The Anonymous Widower

Did I Have A Close Brush With Covid-19?

In January, this year, I wrote a post called Mule Trains Between Liverpool And Norwich, where I went between Liverpool and Sheffield on a train formed of  of several Class 153 trains.

I didn’t think of it, at the time, I wrote the post, but at Manchester Piccadilly station, the train filled up with a large number of Chinese students returning to University.

The students were happy and laughing, but you wouldn’t have complained about them, but there must have been twenty taking most of the available seats in my carriage. I shared a table with three!

At the time, Covid-19 had hardly started to invade the UK, with most cases started in March.

But, after hearing someone’s story on the radio yesterday, I wonder about the health of those students.

I certainly, didn’t catch the Covids after that train journey and haven’t had the virus since, to my knowledge.

But after reading the scientific paper from the University of Padua, that I wrote about in Risk of COVID-19 In Celiac Disease Patients, perhaps I was protected by a natural immunity provided by being a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet.

As my father said, I was born lucky!

 

December 22, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A London Mongrel Gets Ready For Christmas

I constantly, refer to myself as a London Mongrel, as my father did.

This extract from a previous post, explains why I do.

On the other hand, I’m a London Mongrel of German Jewish and French Huguenot roots, with quarters of stubborn Devonian and solid Northants yeoman stock thrown in. A large proportion of my ancestors are also real East Enders and of course my father was a genuine Cockney.

The older I get, the more I think, the Devonian genes of my Dalston-born maternal grandmother are asserting themselves.

I was going to my son’s house for Christmas Dinner, but we felt last night, that it was best to call it off, as although, what we had planned would have been within the rules, it would be better not to take any chances.

Yesterday, there was an article in The Times about how Michelin-starred chefs were doing Christmas meals in a box for home warming through!

So last night, I bought one for sixty-one pounds from Roasted by Jack and Scott.

I’ve already got the beer in, as this picture shows.

But then it’s all gluten-free, low-alcohol beer from Adnams, that tastes just like the halves from the same brewery, that my father used to buy for me sixty years ago.

My father didn’t want me to be the alcoholic his father was, so he introduced me to beer in social settings at an early age and now at seventy-three, I can honestly say, that, there are few times in my past, where I’ve got really drunk. So thank you, Dad!

But then my father was unconventional and didn’t follow the rules.

A year or so ago, I was reminded of a story about my father by someone I was at school with at Minchenden.

My father had ordered a new Vanden Plas Princess 1100 from a garage near the school. So one morning over breakfast, he asked the seventeen-year-old me, if I wouldn’t mind picking up the car after school and bring it home.

So after school, I picked up the car and took it home.

I can’t remember, if I gave any of my school-mates a lift. But I may have done!

Football

The one problem, I have is not being able to watch Premier League football on television, except on Match of the Day.

The Premier League have sold the Christmas rights to Amazon, which is a company, I don’t do business with!

Anyway, as the pictures come by broadband, I doubt I’d be able to watch it, as my broadband is crap.

BT told my MP, it’s because I’m too close to the exchange!

Conclusion

I’ll be OK. But then like my father, my sons and my granddaughter, we all seem happy in our own company.

I am also lucky in being coeliac on a gluten-free diet!

The more I research my health, the more I’m convinced that my genes have given me a strong immune system and that is protecting me from the covids.

But then, self-isolating by habit is not a bad trait in these terrible times.

 

December 20, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, Sport | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hull Trains Seat Allocation System

When I went to Hull recently, I used Hull Trains.

 

These pictures show the train as I boarded at London Kings Cross.

When I got my ticket out of the machine, I was very surprised to see the phrase No Specified Seat on the ticket.

I queried it with one of the LNER staff and they said, it will be alright and anyway, it is nothing to do with them.

When I got to the gate, I asked the guy from Hull Trains and he said, you’ll see when you get inside and something like. “Sit in any seat with a green flag!”

You can see the coloured flags on the seats in the pictures. The different colours mean.

