The Anonymous Widower

A Single-Manned New Bus for London

I went to the Angel last night and took one the New Buses for London on route 38. It was the first that I’d seen being run single-manned without a conductor.

The driver though was opening all three doors at stops, so that the rather light traffic at that time could get easily on and off.

I had thought that only the front two would open, with the platform kept tightly closed.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 8 Comments

Children In Trouble

I’m just watching a recording of the BBC documentary; The Railway.

In one section, they have to go and tell a mother, that her son has been hit by a train and killed.

I might not have been a saint, but one incident in my life made my mother think the worst.

I’d been driving back to Liverpool University in my faithful Morris Minor; VKX 156, when just before Peterborough, a guy in the slow lane of the northbound A1, decided he needed to turn right.  But he missed the turn and was hit fair and square by the car in front of me.  I would have gone right into him, but for the quick thinking of another driver in an Austin 1800 in the slow lane, who slowed and waved me through in front of him.  I then pulled directly on to the verge as I thought things would now go seriously wrong.  They did, but not around me, as the car that caused the accident bounced across the central reservation of the dual carriageway and then hit someone going south.

The Police turned up some minutes later and I gave a detailed statement about what had happened.

Nothing further happened until that summer, when I was on a boating holiday on the Thames, when a Police Sergeant turned up at our house around midnight and said I was wanted in Court in the  morning to give evidence about the accident.

Seeing him there, had given her an awful fright, as she thought I’d fallen in the Thames or a lot worse.

Obviously, that hadn’t happened, but it does show the sort of reaction expected, when something serious happens.

I know the heartbreak of losing a child, so we should all take care.

I certainly do, as best as I can, after all I’ve been through in the last few years.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Patchy Paperwork

I was interviewed today, by a student from Liverpool University about some of the aspects of widowhood.

One thing that got me at the time of C’s death, was how professional some organisations and companies were and on the other hand how sloppy some others were.

I was moved to write to The Times, and this is my letter they published on April 16th, 2008.

The paperwork carried out when a relation dies should be standardised across all organisations.

I was widowed last year, and it is only now that I’m starting to get my life together. The response of the various government and local authority departments in handling all the paperwork involved has been very patchy.

 Registrars: excellent, very sympathetic and efficient; Work and Pensions: bereavement allowance came through with a few hiccups, but not too difficult; Premium Bonds: system worked but could have been better; council tax: this was reduced automatically on signing a form by St Edmundsbury — totally painless; DVLA: its online systems worked well; winter fuel payment: found difficult to claim and missed it for last year.

The private sector wasn’t that much better, with some companies having people whose sole job appeared to be to deal with bereavement faring much better than those that didn’t. Some wanted death certificates, some accepted faxed copies and others took my word.

We need a lot more joined-up thinking in this important area, as, with nearly a million deaths in the UK every year, it would surely help the bereavement process for those left behind if every company, organisation, government department and authority were automatically notified. After all, if St Edmundsbury can do it here in supposedly sleepy Suffolk, then surely everyone else can.

Since moving to London, I could add a few to both lists, although nothing has been specifically about bereavement.  In some ways the biggest surprise has been that the London Borough of Hackney hasn’t made any mistake, that has caused me the slightest bit of inconvenience.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s A Pig Of A Job, But Someone’s Got To Do It

I saw this story about a pig being used to train firefighters, in The Times, but it is also here in the Daily Mail.

I’m reminded of the time C and myself caught an escaped pony and Suffolk Police turned up as they had had reports of damage to flower beds being caused by the escapee.  At the time, the police used Escort vans for local officers and we almost convinced him to put it in the back to take it to the station.

So perhaps, animal training is something that is now more common with the Fire and Police Services.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment

My University Scarf Rides Again

I’ve started wearing my Liverpool University Engineering scarf again in this weather.

My University Scarf Rides Again

You don’t seem to see as many university scarves as you did, when I went to University in the 1960s.

But in this weather it’s very warm.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 21 Comments

The Football Fan In A Hijab

The BBC web site has this article, which talks about fifteen-year-old Amina Qureshi supporting Bradford in a hijab.

I actually don’t think this is as rare as the article makes out.  When I saw Ipswich win at Bolton, I came across a small group of Asian girls supporting, some of whom were similarly attired.

I seem to remember too, a young girl in a hijab, with her father, who was wearing fairly traditional clothes for a Muslim man at Leyton Orient, which has more than a few Muslim supporters.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment

A Real Winner From The Shard

The Shard is not my favourite building, but I do admire the skill of those who designed and built it, even if the overall shape and height are in my opinion not right for London.

But they have now announced that London-based Mace will team up with British firm EC Harris to create the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. There’s more here in this article on the BBC’s web site.

So we must be good at something!

February 22, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The BBC’s Top Story Today

This story about Irish ‘nuns’ caught drinking illegally in Ireland is the most read on the BBC’s web site today.

I suppose the behaviour could be explained as they were Sisters of Charity and the local priest gave his blessing.

February 22, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment