The Anonymous Widower

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

Courtesy On London Buses

Today, a 30 bus was at the stop that takes me on my way in the morning. Especially, if like today, I was tryibg to get to the Angel  I say trying, as Thanes Water are having a big construction party as they try to sort out the water mains on Upper Street. Normally, I have three routes that I can take. But due to the works, only the 30 is a sensible option, as the others go  via Silicon Roundabout.

Courtesy 1 – The driver was about to leave as I approached, but he saw me coming and waited.

Courtesy 2 – The bus was pretty full with the only one empty seat for persons of restricted mobility. So I had one of those non-arguments with a pregnant lady about who would not have the seat. On seeing a vacant seat towards the back of the bus, I walked past and she eventually sat down. You see these after you situations a lot. The funniest, I saw was when an elderly Orthodox Jew and a black lady about twenty, delayed a bus whilst they decided who got on first. So charming!

Courtesy 3 – The seat I went for had a lady’s bag on it, but she quickly removed it, when she saw I was coming for the seat.

Courtesy 4 – At Highbury Grove a guy pushing a lady in a wheelchair needed to get on! As the ramp descended a guy who’d parked his baby in a buggy in the space made a quick exit, to allow the wheelchair to be parked.

Courtesy 5 – At the next stop, a lady with a buggy and two other children,  needed to get on, but after other passengers told her the wheelchair space was occupied, she moved on.

London buses are generally friendly places and people often talk to each other.

I’ve actually never seen an argument over the wheelchair space in London.

I do wonder if this courtesy is helped, by London’s bus design, which always has a separate entrance and exit. The exit doubles as the wheelchair entrance.

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

In And Out Of The Angel

The area around Angel tube station, is one I visit regularly.

 

  • I shop in the same Marks and Spencer, Boots and Woolworths, that my grandmother used before the Great War.
  • Woolworths is now Waitrose.
  • I visit Chapel Market, as she probably did.
  • I often walk close to where my father was born and past the church where my grandparents married.
  • Perhaps, once a week, I’ll buy myself lunch or dinner in the area.
  • I regularly, use the area to change buses or get on and off the Northern Line.

It’s also an area of memories of life with C and the children around 1970, when we lived in the Barbican and we’d regularly walk up the hill with the children to shop at Marks and Spencer.

But not at the moment. This article on the BBC is entitled Angel Islington flooded by water main burst.

These are pictures I took of the traffic. Or lack of it!

 

There are no buses from Dalston to the Angel, so the only way to go is to go South to Old Street or Moorgate stations and then get the Northern Line up to the Angel.

At least the buses are running the other way, so I can get home easily.

It is a pain, but it will be sorted.

Yesterday, I had to get to Boots to pick up my Warfarin and the pharmacist did as usual, ask me for my yellow book.

I don’t have one, as I see the GP every three months or so, have a chat about my INR and he writes a prescription, which is electronically sent to Boots for me to collect.

To show how stable my INR level is, I’ve now been on 4 mg. a day of Warfarin for over three years now.

Discussing this with the pharamacist, I told her, I put this stability down to being a coeliac on a gluten-free diet.

There are some hints at research in this area at eminent Universities, but with my experience, it seems that if you are on Warfarin, a gluten-free dietmay help to stabilise your INR levels.

 

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Health, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail 2 And The Angel

My Crossrail alert picked up this article in the Islington Tribune entitled Angel’s landmark Co-op building could go if £20bn Crossrail scheme goes ahead. The article says this.

Cllr Klute, an architect who has studied the plans in detail, said he was concerned that all the buildings on the west side of Upper Street from Angel tube to White Lion Street could be demolished.

The building on the corner might be iconic, as the article says, but it is one of those buildings which probably doesn’t have the dimensions that fit the sort of high-tech businesses, that are being attracted to this area of London and will hopefully come even more, when Crossrail 2 opens. I took these pictures of the area.

The four corners of the Angel junction have.

