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So, here is the A-Z of the main points of my last month or so. Pictures for most are to follow!

Cut for stuff that might be triggering! )
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When I did the last one of these, I did not intend to make this into a monthly personal blog post, but then again, I’ve been busy. Also, the State of the Suzy posts were meant to be every month – who knows…?

 

A is for Anniversary. Yesterday was our 3 Years 4 Months anniversary. We didn’t do anything special (see under C) but we had a little celebratory meal inside the day before, in addition to the events under C.

 

B is for Busy. Yes, been busy again.

 

C is for Civil Partnership. I was at a friend’s, which was my first, yesterday. Malc and Ray got hitched in the Hotel Russell. A handful of random photo shots here, but suffice to say, we enjoyed the day.


D is for Driving Licence.
Well, I got the full “clean bill of health” from the HD Clinic earlier this year, so I decided I would apply for a driving licence. I’ve never had one before, and I did know that one day, it would be refused or revoked on medical grounds. Well, it transpires that as my meds sometimes make me sleepy, they aren’t even giving me a provisional. (They even sent me £50 application fee back, which came in handy the week before payday!)  So, Plan B was to apply for one of these travel permits (“bus pass” as they are otherwise known), or ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme). Bear in mind that I’ve now been refused a driving licence, I now qualify, so nothing to lose! I took the application down to the council offices in Letchworth a week past Friday (22nd July), and arrived in the post yesterday (31st July)! So, yes, I now get free travel, across most of England, off-peak (or all day in London & Herts). As you can probably imagine, this may well save me some money! Before anyone reminds me that this is subsidised by the taxpayer, my income is taxed too, so I am still contributing substantially towards the cost. I knew I’d be refused a driving licence one day, the HD would see to that. However, it was a bit of a surprise, but Plan B was a good one! (Plan C was to appeal Plan B, then Plan D was to appeal Plan A). Interestingly, driving licence applications give you six months to appeal in England or Wales, or 21 days in Scotland. Why the difference?


F is for feelings. Again, doing very well.

 

G is for Girlfriend. Caroline is now working in Stevenage, following the relocation of her work, earlier this week.

 

H is for Hospital, which was under A last time (Addenbrooke’s). Well, I’ve had the dietician appointment, fine; some good points included a kilo and a half less since my referral letter! I am still waiting for the call back re the other appointment from the Gastroenterology department, so my Doctor is now chasing.

 

R is for Randomness. Now, Dougie (thebustocrookes) does an interesting thread called #randomchocolatetuesday where he takes a random chocolate, photographs it, then eats it – the posts are a lot better than this brief recap. So, if I had to do one Random thing, what should it be, and when? In previous work, when I didn’t work Fridays, I had my own personal policy of “try something new Friday” – back in the days before this blog! So, what should mine be? Transport related, GF food related, Health related, Love related, Clothing related, Shopping related, Coffee related? Thoughts would be welcome…

 

S is for Shopping. End of month means a few new things, as ever. However, I mention this as I’ve got a new wardrobe – well, got some more clothing, ordered online. MY account was clear, and it’s around this time of year that I need some stuff for both seasons. Some stuff I’d not had on in a long time… C seems to like the way the slinky vests go around my chest!

 

T is for Tigers. Well, I will try and keep transport stuff separate from these posts, but Tiger Line/Woottens are my main employer, so there may be the odd sighting or report here! In my post earlier today, I explain how things are going, with a picture of one of the repainted buses. Monday 9th August is the target date, and I’ve just got the resetting of the Wayfarer (ticket machines), setting up the electronic blinds (the traditional blinds for the new Tigers have arrived, and been fitted) and the last bit of route learning, and the launch. Duties are being issued to drivers this week, and all going well, we’re ready to roll on 9th August 2010. You can see a set of pictures here, which includes some “mid-way through” shots.

 

 

On top of all that, there are some other projects that I’m doing, behind the scenes.

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I thought of a new way to update the diary, and a twist on the posting style of Busto aka [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes ...

 

… so, instead of a ten point random post, here’s what has happened to me over the last few weeks, in an A-Z format. It incorporates previous postings, and if you like it, I will do one as often as I can! I tried making it transport free, but there are a few posts to fill things up! Don’t forget, you can always see my latest transport pictures at http://pics.suzyscott.com and click on “Last” in the bottom-right hand corner. Tell me how you liked that, and I might manage to make it to 26 posts one day!


A is for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, who have cancelled one of C’s appointments for later in the year now twice, in each case moving further down the calendar. The same department also have ran into problems when I tried to change one of my appointments. I tried to change the date, after our plans for August had changed. So, I called, tried twice, eventually got given someone else’s direct number. I called, and got through on 2nd occasion. With a very “how did you get this number” note in her voice, she promised to call me back. As you’ll see under C, it’s already been overtaken by a request to see a dietician – but, being in Hertfordshire, we have the unique situation of being referred to a consultant at Addenbrooke’s, and a dietician who works around from Lister Hospital

 

B is for Barclays Cycle Hire, as TfL insist we call it. I liked Boris’s comments when it was launched – although these were not included in the press release! He said “I'm so thrilled to be announcing that Barclays Bank, after years of taking extortionate charges from me, is doing an amazing and wonderful thing,” he said. “I think there could not be a better sign of Barclays' commitment to this city, to the environment and to a wonderful means of transport.”

 

C is for Coeliac Disease. I’m slowly getting used to this being the resolution that I have sought for so long, and am getting used to everything involved. We went to a “Newly Diagnosed” event in Stevington, Bedford, on Thursday evening, which was well worth the time. I’ve got a dieticians appointment coming up later this month.

 

D is for Depression. I did get really down a few weeks back, but it’s forgotten, because I’ve been fine since.

 

E is for [livejournal.com profile] elaine4queen. We went into London yesterday (see P entry below). After lunch, we went out to Bethnal Green, meeting up with Elaine for the first time – and of course, her dog Poppet. We talked, and then we went out with dorg on a walk through Hackney City Farm and adjacent parks, before walking along the Regents Canal path to Cambridge Heath. From there, back to hers briefly, before going home – tired but happy. See all Saturday’s pictures here – including one of the Dundee Arms pub! (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)

 

F is for funding. Got a letter the other day… you remember I went to Charing Cross for one day last Summer, after waiting months and getting two appointments within days of each other? Well… I wanted to use it to get some follow-up assistance, and screenings, etc. They wanted to see the funding before seeing me – not from me, but from the relevant NHS trust. After all, I’d had the policy documents (obtained via Freedom of Information) that said they would… but these letters, for whatever reason, do not include the discussion. Sometimes I just wish they'd get on with it...!

 

H is for Helpline. Wednesday 30th June was the last day of the current arrangement with the Ormiston Children & Families Trust’s tenure on the helpline – the only one of the original seven from the start on 1st January 2003 – ending. The tender was lost to Partners of Prisoners (POPS) in Manchester… I wasn’t aware that the PFH brand and name cannot be transferred, so, it’s now going to be the Offenders Families Helpline… anyway, we had a fantastic “last Supper” evening, in the adjacent Milton Country Park. We were all given thank-you letters to show appreciation from our own boss, as well as one of the Ormiston directors. I took a few pictures, and you can see those here.

 

I is for iPod. Well, I had an iPod touch, and shortly after the original warranty expired, it started having problems with syncing and charing. Well, it was like the internal circuits had gone. Tried to get this replaced by the bank, under the extended warranty that comes with such. £25 excess seemed not too bad, so I tried taking it into the Apple Store at Cambridge’s Grand Arcade. I say tried, but it was the day after the launch of iPhone 4 (when everyone finds the bugs)… After waiting for 20 minutes to see someone, I explained what was wrong. He cut over me three times, trying to second-guess the problem (which doesn’t do much for my confidence!) So, I was then told to book an appointment… from the TV screens, the next one was another 3hours 20mins away, all to book a repair. Decided against waiting, and we stopped in a 2nd hand store in Cambridge, buying a replacement (non-Touch) for little more than the excess, and a lot less than brand new. Well, it didn’t work, and we were about to take it back, when C got it to work on the MacMini... Apple have gone down in my estimation, certainly in their UK Retail business.

 

N is for National Express. I did have a run-in with a 787 driver on Wednesday after work. He took offence that I tried to pay for a £13.90 fare… with two tenners. I had no more change, I took that straight out the cashpoint. I’d planned to be home earlier, but I was working on some BSOG stuff. Anyway, we'll see what happens.

 

P is for Pride. As you will see from E above, we went into London yesterday, Saturday. This was the occasion of London Pride 2010, and we helped to set up the LLGS stall. Did a few hours there, then we went for lunch… then see under E for the rest of the day! . (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)
 

S is for syrups. After finding some Monin coffee syrups on holiday, bought a mixed case load via Udal Supplies… Well recommended, and all gluten free!

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Radio related this time - and you may recall that back in 2007, I mentioned BamBam on Capital FM. Well, that didn't last long. However, Bamster.com is back with new, unbroadcastable stuff, which includes the AOL call - highly recommended! WARNING - contains strong language!
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Yesterday (Tuesday 20th April) was an interesting day.


Firstly, I ordered a Blackberry Curve 8520 over the weekend, and it turned up shortly before leaving for London. To illustrate this, my current mobile (the Nokia 5000 that David bought me almost a year ago) keeps turning itself off when on screensaver mode. I pay £10 a month for a SIM-only package with o2, which is 150 any network minutes and 300 text messages. I do, however, use a lot of mobile internet data. On the days when I don’t want to take my laptop with me, I use my mobile phone to check my email (and sometimes other sites i.e. National Rail) via WAP. This uses about £5 worth of data a month, so you can see why change was needed. Well, o2’s Blackberry plans (just like those for the iPhone) are rather expensive, so I had a look at T-Mobile.

I had the offer of getting the 8520 for £27 and paying the same as what I am currently paying i.e. £15 a month, for 100 minutes and 100 text messages, plus a flexible booster to add something of value i.e. unlimited text messages, plus all the data the Blackberry can eat. So, I can get all this for the same as what I’m currently paying, plus being able to fix the cost. In the end, I decided to splash out another £5 a month i.e. £20 in total, to increase from 100 to 300 any network minutes, and this got me the brand new 8520 for free. That’ll do. I like the keyboard layout having letters and numbers in QWERTY format, as opposed to pressing each key up to seven times! Feel bad about leaving o2, but, they’ve had quite a few years of money out of me! The Nokia 5000 will be kept as a spare phone, alongside the other handsets that I am now collecting.

 

So, aside from that, I went into London, to do my first “solo” shift for Switchboard. Before hand, had arranged to meet Malc in central London for lunch. Before doing so, I stopped at Kings Cross Post Office, to send an envelope up to my mother & sister in Dundee. As I was queuing, I could see some small photo printer boxes. I’ve been looking for one of those for a while, and could not see them elsewhere! This one is an AGFA AP-1100, and I went over to that part of the shop, and asked to see it. The person behind the till took one down, blew the dust off it, apologised, then got a cloth and cleaned the rest of the dust off! It’s a little thing that prints 6x4 pictures. For the times when I need one, I normally get prints made online. Well, the supplies (paper and ribbon) for this thermal printer work out around 30p each, which is the same as I’m usually paying for small numbers of prints, plus, no waiting! If you are thinking “more extravagance”, well, it was only £19.99. Result.

 

We went for lunch, then towards the top end of Tottenham Court Road. While I was waiting, I spotted an unofficial campaign to get Londoners off the buses, and walking. You can read more about this here. I’ve taken a few pictures of the slogans, and you can see those here.


After all that, to work! It was a good afternoon, once it got going, and I went home into the evening peak, very happy with all that I’d done.

 

Today and tomorrow (Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd April) is a day working from home, and deliveries.

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TfL figures confirm the Circle line is now worse after being extended to Hammersmith
Longer waits and fewer trains after Circle line extension
Ross Lydall and Miranda Bryant
16.03.10

Commuters on the redesigned Circle line are suffering much longer waits between services and fewer trains, official figures reveal today.

Transport for London's own figures prove what many passengers have suspected for weeks — that the line is now worse after being extended to Hammersmith. This is despite promises that the changes would improve the Tube's least reliable line.

In the four weeks after the Circle was turned into a “lasso line” between Edgware Road and Hammersmith, the number of trains in service and the distance they travelled both fell — with rush-hours worst affected.

The number of trains in service fell from 93.2 per cent of the target in the previous period to 90.4 per cent, while the distance travelled by peak-hour trains fell from 90 per cent of target to 87.8 per cent.

Problems have also been caused by the decision to reduce the service from seven to six trains an hour — or one every 10 minutes. At times passengers have been forced to wait up to 20 minutes for a train, while being charged premium fares to travel in Zone 1. Total average journey times on the Circle line are also longer than a year ago.

Today passengers said they now avoided the line, or factored in extra time for their journeys. Others called for the line to be returned to its original clockwise and counter-clockwise “full circle” routes.

Andrew Bosi, chairman of the Capital Transport Campaign, said there were longer gaps between services, passengers were now forced to change trains at Edgware Road and trains were delayed entering Hammersmith station because of a lack of platforms.

He said: “Those additional passenger delays are unacceptable. What makes this particularly irritating is the way Transport for London marketed the change as though it was a vast improvement.”

Murad Qureshi, a Labour member of the London Assembly, said: “As someone who welcomed the operational change, I'm very disappointed. There doesn't seem to have been a better service as a result. I think the problem is still Edgware Road station. The Circle is the one service that seems to go down immediately when anything happens on the District, Metropolitan or Hammersmith and City [lines].”

The Circle line is the Tube's least reliable because it shares the majority of its 14 miles of track with other services on the District, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines.

The line is also one of the worst affected by weekend engineering work. It is due to close entirely for 10 weekends between the end of March and mid-July, including the four days over Easter, for track upgrades.

Other difficulties were caused by the absence of a terminus — a problem TfL said would be eased by allowing trains to “recover” at Hammersmith and Edgware Road before embarking on a new trip. The line is used by 218,000 passengers each weekday.

TfL said reliability — in terms of the “excess waiting time” taken by passengers to complete their journey — had improved by 43 per cent in the past 12 weeks.

Richard Parry, interim managing director of London Underground, said: “Instead of waiting five minutes for a dedicated Circle line train, customers are waiting six minutes... on more occasions than in the past we are getting much closer to the 10-minute frequency.
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Friday 5th March was a day working at Helpline. There is a slight glimmer of hope in a meeting being held on Monday 15th to discuss plans, but beyond that, no-one yet knows what will happen, or how, with regards the transfer of the service. Back home in the afternoon, bought a few things in Cambridge to make dinner, and then prepared for Saturday. I took a few pictures in Cambridge, and you can see them here.

Saturday 6th March was the 2010 Million Womens Rise – and Switchboard had a presence in Trafalgar Square! So, we went into London, had breakfat at Camino (near Kings Cross) before continuing. Lots of fun, although cold and a bit tired towards the end! We then continued to a Spanish resturant C liked the sound of in Portobello Road, so we went out west, but (as we went in spec) we didn't realise they were closed for a private party! So, back to town on a 23 bus, until we spotted Star Of Bombay on Westbourne Grove. Good food, although I was a little tired and didn't properly enjoy it. Cab back to Kings Cross via Edgware Road and Camden Town, before a ride back to Hertford North, for a rail replacement bus back to Royston. You can see the pictures that I took here - a mix of rally/march pics and some bus stuff!

Sunday 7th March was a day to catch up and relax!

Monday 8th March was mostly working at home for Woottens, and lots of work done on the Tiger Line page on Facebook, plus promoting the service changes from 19th April. Happy International Womens Day all!

 


 

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I've been extremly busy with many things over the last 12 days since my previous LJ post.

Wednesday 17th February was quiet at home.

Thursday 18th February was an afternoon out. Caroline had the afternoon off work, for an evening social with LLGS Womens Group. So, we travelled into London, dropped off a package for Malc, before continuing to the West End to get some new jeans at Evans for me (as well as some shoes!), partially following Tesco no longer stocking the sizes that they used to (except online). From there, we had dinner at Pizza Express, before continuing to Elephant & Castle by taxi (a gap in the 148's in lashing rain!). While the rain deterred some, we had coffee before browsing an exhibition "Another Side Of The Rainbow", placed in the shopping centre for LGBT History Month. We then continued by Tube to Angel, before going for a couple in The Castle (pub in Islington), back to Kings Cross, then home by train.

Friday 19th February was in Cambridge, doing a day on the PFH, before back home via The Grafton.

Saturday 20th February, first of all, was subject to railway engineering work between Hitchin and Stevenage, so I decided to avoid this by getting C to drop me off at Whittlesford Parkway, taking the National Express East Anglia Cambridge – London Liverpool Street line. Bonus – a new route for me! On the outward journey, I took the train to Tottenham Hale, before changing there onto the Victoria tube line. I was heading to a building near Victoria, for an away day organised by the Womens Group of LLGS. It wasn't work, it wasn't a social, but a mix of both. Additionally, I am now one of the four co-ordinators (below the two co-chairs) of the group, voted in on the day. From there, a couple in an adjacent pub, before I took bus 11 home from Westminster to Liverpool Street, changing there for a train to Whittlesford Parkway.

Sunday 21st February was a day at home.

Monday 22nd February was an essential day out. However, a couple of snags before I got the chance to get out the door! Snow had fallen, quite a bit of it, which naturally needed attention. Secondly, the weekend railway engineering work on the First Capital Connect Great Northern line had over-ran, so my plan of getting an early morning train to Stevenage turned into a train to Hitchin, then a coach belonging to Hamilton's of Uxbridge to Stevenage railway station. The coach was nice enough, but naturally extended the journey time somewhat, before joining slow traffic on the M1, and (minimal) roadworks through Coreys Mill to Stevenage. From there, the journey plan started to slip. I had intended to change there to the 635/634 uno bus to Hemel Hempstead fast, but no. Took Enviro 3550 on the Arriva SB8 to the Bus Station, had breakfast before going for 3562 on the 301. We started losing more time, and were told to turn short at St Albans, instead of continuing to Hemel. However, it got worse before it got better. The virtually new bus was struggling in the snow, up and down hills, and with other slow moving traffic. We were 41 minutes late at Welwyn Garden City bus station, 69 minutes late at Hatfield railway station, but by then the roads were starting to improve, and less hills to negotiate, so we ended up 62 minutes late at St Albans. The first bus that was taking me close to my plan was a 321 to Watford, so piled on Mercedes Citaro 3562 for a good run to Watford Town Centre. From there, early lunch (!!!) before continuing on Tiger A12 WTN of Woottens/Tiger Line on the T2 to Hemel via Cassiobury Estate and Kings Langley, Arriva Dart 3500 on the 550 back to Watford Junction via Nash Mils and Cassio Campus, Arriva green Solo 2492 on the W30 to Watford town centre, then Woottens/Tiger Line A15 WTN on the T1 back to Hemel via Cassiobury and KL again, before taking uno Scania 352 fast back to Stevenage via the M10, Hatfield and A1[M] on the 634, which continues as a 635 to Stevenage railway station. Train back was also delayed, but only by around 20 minutes. The one day where I had to go out... anyway, you can see the pictures here.

Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th February at home.

Thursday 25th February was an evening out working at Switchboard. So, a quiet day in, before travelling into London against-the-peak-flow and having a few hours on the phones before coming home. Made the last train before the engineering work rendered everything turning back (from both directions) at Hitchin.

Friday 26th February I felt a little tired and under-the-weather, so stayed in.

Saturday 27th February was a day out and about, with shopping. Feeling a little better (but very tired at the end), we went from home to Stevenage via the A10 and A602 for lunch at Toby, before stopping for some items of clothing on special at Sainsbury's. continuing back up the A1, A505 and then onto the A10 north as far as Shepreth, picking our way through Haslingfield to Barton. Couldn't find any shoes suitable in a wide-ranging store, but we were planning to go into Cambridge retail park anyway. Found a few things in Evans (but less than purchased in Sainsbury's) before back home via Staples. 100 miles done in the car in the day, and tired but happy at the end!

Sunday 28th February is a quiet day, catching up. It is also our 35 month anniversary today (another reason for going out y'day!) We always celebrate it somehow, but now we are at the 35 month mark of our relationship, 31st March sees three years, or 36 months, together. We'll see what happens that day!

Additionally, on my last post, I made a closing reference to some extra good news. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to tell all this coming week.

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It's been yet another busy week, with little time to explain what's gone by. I used the phrase “it's like I have my foot on the accelerator” at the moment. The last nine days have generated a huge number of miles, lots of people met, and some unique moments and challenges.

Monday 8th February Went into London to work an afternoon at Switchboard, and stopped on the way to drop off a card to the newly-engaged Malc & Ray (along with several timetables for Malc) – congratulations again! You can see a handful of random shots taken at Euston here.

Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th February Working behind the scenes on forthcoming tours and visits for the Anglia Bus Forum and Dundee Area Bus Forum. Some interesting ones, and trying to build on previous years, by doing more.

Friday 12th February Typically, having had three days at home, everything slid to the end of the week. I went into Cambridge to work on Helpline in the morning (they are still none the wiser as to the transfer of service at the end of March), before travelling to London, to work on Switchboard in the evening. A late night, but an enjoyable day.

Saturday 13th February After a long lie, got up and prepared to go back to London, for another evening. This was to do a charity collection (or “bucket rattle”) for Switchboard. Basically, we were (mostly) dressed in pink LLGS T-shirts (hence the subject line!) and we went to 15 venues around the West End of London, and ended up raising £560 through donations, and got a huge amount of positive feedback from people we met. We had another wonderful evening, and another late night, but very enjoyable! Nabbed a few pics of the rattlers en route, which you can see here.

Sunday 14th February In the end, a quiet one. Recovering from Saturday (see above) and preparing for Monday (see below).

Monday 15th February Remember I mentioned in these posts (1, 2, 3) that today was the first day of new and revised bus services across The Fens? Well, I had an early start, and took a train to Cambridge, changing there for a Kings Lynn one. Said hello to Andy J at Kings Lynn Bus Staton, before I went on to start a day's travel on a Norfolk Green Explorer – starting with Solo 600 on the 46 to March via Islington (the Norfolk village, not the London borough!), Wisbech and Guhyrin. Managed to arrive through Wisbech in the midst of turmoil with one road closed one side, and diversions and delays. Never mind, made up the time after the diversion around Wisbech St Mary. From there, a quick changeover to refurbished Solo 602 on the new Service 34 to March Tesco, Benwick, and then back to March Broad Street, meeting Rob B in the process. After stopping for lunch at Bakers Oven (is this the one store not yet rebranded to Greggs?) and a quick browse in an adjacent bookstore/stationer, carried on with Andy J and Rob B on loaned-from-Stagecoach-for-six-weeks Volvo/PS 702 on new Service 56 from March to Wisbech, that replaced the top end of Stagecoach Service X9 from that day. After some snaps in Wisbech, and bumping into another Rob B, myself and Andy continued on Coasthopper-liveried Vario 415 on new Service 55 across the Lincolnshire boundary into Long Sutton. After crossing the road, we took Tempo 106 on Service 505 back to Kings Lynn. After that, some shopping briefly in Lynn, before taking the train to Cambridge, for a connection to Royston. We went out briefly, then back in, then back out, before settling for the night. It was a wonderful day out. The pictures really do have to be seen – do take a look here!

Tuesday 16th February A productive day, including some catching up. Like this post, for example.

So, that is my story of the last 9 days.

On top of all that: something else good, that I can't quite tell you about yet. I promise to tell you when the time is right. Suffice to say, it's good!

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Boris faces lookalike who tells him he is a hypocrite

London Mayor Boris Johnson faced a Boris Lookalike today and stood accused of hypocrisy over travel expenses.

The lookalike was at the centre of a demo outside City Hall this morning as angry staff protested to the Mayor over his plans to scrap the travel allowances on their season tickets.

Dozens of placard waving staff protested that he had spent £4,800 on cabs last year and was now planning to axe their allowance which allows them to claim back 75% of the cost of their season tickets.

The Mayor’s team of senior advisers claimed £17,000 in travel expenses while Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy was paid over £450,000 along with the use of an office car.

"It is frankly hypocritical for Boris and Peter Hendy to claim 100 per cent of their travel expenses while threatening to scrap the travel allowance of staff who are paid a pittance in relation to their vast salaries," said Manuel Cortes, deputy leader of the TSSA travel union.

"They should both get the brass neck of the year award for this brazen piece of bullying-telling staff that unless they accept a three year deal now they will lose the travel allowance."

The lobby took place outside City Hall as members of the TfL board met to consider the stand off with the white collar unions. Blue collar workers on London Underground have already accepted a two year inflation plus deal.

But Mr Cortes explained that by trying to impose a three year deal on the white collar staff, TfL would prevent them from financially benefiting in 2012 from the millions of Olympic vistors who will boost London’s transport finances.

"We want to be able to negotiate in 2012 and get recognition for the contribution our members will make to the success of the Games. Boris and Hendy are trying to lock us out from that."

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It's been an interesting time in the last few days.

Thursday, C came home for lunch, but was in pain, and limping a bit, so she stayed at home for the afternoon, with a promise that I would try and get her a doctor's appointment for the next day. In the background, I have done quite a bit on plans for this year. At the moment, my diary has a week free in April, then something every week till October. Of course I won't manage everything I've written in them, but it's nice to be kept busy! That's another point – I have two diaries this year, just in case I leave one of them behind somewhere.

 

Friday, out to work at the Helpline, and back home. In the meantime, Caroline has been out to the doctor, who diagnosed a muscle sprain somewhere. She was able to pick up my meds (see previous posts re meds recommended by [livejournal.com profile] elaine4queen ). I got some items from M&S for dinner (for Friday and Saturday), including some Spanish Red Wine – we had planned to go out Saturday somewhere, and this was the back-up!

Afterwards, we're sat having dinner, when my sort-of-new Gateway laptop (not the netbook) crashes. I come back to Windows errors. Cut a long story short, the disk is totalled, and will not boot up properly! Good start! Anyway, I thought about filling in an insurance claim, given we've lost 2 ½ computers (we'll not ask for a new USB drive). So, we did, with all the details. Didn't work, kept asking me to fill in the boxes. Then I had a brainwave of desperation... I deleted the contents of the two disputed boxes, and wrote “3 x Computers F*cked”. The form went straight through, naturally, although we did follow it up with a second to say that we tried giving all the details, but the system wouldn't want it. Technie TMI?

Saturday, and I was going out to Switchboard. Caroline was supposed to be attending the AGM of the CSJ, but she was still a bit sore, and didn't fancy it. So, me on my own into London and back. She did go out for a new Hard Drive for my laptop – which I think was worthy of a buying a snack for her on the way home!

Oh, and by the way, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes who has just purchased a new Apple computer. Dougie did notice the Apple store was in direct contrast with that of Currys – no teenagers trying to sell you extended warranties!

So, since I got home, it's been installing Vista onto this machine. It now feels kinda odd, like the last 26 hours had been a blip – it feels the same. Print – oh yeah... it's not installed yet....

… Plans for tomorrow... let's see!

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I had a part-of-the-afternoon shift on Switchboard, and wanted to attend a meeting in the evening. So, left Royston mid-morning and headed for London. I intended on a little travel before, and after arriving in London, took a 59 bus heading south to Waterloo.

After browsing two bookstores and walking through the railway station, I headed down the drain! For those who did not get the suggestion via Facebook, it's a nickname for the Waterloo & City tube line. From Waterloo, all stations to Bank via Bank, the next station is Bank – you get the idea. I wasn't going above ground at Bank though, merely using it to change to the Central Line tube, heading to Liverpool Street.

When I got to Liverpool Street, I was a bit ahead of schedule/ I'd planned to be arriving by 1320, but arrived about 20-30 minutes in advance. From here, quick drink and sit down before continuing to St Pancras station on the 214 – again to kill a bit of time, before getting the same bus back again to work.

After work, had some time to kill before Caroline was due to arrive in London, so took the 205 bus through to Marylebone, before getting the same back to Kings Cross.

While waiting for Caroline to arrive, I checked my email via my mobile phone, and got some news with regards to the tender for provision of the Prisoners Families Helpline – the contract has been lost. More on this is in this separate posting.

After Caroline arrived, we went for a bite to eat, before continuing onto Gays The Word bookstore, for the monthly TransLondon meeting. This month's event was a presentation and talk from [livejournal.com profile] the_local_echo , with assistance from [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah. The en-massed standing crowd were duly impressed by the content, as well as Sylvia's delivery.

As ever, it's over to a rather packed pub over the road. We stayed for one, before leaving to walk around to Woburn Place, for a 59 or 91 bus back to Kings Cross. The latter arrived, and we went for the 2215 Kings Lynn train home to Royston.

So, my full list of travels was -

First Capital Connect train Royston – London Kings Cross

Arriva London South bus DW68 59 Kings Cross at Camden Town Hall – Waterloo, Waterloo Road

Waterloo & City Line tube train Waterloo – Bank

Central Line tube train Bank – Liverpool Street

Metroline bus DLD703 214 Liverpool Street – St Pancras, St Pancras Road

Metroline bus DLD130 214 St Pancras, Midland Road – Islington

East London bus 15118 205 Islington – Marylebone

East London bus 15121 205 Marylebone – Kings Cross

walk to Gays The Word

Metroline bus TE914 91 Woburn Place – Kings Cross

First Capital Connect train London Kings Cross – Royston

Only the three pictures from yesterday (left the card in the laptop!) but those will follow in time, as I can't transfer them easily onto the card.

Today, more gremlins! I've been browsing the Stagecoach Fife service changes (more about those in a separate post), and the printer doesn't seem to respond. I've only just clicked that this machine was still set up for the colour machine we sold last year, even though I installed the drivers the other day. Never mind, now sorted!

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Firstly, hello to [livejournal.com profile] daftdrew , who found me (again!) yesterday.

So, yesterday’s travels. Started with a First Capital Connect train from Royston to Kings Cross, before getting the newly spiralled Circle Line from Kings Cross St Pancras to Paddington. From there, First Great Western train to Hayes & Harlington, before a First London Trident on the U4 to Uxbridge. Stopped for lunch at Pret, and some pictures, before it got too cold to stand around! From there, Metropolitan line to Kings Cross, walked around to the St Pancras International back exit, Metroline Dart on the 46 around to Kings Cross, East London Scania on the 205 to work, then another 205 to Euston Road, before dinner, and a train home. I was tired by the end, but it had been an enjoyable day. Work seemed to go very well, judging by the comments.

Pictures will follow, as I’m having problems with the Mac and pluggable devices at the moment!

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Had a good day, now tired! Now on the train home, will type it all up tonight or tomorrow prob.
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I am out to work this afternoon, but having some time around London first. Partially to get out after the bad weather, partially to try the new netbook pc! Now on the train passing through Potters Bar, on route to Kings Cross. Have just discovered the 6 hr battery is able to do 4 on a high setting, or 13 hours on power saver - bonus!
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Well, it's been a quieter two days than I was expecting. Yesterday, made it as far as the station at Royston, and got a phone call from the person I'd be working with, saying not to come in. (She'd been initally unable to get through the weather!) This was then followed with a call to work where I was supposed to be today, and their current bad weather plans include working from home and local staff, so I wasn't to go in today either. Yesterday, I had a quick trip into town, and it was more or less deserted.

It's been an odd one. I'm taking amitritypline to counter the perking effects of the steroids,but finding they are making me more tired during the day – like they did before – and upset, plus my tummy joined in too. Never mind, now relaxing after a bath!

I'm typing this out on the new Acer mini netbook, as the PowerMacG4 was refusing to boot up at all yesterday. Seems that they both did the same conking out overnight – Caroline suspects it was a power surge...

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On Tuesday 28th, we went out to Stevenage, initially to return my defective mobile phone to the o2 store, for repair. “Not paying attention” award perhaps, as despite having my name and address printed on the original receipt, she my name on the repair computer as Miss God! From there, back via lunch at Toby Carvery, before returning home.

On Wednesday 29th, we had a quiet day in. See what we’re doing, going out day about where possible? 

On Wednesday 30th, we both went to London. It was my first (listening) shift with my personal trainer at LLGS. We both travelled into Kings Cross by train, where I went to work (First Volvo VNL2323 on the 476), and C went off to the Apple Store, in the west end. I seem to be doing well, and have taken calls already. After work, we travelled from Islington by East London Scania 15121 on the 205 to Paddington (further First Great Western timetables - see review of the book here). The person behind the counter had never sold more than one in a shot, so had to go and find some more! They had to go through the till one at a time, as they are numbered etc. Anyway, after that, we were going to stop at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, but C decided against it (it was raining off and on, and she was getting tired), so we continued onto Victoria on London Central bendibus MAL42 on the 436. From there, I posted a few things, including the forms back to the OU, before we had an early dinner at Pizza Express - club vouchers FTW! As seems to happen quite often, we arrived when it was almost empty, but it went to people queuing up at the door to get in, as we left! From there, back to Victoria, then Kings Cross by equally bendi MA51 on the 73, then back home. When we got home, a package of three T-shirts from Little Ms Tees had arrived – an army green Cooler Than Shane, a black My Ex-Girlfriends etc., and a light blue Chapstick Lesbian. If you don’t get the latter, it comes from a certain song!

This brings me up to today – Thursday 31st December 2009, Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve, or simply the last day of year. Happy New Year for 2010, and enjoy whatever you get up to tonight, wherever you are.

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Wrightbus to design and build New Bus for London

23 December 2009

New bus to deliver 40 per cent better fuel consumption than conventional diesel double-decker buses. Design even greener than existing hybrid bus
 

Transport for London (TfL) today announced that they have selected Wrightbus as the preferred manufacturer for the final design and build of the New Bus for London, based on the iconic Routemaster.

The New Bus for London will feature:

  • An open platform: a defining feature allowing the reinstatement of a hop-on, hop-off bus service. The platform will have the facility to be closed off at certain times, such as at night
  • Green technology: the new bus will incorporate the latest hybrid technology and will be 40 per cent more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses and 15 per cent more fuel efficient than current London hybrid buses
  • Air quality emissions will be reduced by 40 per cent for NOx* emissions and 33 per cent for PM** emissions when compared with conventional diesel buses
  • Three doors (including the rear platform) and two staircases, giving an innovative new design and aiding speedier and smoother boarding
  • Capacity for at least 87 passengers

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: 'Londoners have waited with stoic patience as work has continued behind the scenes to select the manufacturer to make the 21st century Routemaster a reality.

'The decision has now been made, and we can look forward to a new icon of London that not only returns to the Capital the joy of the open platform, but also utilises the latest state-of-the art green technology, slashing pollution and fuel consumption.

'The countdown is now well and truly on as Wrightbus work nineteen to the dozen to deliver Londoners their new bus in 2011, ahead of the world descending on the city for the 2012 Games.'

David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL, said: 'We have reached the end of a very competitive tendering process and are delighted to select Wrightbus as the preferred manufacturer to take this project forward. 

Largest in Europe

'We're well on track to see the New Bus for London on the road in 2011. The latest engine technology will make the new bus even more environmentally friendly than hybrid buses currently operating in London.'

Wrightbus will work on finalising their design with initial outlines expected in the New Year. 

The first new bus will be on the streets of London in 2011, boosting London's low emission bus fleet, which is already the largest in Europe.

In the meantime, TfL will continue the programme of converting the fleet to hybrid technology, and retrofitting buses to Euro 4 standard as part of the Mayor's Air Quality Strategy.

Wonderful opportunity

Mark Nodder, Managing Director of Wright Group, said: 'Wrightbus is delighted to have been chosen by TfL to be the preferred bidder on the New Bus for London project.

'The New Bus for London project marks the start of an exciting new chapter in passenger transport in one of the world's great cities and Wrightbus is proud to be chosen as a partner to develop a new transport icon for London.

'This is indeed a privilege and a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the Wright Group, to design and build a vehicle that will doubtless become recognisable the world over.

'The Wright Group has a long and proud history of innovation and has recently worked closely with TfL on a number of other projects, notably as the first manufacturer to introduce hybrid buses into fare-paying service in the Capital, as well as the introduction of fuel cell buses due in 2010.

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Last night in London, I used the Cabwise service for the first time. To briefly explain, if you are in London, texting 60835 – see what they did, 60TFL? – gets you two minicab and one black cab phone numbers. One took my payment card details before telling me they couldn’t pick up from a pub, the next one was account only, and the third had changed hands – but still managed to get us a cab in ten minutes. Then, when I get home, I caught up with things, including the electronic Evening Standard for Friday. Well, this is an interesting one –


Fury after Green chief Darren Johnson tweets from illegal cab


A senior London politician was forced to apologise today after taking an illegal minicab home from the City Hall Christmas party.

London Assembly chairman Darren Johnson has faced a furious backlash from black cab drivers, who have called for his resignation after he posted incriminating messages on his Twitter site.

The revelations are sure to anger the Mayor, as they come amid a huge publicity drive for the initiative Cabwise, warning people of the dangers of unlicensed minicabs.

Green party member Mr Johnson issued a request on Twitter late last night to be picked up after being unable to get a taxi quickly enough. He offered a “ten pound tip for first cabbie to find me”, but when none was forthcoming, he posted: “Illegal minicab will do if you get me home”.

Mr Johnson added later: “Well im (sic) in some dodgy minicab paying an exhorbitant (sic) rip-off rate but at least getting home”.

Cut for the rest )
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It’s been a busy week – but with less than two weeks to go until Christmas, perhaps to be expected. Some of you might have already seen some of the works – the Anglia Bus Forum 2010 Calendar and Dundee Area Bus Forum 2010 Calendar (both available for free download!), our Christmas Card writings (changed the format for the first time in ages), and of course, my new hair colour. While it seemed like an ideal time (quieter week) we had other things to do – breathing course on Monday, out to Toby at Stevenage on Wednesday I think it was, and then on Friday to PFH (citi2 bus was a lot more reliable this time – lets see how next week goes!)

Saturday was the post-training-induction at LLGS, and our group went to The Green afterwards. I had to cut this socialising short, to meet Caroline at Kings Cross, before we proceeded to a Christmas Party held in the Knights Templar off Chancery Lane. We got there early, especially as the pub was closing to the public before the opening for the event. We had a while there before continuing back to Kings Cross, for a train back to Royston, arriving 12 and a bit hours after leaving the station that morning.

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