The Anonymous Widower

The HS2 Eco-Report

The Sunday Times is reporting the Eco-report for HS2 stretched to 50,000 pages and weighs half-a-ton.

Partly this is due to the fact that Parliament needs a hard copy.

Surely though, that in this case to save a large number of trees, they should receive it electronically.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Cardinal O’Brien In The Doo-Dah

I can’t say I hold a brief for the views of Cardinal O’Brien, as what right does anybody have to deny anybody a proper marriage, be they straight, gay, divorced or widowed.

So I was rather pleased that Stonewall’s bigot of the year, has got dropped in it, from a great height by a former priest and some other complainants. The priest left the priesthood and got married, which probably sums up the real fault of Catholic doctrine. Being denied your instincts, like wanting to have a meaningful relationship with someone that might lead to marriage, surely causes more problems than it solves.

The full story is here on the BBC.

I do fear that if people like O’Brien are choosing the new Pope, what sort of dinosaur will they choose?

February 24, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , | 4 Comments

Was My Dinner Last Night What It Said On The Packet?

When I came back from Huddersfield last night, I was a bit peckish.

One of the problems had been that the only gluten-free sandwiches available in the Marks and Spencer in Piccadilly station was cheese and pickle.

Yuck! Only Cheese And Pickle!

Yuck! Only Cheese And Pickle!

I do eat quite a bit of cheese, but I generally only eat ones with the extra mould in them like Rochfort. And for some reason cheese and pickle sandwiches are not of my liking.

I did think about stopping off in Islington at either Carluccio’s or my favourite Indian restaurant, but as it was so cold, I decided to see what I could get in Marks and Spencer’s at the station and then get a bus home immediately. So I bought one of their roast pork dinners for the microwave, as that would mean I’d be able to cook it quickly.

Roast Pork With Cider Sauce

Roast Pork With Cider Sauce

It is a favourite of mine, as I find that the sauce calms my throat well. It’s a bit sticky and I suspect like ginger cake, it absorbs the rhinitis and transfers it to the acids in my stomach.

Can I be sure I was eating pork, without a full DNA test?

It certainly tasted like pork and the meat was light and in slices, so the only other thing it could have been was perhaps a very plump bird.

So I doubt that it was anything but pork and I certainly don’t think it was horse.

But reading the ingredients, were the Apples Bramleys, the Cabbage Savoy or the Oil Rapeseed?

Surprisingly the mashed potato, which I’ll admit was nice contains double cream. The other surprising ingredient was the lemon juice in the roast pork.

It certainly didn’t contain any of the dreaded gluten.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Food | , , | 7 Comments

Mother Knows Best

Yesterday, Slummy Mummy in The Times had two interesting thoughts courtesy of her mother.

The first was an absolute gem.

Since it’s people in towns who like badgers, we should exchange them for urban foxes.

Now that’s an idea! But it might get rid of the last few urban hedgehogs. The second was a sensible aside on the subject of horsemeat.

You’ll be glad to know that everything is shop-bought,” she says, opening the fridge door with a flourish. It is full of Findus lasagnes.

“They were on offer. I got them before they were withdrawn

I bet she’s not the only one who took advantage.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

Laura Craik Would Have Pleased C

Laura Craik’s fashion article in The Times magazine yesterday would have been right up C’s street, as it was all about colour. C was a barrister and despite this she avoided black as much as she could. Her uniform colour was often dark blue and often her only black was thick tights. I don’t think she actually had a matching set of black bra and briefs though! She certainly never in the forty years I knew her, ever owned a black swimsuit, coat or evening dress.

She always said that colour, helped her to stand out and she’s not the first professional woman, who’s told me that!

But as C would joke, the black she did have, meant she had no problems at funerals.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | News | , | 9 Comments

Innocent Sell Out

Innocent smoothies have sold out to Coca-Cola and you can read about it here in the Guardian.

In some ways it’s rather sad.

But in some ways, it’s due to the culture that says you can’t be small and create a global brand. Although, over the last few years, some global British companies like ARM and Brompton have done just that.

I won’t stop having the odd smoothie, but I do think that in the UK, their sell-out may have opened up the market for a new brand to move into the hole. After all, look how we’ve all fallen out of love with Starbucks, if the morgue in Islington is anything to go by.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Business, Food | , , | 2 Comments

Getting To Huddersfield By Train

Huddersfield is the tenth largest town in England, with a population of 146,000 or so. As I found on my trip yesterday, it has a grand railway station with good connections to Manchester and Leeds, but it doesn’t have any good connections to the South and London. Those that came up by coach and car from Suffolk, weren’t too impressed by the roads to get their either.

I went by changing at Manchester Piccadilly, which at least has a frequent connection to Huddersfield. Going as fast as you can that way it takes a few minutes under three hours, as it does via Leeds.  Going via Wakefield can be a bit quicker, but trying via Sheffield say stretches the journey to nearly four hours.

Looking at the various rail lines in the area, there is a line from Huddersfield to Sheffield called the Penistone Line. If someone had a bit of sense, it would seem that this area of Yorkshire could be given better transport links by improving this line so that it provides a better link to the Midland Main Line, when that is electrified to Sheffield. Many countries would electrify the line, but seeing the terrain yesterday and looking at the map, it might not be a cost-effective project.

The current improvements and electrification of the Midland Main Line will probably mean that going via Sheffield to London will be quicker than the other routes in a few years.

And then sometime in the next century HS2 might reach Sheffield Meadowhall station!

You can’t get over the fact, that Huddersfield seems to be a bit of an afterthought in railway planning and it has been like that for many years.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Huddersfield

Yesterday, I took the train to Huddersfield to see the two Towns share a goal-less draw.

I went via Manchester Piccadilly, as I wanted to have a decent lunch in Carluccio’s at the station, where I know the wi-fi is also excellent, as it incidentally was on Virgin’s trains and in their First Class lounge at Euston. The same can’t be said for their food and drink offering on the trains at the weekend.

It was very cold outside and as I passed through Highbury and Islington station to get to Euston, it was actually trying to snow.

It may seem strange to get to Huddersfield via Manchester, but then there are four trains about every hour on that route. They are new trains, but are only three coaches and often are completely full with standing everywhere. It was a classic case of the Treasury deciding how many coaches should have been bought for the Trans Pennine route and then dividing it by three to fit their budget. It’s a pleasant enough half-hour route though through the Pennines as this picture shows.

Manchester To Huddersfield

Manchester To Huddersfield

Although, the cleaner at Piccadilly was a bit slapdash.

Slapdash Cleaning At Piccadilly

Slapdash Cleaning At Piccadilly

I feel right to blame the cleaner, as he actually came into the carriage whilst I was waiting to sit down.

I should point out that these Trans Pennine trains, illustrate some of what is wrong with the layout of Piccadilly station, which was probably designed by a Scouser with a bizarre sense of humour, to get at their rival city. These trains turn up at all sorts of places in the station and are often the second or even the third train on the platform, counting from the concourse. I think it was the third yesterday. It must be a nightmare for staff to get passengers on the right train. But I’ve changed trains at Piccadlly so many times now, that I know the traps the station sets for you. Hopefully things will get better with the Northern Hub works.  But this won’t be fully implemented until 2018.

At present. there are two solutions for passengers to avoid the problems; allow plenty of time and have drink or a meal in the station or take another route. For Huddersfield yesterday, I could have gone via Leeds, but that would have meant a walk up the hill in the cold to get a meal, as Leeds station doesn’t have a restaurant only snack bars.

The journey on to Huddersfield was enlivened with one of those bizarre incidents that seem to happen to me. A screw fell out of the bottom of my camera onto the floor.  In crawling around the floor looking for it, I was assisted by a retired lady doctor from Hull, who like me had gone to Liverpool University. We must have looked an odd pair. I’ve now got the problem of finding a screw for the camera. Or should that be an independent camera shop?

Huddersfield station is not your ordinary drab station, as the picture shows.

Huddersfield Railway Station

Huddersfield Railway Station

It is a Grade 1 listed building and actually contains two pubs. Pevsner described it as one of the best early railway stations in England. The statue by the way is Harold Wilson. The football ground is a twenty-minute walk downhill from the station and despite Huddersfield Town not being on television very often, the ground is well-known to viewers because of Rugby League.

John Smith's Stadium

John Smith’s Stadium

The John Smith’s Stadium was one of the first modern grounds to be built in recent years. As the picture shows, the view is good and I’d rate it one of the best seats for visiting supporters along with Barnsley, Burnley or Wolverhampton.  You would never describe it as pokey or restricted like Charlton or QPR, although the stewards were complaining of the cold. So that must have been bad!

A steward incidentally told me that Ipswich had attracted a thousand fans.  This must be quite a lot considering the distance from Suffolk and the weather.  But on the other hand Ipswich, Suffolk and the football club must have one of the largest diaspora of any part of the UK.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This Is Getting Beyond A Joke

After trying to boil me last year, this house is now trying to freeze me to death. I can just about get the heat up to 18.5°C, by having the boiler on full and controlling the valves manually upstairs.

As to having a bath, that is impossible.  As we decided to take it out last week.  But only on condition, I had a working shower.  Guess what both showers are not working. Now they have done this before, so I suspect that could be down to the cold weather too! I just tried the shower again and took this picture.

My Stone-Cold Leaking Shower

My Stone-Cold Leaking Shower

Note how the water is leaking everywhere.  The water was absolutely stone cold.

I suppose the shower isn’t too important, as I know that I can get one at my physio tomorrow.

But what did I do to deserve to be frozen to death? Or am I drowning, as my nose just never stops running with this rhinitis? But then, I had this chronic rhinitis for some years as a child, so I know despite it’s worst intents, it doesn’t appear to be fatal.

In some ways the worst pain I have is in my left humerus, where the school bully broke it.  But that isn’t at all funny.

I suppose I could always move to somewhere like Mali, where I’m told it’s a bit warmer.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment