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Wednesday 3rd February – was a good day until I broke C's glass teapot. The problem was I was putting it down onto the worktop, and inadvertently whacked it into the side of the cooker top. She was on the phone at the time watching, so I couldn't really hide it!

Thursday 4th February – with my BABUS hat on, I was up early for a meeting into Bedford Borough Council's Local Transport Plan 3. A good first step in the compilation of the draft, and BCC were genuinely happy that we had a good turnout of people there. It was also good to put faces to names, even if I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone. So, that went well, except for one thing – my new boots tripped me up several times on the wet outside! My new boots did not have much grip on them, so I ended up slipping several times! (Since then I've got a rather large bruise under the knee, cuts and swelling to hands and fingers, as well as a sore arm and leg!) Travelled by train to Hitchin, Centrebus 80 to Hitchin town centre, Stagecoach in Bedford Mars Service M2 to Bedford (the last time I did the other route, the M1. This is where the “life on mars” quote for Facebook came from!) On the way home, M1 to Hitchin, then as I had plenty time to make my next train, as well as an Intalink Explorer ticket (10p more than a return from Hitchin to Bedford, plus it included the bus between train and bus), I stayed on the 94 through Hitchin Station to Letchworth, where I picked up my train journey to continue back to Royston.

Earlier in the week, I had a request from the editor of one of the local Archant papers, The Wisbech Standard, asking about the forthcoming bus service changes. Apparently they had seen my blog re the forthcoming Fens bus service changes (post 1 and post 2). Initally they wanted to quote from my blog, and I spoke to them on the phone, careful to stick to the facts. (I don't normally approach media in relation to transport, but they approached me!) This main article (not my photos) discusses the changes, with quotes from my posts on the forthcoming Fens service changes. Also interesting was their editorial bit (not my work either) which was highly critical – and I quote from one snippet,
“This newspaper was only alerted to changes by a reader, and our investigations into the affect of the changes proposed by Stagecoach led us on a circuitous route and only thanks to a veteran bus 'blogger' did we finally access the information we needed.” So, if you wonder why I'm popular in Wisbech, now you know! It was interesting to spot even Stagecoach management saying they can see why people would be confused by the website...

Friday 5th February – out to work on Helpline in the morning, but then back home, as I was a bit tired (and sore!) from the previous day!

Saturday 6th February – out to Beefeater at Coreys Mill (Stevenage) for a change. We went to Sainsbury's over the road afterwards, but Caroline was unusually tired. She had a nap for a few hours once we got home. As well as food, C got a new (cheap) white teapot, and I picked up a few new T-shirts, and trousers and jeans - still to try those on!

Sunday 7th February – having a quiet day. Caroline has tried her new teapot that we got in Sainsbury's – just a cheap one, but it pours better than the glass one!


I have uploaded some pictures from Thursday and Friday, and you can see them via the links shown.

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I got the paperwork from the Open University this morning re the resubmission of T175. In brief, I’ve to tell them by mid-January, but I am fairly certain that I will go for it. When combined with the award for M150, this will then be enough for a Certificate in IT & Computing, which means there is some more immediate reward for the study. While the study was certainly eye opening, I think now that two courses at once – the equivalent of full-time study – was too much to do at once.

We were out last night and today shopping. Originally I’d intended to take C out this evening, but the snow has frozen to ice, and we wanted to have a quiet one instead. The snow has not melted that much here – there are still large areas of undisturbed snow since Thursday night. Anyway, one thing that I’d been considering for some time is a DAB digital radio, which is now plugged in (to the mains) behind the monitor. After the first few attempts at aerial positioning resulted in variable sound, I think I’ve got it sussed – certainly easier than it’s predecessor.

We’ve just been discussing the environmental traps of wrapping paper. You wouldn’t think that I feel about such (with all the paperwork in the study), but I digress.

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This cartoon by Steve Bell comes from today's Guardian, found via Anglia Bus Forum...

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Last night we watched the first episode of Miranda on BBC2 (taped via the Sky+HD box thingy on Monday evening), the semi-autobiographical sitcom of Miranda Hart. The show introduces dealing with problems encountered by ‘woman of size’, including being ‘sir’red and finding the right clothes… I won’t spoil it too much, as it’s still on the BBC website somewhere for one week after Monday evening.

I did talk about how things are working for me, with regards to acceptance, a few days back, and this prog did show that sometimes (not always), men just don’t pay attention.

More STV

Nov. 6th, 2009 03:48 pm
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In this post, I mentioned STV had reused one of my images. Well, I've now had word back from the media company...


I was forwarded your email regarding the use of your bus picture of our website, thanks for drawing our attention to the matter.

I did not realise that the picture had been taken from another site, as normally we only use our own material. I have had a word with the person responsible, and made clear that we should not do this again, and deleted the image from our picture archive, so it will not be used again in the future.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

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The newest of my web work – Suzy’s Picture Gallery at will contain all the new pictures taken from mid-September 2009. The idea is for the new Picture Gallery to showcase the new, higher resolution pictures on the new camera, and anything else in the future.

Suzy’s Picture Skip continues as an archive, subject to host availability. I may well add a few more of the remaining pictures. This will also lead to a little bit of shuffling around. The pics that used to be on will now also join the Photo Skip, essentially as that becomes an archive. I’m clearing out some old pieces of stuff from the server, but everything else will remain as is. There may well be some future tweaks to my web stuff, as time and resources permit. While I would have liked to have remained on Fotopic indefinitely, unfortunately it’s not as reliable as it used to be!
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Found via Facebook three weeks ago, but never posted here until now, is Lizzie The Lezzy...

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It’s been a busy last week and a bit, since my last post. C has been unwell for the last few days, in the meantime I’ve been getting on with web and dead-tree stuff, TMA02 for T175 (my CMA41 for T175 got me 92%!), a visit with work to Cambridge Crown Court yesterday, and preparing to go away for a couple of days (two friends & I) tomorrow.

But, it was a headline that I spotted yesterday while out in Cambridge, that caught my eye - Bailiffs grab wrong home after blunder. Yes, this is something that the Scottish equivalent (sheriff officers) did to me about eight months back, remember? Except this time, it wasn’t the wrong number, but the wrong road!

So, in the meantime, hello to all the newbies who’ve started reading, or made contact for the first time, of late. Yes, this is our 25th month anniversary, but we’ve put that off till Monday (it’s a bank holiday in this part of the world), and having a day out then too.

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Looking back on the last seven days, it’s been a busy week. OK, so I lost my phone, and that added a little bit more work to it.

To add to the items since my last diary post, I made my 1000th post on my LiveJournal, got the first draft of my new book arrived for proofing, been out to Cambridge and work a few times, done CMA41 (Computer Marked Assessment 41 – the 1st one) for T175, and I’ve got TMA02 (Tutor Marked Assessment) to have a look through in the next few days.

Further to last Saturday’s developments, I’ve got the plans in place now for the new look BABUS website – an initial one-page design seemed favourable, so it will be a few pages similar to the previous one, plus a Bulletin Board to add once it goes live. (I’m hoping the domain transfers in the coming week). We’ve had the Sky engineer turn up, and they managed to fit it all first time (unlike when they had to get Special Heights Team in for my flat in Dundee). I’ve been keeping busy, having good times. As well as doing a copy of my book, I did Caroline and myself a printed copy of the first two years, and it’s been interesting to see how far I’ve came – and we’ve came – in that time.

Now, plans for the next week and a bit mean I might be quiet, but I will be around. Somewhere. Like today, and I went out briefly to catch up with the new bus in town – but came back soon after dropping off at the post office. You see, it’s been a busy week, and it’s been just nice to relax with Caroline.
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It’s been a busy week, dear reader. If you think I’ve been haring about up and down the A14, well, not yet. There will be time to try out the new high specification (it says here) buses on the 15/45/55. Seeing everyone else’s pictures, hopefully they will turn out to be better (or just as good) in the flesh! I’ve already seen several posts via Facebook “trying the WiFi on the 55”… well, it happened when it was new on the X5, Edinburgh routes, 900, etc. so why not!

You see, I’ve very busy this week, working on the 2009 edition of the Dundee Area Bus Fleetbook – the printed list of stuff for the Dundee Area Bus Forum coverage area. It’s going to be almost 50% bigger than last year, as I’ve included a lot of stuff that was asked for. The price has to go up, but not by 50% - jus enough to cover costs, and leave a little towards paying for the Forums for a few months. It doesn’t make me rich, and it is as much a reference for me, as everyone else! It’s almost ready to upload to Lulu, then get one printed off to check, before opening them for sale to the public in the next few weeks.

I’ve got Uni stuff to return to, and two more assessments before the end of this month, before I start dusting off the picture submissions for an Anglia Bus Fleetbook – new for 2009, but already going to be much bigger than everything else!

Speaking of things to do, I was approached a few weeks ago about looking after a website and a forum board, for a group. Going to their committee meetings tomorrow, and if all that is sealed, then I should be able to talk about it. I did notice that their website hadn’t been updated for some time… but they asked, I didn’t even have the chance to offer. Apparently the guy had heard of the work I did on the Anglia Bus Forum, and was rather happy with the way I operate it.

I’m getting a reputation – and a good one! It’s not going to make me rich, but as long as I’m comfortable, in more ways than one…

… and there is something else that I will come back to in due course (hopefully) as something else has caught my eye.

I’m asked often how I got into public transport, and the truth is, I just don’t know for certain. My dad was a conductor with Dundee Corporation Transport, but only for two weeks, before returning to his own trade as a baker. We always used public transport, as no one in our family could drive. I remember vaguely spotting a service change poster or something, and it went from there. Just like the transition thing, it was always the right thing to do – just, like so many other things in life, I was unable to pin it down to one specific incident or moment in my life. With transition, I just knew by the age of six that I could/should/would change. As for everything else that comes with it – well, that comes and goes. I hoped that one day, I would have changed, and be comfortable, enjoying what I was doing, but not necessarily working in transport. Health has been a problem, but we’re now happy and comfortable. Yes, sometimes things get in the way, and I am in no way rich…. But getting along.

Anyway, soon off to work, where I can swap typing about places such as Rottal (a village in the Angus Glens, served by two school buses) for talking about ROTL
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So, I'm almost ready to send the 2009 Dundee Area Bus Fleetbook off for the first draft print, and as it's over 170 pages long, Word gave up on a spellchecking when it was two-thirds of that size, so I've got to do it every so often. I'm using the desktop again instead of the laptop, meaning it has to get used to my words, and Tayside/Fife area localities.

Picture the scene, it's picking through stuff, and it gets to Gartarry - the name of roundabout on the Alloa-Dunfermline road just after Kincardine, that is the boundary between Fife and Clackmammanshire. Word suggests that I mean gynaecology...

... Don't know what it's going to make of Culross in a few pages time...

... I went to get a drink, came back to finish this off, and the radio is playing a certain song that reminds me of a special someone...

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Further to my post on Sunday about [ profile] jennyemily  and Zoe R’s civil partnership, my ABF admin Bob T’s wife Zoe gave birth to their daughter on Sunday. What are the odds? Two major events on Sunday, both involved a woman called Zoe! :-)

Anyway, back to bedlam…

… I was working on the second edition of the Dundee Area Bus Fleetbook yesterday, and the Mac desktop (plugged via a CAT5 cable into the router on my desk) stopped getting web throughput. No email, no web. I’m looking at the laptop on my left, which is streaming audio really well at that point. They are both plugged into the same router, AirNetwork2. So, a cold reboot (i.e. pull the power out) of the router, after a reboot of the Mac failed to do anything. Now, no light on the router… oh teapot! Left it till C came home, and she had a look. The Vista laptop is conveniently overlooking the router (AirNetwork2) that it is plugged into, and decides to go wireless to AirNetwork1, forty feet away! Anyway, the router appeared to have a adaptor swich go off, but is now back in use.

After an order for booklets from Transport for London were delivered (in several packages) last month, I got one parcel from CDL (their distribution house) yesterday. One today. I think they’ve doubled up my order… and, no sign of the Chesham/Amersham Met Line folder that I’ve asked twice in the last six weeks for…

…I’ve also had the Tesco delivery in today. Now, we usually choose “without bags” as an option, largely as it works out better costwise overall (i.e. 1p in points per four items without bags). [ profile] thebustocrookes has previously mentioned about Tesco selling Polish water, but then guilt-tripping you when you ask for a bag. So, today, in with our shopping… a 998 page Tesco Direct paper catalogue, in a carrier bag!

Today’s trip out is to be the first in a busy week and a half coming up, so keep watching! We’re approaching the two-year point of our relationship too, with some plans for the weekend immediately beforehand. It’s been fun to think back of all the things I’ve achieved with her help in the last two years, but even more so, of the good times and fun we’ve had. Still love her now as much as I did back on 31st March 2007.
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It’s been a mixed little while. Indeed, I’d had some bad times of it, mostly as my mind wasn’t thinking straight (have you noticed it’s happening the same time every year?) Any medical disorders in the world are still no excuse for being an a**hole, and I’ve tried to explain and apologise, and move on. I’m beginning to feel over the problems, and I’m not sure why I feel over them now – change of climate, ever so slightly?

Saturday, Valentines Day, but we also did a bit of looking after each other. By coincidence, the hair colour that I’d ordered from Lush (and a new tint brush from HairCrazy, with some new elastic hair bands to replace those I bought last summer, now wearing out), had arrived in time for the weekend. Following the highlights I had put in at CRC last October, I've decided to go for something brighter. Something too un-natural (i.e. pink) wasn't to Caroline's taste, so we agreed that a red henna would, potentially, look nice. So, here's a Valentine's day with a difference, as a few hours are spent with C slapping this stuff onto me...  see the pictures here. It’s defiantly much brighter, and continuing to get lighter ever since.

Sunday and Monday mostly spent working on another book project – well, updated book project. Nothing special this week – Tuesday to Friday afternoons is planned for OU stuff, this week at least.
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... this is why my Picture Skip was down, just like the rest of the company. Only problem was, the previous Fotopic company moved from receivership to liqudisation on the 2nd January 2009, as part of the wind down by the new owners... and as it showed up on Companies House records, everyone assumed they'd gone under. Anyway, this did take several days to be issued...

Hi there --

This is a short message from all of us at - the
online photo gallery you are registered with.

On Friday 2nd January 2008 photo sharing site suffered a
core equipment failure while upgrading the server and network capacity.
As a result of this the website was unavailable from
approximately 9am on Friday 2nd January.

Despite our best efforts to resolve the situation the gallery service
remained unavailable until approximately 10:30am on Monday 5th January

As a result of this outage we are examining our hosting capability and
contingency plans, but wish to assure customers that has
not ceased trading and will be enhancing its services during 2009. No
data or images have been lost during this time and all systems are back
to normal.

We apologise for the situation which was ultimately out of our control,
and would like to thank customers for bearing with us.

Best regards,

Snappy Designs Ltd trading as

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Now, news from Transport for Boris… erm, London. The second grand announcement this month is that the winners for his Design A Bus For London and Imagine A Bus For London contests, and two designs have shared the prize for the former. First thing to say is it’s good that the mayor went through with this, as opposed to his predecessor’s offer of cash for anyone who could find a solution to cooling the Underground in summer 2005, before saying all the suggestions were things that they already had in mind, so the prize was never awarded.

After this post on the partial demise of the bendibuses, I should have added that the 507 (Victoria – Waterloo) will be gaining a weekend service. How many times have you walked by the stand at Victoria on Saturday morning, only for a large queue to be waiting on the 507, with no-one actually pointing out the next one is on Monday, and to go for a 211 instead?

TfL is also considering other options. While putting the breaks on things like the Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace, it was still surprising (I thought) when it was announced that the future of East Thames Buses was up for review. This company did, of course, come into existence when Harris Bus ceased services in December 1999, and was bought back by TfL’s predecessors in 2000. They also took on the 42 and 185, after the… erm… demise of London Sleazylink Easylink (Durham Travel Services) in 2002. A few years ago, First London gave up the 1, and this went to ETB, when the north of the Thames stuff was retendered, and ETB moved into premises in Walworth. But now, apparently, the operators are all behaving themselves, and performance is better, and the rest… but we shall see. Staff will be protected under TUPE, and it’s good to hear that has been one of the first thoughts on their mind – when Harris Bus went under the first time, the staff shortage did make things so much worse.

I mentioned here last month about The Underground (bar) in Dundee, with publicity material and a map/service guide in a very similar format to that from one of my former employers. Now, The Courier has had word that it’s got to London, and they don’t sound impressed. Still, what can you do when someone else rips off your idea? (see above!)
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I've just received the Delay Repay vouchers from National Express East Coast, following journey problems on 20th November. However, it would appear that the NX East Anglia are now responding to NX East Coast issues too. This was obvious with the envelope having a Norwich postmark, but also, the letter was written saying "... following your delayed journey from Hertford East..." - now, I've not made any journeys from Hertford East this year, although Royston in East Hertfordshire, so perhaps good improvisation!

Secondly, currently have Q103 in the background, and various mentions have been made of the name being rebranded as Heart in the near future. The UK is starting to get like the states, for what one writer dubbed "cookie cutter radio" - the same "local" brands being everywhere!
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Things to be happy/grateful for, over the last few days…
1.    We went out on Friday, for the first time in ages. Caroline wanted to see The Day The World Stood Still (this year’s version), and she’s reviewed it here.
2.    So, before hand, on Friday, we went into Cambridge for dinner, and the above movie. As C was still uncomfortably full from her works afternoon out at the pub in Chrishall (the day before!) we decided to leave the two buffet options, and have a look in Pizza Hut. We had a fairly good meal, with one of the better pizza’s I’ve had from them in a long time. The deal included a starters platter, which came with chilli sauce. I’d already ordered three of those for 99p, based on the size of the little ones you get with a takeaway never being big enough… except, we ended up with large bowls of the stuff. Meh. You can either have too much hot sauce, or not enough!
3.    I’ve also ended up with a very good offer for January’s travels – although, I’m going to get Christmas over and done with, then get back here for an appointment with Genetics, then it’s time to go north once more. Then I’ll talk about it… but thanks :-)
4.    My dad has now moved into his new care facility, and my sister is/was in hospital in Dundee, apparently with a kidney infection. No further details, but I am assuming both are well.
5.    Done the paper Christmas cards, along with 110 ABF/DABF calendars posted out. So, the total bill for the post office came to a fair whack… and re my multiple former addresses (for a year's postal redirection), the woman at local post office had a good look through it, and passed it on – so, no problems with it. Yet. The problem has been  of the post office’s making, as they’ve not made it any easier. Meh.
6.    Rail grinder the other night has kind of thrown my sleep patterns – and I’m fairly tired anyway. Still, not had it again. Recovering now.
7.    Tomorrow and Tuesday, out and about. We start our festive plans early on Saturday morning!
8.    C’s just arrived home with the Chinese, so better go. Remind me to mention the car next blog post!

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In the style of [ profile] angharads_house  and [ profile] thebustocrookes  (and now being added to by [ profile] elaine4queen ), here’s a quick ten-pointer roundup of things I’ve been getting up to, and the rest of my f-list.

1.    On the 5th November, for some bizarre reason, I was sneezing for most of the night (yes, despite closing the windows!) No idea why, especially as the local bonfire was last night (7th!)

2.    Paperwork from Open University arrived in the post this morning (typically, just after I’d chased it up), but they confirmed what I was told verbally. Both modules start on February 9th. In between, lots of stuff that makes me sound mad just thinking like that, for now…

3.    … C and I are planning on hiring a car and heading north over the holidays, including me moving out of my flat in Dundee around the same time. All that is subject to health.

4.    Speaking of which, C’s appointment for Addenbrooke’s has turned up, for not this coming week, but the next.

5.     Speaking of Mr (and Mrs) [ profile] thebustocrookes, he’s on holiday for a fortnight. Was it Mexico or Florida this time – I forgot. Anyway, they are both hot right now. So, if you miss Dougie, hopefully this ten-pointer can keep you going. I better check the Berwick results later, assuming they are playing this weekend.

6.    Following from [ profile] thermalsatsuma , [ profile] elaine4queen  has posted a recipe for Mushroom Soup, which I tried on C. I like any recipe that doesn’t give a specific time, but instead says “…When bored…” anyway, the recipe apparently came via [ profile] kirstygold , but you can read Elaine’s version here.

7.    On the evening of 6th November, [ profile] auntysarah ,[info]the_local_echo , [ profile] zoeimogen  and around 150 or so in total, formed what is more-than-likely the largest TS related protests in UK history. The protest was regarding what was seen as hypocrisy in the workings of Stonewall, by award-nominating someone who appeared not to be entirely in their beliefs. [ profile] auntysarah  explains it all here – part one and part two. If I read one of the other stories rightly, 80 people were inside the Victoria & Albert Museum – there’s defiantly strength in numbers.

8.    My mother very briefly got biblical about same-sex marriage on the phone yesterday, although it was just a passing comment, as opposed to ramming it down my throat. She’s defiantly happy about what we’re doing, which she was at pains to stress, when I asked to clarify what she meant. I think I’m as close to how she’s ever going to get, and it’s defiantly not bad at all – better than how things were a few years ago, when we could never talk about the gender stuff. Maybe she’s over it now, which would be a good thing. Anyway, it does show one thing – that if she sees me as a lesbian, then perhaps, she doesn’t see *him* anymore – and that’s defiantly a good thing, as long as it continues!

9.    Downloaded the whole album worth of current Scooter rehashes and new material, including some older classic stuff from the band. Whistling Dave appears to be their remix of the Tetris theme tune, which I had to explain to C. I thought everyone had heard of Tetris, but obviously not!

10.    And finally, following previous whinges about government servants from the JobCentrePlus team, it was nice to see the north-west London based team responsible for DLA (from the DWP – Department for Work & Pensions) turn around my form in just a few days, and arrange things quickly and speedily. When you feel this bad (sometimes), stress of things just adds to it - and I like to mention good service, not just the bad.
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... wait till you read about these guys!

Found thanks to [personal profile] thermalsatsuma...


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September 2010



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