The Anonymous Widower

Is There A Need For An Evening Football Rail Ticket?

When I’ve gone to football at Ipswich evening matches lately, I’ve had to go by Cambridge for other reasons, so I’ve had to buy a ticket from Cambridge to Ipswich and then one from Ipswich to London.  I’ve never had a problem buying the last ticket and the ticket has been reasonably priced.  Last night, I booked a seat on the 18:10 to get to Ipswich, as I was travelling in the rush hour. I didn’t want to go earlier as Ipswich is a gluten-free desert.  But I was unable to buy a reasonably priced ticket in either London or Ipswich.  I then thought, that this might be due to the hour change and there were no late trains, so I left the match at half time and then got a ticket to Colchester for £6.20, where I duly arrived at about nine o’clock on a train that was returning to London virtually empty.  At Colchester, I bought a ticket to London for under a tenner and then caught the 21:30 to Liverpool Street.  Again the train was virtually empty.  So the trains were running and I could have seen the whole match.  But the machine wanted to charge me £24 for the ticket, as against the £19.80 I paid to get to Ipswich in the rush hour.

Next Thursday, it’s the Norwich match and I’ll be going.  I can get up for £19.80 in the rush hour and back for £5.30 after the match on any train.

It all just blows my head in.

Why couldn’t I get the £5.30 ticket last night and in the end travelled in an empty train?

What is needed is a special football ticket, that applies to evening matches outside London, at places like Ipswich, Norwich, Reading, Watford, Milton Keynes and Brighton.

If you travel out by train, you should be able to buy a much-reduced ticket for the journey home on production of a valid match ticket. After all the return will probably be on an empty train.

Incidentally, some Ipswich fabs don’t buy season tickets because of the difficulty of getting to evening home games by train. So both the train company and the football club are losing out.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Exquisite Liver

I was in Carluccio’s in Upper Street yesterday and had the most exquisite liver with onion jam and polenta.  It is a special this week and I’ll be going back to get another dose of B12.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Illustrated Computing

I just had to post this video of a computer bubble-sort algorithm, illustrated by Hungarian folk dancers.

There are more here.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Computing | , | 1 Comment

Responsible Lending

If I walk up the Kingsland Road in Dalston, the road is crawling with money shops, pay day loan companies.pawnbrokers and all of the other dodgy lenders that proliferate these days.

So when someone who works in finance, said there was a thing called The Lending Code, I thought I’d take a look.

It is the sort of worthy document produced by regulators and the like that is manna from heaven to all those dodgy lenders down the Kingsland Road and others who shark loans with large amounts of advertising, sponsorships of Premiership football teams and sometimes with door-to-door salesmen with big boots.

I always remember a story told by a respectable finance guy, who said that when the government restricted the length of time you could take out a loan for and if it was for something like a car, then you could only lend a percentage, it was a licence for finance companies to literally print money. If everybody sticks to the Lending Code, then the costs to borrowers will go up, banks will make higher profits and many will be effectively removed from the list of borrowers. A lot will remove themselves because they won’t be bothered to read the paperwork.

When I was in Greece, I thought I might stay a bit longer and in that case, I would have needed more cash, as Greece is very much a cash society.  So I used the Internet to login to my Nationwide account and increase the overdraft.  In the end, I came home and haven’t used the limit.  But would the Lending Code with all its provisions on overdrafts make such a simple transaction more difficult?

What is really needed is a plain English Lending Code. When I was at ICI, we used to write and distribute flyers about the jobs we did with our computer. They were successful in getting new business and this was because they were read.  And why were they read?  Because they were a single sheet of A4 paper.

So The Lending Code as implimented by a bank say, should be a series of web or A4 pages related to each area of lending.  If it can’t fit on one sheet, then The Lending Code is wrong.

Only in that way could we have a code that could be understood by the man or woman on the Dalston Omnibus!  These are the people we need to protect from the lenders.  Not those like me that sit in the middle of the lending market and only use it, when they have a well-thought out need.

I like Zopa and I’ve met a few of their borrowers, who seem very happy with the way Zopa does business. In a way, you can almost class Zopa as a group of people coming together to lend money to others.  Isn’t that supposed to be what building societies and credit unions were and are about?

In a way though, Zopa, although it is unregulated by the FSA, acts like a mainstream lender, in that it does proper identity and credit checks and gets tough with those that default on their payments. I think, that it might be unique in that it allows borrowers to chsnge their payment day or repay the loan early without penalties, when perhaps their cicumstances change.  Both these features, should be in The Lending Code.  I can’t even find the word early in The Lending Code.

So yet again the bureaucrats are creating work for themselves in trying to protect the unprotectable.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Business, Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Open House for the Olympics

I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but I’m now declaring a sort of Open House for the Olympics. With the ticket sales, a lot of friends have said they will be buying tickets, but they have nowhere to stay, if they are outside London.

So on a first-come, first-served basis anybody who has a direct link to me is welcome to stay for a night.  By direct link, I mean, relatives, except the black-sheep, Alfred, ex-Metier and others who I’ve worked with and those who are my e-friends outside London. I am convenient for Stratford and will actually be going today, by taking a bus or train a couple of stops to Hackney Wick and then walking along the Greenway.  To walk all the way takes 90 minutes along the Regent’s Canal and Hertford Canal via Victoria Park.  There will also be a good bus service from just up the road at Dalston Junction during the games.

I suspect it will get chaotic, but we’ll only see one Olympics in London in our lifetime, so why not have a two-week party?

The house is fairly small but I do have a spare double-bedroom and a single one, but then I do have a warm living room with a large carpet, so kids could camp indoors on the floor.  It’ll probably be the only Olympics they see, so a bit of roughing it wouldn’t matter.

I also suspect that there will be a big party in Victoria Park for the Olympics, as they are setting up large screens there.  It might be where the real East Enders hold their Olympic celebration!

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment