Another day that can really only be epitomised by something fairly abstract and meaningless. The back of a road sign, warning of road works (the red lighting being the traffic light in question), seems to fit. I do like the swirl of reflected street light, caught in the window of a passing bus, and the reason why I chose this shot in particular.
Quite enjoyed yesterday’s trip to Portsmouth, or at least Portchester, but I can’t say Southampton has endeared itself to me as a place this weekend, and that continued this morning when I attempted to leave it. With the railway closed for engineering works we were obliged to contend with that modern phenomenon, the ‘Rail Replacement Bus’. What you see here is just the tip of the iceberg, as, brilliantly, the authorities had decided that the perfect day to run these operations would be one on which Southampton FC were playing at home against Arsenal. Christ knows what it was like after the match — but fortunately by then, I was well away.
The Truss regime unveil their new approach to sustainable transport solutions for the North of England. Quiet and clean, these devices will doubtless prove a more than adequate substitute for TransPennine ‘Express’, and its present business model of dissuading absolutely everyone from using their services, at any time. “We think this will do for that scabby region up towards Scotland that we don’t give a toss about”, said Truss’s new Transport Secretary, who no one can remember the name of. “At £104.85 for a single ticket to Leeds, I’m sure the people of the North will appreciate the value-for-money that our investments in their transport infrastructure and welfare….. Whaddya mean you’re ungrateful? We’ve got some big tax cuts for the top 1% of earners to pay for!”
In my mind’s eye there is a perfectly symmetrical version of this shot. But in the absence of its reality, this one will do.
This was the third of eight railway stations passed through today (nine if you count Wageningen bus station) as I travelled from a small provincial town somewhere near the centre of the Netherlands to a small provincial town somewhere near the centre of Great Britain (Hebden Bridge). And so ends my 11th complete year of doing this blog.
My first picture from the European mainland since I was in Bucharest on 2nd February 2020. To get to this point required me to negotiate a 55-minute queue at St. Pancras station, then three trains, then this bus, proving that other countries can do ‘Rail Replacement Buses’ just as enthusiastically as we can in the UK. And there was still another bus to come after this one. I now feel like the guy sat opposite me here — time for an early night.
We spent the day on the island of Árrain Mhór, which in Gaelic just means ‘Big Island’. And it is fairly big, maintaining a permanent population of a few hundred, enough to justify a regular ferry service from the mainland, anyway. And here is the 3.30pm boat back to Ireland, coming in reasonably on schedule.
For the duration of this visit, and certainly today, its final morning, Dundee has basked in balmy sunshine that is atypical for the city. It contributed to a pleasantly chilled out wait for the train heading back south, which I think this couple epitomise. (My journey was fine all the way to Bradford, after which it descended into a farce of the kind only Northern Rail seem able to manufacture, but that’s another story, hours in the future.)
One reason, among many, that I hardly ever drive into Manchester is the enthusiasm of its traffic wardens: this seems to particularly apply around the King Street/Booth Street area, as the driver of this car will doubtless realise when s/he returns to it and its double ticket whammy. When I saw this I recalled this story from The Register, which noted that:
One council operative, identified only as badge number MC1192, issued 5,662 of the council’s 14,887 parking tickets for the month [May 2020], raking in £69,864 with a further £155,266 allegedly outstanding on MC1192’s tickets alone by the end of the month. This workrate is the equivalent of 35 tickets issued every working hour of the month, assuming a generous 40-hour working week with no bank holidays or days off.
….and that was in lockdown. I’ll stick to public transport, thanks.
The Tay road bridge makes its second appearance on the blog, the first being when it was depicted in 2015 from its partner, the much older rail bridge. This is taken from right underneath it, looking south along an indeterminate length of its piers. What the numbers mean I have no idea — water depth measures perhaps? The verticals don’t look quite straight but I don’t think that’s my fault — I think they’re built that way.