Cornish Winter Break 16: Falmouth – Getting There and Setting the Scene

The first of several posts in my Cornish Winter Break series relating to Falmouth.

INTRODUCTION

I continue my series about my Cornish Winter Break. Today’s is the first of what will be quite a few posts dealing with the last trip that I made as part of that holiday. This trip was unique in two ways among those I made during this holiday:

  1. It was my idea
  2. It featured a train journey

GETTING THERE

My mother and I got on the train at St Germans at 10:36, changed at Truro for the shuttle service to Falmouth Docks, and arrived at Falmouth just after 12:00. Falmouth was a planned port, first built in the late 16th century to provide an extra starting point for the export of china (it was intended to augment the existing port of Fowey, not challenge it – the person who planned it was actually a native of Fowey). It is a magnificent setting (my camera battery ran out before the end of the trip, but not before I had taken some fine pictures). After a pause to orient ourselves we headed for the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, which will get several posts of its own. The museum occupied as for quite some time, and then we had a brief look at the rest of the town, but I was getting tired by then, and we headed back not very long after finishing at the museum. I intend to revisit both the town and the museum.

PHOTOGRAPHS

P1300529 (2)
There are a number of these old train carriages in the grounds of St Germans – I am considering staying in one of them when I am in Cornwall in August.

P1300530 (2)P1300531 (2)P1300532 (2)P1300533 (2)P1300534 (2)P1300535 (2)

P1300536 (2)
The train approaching.

P1300538 (2)P1300539 (2)P1300540 (2)P1300543 (2)P1300544 (2)P1300545 (2)P1300546 (2)P1300547 (2)P1300548 (2)P1300549 (2)P1300550 (2)P1300551 (2)P1300552 (2)P1300553 (2)P1300554 (2)P1300555 (2)P1300556 (2)P1300558 (2)P1300559 (2)P1300560 (2)P1300561 (2)P1300562 (2)P1300563 (2)P1300564 (2)P1300565 (2)P1300566 (2)P1300567 (2)P1300568 (2)P1300569 (2)P1300570 (2)P1300571 (2)P1300572 (2)P1300573 (2)P1300574 (2)P1300575 (2)P1300576 (2)P1300577 (2)P1300578 (2)P1300579 (2)P1300580 (2)P1300581 (2)P1300582 (2)P1300585 (2)P1300588 (2)P1300589 (2)P1300590 (2)P1300591 (2)P1300592 (2)P1300593 (2)P1300594 (2)P1300595 (2)P1300596 (2)P1300597 (2)P1300598 (2)P1300599 (2)P1300600 (2)P1300601 (2)P1300602 (2)P1300603 (2)

P1300607 (2)
A superb mosaic at Falmouth Docks

P1300608 (2)P1300609 (2)P1300611 (2)P1300612 (2)P1300613 (2)P1300614 (2)P1300615 (2)P1300616 (2)P1300617 (2)P1300618 (2)P1300619 (2)P1300620 (2)P1300621 (2)P1300622 (2)P1300623 (2)P1300624 (2)P1300625 (2)P1300626 (2)P1300627 (2)P1300628 (2)P1300629 (2)P1300630 (2)P1300631 (2)P1300632 (2)P1300633 (2)P1300634 (2)

P1300635 (2)
The museum

P1300636 (2)P1300637 (2)P1300638 (2)P1300639 (2)P1300640 (2)P1300641 (2)P1300642 (2)P1300643 (2)P1300644 (2)P1310005 (2)P1310006 (2)P1310007 (2)P1310007 (3)

Cornwall for Christmas

An account of journey from King’s Lynn to Cornwall for the festive period.

INTRODUCTION

After a very quiet day yesterday, following a day of travelling the day before I am settled at my parents place in Cornwall, where I shall be spending Christmas and the New Year. This post details the journey down, before ending with some photographs.

