The Anonymous Widower

Mietek Pemper

I had not heard of Mietek Pemper until I read his obituary in The Times today.  Here is the one from The Telegraph.

Most have heard the story of Oskar Schindler and how he saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis, but here was the man, who did all of the paperwork.

It is a fascinating tale and in a way shows that amongst all the evil of the Second World War, there were some good men and women, making a real difference.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

How Things Have Changed

Tonight I saw a friend back to the bus stop.  Whilst waiting a guy came past, who’d obviously been to Royal Ascot, as he was fully dressed complete with a black top hat.

It just shows how you can gwnerally walk the streets dressed in any manner you want.  It reminded me of how C and I used to walk back from University balls in Liverpool, through Princes and Sefton Park to the Halls of Residence, in dinner jackets and long dresses.

But it wasn’t so long ago, when to do something like that would have been to attract all the wrong sort of attention.

There is always the story of Ted Kid Lewis, who was possibly London’s greatest ever boxer, walking home smartly dressed,  before the Second World War in the East End and being set upon by four thugs. As he knocked the fourth out, he produced his visiting card and dropped it on his attacker.

I don’t know whether my father ever saw Lewis fight, but I can remember him telling me the tales of the Aldgate Sphinx.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Sport, World | , | 1 Comment

Hay Fever and B12

I’m not sure if there’s a link, but last night I had some superb liver at Carluccio’s and my hay fever seems a lot better today, despite the high pollen levels. Searching for “hay fever B12” does bring some results.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

It Pays To Complain

A couple of months ago, I bought a Genius loaf in Waitrose in Islington Upper Street and it went mouldy almost immediately.  I think it might even have been mouldy when I unwrapped it. I did post details here.

The outcome was better than I expected.  I complained to both Genius and Waitrose and got a voucher for five pounds from Genius.

And then today, I got another five-pound voucher from Waitrose.

On the bread side though, the last Genius loaf was more or less fresh to the last slice.

So it’s a result in all ways.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Food | , | 4 Comments

Willie Carson and Katherine Jenkins

I had to laugh at the racing on BBC this afternoon.

Willie Carson was cuddling up to Katherine Jenkins, whilst they were commentating on the racing.  He just about reached up to her bust.

I suspect the picture will make the papers.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Is This Really Signal Failure?

Trains through Watford Junction are not running this morning, supposedly because of a signal failure, according to this report. Here’s a snippet.

A spokesman for Network Rail said they were trying to identify the reason for the failure but ruled out cable theft.

But are Network Rail just being politically correct. When I was in York last Saturday, the taxi drivers had it that all of the cable theft was down to a particular group of people.

There is certainly a lot of failures and theft going on.  And it’s not just on the railways, as this report from Selby shows.

The other thing that was interesting from the Watford Junction failure report in the Manchester Evening News, was the headline.

Commuter misery as signalling fault causes cancellation of Manchester to London trains

Surely they weren’t refering to those that commute from Manchester to London.  It’s an awful long way.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Bailing Out Barbara’s Folly

The Humber Bridge is one of those bridges that ;looked good on paper and to the politicians, but quite frankly it is now becoming an expensive folly.  Wikipedia says this about its creation.

The Humber Bridge Act, promoted by Kingston Upon Hull Corporation, was passed in 1959. This established the Humber Bridge Board in order to manage and raise funds to build the bridge and buy the land required for the approach roadsHowever raising the necessary funding proved impossible until the 1966 Hull North by-election.

To save his government, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson prevailed upon his Minister of Transport Barbara Castle to sanction the building of the bridge.

I know quite a few people, who either lived or worked on both sides of the Humber and to a man and a woman, none of them ever use the bridge.  I myself, have only used it a couple of times to get to Beverley horse races in the past, but on the last time I went, I took the M62 from Doncaster, which is an easier route.

I suppose too, that the bridge was used to try to unify the unwanted and short-lived county of Humberside, which was abolised in 1996.

I think that the telling statistic is that the Humber Bridge only carries about 120,000 vehicles every week, whereas the similar-sized Runcorn-Widnes bridge carries 80,000 vehicles every day.

Why should we bail out a bridge that no-one seems to want?

It would be better to spend the money in providing better services, where they are actually needed, rather than expect people to cross the bridge to say get advanced medical treatment.

There is a possible long-term solution to the bridge, that has been ducked for years and that is to create a road from the M11 up through Cambridge and Lincolnshire to join the bridge and create an alternative route north to by-pass the congested A1.

I suspect it will never be built, as container traffic is moving successfully to the railways and building roads is now something that no government feels they want to do.  Correctly in my view!

What would happen today, if the Humber Bridge was being designed now?

It is interesting to look at the new designs for the new Forth Road bridge. Not only have they taken pressure off the crossing, by building a new bridge further upriver, they have gone for a much simpler and less grand design, if the pictures I saw in Scotland recently are anything to go by. But then the Forth Road bridge has been a success in terms of the traffic carried.  This could not be said for the Humber bridge.

The Humber bridge was a badly planned bridge, built for political reasons and now it sits like a white elephant around everybody.

I suspect that the best solution at some point would hae been a modern ferry for local traffic, given that most long distance traffic into the area uses the good east-west roads.

But ferries aren’t sexy, are they?  Given that those on the Mersey and the Thames still run and are much loved, I suspect that might have been the best solution.

But now it is too late!

So now we’re left with the problem of what to do with the bridge and its financing!

Looking at the map, I wouldn’t rule out that a new crossing is build to the north of Scunthorpe to improve northern connections to that town, which is suffering somewhat at the moment. After all, transport in the whole area needs improvement, with decent rail links to London, the Midlands and the North.

Perhaps the biggest mistake was not to make the Humber bridge, one that carried both road and rail! I do sometimes think, that someone wanted to design or build the longest bridge in the world.  If they did, they created a white elephant.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments