Its only make believe?

One thing I not so secretly enjoy, that Eric loves are the driver view train journeys of numerous long distance trips. Tonight, I was so enjoying the journey from Brussels to St Pancras that I got him to leave it on when he went upstairs to his room. There is a lot more on the reasons for that on the other blog, for those who know about it, lol.

But thinking things through, wouldnt it be fun for someone more into lines sadly no longer with us, wouldnt it be interesting if it was possibly to make a virtual video of some of the more scenic lines that are no longer with us? I mean, seriously, if someone offered me a video of a journey of the Princetown branch, I’d probably bite their hand off! As for the Shropshire and Montgomery line, or the Bishops Castle one, name your price, seriously! But fine, given the last 2 closed in the 1930’s, not going to happen!

The best I can do, is next week, see the site now of Fenay Bridge and Lepton station, which closed to passengers in 1930, and is now known as Station Court, yes, a housing area. Looking forward to it, but a virtual journey on the Kirkburton branch, wouldnt that be fascinating?

Yes, I know, no health issues, mainly because I will know a lot more about future plans for me after tomorrow, when I have the end of treatment meeting, so keep your eyes open for that information.

OK, video time. Huge hint in the title of the blog, lol. This is the Glen Campbell version, though there are numerous famous ones to choose from

Suspicious Mind

OK, I know, I’m old school, and all that, but I managed to amuse my lady contact at the benefits office on the phone yesterday by querying the back payment figure they were offering me for my cancer status, because I thought it was…too high! Yes, I’m not saying its the first time in her work she’s had that query, but I would imagine its fairly unique. But yes, it was right. Cancer diagnosis might only have been in September, but I’ve been off with that issue since March, and providing sick notes, so dated all the way back! Means I can pay back a lovely man who has been helping me since then financially, but beyond that, my financial sanity has gone up amazingly with that news!

Yes, thats all the health news you’re getting, other than all continues fine for now, and hopefully will do so for sometime yet!

The other thing I got suspicious about today, actually relates to railways. Yes, that branch to Kirkburton that closed to passengers in 1930, though it lasted till 1965 for goods. Well, today, after picking me up, my transport driver headed off to Kirkburton for the next pick up! At that end of the route, there were 2 stations that came to my mind, whats left of it, lol. The obvious terminus station, but it was obvious to me that the route was also taking me close to the previous station on route, Fenay Bridge and Lepton.

Sadly, as Google maps proved to me when I got home, and checked, I saw neither, as neither was on the main road that the vehicle was travelling along. Not that as far as I can tell, there is any extant evidence of either station now according to facts I could find online, but anyway…

In fact, I have been closer to Fenay Bridge and Lepton station site in my time, as apparent it was only about 400 yards from Aromatic Beauty, further down the road (Station Road, and Station Court being big giveaways), though I’ve never been beyond Linda’s place when going down that road, up to now. Maybe once I’ve recovered, well… not that I’m going to find anything but street names, it seems?

Kirkburton station is also now seemingly just a housing estate area, but hey, its over 50 years, so all in all… So that suspicious was crushed, lol.

OK, video time. Yes, the obvious song, and yes, the Elvis version, live. Its ironic to think that 50 years ago, women swooned at this behaviour, whereas now it looks horribly sexist. Ah well, the change in times, and attitudes…

Check the date!

I suspect this might get lost on my non UK viewers, especially with those who dont get to travel by train, but its so amusing, I have to go with it. Besides which, I need to keep in with Geoff Marshall, as despite all my health issues (sadly not April Fool), for when he takes this series to my beloved West Yorkshire. Yes, each county, and area in England has a least used station. This varies between the Sublime (Redcar British Steel) with about 12 users in a year, to the ridiculous (Oakham) with nearly a million users, but is the only station in Rutland, so…

He’s currently off in Ireland, doing one of his other rail projects, one rather obviously called ‘All the stations in Ireland’, but apparently recorded this in preparation for release today, with full permission from station, and related railway companies.

As you might gather from the date, and the video, Waterloo isnt the least used station in London. Actually, as you might equally have guessed from the date, its actually the busiest station in the whole of the United Kingdom. Therefore yes, its very wittily done. Before you ask, no, I havent got the details of the actual length of a Vicki foot, but I suspect if Geoff finds this, either himself, or through one of his many thousands of fans, we might find out!

So yes, please feel free to enjoy the Waterloo version of least used station

You can also enjoy the one he made of the actual least used station in London, Angel Road

Oh, finally, for anyone who cares, the least used in West Yorkshire, where I live? Pontefract Baghill, which the last I saw, has 2 trains a day in each direction. See you there, Geoff, maybe?

 

Part 2 of the year, and the passing of the pre code baton

And so to the second half of the year.

In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.

One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.

September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.

At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.

Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!

Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!

Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…

Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.

OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!

Sitting on a railway station

Well, if I were to update you on what I did yesterday, you’d be bored stiff, because I did pretty much what an ‘old crock’ like myself should do, I had a relatively easy day. I went out for a gentle stroll (bit further than planned), had a bite of lunch, then headed back to the hotel again, via a stop for an Ice Cream. Fallen asleep yet? 😛

Today however, was far more amusing, which is the only reason you’re getting this tonight. My original plan had been to head into town (about 11.15), have a stroll, get a coffee, then head down and get the 12.30 bus to Vila Real De Santo Antonio, have a bite of lunch, then hop on the ferry, cross into Spain, just because its easily done (ferry takes 15-20 minutes to cross), have a look round, then come back again. No, as you gathered, I didnt do that!

Instead, as I got into town, just after 11.30, the seemingly slightly delayed 11.27 bus to Faro swung into sight, so I got on that instead! I will do the other trip later in the week, but for now… There may not be a bus every 10 minutes, but they do believe in comfortable bus seats over here, so nice! Fares are similar for distance as at home, for those interested, so it can be done, First Buses!

But the sweetest thing for me, was one of my fellow passengers, at least until Tavira, where she got off. To say this woman was the spitting image of an elderly Gloria Swanson (as in Sunset Boulevard era, or just later) was remarkable. Gloria (if I remember right) was tiny, under 5 foot tall, I believe, but in truth this woman wasnt much taller than that! Oh, and this woman was speaking fluent Portuguese, but other than that… She had the perfect diva attitude too (though I’ve heard nice things said about Swanson, so maybe she didnt?) as she showed when someone was trying to help her with her bags, after she got off the bus.

The rest of the drive to Faro was positively sedate, other than the song that got stuck in my head, this one

In truth, after just over 20 years, I didnt remember much of Faro, beyond the basic set out, but I suspect its changed in that time anyway. Bus station is still as ancient as it was then, mind, certainly no overhaul there!

At home, generally the bus fares are cheaper than the trains, and they take longer to get places, though because of the route the train takes, that doesnt work between Huddersfield and Bradford, because the train ambles round via Halifax. In the old days, the train was also more reliable, but that no longer happens! Here in Portugal, the bus fare was actually more expensive than the train (5.70 Euros, to 5.05 on train), takes longer to do the journey, even allowing for the long walk to the station (about a mile) from here. The snag is, Portuguese trains make Trans Pennine Express look reliable, and thats quite an achievement!

The train back to Monte Gordo from Faro was meant to leave at 3.00, and take 62 minutes for the journey. Even with a 20 minute walk, that should beat a 3.15 bus that takes 83 minutes for the journey! The thing is… The train pulled in from Lagos (yes, Nigeria isnt the only one to have a place of that name) at 3.03, about 4 minutes late, so we all get on. Then a minute later, we all get told to get off again. I have no idea what the announcement said, as it was only given in Portuguese, not a lot of use to most passengers who were tourists! Anyway, said train reversed back down the platform, and sat just outside the station. Just after 3.25, it plodded back into the station, we all got on (and stayed on) and a few minutes later, it set off for Vila Real De Santo Antonio!

I finally got back to Monte Gordo about 30 minutes after I should have, and still nearly made it into town before the bus passed me! Ah well…

Oh, and this leads to the second video of the day, the song I was singing to myself at the station, when I was wondering what the train was doing!

Making America Stupid again,and a probable farewell to Inverness

Oh fine, I wasnt going to post again tonight, but enough has happened today to make it worthwhile, so lets roll with it.

The day started with some amusement, and helped to convince me that Trump followers really are idiots, or some of them, anyway. It actually started positively (if you ignore the earlier sighting on news of Trump doing a fist pump at a 9/11 memorial service, for heavens sake. Is he, and his fans complete idiots? Oh fine, seemingly, but more on that shortly.

Some very efficient service from a nice man at Scotrail assistance, means Eric will not need to walk miles at Edinburgh Waverley on the return journey, assistance arranged! But then to today’s journey, and the moment of idiocy. There were at least 2 signs, that I noticed, advising customers that there were no seat reservations on the train we were catching to Aviemore, due to, as I found out later, a printer issue.

So fine, no great fuss, got in a pair of seats, ready for the journey, and then… This American elderly man, wearing, you’ve guessed it, one of the dreaded M.A.G.A hats came up to us, and told us we were in his reserved seats. I politely explained, just as the conductor was again confirming it over the speaker system, that there were no reserved seats. His only reply (and its fair to comment, there was little sign of intelligence in his eyes, was to repeat what he said, and glare at us again. After 3 rounds of this, I decided that beating my head against a Trump fan, with an IQ roughly around zero, was a pointless exercise, so we gave up, and moved.

