Homeward Bound

My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.

STARTING OFF

The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:

Sun on waterthree boatsTwo boats

Heron
A first for me – the first time I have captured a heron on camera.

On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:

Water viewBridge, Plymouth

I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…

Platform 7, Plymouth

Gull waiting for train
An avian passenger?

Posters 1Plymouth PosterPenzanceDevon PosterDevon Poster 2Departure Board

PLYMOUTH – LONDON

This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…

Across the water from the trainAcross the Water from the train IIBridge from trainThe seaCliffsAcross the water from the train IIIHeadland from the trainTown across the water from trainBoats and buildings through the windowBoats and Buildings from train IIBoats and buildings from train IIIAcross the water from train IVBoat and housesboat and buildingsRed cliffsRed cliff and two big housesStately homeRed cliffs, buildings and treesRed cl.iffs and red houseWaterfront buildingsWaterside viewView through the bridgeAcross the riverLarge churchLarge church IILarge church IIITwo towersSpire through treesSpire II

Plat 1
Exeter St Davids (two images)

Exeter St DavidsMonument

Chalk Horse
This chalk horse, carved directly out of the hillside, is visible at distance at a time when the train is at full speed.

Chalk Horse II

Reading
Reading station
Royal Oak
Royal Oak – the Hammersmith & City line’s last station west of Paddington. The next station towards Hammersmith, Westbourne Park, used to offer an interchange with mainline railways but nowadays Ealing Braodway is the last mainline station before Paddington. Back in the old days there was a connection – the first locomotives to run over what was then The Metropolitan Railway were supplied by the Great Western, while this extension to Hammersmtih opened in 1864, only one year after the original.

LONDON TO KING’S LYNN

I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM. 

Paddington 1View from the Hammersmith & City line platformsPaddingtonH&C trainCablesTrainEdgware RoadEdgware Road from aboveEdgware Road Plats 1&2

Hammersmith & City line
This picture was the cause of minor quarrel – I was challenged by another passenger as to why I was taking pictures of his friend, and it took my a while to get the point across that I was not, and that it was this map which was my target. His friend’s hat did appear in the uncropped version, but no face was visible, and my only interest was the map. I was perhaps a little harsh as I was fully expecting to miss my intended connection at Kings Cross due to the delays on this leg of the journey.

Great Portland StreetEuston Square

Kings Cross clock
The platform from which the train to King’s Lynn was l.eaving was revealed with a mere eight minutes to spare, and if you going to Lynn you have to go to the front of the train (or else get out and dash along the platform at Cambridge).

Kings Cross arched roofTrains at Kings CrossKing's Cross just before departureJourney PlannerAeroplaneStansted ExpressStansted Express 2

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral.

 

Kernow!

Setting the scene for my Cornish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

To explain the title of this post, Kernow is the Cornish name for Cornwall, and that is where I am at the moment, staying for a few days in my parents new home. Here is a map to start things off:

Kernow map

My parents new place is near Kingsand, towards the bottom centre of the map. 

In this post I will tell you about the stage I left the November auction in, describe my journey down from King’s Lynn and finish with a few pictures from the new house.

JAMES & SONS NOVEMBER CATALOGUE

I had booked Thursday and Friday as leave, and in order to be as up to date as possible before going on leave I agreed to work Monday as well as Tuesday. By the end of Tuesday the imaging was as complete as possible, and I had given my colleague Andrew a start towards the printed catalogue, with a front cover image selected and placed appropriately on the page and the back cover completed. I offer links to the files and also screenshots:

CatalogueCatalogue – coin book versionBC screenshotFC screenshotFC Screenshot 2

Why two versions of the front cover? Well my employer did not like my initial choice of front cover image, requesting the coin book in its place, and being me I kept both versions.

KING’S LYNN TO CORNWALL

The first part of my journey was on the 9:54 train from King’s Lynn to London, which mirabile dictu ran to time. As far as Cambridge I had the company of Jo Rust, Labour candidate at the last two general elections in my constituency. Ely Cathedral was, as often, a target for my photographic attentions:

Ely Cathedral 2Ely Cathedral

On arrival at King’s Cross I headed down to the Circle/ Hammersmith & City/ Metropolitan lines to get a train across to Paddington. The first train was heading for Uxbridge, therefore not one for me to take, but the second was bound for Hammersmith, and hence going by way of the right Paddington, the one that is structurally part of the mainline station, as opposed to the Circle/ District line station that should revert to it’s original name of Praed Street. 

Giant Roundel, Kings CrossVic, Met, H&C, CN&PAll KC linesLU mapWestbound, KCPlatform roundel, KCUxbridge departureDistrict lineMapsH&CPaddington

Paddington H&C
Looking across Paddington from the H&C platforms (these are platforms 15 and 16 of the main station).

Paddington all lines

Having a had a decent but not stellar connection at King’s Cross I arrived at Paddington with just under an hour to go before my train for the long-haul section of the journey was due to depart. Although careful to stay close to the information screens that I would not miss the platform number for my train when it came up I did get some photos while I waited for this information.

Paddington InfoSnack Van, PaddingtonPlansStation plan, paddingtonPaddington arched roof 1Paddington, Heathrow ExpressPaddington clockPaddington latticeworkHeathrow Expressironwork, PaddingtonDetail, Paddington

I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked during the train journey to Plymouth, as my camera’s battery ran out of charge just beyond Exeter (so no pics from Newton Abbot, Totnes or the approach to Plymouth). The train arrived in Plymouth exactly on schedule, making it a jackpot-like two train journeys in Britain on one day that had run to time!

Reading
The first stop out of Paddington – from here there was a long fast run to Taunton, then Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth.
Doom Bar
Some Cornish refreshment from the on-train bar, although at prices that would have made the proprietor of a plush central London pub blush (£4.50 for a half-litre bottle!)

Tiverton Parkway 2Exeter St Davids

Sea View from Train
A first glimpse of the sea on this journey.

Picklecombe Fort, wherein my parents have their new apartment is about 2.5 miles from Plymouth as the crow flies, but the road journey is so roundabout that this portion of the journey took almost the same amount of time as King’s Lynn – London had at the start of the day!

THE FIRST CORNISH PICTURES

This morning, with my camera battery fully charged I took some pictures here at Picklecombe Fort.

En suite
The guest bedroom has an ensuite bathroom cunningly disguised as a set of cupboards.
light fitting
Mean spiritedness from the previous owners.
Book display
My parents library.
View from bedroom window
Three views from my bedroom window…

View from bedroom window 2View from bedroom window 3

View from balcony
The rest of these pictures were taken from the balcony, and show the apartment’s #1 selling point – the sea views.

Lighthouse and boatsLighthouse closer focusHarbourAcross the waterboatsBig ship

Lighthouse special
The third picture I took featuring the lighthouse.

 

The Anthropocene

A post created from my experiences at the Marxism and Nature day school which took place at Student Central, Malet Street, London on Saturday.

INTRODUCTION

This post is based on a day school organised by the International Socialism Journal titled Marxism and Nature which took place on Saturday. To set the scene, here is the timetable for the day:

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THE TRAVEL

The travel should have been straightforward, since Malet Street is walkable from King’s Cross, but engineering works intervened. The first effect of the engineering works was that I had to get the 6:54AM rather than 7:54AM train from Lynn. After getting the replacement bus service from Ely to Cambridge the next train to London turned out to be a stopper, so reckoning on saving a bit of time overall, I alighted at Finsbury Park and took the Piccadilly line line to Russell Square. Having a little time to spare, I avoided the most crowded route, opting for a slightly circuitous walk which had the bonus of taking in this splendid commemorative plate:

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This post will be followed by several on http://www.londontu.be focussing specifically on the public transport elements of the day.

