The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail And The Super Sewer

The two large tunneling projects in London at the moment are Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel or Super Sewer.

They both require long tunnels and will cost billions of pounds each.

But the public seem to have different attitudes to the two projects.

Nearly everybody seems to support Crossrail, whereas there is substantial opposition to the sewer.

I did ask a friend, if there had been any opposition to Crossrail and he said, there was a bit in the early days from places like Mayfair. People seemed to have been worried about dust and noise during the construction phase. But now everybody just gets on with life and hopes that Crossrail will be finished and walking and driving will get back to normal.

To be fair to Crossrail, they seem to have gone out of their way with green walls to minimise noise, using the river to carry tunnel spoil and being a good neighbour as at Stepney City Farm. They have also launched a well-funded and publicised archaeology program.

On the other hand, the Super Sewer, doesn’t seem to have done the same to allay the fears of a public, who don’t want  all the problems of construction and the increase in water bills.

I do wonder, whether the difference is down to the fact that a new railway is something people can use and feel gives them tangible benefits, but a sewer, is something that they only use a few times every day and don’t want to think about. And it looks to me, that Thames Water have not done a good enough job to sell the benefits of the new sewer to the general public.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Recycle A Roof

This story on the BBC, tells how the old station roof at London Bridge station, is going to be given to the Vale of Rheidol railway in Wales to help build their new museum.

It wasn’t many years ago, when this structure would have been reduced to scrap, so Network Rail are to be congratulated.  Hopefully, the new museum in Aberystwyth will bring tourists to the town and create some new businesses and jobs.

I think too, that this story illustrates how intelligent recycling might be slightly more expensive, but properly done, it can save lots of money elsewhere.  The new museum in Wales is reported to be costing ten million, but how much more would it cost without the recycled roof.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Make A Big Hole In Solid Concrete

This video will be one of the most watched news stories tonight around the world and the Independent seems to have got there first.

The BBC are also running it this lunchtime in the local news.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Message For nPower Customers

After my article on nPower’s cheaper tariff, that they hadn’t told me about, I’ve just had a phone call from a friend, who saw it and like me he saved a few hundred pounds by not switching suppliers, but by switching tariffs.

So if like my friend and myself, you get your energy from nPower, it might be worth checking with one of the comparison sites to see if you are getting the best deal.  You may find a painless call to the company, will save you money, without changing energy suppliers and hopefully little hassle.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Comet Of The Century?

The BBC is showing a superb image of Comet Ison on its web site.  They also make this comment.

It could be the “comet of the century” if it does not burn up entirely on the way.

Here’s hoping!


May 31, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Chaos At Richmond

The reception was at Ham House and to get there the Transport for London journey planner, said go to Richmond Station and then get a 371 bus from stop E to Ham Street and walk.

Unfortunately, the finding of a 371 bus wasn’t easy, as south West Trains didn’t seem to have provided any of TfL’s useful bus spider maps at the station. So I couldn’t locate stop E. as I was early, I had a tea in the Carluccio’s by the station and the waitress told me that I got the bus to Ham House from outside the station.

So I got the 371 bus, when it turned up a few minutes later, at the temporary stop, which partly explained my problem.  But I didn’t find a bus route map anywhere.

It is an area I don’t know well and it didn’t help that the information system on the bus wasn’t working.  But I got there without delay.

Coming back, I was a bit worried about buses late at night, but the stop was covered by the SMS message system that tracks most of London’s buses and I got back home without further trouble.

Checking this morning, it would appear that the 371 actually starts now from stop D at Richmond, so TfL has got a touch of the misinformations.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

How To Do Service

Yesterday, I went to Carluccio’s in Upper Street, Islington, as I needed a good lunch, as I was going to a reception in the evening, where I felt gluten-free food, would be non-existent.

Admittedly, I’m known well there,, as I go probably two or three times a week, but I was ushered quickly by the manager, to an out-of-the-way corner table, where I can sit and do my sudoku, without bothering anybody. He had the gluten-free menu at the ready too. Not that I need it these days, as I could probably repeat it by heart.

I do like saltimbocca and as they had a pork one on the specials menu, I asked if they could do a gluten-free one.  The answer was yes and the waitress didn’t even check, as she said, they’d done one the day before for another customer.

But unfortunately, the pork saltimbocca had been popular, so she came back and asked, if I would like a chicken one. I said yes and this is the what I had for my lunch.

Carluccio's Chicken Saltimbocca

Carluccio’s Chicken Saltimbocca

It was very good and it kept me going all day, especially as the reception was gluten-free free.

I think I can draw a big conclusion from this incident and other experiences lately.  In general, service and the provision of gluten-free food is getting better in restaurant chains, with possibly the exception of All Bar One.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 8 Comments

Londoners Don’t Seem Bothered About Fire Station Closures

I find this story about public meetings on the closure of fire stations rather interesting. Here’s a paragraph.

Londoners have been turning up in single figures to meetings on Boris Johnson’s fire station closure plans which are costing more than £100,000 to stage.

A single resident attended events in Newham, Brent and Harrow while just two turned up in Barking & Dagenham and four in the City of London. Mr Johnson plans to axe 12 fire stations, 18 engines and 520 jobs to save £45 million from the fire service budget.

You can take several view on this from two extremes.

If you are a die-hard supporter of cuts and would vote for Boris at all costs, you probably wouldn’t go.

But I suspect, that it’s more down to the fact, that we rarely see a serious incident.  I have only seen one this year and that appeared to be a fire in an empty building, which perhaps half a dozen appliances attended.

If only a few attended some of these meeting, it would seem that they weren’t even picketed by fire-fighters and their families.

So I suspect, that Londoners in general, aren’t particularly worried about the plans.


May 31, 2013 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Badgers, Foxes and Deer

As I write this, there is a debate going on about the badger cull on Radio 5. Living in Hackney, I have no vested interest, as what happens won’t effect me directly.

When I first moved back to Suffolk at the start of the 1970s, I never saw a badger until perhaps 2006, and then on one night coming back from a restaurant I saw several in the lanes north of Haverhill. Over the last twenty years, I started to see dead badgers increasingly on the road.

Foxes too, were very rare in East Suffolk, where I lived until about the mid-1990s. I had never seen one alive, but I had smelt the odd fox. In West Suffolk, we had foxes everywhere and now in Hackney, I saw one cross the road in front of me, as I walked with a friend to the local church.

Deer too, have shown a remarkable rise in numbers. In fact, the only claim, I ever made on my car insurance in recent years, was when a deer jumped in front of my car, when C was driving.

All of these animals have no natural predator in the UK, and they are rapidly increasing in numbers.

There will come a time, when we will need to cull badgers, foxes and deer, very strongly, as otherwise we’ll be overrun with them. As it is foxes and badgers are carnivores, so what effect will unsustainable high levels have on our other native birds and animals? As it is already, some believe that foxes are feeding aggressively on our hedgehog population, as I reported here.

If we don’t keep our large mammals to a healthy level, we will be seeing a lot of other problems.



May 31, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment