Friday, July 31, 2009

A good result

A quick trip to the pub after work tonight, in Soho.

Left slightly too late, delays on the Bakerloo Line, missed my train home from Marylebone by about 10 seconds. Grrr.

Decided to catch the next train to an adjacent station and wait for an age.

Was chatting to someone who was meeting a fellow passenger and was offered a lift to the bottom of my road, taking them two or three miles out of their way. Most kind, and I thus got home half an hour earlier than would otherwise have been the case. Thank you kind people.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well, I never knew that!

Driving North and East past Heathrow Airport yesterday morning, for the first time ever, I noticed that arriving planes were using both the North and South Runways at the same time.

Five minutes of searching the interweb thingy has failed to reveal when this practice started, but I guess it must be a good thing if it helps get planes onto the ground quicker. Obviously it can only be done when there are relatively few departing aircraft.

During my only partially successful research I found this whizzy technical tool, Webtrak, guaranteed to give hours of endless fun to those so minded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Music in the Rain

During the early part of each Summer, the Royal Military School of Music in Twickenham hosts a series of open air concerts titled "Concerts in the Park".

Tonight was the series finale, attended (along with maybe a couple of thousand others) by three generations of my family.

The theme tonight was 'Last Night of the Proms'. Whatever the theme, the concerts are always excellent and tonight was no exception.

Having checked the weather forecast yesterday, we decided not to eat al-fresco. Instead my sister fed us all beforehand, dessert provided by our mother. food move.

Waterproofs came in handy, though fortunately the rain was not persistent enough for the concert to be curtailed. The bands soldiered on and a good evening was had.

I suspect that a bit of elbow grease would have been used afterwards drying all the instruments - pity the bandsman responsible for the three xylophones!

Hopefully back to the same venue in a couple of months for the Rhythm Force Rock & Pop Concert, including an appearance by Jools Holland.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

HP anyone?

I don't particularly like HP Sauce, so as a moderately frequent cinema goer, the HP can only refer to Harry Potter.

I attempted to go to see the latest film "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" on Wednesday, the day the film came out.

I arrived at Cineworld in High Wycombe at 8.50 pm for the 9.00pm showing (ie 30 minutes before the film would actually start, after the adverts and trailers). I got the to top of the escalator to find about 200 people in a long line that meandered around the mezzanine area. Given that the ticket queue rarely has more than 10 people, I high tailed it home and deferred my cinematic experience to this evening.

There was a bit of Sauce in this HP and at 154 minutes long, the film didn't drag. However there didn't seem to be as much magic as usual though there was nothing wrong. Near the beginning there was a sign in an underground station scene that said "Platforms 4" which was either a really obvious goof (not currently mentioned at IMDB) or a subtle plot point that was too subtle for me.

Overall, nothing to write home about, but don't avoid on my say so.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Away from the city

I have a couple of days off work.

I am down in deepest Hampshire, having just returned from a most pleasant meal out with my parents.

No tubes till Monday, at least two days with no trains. Even the drive from home earlier was quite pleasant.

Why am I so chilled? That would be because I have four days of not being at work.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tottenham Court Road - Update

TCR tube station is going through the mother of all upgrades - eventually it will be a mega interchange station between the existing Central and Northern Lines and Crossrail.

Anyhow, tfl have deemed it appropriate to issue a press release giving an update on what is going on. To be honest it's not exactly exiting, but it'll no doubt appear as a full page article in the Metro and will inevitably be regurgitated by lazy journalists in other news outlets as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AVP - Part 3

Back in January, I visited the new Aylesbury Vale Parkway station. Not just on one day, but on two separate days.

Lord Adonis, the latest unelected functionary that the nice Mr Brown is allowing to play with our train set, visited AVP the week before last. His visit was to formally open the station (which actually opened seven months ago, albeit serviced by a row of temporary buildings.

I wasn't able to turn up on the day to visit the farmers market (laid on for the day), but can confirm that the frozen loos and building skips have long gone. The car park is huge (and empty), when I visited the station was deserted with non-functioning ticket machines, but it is nevertheless a new station, a new extended railway line and Chiltern Railways are to be applauded.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Japanese follow up

Someone at Chiltern Railways is clearly trying to help the influx of Japanese visitors that pour into Bicester North, en-route to the Bicester Village emporium of designer shops.

This notice is now stuck, in a prominent position, on the ticket machine by the entrance to the station.

I sense that no further translation is necessary.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shadows stitch me up

This picture is of the South end of the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. It's easy for me to get to as Moor Street Station is just across the road - Chiltern Railways call there twice an hour in each direction.

'Stitch me up' can mean 'Make me laugh'. By the quirkiness of the English Language it can also mean that someone had something pre-arranged for me.

In this context I am being ridiculous - The shadows stitched me up, and they didn't make me laugh.

Click on the picture and you'll see what I mean. The ability of the software on my computer to stitch together pictures only goes so far.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday night - I'm expecting the worst

Holborn. Busy interchange station connecting the Central Line and the Piccadilly Line.

Five twenty on a Friday night.

The gate line is busy. The downward escalators are busy. The concourse at the bottom seems to have literally hundreds of people milling around.

Walk along the passageway towards the Eastbound Central Line Platform to catch a train to Liverpool Street. It takes a while. Everyone is walking with pigeon steps.

Walk down the steps. It's slow - I hear a train pull in and then away.

Onto the platform, turn right. Within seconds another train pulls in. Gird myself for the crush.

Doors open.. What? Less than half the seats are taken. Room for everyone to sit down. I must be hallucinating, or the train only started at Marble Arch. One of the two.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Going where?

Approaching Oxford Circus on a Northbound Bakerloo Line.

Automated announcement comes out of the speakers; "The next station is Waterloo, change here for... blah blah".

Cue some puzzled looking tourists. Waterloo is four stations before Oxford Circus.

In my head the Bakerloo Line is so solid and chunky with old technology it should either work, or it goes phut. A bit like a Bakelite telephone.

I was therefore surprised (and I've never seen it happen before on the Brown Line) that the on-board announcements got out of sync with the stations. At least it has kicked the hiatus into touch.