The Anonymous Widower

Nightmare On The Buses

The title of this post, is not the title of a horror remake of the popular 1970s-sitcom’ On The Buses, but a description of my journeys on a 141 bus today.

Until, last Friday, I had two buses; the 21 and 141 to take between my house and Moorgate, which is an important destination for me.

  • There is a large Marks and Spencer food store there, where I regularly buy the gluten-free food, I must have as a coeliac.
  • There is a LEON there, where I regularly have my gluten-free breakfast.
  • Moorgate station is a good transport interchange from which I regularly start journeys over London.

But now there is only one bus; the 141.

In November 2021, I wrote The Great Bus Robbery, where I said this.

What is TfL’s latest crime?

The 21 and 271 buses are going to be combined into a new route between Lewisham and Highgate, which will go nowhere near the Balls Pond Road.

So we’ll just have the one bus route to the City of London.

On past form, if TfL say they will increase the frequency, I wouldn’t believe them.

This was my conclusion.

We will need the 21 bus to provide us with a route to Crossrail, as the 141 buses will be full.

The 21 bus is needed where it is and mustn’t be stolen.

Note that Crossrail is now called the Elizabeth Line.

Today, I made three journeys between my house and Moorgate station and this is what happened.

Journey 1 – Southbound

I arrived at the bus stop and after five minutes a 141 bus arrived.

But it was full and didn’t open the door to let any of the waiting six passengers board.

After another three minutes, another 141 bus arrived and we squeezed on.

But there wasn’t any seats left and I stood all the way to Moorgate.

Journey 2 – Northbound

I only had my breakfast and as I had things to do at home, I returned fairly quickly after finishing my breakfast.

Partly, this was also because a 141 bus turned up with some seats available.

But it was a lot closer to capacity, than Northbound buses at about the same time last week.

Journey 3 – Northbound

My third journey started at about four in the afternoon, after I’d been out to take some pictures and buy a few food items in Marks and Spencer.

I had to wait seven minutes for a 141 bus and as there was a 76 bus a couple of minutes in front of it, I took that, with the intention of changing halfway.

I was able to get a seat.

In the end, the 76 bus got stuck in traffic and I walked to my intended change stop and waited there for the 141 bus, which was without a seat, so I stood for three stops to home.

It was one of the slowest journeys, I’d had between my house and Moorgate station.

Day 2 – February 7th – 2023

I arrived at the bus stop and found a lady, who had been waiting for an hour-and-a-quarter.

I had no problem coming home, as I went to Liverpool during the day and got a taxi back from Euston.

Day 3 – February 8th – 2023

Perhaps, they’d heard our pleas, but a bus turned up after a couple of minutes with plenty of spare space.

I even got a seat.

Going home, at about 10, there wasn’t a spare seat.

Revenue per bus, is certainly rising.

Conclusion

On the evidence of the first three day, it appears that there is not enough capacity without the 21 bus.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Could The Giant Station At Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument And Moorgate Be Considered A Superhub?

In Is The City Of London Moving Towards One Giant Station?, I showed how the four stations were being drawn together and developed as one large station that served the heart of the City of London.

London is also developing other large interchange stations that could claim because of their connectivity could be classed as London superhub stations.

  • Canary Wharf stations, which connect the Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Old Oak Common station, which could bring together the Central, Chiltern and Elizabeth Lines, the London Overground and High Speed Two.
  • Stratford station, which connects the Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, the Docklands Light Railway, the London Overground, High Speed One and the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Whitechapel station, which connects the Circle, District, Elizabeth and Hammersmith & City Lines, and the London Overground.

But what are the  characteristics of a superhub station?

A Lot Of Lines And Services

Obviously, it must have a lot of lines and services, so perhaps Clapham Junction station is the original superhub station.

All Lines Should Have Step-Free Access

This surely, goes without saying.

There Should Be Lots of Information

If the station is large it needs a lot of information and there’s probably the space to put it.

Helpful Staff

Should we have a fully-staffed kiosk at superhub stations, as there are at some main line stations?

Good Bus Connections

Bus connections at a superhub station must be comprehensive and probably connect to other superhubs.

There Should Be A Selection Of Shops For Travellers

I do my daily food and other shopping, as I travel around London. I’ll often use a station like Paddington with a good selection of shops.

Toilets

There are not enough public toilets in London.

Cash Machines

I know we’re using less cash, but a large station is a secure place to put a cash-machine.

Works Of Art

I also believe that railway stations are a secure place to put some of those large bronze sculptures and other works of art, that are currently locked away in the storerooms of galleries.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SSE Renewables Lays Out Plans To Bolster Ties With Fishing Industry

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on offshorewind.biz.

This is the sub-heading.

SSE Renewables has published a report that sets out the company’s vision to better co-exist with fisheries when building and developing offshore wind energy.

Sounds like a good idea on the line of Jaw, jaw is better than war, war!

The original press release is here.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Food | , , | Leave a comment

Hackney Central Before Levelling Up

This press release from Hackney Council is entitled £19m Funding Boost For Town Centre At Hackney’s ‘Beating Heart’.

This summary is in the first two paragraphs.

A greener, safer and more welcoming Hackney Central is one step closer after Hackney Council’s successful application for £19m in Levelling Up funding.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

This is the summary from the Government’s levelling-up document.

£19 million for renovating public spaces in Hackney Central, such as the iconic Town Hall Square, as well as new creative workspace and upgrades to the Hackney Central Library.

So. this afternoon I went for a walk around Hackney Central and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The roundel is missing outside the Graham Road entrance to Hackney Central station.
  2. Hackney Town Hall is a Grade II Listed Building, dating from the 1930s.
  3. I wrote abut the Hackney Picturehouse in The Film That Changed My Life!.
  4. The Hackney Empire is a Grade II* Listed Building.
  5. The Pizza Express is new, swanky and spacious, and not what I’d expected. I had a late lunch there.
  6. The bridge carrying the Overground over Mare Street needs improvement.
  7. I wrote about the Hackney Marks and Spencer in Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way.
  8. St. Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney.
  9. The main building of Hackney Central station is now a bar and music venue.

In words that could be attributed to legendary estate agent; Roy Brooks, it is an area with potential.

These are some thoughts.

The Town Hall Square

What puzzles me about the garden in front of the Town Hall, is the two trees, which I would associate with warmer climes.

Even today, when it was rather cold, there were still flowers in front of the Town Hall.

The Overground

I argue that the coming of the London Overground raised the standard of Dalston, Hackney, Whitechapel and other parts of East and South London to that of their more desired and affluent neighbours.

We can’t really attribute the the creation of the London Overground to any one politician, as it has been an aspiration of several politicians and rail professionals since the 1990s. This History section in the Wikipedia entry for the Overground lists all the false starts and hopes.

But one man; Peter Hendy has been there most of the time and has worked with all three of London’s Mayors and several Transport Ministers.

I do wonder how much the Overground benefited from a sane, quiet hand from someone like Lord Hendy.

The Overground has certainly done its best for Hackney and we need more of its common sense approach to levelling-up all over the country.

Marks And Spencer

When I moved back to London, Hackney had a terrible Marks and Spencer.

As one of their biggest London stores, is just three stops away on the Overground, it might have been financially prudent to close the store at Hackney Central.

But Marks did the opposite and converted it into an upmarket food store, which is much more Knightsbridge than East End.

It’s certainly convenient for me, as I can get a bus there and a bus back, with only a hundred metre level walk at both ends.

The Graham Road Entrance To Hackney Central Station

This makes it easier to travel around Hackney and to get to the Town Hall, Theatre, Cinema and Library area.

How many extra entrances to railway stations will improve journeys and attract more passengers?

The Continuous Development Of The Hackney Central And Hackney Downs Complex

Since I moved to Hackney three projects have been completed on the station complex.

  • A walkway has been built between the two stations to ease interchange.
  • Lifts have been added to the footbridge at Hackney Central.
  • The Graham Road entrance has been opened.

