Scotland 2021: Homeward Bound

The account of my homeward journey from my Scottish holiday.

This post concludes my coverage of my recent Scottish holiday (28th May to 5th June) by looking at the journey home.

A TRICKY START

I woke early on the morning of Saturday June 5th, and it was just as well that I did so. A check of my emails revealed on overnight message from thetrainline.com telling that the service I was due to be leaving Wick on at 8:02AM had been cancelled. Fortunately I was able to locate a bus service leaving Wick at 6:57 and arriving into Inverness at 9:58 giving me plenty of time to get back on track from there. Thus rather than £100s and almost certainly an overnight stay somewhere on the way home I was able to get round the problem for £22 and some seriously shredded nerves. It also meant missing breakfast which I had intended to be the main meal of the day for me as I expected opportunities to eat while travelling to be limited. I currently have a compensation claim with Scotrail awaiting resolution. They initially insisted that I destroy the ticket even though it was only ever valid for travel on June 5th and then claimed not to have received my image of the destroyed ticket – I uploaded it again today and tweeted their social media team as well.

WICK TO INVERNESS

The bus was ready precisely when it was supposed to be, and the journey to Inverness was accomplished with little difficulty. Getting from the bus station to the train station was slightly tricky – I had seen a sign pointing to the train station on the way in and aimed for that but it was only signing the station car park, which is actually a few minutes walk from the station itself. Once I had got into the station I discovered that there was a train to Edinburgh departing at 10:46, getting me comfortably back on track – indeed slightly ahead of schedule.

INVERNESS TO EDINBURGH

The train from Inverness to Edinburgh ran exactly according to schedule. The route is a scenic one. I had three hours at Edinburgh Waverley before my next train (on which I had a reserved seat) to Grantham was due to depart. This gave me an opportunity to consume some refreshments (and as it turned out was the last such I would have, not greatly to my surprise).

EDINBURGH TO HOME

The train to Grantham (terminating there – there were various problems afflicting the network) ran smoothly. At Grantham I had to board a replacement bus service from there to Peterborough, which arrived just a few minutes before the train for Ely was departing. At Ely I had one final change to the train to King’s Lynn, which fortunately went without incident. At 11:25PM this last train arrived at King’s Lynn. Then it just remained for me to walk home. Though there were a few nervy moments this last section of the journey from Edinburgh to my home in Norfolk went precisely as the itinerary had stated.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have photographs covering Wick to Edinburgh…

Scotland 2021: Getting There

An account of a journey to Scotland that almost went off the rails before it had really started.

Welcome to this first post in a series I shall be putting up about the holiday I am currently enjoying in Scotland with my parents. I am up here for a week which includes my birthday (the day itself is tomorrow, and it is my 46th). We are staying just outside John O’Groats. This post tells the story of my journey up here to set the scene.

PLANNING

The nearest the railway gets to to John O’Groats are the two northern outposts of Wick and Thurso, and these days the end of that line runs as follows: Georgemas Junction, Thurso, Georgemas Junction, Wick, so it made sense to arrange to travel to Thurso and from Wick. I booked from London to Thurso to incorporate an overnight journey, and then later from Wick to King’s Lynn. Thus I had to travel from King’s Lynn to London to connect with the overnight train from Euston. My plan was to get the 17:40 from King’s Lynn and have almost two hours in which to progress along the Euston Road from King’s Cross and on to the train (going onto the underground to travel one stop is in this case literally worse than useless – the interchanges between overground and underground at King’s Cross and vice versa at Euston are both lengthy. Probably the least bad way to do it by public transport would be to use the Circle/Hammersmith & City/ Metropolitan to Euston Square and cross Euston Road at surface level. However it is a fairly short walk along the Euston Road and that method is undoubtedly best…

BEST LAID PLANS O’ MICE AND MEN GANG AFT AGLEY

I boarded the 17:40 from Lynn to London without issue, but then the problems hit. First our departure was delayed because of power problems in the Finsbury Park area, then when we were finally cleared to depart our driver was instructed to run as a shuttle between Lynn and Cambridge, and those of us needing to get to London had to change to a Greater Anglia train. It was soon obvious from the stated timings of this service that staying on to Liverpool Street, from whence I would have to travel to Euston Square was a non-starter, so the only hope of avoiding a long delay, the cost of a night at the Holiday Inn on Euston Road and the cost a new single to Thurso the following day was to change at the last stop before Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale, and get the Victoria line to Euston. Fortunately the problems between Lynn and London had used up my allocation of misfortune and I made it to my seat on the overnight train. Although this train was fractionally late into Inverness I still had over an hour and a half there before the final public transport leg of my journey to Thurso began. This, the sole purely Scottish leg of the journey, went absolutely smoothly and the train arrived in Thurso precisely when it was supposed to.

SOLUTION TO A TEASER

In my last post I included a teaser from brilliant.org and a little addition of my own:

A small additional question: can you identify the four mathematicians after whom Carl, Leonhard, Emmy and Sophie are named (answers to both parts of this question in my next post).

Here is Chew-Seong Cheong’s published solution to the main problem:

As for my little addition: Carl is quite clearly from Carl Friedrich Gauss, Leonhard is equally obviously a tribute to Leonhard Euler, Emmy is Emmy Noether, a great German mathematician of the early 20th century and Sophie is Sophie Germain, who has a class of prime numbers named after her. Sophie Germain primes are those primes where if you multiply them by two and add one you also get a prime number.

PHOTOGRAPHS

These photos comprise one taken en route to King’s Lynn station, two taken on the Victoria line train between Tottenham Hale and Euston, a number taken between Stirling and Inverness on the overnight train, a number from the Inverness to Thurso train and a couple taken at the house where we are staying:

Accepting Extra Walking: Hampton Court Palace

An ‘accepting extra walking’ post focussing on Hampton Court Palace, an answer to mathematical teaser I set on Saturday and lots of photographs.

Before I get into my latest ‘accepting extra walking’ post, I need to stress something. At the moment very few places are actually open, and travelling for leisure purposes is just not on. People wanting to put some of these ideas into action will need to keep an eye on the changing situation, and make sure that it is safe to do so before making the attempt.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE AS CENTRE OF A DAY OUT

Hampton Court Palace (I use the full designation because there is a Hampton Court in King’s Lynn and I also know of one in Worcestershire, and the palace, originally built for Cardinal Wolsey when he was at the zenith of his power is the parvenu of the three) is served by its own station, just across the river Thames from the palace itself, the terminus of a suburban railway that runs out from Waterloo via Wimbledon and Surbiton. Other stations within easy walking distance for starting your return journey are Teddington, Hampton Wick, Hampton and Kingston. More ambitious walkers might consider heading on through Richmond Park, aiming for Richmond, or even walking all the way to Putney or Wimbledon – all of these longer walks I have mentioned being scenic in nature. The Richmond Park route would also offer a diversion to have a quick look at Ham House.

This corner of Surrey/ south west London would well repay a visit so long as circumstances allow. There are many ways I could do from King’s Lynn assuming it was safe to do so. The quick route would be to change at King’s Cross to the Victoria line and change at again at Vauxhall to a train bound for Hampton Court. The journey back would be similar, though if I had gone for Richmond I might well rather than use mainline railways take the District to Hammersmith and then the Hammersmith & City to King’s Cross, while if I gone hyper ambitious and walked all the way to Wimbledon I might have got a Thameslink train to King’s Cross or extended that walk by a few more minutes to South Wimbledon and got on a Northern line Bank branch train, again going direct to King’s Cross.

I conclude this section of the post with some map pictures, from my battered old A-Z and from google maps…

ANSWERS TO
SATURDAY’S TEASER

On Saturday I posed the following, taken from brilliant.org:

I mentioned that there had been complaints and a change of wording and asked you not just to solve the problem, but identify the complaints and decide whether said complaints were justified.

Brilliant is a mathematics website, and the question should be viewed in that light. This means that the correct container to select is the one that has nine litres of water in it. You fill the 18 litre container, top up your chosen 15 litre container and because 15-9 = 6, you now have in the 18 litre container 18 – 6 = 12 litres and are done. The complaints were based on the fact that one can measure out 12 litres with the aid of any of the four containers you are asked to choose from, but every other method requires multi step processes and wastes lots of water. Since it was being posed as a purely mathematical question the clarification that was added, specifying that the process be completed in the fewest possible number of steps was not strictly necessary, since for a mathematical question that should have been taken as read. Yes, there may well be genuine grounds for choosing any of the other options, but those grounds are not mathematical, and in any case ethical considerations should lead one in the direction of conserving water.

PHOTOGRAPHS

We end with my usual sign off…

World Test Championship Final Arrangements

Today has seen confirmation that the final of the World Test Championship will take place at The Ageas Bowl, and this is my response to that news.

Today saw confirmation that the first final of the World Test Championship, between India and New Zealand will take place at the Ageas Bowl, near Southampton. The match is scheduled for 18-22 June. The question had been whether it could be staged at Lord’s or not.

THE PROS AND CONS

From a purely cricketing point of view the Ageas Bowl is a superior venue to Lord’s – it will produce a good pitch on which cricketer’s of all types will be able to get into the game, whereas it would only take one overcast day at Lord’s for the match to settled in favour of whoever was bowling at the time, and spinners would find little assistance at any stage of proceedings.

Of course, from a historical and emotional point of view Lord’s, the home of cricket, would have been far superior to the Ageas Bowl.

However, heretical as it will seem to many devoted cricket followers, I would never have had Lord’s in the equation, for all its history and status as a ground – had I been going for a London venue, for which I can see the logic, I would have preferred The Oval, a ground with a grand history in it’s own right, and far more likely to provide a really good match than Lord’s.

As it is, I expect a cracking game between these two sides.

WHY THE AGEAS BOWL?

The Ageas Bowl is one of two grounds in England, the other being Old Trafford, to have hotel built into it, meaning that if the health situation warrants it can easily be turned into a bio-secure bubble, as it was last summer. For all the Prime Minister’s optimism regarding the health situation and his so called ‘road map out of lockdown’, Chris Whitty has been sounding a much more cautious note, and I for one trust him more than I do Johnson. So it seems do the cricketing powers that be who came to this decision.

GETTING THERE

To put it mildly my expectation is that ordinary spectators will not have to worry about getting there in any case, although it is possible that they will be allowed. The Ageas bowl has a reputation for not being accessible, and there is some justice in that. I did a bit of research based on a hypothetical journey from my home in North Lynn to the Ageas bowl and it went as follows:

  • Use of google maps revealed that the nearest train station to the ground is Southampton Airport Parkway.
  • If one can be at that station by 9:27AM there is a bus that runs to the ground and would arrive at 9:45AM. Otherwise, one either has a seriously long walk (over an hour, and not terribly pleasant either by the look of it), or one has to fork out for a taxi on top of other expenses (this is a station serving an airport, so taxis will be available, but doubtless at a premium price).
  • To arrive at Southampton Airport Parkway at 9:27 I would have to be on the 5:39 train out of Lynn, which means leaving my bungalow by 5:15 at the latest, I would then have to change at King’s Cross to the Victoria line, board a mainline train at Victoria and change at Clapham Junction to the train that calls at Southampton Airport Parkway. If and only if all of these connections worked as they are supposed to I would arrive at Southampton Airport Parkway at 9:13, giving me 14 minutes to be aboard the bus. With four stages at which things could go wrong this hypothetical journey would be a colossal (and doubtless expensive) gamble.

NB it is notoriously difficult to get from Southampton town centre itself to the ground, so at least to that extent my methodology, anchoring to Southampton Airport Parkway, is sound.

HOW THE MATCH SHOULD BE APPROACHED

This is a one-off match, with no ‘rest of the series’ or ‘league table position’ to be thought about, so both sides should look askance at the very idea of a draw and should be eager to force a definite result. I would personally favour allowing extra days, or even making this officially the 100th timeless test ever to be played, and the first such since WWII, in order that we do have a definite winner. In the Centenary Test Match of 1977 Mike Brearley ordered his side to keep going for an unlikely final innings target of 463, even though a defeat was the likely outcome of so doing, and stuck to that intent even going into the final session with 110 needed and only five wickets standing. England ultimately lost by 45 runs, the same result and margin as the inaugural test match 100 years earlier, but Brearley was right to scorn the draw in a one-off match. Brearley talks about the match in “The Art of Captaincy”, while Greg Chappell (Aussie skipper in the match in question) covers it in some detail in “The 100th Summer”.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Time for my usual sign off…

Accepting Extra Walking: The Natural History Museum

A look at the Natural History Museum and possible alternatives to a straight to/from South Kensington, plus a related twitter thread. Note that the ideas around the museum are strictly for thinking about for the future.

To start a brief warning: the main attraction at the heart of this post is closed at the time of writing and even if things go according to Johnson’s ‘road map out of lockdown’ it will be some while before it reopens and before travelling for leisure is again safe. By all means note the things I write about here down for future reference but please do not attempt to put plans into practice just yet.

This post was inspired by a thread posted on twitter by the Natural History Museum earlier today, which I shall be saying more about later.

POSSIBLE ADDITIONS TO AN NHM VISIT

The Natural History Museum is served along with a number of other attractions by South Kensington Station (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines, subject of two station posts on my other site – here and here) and you can choose whether to use the underground passage that links the station to the museums or walk at surface level, where you will see some fine wrought ironwork.

Once you have enjoyed the museum, the logical next step is to visit Hyde Park, and there are stations all around that park that you could use as the station from which to begin your journey home. You could also head into London’s West End, where after Marble Arch you could choose Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus by walking along Regent Street, or go a little north to Baker Street, home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussaud’s. Also you could extend your walk in a westerly direction, aiming for Notting Hill Gate. For those interested in a longer walk you could continue beyond Baker Street and take in Regent’s Park. Here are a few map pictures of various kinds to conclude this section:

THE TWITTER THREAD

The Natural History Museum today put out a superb 13 tweet thread about a very recent meteorite strike (a tiny meteorite which did no serious damage – it’s journey through the earth’s atmosphere lit up the skies on the night of February 28) and about that object’s journey, a story four billion years or so in the making and yet 13 tweets in the telling. A screenshot of the start of the thread is below, and you can read it in full by clicking here.

For more about these sorts of objects I recommend the book “Comet”, by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan:

PHOTOGRAPHS

A very brief usual sign off – I have been unable to get out today since I am waiting for someone to examine an issue with my drains – they should have been and gone by now…

Accepting Extra Walking: The Darent Valley

Using an ‘accepting extra walking’ post to introduce a very scenic area of West Kent, connect to some of my more radical public transport notions, share an autism related thread and a bumper haul of photographs.

Today feels to me like a day for a non-cricket post, so here comes another variation on my ‘accepting extra walking’ theme. This is one is entirely, though tenuously, based on my London days. However, just before I move on, I must mention an extraordinary cricket related endeavour being undertaken by the folks at Inside Edge Cricket by way of their twitter account, @InsideEdgeCrick: They have just started going through the whole list of 697 England male test cricketers. As I type this they have covered the eleven who played the first two test matches of all.

EYNSFORD – SHOREHAM – OTFORD

I have made passing mention of this area in my posts about the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo lines for various reasons: In the post about the Piccadilly I was suggesting, as I still believe should be considered, a proposal for reviving the Aldwych branch and using it as a starting point for an extension into southeast London and West Kent, in the Central line post I explained its relevance to an even more speculative notion of mine, a London Orbital Railway, while any sensible extension of the Bakerloo line would take it through southeast London – there are plans approved but awaiting funding for an extension as far as Lewisham and from there the a further extension south east would make good sense, with Sevenoaks and Maidstone both major and connected enough to represent good ultimate targets.

In the late 1990s, when still resident in London, one of the walks I did was one that started at Eynsford Station and finished at Otford Station with a lunch stop in the intervening village of Shoreham (which also has a station, on the same line as the other two). This route took in the Roman villa at Lullingstone, a significant part of the Darent Valley Way and a few other things that together added up to a very scenic and enjoyable walk. This walk was in a Time Out book of London Walks, although even Eynsford, the closest place on the route to London is just beyond the M25. A quick disclaimer at this point: at the moment, and indeed until June 21st even if (big if, this one, in my opinion) Johnson’s lockdown easing plans actually work any travel for purely leisure purposes is out, so this post can be considered for future planning, but not for action in the present. Here are some pictures showing detail of the walk as I did it:

DSCN9755
DSCN9756
DSCN9757

For more on the Darent Valley Path, and for a walk that has a bit in common with the above, please click here (map of a walk of theirs which overlaps with the one I talk about below).

One could explore this very scenic little corner of west Kent by visiting each station separately and seeing only what is within a short walk of each, but the Eynsford – Otford walk, which I several times when living in Tooting, is a far superior way of experiencing the entire picture. From my old home I could do each journey with one change: Streatham – Blackfriars, Blackfriars – Eynsford, and then Otford – Blackfriars, Blackfriars – Streatham (my old home as I have stated in previous posts was on the borders of Streatham and Tooting, and Streatham station was a convenient starting point for a journey). From my current home, if the situation were to permit, it would require two changes each way, at King’s Cross and Blackfriars, while even if able to drive going by car would not be a remotely sensible option from either location. I finish this section of the post with a few more map pictures:

LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Just before moving on to my usual sign off, I have a thread from Ann Memmott in which she expertly picks apart an opening paragraph of a piece recently published in a well known journal. Please read the thread in full (screenshot below)…

Now, all of those who have made their way to this point, you get your reward, with a bumper crop of new photos:

Accepting Extra Walking 3: London and Elsewhere

Today we have a non-cricketing post as I extend my ‘accepting extra walking’ series with a look at Greenwich.

Welcome to to third post in this sporadically published series (see here and here). Today the London element of this post concerns Greenwich, which I have written about in some detail on my London Transport themed website (here).

GREENWICH

These days, since the Docklands Light Railway was extended southwards from Island Gardens maritime Greenwich has had its own station, called Cutty Sark after the old tea clipper (Ester has recently posted a picture of it on her blog). This section focusses on the various alternatives to using that station.

One stop north of Cutty Sark is Island Gardens, from which you can enter the Greenwich Foot Tunnel and walk under the Thames to get to maritime Greenwich.

Greenwich and Maze Hill stations are also within easy walking distance, and there is an interesting walk largely along the river front from Deptford. New Cross and New Cross Gate are both also within range. For the seriously venturesome one can travel to Woolwich to get a close look at the Thames Flood Barrier first, and then walk along the Thames westwards until arriving at Greenwich. If you use the DLR and alight at King George V station, one stop from the terminus at Woolwich Arsenal, you can avail yourself of the other opportunity to walk under the Thames by using the Woolwich Foot Tunnel (I actually did once do this precise thing in the days when what is now the DLR spur from Stratford to Woolwich Arsenal was the tail end of a regular train line that started at Richmond and finished at North Woolwich, located roughly where today’s King George V is).

If you do make a trip to Greenwich at some point when the situation allows, and your mobility permits you to be more venturesome I recommend at the very least making your destination for arrival Island Gardens and the point of departure for your return journey Greenwich. That will enable to you to enjoy all of Greenwich’s finest attractions.

My own plan of campaign for when the opportunity arises has two components for the outward journey depending on circumstances:
1. If the train from King’s Lynn to London that I am on calls at Finsbury Park, I will alight there, change to the Victoria line, change again at Highbury & Islington to London Overground and change one final time at Shadwell to the Docklands Light Railway, alighting at Island Gardens to approach Greenwich by way of the foot tunnel.
2. If the train to London does not call at Finsbury Park, I will board a Circle/ Hammersmith and City/ Metropolitan line train at King’s Cross, change at Baker Street to the Jubilee line and change to the Docklands Light Railway at Canary Wharf heading south to Island Gardens.

For the return journey I will aim for Kings Cross by catching a train from Greenwich and changing at Waterloo East to Southwark (Jubilee), and according to mood and time considerations will either change at Baker Street or stay aboard the Jubilee line train until I can make the cross platform interchange at Finchley Road.

BARNSLEY AND MANVERS

Manvers is a purely light industry location not far from Wath-on-Dearne. I had two jobs there, first for a mobile phone network provider, and then as a scanner operator enabling the destruction of paper copies of old documents. I was sometimes compelled to accept extra walking – the bus that actually went through Manvers did not start running until too late if I had a really early start (and in the second job, as a scanner operator, I worked split shifts, 6AM to 2PM one week, 2PM to 10PM the next). However I also sometimes chose to walk the extra distance to Wath-on-Dearne and get a bus back from there because it seemed preferable to waiting at the bus stop at Manvers. The first bus from Barnsley to Wath-on-Dearne left at 4:34 and there was another at 5:35, too late for 6AM start, but just early enough if one had a 7AM start. The first bus to Manvers did not leave until 6:33, too late to be of use for a 7:00 start.

A LINK AND SOME PICTURES

Given that one of the attractions at Greenwich is an observatory I thought this tweet from Milky Way Astronomers explaining the colours of meteors seemed an appropriate segue into my usual sign off…


Accepting Extra Walking 2: London and Elsewhere

A second ‘accepting extra walking’ post, this time looking at two very different areas.

As promised yesterday, I am doing a non-cricket post today, resuming my ‘accepting extra walking series‘. For this post, and any others along these line that I produce I will start with a London based example and then move on to something from another period of my life.

LONDON: VISITING THE SOUTH BANK CENTRE

There are many attractions in the South Bank Centre. In my case, with my love of classical music, I was usually going there for a concert either in the Queen Elizabeth Hall or the Purcell Room. From the then family home in southwest London I could take the Northern line to Waterloo or go to Streatham and take a train to Blackfriars (District and Circle as well as various mainline railways) and walk along the Thames from there, a slightly longer but more scenic route than the one from Waterloo. This walking route also takes in Southwark Station (Jubilee). Also, approaching from north of the river one could use Charing Cross (Northern, Bakerloo, mainline railways), from which one could exit direct on to a footbridge across the Thames, and if one was on the Piccadilly line this walk could be extended be getting off at Covent Garden, a short walk away from Charing Cross. Here are some pictures:

BARNSLEY TO WOMBWELL

This one comes from my university days. Barnsley had a leisure centre called the Metrodome, but if you actually wanted to swim rather than just splash around Wombwell Baths was a superior option. The basic journey from Barnsley to Wombwell is one stop by rail with a walk at both ends, but I did sometimes walk all the way there and get the train back. From where I was living at the time, on a side road off Doncaster Road the straight walking route was down to Stairfoot, turn right, and keep walking until you reach Wombwell, which does take quite a while. One little bit of cricket content: one of the roads one passes when walking this way is Roy Kilner Road, named in honour of the Yorkshire and England all rounder of the 1920s who died near the end of that decade from an illness contracted while coaching in India. He only played a few test matches, but his first class record (LHB, SLA) saw him amass over 14,000 runs at an average of 30.58 and take 1,003 wickets at 18.45 a piece. He was born in Wombwell, hence having a road there named in his honour, and died in Kendray, also near Barnsley.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Accepting Extra Walking 1: Some London Examples

Something very different from my usual fare, but every bit as much me as anything that has appeared on this blog. The focus is on occasions when I accepted a longer walk than necessary.

If this post is well received it could be the start of a new series, hence the 1 in the title. As a lifelong non-driver I am looking at examples of situations where for various reasons one might accept extra walking rather than use public transport. I am starting with a particularly dramatic example from my younger days.

STREATHAM/ TOOTING

The boundaries between Streatham and Tooting are somewhat blurred. On postcodes, SW16 is Streatham and SW17 is Tooting (the rest of the late SW postcodes are SW18 – Wandsworth, SW19 – Wimbledon and SW20 – West Wimbledon), but on constituencies some of SW16 is in Tooting, including the postcode I called home for 20 years of my life, SW16 6TE. That house was situated pretty much equidistant from four stations, Tooting Bec on the Northern Line, Tooting, Streatham and Streatham Common all on suburban railways, all of which were 15-20 minutes walk away. Before the time I am talking about in this post I had also used Balham, further distant but still walkable, as a starting point for some journeys, and had occasionally chosen to walk home from Wimbledon, a considerably longer walk. The two pictures below, both created by using google maps show the wider area around my old home and then a closer focus on its immediate surroundings:

GETTING FROM TOOTING TO BRIXTON WITHOUT DRIVING

It was in 1997 that I did a few temporary jobs for Lambeth Council via an agency, which involved travelling to and from Lambeth Town Hall, in Brixton. At that time I was not a big fan of buses, so I have to admit they did enter my thoughts. Because of the way the railways both underground and overground work I had basically two options using them: Northern line to Stockwell and then one stop south on the Victoria line, or Streatham to Herne Hill and then Herne Hill to Brixton, three stops in total (2,1), but a change and potentially significant waits for trains at both stages. I actually decided that the time saving was not worth the cost of travel, and opted instead to walk the whole way. There were many possible walking routes, and I experimented with a few different ones. I came to the conclusion that the best route for my purposes was to spend the early part of the walk there/ later part of the walk back away from main roads, so I used Telford Avenue as my link road from the end of Tooting Bec Common to the A23. Immediately after Telford Avenue in the Brixton direction the A23 meets Streatham Place, which is also known as the A205 aka the South Circular, which swings north towards Clapham before turning south again towards Richmond before a final northern turn to where it meets the North Circular (A406) – at the eastern end they do not quite meet.

NEW MALDEN – TOOTING

Between November of 1997 and September of 1999, when I returned to full time education, I worked as a data entry clerk for a furniture company, based in an office above their warehouse in New Malden. That is significantly further from Tooting than Brixton, and I had a pretty much unvaried route in in the mornings: I would get a train north from Balham to Clapham Junction and then travel out from there to New Malden. In the evenings, especially if the weather was decent there was scope for much more variation, as if I started back along the main road, rather than go into New Malden, I get to Raynes Park, Wimbledon Chase, Wimbledon and South Wimbledon with varying lengths of walk, each of which offered ways to travel onwards, and on more than one occasion I actually walked all the way.

Here a few A-Z map pages to help you orient yourself, and to end this section:

LINKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

This post, even more than most of mine, is very much an autistic person’s post, so I start the links section by directing you towards an excellent thread by Ann Memmott in which she superbly takes apart some derogatory stuff about autistic people. A screenshot of the start of the thread is below, and I urge to to read the whole of it by clicking here.

Next up, a petition titled “Bringing the iconic crane back from extinction proves that conservation works“. Please sign and share either by clicking on the title, or here. A screenshot is below.

Finally, the London Transport Museum have recently produced bitesize histories of the Metropolitan and District lines, which you can read by clicking the respective line names. If you enjoy their efforts, pieces about those lines that I created can be viewed here, here and here (three links, because the original Metropolitan Railway route is actually now served by the Hammersmith and City line).

Now, it is time for my usual sign off…

Italy 2020 3 – Ancient Ostia

An account of a visit to ancient Ostia, as part of my Italy 2020 series of posts.

This is third post in my series about my Italian holiday (2-11 September inclusive) – see here and here.

Ostia was the port that served Rome in ancient times. Ships bringing goods across the Mediterranean would dock there and goods would then be unloaded on to barges to go upriver to Rome. Other goods would go out from Ostia.

There is a huge amount of stuff to see there today, including most of the main street, nine metres wide and two kilometres long, bath houses, warehouse quarters, the theatre which is well enough preserved to stage live performances, the forum and other stuff.

It is served by its own train station, Ostia Antica, which is a very short walk from the entrance to the site. To get into the site you have to undergo temperature checks and to wear a mask at the gates and in any inside areas (and the Italians overall take mask wearing very seriously, although there was an anti-mask protest in Rome while we were there). My disabled persons railcard got both me and my sister as my designated companion in free, while my nephew’s student ID (he starts at Oxford this year) got him a discount.

An attempt after exploring the site to find a different way back to the exit was foiled by the fact that the site borders farmland which is under cultivation, and we eventually went back into the site by a not strictly legitimate route and headed back.

My ticket for the return journey got swallowed by an automated ticket gate and a new one had to be bought, and I was sufficiently rattled by the experience that I failed to don my mask before boarding the train back (my apologies to the passengers on that train for the minute or thereabouts that I was aboard while not masked up). While we were waiting for the bus from the train station at Rome a pick pocket targeted my sister and got away with a fifty euro note but fortunately not with her phone and wallet.

I have lots of pictures from Ostia, and end this post as is usual for this series with a waterfall video from Tivoli.