The Anonymous Widower

Will Sir David Teach Trump A Lesson?

The Times has an article today, which is entitled Attenborough Brings About A Sea Change.

One statement stands out.

The political impact of Blue Planet II is undeniable..

The article also says.

  • Dozens of MPs have signed a motion congratulating Sir David for highlighting the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans.
  • Michael Gove says he is haunted by the footage and pledged action.
  • The UN has announced plans for a task-force.

But surely, the most important thing the article says is that Blue Planet II will premiere in the US on January 10 on five networks.

Will Trump watch?

Probably not! It’s all fake news to him anyway!

But a large proportion of the around three hundred million , who live in the USA, will find it compulsive viewing!

Out of curiosity, I wondered if Sir David had any views on Donald Trump. Google found this article in The Independent, which is entitled Sir David Attenborough on Donald Trump: ‘We could shoot him. It’s not a bad idea’.

This is said.

Until now, Sir David Attenborough was one of the few individuals in the public eye not to have broached the ever-present, all-pervasive topic of Donald Trump. However, the naturalist and beloved broadcaster has now given his assessment of the situation and suggested a way to counter the Republican’s ascent to power which, believe it or not, involves a gun.

In an interview with the Radio Times, the nonagenarian was probed about how we solve a problem like Mr Trump and quipped: “We could shoot him”.

Obviously, he was only joking. But Trump does live in the Land of Guns!

 

December 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Visit To The London Mithraeum

These pictures show my visit to the London Mithraeum, which is hidden under the Bloomberg Building.

It is definitely worth a visit. And it’s free!

It gets a high rating on Trip Advisor.

Most people book, but I just turned up early on a Tuesday morning and walked right in!

I suspect that won’t be possible for long, as it will get busy!

Especially, when the new entrance to the Drain opens nearby in the New Year. Apparently, it’s rumoured to be running late on opening because of water leaks.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Ulster Says No!

Twas ever thus! This article on Wikipedia, is about the protests against the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement between Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald.

Let’s face it! Many of the views of the Democratic Unionist Party are very alien to this left-wing Tory voter.

For a start, I have known, three women in the UK, who might have decided to have an abortion for three different reasons. All of their reasons would have been illegal in Northern Ireland, but perfectly legal in the rest of the UK and most of Europe.

In this and several other areas, such as same-sex marriage, Northern Ireland must be brought in line with the rest of the UK.

 

December 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | 5 Comments

This Is What I Call A MOAB

Jamestown is a small Australian town of a few over fourteen hundred souls, probably home to several million flies and some of the most venomous spiders and snakes known to man.

I have never visited the town, but I must have flown nearly over it, when I flew a Piper AQrrow around Australia with C.

Just to the North of the town is the Hornsdale Wind Farm, which consists of 99 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 315 MW.

But this is not what brought the wind farm to my attention in an article in today’s Times under a headline of Biggest Ever Battery Plugs City’s Energy Gap.

This is said.

The battery array was built after a high-stakes bet by Elon Musk, 46, the US technology billionaire behind Tesla electric cars, that he could meet a 100-day building deadline or he would give the system away.

Wikipedia has a section on this battery.

This is said.

South Australia received 90 proposals and considered 5 projects. Tesla, Inc. is building the world’s most powerful lithium ion battery adjacent to the wind farm. It has two sections; a 70 MW running for 10 minutes, and a 30 MW with a 3 hour capacity. Samsung 21700-size cells are used.

It will be operated by Tesla and provide a total of 129 megawatt-hours (460 GJ) of storage capable of discharge at 100 megawatts (130,000 hp) into the power grid. This will help prevent load-shedding blackouts and provide stability to the grid (grid services) while other generators can be started in the event of sudden drops in wind or other network issues. It is intended to be built in 100 days counting from 29 September 2017, when a grid connection agreement was signed with Electranet, and some units were operational. The battery construction was completed and testing began on 25 November 2017. It is owned by Neoen and Tesla, with the government having the ability to call on the stored power under certain circumstances.

It certainly seems to be the Mother-Of-All-Batteries! Hence MOAB!

The Times is reporting that the battery system has cost £30 million.

This works out at about £233,000 to store each Megawatt-Hour stored.

When you consider that we have five offshore that are bigger than the Hornsdale Wind Farm, surely it is only a matter of time before we add a battery to one.

These MOABs are an intriguing concept!

 

November 27, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Boosting The Cross-Border Economy

The title of this post, is the same as this article on the BBC. It starts like this.

If they wanted a name-check in the budget, then they got it.

But there was little more detail – for the time being at least – about the growth deal for the Borderlands.

The chancellor announced the UK government would “begin negotiations” on it and work with local partners and the Scottish government.

I feel very strongly, that boosting this Borderlands could be of real value to both countries and obviously this is behind the Government’s thinking.

The article attempts to answer the questions it poses and proposes various transport upgrades.

I would do the following to the railways.

  • Complete the Borders Railway to Carlisle.
  • Create a rail link from Carlisle to Belfast with a bridge between Stanraer and Larne.
  • Improve the Carlisle to Newcastle rail line.
  • Electrify the Glasgow to Carlisle rail line via Dumfries.
  • Improve operating speeds on both the West and East Coast Main Lines.

The BBC also suggests some roads for improvement.

This is an area to watch.

 

 

 

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , | Leave a comment

A Pit Stop At Halifax

One of the objectives of my journey from Blackburn to Leeds was to visit the Piece Hall in Holifax.

Last year in A Trip To Halifax, I had a quick look and said this.

I had hoped to find something hot to drink. All I found was a very bad hot chocolate in the station.

Surely, something better could be done in the green space by the station.

These are pictures I took.

As you can see the Piece Hall is now restored and a magnificent space surrounded by craft shops, bars and restaurants.

I had an excellent breakfast in a bar and restaurant called Elder.

There would also appear to be a sensible hotel just outside the station on the short walking route to the Piece Hall. It is called the Imperial Crown Hotel and it could be a convenient place to stay on a visit to the area.

  • It’s within a hundred metres of the station and the Piece Hall.Trains from the station.
  • Trains are approximately every thirty minutes to Bradford, Hudderfield, Leeds and Manchester.
  • Trains take around thirty minutes to Leeds.

Next time, that I go to Leeds or Bradford, I’ll give it a try.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

Walking Along Oxford Street

I took these pictures this morning, as I walked along Oxford Street from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road.

Note.

  1. I was surprised at the number of trees.
  2. The large number of buses.
  3. The rather small numberr of private cars.
  4. The large amount of new development to the East of Oxford Circus.

I might have got a different set of pictures later in the day.

November 7, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Oxford Street Could Be Pedestrianised By Next Christmas

The title of this post is the same as the sub-title of this article in the Independent.

The aim is to pedestrianise Oxford Street from Oxford Street to Orchard Street by December 2018, which is the date when the Elizabeth Line will open.

It is an ambitious plan and despite substantial backing from the Mayor, Westminster City Council, the West End Company and groups like the British Heart Foundation, I don’t think it will be plain sailing.

Walking Along Oxford Street

In Walking Along Oxford Street, I show various pictures I took this morning whilst walking between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road stations.

Oxford Street looked to have improved, since I last did this. But then it’s a long time since I’ve walked the streets without crowds.

My views are as follows.

Measuring Success Or Failure

The success or failure of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is very easy to gauge.

The rate of change of turnover is a direct measure.

The Buses

I regularly go shopping in Oxford Street and often used a bus to travel there and back.

I used to be able to get a 73 bus from either 200 metres from my house or by changing at the Angel. But since the 73 has been cut back to Oxford Circus, I’ve tended to use the Underground, often by taking a bus to Bank for the Central Line.

Under Sadiq Khan’s plan all buses will be removed from Oxford Street and only the 139 and the 390  will remain, being rerouted along Wigmore Street.

A lot of people who go to Oxford Street regularly by bus, will lose their direct bus route. How will they react?

Will they use the Underground or the Elizabeth Line or will they go shopping elsewhere?

Since the 73 has been cut back, I think I’ve also gone to Oxford Street a lot less.

Why? I’ve no idea.

But it could be, that regularly, I’d buy something in John Lewis,Selfridges or perhaps in Bond Street and get straight on a 73 bus to the Angel, where I just got off the bus and waited until a bus home arrived at the same stop. As the 73 buses are New Routemasters, they’re a real shoppers’ bus and a lot easier than the Underground.

The Underground And Crossrail

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

Between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street, which will be the first section to be pedestrianised, you’ll never be more than two hundred metres from a fully step-free Elizabeth Line station.

Will this be enough to do away with the buses on Oxford Street?

Holborn station is being expanded with a new entrance, so will Oxford Circus and Marble Arch be upgraded?

Cycling

This will be banned. Although the plan envisages alternative cycle routes to the North and South.

Taxis

These will be banned from Oxford Street. Taxi ranks will be provided.

Will this be acceptable to the taxi drivers?

Uber And Mini-Cabs

These will be banned from Oxford Street.

How will these effect the surrounding streets?

Deliveries

How will these be arranged? You can’t get behind all the shops!

The Stalls

There are lots of stalls selling various goods along Oxford Street.

Will the stallholders give up their pitches quietly, if necessary?

Security

I’m no security expert, but after the latest attacks in the UK and Europe, surely keeping out vehicles must remove the weapon of choice from a large group of terrorists.

Local Residents

There are quite a few residents in the area perhaps two hundred metres on either side of Oxford Street.

They could be the biggest losers with traffic cramming  the side streets.

Timing

Crossrail opens in December 2018. Does this mean the 1st, 31st or some day in between?

How do you time the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street to fit in with Crossrail?

Especially, as December 2018 will probably contain Christmas!

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of discussion about this scheme.

As to my view, I like pedestrianised streets and Oxford Street should have gone this way years ago.

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , | 13 Comments

The Bloomberg Building Revealed

The hoardings are now down on the Bloomberg Building.

I have read in today’s Sunday Times, that the free exhibition on the site of the Temple of Mithras and the antiquities found on the site will open on the 14th of November.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

What’s The Weather Like In Africa?

This is a difficult question to answer, as Africa only has a limited number of weather stations.

So along comes Kukua, which has designed a low-cost, mobile network-connected, solar-powered weather station.

There’s a report in the latest edition of BBC Click.

It shows how the devices are helping small farmers in Africa.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment