Monday, 27 September 2010
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
I’ve been trying for some time to use public transport to and from jobs whenever possible. I’ve always preferred trains and buses but they don’t always coincide with where I need to be when. Throughout 2010, though, I’ve made much more of an effort than before in this direction, even at the expense of taking longer to get to and from places.
Sometimes this is great. Sometimes, it isn’t. Today was one of the latter.
After an “unusual” day in
Having finished with my group, I arrived at
On the plus side, rather than stress with driving, I watched the lovely Warwickshire countryside and even had a snooze.
I awoke in Hall Green and decided to check if we’d made up time. In fact, we were later still, now 20 minutes down. At
A few minute later we roll into Snow Hill station where more people pack in. Then came the clincher of the day. The guard announced that – as the train was running so late – it was going to run non-stop to Stourbridge Junction. Suddenly I (and much of this sea of humanity, some of whom had only just boarded) had to scramble to get off. We were also told nothing more than to “wait on the platform”.
The next train, er, terminated at Snow Hill and eventually the 1743 train, “due at 1753” arrived at, er, 1800. I arrived back at The Hawthorns 40 minutes later than I should have.
More significantly, I arrived there over two hours after I had finished my work in
And there’s the railway, nay the “public transport” problem. People like me want to use it but as long as it’s not providing a service where passengers feel “cared for”, where you get uncomfortable rides in delayed and crowded trains…….people will reach for their car keys.
A couple of weeks ago I tried a journey in the opposite direction. I arrived at The Hawthorns in plenty of time, only to find that the
Two additional points:
- The problem on both these occasions was “signalling problems”. I wonder if that means someone’s stolen a cable again? That caused me problems twice on trains from
and Manchester Liverpoolearlier in the summer which missed out stops at my local station with literally seconds notice.
- To end on a positive not, one thing that London Midland trains really do seem to excel at is station booking office staff. The two chaps at The Hawthorns and the lady at Langley Green are always so happy, so friendly and so pleasant that I walk away from their ticket office windows feeling on top of the world. What a pity the managers who “manage” the line and the drones who reply to customer feedback don’t approach things in the same way.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Of course, you might not agree with the system or values of said state.......but again, that applies to many, many places.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
It’s interesting to note how many different organisations, undertakings and interest groups are popping up all over the place to say that they ought to be spared in the forthcoming round of spending cuts because they're a "special case".
The problem with this is that everyone’s doing it…….so if everyone’s budget is ring-fenced, we won’t actually make any savings.
I appreciate that there is a point of view that we don’t need to make savings at all. People saying that are probably barking nutters but at least their logic holds water (ie we don’t need to cut so we won’t) and they’re not guilty of selfishness.
It’s this “we must be spared but everyone else can suffer” attitude which I find most reminiscent of an ostrich and a quantity of sand…….
Monday, 13 September 2010
One of those minor “linguistic hiccups” between British and American English when I’m working in the countryside is the American name for the crop “Rape”, which they call “Canola”.
You live and learn…….and thanks, Daniel!
(Mind you, it’s part of the creeping Americanisation of Australia. They’ll be using Dollars next…….)
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Many – many – years ago, as a summer job, I did some administrative work for the West Midlands Fire Service. As work experience goes, it was pretty dire but one long lasting legacy was that it left me with a deep and abiding respect for fire fighters. More than any other emergency service they seem to be regularly in danger and we can all sleep safer in our beds for what they do for us.
Memo to the
If you’re going to act up and show off with your big red fire engine on a non-emergency call by interferinge with me trying to do my job:
(1) Don’t choose me. I do repartee for a living
(2) Don’t choose me when I’m with a SPICE group; they tend to join in and play along and
(3) If you’re that bothered about references to Trumpton, you’re probably in the wrong job.
My friend Maeve featured this week on an Australian travel programme called “Getaway”, showing the presenter around
So far so good.
Unfortunately, while watching the programme, they then went to
For the record, this is what the 2001 Census had to say on the matter. (And I don’t want to start hearing things like “Greater Manchester, of I’ll have to start quoting “
10 Leicester 330,574