The Anonymous Widower

Manor House

The Manor House used to be an enormous pub in the 1960s, famed as a music venue.

The Manor House

I went a couple of times and can’t remember who I saw.  But I did hear of a tale, where John Mayall was playing, with the legendary Eric Clapton as one of his band.  Eric got rather drunk and couldn’t continue.  But a previous member of the band, Jeff Grimmett (?), was there and although being in a worse state that Eric took over.  Apparently, it was a performance to rank with the greatest.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

What’s Red and Lies Upside Down in the Gutter?

This is an old elephant joke from the 1960s and the answer is a dead bus.

It’s funny, but I’ve been on trains and planes that have broken down or developed faults, but I’ve never been on a bus that has suffered a similar fate.

Until today, that is!

A Dead Bus

A Dead Bus

As I was close to Turnpike Lane station, I took the Piccadilly Line to Manor House.  This is one of the longest runs between stations on the tube and breaks the two-minute rule of calculating how long the journey will take.  A good estimate of journey time is two minutes per station with five minutes for each change of line.

I’m not sure if it is unique, but Turnpike Lane still has the classic 1930s uplighters on the escalators. One place that still has them is Moscow, where London Underground installed all the original escalators.  In Moscow, when I was there a few years ago, most of the escalators were still in wood, just like they used to be in London, until they were replaced after the King’s Cross fire.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Or more correctly between Turnpike Lane and Wood Green stations on the Piccadilly Line.

I’d taken a 141 bus to Turnpike Lane from the end of my road and alighted opposite the station.

Turnpike Lane Tube Station

Or should I put the local name underneath which sounded like Turnpicky Larny.  I wonder if it’s still used.

I walked down the west side of Wood Green High Road and the first place I remembered was the Marks and Spencer on the other side.

Marks and Spencer at Wood Green

I didn’t go in, but it certainly looked to be in a worse state than how I remember it from the 1960s, when it was one of their flagship stores.  I visited it many times, as a bag carrier for my mother, when she used to do the food shopping, when she was working with my father in Wood Green.

Further up you can still see the remains of the old Wood Green Empire above the Halifax.

The Remains of the Wood Green Empire

I can remember going there once to see the pantomime.  It may have been Babes in the Wood, with Ted Ray, but even if I hadn’t had the stroke, I wouldn’t be sure.

My father also claimed that he’d appeared on the stage there in a variety show.  But at one time, I know he did print the programs and posters for the theatre, so perhaps he did a deal. Knowing him, that could have been possible.

The centre of Wood Green High Road used to be crossed by a railway bridge that carried the Palace Gates railway line to Palace Gates from Seven Sisters. At one time there was a station in the area called Noel Park and Wood Green, but although I can remember the bridge and trains running on the line, I can’t remember the station. To the south of the bridge there used to be a pub called the Alexandra, which was pulled down in the 1960s or just before to build Wood Green’s first supermarket. Now the whole area has been redeveloped as Wood Green Shopping City.

Wood Green Shopping City

Moving along towards Wood Green tube station, I passed what some refer to correctly as the Broadway, but I just remember it as the place where you caught the trolley buses. On the left there used to be a restaurant called the QS for Quick Service and one of the first burger bars. I can remember visiting both quite a few times with my mother. I can still remember and smell, the chef, Ally, turning the greasy burgers as he fried them.

On the corner opposite the tube station, there is a pub which is now called the Goose.

The Goose, Wood Green

I think the pub used to be called the Nag’s Head and it is part of a family tale. My father used to live with his mother over the print works in Station Road, which is just around the corner.  One Sunday morning  her dog, who was a renowned thief, arrived back with a large cooked joint of beef in his jaws.  My grandmother, immediately washed such a prize present off and that was the family’s Sunday lunch.  My father surmised that the chef in the Nag’s Head had put the cooked joint on the window sill of the kitchen at the back of the pub to cool down a bit and the dog just couldn’t resist.

I then crossed the road by the tube station to catch a 141 bus back home from where the trolley buses stopped.

Wood Green Tube Station

All of these stations from Cockfosters to Turnpike Lane are very much part of my childhood and I remember them all with affection.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | 2 Comments

US Troops Turn to a Tricycle

The third leader of The Times today is unusual in that it tells the story of how the Pentagon has commissioned two command performances of The Great Game, by North London’s Tricycle Theatre. Here’s an extract.

The idea of staging The Tricycle Theatre’s production in Washington is so that generals, and soldiers heading to Afghanistan, might come away thinking what General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, thought after seeing the show in London; that “if I’d seen the plays before being deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in 2005 it would have made me a much better commander”.

Let’s hope we see more education of those who go to war, as we always tend to forget the lessons of history.  I would also hope that they also read the thoughts of Aircraftsman Shaw.

I’d love to hear Sarah Palin’s thoughts on US forces being educated by Britain’s leading political playhouse.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aldous Eveleigh

In 1977, C purchased a small painting by Aldous Eveleigh at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Glove Puppet by Aldous Eveleigh

 It would appear that the artist is still creating art, but probably in a very different way.

It’s also nice to think that C had taste, as it would appear he’s more famous than he was.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Another Taste of Suffolk

I like my hummus and usually have it with some toasted Genius bread, that I cut into fingers.  So today I bought a pot of hummus with butter bean, mint and lime from the de Beauvoir Deli for my lunch.

Purely Hummus

One reason I bought it, was it said that it was suitable for coeliacs on the packet and it was only when I got it home, that I found that it was made by a company called Purely Pesto from Saxmundham.  And the last time I looked, that oddly named town was in Suffolk.

As to the hummus, it was very good.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Hail the Humble Hand Drill

The walls in my new house are probably very typical of modern houses, in that with one exception they are all plasterboard sandwiching air. So to put pictures up, the averahe picture nail is not the best and a plug and screw is better especially, if the picture is a bit weighty.

Given the fact, that my hands are a not the best, I’ve fund that a humble hand drill is the best way to drill the walls, as I have so much more control.

A Humble Hand Drill

My father had a couple of very smart hand drills, which you’d never see today.  He also had a drill chuck, with just a T-handle on it, which was ideal for making holes in delicate materials.  It was always in demand in the autumn for drilling holes in conkers.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | World | | 7 Comments

The Bus Powered by a 2-Litre Diesel Engine

The 141 bus passes the end of my road, on its way to Wood Green, where my father’s print works used to be.

A 141 Bus to Wood Green


The route is partly operated by hybrid buses, some of which are Wright Gemini 2 HEVs, which are powered by the 2-litre diesel engine from a Ford Puma.

I’ve always been a bit suspicious of hybrid cars, but surely this bus must be more fuel-efficient, than a similar-sized traditional bus.

An interesting aside here is that the bus is also built without a chassis, partly to save weight and the company that builds these buses, the Wright Group, is family-owned in Northern Ireland.

So does innovation and good design flourish in companies which benefit from not being under the control of unimaginative shareholders and wunches of bankers?

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

Fuel Prices

Someone has sent me an invitation to join their group protesting about fuel prices.

I will not be joining, as I’ve always felt that a large part of the problems of this fragile planet are caused by people, and especially Americans, who create just too much carbon dioxide, which every scientifically correct individual knows has a lot to do with global warming.  Today, as I write, the Zoological Society of London, launches the Edge Coral Reefs project to save them from extinction.

So what should we do about fuel prices?

It’s not so much about what you do with the prices it’s what you do with the tax revenues they generate.

I have seen the benefits of putting container traffic on the trains in and out of Felixstowe Docks.  There are less trucks on the road for a start and how much is this contributing to reduction in carbon emissions and shorter journey times for other motorists. So the first thing we should do is make sure that more and more containers go between the ports and inland depots by train.  And preferably by electric trains. There are a few links that need to be built, like one to the new container terminal in Liverpool and we also need better road-rail interfaces in some large conurbations.

I actually think that one of the reasons truck drivers are militant, is tat they can see these job losses arriving as the containers shift to rail. The rail freight companies are talking about saving truck journeys in hundreds of thousands with each new scheme.

Railway electrification and better commuter trains and buses should be another beneficiary of extra tax revenue, as give people better services and they use them. I know it’s only a small line across Suffolk, but as the Ipswich-Cambridge service has improved over the last few years, more and more people have used the service.  I also know examples of couples, who have effectively gone from two to one car, because of better public transport.

I’ve worked at home for over forty years and this can easily be encouraged by faster broadband everywhere.  I also believe that this can in itself be a strong engine for growth in rural areas, where public transport of a sufficient standard will never be available.

I would also like to see fuel taxes used to reduce Income Tax and increase benefits in some cases.

We must use all of these things to nudge people towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Technology too has its part to play in this and I’d like to see developments like these cars proposed by Gordon Murray. But would these wean people away from their beloved 4x4s and people carriers? Probably not, but fuel prices are one way to make them pay for their selfishness!

So in my view, high fuel prices should be here to stay.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | News, Travel | , , | 2 Comments