Posted in Updates on Tuesday 24th August 2004 at 11:16pm

By my reckoning, Areopagitica - the Content (Mis)management System which sits behind this site - is one year old today.

I'd long wondered about writing something like this, and its actually been a rewarding process. The code could badly do with a clean-up - having grown by accumulation over a year there are all sorts of nasty hacks. Most importantly it does almost all that all the blogging engines and website gadget type things seem to, and its comfortable for me to use daily.

One thing it won't do, probably ever, is comments. I know I have often almost commented on a blog, but have mercifully just about stopped myself from going off on some ranting tangent. After all, all opinions are apparently valid opinions in this cosmopolitan internet world. In the current era of rampant content spam, and with a history of suffering in the flames, I'd say that the important people who might want to comment are smart enough to find my email address for themselves. A truly Darwinian comment system?

In any case, for better or worse, I've spent a year on this strange little project.


Posted in Reading on Tuesday 24th August 2004 at 10:01pm

I'm still gradually working my way through a reading list greatly extended at last month's Literary London conference. On the surface, these events could easily make me feel hideously under-educated and poorly read, but what they do in a rather warm, comfortable way is to show me other people's obsessions and interests.

Hence Storm Jameson. Until a month ago, a mystery to me. I'm writing somewhat prematurely - being 50% of the way into a collection of short novels and stories entitled 'A Day Off'. Prolific, politcal and feminist in a raw, egalitarian manner, Jameson writes with passion, energy and pace. The giddy shifts in narrative voice, and the incisive moves between blindness and insight of social interaction which she represents so painstakingly have aged somewhat over the past sixty or so years, but they still strike a chord.

A few successful forays on eBay have yielded further novels which I've pushed onto my stack. Criminally, Jameson appears to be entirely out of print despite mid-eighties Virago reprints of some of her work. I have no idea if I am reading well within her work. Perhaps someone out there can guide me?

Some links to biographical information:
Literary Encyclopaedia
Spartacus (includes picture)


Posted in Railways on Saturday 21st August 2004 at 8:08pm

Not, as I mistakenly thought, the penultimate week of the Class 67 hauled Virgin Holidaymaker specials. I had never intended that these workings become a weekly event, or a minor obsession. They do however release me from the need to imagine up new journeys every Friday evening. Also, they are a nice easy option when the railway is chaotically busy, overcrowded and hot here in the southwest during the Summer months. Along with the Weymouth and Brighton Class 31s they have maintained my sanity during the most frustrating and busy periods of the work year too. Perhaps the hypnotic effect of boomeranging back and forth between Bristol and Exeter is soothing to the soul of the troubled clerk?

So, set out in the opposite direction to usual. Decided to get a ride on 67022 which was working 1M89 - the morning service to Preston which doesn't call at Weston. This involved a unit to Taunton, and a change for a Voyager to Exeter. During the pause at Exeter, a pair of Castles (5051 and 5029) steamed through on 'The Devonian'. Arrived at Exeter to find 1M89 standing at Platform 6 - swiftly over the bridge and aboard for Bristol.

Arrived a little earlier than usual, and hung around to watch 1E99 arrive - my usual ride into Bristol these days! 67026 in charge - another required locomotive for me, one of three out today. I could only manage two out of these however, as 1M89 and 1E99 are mutually exclusive options.

67022 leaves Bristol Temple Meads on 1M89
67022 leaves Bristol Temple Meads on 1M89

Got refreshments, and enjoyed the sunshine at Temple Meads. Whilst waiting, noted the pair of Voyagers which I'd done from Taunton to Exeter this morning, and luckily got the number of the leading unit, which I'd missed in my hurry to get over the bridge, and was then obscured by an arriving HST! Some unexpected (and multiple!) platform alterations followed, which meant missing the arrival of 67018 on 1V15, but I easily made it over to Platform 15 in time for the departure to Exeter. Front coach aircon working for the first time in weeks, and some speedy running at least as far as Taunton, where things got a little sluggish.

Exeter St Davids busier than this morning, with some truly wedged services from Newquay passing through! Heard that 67005 was on 1V19, but decided that since it wasn't required a wander home on the curious combination of a Valley Lines 143 and a Wessex 150 which was working the Paignton-Cardiff would be interesting.

One thing which struck me today, perhaps rather oddly given the amount of times I've passed that way, is how impressively 'English' the countryside is around Cogload Junction just outside Taunton. Found it inspiring on my several passes in pleasant sunshine today - perhaps it was the rural element of my reading matter which persuaded me?

Movebook Link


Posted in Railways on Friday 20th August 2004 at 9:14pm

Since it was no longer necessary to attend court today, I took advantage of the remaining day of a rover ticket for some of the usual Friday fun! Out on the 1134 from Weston which was unusually held at Parson Street Junction. Didn't spot any obvious activity on the Portbury branch to warrant this. On arrival at Temple Meads, spotted 31452 and 31106 on the up through, waiting to head out south, and back into Platform 15. Finally got a better picture of 31106, showing its lack of headcode box - hence the 'skinhead' appellation.

31106 at Bristol Temple Meads
31106 at Bristol Temple Meads

Left Bristol on time, and made good progress in rather wet conditions. About two minutes down at Salisbury. Had thought about a wander around the cathedral, but given the weather decided to press on to Southampton. Decided to head back on the Wessex Cardiff/Penzance service which splits at Westbury. Hugely crowded, and some confusion about which part of the train people should be in - despite very clear announcements. From Westbury, stayed aboard 158865 for Taunton.

Long cold wait at Taunton for the 1756 back to Weston. Lots of platform switching going on to accomodate late running Virgin and Great Western services. During all this 66052 arrived with 6V70. My record of trying to get pictures of freight workings is pretty appalling, but this one was moving just about slowly enough to catch it.

66052 on 6V70 at Taunton
66052 on 6V70 at Taunton

Back to Weston on a heavily loaded 143611, which mercifully didn't pull its normal trick of failing when I'm anywhere near it!

Movebook Link


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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