The Anonymous Widower

Where Are All The Containers Going?

On the North London line of the Overground, every so often a freight train comes through taking full boxes from the East Coast ports to the West Coast Main Line or empty boxes back again. Some may also be flows between Southampton and the East.

A few years ago rail freight was almost dead, but it has bounced back with a vengeance, despite the recession. It was always felt that rail freight traffic  was strongly linked to GDP, but it appears the link is now broken and the figures show it. In the last five years, total freight has dropped by 10% and truck hauled traffic has dropped by 13%. So how many truck drivers have been made redundant? But in the same period rail-freight has risen by 2%.  The number of containers handled at the ports in 2010 was the same as in 2005, but those that were handled by rail has risen by 29%. In the future, rail freight-traffic is expected to double between 2010 and 2030.

The reason for the growth is obviously cost and even a long train of 30 containers or so is more cost effective than 30 trucks.

But also various improvements to the rail network have been added to speed the traffic on its way. I reported on one here. There are more improvements in the pipeline too.

Some trains too, are now running through the Channel Tunnel, as far as Wroclaw in Poland.

So we’ll be seeing lots more freight trains on the rail network in the UK.

And this will mean less CO2 emissions, especially where the trains are hauled by electric locomotives.

It will also remove a lot of trucks from the major roads in the UK.  Every time I travel on the A14, I seem to think that there are less trucks.

I also come to the conclusion, that we may be seeing a few green shoots of recovery.


March 2, 2012 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Are Lager Sales Going Down the Toilet?

I’ve never had a drink of lager in a British pub, as I’ve always drunk real beer.

Even now, I prefer one of St. Peter’s brewery’s real gluten-free beers.

But it would appear that according to this article, I am now becoming more typical as lager sales are falling.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Celebrity Watch

This column in the Times often unearths a couple of gems. Today we have a classic quote from Madonna. “I prefer high heels to sex.  They last longer.” Obviously, she doesn’t walk far in the heels!

The column also notes that Tulisa’s personal assistant has had her name tattooed on his ankle. Perhaps, it’s so he remembers who he works for!

It is also noted that Anne Robinson is returning to the dating scene after her divorce.  Heaven help all single men! Unless of course they like red-haired women, who like to play the dominatrix!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Where’s the Gluten-Free Food at Eastfield?

I went to John Lewis today at Eastfield, to see if I could get some blinds.  They were very helpful and I now have a good base price.

What I also wanted was a good late lunch to set me up for the weekend.

But could I find any gluten-free food?  No!  But then I didn’t check out all the restaurants.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find a decent Indian restaurant, especially when you consider that a good proportion of the clients are of South Asian descent.

So in the end, I took the DLR to Carluccio’s at Canary Wharf and had an excellent meal there.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | 1 Comment

London Is Alive With the Sound of French

I don’t know why, but London this morning seemed to be full of the French. I thought it might have something to do with the rugby, but France play England in Paris on the 11th.

I was travelling to Westbourne Park station and back and both ways I had to sort out groups of French travellers, who had got lost. One thing that seems to have confused them, is that the Circle line, is no longer what it says on the tin.  So experienced travellers to London, who want to get between say St. Pancras International  and Victoria stations with heavy cases, get rather confused with having to change trains at Edgware Road station.  The first group had been so confused they’d actually got on the westbound, rather than the eastbound they needed. I came back from Paddington and there it is more confusing, as all eastbound trains terminate at Edgware Road. The information leaves a lot to be desired.

I still haven’t found out why all the French were here, but something was up, as why would there have been a TV crew at St. Pancras.

TV Crews at St. Pancras

I think they could have been French!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Was President Obama Born in the United States?

There are various people who claim that his birth certificate is a forgery and one of these an Arizona sheriff is reported here on the BBC.

I was born in 1947 and my birth certificate was wrongly filled in and then I lost it. But the replacement still had the change certified by a signed-over stamp. So even in the UK sixty-five years ago, it would be difficult to get it wrong.

Now President Obama was born in Honolulu on the 4th August, 1961, so he is only about ten years older than my two remaining sons. At that time, you not only got a birth certificate, but the baby would be entered into hospital records. And of course, there are lots of family photos of the baby.

So there will be lot of evidence, that would stand up in a court of law.  Certainly in the UK!

Intriguingly,  we don’t have any laws about where our Prime Minister has to be born. It all depends on quality, not an accident of birth.

I also know of someone, who was born in the United States, because his father was the UK Ambassador. As his father went on to get a hereditary peerage and the right to sit in the House of Lords, he could have ended up as a member of the UK House of Lords and US President.

So it looks like the challenge to Obama is very much spurious and judging by the profile of the Arizona sheriff, based very much on race!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment