The Anonymous Widower

An Overview Of Peer-To-Peer Lending

I just found this excellent article about peer-to-peer lending in the Northern Echo.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | | Leave a comment

Are Lithium Ion Batteries Too Dangerous?

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been grounded because of the fire risk of lithium ion batteries catching fire.  There is a news item here, which discusses the problem.

Having read the article my safety first brain, says that the batteries are not proven technology for use in applications such as aviation. This piece to me is crucial.

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, a former US Airways pilot famed for his precision flying that enabled passengers and crew to survive an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York, said in an interview that he wouldn’t be comfortable flying an airliner that carried lithium ion aircraft batteries in its cargo hold.

“The potential for self-ignition, for uncontained fires, is huge,” he said. The new regulations “need to be looked at very hard in the cold light of day, particularly with what has happened with the 787 batteries.”

Pilots generally don’t accept unnecessary risks.

So lets get out and do more research and testing. I have a feeling though, that this problem will be solved by the re-engineering of some old technology or a completely new and novel one, that is easily proven to be safe. But it won’t be solved quickly!

Incidentally, I just had a count up and there are five small lithium ion batteries on the table as I type this.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Should London Improve The Sub Surface Tubes?

London’s three sub-surface lines; Metropolitan, District and Circle, are getting new S-Stock trains, but you do wonder if investment in the stations along their core route would improve things no end and perhaps even add more capacity to the lines. It should be said incidentally that the new trains will add more capacity and when they are running at full speed, they should give a further increase in passengers carried.

The part I know best is the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines from Whitechapel to Paddington.

Kings Cross St. Pancras station has already been rebuilt and has good access from the two main line stations and to the three deep lines that meet at the station.  It will be even better in a few months, when the buses have been reorganised around the new square opening outside. We tend to forget about buses, but they are often an invaluable way to get to your required train line.

Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Barbican, Farringdon and Paddington stations are all on Crossrail and will probably go through a lot of changes to improve access over the next few years. The stations from Liverpool Street to Farringdon, will effectively be connected to two giant double-ended stations on Crossrail, so interchanges to the Central and Northern lines and Thameslink will be greatly improved. In fact, when you look at journeys made in the eastern part of Central London, you can see how Crossrail will transform them. Even a journey as mundane as Liverpool Street to London Bridge will be a lot easier, as you’ll just dive into the Crossrail station to walk to the Northern line at Moorgate. I’ll probably use that route to get to my 141 or 21 bus from Liverpool Street to get home.

The next station is Euston Square, which is one of those stations on the London Underground, that was built in the wrong place. They didn’t even rectify the problem, when the current Euston station was built in the 1960s, by moving it in front of the station, like the corresponding station at Kings Cross St. Pancras. Probably all that could be done is to put lifts into the North entrance to the station and improve the walking route from the main line station. When the main line station is rebuilt, Euston Square station will probably be part of the rebuilding.

Great Portland Street station is typical of many of the Central London, sub-surface stations. Short double staircases lead down to two platforms on either side of the tracks. Lifts or escalators could probably be installed, but I suspect a clever engineer or architect could do better.

Baker Street station is one of the architectural gems of the Underground and doing anything to improve it will be difficult.  The junction to the east of the station also makes things difficult operationally.

Edgware Road station, is one that needs significant improvement, although as with many of the sub-surface stations, space is limited. Since the Circle line, stopped being a circle in 2009, the station has become a nightmare, as many visitors can’t understand that you have to change trains to continue round.

Paddington station, when it is fully rebuilt and Crossrail has been opened, may help with the problems of the sub-surface lines. If I come into Paddington from say Bristol or Cardiff, I will take the bridge at the back of the train and walk to the Metropolitan line, from where I get a train to Moorgate for a bus home. But when Crossrail is running from Reading to Moorgate, I might take that route instead, by changing trains at Reading. I suspect that many commuters from Reading, will go direct to Central London stations on Crossrail. After all, that was one of the reasons for which the line is being built.

So it would seem that on the Northern part of the lines, only Edgware Road and Euston Square stations need substantial improvement.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Appropriately Named Footballers

This article was on the BBC’s web site caused my eye, as it had a superb headline.

Hartley and Poole on target for Hartlepool

The first paragraph is here.

Peter Hartley and James Poole formed an appropriate scoring combination as Hartlepool secured only their second home League One win of the season by beating Notts County.

I just love wordplay like this.



February 3, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Poles In Britain

Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in London, there were large numbers of Poles.  Every class at school had a few children, who were either Polish or had a Polish father.  I also worked with a couple of Polish engineers, who had been part of the large numbers of their countrymen, who had come because of the Second World War.

Last week, I was relating this and other stories to a Pole, who manages my local restaurant.  She had no knowledge of what I said, as under the Soviet influence, this important part of Polish and British history was not taught in schools.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 4 Comments

Is There A Teetotal Gene?

Thinking about the last post about the about of fluids I’m drinking, I do wonder about the drinking habits of my family.

My father wasn’t a heavy drinker and he probably got through about four small bottles of Guinness or cans of Long Life in a week or so.  There was a time, when I used to walk round to The Merryhills in Oakwood to pick it up from their off licence.  But that was all stopped, when they said you had to be sixteen (?) to buy alcohol. He would probably be classed these days as a light social drinker.

