Posted in Railways on Saturday 17th April 2004 at 10:58pm


First visit to London for some time. Set out on the customary first train out of Weston, and set aside most of the day for some railway wanderings around bits of the Capital I'd meant to visit for some time.

Kicked off at Liverpool Street, heading for Hackney Downs. A brief walk to Hackney Central, and dodged engineering works (despite an overzealous Silverlink Metro employee trapping me the wrong side of 'indicent' tape barrier!). To West Ham, then to Barking on one of c2c's new Class 357s. These 'Electrostars' are as comfortable, if not a little more so, than the diesel 'Turbostar' on which they are based. Very impressed by my short ride. At Barking, a swift cross-platform change to a delayed and rather dilapidated 150/1 heading for Gospel Oak. As we headed North and West, the train became pretty packed. The GOBLIN (as the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is known) is a little backwater I'd missed out on - seems well used, if a bit run down.

From Gospel Oak to Richmond, on an increasingly jammed train. Soon realised that Richmond was being targeted by thousands of Rugby fans heading for Twickenham where a major match was going to be played. Since I'd noticed a few Bristolian fans heading up earlier, I began to rather dread the train home!

Mopped up a couple more of the South West Trains branches which fall within the Travelcard area - namely Chessington South and Hampton Court. Both pleasant journeys. Hampton Court Palace quite amazing to behold! Just a few of the most troublesome of these little branches left to somehow travel on now.

Headed East again, for an almost complete circle of the city today. By the time I left Sutton for London Bridge, I was wondering if I'd made a rather time-consuming move that meant I'd miss my booked service home. A few worrying moments, but some fancy footwork at London Bridge and a quick change for Embankment from Charing Cross saw me back at Paddington in time. Needless to say, there were some merry Rugby fans on board!

An exhausting day - and hardly my usual trip to London, but fun nonetheless.

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Posted in Updates on Thursday 15th April 2004 at 12:11am


Frustrating start to the appeal season, with a school which would always be difficult defend. The jury is still out, but I'm prepared for a lacklustre performance.

After getting home, set about finally fixing Spamassassin to work with my IMAP setup. Got it filtering successfully, after a few abortive attempts. Seems to be catching the usual 'Microsoft Security Patch' stuff at any rate!

Spent the evening hacking on PHP and MySQL to finally try to coax Stock Reports out of the Movebook. Think I've done so to a degree as this example hopefully illustrates. Lots still to do to get it working exactly how I'd like and to present a simple interface to the various reports and queries.

Much too hot in the office today - Summer has started, so naturally it will be several weeks before the heating is switched off. The waste of energy must be criminal.

Think I've tired myself out with all the various dabbling today. Hoping for a pleasant sleep...

 


Posted in Updates on Monday 12th April 2004 at 11:58pm


I couldn't resist it - woke up much later than planned after the first decent sleep in days, and the first time I couldn't see rails zipping past when I closed my eyes. Bustled around. Had good intentions to clean up, prepare for the week ahead, and try to write some addition bits of movebook code...

However, I became curious just what had changed at Filton Abbey Wood, and instead resolved to wander up and check. Caught 1015 from Weston, and had a very pleasant journey in remarkably summery weather. Not much had changed from Friday at Filton, but work continues. Some junction signals appear to be up, and covered out of use. Little in the way of trackwork, which it was my (perhaps mistaken) assumption that the posession was all about.

Paused at Parkway, enjoying the sun and chatting to some fellow passengers on their way to Weston. Back by 12:30. Shopped and cleaned up a bit. Decided to laze around for awhile.

Later, went to the Brit for combined birthday/leaving parties. Marginalised and distracted, I'm amazed I lasted as long as I did. Chatted with a variety of people I'd not seen for some time, and enjoyed greatly one or two conversations, which made for a more pleasant evening. Remain convinced however that Gissing probably had it right all along as regards these socials - some of us just aren't very good at them. Wish I'd come to the same conclusions some years back - which would have perhaps saved me from years of desperately wondering why I wasn't having fun! Taking things on my terms, as I did tonight, made for a far happier experience.

Some statistics: 950 miles in a very confined area, costing around 3 pence per mile - remarkable weekend...

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Posted in Railways on Sunday 11th April 2004 at 10:23pm


As planned, set out to do the Great Western diversion - with South Wales bound services going via Stroud and Gloucester as the tunnel was closed. Comparatively late start from Weston, and a nice quiet run out to Swindon. A quick same-platform change to a Swansea service, and the sun comes out once again in the Stroud Valley!

Swift running to Newport, and chance for coffee at last. Newport is eerily quiet - combination of Sunday services and nothing much running through the tunnel. Flagged a Great Western going back the way I came, and settled on an Arriva stopper to Gloucester which gave me more chance to enjoy views of the castle in Chepstow and to catch a glimpse of preserved 73002 at Lydney.

Gloucester was a little busier, and allowed me the chance to relax in the sunshine for a while before getting a Wessex service back to Bristol. Chatted briefly to the driver before departure. We were scheduled to go via Hallen once again (seventh time around the diversion for me!). This time we were due to call at Clifton Down too, but the Bristol crew who took over at Parkway clearly had other ideas, and once again we skipped this additional stop. A sleepy and rather too warm journey, but pleasant nonetheless.

Wandered around an almost deserted Temple Meads for a while. Contemplated a trip out to Salisbury, but concluded that this would give me endless difficulties and tricky connections later. Resolved instead to take a short break, then reschedule my Monday visit to my parents in Highbridge.

Turned up at the station in time to watch the 1837 train to Highbridge get later and later - eventually arriving 43 minutes down due to a failure in Bristol Getting back however was painless, and I later calculated that in over 900 miles - many of them over congested diversionary routes, this was my only real problem!

Very sleepy - its been a long weekend.

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Lost::MikeGTN

I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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