  • The Co-op building or Angel Corner House that Councillor Klute wants to save at the north west.
  • The Angel Building which was short-listed for the Stirling Prize in 2011 at the south west.
  • Some rather tired low rise buildings at the south east.
  • The offices over Angel tube station which was built in the early 1990s at the north east.

I can remember when I lived in London in the 1970s, that there were plans to create a large roundabout here to solve the traffic problems. Obviously you wouldn’t do that now, as it would create all sorts of probems about how to fit in the Crossrail 2 station.

As you can see in the pictures, the buses from Kings Cross cause problems as they turn out left from White Lion Street to go North. Not perhaps today, but the buses do cause problems on days when there is more traffic around.

There is just not enough space in the area to accommodate all of the traffic and the expanded station.

The pressing need is a left turn somewhere to get the buses from Kings Cross onto Upper Street and Essex Road, so the only way is to cut the corner through the Angel Corner Building that Councillor Klute wants to save.

As someone, who catches buses at the Angel to go down the Essex Road, the bottleneck at White Lion Street often means that buses come through rather sporadically.

An improved bus service would mean that I probably spent more of my shopping time at the Angel.

So how will Crossrail 2 affect those who currently get the 38, 56,73 and other buses to the Angel and beyond?

1. Between the Angel and Victoria, Crossrail 2 will take passengers from both the 38 and 73.

2. between the Angel and Seven Sisters, Crossrail 2 will take passengers from the 73.

3. Hopefully as both Kings Cross and Euston will be on Crossrail 2, the need for buses between Kings Cross and the Angel will be greatly reduced.

Looking at that, it says to my simple mind, that building Crossrail 2, might mean that there is less need to demolish the Angel Corner Building, as it might be possible to eliminate the left turn of buses, which creates such a problem.

If the space at the Angel and the buses turning north are one of the problems, then the bizarre design of the new station at the Angel in the early 1990s is another.

Plans for Crossrail 2 in the 1980s went via Angel and Essex Road from Kings Cross to Dalston. A few years later the 1990s route went via Highbury and Islington only.

So was the bizarre layout of Angel tube station down to this uncertainty? Who’d be an architect, when politicians keep changing their minds?

The article also says this.

Cllr Klute said if there is going to be a rail development he’d rather see a tube line running along the Hackney to Chelsea section. “It would probably be cheaper and a lot less disruptive and damaging,” he said. “It could also take in Essex Road and Old Street, which is less well connected.

“A tube train would also be of more use to Londoners. The fact that they want to run regional trains across Islington seems to suggest that they are more interested in shipping ­people from outside London rather than moving people around the capital.”

On the first point it would be madness to bore a tube line from Chelsea to Hackney, as you’d then have to build terminal stations at both ends to turnback the tube trains.

We already have two two different fleets being built for the new lines under London, with Class 700 trains for Thameslink and Class 345 trains for Crossrail. Engineering, operational, economic and political common sense, says that these two trains should have been virtually identical and made in Derby by Bombardier. Logic says that if Crossrail and Crossrail 2 trains are identical, then there should be cost and time savings in both train manufacture of the trains and design and building of the stations.

I would think from reading the second of Councillor Klute statements about regional trains, he tends to have thoughts that would be very much at home in UKIP.

Crossrail 2 isn’t perfect, but it will be needed in the late 2020s.

I think that by the time it is being built, improvements in construction, that in many cases are being used on Crossrail will be used to both save time and money, and build a better railway.

As a simple example, could the techniques used at Whitechapel enable Crossrail 2 stations to be built from the deep rail tunnels upwards, thus creating less disturbance to buildings on the surface.

Perhaps this would enable the Angel Corner Building  to be gutted and left as a shell, in which the escalators could emerge and the new western entrance to Angel station could be built.

So the Angel would have an iconic station entrance on the west side of the main north-south route through the Angel. Hopefully, the new extended station would include a much needed subway across the road.

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Why Does Anybody Park A Car In London At This Cost?

This was a poster at the Angel, showing the cost of parking.

Why Does Anybody Park A Car In London At This Cost?

Why Does Anybody Park A Car In London At This Cost?

At £18 a day and against a taxi rank within fifty metres of this poster and buses going every way every half minute or so, I can certainly understand, why you never hear anybody complaining about the difficulty of parking in this area.

December 27, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Bills Gluten-Free Restaurant

I’ve passed Bill’s Restaurant at The Angel several times on the bus, but as it’s not on any of my walking routes between the tube station, the buses and any of the shops I use regularly, so I’d never checked it out.

Then today, I was looking for some string bags for Christmas present bags and I found that the restaurant sold them at a couple of quid a time. So I popped in to get them and try out the food at lunchtime.

I shall go again, as it’s well-placed for the M&S, Boots and Waitrose, I use several times a week. It’s also got decent wi-fi and is ideally placed to visit if I’m coming home on the bus from say Euston or Kings Cross.

The great thing about this chain, is that they have branches everywhere!

December 23, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

Collect Your Shopping At A Tube Station

This story in the Standard describes how London Underground stations will be used as pick-up points for shopping. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Tube chiefs signed up some of the high street’s biggest names today to start a retail revolution on the Underground.

From next month, Tesco and Waitrose will offer a “click-and-collect” service that will enable passengers to pick up groceries from lockers or vans at a dozen outlying stations.

After the story about Doddle parcel points in rail stations, there would appear to be a delivery revolution starting out there.

And about time too!

Today, I’ll have to stay in as I am awaiting a valuable package from a courier.  As they usually come here about 16:00, that will mean a long wait.

My most common package is clothes from M & S, but these days, I Click and Collect, at the store at The Angel and just pick them up when I get the e-mail. As I pass the store, virtually every day on a bus, it is so convenient.

When I get a local parcel delivery point, it will be so good.

January 30, 2014 Posted by | News | , | 5 Comments

Londoners Are Wimps About Shopping!

This morning I needed a few things at Waitrose, so I did what C and I used to do in Suffolk.  I went to the store at the Angel early about an hour after it opened. It was very uncrowded.  In Suffolk, half the population would have been there, as they all generally getup early.

But obviously they don’t in London.  Coming back, the bus had about five passengers.

December 24, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Hassle And Courier-Free On-Line Purchase

I’ve had various issues with couriers in the past, like this episode.

So on Saturday night, when at 23:00 or so, I decided I needed some new trousers, I ordered them on line from Marks and Spencer and said that I’d like to pick them up sometime today, in their shop at the Angel. I chose the Angel store, as usually I pass through the area, at least once a day, often when I go to the Waitrose a few doors away or Chapel Market.

The original e-mail from Marks, said that the trousers would be in store after midday, but this morning I got an e-mail saying that they had been delivered to the store at 09:30.

I picked them up just after lunch.

Forty years ago, this small store, had been our local Marks and Spencer when we lived in the Barbican and most Saturdays we’d push the children up the hill to the Angel to do our weekend shopping.

Times have certainly changed. Picking those trousers up from Marks and Spencer was certainly less handle and there was nothing couriers could do to to throw spanners in the works.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , , | 3 Comments

Searching For A Genius Loaf

I generally have a soft brown, Genius loaf in the bread bin and today, I threw the remains of the last one out, as all I had left was the wrapping and two rather battered crusts.

So as I wanted to get a paper, I thought I’d get a new one at the littleWaitrose at Highbury Corner.  But they only had the soft white bread, which would not be my first choice.

I know I can usually get the desired bread at Sainsburys at the Angel, but that would have meant coming back from there in the scrum of the rush hour.  so I took the Overground to Dalston Junction, to try to buy the bread at the Co-Operative store at the station.

They did have a loaf, but the sell-by date was not very far away and the loaf felt, as though it was not that fresh.

So I took the bus home.

It’ll teach me not to do all my shopping at a bigger Waitrose like Canary Wharf or Bloomsbury. I don’t think I’ll bother with buying food at that Co-operative again.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment