The Anonymous Widower

A Row In Radlett

There is the mother of all battles starting in Radlett about a proposed road and rail freight depot.

Underlying all of this is the need for suitable sites for this close to the M25 to satisfy London’s freight transport needs. and of course there are few sites available.

But then London has a serious freight problem and short of forcibly moving half the population out, you will not cut the amount of freight going into the City.

So there will be pain somewhere!

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Do We Have A Death Wish?

After the death of my wife and son, some medics thought I might be suicidal. I don’t think I ever thought about it, although I was pretty depressed by myself in hospital in Hong Kong, until my son arrived.

But in some ways today, showed me a dark side, that I keep very much under control.

As a child, I didn’t like the Underground and especially, when I was waiting for a train in a tunnel station like Wood Green, I’d tend to back onto the wall, with my hands over my ears. I still hold back on the Tube, but often these days there is an empty seat, to sit safely. I’m probably just being prdent these days.

On New Barnet station, whilst waiting for my train, a couple of fast trains ran through and they scared the wits out of me. So I retreated into the shop.

I do wonder how many commit suicide in such a situation on the spur of the moment.

Thinking about it, I do wonder, whether it’s just the survival genes taking over.  After all, we all have a lot of those, as those that don’t would have died out years ago in the caves.

let’s face it, it also helps you do extraordinary things. Just look at the story of the baby rescued from the dock in Somerset, by the 63-year-old, George Reeder.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Home Via New Barnet Station

After my walk through New Barnet, I intended to come home using the Northern line from High Barnet station and I informed the driver of the 384 bus, I boarded outside The Warwick, that that was what I was doing.

But I changed my mind, as the bus stopped in the forecourt of New Barnet station, so I thought I’d come home on the main line train.

It was really sweet and totally professional, as when I got off, the driver questioned if I was at the right stop. Little bits of service really improve a day.

On the platform there is now a little cafe/shop.

Frothy Coffee At New Barnet Station

Frothy Coffee At New Barnet Station

Something that would never have been there when I used the station in the 1960s or 1970s. and if it had been it would have been a terrible British Rail monstrosity.

Things are looking up for those who want to travel and drink. I think it’s a case of the more the merrier!

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Warwick Hotel, New Barnet

Before I went to university, when I was still living at home, I used to go drinking in this pub, with an old school friend called Pete.

The Warwick Hotel, New Barnet

The Warwick Hotel, New Barnet

In those days in the 1960s, it was called the Warwick Hotel and although it is now closed its last name seems to have been The Bell And Buck.

I really don’t know why we went there.  it might have been, because I looked under-age and they would accept any customer with money. But we’d usually have some beer and a couple of games of cribbage.

Little did I realise that my future wife was probably tucked up in bed, just round the corner.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 6 Comments

My Mother-In-Law’s Funeral

After Oakwood, I thought I take a bus through Barnet and come home on the Northern line, but I got off near where my mother-in-law used to live.

This picture shows St. James’s church in New Barnet. which was where my mother-in-law worshipped.

St. James's Church In New Barnet

St. James’s Church In New Barnet

C, my late wife, also used to worship there as a child, but as a teenager she just didn’t get on with the vicar, so she moved her patronage to the church where we got married at Cockfosters.

By the time my mother-in-law died, there was a new vicar, who we’d not met until her funeral. He was incidentally an ex-policeman and we did know that my mother-in-law liked him a lot. She was taken into the church and the vicar started to go through the funeral service.  Every time, he spoke of my mother-in-law he called her Frances and her many cousins in unison would chant her birth name of Edith.

After the cremation, we came back to her house round the corner and sandwiches and soft drinks were partaken. Most of the cousins left and we were left with a couple of my mother-in-law’s half-sisters and their family. We did then have a bottle of wine and about an hour later, when everybody had left, we were drinking by ourselves in the empty house, when the door bell rang.

It was the vicar! He’d been unable to come to the cremation or even back to the house, as he had had two funerals that day!

He congratulated us on our drink, as he felt it was a good practical idea.  He then asked us, what all the hissing was about and we told him, how my mother-in-law had hated her first name and had always used her second. but the cousins had continued to use Edith.

He then said, that the first day, he’d met her, she’d walked up to him and said hello, indicating she was Frances and in the six months they’d known each other, he’d not used anything else.

So as she was virtually a friend, he felt that he didn’t need to check with the family.  As it was, we’d have given the same name.

Today was probably the first day since then, that I’ve gone anywhere near that church.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Afore Ye Go

When I was in my teens, I used to mark up newspapers at this shop, which then was owned by a Mr. Shaw.

The Paper Shop at Oakwood

The Paper Shop at Oakwood

I’d get in at 5:30 in the morning, if I didn’t oversleep, mark up all the newspapers for the delivery boys and girls to distribute an hour or so later. I do wonder, if that routine, which I did for a couple of years, set me into my routine of always getting up early and working.

The flats in the background of this picture had a tale about one of the shop’s customers.


Flats With A Tale

He was the owner of a well-known department store in North London. he was also a dedicated alcoholic and when he went into the local hospital, he was on a bottle of Scotch whisky courtesy of the NHS.

I don’t know the end of that story, but a pharmacist friend has provided a post script.  Years ago, the ward rounds in hospital often offered a top of whisky to those, who wanted it. They found it funny, that each bottle of the Bell’s whisky, they used to serve, had “Afore ye go” on the bottle.

It still does!


January 29, 2013 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Whenever I go to Oakwood station, just seeing the parking in front of the station reminds me of a very funny story.

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Our next door neighbour, a rather pompous Mancunian, who thought the world revolved around him, just after the Second World War, had a Rover, very much like the one you see in the James Herriott programs on television.  My doctor, the wonderfully named Egerton White had one too, as doctors in those days always did. just like they had three-piece suits, a good size corporation and a pocket watch on a gold chain.

Our neighbour, had a garage that was basically a store for his junk.  in the middle of the back wall, was an old chest of drawers with large round knobs. He also had the habit of going in a bit close, so that he could shut the garage doors. My father, who was a bit of a comedian, once joked that. his junk wasn’t worth nicking.

One evening, he wanted to get an evening paper.  The easiest place to get one, for our neighbour was Oakwood station, where he just parked outside, left the engine running and walked inside the station to get one of the Star, News or Standard.

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The picture shows where the papers were sold, from the bench just inside the entrance.

Anyway, he duly backed the Rover out of the garage and proceeded to drive to the station.  He always sat high in the car, to emphasise his own importance and was surprised to see people waving and pointing to the front of his car.  He just waved back, as my father used to say, when he related the tail, in the style of the King.

When he returned to the car after buying the paper, he realised the reason for all the attention on the trip to the station. He had gone into the garage just a little bit too far, the night before and the bumpers of the Rover had hooked themselves under the knobs on one of the drawers. They were so firmly locked, that when he backed out to get the paper, the car extracted the drawer from the chest and it had stayed balanced there, all the way to the station.

He then took a fateful decision.  He decided that as the drawer had stayed there on the journey to the station, it would stay there on the way back.

It did stay there, but as he moved off, the bottom decided to part company from the rest of the drawer and thirty years of accumulated odds and ends, were deposited all over the forecourt of the station.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Am I Mean To Myself In Small Ways?

My left humerus hasn’t been in the best of sorts the last couple of weeks.  But it’s always been like that in the cold, ever since the school bully broke it. After Southgate I took the train up to Oakwood station and could see the park, through which I used to walk every day to get physiotherapy on my arm, in the three months or so after it mended.

I always used to walk, rather than take the two buses, as it was in some ways easier.  And of course, I got to keep the bus fare! What I used to spend it on, I can’t remember! But it was probably bits for my Meccano.

In some thmgs, I waste money, but at other times, I’m quite the opposite.  It must be my careful Jewish and Huguenot genes!


January 29, 2013 Posted by | Finance, Health | , | Leave a comment

Subway Are Against The Tax On Toasted Sandwiches

Surprise! Surprise!

I saw this in the window of the Subway next door to the Harris and Hoole in Southgate.

Toast The Tax

Toast The Tax

I can understand their corporate anger, but it still doesn’t get round the fact, that their shops have nothing to offer a coeliac like me.

So how about a gluten tax, based on the amount of poison in the product? Or even just a simple bread tax? The latter would only be applied to non-real bread of course.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , | 3 Comments

Only The Names Have Changed

I took this picture at Southgate station.

Only The Names Have Changed

Only The Names Have Changed

The banks, when I passed through in the 1950s, were I think, Westminster on the left and Midland on the right.  I also think there was a National Provincial there as well.

Note the period finger post in the middle of the road.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Business, World | , , | 1 Comment