D4D

You ain't seen nothing yet.

Archive for the category “Travel”

Feastless

This weekend just gone, I was planning to go to Feast in London, but events conspired against me.

I was going to go on Friday, but didn’t even get out of work ’til gone 8pm. It would’ve been at least 9 by the time I got there (by which time I could also have been home), another hour to get back to wherever I’d left the car, and then an hour to get home. And frankly, I was knackered anyway.   So no.

Saturday was never going to happen – I was seeing parents during the day, and getting domestic sluttery out of the way in the afternoon/evening.

Sunday was a maybe. And turned into a no. Work stuff rose up to bite me, along with a general disinclination to travel back into London on a day when I didn’t need to make the journey.

And so I missed it.  I think if I’d been really enthused I’d have made the time/effort to go (as I will with Meatopia at the same place in a month’s time) but everything else just made me think “Blah”.

Of course if I’d booked it in to go with anyone else, things would’ve been different. But I hadn’t, so they weren’t.

And that’s that. I’ll try to go to the next one instead.

Leisure Mileage

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve covered over a thousand miles just for social stuff.

Last weekend (the Bank Holiday) was notably mental, even by my standards. It involved :

  • Friday. Go to work, come back at lunchtime, drive down to the O2 to see Nine Inch Nails in concert, and drive home.  Home at 1am.
  • Saturday. Drive down to Tunbridge Wells for a friend’s birthday do. Enjoy that, not drink much, then think “sod it” and drive home at the end of the night rather than sleeping in a tent. Home at 1.30ish.
  • Sunday. See the parents for a fleeting visit, just so we all know that each other is alive.
  • Monday. Drive over to Brentwood to meet up with friends. Drive home.

All told, that little lot amassed some 750 miles – and meant I travelled the same section of M25 (from M1 round to Dartford Crossing, or thereabouts) no less than three times in four days..  And then a meeting on the Tuesday down in Hampshire.

This weekend is a little bit calmer, but still consists of

  • Friday. Normal work travel, cinema in the evening, then home.
  • Saturday. Into Milton Keynes, collect new glasses and do some other domestic tat. Then drive down to Somerset for a house-warming thing, stopping off at Bristol to collect a couple of train-travellers and get them there too
  • Sunday. Come back. (Unsure yet whether that’ll also be via Bristol or not)
  • Monday. New job, new office, similar commute to the last month.

And next weekend involves a trip into London to meet up with friends and visit a couple of galleries with exhibitions I want to see.

I must be bloody barmy…

Miss Transit

Back in September, I wrote a small bit of cynicism about Luton’s Guided Busway, and why I was rather unconvinced about the reasoning behind the current glut of Busways, Tramways.

This week the first operating quarter’s passenger figures were released – and they’re only 41% of what they were projected to be.

Luton Borough Council revealed there were 346,854 passenger journeys between October and December 2013.

The 2008 busway business case projected usage of 9,000 daily trips, indicating 828,000 journeys for its first quarter.

But of course there’s someone else to blame – and it’s not the council, nor is it the bus companies involved in the project.

“If you want to blame anybody, blame the bankers,” [Colin Chick, the director of regeneration] said.

“When the country starts to recover and sites are developed and we create new jobs in that area and the airport expansion goes through, within a few months those figures will go back to what was anticipated.”

I remain unconvinced – but apparently the figures for the second quarter will be published soon, so it should be fun to see what they reveal…

People Carriers

As has been noted before on here, I do a fair amount of driving on any given week, mainly for commuting. It’s about 400-500 miles per week at the moment – although I’ve had greater mileages, and lesser ones.

One of the things I notice during those drives is how drivers do seem to group up, and that certain groups are infinitely worse than others. There’s always the usual culprits – BMWs, Audis, and White Vans, but there’s another one I notice more over time. MPVs, or people carriers.

I don’t know if it’s because BMW et al don’t actually do people carrier vehicles, but it does seem that MPV drivers are on a par with BMW drivers. In particular it seems that Citroen Xsara Picasso (now renamed the C4 Picasso, I think) are a breed of shit drivers. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen these vacuous bell-ends approach roundabouts in the wrong lanes, cut across lines of traffic, cruise across busy roundabouts, stick their cars into the flow of traffic, weave across multiple carriageways, and generally act like cunts.

So yes, welcome to the ‘shit drivers’ group.

  • BMWs and Audis
  • White Van drivers
  • MPVs – and Picasso drivers in particular.

Break Contemplation

When this current contract ends, I’ve already got the next one lined up, which will be another 4-6 weeks of work, taking me through to the start of June. It’s a nice situation, having something already lined up and waiting to start – not all that common, and helped by the knowledge that I have no intention of extending this one at all.

It’s making me think about what’s next (i.e. what’s after that) and I’m actually contemplating taking a week off, disappearing to a cottage somewhere.

It’ll be expensive though. Not the cottage (or whatever) itself, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll still know that it’s costing me a week of work, which is a not-insignificant amount. Mind you, I haven’t actually had a proper break/holiday in more than two years, so it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.

I’ve got some ideas on locations, but also of things I want to do. But mainly just taking a break, and hopefully putting some of what’s in my head onto paper/disk/keyboard.

Right now, that’s sounding like quite the plan.

East/West

I’m really hoping that this isn’t a poxy April Fool’s thing, because (as I’ve written before) it’s actually needed far more than HS2 is.

Network Rail have published a development plan which includes an East/West route connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Phase 1 will deliver the infrastructure required for Chiltern Railways services between Oxford and London via Bicester as well as the works required for the later introduction of East West Rail services west of Bicester.

Phase 2, which is at an earlier stage of development, will deliver the EWR works east of Bicester to Bletchley and Bedford, including the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction line within this five-year period ending March 2019

So – still a long way to go, but it looks like it might just be a plan.

Londinium

Friday turned out to be a really good evening – despite the trials and tribulations of driving in London.

I knew the drive was going to be a pig – after all, 6.30-7.30pm on a Friday night is always going to be a pig. I’m not the greatest fan of London driving at the best of times, but this one certainly wasn’t the best of times.

Apple MartiniStill, I got the job done, and only wished death and fiery rain on about fifty drivers – mainly those ‘in control’ of buses and taxis. The parking I’d found turned out to be perfectly located (in Chinatown) for where I wanted to be (Leicester Square), despite the number of suicidal orientals assuming that they had priority over big lumps of steel indicating that they were turning into the same street.

I’d picked a place called QPark - not the cheapest (although there’s no such thing as cheap parking in London, it appears) but cheaper than most of the other ones in the area that looked far dodgier. I do have to say thought that bloody hell, the parking spaces are tight – particularly when driving a sodding great boat like my Saab. Not too much of a problem going in, but reliant on others not parking like cunts when it comes to making one’s escape.

Garden PearAfter that, meeting up with friends at Scoff and Banter in Leicester Square was easy – and that Apple Martini was a worthy reward. (I’d got four hours minimum before driving, so a drink wasn’t going to cause any issues)

Having put the world to alcoholic rights, and grabbed some food as well – which was also excellent – it was on to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Mr Bill Bailey.

I’ve seen Bill Bailey before – as it turns out, ten years ago – although this show was much smaller. I believe this one was a testing run for his new ‘Qualm Peddler’ tour – and if that’s the case, go and see it if you get a chance. Some of the stuff was just surreal (and usually caused by some very strange members of the audience) and he seemed close to corpsing with laughter himself at some points. It was that sort of gig, really.

Food!Highlights included the reggae version of Downton Abbey, and Zombie Country and Western, but the entire 90 minutes was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed it all, and would love to have seen more.

After that, it was just the drive home – with London still solid traffic, even at 11pm – and then a clean run up the M1.

Oh yeah – and with those timescales, why did I drive?  Mainly because a) I don’t mind driving, and it’s always good to be able to say “Yep, done that, it holds no real fears” and b) because I’d thought it was going to start far later, and end after trains had finished.  Not that I mind at all – it was a good evening, and the driving was just one part of it.

But I couldn’t drive in London on a daily basis – there’d be far too much temptation to kill people…

 

 

Post Navigation