Two other projects have been proposed, but nothing has been actioned.

  • A replacement entrance to Hackney Central station on the North side of the station.
  • Step-free access to Hackney Downs station.

Will either of these projects be covered by the levelling up funding?

Pizza Express

This opened in December and I hadn’t seen it before, but you won’t notice it, unless you walk or ride on a bus up Mare Street, which I rarely do these days, since Hackney Wick station has been rebuilt.

So I was surprised to see it and like the Marks and Spencer it is more upmarket than other pizzadromes in East London.

  • There is a lot of space.
  • It has a proper wheel-chair entrance, that no-one could fault.
  • Seating is upmarket, with several tables having a good view of the street outside. Ideal for someone eating alone, as I do regularly.

The restaurant still has a few rough edges, but it has the potential to be a pizzadrome to visit.

I do wonder, if the upmarket Marks and Spencer and Pizza Express are in a way an endorsement of Hackney’s plans for the future, by two market leaders of the High Street.

Buses

There are a lot of bus routes going through the area, which is a good thing.

But the information could also be improved.

Clapton Bus Garage

This map shows the location of Clapton bus garage.

Clapton bus garage is the large building in the North-East corner of the map, red buses with white roofs outside.

This document on the Hackney Council web site is entitled Draft Hackney Central And Surrounds Masterplan, where this is said.

Relocate Clapton Bus Garage to an alternative site, to develop the site for mixed use, commercial/
residential development, and create a new route from St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens to
Bohemia Place and beyond.

This sounds like a good idea, as part of the congestion in the area is caused by buses having to fight their way into the garage, when the roads are busy.

If they built, the right flats there I might be interested, as the site has good transport connections and an excellent Marks and Spencer.

Ashurst Road And Pembury Circus

This paragraph is in Hackney’s press release.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

Cut out what I have already covered and you get.

The award will see public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road and a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction.

This map shows Amhurst Road and Pembury Circus.

Note.

  1. Amhurst Road runs NW-SE across map.
  2. Hackney Central station is at the bottom of the map on the North London Line, which runs East-West.
  3. Hackney Downs station is the other station in the middle of the map.
  4. Pembury Circus is to the East of where Amhurst Road runs under the railway, at the top of the map.
  5. Dalston Lane runs between Pembury Circus Hackney Downs station.

I know the area around Hackney Downs station well.

  • I regularly take a train to Hackney Downs station and get a 30 or 56 bus to my home from a bus stop on Dalston Lane.
  • It can be a very unfriendly and cold place to catch a bus late at night.

But saying that, I’ve never had any trouble.

Improvements in that area, would certainly make my journey easier.

I would like to see the bus stops at Hackney Downs station moved to under the railway bridge to both improve shelter and cut the walking distance.

Conclusion

This could be £19 million very well spent and all residents of Hackney, myself included, could benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

January 21, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balham – Gateway To The Royal Marsden

With apologies to the late great Peter Sellers and his iconic Balham – Gateway To The South.

After breakfast this morning at Leon on Moorgate, I decided to go and look at Belmont station, which is the nearest station to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton.

Currently, Belmont has a two train per hour (tph) service from Victoria which goes via Clapham Junction, Balham and West Croydon.

From Moorgate the easiest route was to go via the iconic Balham station, where I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. There are two fast and two slow tracks through Balham station.
  2. There is a cafe on the two slow platforms.

I transferred here to an Epsom Downs train for Belmont.

The only problem was that I just missed one train and had to wait half-an-hour for the next.

The service between Victoria and Belmont needs to be increased in frequency.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Food, Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bowes Park Station – 12th January 2023

I’d never used Bowes Park station until I moved back to London in 2011, despite the fact I had friends in the 1960s, who lived nearby.

Today, I was wanting to go from the Northern end of the Piccadilly Line to Moorgate station.

There are a number of ways to do this journey.

  • Piccadilly Line to Bounds Green tube station and then a Great Northern train from Bowes Park station to Moorgate
  • Piccadilly Line to Wood Green tube station and then a 141 bus to Moorgate.
  • Piccadilly Line to Manor House tube station and then a 141 bus to Moorgate.
  • Take the double cross-platform change route, I outlined in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line.

I decided to take the first route.

I took these pictures at Bowes Park station.

Note.

  1. The station has a warm well-stocked cafe, that is an asset to the station.
  2. The station has a defibrillator.

In an ideal world the station would have step-free access, as this would give a step-free route to Moorgate and the Elizabeth Line.

I returned a day later and took these pictures to see if a lift could be fitted.

I don’t think it would be one of the most difficult or expensive jobs to fit in a lift, that took passengers between the platform and the bridge.

The existing stairs would be retained and fitted with a decent fully-compliant handrail.

If a single lift were to be placed on the opposite side to the stairs, passenger access to the station would be possible  during the installation.

 

January 12, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suffolk Doesn’t Do Easy!

Many parts of the UK consider Suffolk to be rather sleepy.

I was conceived in the county and have spent at least half my life there.

I have a strong affection from my adopted county, which always seem to punch above its apparent weight.

  • All thoroughbred horses have bloodlines that can be traced back to Newmarket, which is a town of 17,000 people in West Suffolk.
  • The Battle of Landguard Fort is recorded as the last opposed attack on England, where on the 2nd of July 1667, a much larger Dutch force was repelled by Nathaniel Darrell and his marines.
  • The exploits of Ipswich Town over the years are on a par with those of many prominent clubs in much bigger towns and cities.
  • Since the 1950’s, the Port of Felixstowe has grown to be the United Kingdom’s busiest container port.

This morning I received a marketing e-mail from Adnams; the Suffolk brewer and this is an extract.

Ghost Ship 0.5% is brewed just like our other beers, so you can count on 150 years of brewing heritage. It was crafted to taste like our best-selling brew, so you can also count on its flavour.

It is always our aim to make great-tasting products, but when creating Ghost Ship 0.5%, the brewing team didn’t simply have to make something delicious, it had to taste like a well-loved and well-known beer. They were dealing with great expectations.

Adnams invested in a de-alcoholiser specifically to make this beer. We could brew in the normal way; adding the lovely fruity flavours you get from a full fermentation, before removing the alcohol. This alters the balance and the mouthfeel of a beer, so it still took months of trials and tinkering to get to where we wanted.

We used all our expertise the finest East Anglian malt and bold American hops to create a low-alcohol beer that tastes frighteningly good. It’s now our second most popular brew, and at 0.5% abv, can be enjoyed whenever and wherever the moment takes you. So, you can get out there, travel that little bit further, and taste just a little bit more.

Note in the last paragraph, that it is now their second most popular brew.

  • It tastes just like the halves of bitter, I used to drink around 1960, whilst playing snooker with my father in his club in Felixstowe.
  • Adnams has been my preferred beer since then.
  • Like all zero-alcohol beers, my coeliac gut doesn’t react to it.

As a regular drinker of this beer, it looks like Suffolk has another success on its hands.

I’ll drink to that!

January 12, 2023 Posted by | Food, Sport | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ducking And Diving Between Moorgate And Liberty

Liberty is one of my favourite shops. That probably dates from the times in the 1970s, when C and I didn’t have large amounts of money and three kids, so if she needed a new summer dress, I’d make it and we’d usually choose the fabric at Liberty.

I was doing some Christmas shopping today, so after breakfast at Leon on Moorgate, I jumped into the Lizzie Line to the Hanover Square entrance at Bond Street station, where it was a short walk to Liberty.

These pictures document the route.

Note.

  1. I took one stop on the Metropolitan Line from Moorgate to Barbican.
  2. I positioned myself, at the front of the train.
  3. This enabled me to take the lift at Barbican station to the Lizzie Line passenger interchange level at Farringdon station.
  4. I then got the escalator down to the platforms.
  5. I was able to get into the back of the Westbound train, which I needed to avoid a long walk at Bond Street station.

The Lizzie Line will bring out the best ducking and diving in us all.

But with my manoeuvres, I avoided a two hundred metre walk from one end of the train to another!

This Google Map shows my walking route from Bond Street station to Liberty.

Note.

  1. Hanover Square is the green space to the left of the map.
  2. The Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station is in the North-West corner of the square.
  3. Liberty is at the far right of the map.

Advantages of this route include.

  • The Western end is in one of London’s best squares.
  • All major road crossings have zebras or light controlled crossings.
  • There are a few smaller useful shops like itsu, a Pret and a Ryman on Hanover Street.
  • The route wasn’t too busy with pedestrians.

I would recommend using the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station for places like Bond Street, Carnaby Street, John Lewis, Regent Street and The Palladium.

After I’d done my shopping at Liberty, I walked along Great Marlborough Street to the back entrance of Marks and Spencer’s flagship store, thus avoiding the crowds on Oxford Street.

What If I Want To Go To John Lewis On Oxford Street?

As for Liberty, you would take the Lizzie Line to Bond Street station and use the Hanover Square or Eastern exit, then follow these pictures.

Note the Leon, which will probably opening soon.

What If I Want To Go To Bond Street?

You take the Medici Courtyard by the side of the station.

Note.

  1. There is an upmarket hotel in the courtyard.
  2. The courtyard has some artwork.
  3. The floral entrance on Bond Street.

It will be interesting to see how the Medici Courtyard develops.

December 16, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NET9 Open Ocean Aquaculture Demonstrator Design Unveiled

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item on the Impact9 web site.

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Food | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bananas And Me

According to my mother, I didn’t see or taste a banana until I was seven.

That would have been 1954, which is when rationing ended.

The Wikipedia entry entitled Rationing In The UK is a valuable resource.

Bananas had been available since 1945, although they had not been imported during the war.

I had been born in 1947, with my sister born in 1950. As my paternal grandmother lived with us, we were a family of five.

So I suspect, that although they were available my mother didn’t buy them for some reason.

The Wikipedia entry has a section called Political Reaction, which talked about reaction to rationing after the war. This is said.

In the late 1940s, the Conservative Party utilised and encouraged growing public anger at rationing, scarcity, controls, austerity and government bureaucracy to rally middle-class supporters and build a political comeback that won the 1951 general election. Their appeal was especially effective to housewives, who faced more difficult shopping conditions after the war than during it.

My father had been politically active before World War II, but he was much more politically agnostic after the war, judging by some things he said to me. I can’t ever remember my mother saying anything political, although I can remember her saying something, which agreed with the last sentence of the Wikipedia extract.

I suspect she was under pressure from my grandmother, so perhaps she kept the shopping light because of rationing.

Anyway, I can remember her telling my wife that my face had been a picture when I saw and ate my first banana.

I’ve not stopped eating them since.

  • I generally eat between one and three every day.
  • I have problems with fruit that needs to be cut up because of my gammy left hand, so for pineapple, melon and mango, I usually buy them ready-cut in pots from Marks and Spencer.
  • I also eat a lot of berries, when they are in season.

But, I never eat oranges, apples or pears, except in a processed form.

Bananas And My Family

As far, as I can check, I’m the only one of my family, who likes bananas and eats them regularly.

I have checked on two sons and my granddaughter and none seem to like them.

Could it be my mother’s denial of the fruit to me until rationing ended, gave me a love of the fruit?

Bananas And Coeliacs

This page on the Harvard University School of Public Health gives the nutrition facts about bananas.

This is the second paragraph.

The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant. The mild-tasting and disease-resistant Cavendish type is the main variety sold in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some negative attention, bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first “superfood,” endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease.

Now there’s a thing.

This page on the Gluten-Free Watchdog is entitled Early Dietary Treatment for Celiac Disease: The Banana Diet.

I’d never heard of this diet until yesterday.

Interestingly, a large banana contains 50 mg of vitamin B6 according to Dr. Google.

I take a B6 supplement and I wrote about the advice I received from a doctor at a respected medical university in Amsterdam in Vitamin B Complex for Coeliacs.

I

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 7 Comments