The Anonymous Widower

Searching For The South London Line

The new South London Line from Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays is the last piece needed so that the London Overground does a complete circle of central London. The original plan was for it to be completed by the time of the Olympics, but it now looks to be late this year. It will pass through Clapham High Street, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Peckham Queen’s Road stations.

So this morning, I traced the route using the 09:11 from Victoria to London Bridge, taking a few pictures as I progressed.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Why Does Anybody Buy a Gas Cooker?

This house came with a complete set of appliances.  Most have suffered at the hands of ten years of tenants, who looked after them as if they were their own and not the care you would if they were someone else’s.

The cooker didn’t suffer too much at the hands of the tenants, but judging by the fact that the microwave was in the garage and rather burnt, I would think the reason the cooker was OK wasn’t misuse, but no use!

But that doesn’t alter the fact that cooking anything as simple as bacon and eggs is very very difficult. Or it could be that I’ve cooked on a variety of AGAs for forty years and before that it was a sophisticated all-electric hob and oven!

So the next time a modern day Steptoe passes my door he gets it.  And probably a double hernia as well, as it was obviously built by a company that knew weight could settle all problems. But not everywhere of course!

The cooker isn’t totally useless in that it can cook things that just need the electric oven or just one pot on a gas. so I can cook my fish pies or Moroccan Chicken Casseroles.

It’s just simple things like meat and two veg and of course bacon and eggs, that are difficult.

At least in the 1950s, you could always use them to kill the lamb before you ate it! Even that function has been removed on safety grounds.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Food, World | | 2 Comments

It Could Have Had A Fairy-Tale Ending, But It Didn’t!

Today, Spurs drew 0-0 with Stevenage in the Cup.

Stevenage’s caption was one Ronnie Henry, who just happens to be the grandson of Ron Henry, who was in Spurs, double side of 1960-61 and probably played for them in February 1962. I saw him play probably near to 100 times.

Ronnie Henry played right full-back today for Stevenage, whereas his grandfather always played left full-back.

I thought at one point that Ronnie was going to do what his grandfather did a few times.  As the match neared conclusion, he moved forward and sent over a well-aimed cross, which didn’t come to anything.  I seem to remember quite a few of Ron’s crosses leading to goals, but then he had better target men in the middle than Stevenage did.  Ron, in fact only ever scored one goal, but it was against Manchester United to win the game. A Spurs corner had been part cleared and the ball bounced out to Ron, instead of redirecting it back in, decided to go for goal.  It went straight-in like the proverbial bullet. If there was one player who should have shot more often, it was Ron Henry, but he was a very steady and unspectaculr player and he probably felt defending was his responsibility in the game.

He did nearly score on one other occasion, when Spurs were something like three up and could not be beaten, when he did a mazy dribble into the penalty area only to be upended by the defence. He was mobbed by his team mates and almost dragged towards the penalty spot, but still he could not be persuaded to take the penalty kick to get the second goal he never got.

I’m afraid they don’t make players like Ron Henry any more!

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

How the Argentinians Could Solve the Falkland Islands Problem

The spat between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands is a bit like a spat between two neighbours over a leylandi hedge that has got out of control, except that both sides think it more serious than a hedge.  Although, my late wife was once involved in a boundary case and it was one of the nastiest she’d ever been involved in.

At the moment the Falkland Islands have one silly problem caused by the Argentinians; the lack of eggs and fresh vegetables. My mother and many women of her generation learned how to live without fresh eggs, but it was not easy. So the first thing the Argentinians should do is allow more ships carrying provisions to the islands.

Let’s face it, the whole southern part of South America is rather inhospitable.  I once met an Argentinian scientist, who had been raised in Patagonia and he left for Buenos Aires as soon as he could. The only people who want to go there are people with an interest in the birds and animals, that aren’t bothered by three square meals a day, that you don’t have to hunt and constant 24-hour television.

Many of these tourists, who want to see wildlife are English-speaking, so passing them to the Falklands might not be a bad idea as building tourist accommodation in that environment is not easy.

But of course, Argentina would allow its construction companies to do the work.

There is the problem of the oil.  I did think though that an agreement on how to split the profits had been signed some years ago.

But would the Falklands want the platform yards and oil refineries, with all their problems?  I don’t think so, and I suspect Argentina has many suitable bays  or other places to do the work. Fifty years ago, few of the experts on undersea oil production were Scots. Now there are a lot more, because of North Sea Oil.  Who’s to say in fifty-years time, that a lot of these high-earning engineers won’t be from the Argentine?

So in some ways by working within the status quo, it might be better for the Argentinians.

I do sometimes wonder what would have happened to the Islands if the Argentinian junta had kept control thirty years ago.

The islands themselves might even be uninhabited, except for those animals and birds agile enough to avoid the mines.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | News, World | , , | Leave a comment

Is This a Solution to Bigots Like Abu Qatada?

Michael Burleigh writing in the Sunday Times today, takes a broad look at terrorists who have come to or are in the UK.

He makes one point that I wholly sympathise with.  If someone says lets kill all people with a penchant for wearing purple socks, then they should be prosecuted for incitement to murder.

So why hasn’t Abu Qatada been prosecuted, if as some allege he has incited others for murder? Surely if found guilty and sentenced, he could then be returned to his homeland. We now have a precedent in that in this case in Derby, three men were jailed for urging people to hang homosexuals.

These cases would be very much helped if phone-tap evidence were allowed. I can never understand why it isn’t After all, if the United States can use it, to convict the Mafia, why can’t we use it with possible mass murderers. It might have the side-effect that they all got paranoid about talking to each other.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the UK Economy Getting A Little Better?

There has been a few positive articles this weekend, which indicate the economy is getting better.

For a start, the BBC is saying that UK retail sales are rising.

And Philip Wighton in yesterday’s Times says that clothing companies, like River Island, are moving manufacturing back to the UK, as this gives shorter lead times. Let’s hope others follow their example.

The Times also says that B & Q have brought in a new range of toilet seats called Tonic, that are selling way above expectations.  Is this a business going up the pan?

February 19, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Web Programmer At Risk of Execution In Iran

This is from Amnesty International.

Web programmer Saeed Malekpour could be executed at any time in Iran. His death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 17 January 2012 and a court official has indicated that his death sentence may have now been sent for implementation.


Saeed Malekpour, a resident of Canada and Iranian national, aged 36, was again sentenced to death on 19 October 2011 by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, and it was confirmed by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court on 17 January 2012. On 14 February 2012, one of Saeed Malekpour’s lawyers visited both courts to ask about his case, but learned that the file was being held at neither court. Comments from a court official suggested that this is because Saeed Malekpour’s file has been sent to the Office of Implementation of Sentences.


Saeed Malekpour was sentenced to death for “insulting and desecrating Islam” after a program he had developed for uploading photos online had been used to post pornographic images without his knowledge.  Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death in October 2010 following a trial that reportedly only lasted 15 minutes.  After a June 2011 announcement that the Supreme Court had returned the case for further review, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court imposed again the death sentence as well as prison sentence of seven and a-half years. Amnesty International understands that although he has legal representation now, for much of his detention Saeed Malekpour has had no access to legal counsel.  


Saeed Malekpour had been living in Canada since 2005, but was arrested in October 2008 while visiting his family in Iran. He was allegedly tortured while held for over a year in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison.  In 2009, Iranian state television repeatedly aired a “confession” by Saeed.  In an open letter dated March 2010, Saeed Malekpour stated his “confession” was extracted after prolonged torture following orders by Revolutionary Guard interrogators.

I see many e-mails like this. To the Iranians justice seems to be a word with seven-letters and that is all.

This one touched me, as I’ve written programs to upload pictures and othe files to the Internet.  As far as I know no-one has used them for any illicit purposes.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Computing, News | , , , , | Leave a comment