The Anonymous Widower

Step-Free Access To The Underground

Coming back from Kings Cross station tonight, I took the indirect route using the Circle line to Moorgate station and then getting a 141 bus from just outside the station to just round the corner from my house.

The reason was that I had a heavy parcel of bedding, I’d bought in John Lewis and my normal change to the bus home at either Angel or Highbury and Islington stations would have meant crossing a major road.

Although I’m not in any way disabled, sometimes I do find that my left hand is a bit gammy and it is better to take an easier route, with escalators, lifts or right-handed staircases.  For this reason, I know a lot of the best routes to get around London.

As I went through the gate at Kings Cross, the staff were chatting about step-free access and how difficult it will be to put in at some stations. I said that I think we’ll be finding some innovative engineering solutions used in some stations.

I know that inclined lifts are going to be used on Crossrail, but when I got home I found that at Greenford station, London Underground is going to get its first inclined lift. There’s more here on the Crossrail web site.

I think we’ll see a lot more of these, especially at stations, where there are three escalator positions, but the middle one has never been installed to save money.

The great advantage of inclined lifts is that in these stations, they can be installed without any digging or disruption to the station during the installation process.

I also think that buses have a large part to play in step free access.

As I said, I often plot my routes around London to avoid difficult stations or interchanges.  For instance, I don’t change at Green Park station, as although it has lifts and is step free, you can walk miles between trains. Kings Cross too, is a bit of an Underground maze. Often though, the best route is to go to an easier station and then get a bus.

But not all stations have easy access from the trains to the buses and vice-versa like London Bridge, Euston and Victoria.

It may improve the lot of passengers and especially those who are disabled to improve the bus/Tube interface, as it will mean that some difficult stations can be bypassed.

I want lots more step free access to stations, but lets see if we can have innovative and more affordable solutions, that allow more stations to be given the full treatment.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pep Guardiola Gives A Two-Fingered Salute to Chelski And Man Sheikhy

Pep Guardiola has decoded to join Bayern Munich.  Read about it here in the Guardian.

It just goes to show that you may be as rich as Croesus, but you can’t buy everything. And certainly a man to whom it appears football is more important than money.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | News, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

A Real Joke Fest

The number of jokes after the horse-meat got into the supermarket burgers has been enormous.

The Guardian has even created a summary of all the best.

Or should that be worst!

This photo is priceless.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Camelot Increases The Tax On The Poor

Camelot is being reported as doubling the cost of playing the National lottery to £2, but with bigger prizes. It’s all here in the Guardian.

I suppose it will tend to absorb all of those dreaded £2 coins that I don’t like!

I wonder how long the National Lottery will last.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance | , | Leave a comment

The Man Who Outsourced Himself

This curious tale shows the power of the Internet. an obviously intelligent employee in the US, got a consulting firm in China to do his job, using the Internet.

I bet he’s not the only one who’s doing this!

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Computing, News | , , | Leave a comment

Now Blockbuster Bombs

Now Blockbuster seems to have gone bust.

It certainly wasn’t my custom that kept them afloat for so long.

I think, I may have rented a video a couple of times, many years ago, but who does now?

If I want to see a film, I go to the cinema and have a full experience.

How many now to fill a whole in the evening’s viewing turn to the BBC’s iPlayer and the other channels’ equivalents.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Business, World | , , | Leave a comment

Helicopters

As a trained pilot, I’ve never liked helicopters and for fifty years, I’ve avoided going in the beasts, which have been variously described as.

Four thousand moving parts flying in a unique formation.

Often by pilots, who know a lot better.

So although only two or three seemed to have died in the latest helicopter crash at Vauxhall, this is two or three too many to add to the list of those who’ve died in similar circumstances.

There is a great exhilaration to fly at a low level and I’ve done it several times at under a thousand feet over a city. But only in a twin-engined aircraft, with myself at the controls. The best was probably to fly up Lido in Venice to land at the San Nicolo airport. I did once use the light-aircraft corridor over Heathrow, that probably doesn’t exist now. Exhilarating stuff, but sadly they are only memories in my brain, as I didn’t have a camera with me.

In some ways, I feel this thrill is one of the reasons we still get large numbers of people wanting to be flown over our cities.  Businessmen and politicians will quote the time saved in getting in and out of Central London, but is any death worth it?

We still don’t know what caused the problem, but the building hit at Vauxhall will be nearly 600 feet tall. I also question, why a building that high is being built close to the Battersea Heliport.

Flying in a helicopter is a risky business and you need to minimise what risks you can, rather than add to them!

There is a professional view of flying in the area here in the Standard. It’s also being reported that the Metropolitan Police helicopter was not flying because of the weather.

One of my ambitions amongst many is to live long enough to see the end of the these scientifically-incorrect machines. Hopefully, their jobs will be replaced by something a lot less dangerous and more civilised and environmentally friendly.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Religion In The Workplace

I think yesterday’s judgement on the cases brought at the European Court of Human Rights is a sound one.

I think it is fair to say, that if you do a desk job, crosses, head scarves, turbans and other symbols are more of less irrelevant.

But when health and safety might be involved it’s another matter. So for instance  a nurse shouldn’t wear a big dangly necklace, whether it is a cross or not!

I remember that when I started in industry, quite a few scientists and engineers used to wear bow ties, as a normal tie might get in the way of what they were doing. It probably isn’t so common now, but then jobs are more keyboard-based.

I know that has nothing to do with religion, but the same principle of safety should apply.

As to people ending up in jobs that are against their religious beliefs, like the Registrar, who wouldn’t officiate in civil partnerships, then the law is the law and unfortunately for them, they must either change their employment or come to an accommodation with their employers.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Waitrose’s Fish Pies

I find them very confusing and I’ve written to the company.

I am a coeliac and some of your pies have gluten and some don’t. I of course must have the gluten-free ones.

This means that when I want a fish pie, I have to turn it upside down to check. The only ones I can eat are the Fish Pie for One in, I think, the Essentials range.

Perhaps a gluten-free symbol on the front would be the best solution.

In fact your ready meals puzzle me, as some that when I cook a similar dish from scratch don’t have gluten.  But yours do!

I have been looked at rather strangely by some of your staff, as I go through all the meals looking for the gluten-free ones.

I shall be interested to see what they say.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 1 Comment

Tall Residential Buildings

London is having a sprouting of tall residential buildings like Vermilion.

As someone, who with his late wife, brought their children up in one of the tallest building in Europe in Cromwell Tower, I can’t say I am against this trend.

One of my sons, still talks with affection about living there.

Provided of course, that they are well-designed and built.

January 16, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment