminals and displays, that just happen to carry passengers about the city.

These pictures that I took on route 141, show the latest software upgrade.

The clock has been shown on the Next Stop display for some time, but the display, showing how many spare seats are on the upper deck, is new.

Will it help to increase the loading of buses? The only problem, is that the system is not as attractive as a comely conductress calling politely for everybody to please move along the bus!

There’s more about the technology here on the IanVisits web site.

September 14, 2014 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Does The Fashion Industry Think People Have More Money Than Sense?

Over the last few days, I’ve been through several glossy supplements to Newspapers and they seem to supporters by the big fashion companies, selling over-designed and over-priced clothes and accessories. They are mainly for women, but you do see adverts for watches that are more difficult to understand for the average Joe, than Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time.

I’ve always had a policy of not buying any clothes with any form of branding on it, unless the design is what I want. C was very much the same and usually her handbag was lacking any obvious label, although often they were expensive.

But seeing these adverts and also observing ladies around the world, why is it that they overpay for a handbag and then have some enormous advert slapped on it, which generally ruins any style the design had in the first place?

C once bought a very expensive bra and knickers set, because it fitted her so well. When she put it on for the first time, I asked her if she really wanted to show off where she had spent her money. She was rather embarrassed and after that first wearing, it was never seen again. When she died, I sold it for a lot of money on eBay. Just because of the name!

I think where fashion is concerned, there are several born every minute!

September 14, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Action By The River

There was a lot going on in London by the river.

The pictures show the preparations for the Tour of Britain and a barge race on the Thames.

I met a lady from Stoke Newington, who was on her way to see Harmondsworth Barn near Heathrow.

I think there are millions of us, who use their Freedom Passes to explore London.

September 14, 2014 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Match Six – Ipswich 2 – Millwall 0

Town got their second win of the season and the match was again lit up, by a sparkling display from the eighteen-year-old Teddy Bishop. He combined well with McGoldrick and their joint persistence made the first goal.

Walking to the ground from the station is easy at Ipswich, especially as you can see the ground virtually all the way and there are several maps. But surely those near the ground, should show the layout of the stadium to ease the walks of supporters and visitors.

History But No Stand Information

History But No Stand Information

But at least Ipswich has got maps, which is more that can be said for most large cities and towns.

Millwall have a bad reputation for fan behaviour, but on the way home, I was sat with three fans and they were just phlegmatic about their teams performance.

The police told me, that they’d just had a nice trip to the country.

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Art At Spitalfields

It is always good to walk through Spitalfields to get to Liverpool Street station.

The goat has been there for some time, but it’s the first time I’ve looked at Cecil Balmond‘s work!


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

More Step Free Access On The Overground

Looking at the London Overground map for 2026, there appear to be additional stations marked for step-free access.

Blackhorse Road – Plans are detailed here. They may be already completed!

Brockley – Improvements in the near future are detailed here.

Honor Oak Park – Improvements in the near future are detailed here.

New Cross  – Improvements in the near future are detailed here.

New Cross Gate – This station would appear to be being rebuilt.

South Tottenham – Plans are detailed here in the Haringey Independent.

Watford Junction – I suspect that as everything seems to be happening at Watford Junction, full disabled access will be achieved by 2026.

Whitechapel – This will happen before 2020, as Crossrail will bring step free access between all lines here.

It does seem that all of these schemes seem to be following what appears to be Transport for London’s policy of improving the London Overground on a step-by-step basis as funding allows.

I suppose that with the Overground, putting in lifts and ramps is a lot easier, as the stations except for a few are totally above ground.

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Food Tasting At Leon

C always used to say about me, that I couldn’t handle bones. Whereas a good part of the population like to eat spare ribs, I tried them just once and haven’t tasted them in perhaps thirty years. If we had chops for supper, she would always take mine after I’d finished , and then strip any spare meat. In fact, when I have chops now, I always buy them without the bone. I also am one of the few men, who can’t carve.

It’s not a phobia or anything like that, it’s probably down to a problem with my hand and arm.

It’s also not just meat, but I really can’t fillet fish on my plate. Although, I’m getting better at that, if someone presents me with a plaice or sole on the bone. I’ve also got form about getting bones stuck in my throat, as this post shows.

I had been asked to taste a new gluten-free chicken by Leon, so I went with a friend to their restaurant in Spitalfields.

Gluten Free Chicken At Leon

Gluten Free Chicken At Leon

The chicken unfortunately was on the bone. It is cooked in a herb crust and is served with a dip of choice.

Despite the bones, I quite liked it, although of the dips I tried, some of them were more to my taste than others.

I might try one again, but now I know it has bones, I would probably stick to one of their bunless burgers.

I’ve asked my companion for an opinion and I’ll post it when I get it.

But you have to admire Leon for being upfront with calling a product Gluten Free Chicken. How long before this initiative is copied?

And how long before we get Gluten Free Lamb etc.?

Ten years ago, coeliacs like me had a problem finding good food in a restaurant. Now in the average town or city centre, this choice has got a lot easier in the UK. But like the Tap on the Line, there are still restaurants trying to do good food, who don’t have a clue!

Recently Carluccio’s have changed their bread from an excellent brown one, to something best described as a crap white.

Restaurants that don’t cater for coeliacs and the gluten free, now have a problem, in that there are now several restaurant chains, who take gluten free meals seriously!

I once asked Gordon Ramsey about his attitude to those who asked for gluten-free food in his restaurants. He said that if when you book, you say you’re gluten-free and they say they can’t handle it, then the establishment is not a good restaurant.

I would take this further. And restaurant that thinks it’s at the top of its class, that doesn’t say what dishes are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian or vegan etc., is definitely not at the top.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Food | , | 1 Comment

London’s Garden Station

With the English love of gardening, you’d think that there would be lots of railway and Underground stations in the capital, which celebrate gardens.

But there are only three; Covent Garden, Kew Gardens and Ruislip Gardens.

The first is not really a garden now and who has heard of the last, but everybody has heard of the second.

So as I had heard the station had a pub on the platform, I went to take a look.

I just had a glass of real cider, but unfortunately the pub called the Tap On The Line had one of the most coeliac-unfriendly menus I’ve found in a long time.

The piece de resistance, was that the chips were oven chips, which as any coeliac knows are enhanced with wheat, so are not gluten-free. Even McDonalds manage to make their fries gluten-free!

You would be better off bringing a picnic to eat in Kew Gardens, which is four hundred metres away.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

London Overground’s 2026 Map

Transport for London (TfL) have published a map of what they feel the London Overground will look like in 2026.

Most of the changes actually will occur next year, so I suspect there will be other things added before 2026.

My money would be on some of these being completed.

  1. Electrification of the Dudding Hill Line as a westward extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to rejoin  the North London Line.
  2. A More Comprehensive Interchange at West Hampstead station.
  3. Some developer-led station rebuilds and perhaps additions.
  4. Reopening Of the Hall Farm Curve to enable services between Chingford and Stratford, with a stop at Lea Bridge.
  5. Extra Overground branded services in a loop across South London.

With the exception of the electrification of the Dudding Hill Line and the works at West Hampstead, most of the other projects could probably be classed as smallish ones in terms of cost to TfL. But they may have a high return.

At present the Overground is being upgraded to take five-car trains, but judging by this picture taken at Camden Road station, it would appear that where they can fit them in, platforms are being readied for the next upgrade to six cars.

Platform Extension At Camden Road Station

Platform Extension At Camden Road Station

TfL have said, that where stations can’t be extended selective door opening will be used. As the Class 378 trains are walk-through and have a full information system, I’m sure the self-loading cargo, will get used to it.

This afternoon, I travelled along the North London Line and it would also appear that TfL are taking the opportunity presented by the platform lengthening to widen a few of the narrower platforms, like those at West Hampstead. This picture was taken at Brondesbury Park.

An Oasis At Brondesbury Park

An Oasis At Brondesbury Park

It would appear that they’ve created a much wider platform with a roof and a garden.

TfL also don’t seem to be using a one-size-fits-all at the stations. Too often railway lines seem to be designed to a very limited set of rules to save costs. The London Overground inherited a series of run-down and mismatched stations, which they have almost used to advantage. Some like Hampstead Heath, were probably beyond saving, so they have rebuilt them to a station that befits their location.

In asddition, three external factors will drive the development of the London Overground; freight, the need for the development of more homes and commercial properties of all sorts and Crossrail.


The Overground gives over a lot of paths to freight, especially on the northern lines. A lot of these trains are still hauled by unfriendly Class 66 diesel locomotives. Alternative electric locomotives or the new Class 88, should be an aspiration for all lines that go through cities.

Bear in mind that once, the Midland Main Line, the Great Western Main Line and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line are electrified, which should all be complete by 2020, the Dudding Hill Line would be the only line, habitually used by freight trains in the northern part of London, not to be electrified.

So for freight reasons alone, I would think electrifying the Dudding Hill Line is a good idea.

But expect a few surprises if Option 1 is implemented, as Transport for London and especially the Overground has a history of doing the unexpected but excellent. Look at the one platform solution at Clapham Junction, where the West and South London Lines of the network meet.

Development of New Homes and Commercial Properties

London may need new railways to cope with the increased population, but it also needs new homes and commercial properties. Land in London is at a premium, but see what was done here in building flats over the new Dalston Junction station.

Residential Development Over Dalston Junction

Residential Development Over Dalston Junction

It is not the highest quality of developments, but it was probably the best that could be done at the height of the recession. Small scale development is already taking place at some stations like Highbury and Islington and West Hampstead.

But in this country, we have some very good architects and developers, so I would expect to see some innovative development proposals all round the London Overground.

I must admit, that if I had to live in a modern development, surely one on top of a well-connected railway station is probably best!


London’s new railway; Crossrail, will change a lot of things in London’s transport system.

As a simple example if I go to Heathrow from home, the journey takes about an hour and twenty-two minutes. But after Crossrail is running, the journey will take less than an hour.

But this means, I’ll take the East London Line to Whitechapel to connect with Crossrail.

In addition, Crossrail and the Overground have interchanges at Stratford, Whitechapel and probably by 2026 at Old Oak Common.

So I suspect that many journeys in London will change because of Crossrail.

Predictions made now will be valueless after Crossrail opens in 2019.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Drop-In Sessions For The Barking Riverside Extension

There are drop-in sessions for the consultation on the Barking Riverside Extension to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in the next few weeks,

Public drop-in sessions will be held at Barking Library from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, September 20, at Thames View Library from 2:30pm to 7pm on Tuesday, September 23, and at the Rivergate Centre form 3pm to 8pm on Monday, October 6.

If I remember, I might go along, There’s more here.

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 856 other followers