Sunday 21st July 2019, 7.40pm (day 2,887)
These two have clearly had a very good weekend. And so have I.
Blog-wise, it’s two months since I pulled duty on a 6.32 train out of Hebden Bridge — arrives Manchester about 7.10, like this morning, if it’s feeling energetic. The bloke in yellow is the owner of the fold-up bike on the other side of the shot: he looks the least keen of all of them, but then again he has his onward transport sorted.
This is, of course, a quite different photo of platform 2 of Preston station than the one I took sixteen days ago: and I was heading in an entirely different direction — towards home instead of away from it. That’s my excuse anyway. No repetition!
It’s not easy to argue against the premise that Blackfriars station, built on its own railway bridge over the river Thames, has one of the best views of any urban railway station — in Britain, only Durham really rivals it (*yet to appear on this blog….). I could have just poked my camera out of the window and, downriver, you’ll have seen the Tate Modern, the Shard (again), Canary Wharf, and — from further up the platform — Tower Bridge. And, as seen here, St. Paul’s. I did take that stock shot but it has, sort of, already appeared on this blog (on 1/11/13) so in the end I preferred this one, illustrating how most people who get on the train here probably don’t really care…
For about fifteen minutes this evening the sunset turned the sky into a blazing inferno. It came and went away again very quickly and several people I spoke to later, who had been inside at the time, had no idea what they had missed. They can be excused — but not the people on the train, who seemed far more interested in their screens than the real-life show outside. I wanted to be sat on their side of the train for the best show. But I guess this shot illustrates it well enough.
My summer holiday has been a long time coming this year and there’s the rest of this week to get through yet. Despite the later start to the day, I still feel like this guy.
This will probably turn out to be the last shot taken by my Canon Power Shot SX710 camera which since its debut on 27th June 2015 has put in sterling service every day since, including getting up to the top of Kilimanjaro and back. But the lens cover has been requiring the intervention of fingers to retract successfully for some time now and it’s been randomly freezing up, to be recovered only by removing the battery. I took the plunge and invested in another model this morning. Farewell then to the old one, it still does work so I’ll keep it as a backup.
There is nothing to complain about regarding the weather, at the moment. It has been glorious, for about three weeks now, certainly since the weekend in Scotland, May 5-7.
There is everything to complain about regarding the state of our local Northern Rail service, a metaphorical view of which could see the recent timetable change as a pint of week-old milk poured into some already dodgy sauce and, consequently, it curdling alarmingly. Was turfed off my original train at Rochdale, hence here you see almost the entire population of said train trying to get on the next one, which will itself already be busy. I waited a little longer, got in 20 minutes late, and the sad thing is, this is now the new normal. Never have I encountered a large company offering such shoddy service before, close to collapse, and we might even have it better on this line than many others.
The conference ended today but I am in Zagreb until Friday, and transited to a different hotel in the early afternoon. My walk there took me past the main railway station, a symbolic spot for those who have seen and enjoyed From Russia With Love — the best Bond movie (yes, it is) — as it’s here that 007 meets the evil Grant –the best Bond villain (don’t argue now) — posing as a fellow British agent.
Actually, those scenes weren’t filmed here, but in Turkey: and in the book, Grant and Bond meet not in Zagreb, but Trieste. But this is just detail….
Monday morning, and it’s raining, and you’ve just bought a weekly ticket for the first time in ages (meaning you’re going into Manchester every day this week) and the 06:59 turns up as a two-carriage piece of obsolete shit as it always does, only today the previous service through was cancelled so by Littleborough it’s already achieved full CTS (Cattle Truck Status) and we haven’t even had the Rochdale passengers on yet. Happy Mondays.