I am probably that now, as I like a glass of wine or a bottle of beer with a meal.  I can’t think the last time, I drunk a pint of anything.

But it hasn’t always been thus.  At University, I drunk fairly heavily and I probably did too in my late teens, when I served in The Merryhills.  I remember one night, I had thirteen small bottles of Guinness.

C had a similar drinking pattern, in that she got very drunk once just before I met her and probably twice or so, when we were together. She only drunk wine and the occasional whisky. Even as she was dying, she didn’t turn to the bottle, but partly because the drugs she was on had ruined her mouth.

What about my children? By twenty, none of them were drinking and only one ever drunk heavily.

So there seems to be this pattern in the male in my family, where  drinking is responsible. I was also introduced to alcohol at an early age of about eight, by my father and I did the same to our children.

But where did this responsible drinking come from.

My paternal grandfather, who I never met, as he died before the Second World War, was a serious drinker and a heavy smoker.  He died of pneumonia and asthma, but my father used to tell tales of picking him up at the Conservative Club every night of the week, when he was very much the worse for wear.

My father would always talk about the terrors of alcohol, with reference to his father.  I suppose it hit home because I’d never met him and he had died in his forties.

There may or may not be a teetotal gene in my male line, but it’s more down to parental behaviour.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

Why Am I Drinking So Much?

Yesterday, I drank heavily all day.

I had three mugs of tea before I left home to do my shopping and then another cup of tea in Carluccio’s with my breakfast.

Before I left for the football, I had a large glass of milk and then I had a tea on the train going to Ipswich.

I didn’t drink anything in the ground, but I did have a small bottle of water coming home, to wash down my Warfarin.

With my supper, I then had two 330 ml. bottles of Celia lager, to wash down the Marks and Spencer’s curry.

A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been able to drink that amount of fluid, as my throat was rather dry. But just as my gut seems to have improved, it now seems to be the turn of my throat.

Thinking through the last two years since my stroke, I don’t seem to have been able to drink like this. In fact some doctors have told me to limit my fluid intake.

In some ways though, this drinking behaviour has happened before.  In the early 1970s, I was working as a consultant at Time Sharing in Great Portland Street and was getting most of my fluid in the Mason’s Arms next door. I remember then thinking, I was drinking too much, so I switched from coffee to tea at home and started to drink masses of the stuff. I felt a lot better.

Then sometime about 1985 or so, I gave up coffee again and started drinking tea, after I thought I’d got a serious mouth infection.  I actually, stopped drinking coffee this time, a couple of months ago, as I thought I’d got a similar infection.

So it’s all very strange.  At least drinking lots of tea, with one drink a day, isn’t going to do me any harm.

One side effect of my health and possibly all of the drinking, is that for the first time in a year or so, wine now seems to taste like wine again.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

To Ipswich For The Football

I was of two minds, whether to go to see Ipswich at home yesterday, as the weather has been so cold and they were playing Middlesborough, which made it look like a defeat.  I had even told my son, I wasn’t going.

But the weather was sunny in the morning, so I decided to chance it, especially as there was nothing much else to do outside.

I took the train from Liverpool Street at 13:30 and arrived just in time for the match, after the walk from the station.

But what was wrong.  The weather had got cold and Ipswich seemed to be holding their own against a side rated a lot better than they were.

Surely, it couldn’t last, but then Ipswich scored four good goals without reply.

The manager, Mick McCarthy wasn’t even there, as he was at home with flu. So perhaps he should try staying away more often and leave the team in the obviously capable hands of Terry Connor.

Sadly, a lot of the fans stayed away too, but those that did turn up, left with lots of smiles on their faces.  Some like me, questioned, whether it was all a dream or the result of too much alcohol.

The players too, played out the last few minutes of the match, as if they had thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think though, when Mick McCarthy returns he has a serious question to answer.  How come yesterday, Tommy Smith scored two good goals from superbly taken corners? I can’t remember any goal from a corner this season.  Or even a very good dangerous corner. Let’s hope he decides it wasn’t just good luck.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

Do You Have To Be Fat And Ugly To Play Rugby These Days?

I watched the England Scotland rugby last night on the iPlayer.  It strikes me that the forwards are now getting to be so heavy that they wouldn’t be out of place in sumo wrestling. The backs too, aren’t small any more and would some of the great players of the past like Jeremy Guscott, Phil Bennett, the Underwoods or even Jonny Wilkinson ever get a game these days?

Clive Woodward wasn’t impressed either with the number of players with beards, who could have been extras in a film about the Vikings.

Rugby seems to be going the same route as American football, where size is everything. Parents, I suspect will start to keep their children away from the game, as it will get too dangerous, with all that weight running about.  You read reports from the United States, where football is on the rise over the American version, simply because it is a safer game for normal people.

And talking about American football, why is the BBC spending my licence fee, on covering it so much?

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rail Industry And The Samaritans Get Together To Cut Suicides

One of the most common ways of committing suicide these days, is to jump in front of a train. It happens about 250 times a year. But this article about the Samaritans and the rail industry getting together, shows that everybody is concerned and taking action.

We need more initiatives like this.

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments