The Anonymous Widower

Chiltern Railways Must Be Chuffed

This article in the Oxford Mail is entitled One Million Passengers Use New Rail Link Between Bicester And Oxford In First Six Months.

Chiltern Railways spokesman, says they are delighted.

The article also discloses that the proportion of visitors to Bicester Village, travelling by train has gone up from three to ten per cent.

I haven’t been to Bicester Village since C died, but it was always a difficult place to park, so if nothing else the economics of Bicester Village, must be improved, if visitors come by train. That must mean the ratio of shops to parking can go up.

There must be a lot of data about rail-connected shopping centres, as the UK has several.

  • Eastfield at Stratford.
  • Grand Central in Birmingham
  • Meadowhall
  • Metro Centre at Gateshead
  • Oxford Street
  • Westfield at Shepherds Bush

It will be interesting to see what happens after the following.

  • Oxford Street gets two double-ended Crossrail stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
  • The Trafford Centre is connected to the Manchester Metrolink.
  • Merry Hill is connected to the Midland Metro.

I don’t think that the rail and tram companies would be making these investments, if they felt they would be losing money.

There must be a very strong link to the bottom line of Shopping Centres.

Consider.

  • Provision of car parking spaces must be expensive.
  • Provision of car parking uses up space that could be used for retail outlets or leisure facilities.
  • Lots of car parking produces traffic jams.
  • Car parking regularly gets full.
  • Cars get broken into and damaged.
  • Increasing capacity on a rail or tram link is not the Shopping Centre’s capital investment.

But most importantly, does a rail/tram link attract people like me, who can’t or don’t drive.

I also think, that Shopping Centres benefit from passing trade from the rail or tram link.

If I’m passing Eastfield or Westfield in London or Meadowhall in Sheffield and need lunch or a gluten-free sandwich from Marks and Spencer, I will often break my journey and have a quick shop.

In many cases, this is easier on a train or tram, than in a car, as the driver parks the former for you and you’re often immediately in the Shopping Centre.

I’m particularly looking forward to the opening of the Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station when Crossrail opens next year. This entrance will be next door to the flagship Marks and Spencer store at the Pantheon.

 

 

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Food On The NHS – Again

In August 2015 , I write Gluten-Free Food On The NHS.

My view hasn’t changed. But my list of foods has changed slightly.

I still think, that those prescribed a gluten-free diet, should get a small payment each month, either as a voucher or a direct transfer into your bank account.

The current system is bureaucratic and expensive. A lot of money also goes on products that are crap and I wouldn’t give to a starving beggar!

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

Another Sensible Large Map

This map was at Southport station and shows the two lines that meet there.

Like several Merseyrail stations, Southport has a combined ticket office and shop.

Several other train operators could do worse than copy some of Merseyrail’s ideas.

I sdhould say that Southport station is particularly well appointed, as it has an entrance into the nearby large Marks and Spencer.

 

 

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Marks And Spencer Mini Meals

The picture shows two of Marks and Spencer Mini Meals

The ingredients say that they are gluten-free and freezer-friendly, so I put them in my freezer for an emergency meal, if I arrive back home without any food in the fridge and am rather peckish.

I must check to see if all of these mini-meals are gluten-free!

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Food | , | 3 Comments

A Meal With Little Washing Up

Supper tonight was a Marks and Spencer Gastropub Chicken Hash.

Note.

  1. I bought the meal in Waterloo station.
  2. It was cooked in the oven.
  3. I poured the meal onto the plate.
  4. When you live alone, you can use bread to wipe the plate.

The only washing up was the plate and the irons. I suppose I could have licked it clean!

November 1, 2016 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Marks And Spencer Have Changed My Life

Coming back today, I went to Marks and Spencer in Waterloo station, which although it is not a full stop, must be one of their bigger Simply Food shops in stations.

These pictures sum up the visit.

Some of the products have only been available in the last year or so.

  • Chicken Pakoras
  • Crisps With Exotic Flavours
  • Gluten-Free Gastropub meals.
  • Humous
  • Kent IPA
  • Pasta Salad
  • Scotch Eggs
  • Snacks Wth Taste

When I was diagnosed nearly twenty years ago, you were lucky to find anything quick to cook in any shop, except eggs and fish.

What would I like to see now?

  • Most ready-meals  made gluten-free and labelled as such on the top.
  • Ravioli, that is gluten-free.
  • Sausages and burgers gluten-free, as in Marks and Sainsburys.
  • More gluten-free real beers.

I think it is true to say, that it’s going my way.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Food | , , , | 7 Comments

Paddington Is Operational Again

Paddington Underground station on the Bakerloo Line has now got its escalators back and getting to the station for me, is now so much easier.

As the pictures show there seem to be quite a few new blue hoardings at platform level.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of the Bakerloo Line and Crossrail at Paddington.

Bakerloo Line And Crossrail At Paddington Station

Bakerloo Line And Crossrail At Paddington Station

Note.

  • The Bakerloo Line runs roughly South-East to North-West through Paddington.
  • The platform labelled 4 is the Southbound Bakerloo Line platform.
  • The platform labelled 3 is the Nouthbound Bakerloo Line platform.
  • The escalators run down to the platforms from the South-East
  • Crossrail would appear to have an island platform between the two tracks.

There would appear to be two places on the platforms where blue hoarding have been put up to protect the works behind.

  • The most obvious is the big blue wall that greets you as you come down the escalator, where some artistic tiling used to be.
  • There are also blue hoardings at the London (South East) end of the platforms.

There is a pedestrian tunnel to Crossrail called the Bakerloo Line Link (BLL). A memeber of staff also told me that lifts will be installed to the Bakerloo Line.

This document on the TFL web site gives a bit more information.

Engineers will also carefully dig a new 165m tunnel underneath the station to enable passengers to interchange between the Bakerloo line and new Crossrail platforms, which will become operational from 2018. The new pedestrian link will incorporate escalators, lifts, stairs and new passageways in order to make interchanging between the Tube and Crossrail as easy as possible for passengers.

So it looks like the tunnel will go under the lines and come up between the two Bakerloo tracks. The length of one hundred and sixty-five metres would easily reach the Crossrail platforms.

I found this image on the web.

The Bakerloo Line Link At Paddington

The Bakerloo Line Link At Paddington

It looks to be a very well thought out link.

 

  • It is connected to the Crossrail station by escalators and lifts in the middle of the island platform at that station.
  • The connection at the Bakerloo Line end, would appear to have lifts, stairs and escalators.
  • Wll the lifts go direct to the surface as well?
  • All routes seem to be direct to the central landing in the Bakerloo Line platforms.
  • It may be a hundred and sixty five metres, but the design probably means most passengers will do it fairly fast.But I’m only speculating.

It will certainly be a very powerful interchange, as it will give a much needed connection to London’s least-developed Underground Line.

One good thing from the TFL document, is that it says this.

TfL will re-open the platforms in time for the Notting Hill Carnival on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August.

So they beat their deadline by four weeks.

It certainly looks like a job well done!

Certainly, it makes my journey to the station easier.

The next thing needed is to get the Marks and Spencer reopened at the station.

 

 

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

My First Wrap

Like probably many on a gluten-free diet, I’ve never eaten a wrap.

Especially, as I’d probably never actually seen one before I was diagnosed in 1998.

These pictures show a gluten-free Piri-Piri Chicken wrap, that I purchased this morning from the Marks and Spencer’s in London Bridge station.

I will certainly be buying another,

A few months ago I pointed out to Marks, that I was disappointed, that they had discontinued the gluten-free ham roll, which was easy to put in a pocket or a small bag, whereas traditional triangular sandwiches are not!

This new product would fit!

There was also a Three Bean wrap, for vegetarians or those who like to have wind!

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Food | , | 4 Comments

Inaccurate Marks And Spencer Contactless Payments

I use contactless payments regularly in Marks and Spencer and I’ve never had a payment problem, but some of the transactions end up with very strange locations on my credit card statement.

I’ve found.

  • Cambridge Station, Cambridge
  • Birmingham New Street, Birmingham
  • Reading Station, SSP Reading
  • Euston Scot, Euston Station
  • Piccadilly Station, Manc
  • Heathrow Airport SSP

I know these are all Marks and Spencer despite no indication, as they are for between seven and eight pounds, which is a typical price for a pack of gluten-free sandwiches, a drink and perhaps a biscuit or fruit.

I also know, that in the last month, I’ve bought sandwiches in Marylebone station and I can’t find the transaction.

So did my credit card company reject it, as someone had put some total garbage in the contactless card system in the otlet in the station?

With contactless payments, becoming very much the norm for many customers, they must get this right.

I certainly, haven’t lost out, but I think there’s at least two payments, that seem to have gone missing in cyberspace.

I think the lesson of this tale, is that if you are a small owner-managed store or a large chain, you must set up your contactless system correctly, as it at one level might be an irritance to customers and at a higher one, it might cost you money.

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

I was looking to buy a sandwich for my lunch tomorrow in Marks and Spencer in Islington and couldn’t see any bright green packets.

The reason was there were only two and several of these Christmasy sandwiches.

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

I’ve seen gluten-free Christmas puddings and mince pies, but I’ve never seen a seasonal gluten-free sandwich before!

Perhaps things are getting better!

December 21, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment