The Anonymous Widower

The Curious Tale Of The Queen, Putin And David Blunkett’s Guide Dog

This article on the Daily Mirror is entitled Putin Left The Queen Waiting For 14 Mins And She Broke Protocol To Make Snide Remark.

This is an extract.

According to David Blunkett, who was Home Secretary at the time, his guide dog reacted defensively towards Putin.

Mr Blunkett told the BBC : “The only time I met Vladimir Putin was back in 2003 on an official visit and my then dog barked very loudly.

“I did apologise to the Queen who was obviously hosting. I don’t think I am giving anything away when I said, ‘Sorry your Majesty about the dog barking.’

“She said, ‘Dogs have interesting instincts, don’t they?'”

Note that at the time, Putin had a black Labrador Retriever bitch called Konni.

March 7, 2022 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Royal Souvenirs Have ‘Platinum Jubbly’ Misprint

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

A spelling mistake on thousands of pieces of Platinum Jubilee merchandising, calling it the “Platinum Jubbly”, is proving a challenge for souvenir sellers.

The cups and plates were meant to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign.

Clearance website boss Karl Baxter said – “in classic Del Boy-style” – he will pitch them as collectors’ items.

It is so sad that Prince Philip is no longer with us. As a Greek he would surely have had some very appropriate jokes about plate smashing.

February 1, 2022 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

A Comment On The Obituary Of Sir Archie Lamb In The Times

In The Times today, there is an obituary of diplomat; Sir Archie Lamb.

This is one of the comments.

My husband comments: ‘When Lamb was knighted, he said to the Queen “may I ask something, Ma’am?” She replied “as one of my ambassadors, you may ask me anything” “ in that case, may I be knighted as Archie Lamb? I hate my given name, Albert.” “Ah,” said the Queen, “though you can change your family name, you cannot change your given name. But I can. Arise Sir Archie.” Archie told me the story, long long ago. Se non e vero, e ben trovato.’



November 2, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Was The Queen’s Locomotive Acting As A Thunderbird?

I took these pictures of 67006 Royal Sovereign at Kings Cross when I arrived in Platform 0 from Peterborough today at 15:45.


  1. Normally, 67006 is assigned to the Royal Train.
  2. The locomotive is in Platform 1.
  3. The Class 67 Locomotive was definitely coupled to the InterCity 225.
  4. It does appear that the next movement out of Platform 1 was a diesel-hauled empty coaching stock movement to Neville Hill Depot in Leeds at 19:40.
  5. It looks like the train arrived in Kings Cross at 12:55 from Skipton, nearly three hours late.

It does look as though the train was towed to London by the Queen’s Locomotive and then pushed all the way back to Leeds.


September 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Was 1926 A Good Vintage?

It was Trooping The Colour yesterday on Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th birthday.

The Queen also shares a birth year with broadcaster; David Attenborough.

So was 1926 a vintage year for births?

These are my selection from Wikipedia.

David Berglas – Without doubt the best magician I’ve ever seen. He’s also solved the puzzle of staying alive!

Chuck Berry – I saw him live twice on stage at the Regal cinema in Edmonton

Danny Blanchflower – Without doubt the best footballer and captain I’ve ever seen.

Michael Bond – Who hasn’t read Paddington or seen one of the films?

Frank Carson – One of my favourite comedians.

Fidel Castro – Love him or loathe him, he was significant!

Beryl Cook – A quirky British artist!

Pat Coombs – An actress who was everywhere, when I was growing up! She may have been related to a friend at school!

Hazel Court – Another actress prominent in the during my formative years. One of her characters even suggested a solution to a problem I had! Click here!

Quentin Crewe – An extremely entertaining writer!

Miles Davis – One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century!

Paddy Doherty – I actually spoke to him for an hour on the phone, after I gave a donation to one of his projects in Derry.

J. P. Donleavy – His books were above my literary capability!

Frank Finlay – An actor who got a lot of meaty roles!

Garret FitzGerald – Irish statesman.

Dario Fo – Italian comedian, playwright and theatre director, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature!

Bryan Forbes – One of the most important figures in the British film industry!

Harry Fowler – A Cockney actor, who was never out of work!

John Fowles – English novelist.

Allen Ginsberg – We had a physics teacher, who introduced us to the Beat Generation poets!

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing – French president

Buddy Greco – Successful singer and pianist

Alan Greenspan – former head of the Federal Reserve.

Gus Grissom – Astronaut

Gyula Grosics – Hungarian goalkeeper and the first sweeper-keeper.

Terry Hall – Lenny the Lion’s friend

Paul Hamlyn – British publisher.

Hugh Hefner – Playboy!

Geoffrey Howe – Conservative politician

Nelson Bunker Hunt – American billionaire!

Rex Hunt – Governor of the Falklands at the time of the Argentine invasion.

Norman Jewison – Retired film director, producer and screenwriter

Narinder Singh Kapany – The father of fibre optics.

To be continued…

June 13, 2021 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Day I Shook Hands With The Duke Of Edinburgh

I only met the Duke of Edinburgh once and all we did was shake hands.

The meeting is described in this post called The Day I Met the Queen.

At least I didn’t embarrass myself as I did in another meeting with the Queen, I wrote about in The Day I Stood on the Queen.

I also found this post about the Queen’s relationship with her husband, which I wrote about in The Queen on Industrial Language.

The Duke of Edinburgh, is a man who will be missed and remembered by many.

He certainly did what we all should do! – By his best efforts, he left the world a better place!

May he rest in peace.

April 12, 2021 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Did The Queen Ever Ride In This Train?

These pictures show the British Rail BEMU, which was an experimental two-car battery electric multiple unit, that ran on the Deeside Railway between Aberdeen and Ballater stations, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It is now parked at the Royal Deeside Railway awaiting restoration.

As the bodywork is aluminium, it struck me that it wouldn’t be an impossible restoration project.

Someone, I spoke to, said the biggest problem and probably expense were the batteries.

Perhaps, they could use some recycled batteries from electric buses or other vehicles, which some companies are going to use as house storage batteries.

A Memory From A Lady

I travelled to the Royal Deeside Railway on a bus and sat up front on the top deck. Next to me was a lady, who was perhaps in her seventies like me, who remembered using the train several times.

From what she said, it appeared to work reliably for a number of years.

Did Her Majesty Ever Use The Train?

No-one at the Royal Deeside Railway has any proof, that the Queen ever rode in the train.

But they are pretty sure, that the Queen Mother used the train. Apparently, she liked the steady speed as it proceeded through the countryside.


With the current developments in battery transport, I feel that this prototype might well be worth restoring to operation condition.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Has The Queen Ever Ridden In a Battery-Powered Train?

Countryfile this evening had a special program about the Queen’s Scottish house and estate at Balmoral.

One archive film, showed her arriving at Ballater station in a train hauled by a locomotive with a number that looked slightly familiar. Looking it up, it was a B1 Class locomotive, which I must have seen regularly, when I went train-spotting on the West Anglia Main Line in the 1950s.

So I looked up Ballater station in Wikipedia.

The station, which was on the 43 mile long Deeside Railway from Aberdeen, is now closed but there was this paragraph on Wikipedia under Services.

When the battery multiple unit was introduced, services were doubled to six trains a day from 21 April 1958, and Sunday service reinstated. The line was chosen for testing the unit because the stations were well spaced and the 1 in 70 ruling gradients would require substantial discharge rates.

As someone very interested in railways at the time, I’d never heard of British Rail’s use of battery trains.

Remarkably, the battery electric multiple train, is still in existence and is being preserved at the Royal Deeside Railway, not far from Balmoral.

It looks to me. that a lot of engineers at Derby, made sure that this train survived.

So what was it like?

  • It was based on the Derby Lightweight diesel  multiple unit.
  • The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board initiated the design and was a joint sponsor.
  • The train had an operating speed of 60 mph.
  • The train was powered by two 100 kW traction motors.
  • Power was provided by 416 lead-acid cells, giving a total of 440 V and 1070 A hour capacity.
  • The batteries weighed nine tonnes.
  • There were seats for twelve First Class passengers and a hundred and five in Second Class.

It couldn’t been that bad a train, as it ran between Aberdeen and Ballater station from 1958 to 1962.

There’s more about the train here.


But I  can’t help wondering, if the Queen ever used the train!

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where The Queen Gets Her Energy

Yesterday’s edition of Countryfile on BBC1, was entitled Royal Special: Windsor.

In the program, they shows how Windsor Castle and the surrounding estate, use an Archimedes screw in the River Thames to generate electricity.

I found this video on the Internet.

There is also this document on the Internet.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

This Google Map gives aerial view of the weir and the installed screws.

The two screws are installed in two sections of the weir at the right end.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

  • At peak flow the two units generate a total of 320kW/hour.
  • There is a six year return on investment.
  • The design life is fifteen years..
  • The owner of the generators has a forty year lease on the site.

I suspect, we could see more units like this!


May 28, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Now Following The Queen’s Example

By Legend, the Queen never carries any cash.

I’m now deliberately following a similar policy, but I only use a contactless bank card for most of my daily purchases, like my paper and food.

I’ve even still got a couple of John Lewis vouchers gathering dust in my wallet, as sincve the new M & S Food opened in Dalston, I rarely go need a Waitrose.

One thing I find with M & S Food, is that on a typical purchase the average price is two pounds per item. So to keep under the thirty pound contactless limit, I rarely buy more than fourteen items. These unusually fit easily into usable bag.

Buying my paper in M & S or a station also means I can use contactless for the purchase.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by an aggressive tin rattler for a charity I would never suppose because of some of their practices. So I waved my card and asked. “Do you do conactless?” I got a smiling “Sorry! No!”

I still use cash for three purposes.

  • Restaurants with waiter/waitress service, so the tips go to the staff. It also means at busy times, in cafes I use a lot, I always get a table.
  • Black cabs, when I occasionally use one.
  • Personal services from local tradesmen, where the value is small. Otherwise it’s a bank transfer.

But it’s amazing, how little cash you now need.


April 25, 2018 Posted by | Finance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment