Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stepping back in time

Back to my old stomping ground in the Northolt / South Ruislip area.

Get on Central Line at Tottenham Court Road (avoiding blocked subway near Andrew Borde Street).

Get seat immediately, bury nose in newspaper.

Look up as train pulls into Northolt station to terminate, 29 minutes later.

Unremarkable except for being remarkable. Why did I hardly ever have such a good journey home when I lived there?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Change of Routine

After almost a decade of the same 'tail end' of my journey to work (except when carrying out tube avoidance manoeuvres), I have been trying a new route to work.

The crossrail construction work at Tottenham Court Road station means that my usual walking routes to the office have been blocked and, as a creature of habit, I find this frustrating.

My fresh alternative involves catching the Bakerloo Line to Piccadilly Circus and then walking up through Soho. The thing is, when the Bakerloo is running well, it is 10 minutes quicker door-to-door than my previous tube route. Duh! Why has it taken me so long to work that one out?

Oh, and it also means that tube avoidance has gone out of the window as walking most of the way from Marylebone now takes 20 minutes longer. I'll have to find an alternative exercise routine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spam - A good result

I have always been very wary of ever giving out my real email address.

Because of a niggling issue with my main email service provider I have, however, been receiving unnecessarily large amounts of spam for the last couple of years.

By a combination of judiciously using auto-forwards, Googlemail and Mailwasher software, the problem has been under control. To the extent that it generally takes me no longer than a few seconds each day to deal with the issue.

Last week my email host moved me to a new server. Hey presto! They seem to have solved the aforementioned technical problem and their inbuilt spam filters seem at last to be doing their proper job. From the above graph, you can clearly see when the new server went live.

I know that the figures make it look as though I am a Billy-No-Mates, but I am quite happy to receive a small number of genuine personal emails per day, dealing as I do with dozens and dozens at work. All my mailing lists, blog comments etc go elsewhere.

Yes it's a small thing, but receiving no spam gives me a good feeling.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Somone at Chiltern Railways has a sense of humour

I saw this poster at Marylebone and also at High Wycombe this evening.

Obviously in reaction to this news story earlier in the week.

All just PR Puff, but at least someone at Chiltern has a sense of humour.

Details of the accompanying competition are below.

Virgin’s cancelled kissers welcome aboard Chiltern’s love train

Date: 17 Feb 2009 13:30

With the news that Virgin Trains have banned kissing in all but designated areas in their Warrington station, Chiltern Railways have responded with a bid to find their most romantic passengers.

Kirsteen Robertson from the Chiltern marketing department said:
“Railway stations are romantic places; they are where fond farewells and emotional reunions take place, where relationships start with a glance and even, in the case of our Marylebone station last November, where one passenger will propose to another over the public address system! So our passengers are more than welcome to share a kiss in our stations.”

She said:
“To show that we are dedicated to spreading a little love around our stations, we are asking our passengers to send us a photograph of them kissing at one of our stations. From Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone, we’ve got lots and lots of picturesque stations, perfect for that romantic moment.”

She added:
“The couple in the winning photograph will win free travel to and from London and a romantic champagne afternoon tea at London’s exclusive Landmark Hotel. So pucker up and get snapping!”

To enter, send your photographs to The closing date is the 3rd of March and winners will be notified by email. The judges’ decision is final.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Well, I messed that up

If you don't understand this, then that is good...

If you saw it I messed up. If you didn't, sorry what are you talking about?

All is good in this corner of rural Buckinghamshire. Sorry to have caused angst. Really sorry. My excuse is old age and memory loss.

On a more positive note, I've managed to wangle a free ticket to this afternoon's Wasps -v- Leicester match. I'd best remember to not wear my Saracens top.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lap Lap Lap

There was a fair it of rain on Monday night.

Yesterday morning Chiltern Railways services appeared to start well, until it became obvious from the Marylebone Arrivals Board that something was amiss.

The problem turned out to be water, lots of water, near Northolt Park & Sudbury Hill Harrow stations. I think there was also further flooding out at Haddenham in Oxfordshire.

For a time no trains ran yesterday (10th February 2009) between West Ruislip and London Marylebone. By nine o'clock (am) trains were able to run through North West London albeit very slowly, with flood water lapping away at the top of the rails.

It's all rather strange - this particular railway company was hardly affected by last week's snow, but surplus water brings altogether different problems.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's here at last

After a woeful attempt at winter on Monday, this corner of rural Buckinghamshire actually had some proper white stuff overnight.

This picture was taken earlier, within sight of my house, and is actually a colour photograph! I am quite pleased with it - click for a larger version.

My urge to rant about Chiltern Railways has diminished somewhat. They made a boo-boo this morning and voluntarily (ie I did not ask) put a Stop Order on a train to drop me off at the right station.

I am quite enjoying a week of pottering about. No London for me this week.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sorry to disappoint

I am really sorry, but you are probably in the wrong place.

I have been writing this blog now for three years and it does have a general focus on public transport in London and the South East of England.

Consequently on a day when public transport seems to have gone into meltdown, it is almost inevitable that a large number of travel related queries will have the various search engines send people in this general direction.

I was never going to be going to London today. If I had done, I wouldn't have been able to travel by bus ('cos there weren't any) and much of the London Underground seemed to fall apart, but walking would have been fine by me. Chiltern Railways had a few cancellations during the day (particularly on the route via Amersham shared with the Metropolitan Line), but generally they had a better day than most of the railway companies in the South East.

Because I didn't go to London, you will have to make do with this picture of a station in my part of rural Buckinghamshire, showing that we've had a pitifully small amount of snow so far - hence why Chiltern Railways have done so well today.

There are some published timetable alterations on Chiltern Railways tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd February 2009, and I think they've done pretty well by also suggesting (and inserting) alternative train stops.

It's not all good though - I am building up to a rant!

I hope you got home OK and that you have a better day of it tomorrow than you probably had today. The weather forecast is not brilliant.

By the way, can anyone explain why the Waterloo & City Line was out of service for much of the day due to the weather, when it is totally underground?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Winter Weather

Thankfully I did indeed make it back from France in one piece.

Why is it though that I feel colder here at home than I did in an Alpine ski resort? It's sort of a rhetorical question but, even so, the outside temperature only just nipped above Zero today.

For some reason this cloud caught my attention when I looked out of the window just now. The peculiar thing is that I can still see it moving away, yet other clouds that I can see (much higher) are moving in a totally different direction. Weird.

It may of course be a sign of impending doom as at 1549 this afternoon, the Met Office issued a Flash Weather Warning. The warning itself is a little strange, because Milton Keynes is mentioned, as is Greater London, but no mention is made of the in-between counties of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Maybe I do not need to prepare my snow shovel? Only time will tell....