Tag Archives: public transport

Trams, Transport and a Trembling Mountain of Flesh

Today we had Welsh cakes. If you like your cake with fat, spice and dried fruit these are just the cake for you. I like them, but I think we’ve already established that I’m no great judge of what’s healthy. Having said that, I went to the second part of my course this afternoon and we compared cholesterol levels. Mine was the lowest in the room (apart from the two lecturers, who didn’t share). I was also the only one not taking statins. This has nothing to do with anything that I do, as my diet and lamentable lack of exercise should be delivering a much worse result. I’m just genetically prone to having low cholesterol. This is why doctors hate me.

I went to the course by tram. The tram stop is only 100 yards away from the centre where they were running the course. It started with me not being able to find a decent parking space and missing the tram I had planned to catch. This meant I was five minutes late. The lesson there was to set off earlier, but as it only takes 20 minutes to drive and 40 by tram it already felt like I had allowed plenty of time.

First thoughts on public transport were that I prefer my car – less walking, less time and more convenience. The time I spent not having to search for parking at the end was taken up by the time taken to find parking at the beginning. Plus I don’t have to share my car with a howling mob. Why can’t people talk quietly so that I don’t need to hear them?

Elderflower Drizzle Cake with floral decoration

That, of course, turned out to be the good bit. The journey back was more interesting, but much more crowded as it was 5pm by that time. One woman spoke on her phone for several stops, then tried to get off just as the doors closed. She should have looked where she was going instead of boring us all to death with her banal phone calls. Another, caught without a ticket by the ticket inspectors, claimed to be a nurse, the changed that to “a professional”, and claimed she was using the tram for the first time, as if that was going to make a difference. There are plenty of signs up about tickets, so she should have known there was a £70 fine for not having one.

Then “the family” got on – the loud mother of ample proportions (this will be mentioned again in due course), the daughter, the son, the son-in-law and the baby in the pushchair. First they rammed the pushchair across the carriage to stop people moving along. then they formed a loud, lardy blockage that stopped people being able to get on and off via the doors. When people did need to get on and off the mother became very sniffy about being asked to move, even though everyone was very polite.

Chocolate and Cherry cake

Eventually, having driven people away. they spread out.  There were two poles near me, and she hung onto both of them, filling the space, with her outspread arms like a lardy Christ the Redeemer. For three stages of the journey I was thus treated to a view of armpit and bingo wings that is still in my head as I write.

And with that picture, I will leave you to imagine how I feel about public transport.

I will persist with it, as it’s the responsible thing to do, but I’m going to experiment with talking to myself, which should make people give me more room.

Photos are from our trip to Gibraltar Point. It was a while ago, and I never got round to doing a full write up of the tea and cake. I see from the link that we had difficulty with people on that day too. I really don’t do well around people.

Cotton Wool for Brains

The street is still frozen and Julia went to work by bus today. That was an unsatisfactory start to the day as I don’t like her using public transport at the moment. On the other hand, I don’t want to be out on the roads if they are still icy. I’m getting old. She was the one who suggested it so I don’t feel too bad. She said there was only one other passenger on the bus yesterday as everyone seemed to have decided to work from home.

Things are going well on the poetry side of things with two acceptances in the last four days. My current numbers are 21 submissions – eleven acceptances, ten rejections. This is in danger of making me smug and complacent. And we all know what comes just after a surge of acceptances, so I’m trying to stay balanced and prepare for the inevitable flood of rejections that are bound to come soon.

My planned submissions for the next couple of weeks include four places which have been turning me down for years so I suspect the figures will be more balanced in a month or so.

Apart from that, the morning is rather flat and I can’t concentrate.  I’m here, I’m well rested and my eyes are open, but as soon as I start to type I slow down, and down… It’s like having a head stuffed with cotton wool. The view from the window, was all snow and blue sky yesterday, with highlights of red and green and a certain degree of sparkle. It is now back  is back to a generic Midlands winter scene – grey sky and muted colours in various shades of sludge and grime. As I sit here it’s hard to believe that Sherwood Forest is only a few miles away over the horizon and that Spring is only just over a month away.

That feels better. Sometimes I just need a simple description of my day to set things right. It’s a case of blogging as therapy. A lot of writing is therapy when you look at it. In fact one of the things editors warn against in both prose and poetry, is sending in pieces which are really just the author writing out their problems.

I’d better go and explore the therapeutic nature of shredding and washing up now, because the day soon goes and I don’t want Julia to think I’ve been sitting down staring into space all morning. I have been, but I’m hoping to conceal the fact. I might even move some dust about. That always looks like a frenzy of housework has happened.

Snowdrops at Ruddington

The pictures are from previous years, just to give an idea of conditions. The ice in the street is worse than the picture and the snowdrops are actually pushing through snow.

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

New Lockdown Diary

It looks like I’ll be having a surprise holiday by the end of the week, as the Blonde Buffoon has just announced a month of lockdown. It gives a whole new lease of life to words like vacillating, wobble and dithering, which will surely be in great demand over the next few days.

I hadn’t actually expected this, as the government hasn’t shown much inclination to take action or spend money on keeping us safe. It probably won’t be as much fun as the first lot as it’s winter, but I do have an adequate supply of pasta and toilet paper this time. The slide from Level 2 to Level 3 to Level 3+ to lockdown has not taken long. It’s also, as far as I can see, been accompanied by no recognisable plan

Julia is unlikely to be closed down this time, but at least she won’t need to use public transport because I will be available for taxi duties. It’s a small gesture, but as mask-wearing is poorly enforced on both the trams and buses, it’s quite a useful thing to do. Whether it’s up there with buying jewellery and cooking steak as a romantic gesture is debatable, but in these peculiar times you do what you can.

This is one of those posts that seems to drag on forever as I struggle to find inspiration. A month cooped up on my own at home in November is not going to be as much fun as three months of summer with my beloved. However, it will give me time to declutter.

On with the dance! Let Joy be unconfined, as Byron put it. He was, of course, a Nottinghamshire man, and probably the second best poet from the county. Modesty prevents me mentioning who is the best…

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Tuesday Morning

Today, as ever, started with the death of a good intention. I meant to get home and start decluttering before writing, but in the end I went to sit in the back room of a shop and drink tea.

It was relaxing, but not productive.

I then went shopping, even though we are supposed to be doing it by internet. We have somehow run out of bread again so I thought I’d get some in and buy a few extra bits we could do with.

I’ve had a problem with my stomach recently, lasting two weeks. It wasn’t quite Irritable Bowel because I didn’t have my normal stomach cramps, and it doesn’t seem to be cancer as I checked my output and it all seemed normal. In fact, it was quite impressive (thanks to my high fibre diet). Julia has told me not everyone wants to know this, so I will leave it. there. I will, however, assure you that I checked seriously and was not just going through the motions.

Those of you from overseas, who are wondering about that slightly out of place last sentence may want to check this dictionary entry as I fear it is only a pun in English, and even then only for people with school boy humour (or me and Derrick, if you really want to narrow it down). Possibly Charlie and Tootlepedal, but they, having been teachers, are probably on a higher plane than that.

It seems not to be the methotrexate either, as, after the first few weeks this does not seem to cause any reaction at all.

I’m trying to cut out the cheese sandwiches at lunchtime, as cheese and milk sometimes trigger the IBS. There is a pan of carrot and parsnip soup on the hob at the moment because, although I am back to normal I need to lose weight and be kind to my stomach. I will have it with a ham sandwich. In my book, there is little I could do to improve on that.  I’m going to follow up with some yoghurt which I also bought today – time to work on my digestion.

So far, so good, though this is borrowed time and we must soon go back to proper working hours. The days I work are now getting longer and Julia is back on public transport most days. I’m not happy about that, and she isn’t happy about the number of people not wearing masks, but there’s nothing you can do. You can’t challenge people because this is viewed as discrimination. You can’t ask for proof. You just have to sit there and out up with their germs.

It’s a shame that the non-mask-wearing idiots who pretend to be disabled can’t all be struck down by Covid. Instead, ironically, they will be the ones likely to survive and infect others.


I stole the title from a news article. According to T. S. Eliot, it is OK to steal from the work of others.

The Highways Agency closed a bridge in Nottingham on Thursday night to check some damage they had found during a routine inspection. Along with thousands of others I did not know this when I set off to take Julia to work at 8.00 that morning. (To clarify – thousands of others did not know, but only I was taking Julia to work).

A journey which should have seen me spend about 45 minutes in the car, took me two and a half hours. I won’t describe it, or the behaviour of some drivers in the queue. Nor will I complain how bad it was for me or  how useless the Highways Agency are (though this is very tempting – they were totally useless in warning people and totally useless in setting up diversions). They were great at closing the bridge and causing chaos, but I could have done that with a few signs – that’s they easy bit). I won’t even moan about the fact that the bridge, which was supposed to be closed until Friday mid-day, is now likely to be closed until Wednesday.

I am not even going to remark that many people must suffer worse inconveniences than this on a regular basis.

No, today’s gem of wisdom is that if the fairly small matter of a closed bridge brings a city to gridlocked chaos, where would we be if something serious ever happens?

Despite having a prize-winning bus system and an expensive tram system, neither was much use. The buses don’t have bus lanes on the ring road and the trams don’t necessarily go where we need to go, though the network is expanding.

The second gem of wisdom, and I can’t help feeling smug at managing two in one day, is that this is why we can’t get people out of cars and onto public transport. Even when things are running properly Julia has to take two buses and two hours to get to work by public transport. I have never even tried, as it would take two buses and the best part of an hour to do a journey that only takes me ten minutes by car.

So, from one point of view, the problem is poor public transport. From the other it is that I’m selfish. When the world comes to an end, I will have to take my share of the blame for pollution. But in my defence, the bus would take the equivalent of three working weeks out of my year, and deprive the world of a substantial chunk of my writing. This may, or may not be a price the world is willing to pay, but it does at least allow me to say this is the way the world ends, gets me back to Eliot to complete a circular blog.


Nottingham – Sunset on Wednesday

The pictures are from Wednesday, when we ate scones and did other things I have not yet written about because I left the camera at work, and was then overtaken by circumstances.

A Diversion, an Early Start and Some Sarcasm

On Mondays Julia works at the main site instead of being in the garden. This means driving through town rather than round the ring road. Really, I suppose, it ought to entail using  a bus but as it takes an hour longer, involves two buses and would mean getting up at 6.00 I have cynically suggested we should be selfish and use the car.

I haven’t flown at all in the last 32 years (and that was for work, not pleasure) and she has flown just once in that time. I think we can allow ourselves a few car trips.

As British Gas is digging up the road on our normal route we used a different route today, and allowed a little extra time as I suspected there would be other people doing the same thing. It appeared not to be the case and, after a swift and uneventful trip through the centre of town, I got her to work 20 minutes early.

When we start off at the normal time we have been anything from ten minutes early to twenty minutes late. I can’t wait to see how things progress.

Work is scheduled to end on 29th May.

Last time there was major work done round here they over-ran by two weeks on a six week project. If they do the same again, in percentage terms, they won’t finish until August.

My cup, as they say, runneth over…