The Anonymous Widower

All Change At The Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station

Everything seems to have changed at the Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station, as these pictures show.


  1. You now enter at street level, rather than through a subway.
  2. You ascend a gentle ramp to walk through some upmarket shops and then descend into the station using an escalator.
  3. You can also walk through the shops to the bus station between the rail station and Broadgate.

The only thing, that hasn’t changed is the rusty smoking shelter.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Air In Scotland’s Prisons 90% Cleaner, Due To Smoke-Free Policy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the University of Stirling web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Scotland’s smoke-free prisons policy is protecting the health of prison staff and those in custody – with the majority no longer exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke, according to a new study.

My late wife, who probably visited Holloway Prison around two hundred times, would probably agree with Scotland’s smoke-free prisons regime.

As I do!

It should be introduced into the rest of the UK, as soon as possible.

And why shouldn’t prisons have regular drug-testing?

August 30, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

North And South

I went to see Spurs this afternoon to see them play Burnley.

Coming home, I got the train between White Hart Lane and Hackney Downs stations. As we walked to the bus for Dalston, there was a mixed group of fans.

Most of the Burnley fans were smoking, as opposed to few of the Spurs fans.

Is this the difference between North and South?

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , | 3 Comments

Thoughts On a Red And Processed Meat Tax

This article on the BBC is entitled Should There Be A Tax On Red Meat?.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A “meat tax” could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to researchers, but should politicians be telling people what they can and can’t eat?

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to reduce consumption.

They also go on to suggest these levels of tax, with examples.

In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat.

This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury’s the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

It is probably peer-reviewed research, but I doubt it would ever be introduced.

I have few questions.

Would I As A Coeliac Get Extra Tax Relief, As I Need To Eat Red Meat?

I don’t eat much red meat, but to keep my B12 at a good level, I need to eat a quality steak or burger.

Regular levels of B12 help to keep your immune system strong, which is the body’s first line of defence against cancer.

Why Do Coeliacs On A Gluten Free Diet Have A 25% Less Chance Of Getting Cancer?

Research at Nottingham University has shown this.

Being coeliac is unlikely to be beneficial, as whoever heard of a disease that let you live longer?

,So could it be the non-eating too of gluten?

Also, as many who eat a lot of red and processed meat, eat it with a bun or lots of bread,

Could this be significant?

Research needs to be done that considers consumption of red and processed meat, taking eating gluten into account.

How Would I Reduce Cancer?

There are other substances and circumstances that are proven to cause cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco and other drugs.
  • Eating too much and being obese
  • Drinking too much.
  • Too much sunbathing.
  • Diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.

Some of these also cause other health problems.

I’d start with absolute bans on these.

  • Diesel and petrol vehicles.
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.
  • Sales of high strength alcohol.
  • Jobs with a proven record of causing cancer like coal mining.

And these things would be compulsory or introduced.

  • Everybody should keep a record in a smart-phone app of what they ate and their weight.
  • Owning a diesel or petrol vehicle would need a special permit.
  • Alcohol could only be bought in special licensed shops.

Obviously, other draconian measures could be introduced.

I doubt it will ever be acted upon, by any Government that wants to win an election.

So What Can We Do That Is Practical?

My view is that we have to nudge people into doing the right thing.

Diesel And Petrol Taxes To Subsidise Zero-Emission Vehicles

Note that I use the term zero-emission vehicle, which is a category that includes battery and hydrogen power at present. But it is a class, that could include other vehicles in future, that have yet to be invented.

If diesel and petrol taxes were to rise and the revenue were used to subsidise the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, then this might persuade more people to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

Money could also be allocated to research into zero-emission vehicles.

Zero-Emission Zones In All Towns And Cities

London is getting an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but this is only the start.

They should be Zero Emission Zones.

They should probably be paired with parking areas outside the zone and connected to it, by a zero-emission high quality rail or bus link.The link could be a segregated walking or cycling route.

The first town or city that uses this model to create healthy air quality will probably reap an enormous dividend.

From recent developments, I suspect it will be the City of London.

Smoking Would Only Be Allowed By Consenting Adults In Private

As smoking had a lot to do with the death of my son I feel strongly about this.

My wife also may have died from secondary lung cancer. But she had never smoked, although she got enough cigarette smoke from her tutor at University, who chain-smoked Capstan Full Strength.

Is There A Radical Approach?

Liverpool University Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit have one of the most impressive databases I have ever seen! It contains every pancreatic cancer case, that has been notified to the University.

They use it to look for links between factors, that might be a clue to what causes this terrible disease and for possible cures.

But imagine an enormous database of all UK cancer cases, that was processed to show how the cancers related to post codes, occupation, age, weight, smoking and drinking habits etc.

Access to an anonymised version of the database would be allowed through the Internet or a phone app.

Would access to the data, nudge people to change their bad habits?

I also know of ten-year-olds, who pester their parents to stop smoking, so imagine what a tech-savvy child would do, if given access to the app. Schools could teach them to use it responsibly.

Could it bring the whole country together to reduce levels of cancer?








November 7, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoking In World Cup Statia

This document on the FIFA web site is entitled Stadium Code Of Conduct.

This is a sentence under Prohibited Actions.

Smoking in any stadium zone, except in dedicated outdoor smoking areas, if in existence.

That appears to be pretty clear.

So why was a fat oligarch or similar, smoking an equally fat cigar in a very plush seat, when he was caught on camera yesterday?



June 17, 2018 Posted by | Health, Sport | , | Leave a comment

Will The Broadgate Reconstruction Remove The Smoking Shelter?

Broadgate is reconstructing the building on the South side, which will face the new piazza in front of Liverpool Street station.

This visualisation shows what the entrance to Crossrail will look like in front of Broadgate.

Crossrail Broadgate Entrance

But what are they going to do with the smoking shelter, that sits in the entrance to the main-line station?

The shelter would be shown on the left of the visualisation, if the image had a wider format.

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Smoking In Claridges

Apparently if you’re a billionaire and want to stay in one of the expensive suites at Claridges, they change the furniture for a set for smokers and back again afterwards.

Thst has a certain style, but as the story came in an article about an autocratic Chinese businessman in the Business section of The Sunday Times, I doubt I’ll be using, the stores talked about in the article. Smokers should not be indulged.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized, World | | Leave a comment

Losing The Plot?

David Aaronovitch in The Times today has a piece about the Labour Party and its leadership election.

He says this.

On the very day that Theresa May was, in effect, transfigured into prime minister, Corbyn was at a meeting of the Cuba Solidarity Committee, recommitting to the dynastic dictatorship of the Castros, just as he has been doing these 40 years.

Was Corbyn getting advice?

I am virtually Corbyn’s age and I can remember the ardent, often heavy smoking, left-wingers we had when I was at Liverpool University, in the 1960s. Prominent amongst them was that pillar of the left; Robert Kilroy Silk, who incidentally was C’s tutor and persisted in smoking Capstan |Full Strength all through tutorials, despite C being pregnant at the time.

I have checked the Internet for all the left-wingers, that I remember from that time and all seem to have vanished without trace. I wonder how many are living in semis in Pinner, Mossley Hill and Edgbaston, with a Mondeo outside and 2.4 children?


July 14, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Do We Featherbed Groups In Society?

I got my monthly State Pension today and at £677.16, that will do me for my day-to-day expenses for the next month. It doesn’t cover trips out of London, but it does allow me the odd light lunch in a restaurant.

But I also get other benefits just because of my circumstances, as a 67-year-old man, who lives alone.

I get a Council Tax discount because I live alone. But is that right as I live in a family house with a garage in a desirable part of London? If I didn’t get it, I’d still live here as that would be my choice, but I am blocking someone more worthy than me of buying this house.

I have a highly-insulated house with an efficient boiler, but should I get a winter fuel allowance?  It would be better if the money was not paid at all, but used to improve our housing stock’s energy efficiency, so that those on a pension actually saved the money all through the year.

I have a Freedom Pass, which gives me free transport on buses, Underground, Overground and trains within the Central London area. This is one of the reasons I moved to Dalston. But is it too generous on the one hand and not universal enough on the other? Surely, a better system, would be one where you nominated your bank card as your transport pass and in the free areas, the system didn’t charge you. The advantage of this would be that London could enter into reciprocal arrangements with areas like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, so that we could use each other’s concessionary area at a discount. Would this encourage more of us to travel to explore the country and perhaps spend money in attractions, cafes and shops, we wouldn’t dream of visiting now?

This morning according to this report on the BBC, the Liberal Democrats are saying that those who have a second house they use in a beautiful area, should pay double Council Tax on their second home. Here! Here!

I live in Central London and I am starting to resent the traffic. Not because I drive, but because of the pollution and noise often put out by cars used as glorified shopping trolleys and baby buggies. We let all drivers get off too lightly with the problems they cause in cities and if they got the message, we may see more cycling and walking, and better air quality. We might even see better delivery systems for goods, where transmissions were hybrid or electric, like London’s newer buses.

It will happen eventually, that all cars pay road charges based on mileage, fuel used and congestion. But I doubt we’ll see it soon, as there are no votes in it. It’ll probably be introduced in London first, as cycling gets more common and Crossrail shows everybody what real railways can be like.

But would a city like Birmingham, where the car is king, and pedestrians are targets to hit when crossing the road, accept charging to pay for the updating of the numerous railways and more trams in the city?

And then there’s lifestyle, fitness and health!

Many people drink, eat and smoke too much and governments don’t really discourage it forcefully. It would be an interesting exercise for a town or city to declare a city centre non-smoking and see what happens. I can remember, when ahead of the smoking ban the landlord of my local pub in Suffolk declared it a smoke-free zone. He got some moans, but not from his bank manager.

The NHS is in crisis, but this is mainly a problem of the irresponsible patients making. So if we can get people back to the straight and narrow, we might help the dear old NHS out.

For a start, I would like to see a law, that no-one could stand for elected office or sit on the board of an NHS body, if they were a smoker!

I could go on a lot more. But we must all change our lifestyle, if we want this country to be a place, that is really worth living in.


April 21, 2015 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 2 Comments

Avoiding The Real Issues In The NHS

All the political parties seem to be promising more and more to the NHS in this election, be it money, drugs, doctors, nurses or midwives.

Money could be the least of the problems, as it will probably come from improvements to the economy or some tax-the-rich measure, depending on your political point of view.

As drugs are not really a drug problem, but usually a money one, we are left with where to we get the tens of thousands of staff we need to provide health-care.

The trouble is that being a health professional, is a skill you can use anywhere in the world, as all human beings are the same under the skin, even if they come in various colours, speak different languages and have certain different diseases governed by genetics or environment. So just as we can recruit paramedics from the Antipodes, nurses from the Philippines and doctors from virtually everywhere, other countries can entice our health professionals away.

We live in an increasingly global society, and working abroad for a few years is often in many peoples desired career profile, be it in health care or not. Healthcare like certain other professions is one of those that gives you a passport to a lot of interesting places.

All manpower planning in the NHS seems to believe that those trained here, will stay here. But all good training does is hand everybody that passport to travel.

To make matters worse, good training for some professions, is an excellent grounding to starting a business or working in the private sector.

So the first issue we must face, is this one of where do we get the staff. The NHS has shown itself to be not very innovative in this area.

Some have suggested in the past, that anybody trained in the NHS must contract to work for the service for so many years. This is just cloud-cuckoo thinking.

The one positive thing that can be done to help staff is to provide better working conditions and rewards for those working in the NHS. Most of the NHS buildings, I’ve seen in the last ten years have been pretty sound, with perhaps the odd exception, so we must look at the problems of staff with respect to organisation, management, pay and pensions.

What I do find interesting is that all of the Practice Nurses I’ve met in GPs surgeries seem to be so much happier in their work than those in hospitals. It’s only a small survey, but it does say something about the difference between GP’s surgeries and hospitals.

When I’ve spent time in hospital in the past few years, it has been been twice in good NHS hospitals and once in an expensive private one in Hong Kong. There was little difference in the equipment or methods used, but as an IT professional of some years experience, I don’t believe that hospital systems are what an engineer or manager would accept if they worked in say a modern car factory in the UK.

So we must get hospital and GP health systems to the levels that patients and staff expect in their personal life.

Where is an on-line copy of my health record, that I can read to get to the bottom of my problems, that seem to occur seasonally in the Spring?

But things are changing and we must create a health communication and information system, that is an order of magnitude better than what we have today.

No political party is saying they’ll fix this important gap in the NHS.

Everything in our lives is going on to our computers or phones, but healthcare in the NHS hasn’t changed that much since I was born in 1947.

Some people rightly worry about such a computer system. But at its best it would only be like an on-line shopping system, where if you don’t see what you need on-line at your favourite store, you go and look at a physical one.

In all the politicians posturing on health, they very much ignore the users of the NHS and what they can do to improve the service and its efficiency.

I would be interested to see an analysis of how much the average patient costs the NHS. I suspect that because of the lack of a fully joined-up computer system, if I had complete access and wanted to find out how much I cost the NHS last year, no accurate value could be calculated.

Many people calculate their motoring costs to the last penny, but even if they wanted to, it’s probably impossible with healthcare, even though all the data is there.

Eventually, everybody will have this figure, as it could be a powerful tool for a GP to classify and better treat their patients and as a motivator to patients to improve their lifestyle.  You’ll never change some patients, but many could be nudged in the right direction.

We must also do more to ease our load on the NHS. On a personal level, I look after my INR, by doing my own tests. A Committee of MPs has stated that all NHS patients who can, should do their own testing to save the NHS a lot of money.

How many other measurements can be taken by patients to ease the load? And are we doing enough to encourage more and better devices?

In no political party’s pontifications on the NHS, can I find anything about bringing the patient more into his or her own healthcare. But many doctors and nurses have said to me that we should take more responsibility for our own health.

After all, many of us now carry a tablet or phone, that has more computing and information accessing capability than existed anywhere ten years ago. Is this being used to give us better healthcare? Not really!

Political parties are not tackling the problems caused by our poor diet, lifestyle and environment.

Where I live, there are more unhealthy takeaways than you need to try a new one every week of the year. Not one sells any gluten-free food, so their chances of seducing me with their crap is non-existent.

Even the Sainsburys Local that I use is not a store,where you can always get the staples you need to create a healthy meal. Yesterday, I needed a couple of haddock fillets for supper, but except for some very bedraggled and unappetising cod, there was no uncoated fish. So I had to take a bus to the Angel to get some from Waitrose. Does a lack of healthy food locally mean that many don’t eat as healthily as I do? I am out and about in London most days using my Freedom Pass, so it is not difficult for me to pick up what I need on the go. But a young mother with an infant in a buggy doesn’t have that luxury. It’s not the shops’ fault, as they only stock what the shop sells!

The only positive thing government can do in this area, is to give local authorities more power to decide what shops they allow in their area.

I haven’t seen anything like this in any manifesto.

We should also do things to curb air pollution, which can get bad at times. All city centre transport, should either be electric or very low emission vehicles.

But again, no-one wants to annoy people, except the Greens, who won’t win anyway.

I suppose smoking comes into this area. Any candidate for London Mayor, who decides to ban it in public parks, squares and in the vicinity of bus stops gets my vote next time.

Perhaps candidates for the election, should have to declare if they smoke or not and what car they drive on the ballot paper!

Do we also give our children an education that will help them get through the minefield that is health? We give sex education in schools, but surely health education is just as, if not more important!

We need to think radically, about how we deliver healthcare and before we throw money at it, we should sort out the details on how it is delivered, how it interacts with patients and the fasctors that affect it.

Conservative 1940s thinking has failed and we must bring the NHS into the twenty-first century.



April 11, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , | 2 Comments