350 miles

In my website/blog’s “heyday”, I used to simply write reports of what I had been up to. I wish I had never stopped as they are great for remembering things myself – looking through old articles as I reinstate them to this website brings back loads of memories – but there is going to be a 3-4 year void which is a shame. Let’s presume I did nothing in that time! Continue reading 350 miles

Comment away!

Back on 5th May, I posted about how comments seem to have been disabled.

They are now back 😀

Ashford Town v Worthing

Yesterday I visited Short Lane, these days known as The Robert Parker Stadium Continue reading Ashford Town v Worthing

From the outside

A few quick words from me on a subject I am massively under-qualified to talk about – I never saw Adam Stansfield play, ever talk to him, or share in the success he has repeatedly enjoyed in his all to short professional football career – but I was today moved to tears several times whilst attending his funeral service (mainly to support my Sam who very much ticks the boxes above).

It is plainly clear that the guy represents all that football should be and his loss is massive to his family (he leaves his wife and three young children behind), friends, colleagues, and – well – the world.

My favourite tributes to him:

Adam Stansfield died on 10th August 2010 following a battle with bowel cancer, aged just 31. My thoughts are with all that are close to him.

Taking over the world

I have decided that LOROL should take over the world. I will possibly elaborate on this at a future date, but probably not. The first two services I would take over are St Albans-Sutton and Greenford-Paddington.

Anyway…

Not Silverstone

So it’s Silverstone this weekend – and I am not there: but considering future Grand Prix attendances. I have long harboured ambitions to go abroad for a Grand Prix, and it has been discussed many times. Continue reading Not Silverstone

Ask Matt

Ask Matt, as a feature, seems to have died. I have been asked many more questions since I last reported it, and yesterday alone whilst waiting for a train I answered four in two minutes.

All train related too. One was funny – “When’s the next train to Shepherds Bush?” – answer dutifully given, the customer then went and checked the screen anyway. Perhaps they doubted me, or maybe they were taking the information I had given them and were marrying it up with the screens so that next time, they’ll know how to work it out themselves. I’m a benefit of the doubt kinda guy… it’s all good customer service :) Continue reading Ask Matt

7/7

Many have shared their memories of events in London five years ago today. I didn’t move to London until 18 month later, but that day I left work, found out opened mouthed when meeting Ross at his house before driving down to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, being held that weekend.

So my memory is a weird one. No first hand, not on the scene or of images on TV per se – although say “what image does 7/7 conjure for you” and the remains of the bus would probably be it – but ask for something particular from me for a memory of that day, and I’d have to say this:

"AVOID LONDON TODAY"

M1 gantry sign on London-bound carriageway advises motorists to avoid the capital

Will always remain a poignant memory of that day.

52 people lost their life that day, many more were injured, and many were saved by the efforts of several very very brave, helpful people. Never forgotten.

No surprise – not really

A certain game of football happened yesterday, and I watched in hope like most of the rest of the country no doubt did too. I was deflated when we went one down, moreso when we went two down. I celebrated when Upson clawed one back – but not for the goal that never was – I instinctively wait for confirmation when goals look like they have a chance of not being given, and whilst I could see from the live shots that it was in, I knew it was one of those cross-bar bounce down type goals you so often see not given – and it wasn’t.

Moot point at the end of it all, we were just outclassed. Is it because we are simply not good enough or underperforming? I lean towards the latter, and we’ve underperformed in every game in the World Cup this time round. That’s why it was no surprise. I remember saying after the first game – 1-1 v USA – that if we play like this against the likes of Germany, Argentina, Spain we’d have our arses handed to us. And so it proved.

Solution? Who knows…?

My Muppetry

So Continue reading My Muppetry

Quick note

I’ve received several HUNDRED* emails asking why comments are closed for all posts. By default they close after a month, but they seem to be closed sooner already for some reason.

I have no idea why this is happening. I will endeavour to rectify this situation eventually. Until then, no comments :(

*none

New job. Old content.

So, er, I have neglected this blog a little bit. Sorry. I AM going to give it a bit more attention now – and I have decided that I’m going to slide in a bit more classic material to entertain the masses – plus it’d be a shame to delete it forever. Continue reading New job. Old content.

Recommendation

Just thought I’d say – this video is awesome. Richard Burns was a megastar, and I don’t think I truely realised at the time. Do you ever realise at the time?

Richard Burns tribute by Topgear

Know Your Map

I know I’m a bit of a tube geek sometimes, and this boils over into public transport sometimes, but this all stems from – essentially – the day I got a Y-P railcard and started going off round the country visiting prospective universities. The country was at my feet and what started as a mild fascination with why sometimes you changed at Lancaster and sometimes at Leeds on the old railtrack journey planner when starting a journey at Skipton became a desire to learn more about the network as a whole.

Fast forward to 2010 and I’ve been living in London for 3 years and am learning steadily where everything is. And this is good, because the tube breaks quite a lot and you can often find yourself seemingly trapped somewhere with nowhere to go. It’s happened more than once to us all, but it isn’t always the end of the world – as verifying the following real-life stories with the use of any map will show!

Bad times at Bayswater

I was heading up the Circle Line to Edgware Road (from which I’d walk to Marylebone) from Wimbledon – but as our train got to Bayswater the line was suspended and we were all turfed out. Everyone seemed to crowd around the poor sod who worked on the platform there asking for help, and a few others around the bus map to see what buses could help them on their way. Queensway tube station is about 2 minutes walk from Bayswater – knowing this I was straight out and down the road. A longer journey via Bond Street ensued but at least I kept moving – I reckon it cost me about 15 minutes maximum. Some people on my original train will have still been waiting…

Running late at Lancaster Gate

Not really running late, but on my way from Queensway to a Oxford Circus (to ultimately visit a pub halfway between Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street) the Central Line was suspended due to a fire alert at Marble Arch. Our train stopped in a tunnel and had to reverse back to Lancaster Gate with only two cars in the platform. We all exited the train via the emergency doors and the two available carriages and, not phased, I walked to Paddington – just round the corner really – and went to the pub via Great Portland Street instead. London’s easy when you know it, isn’t it? :)

Taking my Chancery Lane

The Central Line clearly isn’t my best friend, as per the time I decided I really didn’t want to get to Shepherd’s Bush for an onward connection to Imperial Wharf, but wanted to sit between Chancery Lane – where I’d begun my journey – and Holborn for 5 minutes, before returning to Chancery Lane. Given my final destination I elected not to bus or walk it to Holborn for the Piccadilly Line, but wander down actual Chancery Lane itself an pick up the District Line at Temple instead. Wonderful, but only if you know how :)

A-sleeping in Acton

Aiming for Greenford, from which I was going to have a pleasant stroll to Sudbury Hill Harrow as I had half-an-hour to kill, I boarded a train (again on the Central Line) at Shepherds Bush that was bound for Ealing Broadway. Instead of waiting for the correct train immediately I always take the first train that comes and change further down the line – that way you are dodging any problems that might occur’s effect on your journey as much as possible (better to have to bus home from 2 stations away than from 10!). This meant a change at everyone’s favourite Acton (that’s North Acton!) – unless you fall asleep that is! I woke up however at West Acton – one of everyone’s most disliked Actons if anything… Now pushed for time to take a pleasant stroll at Greenford if I coubled back on myself, I walked a few hundred metres down the street from West Acton to North Ealing instead, to pick up the Piccadilly Line. This took me to the tube station next door to the rail station I was ultimately aiming for and still with a good while to spare – and having had a pleasant enough albeit shorter stroll along the way :)

Essentially there are loads of useful close neighbours on the London transport network – and it’s worth taking even a brief interest in the alternatives cos one day you will need them. As it happens I know a lot of these and a lot more than I’ve ever used in general everyday travel (though I have set out to use some when tube geekerying) – but they are often useful to everyone.

Anywho. I might blog something interesting tomorrow :)

Recent Findings

This bit of this post has been deleted.

Had another day of feeling (well, in the back of mind mind anyway) a bit :( regarding the death at the Winter Olympics on Saturday. Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed when he was introduced to a supporting pole at over 100 km h-1 – we came across the video on the Fox news website too and whilst it’s sickly morbid to want to watch, there was a curiosity there too. It looks horrendous yet somehow not so at the same time. Not nice at all and my thoughts as expected are with his family and friends at this tragic time. Continue reading Recent Findings

Cumbrian Cock-up

Sam and I were looking forward to our first Yeovil game since Gillingham away in wet wet November. Continue reading Cumbrian Cock-up

Paris Holiday – part 1

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Matthew!! Continue reading Paris Holiday – part 1

Ze cold

It’s fair to say it’s really cold at the moment. The street outside our house is treacherous – ungritted and a virtual ice-rink. The snow came down overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and by Wednesday afternoon the community spirit was in full force as several neighbours cleared the pavements as best they can and “gritted” them manually with sand and cat litter. Continue reading Ze cold

Weakness

Here are some factoroonies for you. Continue reading Weakness

2009 in Scrivland

It’s fair to say 2009 was awesome, except the part Continue reading 2009 in Scrivland

Annoying things about Oystercards: 3

I’m not talking the timeout rules or touching pink validation or validity based things that make this “cheap and easiest way to travel in London” an absolute nightmare – but more the things people do that can get right on my nerves, some of which are not necessarily Oyster specific:

3: It clearly doesn’t work

If you touch your Oystercard on the Oystercard touchy pad thing and get no response, this can mean one of two things: (a) You take the approach I do and have it embedded deep within your wallet, but you’ve put your wallet on upside down and there is literally too much crap in the way and the signal never reaches the card to do any work, or (b) your card is broken. It’s normally (b) people that I get stuck behind at queues for the single gate at a station of whilst waiting in the rain to board a bus. And isn’t it funny how all broken cards have £50 on them causing the owner to have a go at gateline staff or bus driver for the funds they now think they will never see again.

If your card doesn’t work when you put it on the reader (and the reader has an orange light meaning it is primed and ready) then no amount of retrying is going to make it work. Stop sitting on the damn thing and it might last more than a few weeks – and if you don’t – occasionally technology fails. Register your card and protect your money, simple. If it fails, get out of the way, because whoever’s fault it is that it has stopped working, it certainly isn’t mine, so stop making me stand in the rain.

Rah!

…moving to the future

If there’s one thing that really f***s me off, it’s out of date software.

I mean – come on – would they want you to update it for no apparent reason (the makers of twibble need not respond)? The internet is full of malicious things wanting to eat your hard drive. Keeping things up to date and you keep them out.

Plus their annoying little reminders are annoying. Some people don’t realise that the only way you will make these go away is to click “OK” or “Update” and not “Cancel”…

From now on, I’m going to update any out-of-date software I find – my computer or otherwise… :)

Annoying things about Oystercards: 2

I’m not talking the timeout rules or touching pink validation or validity based things that make this “cheap and easiest way to travel in London” an absolute nightmare – but more the things people do that can get right on my nerves, some of which are not necessarily Oyster specific…

2. “The swipe”

Every TfL leaflet in the world, their website, posters and even those white boards you get in booking offices refer to touching in an out. Some people, for some reason, refer to it as swiping in and out – which is fine, you can call it what you like. It’s when your practice becomes to actually swipe your card across the reader that problems start. It invariably doesn’t touch in at all and at best will error because by moving it across and then off before you’ve got a green light you haven’t given it time to do its work. Touch-wait for green-go. It’s so easy. Learn to touch and not swipe and you and everyone behind you will get home quicker.

Annoying things about Oystercards: 1

I’m not talking the timeout rules or touching pink validation or validity based things that make this “cheap and easiest way to travel in London” an absolute nightmare – but more the things people do that can get right on my nerves, some of which are not necessarily Oyster specific…

1: “Seek Assistance”

We all know that sometimes Oystercards are misread when you touch in and so you might have to retry. But if you retry more than once you are holding up the queue behind as it clearly isn’t a misread the second time, or third time, or fourth… Stop re-re-trying and do what’s suggested and SEEK ASSISTANCE!

This is particularly annoying on a bus as there is a little display that tells you the reason for rejection. “Not enough money” may not be the most eloquent way of putting it but touching a million times isn’t going to magic £20 onto the thing. Get off and go and top up. Or find a £2 coin. For everyone’s sake!

:(

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/8353733.stm

Germany’s number 1 goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide on Tuesday by walking in front of a train – the (depression fuelled) composure to do something like that is something I hope to never be able to contemplate – and as a death story always does (despite never having heard of him).

This article on the BBC news website demonstrates the worst part of it all – his wife Teresa speaking about how she tried to keep him going throughout his depression, the death of their daughter, and the fear of his illness becoming public. She is now left behind to raise their other daughter and my thoughts are with her.

Very sad :(