  • Green – For single travellers
  • Red – Do not sit here
  • Yellow – For two or more travelling together.

So I choose a window seat with a green flag on it.

Did it work?

  • There were no families, but several  pairs of travellers and I suspect about sixty percent of the seats were taken.
  • Everybody was socially distanced and either had a spare seat or someone they knew next to them.
  • At one table, I could see four guys all sitting together,
  • The system deals with no-shows and leaves their seat for someone else.

Until proven otherwise, I think it worked well.

  • I didn’t get allocated a seat, but I’m certain the system would work well if say some seats had been allocated by the booking computer.
  • Seats could also be indicated by coloured lights.
  • But as Hull Trains had only just restarted after the attack of the covids.

I had to have a quiet smile though.

My father was a master at designing production control systems and coloured cards were one of the tools in his box.

Often cards for his big customers like Belling, Dunlop and Enfield Rolling Mills were intricate and numbered creations, all produced with letterpress and his two faithful Original Heidelberg Plattern Presses.

 

Original Heidelberg

With the right gadgets in the chase, that held the type, they could number, score and perforate. You couldn’t do those operations with litho, in the 1950s and 1960s.

I hadn’t realised much about this side of my father’s work, until I met Ray Askew, whilst walking our basset hound. He had a basset too and on talking,  it turned out he had worked for Enfield Rolling Mills and it was part of his job to source production control documents and he used to design them with my father, whose firm, then printed them!

Could This System Be Used On East Coast Trains?

East Coast Trains are another First Group company like Hull Trains, who will be running services between London and Edinburgh from some time next year.

I can’t see why they could use a developed version of this system, with tri-colour lights on the seats.

East Coast Trains will be aiming for a four hour service and I suspect they’d like people to just turn up and go, so quick ticketing would be needed. A simple app, where you said how many tickets and what train and then you just turned up in time for your train would do.

 

 

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soaring Demand For SUVs Exacerbates Climate Crisis

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The increasing demand for sports utility vehicles is eliminating the emissions savings made by those who have switched to electric cars, the global energy watchdog has warned.

According to the International Energy Agency, SUVs now account for forty percent of new car sales worldwide.

In some ways, I regard having my stroke as being one of the best things that ever happened to me.

  • It was serious, but modern clot-busting drugs, left most of my brain intact.
  • My eyesight was damaged, so that I am unable to drive, but I do occasionally ride a bicycle away from roads.
  • Cars are now no part of my life and in the ten years, that I haven’t driven, I’ve only needed one on perhaps two or three times.
  • My bank account is healthier.
  • I can afford to take a black cab, as many times as I need.

You have to remember though, that my excess of survival genes; Devonian, Huguenot and Jewish, honed by living in Liverpool and Suffolk, always mean that I am up to the toughest challenge.

We all need to adjust our lifestyle to the modern world.

A Few Related Thoughts

In National Trust Looks At Car Ban In Lake District, I looked at the car problems of the Lake District.

SUVs and their owners are surely drawn to the wilder areas of the UK.

So perhaps, we should create SUV-free areas, except for residents who need one?

Extinction Rebellion want everybody to use electric cars. What would happen if kids refused to go in any car that wasn’t zero carbon?

If I put myself at say sixteen, with my father in his fifties in the present day, I would try to convince him to have an electric car. Knowing my father, he would have probably bought one on my pestering.

But can I convince my son to buy one?

No!

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Where Will I Watch The Champions League Final?

My father had first gone to White Hart Lane as a child, in his father’s pony-and-trap, before the First World War. He told me how they gave a local lad a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

That would be about twelve pounds in 2019 money. I don’t drive, so would you pay twelve pounds to park your car for a match today?

Later he had been at the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs had won the cup for the second time.

He took me several times to see Spurs in the 1950s and we were there in 1961, when Spurs received the First Division trophy after losing to West Bromwich Albion.

I was now going regularly on my own and I cycled down from Southgate.

I seem to remember paying half-a-crown to leave my bike in a secure space. That would be about three pounds today.

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Felixstowe and to overcome the boredom of summers and other holidays in the place, our neighbour started taking me to Ipswich Town, where I saw a few games of Alf Ramsey’s First Division-winning side of cast-offs and misfits!

As I’ve lived in Suffolk off-and-on for over fifty years, it was the start of a long-term relationship.

I should also say, that following Ipswich Town and the companionship I;ve enjoyed, has been a great help to me, since C’s death!

For four years in the 1960s, I was at Liverpool University or living in the City.

I saw Spurs play many times all over the North West, but it was not a good period for them and I only saw one win, which was at Everton.

I also used to go to both Liverpool clubs, where you just walked up on the day and paid to get in. Those were the days! I remember, I was there to see Emlyn Hughes make his debut for Liverpool. Wikipedia says that was March 4th, 1967 against Stoke City.

Most long-term football fans have a long-term relationship to one club and I’ve met some strange relationships.

Ipswich for instance have a clutch of Liverpudlian supporters, who seem to have started supporting Ipswich in the Bobby Robson-era. That could be just the Liverpudlian attitude to be different.

So where will I watch the Champions League Final on June the First?

I am leaning towards Manchester at the moment! Although, thinking about it, Barcelona could be an interesting alternative!

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Be The Best Result In The Manchester Derby?

Despite supporting Ipswich since our next door neighbour in Felixstowe took me at the end of the Ramsey era, I have affections for two other clubs.

As a child and teenager living in London, I did what my father had done in his youth and regularly went to see Spurs at White Hart Lane.

My father would tell stories about how he was at the Cup Final in 1921 and how before the Great War, his father would take them to the game in a pony and trap. My grandfather would give a kid a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

Then in the 1960s at Liverpool University, I regular went to see both of the Liverpool clubs, although I identified more with Liverpool.

Perhaps because inh those years they played the better football and were more successful!

So who do I want to win the Manchester Derby?

Certainly not United, as in the 1950s, I lived next door to the most obnoxious United supporter, who rammed them down mine and my father’s throats at every opportunity.

I actually think, that both Spurs and Liverpool, would be happy with an extremely hard-fought goal-less draw at Old Trafford tonight!

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hastings Bus Stop Note Lands Homeless Man Job

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

This is the first paragraph.

A man who has been living on the streets for nine years has been found a home and job after a teenager spotted his note posted next to a bus stop.

This is a must-read heartwarming story.

My father always reckoned if you wanted something from an individual, company or organisation, that a polite, well-written note often got results.

It’s a technique, I’ve used all my life and it has been successful on the whole.

This guy has just used a modern version, helped by a school-girl and social media.

 

March 22, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Roaming Around East Anglia – Felixstowe Beach Station And The Dolphin Hotel

Felixstowe Beach station closed in 1967 and I can remember seeing the station buildings in the 1960s.

I can also remember sitting in the car outside the Dolphin Hotel, drinking an orange juice, whilst my father was inside having a quick beer.

These days, I suspect that in many pubs the children would have been allowed into the pub.

My reason for visiting the area of Felixstowe Beach station was to investigate the possibility of using the site as a terminus for the proposed tram-train to Felixstowe.

I doubt it is a feasible plan.

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

Roaming Around East Anglia – North Sea Floods Of 1953 Memorial Garden At Felixstowe

This picture shows the memorial garden to the forty-one who died in the North Sea Flood Of 1953 at Felixstowe.

My memories of the floods are minimal, as I was only five. But I can remember my father pointing out to me, the story of Reis Leming at a later date.

 

March 4, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Roaming Around East Anglia – The Ordnance Hotel, Felixstowe

The Ordnance Hotel in Felixstowe is long gone and has now been replaced by a Premier Inn.

The Ordnance Hotel played a large part in my life, in that according to my father, I was conceived there.

It was rather strange to walk out of the front of the hotel and imagine in my mind, the view from perhaps in 1958, when we stayed as a family in the hotel.

In those days, you could still see the tide mark on the walls of the nearby houses, which was caused by the North Sea Flood of 1953.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment