Midweek Medley II

A mixed bag of bits and pieces from around the net and some of my own stuff, including photographs.


Yes folks it is time for sharing post, including some of my own photographs. I have a lot of interesting stuff to share, starting with…


The bodytext of this section is in #RedInstead because it relates to Autism. To be exact, today marks 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his “research” indicating a link between autism and vaccines. One impact his decision to go straight to the press without having his “research” peer reviewed first (it was badly flawed, and that is being kind) had was to cause measles to become a significant factor in parts of the UK as parents declined to have their children vaccinated. There can be no comparison between autism (a neurological DIFFERENCE – and don’t forget that different is not a synonym for lesser) and measles (a dangerous illness). However, in the minds of some parents, fear of autism has been sufficient to prevent them from vaccinating. Mr Wakefield has since decamped to the US (Texas to be exact), and he has just weighed in on an election in his new home, supporting the challenger against the current incumbent, republican Sarah Davis, who has supported vaccines. I am not USian, nor based in the area where this election is taking place, but if there is anything that could induce to me to vote for a republican it would the likes of Wakefield urging a vote for their opponent.

I end this section with some links:


I start with a link to a piece by John Jonasson of The Photo Bloggers, titled “En dag med uttrarna – A day with the otters” – as an aperitif here is a picture showing two of the creatures:

Having just celebrated nature with the above link, here from closer to home, is a link to a petition by the Green Party calling for a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century. Please sign and share.

I finish this mini section back here in Norfolk, bringing up a topic close to my heart. Stagecoach are closing their King’s Lynn depot on April 30th (a king sized betrayal of Norfolk Green, the company they bought to get that depot) and will not be running any Norfolk routes thereafter. This leaves Konect, Lynx Buses, First, Sanders Coach Services and West Norfolk Community Transport to pick up the pieces. Our bus routes are very important to us, not least since thanks to Dr Beeching our county has no train routes to speak of. Thus I bring you a 38 Degrees petition calling on the council to work with these companies to ensure that the Coasthopper service (under threat of being entirely shut down) keeps running. Please sign and share the petition, via the screenshot below:



Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

There have been two posts created by people responding to my Sunshine Blogger Award nominations. Anna’s response which handles the entire brief is also titled “Sunshine Blogger Award” and is an excellent effort. I have already reblogged stimtheline’s Sunshine Blogger Questions“, which does a magnificent job of answering my questions, and I share it once again now. 

The Autism Women’s Network have recently produced a piece titled “Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group?” (spoiler: the answer is yes).

I end with a link to the petition to save the Morley House Respite Unit, which now has just over 3,200 signatures – please sign and share!


This meeting will be taking place in Norwich on the evening of March 8th (I will be in Norwich that day on behalf of NAS West Norfolk and will stay on for the meeting):

Norwich Trans liberation 2018 A6 cmyk


This is not too difficult IMO, from my regular source, brilliant.org:

the cube


These are all from Monday:

BriggsSun on waterCormorantsCormorantCormorants and gullsNeck StretchflappingGreat OuseCormoranr vignettedMoorhenfemale blackbirdMoon 1Moon 2CMsCM x 5CM brownCM x 3CM whiteCM black


A Video From We Own It

A short video from campaign group We Own It.


This short but powerful video was brought to my attention by an email from We Own It, and I am sufficiently impressed by it to share it here, so that those of my followers on this blog who do not use Twitter, Facebook or Youtube can see it.


Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

Some thoughts on public transport, prompted in part by Lord Adonis’ resignation statement.


The timing of this post is due to the resignation statement of Lord Adonis, a man who I have very little in common with, but who hits the nail on the head with his resignation statement, which you can read in full, courtesy of The Guardianhere (an excerpt is reproduced below, courtesy of twitter):



The first time the East Coast Franchise hit difficulties, it was being run by National Express. The then government took it into public ownership, albeit with the (stupid) rider that it be reprivatised as soon as it was back in the black. On reprivatisation it passed into the hands of Virgin Trains, run by a combination of tax exile Richard Branson and the Stagecoach Group (as a non-driver who lives in Norfolk I know them too well and like them too little for comfort). The East Coast Franchise is now back in trouble, and the current transport secretary, Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling, as well as being a strong contender in the ‘most incompetent minister ever’ contest is such a ‘private good, public bad’ zealot that rather than take the logical option of taking it back into public ownership is bailing it out at vast cost, thereby setting a horrendous precedent which will enable any other rail franchise that hits trouble to demand a bail out. 


Not only should the East Coast Franchise be renationalised now, with it being made clear that it will not be privatised again, the whole railway network needs to be renationalised. The Labour party have laid out how this can be achieved – namely by refusing to put each franchise up for tender as and when it expires. For further detail check out We Own It’s Railways page. However, this is only a beginning – both because railways are only one part of public transport – there are also buses, and because one needs to consider how the system should be run. As I was typing this, the following came through on twitter from We Own It:

we own it buses tweet

Bus and railway services need renationalising, and they need to be run jointly. As to how they should be run – well there are two groups of people who should be represented in the body that runs public transport services: those who use the services and those who provide the services. If services are to be publicly owned (and these should be), they need to be fully publicly accountable. 


I have three final links to share which relate to this piece:

  • A second piece from the Guardian on the Adonis Resignation
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political has offered his take here.
  • The Mirror has demonstrated yet another way in which privatisation is failing us, with fares going up by an average of 3.4% (when we already pay on average five times as much as our fellow Europeans for a service that is probably not even on fifth as good as most of them get – I have travelled extensively in Europe over the years and most countries provide far better services than are available here in Britain) – we have on average the oldest carriages since records began (that average is 21 years old, with the Caledonian Sleeper holding an unwanted record with 42 year old carriages).


Here is you reward for reaching the end of this piece:

TW30TW29TW28climbing squirrelrunning squirrelTW27TW26TW25TW23TW22TW21TW20TW19TW18TW17TW16TW15TW14Sun on the Great Ouse11 lapwingslapwings and gullMallard drakes and white duck


Welcome to 2018

A little something to kick off 2018 on aspi.blog


Happy new year everyone. This post will give you a few hints as to what you can look forward to in 2018 on aspi.blog.


Headings will generally be in a cycle that runs red/green’purple, although this is subject to variation in certain circumstances.

Body text will always be in black unless I am writing about autism, in which case I will use #RedInstead

When sharing content from another site I will always link to the host site and the specific post and where possible will mention the author by name – such links will be a different colour from regular body text and will be both bold and underlined. 

It will be a very rare post that does not congtain photographs.


  • Autism
  • Public Transport 
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Religion
  • Cricket
  • Books
  • Photography

I will also probably find other things to blog about in 2018.


Cormorant and otherslapwingsCormorantfive lapwingsChurch and cormorantlapwings and gulls IIMoorhenssmall birdlapwings, cormorant and otherslapwings and gull11 lapwingsCormorant, gulls, lapwings


Please feel free to use the comments to answer the questions below?

  1. What are your blogging ideas for 2018?
  2. What do you think about mine?


Acts of Parliament Relating to Railways

A little bit more detail on my latest acquisition.


Those of you who read my post about James and Sons last auction of 2017 will recall that I secured a collection of copies of Acts of Parliament relating to the development of railways. I am now going to provide a little more detail about each item in that collection.


I am going through these documents in the precise order in which I came across them when I photographed them individually on Friday, starting with…


Farnham and Alton

The section of line this refers to is a branch that diverges from the main line towards Basingstoke and Salisbury at Brookwood, calling at Ash Vale, Aldershot, Farnham, Bentley and Alton. These days there is also a side branch from Aldershot to Ash, Wanborough and Guildford. 


Hampton Court

This little branch, which is still very much in service today diverges from the main line at Surbiton and has only two further stations, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court. More information about Hampton Court itself can be found here. I cover a potential use for this branch as part of a greater whole in this post.


Egham and Chertsey

This branch, which diverges from the Waterloo-Reading route at Virginia Water has stations at Chertsey, Addlestone and Weybridge, the last named of which offers an jinterchange to the main London-Portsmouth route. This branch, still very much in service, is a part of my envisioned London Orbital Railway.


Arrangements with other railway companies

Rather than dealing with specific infrastructure plans this one seeks to provide the London & South Western with powers to make arrangements with other railway companies. The necessity of bills of this nature, and the fact that on many occasions the companies concerned were at such loggerheads with each other as to be chiefly concerned with doing one another down rather than with providing the best possible service hints at serious weaknesses with having railways in private hands. 


Reading, Guildford & Reigate

This is a substantial line, running in fact from Reading to Redhill, one stop beyond Reigate, and these days having a southern spour from Redhill to Gatwick Airport. There are intermediate stations at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene and Betchworth. 


London Bridge

This was a matter of gaining access to a major London terminus. Today London Bridge remains a very major station, with interchanges to London Underground’s Northern and Jubilee lines.


Whitchurch, Andover and Salisbury

This refers to the section of line that heads west from Basingstoke calling at Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley and Salisbury. 


Guildford, Fareham, Portsmouth

This covers half of the line between Portsmouth and Southampton on todays network and the stretch from Portsmouth to Guildford which goes by way of Fratton, Hilsea, Bedhampton, Rowlands Castle, Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Haslemere, Witley, Milford, Godalming and Farncombe.


Richmond to Windsor

Both the Hounslow loop and the line to Windsor are still very much part of the network. This is one of two lines to Windsor, the other of which runs as a shuttle service between Slough and Windsor. These two branches which currently have terminuses so close together feature in a scheme I have in mind for the District line.


Staines to Wokingham and Woking

These days there is no direct connection from Staines to Woking. The other route, with stations at Egham, Virginia Water, Longcross, Sunningdale, Martins Heron and joining the western end of the Reading and Reigate line referred to earlier at Wokingham. When I attended Richmond Upon Thames I sometimes used trains travellingf this route because they used to go non-stop between Richmond and Clapham Junction. In those distant days the rolling stock had doors that had to be opened and closed by hand – no push buttons on that line, and it needed either considerable care or a willingness to make a very loud bang to be sure that the doors actually were closed.


Wimbledon to Croydon

This little line is now the northern spur of London Tramlink. For more detail on this line and its possible role in a wider scheme go here.


Reading extension

This can be though of as tying up a loose end, and the arrangements still hold to this day.


Havant to Godalming

This line comprises the majority of the main line between London and Portsmouth, and still fucntions today pretty much as it did then (save for South West Trains’ continuing problems with reliability and punctuality).


Salisbury to Yeovil

This little section, which from Salisbury calls at Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne and Yeovil Junction was conceived as a useful link. Yeovil has two stations, Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill which are so close together as to be considered effectively an interchange.


Yeovil to Exeter

A short western extension, which is still in use today, with stations at Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton, Whimple, Pridhoe, St James Park, Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids. 


Branch to Cambridge Town

No misprints here – what was then known as Cambridge Town, Surrey is now called Camberley, and this branch, which diverges from the line to Reading at Ascot and calls at Bagshot, Camberley and Frimley (well known to those who enjoy darts) before joining the Aldershot line at Ash Vale, is still very much functioning.


Sussex and Surrey

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway clearing the way for future developments in Sussex and Surrey, many fo which came to fruition and are still in service, and some of which fell beneath the Beeching axe in the 1960s. 



The London and South Western getting the go-ahead for expansionism. 


Basingstoke to Newbury

There is these days no direct connection between Basingstoke and Newbury. The mentions of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon are of interest to me as this is the part of the world I grew up in. The station referred to as Lower Merton is nowadays called Haydons Road. All of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon nowadays have London Underground stations serving them as well – the District reached Wimbledon in 1869, while Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon (which between them cover Tooting and Merton) were all opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended southwards from Clapham Common to Morden. 



Purely about improving access, and having travelled that way many times over the years I can tell you that the track widening referred to did take place. There are still regular services from Bournemouth and Poole up to the Midlands, as well as between London and Weymouth. 


North Cornwall

Something of a ‘portmanteau’ act – covering operations in a vast area and relating to many different sections of railway. Over 2,100 years ago a Roman consul named Titus Didius recognised the undesirability of unrelated matters being tacked together in big unwieldy pieces of legislation and outlawed the practice – an aspect of Roman law that we would have been well advised to incorporate into our own laws.

Excl: case studies show Labour investment WILL pay for itself

A very important post from the Skwawkbox


In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.

Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.

The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.

Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:

Crossrail for…

View original post 511 more words

Southwestern Publicity Materials

Some publicity materials fro,m the Southwest.


This is the final post I shall be producing about my first visit to my parent’s new home in Cornwall. There will be photographs of all the publicity materials that I picked up while down there, captioned where appropriate with links to the posts that they relate to, except for one section where I am following the route of my journey to Penzance and flag that at the start of the entire section. Thus, this post will contain links to every other post I have produced about the visit.


We start with…


This is the particular area in which my parents new home is located, so in one sense it relates to all of the previous posts in this series…

Rame 1
The posts that relate most closely to this are those relating to Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Rame 2

Next we have…


This features the Great Western Railway network map on one side and the whole national railway network on the other:

This map particularly relates to the posts for Wednesday, the first of the Saturday posts and Monday.

Network Rail mapGWR Map cover

Our next port of call is…


This is a stout little booklet, with a pictorial map as a centrepiece:

South Devon mapSouth Devon Guide

Next we come to…


These are all unrelated to anything I blogged about, but represent things to consider for future visits…

Riviera line 1Riviera line 2Avocet Ambles 1Avocet Ambles 2Avocet Ambles 3Avocet lineScenic railways in Devon

We are now going to cover…


For most of this section we will be following the route of my journey to Penzance, but first a couple of pics to set the scene…

Scenic RailwaysScenic Railways 2

Now starting our survey of stuff that relates closely to my Saturday journey we begin with the St Germans Walk…

St Germans Walk 1St Germans Walk 2St Germans Map

Our next staging post is Bodmin Parkway, for the Bodmin & Wenford Railway:

Bodmin & Wenford 1Bodmin & Wenford 2

Continuing our westward journey our next diversion is at St Austell where those so minded can catch a 101 bus to The Eden Project (the officially recommended way of visiting that great attraction – they are not great admirers of the motor car).

Eden 1Eden 2

Before arriving at the destination for our next section we give a passing wave to Camborne Town:

Camborne townCamborne Town 2Camborne Heritage Trail

It is now time to move on to…


Here are some maps of the Penzance area…

Discover Penzance 1
These maps relate to my post about my day in Penzance. The first two pictures are of the only item in this collection that had to be bought, for a whopping £1!

Discover Penzance 2Penzance mapPenzance map close upPenzance town mapPenzance town map close up

We have almost reached the end of this post, which we do with…


These are the last few bits…

GWR timetable
The official mainline timetable
Devon & Cornwall Railcard
I will not be able to make use of this, but some of you might.

Devon & Cornwall Railcard 2Cross Country 1Cross Country 2