The Anonymous Widower

The Man In Seat 28

The title is a direct crib from that excellent train website, www.seat61.com. Use it if you want to find out how to get anywhere by train.

I did get my sandwiches, after failing at the Angel this morning, in Liverpool Street station, and here they are laid out on the table that I didn’t have to share, as I sat in Seat 28 in Standard Class.

Marks and Spencer's Gluten Free Sandwiches

I should say that Liverpool Street now has three Marks and Spencer food stores and I got my lunch from the one in the Broadgate or western entrance.

They are certainly going to make football a lot easier for me, as now I won’t have to worry about lunch or supper. Especially as until now, Ipswich was a virtual gluten free desert. The Marks there is listed as selling gluten-free sandwiches, but I haven’t checked yet.

Seat 28, also gave a very good view of the Olympic Park, as it was on the left side going towards Ipswich. The seat also has a full window.

The Olympic Park from Seat 28

Unfortunately, if you want the best view, you’ll have to be up front with the driver. I’ve done this once and it’s the only way to travel.

I should say that the jouney home wasn’t as pleasant.  I had deliberately taken a later train and I took a table seat in an almost empty carriage.  But then three obese middle-aged men joined me, hemmed me in by the window and proceeded to talk loudly amongst themselves all the way to London. They talked mainly about rugby and beer.  I may have interest in the first, but I certainly have no interest in the sort of beer they droned on about.  I also didn’t like the way they talked about their long-suffering wives.

In the end I decanted from the train at Stratford and took the North London Line home. Perhaps, next time I don’t want to be disturbed, I’ll book First.

Today’s trip and my last one to Plymouth and Bristol illustrate that train catering is getting more and more irrelevant for many people. I haven’t bought anything except coffee, Coke or perhaps a water for months now.  I either take everything with me, buy something from Marks in the station or make sure I eat well before travelling. As for example there is a Carluccio’s either in or close to St. Pancras, King’s Cross and Liverpool Street, it can’t be long before most large stations have a sensible gluten-free cafe. Most stations too have a coffee shop at least up to Starbucks standard.

I suspect that train catering will disappear completely within a few years.  At the Zoo Late, you could pre-order Gordon Ramsey picnics. How long before someone does luxury picnics, that you pre-order and pick up at the station before you travel? They could even be delivered to your seat in First Class!

If you are a food supplier, the great thing about train passengers, is you get at least two goes to sell them food.  Obviously, I bought my picnic today before I got on the train and I could even have bought a glass of decent wine in a plastic glass at Marks. But suppose, I’d been going to Brighton to walk on the promenade, I might have brought my lunch when I arrived. And if you’re changing trains at say Liverpool Lime Street, you could buy your food between trains.

So if you run a dedicated train catering service, you’ve got real competition!

So I think that in a few years, the food available to rail travellers will be very good and probably lightly alcoholic if you want a drink. The catering will certainly be better than that on the roads, where everything is over-priced and over-curled.

I think that some of the new trains are even prepared for the revolution. The new trains, I used to get to Cambridge a couple of weeks ago, are built with trays for laptops and/or snacks. All it needs is to make sure the litter is either taken out by the passengers or cleaned up at the end of each leg!

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Saturday Morning Routine

There are two radio programmes, I like to listen to on Saturday morning; Danny Baker and the unsporting quiz, Fighting Talk, as they appeal to my unusual sense of humour.

The trouble is that if I’m going to football, as I am today, it doesn’t really leave much time for me to get to the shops, as I have to leave by about midday to get the train.

So this morning, I got to the Angel, by bus at just after 8:30.  I actually took a seventy-free, as if you sit at the back and get out of the rearmost door, it’s much easier to walk to the four shops, Carluccio’s and the physio, that I visit at the Angel.

Today, it was just Boots for some rat poison, Marks and Spencer for some gluten-free sarnies for the train and a beef Stroganoff for tonight  and Waitrose for two large carriers of heavy stuff like alcohol and Coke.  I went to Waitrose first and found that if I shopped immediately,  could get it delivered before the start of Fighting Talk at 11:00. I think I rather caught them on the hop, but hopefully it’ll come on time.  But I do have two hours of total float in my critical path, so if they come by one I’m OK.

The only problem, was that Marks didn’t have the gluten-free sandwiches, but then I’ll pass three of their shops that stock them on the way to Liverpool Street. If they don’t have any, then I shall complain. If there aren’t any, it’s probably because they are too good and all those food fadists on a gluten-free kick have snaffled them!

I was back home listening to Danny Baker by ten o’clock.

It sounds like I’ll be repeating this on Saturdays in the future.

The routine could be even better, if Carluccio’s opened at 8:00 for breakfast on Saturday, as they do in the week.

Update at 11:20 – Waitrose have just delivered, so I have plenty of time to catch the train to Ipswich, after scouring Marks for some gluten-free sandwiches.

Thinking about this post.  When C and I lived near Newmarket we would go shopping early, often visit one of our horses in traing and then we’d generally be back home around eleven.

I suppose, I’m only repeating what we did together by myself.  In some ways, it was easier in Suffolk, as Waitrose opened earlier.  But then I had to carry the shopping from the car to the hall.  Here, that is all done by the van driver from Waitrose.

Who said manners and service are dead.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Food, Sport, World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fuel Prices

After my stroke, I gave up driving and moved to a highly-insulated house in Dalston.

If you don’t like fuel costs, then move somewhere, where you don’t need a car and your house has affordable and efficient central heating.

I do all my shopping either on the Internet or by bus.  I even go to IKEA on a bus and that is real fun!

August 13, 2011 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Should Consult Bill Bratton

It is being reported that David Cameron is to consult Bill Bratton, the former Boston, New York and Los Angeles Police Chief.

And so we should!

When you have a serious problem, you should consult with anybody who might have some serious input. Some of these might not be obvious and many will not share your views.

All of my life I have been a scientific or engineering researcher. If anybody was an expert in what I was looking at, I would seek them out and discuss my problem with them. It often paid huge dividends.

The trouble is that too many people, and especially politicians, think totally inside the box. The only reason for having boxes in thinking, is to store good ideas, that might be of use later, but are quite inappropriate at the present time.

So who else should David Cameron consult about the riots?

Let’s start with Terence Conran, Norman Foster, Danny Baker, David Attenborough, Dan Snow, Stephen Bayley, Rio Ferdinand, Jo Hussain and Joey Barton.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

China’s Fake Apple Stores

It would appear Apple has a problem.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Computing | , , | Leave a comment