The Anonymous Widower

Rail Operations Seeks New Sites To Extend Storage Space

The title of this post, as the same as that of this article in Issue 869 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Rail operations (UK) Limited is looking to lease more sites for storing off-lease trains.

Via ita Traxion business, the company has already leased Crewe South Yard and the Marks & Sencer Logistics site at Castle Donington.

Much of the rest of the article is an interview with Karl Watts, who is Chief Executive of Rail Operations (UK) Limited, where he outlines the train storage market. He appears to be a man, who builds a strategy around facts and then pounces.

To do this he would need to have.

  • Good advisers, with excellent knowledge of and contacts in the UK Rail and European rail industry.
  • Reliable financial backing.
  • The ability to give a good story to the media.

It appears, Karl could have used similar tactics, when he commissioned ten Class 93 locomotives from Stadler, that I wrote about in Stadler’s New Tri-Mode Class 93 Locomotive.

He puts forward some firm views and facts.

  • 4,000 vehicles are coming off-lease.
  • 46-47 miles of track will be needed.
  • 313s, 314s and 315s will be scrapped.
  • 317s, 319s, 321s and 442s will be re-engineered.

The customer gets what they want with appropriate servicing and maintenance.

 

 

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plastic Bag Fee ‘To Double To 10p’ And Include Every Shop

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the guts of the story.

The 5p fee for plastic carrier bags in England will be doubled to 10p, and extended to all shops, under plans set out by the environment secretary.

The change is contained in a government consultation aimed at further reducing the plastic used by consumers and could come into effect in January 2020.

Smaller retailers, who are exempt from the current levy, supply an estimated 3.6 billion single-use bags annually.

I’m all for this, if it cuts down the amount of plastic, that blows around the country, before ending up in the seas.

This is the bag I use.

Note.

  1. It folds up, so that it first into my man-bag.
  2. It easily holds two days of my food shopping.
  3. The handles re very comfortable, even when carrying eight bottles of beer.
  4. I’ve had it over a year now and it is finally showing the odd sign of wear.
  5. It is big enough to hold a copy of the Sunday Times without folding.

It did cost be five pounds from M & S, but how much have I saved on five pence bags?

It is not a perfect bag, but it is a good start.

Other things, in the same vein, that I’d like to see.

  • A charge on takeaway food, especially pizza boxes, which seem to end up in front of my house.
  • A fine for piling household and commercial waste around litter bins, which is very prevalent in this area, despite council camnpaigns to stop it.
  • Remove the foxes back to the countryside, so they don’t spread the rubbish all over the street.

As to the latter, foxes seem to have eaten most of the cats, hedgehogs and birds, so it is their only way to get food.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Gluten-Free Spinach And Ricotta Ravioli From Marks And Spencer

Gluten-free ravioli is one of the foods that I have missed, since my diagnosis as a coeliac.

But, I was able to  buy this new product this afternoon, at a cost of £3.70 for enough for two.

The proof will be in the eating.

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

Contactless Payments For Food In Marks And Spencer

I have been using contactless bank cards to buy my food in Marks and Spencer for about sixteen months now.

I started making a note of my spending this way, as I wanted to check that this method of payment was secure.

It is!

What has dropped out of my research is that the average price of an item over those sixteen months, has been a couple of pence over two pounds.

So now, I usually only  buy fifteen items, so that I’m just below the contactless payment limit.

  • If it’s a couple of pounds over, I just drop a couple of pound coins in from my pocket, before using the card.
  • As it happens fifteen items always fit in my reusable bag, which I stow in my manbag.
  • I haven’t bought a new bag for a year and rarely pay 5p. for a plastic one.

The self-imposed fifteen item limit has certainly speeded up my shopping.

I wonder if other chains have the same item cost!

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

Over Four Units Of Beer

This picture shows nineteen bottles of Marks and Spencer’s Southwold Pale Ale, which is only 0.5% alcohol.

But it is brewed by Adnams in Suffolk.

I have been drinking adnams beer for over fifty years.

It should be said that you’d need to drink sixteen bottles to get to the four unit of alcohol limit for males.

I couldn’t manage eight litres of water.

I shall keep raiding Marks and Spencer in Finsbury Pavement to make sure I have enough for Christmas.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

My Ruined Saturday Mornings!

Since, I moved to Dalston in 2010, my Saturday morning routine has been something like this.

  • Take a 30 Bus to St. Mary’s Church.
  • Visit the Carluccio’s and have a gluten-free breakfast, like a full English or an eggs benedict.
  • Visit Waitrose for half my shopping.
  • Visit Marks and Spencer for my gluten-free shopping.

But things have changed.

Egyptian Buses On Route 30

A few weeks ago, new buses started on route 30.

I don’t use them, except as a last resort.

They were built in Egypt. Now, I’ve nothing against Egyptians or their country, but we make very good buses in this country and we should have British buses for British bottoms!

The new company running the route seems to not provide the same frequency anyway, so catching a 30 bus, would often involve a longer wait.

Carluccio’s Has Closed

But the need to take a 30 bus decreased, a few weeks ago, when Carluccio’s in Islington closed.

As there is no other place in Islington to get a quick gluten-free breakfast, that put a big hole in my Saturday mornings. I could go to Bill’s or Cote, but they take a lot longer and are much more expensive.

Waitrose

Waitrose too, are annoying me.

They have redone their self-service tills and they are useless for my way of shopping.

I have a large reusable M & S bag, that folds into my man-bag and although it was fine for their original tills, it’s too big for their new tills.

So to shop in Waitrose, I put the bag in the trolley, load my purchases onto the till without a bag and then after payment move them into my shopping bag. How inefficient is that?

I now limit my purchases at Waitrose by using the much-more customer friendly Sainsburys next door.

Anyway, Sainsburys have a much better gluten-free selection, than the terrible range in Waitrose, where no care is taken to make ranges of foods like sausages and burgers gluten-free.

In fact, I wouldn’t trust Waitrose on their allergen philosophy. The labelling might be correct, but it’s all about how different product types and ranges are handled.

You wouldn’t shop in Waitrose if you were a family with one member who was coeliac or gluten-free!

Marks And Spencer

Marks and Spencer at the Angel carry on as normal, as they have done since my paternal grandmother shopped there ibefore the First World War and, when C and I used to shop there in the 1970s.

But they have competition in that I am ringed by others of their stores in Dalston, Finsbury Pavement, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast in Leon at Kings Cross and then roamed the shops before doing my Saturday shopping in their Finsbury Pavement store. That one is now opening on Saturdays and I can get two buses directly from the store to the zebra crossing by my house.

Conclusion

All of these factors are combining to make me use Islington less.

What the Angel needs is a Leon, so I can have a fast gluten-free breakfast on the go.

One of the great things about breakfast in Leon, is that there is often time and space to layout your tabloid-sized newspaper and eat a leisurely breakfast.

 

November 18, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bad Logic From Marks And Spencer

I am not the largest of individuals being around one metre seventy and sixty-one kilos.

But then many coeliacs are on the smallish side.

So when I saw this small meal which was entiled Beef Chilli & Cheese Filled Jacket Potato, I suspected that it could be gluten-free, as it seems most of Marks and Spencer’s beef chillis are made without gluten.

On turning the packet over, I found my reasoning was correct, as the dreaded g-word was missing.

Next to this baked potato on the shelf, was a Smoked Haddock Mornay Filled Jacket Potato.

Now this is where the logic is bad

  • Some of their fish dishes with a Mornay sauce are gluten-free and others are not. This was one of the ones with gluten!
  • Surely, if all chillis can be gluten-free, then all fish Mornays should be the same as to gluten.
  • Perhaps, all baked potato dishes like this should also be the same as to gluten.
  • I also think that with fish, shepherds and cottage pies with a potato topping, whether a pie is gluten-free or not depends on the range.
  • And with sausages and burgers, they are all gluten-free.

If you are vegan or need to be dairy-free, I’m certain there are other examples of similar products varying as to acceptability.

How Was The Eating?

Not bad at all! I’ll try another, but I would love to try the smoked haddock variety!

Conclusion

I believe that a regular shopper in a particular supermarket chain, should be able to ascertain, if a product is suitable by just reading the title. They can always check by reading the detailed labelling

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Dalston Goes French

I know that De Beauvoir Town, where I live, is next to Dalston’s Kingsland Road, which is the local High Street, but surely for the local Marks and Spencer to sell sandwiches labelled in French is going a bit far.

What would the Rees-Moggies say of this?

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Wide Pedestrian Entrance To London Bridge Station

These pictures show the entrance to London Bridge station from the bus station.

It will also be the way many people enter the station after walking across London Bridge.

From notices on the walls, it would also appear that there will be a new Marks and Spencer Simply Food.

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Pit Stop At Hampstead Heath Station – 12th May 2018

I went for breakfast to a convenient Le Pain Quotidien near Hampstead Heath station.

In addition to the Heath, the station is within walking distance, to a large number of eateries and shops, including a very large M & S Simply Food.

There is also the Royal Free Hospital.

When I go to Hampstead Heath, I tend to go to Hampstead station in the High Street, then walk down the hill and go home from the London Overground station.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment