The Anonymous Widower

Who Said This? – The Answer

Margaret Thatcher!

An article by Charles Clover, who would probably be described as an environmentalist, wrote the article in the Sunday Times entitled, “If only we still had Thatcher, the scientist and mother of cleaner energy”.

Or read this one in the Guardian or this one in the Independent.

But whatever, you say about Margaret Thatcher, she was a trained scientist and worked as one. Name another Prime Minister or President of any country, with those qualifications!

April 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Can Ipswich Fans Go By Train To The Last Match?

If you live in Ipswich, support Town and want to go by train to the last match of the season at Burnley,you’ve got a five hour journey starting at six in the morning.

I’m luckier in that I can catch the 08:03 train to Leeds and change for Burnley there, getting there in just under four hours.

Yet again, East Anglia shows how badly it is connected to the rail network.

I also get back to London about 19:30, whereas those going to Ipswich arrive two hours later.

So to answer my question, the answer is yes! But those of us, who live in London can do it a lot easier, than those that live in Ipswich.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Said This?

This quotation is published in today’s Sunday Times.

It is possible that . . . we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself

So who said it?

I’ll give you a clue, in that it was said in an address to the Royal Society, by someone who was tutored at Oxford University, by the Nobel Prize winner; Dorothy Hodgkin.

Was it an environmentalist like Lord Melchett or Jonathan Porritt, a scientist like David Bellamy or a politician like Al Gore or Caroline Lucas?

The answer is in today’s Sunday Times in an absolute must-read article.

I will post later, who said it.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Superb Advertising

I saw this on a lamp post, by the bus stop at the Angel.

Superb Advertising

Superb Advertising

People, who have seen it had already torn off some of the tear-off strips of the Man With A Van, so I hope he gets some business.

it’s such a simple, but superb idea.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Giles Coren On Pistachio Doughnuts

This was a classic comment from his restaurant review  in The Times on Saturday.

Oliphant, who had been here before, insisted I try the pistachio doughnuts and honey syrup, but all puddings taste like mashed sugar cubes to me and I ate it only out of politeness. For all I know, it may be the greatest pudding ever made. You’d need to ask a fat girl.

I feel like that about puddings too!

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Two Quotes From Antonio Carluccio

The Times yesterday had two quotes from Antonio Carluccio.

Religion is hypocritical.

He says that he abandoned it forty years ago. With me it was probably nearly sixty, when I discovered how good science is.

Cooking is good for attracting girls.

He says he taught himself, as he couldn’t afford to go to restaurants.

I’m teaching myself, not because I can’t afford the restaurants, but because restaurants don’t cook what I like. As to whther it attracts girls, I couldn’t possibly comment.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

The Return From Sheffield

I had decided to come back directly from Sheffield station to St. Pancras International.

Partly, this was because it was without a change and also it would enable me to compare the two companies; East Coast and East Midlands. But mainly, it was because the journey up cost £33.00 and I was able to get back for £19.80, by the simpler route.

It started well enough in that I was able to get easily by the Supertram to the station, with a change at Fitzalan Square. My only query, would be to ask if Sheffield have enough trams, as the tram was crowded both ways and there was a long delay waiting to get one at Meadowhall? I also find it strange, that we have six modern tram systems in the UK; London, Edinburgh, West Midlands, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield, and all seem to have different trams and different ticketing systems.  For instance, other than London, the only tram system I can use without paying is Sheffield.

If we had a standard UK tram and infrastructure, then anywhere that wanted a system, would be able to cost it very easily. Surely too, a common tram, would reduce inventories for spare parts and reduce costs for staff training.

I have had quite a bit of experience of East Midlands First Class this year, so I took the precaution of going to the usually excellent Marks and Spencer in the station to get a drink. As I’d only had the sandwiches I bought at Meadowhall all day, I thought something to eat might be an idea.  But Marks and Spencer were out of gluten-free sandwiches and I couldn’t find any salads at all. There of course, is no restaurant in the station, where anything gluten-free is available. So I would have to wait until St. Pancras.

I did check out the toilets and despite being pretty new, they weren’t in the best of states.

Vandalised Toilets At Sheffield Station

Vandalised Toilets At Sheffield Station

Especially, if you compare them with the exquisite ones I used at Doncaster on the way up. Doncaster’s toilets were also free.

So obviously you don’t pay for what you get!

After the toilets, I thought, I’d check out the First Class Lounge.

First Class Lounge At Sheffield Station

First Class Lounge At Sheffield Station

It was shut, just like it was at Derby a couple of weeks ago.

The train left Derby on time and I had a table  for four to myself. By the time we got to Leicester, I’d had a cup of instant coffee in a cardboard cup, as opposed to the china cups from a pot on East Coast.

Then disaster struck, as we held at Leicester for forty minutes or so, after staff told us that the overhead lines had been brought down in the Elstree area. To be delayed on an electric train by overhead wire problems is to be expected, but when you’re in an operational Class 222 diesel train, it’s somewhat ironic.

We continued untroubled until Kettering, where we stopped for another twenty minutes, before being ordered off the train and onto another Class 222 heading for St. Pancras. I could just about find enough space to stand up. Luckily the crush didn’t last long, as staff told us that at the next stop at Wellingborough, if we got out and walked to the back of what was two trains coupled together there would be more space.

It now was obvious what East Midlands Trains had done. As to get a single train through the damaged knitting at Elstree, would be much easier than getting two trains through, they coupled two six coach trains together to make a twelve coach one.

Before I had moved to the comfort of the second train, I was talking to someone who worked for Network Rail. He blamed Dr. Beeching for all of the delays, as there hadn’t been any investment in the 1960s and 1970s. As I think the electrification that caused all the trouble was installed in the 1980s, that is quite an amazing conclusion.

As all of the electrification of that era seems to cause trouble, no matter where it is installed, I would think that there must be something wrong with the basic design. I did read something about how the Regional Eurostars used to bash hell out of the wires on the East Coast Main Line and cause failures.  So perhaps the new Thameslink Class 377 trains are the problem.  But I doubt it, as they’ve been around for some years.

In the end we arrived in London at 22:30, after a four hour journey. Marks and Spencer in St. Pancras was devoid of any suitable food, so I went home in a taxi and had cheese on toast.

I wish I’d gone home the other way via Meadowhall and Doncaster, despite it being twenty minutes slower.  After all, I was two hours late into St. Pancras. At least, if there’d had been an overhead line failure, I suspect that I’d have been kept going by all that glorious East Coast tea in First Class.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

South Yorkshire Police Have Another Coloured Horse

It wasn’t a bad day for a ride and as they did at Barnsley, the Police gave the horses some exercise.

Police Horses At Hillsborough

Police Horses At Hillsborough

it’s nice to see that the South Yorkshire Police doesn’t seem to mind what colours their horses are. This one doesn’t appear to be the one I saw earlier in the season. Incidentally, I can’t remember seeing a grey police horse for many years.  But then to groom a grey so that it looks good, is a lot of hard work.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hillsborough

Hillsborough is not one of my favourite stadia, although I’ve no reason to dislike it. I’ve been three times, twice recently including yesterday and once in the 1960s, when I was at Liverpool University, where I did visit quite a few grounds in the North.

The West Stand At Hillsborough

The West Stand At Hillsborough

Perhaps, I dislike Hillsborough because visiting supporters sit in the West or Leppings Lane Stand, which featured so grimly in the Hillsborough disaster.

It certainly isn’t because of over-officious stewarding or policing, as it was a very painless and friendly process to get inside. Perhaps not as friendly as last time, where a tout knocked down an unsellable Senior ticket to me for less than cost price. What he was doing with the ticket I do not know, but at the time he seemed pleased I gave him a tenner for it.

Inside Hillsborough

Inside Hillsborough

I think it must be because the stadium shows its age, although it doesn’t in the picture.  But, there are still roof supports obstructing some views and the facilities are in a severe need of an update. They’re not as bad as some, but when you look at places like Hull, Brighton, Ipswich, Derby, Wolverhampton and others, you realise that the toilets and food outlets at Hillsborough, are not of the standard most supporters expect.

I think that some innovative thinking is needed in this area, which would benefit supports and clubs alike. As an example, last Tuesday at the Crystal Palace game, I desperately needed a drink of water, so I went to the catering outlet a few minutes before half-time. I found Ipswich Town were selling a new East Anglian brand of water called Iceni. Perhaps, if there is one, clubs might benefit from selling local water.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Food, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Going To Hillsborough

The trip to Sheffield Wednesday didn’t start too well, as I got almost to the Angel on the bus to Kings Cross station, when I realised I’d forgot my pills.  It wouldn’t have been too important, if I’d not gone back, as I planned to be back in my house about nine in the evening with some food to cook for supper and I could take the drugs then.

But I decided to go back and get them and in the end I just made the 11:03 train to Leeds. I would change for Sheffield at Doncaster and take a train to Meadowhall, where after lunch, I’d take a tram to the ground.

The trip up was excellent in First Class on East Coast. It was also notable in that the service was excellent with copious amounts of tea in proper English china cups from Stoke-on-Trent.

Tea In A China Cup On East Coast

Tea In A China Cup On East Coast

We arrived on time at Doncaster and then it was one of the dreaded Pacers to Meadowhall.

If George Osborne wanted to buy votes, a large order for something like London Overground’s Class 172 to replace the Pacers would be an easy way to do it.

I did see the New Measurement Train or Flying Banana at Doncaster, which I’d seen a couple of years ago at Basingstoke.

The Flying Banana At Doncaster

The Flying Banana At Doncaster

There is an interesting difference in British and Japanese attitudes to names illustrated by the Flying Banana. The Japanese call their equivalent trains, Doctor Yellow.

I do wonder how many of the redundant Inter City 125’s will live on in this role. I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple even get exported to countries with long railway lines that need to be checked. After all to put the equipment in a brand-new train will be expensive, but to use a redundant and reliable diesel train, would be a lot cheaper. When checking overhead wires, I suspect that a diesel train may even have an advantage, as it doesn’t interact with the wires! And there aren’t many diesel trains that can do the testing at 200 kph!

Terry Miller’s iconic creation, never ceases to make fools of us all! But good engineering does that!

I had intended to go to Carluccio’s at Meadowhall for lunch, but after locating the restaurant after slaloming through, the hoards of obese people, who always seem haunt shopping centres, I was too short on time.  Often these people make matters worse by pushing equally obese children in enormous buggies.

So I resorted to Plan B and bought some gluten-free sandwiches and a still lemonade in Marks and Spencer. This store incidentally, is by the  bridge from the station, so is quick and easy to get to. One thing I noticed at Meadowhall is that they actually have proper Left Luggage lockers and lots of them.

Left Luggage Lockers At Meadowhall Station

Left Luggage Lockers At Meadowhall Station

So if you are going to an event like the football, Meadowhall is the place to unwanted bags (or babies), whilst you visit the city.

I did have one problem, as there was nowhere convenient to sit and eat my sandwiches.

The Tram Arrives At Meadowhall

The Tram Arrives At Meadowhall

This picture was taken as the tram arrived. Note the lack of seats. One of the London shopping centres has a garden, where you can sit in the sun. Eastfield certainly will have, as it is just a short walk to the Olympic Park. Meadowhall should provide something!

On my trip to Hillsborough, I didn’t see any seats at stops at all. Here’s the stop at Fitzalan Square.

Fitzalan Square Tram Stop

Fitzalan Square Tram Stop

Note the improvisation on the left. At least most stops seem to have proper information with a map. One unique thing I saw as I walked down from the tram to Hillsborough was this sign.

A Unique Sign

A Unique Sign

So often, you approach a strange ground and there are no obvious instructions as to which end of the ground you go. That excellent sign at Hillsborough must have cost an absolute fortune, otherwise why don’t other grounds have them?

April 21, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments