The Anonymous Widower

The Standard Is Upbeat On The Overground

the Standard today has an upbeat article on the Overground and the lengthening of trains from four to five carriages.

The article ends with this from Mike Brown, who is TfL’s Director of Rail.

Mr Brown said he was upbeat about adding rail capacity as London’s population boomed.

He said: “I’m optimistic we’ll hear some positive comments about Crossrail 2 in the Autumn Statement which is a critical project to relieve congestion at London Waterloo, Victoria and Clapham junction mainline stations.

“I’m also convinced that when we as the Overground take over responsibility for West Anglia routes from May next year and when Crossrail opens people will see the great benefit of the model we operate compared to other (train companies’) franchising models when we focus on delivery, performance and having staff at stations.

“I want to keep up the pressure of more devolution to the mayor.”

In September and October London Overground achieved 95.7 percent punctuality compared to a national average of 90.1 percent.

I think it’s all a powerful argument to duplicate the Overground model all over the country.

I do think that local control of trains, trams and buses, like London has over the Underground and Overground, is a very good thing, as decisions get taken in the area, not miles away where the franchise has its head office.

If you look at Merseyrail, Manchester’s trams and the Newcastle Metro, which have substantial local control, do they work better than some others?

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Oxford Takes A Leaf Out Of Cambridge’s Book

When I visited all of the 92 football clubs in England, Oxford was one of the most difficult to get to. I said this.

Oxford, must surely be one of the most difficult stadia to get to from the town centre, even if you have a car. And if you do, you have to actually drive along the by-pass where there are queues of traffic. Of all the taxis I have taken to get to and from grounds, Oxford was by far the most expensive.

But from 2020, it’ll all be different.

According to the BBC, Chiltern Trains are opening up the Cowley branch to passenger trains, which will stop at the Science and Business Parks. Some reports say this will also handle the football ground.

But it is good to see Oxford following Cambridge and having a station at the Spence Park.

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

How To Be Scientifically-Correct For A Greener And Better World

Matt Ridley’s article about eco-toffs got me thinking. So if I was the world dictator, what would I recommend as a greener lifestyle that was scientifically-correct and hopefully gave you benefits as well!

Cook From Scratch

I have a list of quick delicious nutritious recipes, that I can cook from a series of staples kept in my fridge and store cupboard. I also experiment.

One thing I don’t use is a freezer, except to store frozen peas, although with some dishes I make enough for two and put the one in the fridge for a couple of days later.

Don’t Live In Two Houses

I’ve lived in two houses twice in my life. Once we lived between London and Suffolk and at another we had a second house in Antibes.

Never again! It’s just so much hassle and eventually C and myself got fed up with it all.

So either rent the second house or sell it and invest the money. Any income could be used to have holidays in your favourite hotels!

Don’t Smoke

I look forward to the day, when you don’t see any signs of this filthy habit.

I feel very strongly about this, as our longest son died in part because he smoked.

Don’t Use Lifts For A Couple Of Floors Unless Someone Younger Than You Is Also Riding

We’re all lazy and climbing a few stairs is a good exercise.

But do use a lift, when a lazy soul is using it. And make them feel guilty about their lack of exercise.

Feed Your Mind

Nothing improves your inner self, than seeing exciting events or places you’ve not seen before.I travel a lot and even when I’m at home, I use my Freedom Pass to explore new places in London and the area around.

Go Gluten-Free

I have to be gluten-free as I’m coeliac. But it is a diet choice with a bonus. According to Nottingham University, those on a gluten-free diet are 25% less likely to get cancer.

Invest In Peer-To-Peer Lending

Choose a reputable peer-to-peer lender with the right rate and risk profile for you. Not only will you be getting a better rate on your savings, but you’ll be lending money to individuals and businesses at a rate less than the banks. You’ll also be giving that wunch of bankers a good kicking.

Keep Your Body At Its Ideal Weight And Fitness

I am virtually the same size as I was when I left University in 1968. One doctor told me that the main reason, I recovered from the serious stroke so quickly, was because of the good state of my body.

Smart Meters and Thermostats

I have smart thermostats for my heating that I can set precisely, but despite trying hard, I haven’t managed to get a smart meter fitted for either gas or electricity yet, so I can see my usage on my computer.

Think Seriously About Your Car Usage

Too many households have car ownership that is poorly matched to their needs.

I for example, don’t have a licence any more and don’t have a car. My eyesight is getting better and I suspect that in a year or so, I could get my licence back with ease. But I don’t want the hassle of car ownership, especially as I have so many bus routes everywhere.

My son has also decided he doesn’t need a car and if he wants one for a few hours, he uses something like a Zip-car.

A friend too, had their car stolen and hasn’t replaced it.

So as a car costs several thousand a year to own and run, are your current car arrangements the best and most capital efficient?

In many cases the answer is no!

Traditional Terry Nappies

C and I were very keen on these, especially if they’re paired with a nappy service, which takes away the dirty ones and then delivers the freshly-laundered ones. I can still see C burying her face in the clean nappies and luxuriating at the experience. I have heard mothers of my generation, say that their babies almost begged to be put back in a cloth nappy when they were put in a disposable one.

I’ve also seen in the sewers how many disposable nappies end up there, before being sent to landfill.

We shouldn’t force parents to use traditional nappies by increasing taxes on the disposable ones, as there are people, who for various reasons have to use disposable ones. But we should get the water companies and councils to encourage traditional ones, as they are the major commercial beneficiaries of such a product.

I wonder if I can still fold and fit a traditional nappy.

Use Contract Cleaners

I have a three-bedroomed house and I use contract cleaners, who send two girls once a week for two hours, at a price comparable with what I’d pay for a lady to do say a whole morning.

But the big advantage of this type of cleaning, is that I don’t have to have any cleaning equipment or materials.

So other than food, I have to buy very little in the supermarket. I think it’s just soap, washing-up liquid and washing tablets for clothes.

Walk In Cities

Cities are very interesting places to walk, as there is always something to see and you might just find a nice cafe for a coffee or see a jumper that goes with your favourite trousers or skirt.

Cities should encourage walking by putting up maps and information.

November 7, 2014 Posted by | Health, World | | 1 Comment