The Anonymous Widower

The Dreadful Wall Cabinets Are Down

This morning I took the dreadful cabinets off the wall in my kitchen, with some help from a friend.

Now it is time to start phase two.

Note the crude hole in the wall on the right. Luckily the house is too new to find asbestos.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Where’s The 33cl. Bottles?

I generally carry a 33cl. bottle of water in my shoulder bag, as this is the smallest size I can buy that is useful. I should say that I don’t believe in carrying excess weight either on, in or about my body. It’s usually Evian, as that is the only small one readily available. So I was surprised to see this promotional display in Sainsbury didn’t feature the small bottle.

Evian Promotion In Sainsburys

Evian Promotion In Sainsburys

I would have thought that in this hot weather, a promotion based on small bottles would have been a good idea.

At least I can buy small bottles in dozens in Waitrose and probably other places, whereas in Europe, there was nothing smaller than the half litre anywhere.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

A Police Car With 330,000 Miles On The Clock

At the commemoration for Prederick Parslowe the police brought along a couple of old police cars.

The Morris Minor was immaculate and had a genuine 330,000 miles on the clock. Apparently they own half-a-dozen, which get brought out for public relations purposes. One officer told me, that they’ve also got a couple of preserved Velocette LE‘s.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Tribute To A Hero

At the War Memorial on Islington Green today, there was a tribute to the bravery of Frederick Parslowe, who saved his ship in the Great War, but was killed in the action. He was postumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

According to this article in the Islington Tribune, a commemorative  paving stone is being unvieled as part of the hundredth anniversary commemorations for the Great War.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment

Why Are Some Rails Painted White And What Is Saggy Wire Syndrome?

After reading this article on the Rail Engineer web site, I did think about calling this article something like – Who’d Be A Rail Engineer?

But I just had to include Saggy Wire Syndrome.

The article is a technical article about how using steel wheels on steel rails can be a nightmare for the railways and their engineers in hot weather.

When I was a child, the rails had a length of sixty feet and they were separated by a small expansion gap and connected by fishplates. This gave the clickety-clack. Now rails are continuous for several kilometres to give a smooth ride, so occasionally they buckle. To mitigate the problem rails are made pre-stressed to their length at 27°C, so the problems kick in, when the temperature of the track gets above that temperature.

As switches (points) and crossings are particularly vulnerable in hot weather, they are often painted white in the UK, to reflect the heat.

It’s funny, but after having come across Europe through Poland, Germany and Belgium, I can’t actually remember seeing any rails painted white on my journey. Although, there was no clickety-clack indicating jointed rails. Next time, I go to Germany or Poland I must look.

So what is saggy wire syndrome?

This is where the overhead electric wire stretches in the heat and sags, because the tensioning mechanism can’t cope.

The article finishes with this paragraph.

Summer is a real problem.  Roll on winter, when the rails shrink as they get cold and eventually break, earthworks get soggy causing uneven track surfaces, and S&C gets flooded and won’t work.

Who’d be a rail engineer?

All passengers should read the article!

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Asking The Oracle At Delphi For Help On The Greek Bailout

In the on-line copy of The Times, in an article on the latest episode of the Greek Bailout saga, there is this reader entered comment.

I have just texted the Oracle of Delphi re the referendum. I have had a most impressive and quick response from one of the delightful ladies of Apollo Land.

As you know, I cannot give my answer until the seventh of this month but the gut feeling here at the Shrine is that the “No’ might just win. People must remember that the Islanders are dead worried that their special low rates of VAT will be increased to mainland levels. The good folk of Rhodes and Crete are especially annoyed as they were told pre the most recent General Election by this Tsipras Johnny that no fiddling with the Islanders VAT would take place.

Our political wing has for the last three thousand years advocated making the larger Islands self sufficient – do you think the IMF will consider a loan for this much needed independence? And here’s another suggestion – the EU’s migrant problem could be solved by dumping the poor b….ers on one or more of the many uninhabited Islands and use them as cheap labour to reclaim the land to grow fruit and veg and the profits used to pay back our debt.

Surely, if the Oracle at Delphi gave good advice the Greeks wouldn’t be in the financial mess they undoubtedly are.



July 3, 2015 Posted by | Finance, World | | Leave a comment

A Tree-Lined Section Of Cycle Superhighway Route 1

I took this picture, as I walked along Culford Road to go to my house.

A Tree-Lined Section Of Cycle Superhighway Route 1

A Tree-Lined Section Of Cycle Superhighway Route 1

Like most of the roads round here, it is lined by numerous mature trees. I haven’t looked at the species in detail, but if it’s anything like my road, they’ll be a mixture, with generally two of each randomly planted to no particular pattern.

Do cyclists bother about leaves on the road?

July 3, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Hope For Sufferers Of Cystic Fibrosis?

This morning, the  BBC is showing this report entitled Gene therapy stabilises lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.

It is encouraging news, but also I suspect that it is very interesting technologically.

The genes are actually give to the patient through an inhaler, in a much simpler treatment regime.

July 3, 2015 Posted by | Health | Leave a comment

It Looks Like The Hackney Downs/Central Link Is Ready To Open

I took these pictures at Hackney Downs  and Hackney Central stations today,

I don’t think it will be long before when I come back from Walthamstow, I can arrive at Downs station, walk through the link to go out on the street at Central station station to get a 38 bus home. The advantage of this route, as opposed to getting a 56 bus by Downs station, will be that I can do some food shopping if necessary in the Hackney Marks and Spencer.

I can’t help feeling that passengers will press for links between the other platforms and lifts to the platforms from the subway at Hackney Downs station.

The reopening of Lea Bridge station and the possible reopening of the Hall Farm Curve are both developments that could affect any future work at Downs  and Central stations. This Google Map shows the layout of the two stations.

Hackney Downs/Central Link

Hackney Downs/Central Link

Downs station is at the top and Central station is at the right.

You can actually see some sections of the new link in place, so the image must have been taken recently. The large oval object at the left (west) of the image is the ventilation and evacuation shaft for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is easily seen from trains on the North London Line. It is connected by a concrete roadway to Graham Road.

Note how it is possible to walk inside the railway land to Graham Road. I believe it would be possible to create a southern entrance for the two stations, by the two bridges, that would give access to the westbound platform at Central station and possibly perhaps using a lift to Platform 4 at Downs station. These pictures show the area of Graham Road, where the two bridges cross.

This is an enlarged Google Map of Graham Road, the two bridges and the two access roads.

An Enlarged Map

An Enlarged Map

In order from the west, the features are.

  • The Ventilation and Evacuation Shaft for the CTRL
  • The Access Road to the CTRL shaft
  • The two-track Curve that connects the Lea Valley Line to the North London Line.
  • The four-track Lea Valley Line
  • The Network Rail Access Road

The footbridge at Central station is shown at the far right.

As the pictures and the map show there is an embankment, so to get to a possible southern entrance, there might need to be some serious engineering.

On the other hand their is already a light-controlled crossing on Graham Road by the bridges.

The only problem of putting a second link on the southern side of the tracks, is that signalling cables and equipment may get in the way. This necessitated a big redesign of the link, that is now being created. This page on the contractor’s web site, which describes the current link, says this.

An earlier proposal had to be abandoned because it would interfere with Network Rail signalling equipment. The latest plan avoids this problem by building the interchange on the northern side of the track.

So this probably partly explains, why the new walkway is not a small structure.

I also heard in the evening that the link will open next week, possibly on Tuesday.

In the nearly five years, I’ve lived in Hackney, the development of the area around the two Hackney stations has been extensive and it is showing no sign of slowing down.

The London Borough of Hackney is now one of the more desireble boroughs in which to live.

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Why Would You Create A New Digital Bank In Durham?

I’ve only one regret about my investment in Zopa and that is that I didn’t invest earlier. I could only have invested a few months earlier, as the financial web site hadn’t been created.

Recently, I’ve seen mention of Atom Bank in the press and this afternoon I went to have a dig around the Internet at what has been trailed as a new form of digital bank.

I found this article on the Finanser web site, which is an interview with Mark Mullen, who is the CEO of Atom Bank.

The interview contains a lot of sensible and surprising facts.

They are creating the whole digital bank from scratch and Mullen has a refreshingly blunt attitude to consultants (He doesn’t use them!), which I wholly agree with. So much so, if I was developing a bank with my old Chairman at Metier,we’d probably do it the same way.

As an example of Mullen’s thinking, I’ll copy his reasons for basing the bank in Durham.

There is a lot to be said for being outside London, not least because it’s an expensive place to base a business. If you don’t need to be in London it doesn’t make sense to place a business where the ground rents and employment costs are so high, and where the markets are so massively competitive. Durham is appealing as the real estate is less expensive; but cheap land gets you nowhere when you’re building a high end company. So as importantly there are also fabulous universities; a huge population catchment area; and the city is well connected by trains to north and south. Equally, there is actually not that much in the way of alternative financial institutions, so we are offering an alternative employment proposition in the local market. That’s quite an attractive thing to do.

I shall be watching Atom Bank with interest.

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,007 other followers