THE EVENT: PHOTOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW

Here before getting to the real meat of the post are some photos taken at the event. The event took place at Student Central, formerly known as the University of London Union (ULU). The opening and closing plenaries were in the Upper Hall, which when I first visited the building was known as the Badminton Court (although these are both beaten in the changeability stakes by The Venue, which was Manning Hall when i first visited, and then became Room 101).

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THE ANTHROPOCENE IN SLIDES

The pictures produced below come from all across the day…

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These slides are not presented in the order in which they were shown – the first 14 are from Ian Angus’ talk in the closing plenary, before we have some the workshop session I attended during the early afternoon and then back to Ian Angus’ talk.
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The derivation of the word Anthropocene.

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These six slides, starting with this comparison between the instability of the Pleistocene and the stability of the Holocene and ending with the indicators that prove to all who will see (remember, there are none so blind as those who will not see).

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THE WORKSHOP SESSION

I have included some of Ian Rappel’s slides above, so this section will focus mainly on the other speaker at the workshop, Sarah Ensor, who is researching the history of class struggle in Iceland and whose blog can be found here.

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MORE ON THE CLOSING PLENARY

The closing plenary featured Ian Angus, many of whose slides I have already shown, and Camilla Royle, deputy editor of International Socialism Journal, who had played a key role in organising the event. The event ended with a show of solidarity with antu-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery.

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Sally Campbell introduces the closing plenary.
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Ian Angus, who travelled all the way from Canada to speak here.

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Camilla Royle following Ian Angus.

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HOMEWARD BOUND

Knowing that a non-stop train to Cambridge would be leaving Kings Cross at 17:44 I headed that way in no great hurry, and was comfortably aboard the train. Here are some final photographs…

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The southbound London Underground routes from Finsbury Park.

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Excellent combined route map of these three lines, Kings Cross.

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Attending a Training Session at NAS Headquarters

An account of a visit to London for an NAS training session, including Sutcliffe’s Laws of Travelling by Public Transport and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with events on Saturday, when I attended a training session for branch officers at NAS HQ in London. Before moving on to the main part of my post I have a small section on…

WHY I AM GLAD THAT MY FIRST POST IN MAY IS AUTISM RELATED

April is Autism Awareness month, and here in West Norfolk we certainly did our part, with our hugely successful Positive Autism Awareness Conference. However it is also important to make it quite clear that autism does not stop at the end of April. Improving awareness, understanding and ultimately acceptance of autism is a year-round task.

SUTCLIFFE’S LAWS OF
TRAVELLING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have never previously set these out in full, so here goes:

Zeroth law: Any journey involving public transport requires careful planning no matter how apparently straightforward it is.

First law: If you allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a quick, clear run.

Second law: If you decline to allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a horror run.

Third law: Because bitter experience has taught them to make allowances public transport users are less likely to arrive late than car users.

Do you recognize the more famous set of laws on which the formatting of this set is based?

GETTING THERE

The session was due to start at 10AM, which gave two options for which train to catch – the 7:54 and be tight for time or the 6:54 and have time to spare for things to go wrong. In keeping with the first law of travelling by public transport the second option was chosen. The other person travelling from West Norfolk wanted to travel there with me, so we agreed to take the 6:54. On the day preceding the journey I called in at the station to make sure that the service was running as it should be (The branch chair had kindly arranged tickets for us, requiring in return that we make sure to come back with expenses claim forms so that she could reclaim the money). Here are some pictures from this preliminary stage…

We took our places on the train and having allowed for things to go wrong had a clear run to London. Callum’s girlfriend had decided to travel with us so she could have a look round London, and at King’s Cross she and Callum arranged a meeting point before Callum and I head off towards NAS HQ.