KINGS LYNN TO CORNWALL

On Friday night it was the sensory friendly Panto performance at the Corn Exchange, King’s Lynn, which was excellent fun. On Saturday morning, with my packing accomplished I got the 9:20AM bus from just opposite my bungalow to the town centre (my baggage was heavy, so walking would have been very tough), arriving in good time to board the 10:13 train to London. Almost precisely two hours later I arrived at King’s Cross, with 45 minutes to get from there to my pre-booked seat from Paddington to Plymouth. The Hammersmith & City line (the district/circle line station is Paddington in name only) played ball for once, and I was at Paddington in good time. There was a warning that all was not necessarily well on the GWR when the platform information for my train did not come up on the departures screen until 10 minutes before it was due to leave. Ensconced in my seat I poured a cup of coffee from my cheapo travelling flask (it proved up the job) and waited for departure…and waited some more, until an announcement came through that our driver had been delayed on an inbound service and that we would be at least 20 minutes late getting underway. At this point I phoned my mother because even with no further delays that was likely to prove enough to prevent me making my connection at Plymouth for an onward journey to St Germans. I therefore arranged to be collected from Plymouth instead. In the event, it was fully 40 minutes after our scheduled departure time that the train finally got moving. We lost no further time on the journey, although the last section between Totnes and Plymouth felt like it was taking a long time. It would have been about eight and a half hours after I had left my bungalow in North Lynn that I finally got to my parents place.

CORNWALL

A combination of tiredness from the previous day’s travelling and some fierce Cornish weather ruled out doing anything much yesterday. However today we will be going to Looe. In the bad old days of rotten boroughs the two villages of East Looe and West Looe were both recognized as parliamentary constituencies, and each returned two MPs. These days it is well known as a seaside resort.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1280943 (2)P1280945 (2)P1280947 (2)P1280948 (2)P1280950 (2)P1280952 (2)P1280953 (2)P1280955 (2)P1280956 (2)P1280956 (3)P1280957 (2)P1280958 (2)

P1280959 (2)
A present from Karan – a London Undeground themed storage box.

P1280962 (2)P1280963 (2)P1280965 (2)

P1280966 (2)
Now Assembled (three pictures)

P1280967 (2)P1280968 (2)P1280969 (2)

P1280971 (2)
Pictures from the James & Sons christmas lunch – which took place at a Thai restaurant near HQ in Fakenham.

P1280972 (2)P1280973 (2)P1280974 (2)P1280975 (2)P1280976 (2)P1280977 (2)P1280978 (2)P1280979 (2)P1280980 (2)P1280981 (2)P1280983 (2)P1280984 (2)P1280985 (2)P1280986 (2)P1280987 (2)P1280988 (2)

P1280989 (2)
Christmas lights in King’s Lynn

P1280990 (2)P1280991 (2)P1280992 (2)P1280997 (2)P1280998 (2)P1280999 (2)P1290004 (2)P1290005 (2)

P1290008 (2)
Waiting for the panto to start (three pics)

P1290009 (2)P1290010 (2)

P1290011 (2)
A display at Paddington.
P1290012 (2)
Shots from the living room at Fort Picklecombe, showing some fairly dramatic weather.

P1290014 (2)P1290015 (2)P1290016 (2)P1290017 (2)P1290018 (2)

P1290019 (2)
Waves crashing around the lighthouse.

P1290021 (2)

P1290022 (2)
Sailing in these conditions is either very brave or very foolish.

P1290024 (2)P1290025 (2)P1290027 (2)P1290028 (2)P1290032 (2)

Some Thoughts on Transport

Mainly about public transport, but also features autism and cricket, and of course has the usual stack of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post was prompted to by events on Monday, when I had to journey to Cambridge and back – in the course of the post I describe that day in full. However, before I get to the main body of the post there is something else to attend to…

NINE HUNDRED THANK YOUS

Well actually 902 to be precise, since that is the number of you now following this blog. I am very grateful to all of you.

A DAY THAT WAS AN ARGUMENT FOR RENATIONALISING THE RAILWAYS

I was due to visit Addenbrookes for a check-up on Monday, and had to be there by 12:00. This meant that the last train to Cambridge I could catch and arrive there with sufficient time to get to Addenbrookes was at 9:44AM, since the next was the 10:44 due at Cambridge at 11:37, which would have meant that even if it was on time I would have needed Lady Luck to play ball to be at Addenbrookes by 12:00. Being excessively cautious when it comes to making journeys by British public transport I was actually ready to leave my flat by 8:40 and saw no grounds for not doing so. I thus arrived at the station just before 9:00 and with no queue at the ticket office was actually able to board the 09:10 train, and never one to object to having extra time to spare did precisely that. It was a few minutes late departing, and then had to wait at Downham Market for a train coming the other way to pass (there are single track stretches between Downham Market and Littleport). Speed restrictions between Downham Market and Littleport cost us further time. At Cambridge I got a bus to Addenbrookes, and was there just before 11AM, giving me time to consume an early lunch before going to the oncology reception and announcing my presence.

Although the consultant was ready to see me promptly the people taking blood samples for testing were running behind, so I had to see the consultant first and then get that done. The consultation was exceedingly brief, since the scans done a week and a half earlier revealed nothing untoward (no news in this situation is most unequivocally good news). Once it came to my turn to be seen for them the blood samples were also to my great relief obtained without undue delay. Nevertheless, it was 12:45PM before I was finished at Addenbrookes. I got the express bus back to Cambridge (£2.20 instead of £1 for the regular bus, but in the circumstances worth the extra cost) and was there in time for the 13:36 to Lynn…

Cue more chaos. There was an out of service train occupying the platform from which the Lynn train was supposed to depart, causing a late platform alteration. The service was also delayed slightly (somebody had been hit by a train earlier in the day and the knock-on effects of that were being felt everywhere). However, once it got underway it ran fairly smoothly. Between them having the blood samples taken and the consultation took maybe ten minutes, maybe less, yet I left my flat at 8:40 and did not arrive back there until 3PM, and of that six hours and twenty minutes only about 40 minutes can be put down to Addenbrookes – the rest was a combination of my caution and the inadequacies of British public transport.

Although I fully accept that one cannot prevent incidents such as people being hit by trains from happening the rest, including the service pattern that meant I dared not run any risk being on a later train than 9:44 when I had an appointment at a hospital on the outskirts of Cambridge at 12:00 and the platform alteration due to an out of service train blocking the intended platform are wholly indefensible, and in the case of the platform alteration happen sufficiently often to be classed as regular occurrences on that line.

We need our railways to be fully publicly owned and fully publicly accountable. There only two groups of people in my opinion who should decide how railways are run – those who provide the service (railway workers) and those who use it (railway passengers).

Here are some photos from the journey:

P1270922 (2)P1270923 (2)P1270924 (2)P1270926 (2)P1270927 (2)P1270928 (2)P1270929 (2)P1270930 (2)P1270932 (2)P1270934 (2)P1270935 (2)P1270936 (2)P1270937 (2)P1270938 (2)P1270939 (2)P1270940 (2)P1270941 (2)P1270942 (2)P1270943 (2)P1270945 (2)P1270946 (2)P1270947 (2)P1270948 (2)P1270949 (2)P1270950 (2)P1270951 (2)P1270952 (2)P1270953 (2)P1270955 (2)P1270956 (2)P1270957 (2)P1270958 (2)P1270959 (2)P1270960 (2)P1270961 (2)P1270962 (2)P1270963 (2)P1270964 (2)P1270965 (2)P1270966 (2)P1270967 (2)P1270968 (2)P1270971 (2)P1270971 (3)P1270972 (2)

A NEW BOOK RELATING TO AUTISM

The book is to be called Your Life As I Knew It, and you can be part of making it a reality by visiting the funding site for it here.

EARTH XI TO PLAY MARS

This section was prompted by a post on the Full Toss blog comparing Virat Kohli and Steve Smith and inviting us to make a decision between them. My resolution to the conundrum was simply to avoid treating it as an ‘either, or’ situation. With Rohit Sharma and Mayant Agarwal shoo-ins as opening pair that left me only seven more players to find to make an XI. I have opted for Kane Williamson as the fifth specialist batter, Ben Stokes at six and as fifth bowler, Ben Foakes as wicketkeeper (he is the best currently playing, though as a controversialist I might be tempted to see if I could lure Sarah Taylor out of retirement for this one!), Rashid Khan the Afghan legspinner at 8 (a gamble, but I would love to see how he fares as part of an all-stars combo), Pat Cummins, Jofra Archer and Kagiso Rabada (Jasprit Bumrah is currently injured, otherwise he would be a shoo-in.). Thus the current Earth XI to take on Mars is as follows:

  1. Rohit Sharma
  2. Mayant Agarwal
  3. Virat Kohli
  4. Steve Smith
  5. *Kane Williamson
  6. Ben Stokes
  7. +Ben Foakes
  8. Rashid Khan
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Jofra Archer
  11. Kagiso Rabada

As twelfth man I nominate Ravindra Jadeja, spin bowling all-rounder and quite magnificent fielder.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

P1270792 (2)P1270793 (2)P1270794 (2)P1270795 (2)P1270796 (2)P1270797 (2)P1270798 (2)P1270799 (2)P1270801 (2)P1270802 (2)P1270803 (2)P1270804 (2)P1270805 (3)P1270806 (2)P1270807 (2)P1270809 (2)P1270810 (2)P1270811 (2)P1270812 (2)P1270813 (2)P1270814 (2)P1270815 (2)P1270817 (2)P1270818 (2)P1270822 (2)P1270823 (2)P1270824 (2)P1270836 (2)P1270839 (2)P1270840 (2)P1270841 (2)P1270842 (2)P1270845 (2)P1270848 (2)P1270849 (2)P1270850 (2)P1270862 (2)P1270863 (2)P1270864 (2)P1270867 (2)P1270879 (2)P1270880 (2)P1270886 (2)P1270887 (2)P1270890 (2)P1270892 (2)P1270894 (2)P1270896 (2)P1270897 (2)P1270906 (2)P1270908 (2)P1270909 (2)

Marxism 2018: Martin Empson on Climate Change

My first post about Marxism 2018 – which has kicked off in fine style.

INTRODUCTION

The Marxism Festival is always one of the highlights of the year for me, and it got underway today. My train to London ran a bit late, but I was still at the venue in good time to do everything that I needed to before the first meeting. 

Double map, Kings CrossSt Pancras ISt Pancras IISt Pancras IIIRoundel

CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT DOES THE ANTHROPOCENE MEAN FOR REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY

Just before I get on to covering this excellent meeting I wish to deal briefly with a related matter: Jeremy Corbyn has been getting stick in certain circles for choosing to use Prime Minister’s Questions this week to tackle Theresa May on the state of buses in Britain. He was right to take her to task on this topic, and she floundered hopelessly as she usually does, unable to answer the questions. Here are a couple of charts from nomisweb.co.uk that between them make quite clear the rightness of Corbyn on this issue, which I found by way of the twitter feed of somebody called David Ottewell

and with car journeys added to the chart:

That vast number of people using the car as their main mode of transport outside of London is a major problem in many ways, and is caused in large part by the scandalous state of bus services outside the capital. As a concrete example, King’s Lynn is the third largest town in Norfolk while Fakenham is a market town in the middle of Norfolk. The last bus out from King’s Lynn to Fakenham leaves Lynn at 5:40PM, while the last bus back from Fakenham to King’s Lynn leaves Fakenham at 5:30PM – and this is still a better bus service than most of Norfolk can count on.

The meeting began with an explanation of the term Anthropocene, and then covered some details about recent heat records:

Display IDisplay II

3E before Martin Empson meeting
The room in which my first meeting was taking place.

Book Display

Martin at the ready
Martin Empson preparing himself.

No To FrackingTimetable FCTimetable BCCover slide

Speaker and chair just before the start
Speaker Martin and chair Jasmine just before the start.

Fracking plus WindrushDump Trump

The chair introduces the meeting
Jasmine introduces Martin
Heatwave slide I
The first of six record temperatures set in a very short space of time to be shiown here.

Heatwave slide IIYerevan record

Quriyat min temp
This means that there was whole 24-hour period in which the temperature was never at any point less than 42.6 celsius in this location.

Pakistan 5o degrees

Colorado
A heat record set in the country with a climate change denier as president.
Heatwave slide - final
The final slide showing all the records.

After this the speaker went on to talk about the inadequacy of the provisions made at an important meeting in Paris, the demonstration that occurred in Paris at the same time as that meeting and to end with a message:

Climate Change meetingCC protest

Gas Platform
This is the largest floating object ever built by humans – an offshore gas platform owned by Shell.
System Change Not Climate Change
The ultimate message of this meeting.

There then followed an excellent discussion as people asked questions and made contributions, before Martin came back to tie everything together. This meeting was an excellent start to my Marxism 2018.

Camilla contributes from the floor
This young woman was to be the main speaker at the second meeting I attended, and her contribution from the floor in this one was excellent.
Martin summing up the meeting
Martin Emspon summing up.

LGBT+ Liberation

Lot 1047

A detailed look at lot 1047 from James and Sons’ April Auction.

INTRODUCTION

When I did my post about James and Sons’ April Auction I said that I would be devoting a whole post lot 1047, an album of railway postcards that fell to me, and here it is.

IMAGING LOT 1047

I had time for only one close up in addition to a sample shot of four images, so this is what I did:

1047

1047-a

LOT 1047 IN DETAIL

Here are is a detailed look through look lot 1047:

Front Cover1234567891011121314151617181920

Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

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

INTRODUCTION

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):

adonisresig

EAST COAST FRANCHISE LOWLIGHTS

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. 

RENATIONALISATION AS START POINT

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. 

SOME EXTRA RESOURCES

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).

PHOTOGRAPHS

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

 

Puzzles and Pictures

A Boxing Day post composed of pictures and puzzles – enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

I have five puzzles to share (all via the mathematical website Brilliant – I am approaching a double century, my current solving streak now extending to 199 days) and photos that I have categorized in four groups. Therefore I will be interleaving puzzles and pictures.

PUZZLE 1: LOGIC

This is an easy one – Lestrade would probably solve it without amateur assistance!

jester

PHOTOGRAPHS 1 – CAIRINA MOSCHATA

In preparation for the Christmas Day festivities I went for a walk yesterday morning, and many of the photos you will see were taken during that walk – others were taken at other times of the day. I first came across these birds when they were in a group near Kettlewell Laneand since then I have seen a single specimen, in The Walks, on three separate occasions, most recently yesterday:

Mallard drake and Muscovy duckCairina moschataCm2Mjuscovy Duck and two mallard drakesCm3Cm and mallard drakesCm and mallard drakes 2Cm and mallard drakeCm and mallard drakes 3

PUZZLES 2: AN AREA CHALLENGE

This one should not be too difficult either:

area test

PHOTOGRAPHS 2: BUILDINGS

When everything is closed the opportunity is there to get unimpeded pictures of buildings that are usually busy.

Town Hall and Old Gaol HouseSt NicksLibraryLibrary frontGreyfriars tower

PUZZLE 3: EVEN AND ODD

This is one is tricky rather than difficult per se – and only 37% of solvers on Brilliant managed to crack it:

Odd and Even

PHOTOGRAPHS 3: LOCAL HISTORY

Recent renovations in the building that my aunt’s house is part of have revealed some very interesting little details, and I also got some interesting shots from the house of the person with whom we had Christmas lunch.

HCIV
The first 13 pictures are from Hampton Court (no superstitions and no truck with triskaidekaphobia here!)

HCVIHCIHCIIHCIIIHCVHCVIIHCVIIIHCIXHCXHCXIHCXIIHCXIII

beams 1
Two shots of the wooden beams at the house where we had Christmas lunch

Beams 2

Paintings
An artwork display at that same house that caught my eye…
train pic
…one picture in particular!

PUZZLE 4: A DIVISABILITY TEST

Not at all difficult, but very enjoyable to tackle:

divisability

PHOTOGRAPHS 4: WILDLIFE

We finish our photographs as we started, with a nod to nature:

MoorhenGull on crossMagpie 1Magpie 2Magpie 3Squirrel and birdSquirrel and bird 2Gathering of gullsFlying gullsFlying gulls 2GullsGulls and squirrelGullSquirrel 1Squirrel 2Squirrel 3blackbirdsblackbirds 3Blackbird

PUZZLE 5: THE INVESTMENT EXPERT

We end with a fairly tough problem to which I have added an even tougher subsidiary question.

Investment

My follow up, adapted from a question raised by someone named Anne on Brilliant is this: What is the minimum initial deposit required to ensure that Fred’s money grows at a sufficient rate for him to become a trillionaire if he lives for as long as Earth remains an inhabitable planet (the increasing size and temperature of the sun will cause this in 1 billion years, assuming that some stupid species has not already done so,