Walking up Pentonville Road (between Pentonville Road, Angel and our London starting point of King’s Cross this was quite a monopoly board journey!) we arrived at NAS HQ almost dot on 9 o’clock, and were the only people there that early. I took some pictures while we waited for others to arrive, including the feature image…

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The #TMI mural outside NAS HQ, with Callum standing in front of the end panel.
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A close-up of the end panel.

AT NAS HEADQUARTERS

Alessia, one of the two people running the session arrived a few minutes after we had, and let us in to the building. We took our places in the training room, and examined our training packs…

THE TRAINING SESSION

The training session consisted of presentations and some group activities. I found it to be a very valuable day, definitely worth the early start. The bit I enjoyed most came near the end, when we had to decide whether certain scenarios were things we could do as NAS volunteers, things we could not do or things that we might be able to do. At the end of the session Callum and I went our separate ways, he to meet his girlfriend and I to head back (albeit by a somewhat circuitous route). The pictures I took between here and the concourse at King’s Cross station will be featuring on my
London transport themed website, so I shall not share them here.

HOMEWARD BOUND

Apart from providing a few good photos, the return journey was pretty uneventful (yes, on the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend I had two public transport journeys pass without incident), and I arrived back home just over 11 hours after setting off in the morning.

 

Special Post: King’s Cross St Pancras

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my station by station guide to London. Following the success of my piece on Paddington I have gone for the other main line terminus among the original seven stations on the Metropolitan Railway…

HISTORY

King’s Cross and St Pancras are next door neighbours to one another, and therefore served by the same Underground Station. Although this was one of the 1863 originals, the platforms that now serve the Hammersmith and City, Circle and Metropolitan lines have been resited – the present ‘surafce’ level station dates only from 1941. The Piccadilly line station was part of the original section of that line which opened in 1906, while the City and South London Railway (now the Bank branch of the Northern line) got there in 1907. Finally, it was part of the second section of the Victoria line to come on stream in December 1968.

ST PANCRAS

Although King’s Cross (of which more later) is by some way the larger of the two main line rail terminals here, St Pancras is an extraordinary building, resembling an outsized fairy castle. St Pancras is now an international terminus, running trains to the continent, and meaning that over a century after he just failed to make it happen the dream of Edward Watkin, who guided the Metropolitan in its great era of expansion, of being able to travel by rail from Paris to Manchester by way of London is now a reality.

KING’S CROSS

King’s Cross is a station of two parts – the main concourse and platforms 1-8 which run long haul trains to the north and scotland, and off to one side platforms 9-11 from which trains to much more local destinations such as Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn depart. It is here that you will find the sign to platform 93/4  from which the Hogwarts Express departs in the Harry Potter stories. Having mentioned one literary association, King’s Cross plays a passing role in more than one of Edward Marston’s stories involving Inspector Colbeck a.ka. The Railway Detective.

MAPS

I have my usual style map images to help those of you not familiar with the area to orient yourselves:

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CONCLUSION

I hope that you have enjoyed this piece and that you will be encouraged to share it.

Sunset in Tseria

Before I get to the main meat of this post a word of explanation of circumstances: I am now back home in England, having returned yesterday, getting back to my flat in King’s Lynn at twenty to six in the evening courtesy of some remarkable good fortune – straight through passport control/ customs, short wait at baggage reclaim, straight on to a Gatwick Express service, good connection at Victoria which got me to King’s Cross in time to board the 15:44 to King’s Lynn. I had planned for the 16:44 and would not have been squealing with outrage had it been an hour later still, so this was a colossal bonus. I have quite a few more Greek posts to put up, but they will now be interleaving with my more regular types of posts, about James and Sons, and continuing to wage my online campaign to present the best face of King’s Lynn.

The balcony of my parents house in Tseria faces west, and therefore if one is out there at the right time as I was a few days ago one benefits from some very fine sunsets. Before the pictures of the sunset itself I am using this post to present a couple more pictures of folk art from the little church just below my parents house (see https://aspiblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/a-little-church-in-tseria) for more on this theme…

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