He then started bemoaning us to his wife, who miraculously pointed out to him that we were right, there were no reserved seats on the train. Anyway, one of his other companions/family members gave a face that was clean out of Redneck territory at the whole event, best described as a gurn. No, I’m not sure his IQ was as high as zero! Thankfully, we were only going one stop, so soon left them behind, about 35 minutes later.

The steam train ride was nice. Cant remember the last time before this I rode a steam train, definitely cant remember the last time I had a meal on one! Anyway, back to Aviemore at 14.08, and… we proceeded, after about 30 minutes wait, to get the 12.23 to Inverness! No, I’m not kidding, there was an issue with a freight train further down the line, it was running about 2 and a quarter hours late! Now, in this country, when you have this much of a delay, you get a refund on your ticket. Thing is, we were actually booked on an anytime ticket, which even though that wasnt our planned train, we could have claimed for the delay. Thing is, we had reserved seats for the 14.40, so if anyone checked, we werent actually delayed, but a few minutes early.

I’ll be honest, if worthwhile money was involved (£9.75 each), and I wasnt a civil servant, I probably would have gone for it anyway. But yeah, I can just see the headlines, if anyone found out, so for that much money, no go. Honest, but stupid, probably!

Lastly, after we got back to the hotel, and Eric settled down for a nap, I took a stroll back up into Inverness, one last time, probably. I cant see me being back anytime soon, and in truth, a few years after that, I probably, quite literally wont be going anywhere, lol! Body might last a few more years, but I suspect not many, and the odds on being back up here, not good.

So, when I was a child (as I have mentioned before), I had some distant relative who lived in the Highlands, at Kinlochleven, of a very similar age to me. She, as I suspect young Scottish children do, was from time to time, dressed in her clan colors, Maclaine of Lochbuie. At one time, I had a tie, and a plaque in said colors, but both have long since passed from my ownership in time, and moves. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look for a dress, or skirt in said clan colors, but unsurprisingly, I couldnt find any, its not one of the popular clans, shall we say? But those I did, well over £100, so definitely not going to happen, regardless! Oh fine, lets include the clan name as a category, I might get offered a skirt, or dress in clan colors, though I wont hold my breath on that!

And thats about it! Tomorrow we head back down south, end of the break. Lets just say I’m looking forward to some lay ins, in the morning, for the last 3 days of my break! Eric, please note, lol!

I dont know what to say about video suggestions, to be honest. Last Farewell, Roger Whitaker, maybe?

Edited to add the video at home

Painting the world with a rainbow, and other holiday musings

Totally confused? Oh, I hope so, as thats the plan to make you read this, lol.

OK, catching up on the week so far. Yesterday was more memorable for the things that didnt go to plan, whereas today, with one exception, went pretty well to plan.

So yesterday, lets start with the usual culprit, Trans Pennine, and their non-express service. OK, lets say wonderful service from a member of staff from same company! Even more confused? Oh good!

We arrived at Huddersfield yesterday morning, to find our train was running 13 minutes late. Then it got to 18 late, actually left 16 minutes late, so yes, they have as much clue as a certain US president does, lol. Not surprisingly, it lost more time before York, and basically, we werent going to make our train at Newcastle, and all plans could have gone haywire from there. So, I thought I’d buy a coffee, and at least enjoy that on the journey, when…the conductor told us our train was actually behind us going into York. It was probably going to overtake it en route to Newcastle (it did!), so he got us off there, wrote a sweet message for the guard of the other train, we got on it, and sorted.

Well, apart from my coffee, which was the item I then couldnt carry, and half got lost in the transfer, but anyway…

Next, Edinburgh! I had rashly assumed all platforms were pretty much in one area, and that the transfer, even with limited mobility on our parts (Eric even more than me), it wouldnt be that hard. Unfortunately we were dropped off on a platform about half a mile from the main area of the station, and it was a challenge to get there. Thankfully, we had plenty of time, so survived.

The rest was straightforward enough, other than the amusement on my part, when I saw they’d put Eric down as Mr Carpenter on the invoice. I know, one name on the booking, twin room, so…Still found it funny, but thats just me? Hotel is lovely by the way.

Today, to Kyle of Lochalsh. OK, this is where the title comes into play. You could call the Skye line, the LGBT line, because we saw rainbows both ways, a very spectacular one heading there, less so coming back. 2 of the stations, the platforms are so ‘large’ they only open 1 door on the train, because thats all thats on the platform!

OK, first the missing hotel. Eric has got one of those ‘drivers eyes’ videos of the Kyle line, but the thing is, it was made in 1987! It therefore showed a building I first saw as a child, the Achnasheen Inn Hotel, on the platform of Achnasheen station. So, someone was looking forward to seeing an old friend again, right? Wrong, seemingly, as it burnt down in 1995! I did wonder if I was missing something, until I found out the news at the museum on Kyle station! Just glad I didnt say anything at the time, as locals would have thought me crazy asking about something that burnt down 23 years ago!

Oh fine, the missing ferry. No, not the one at Kyle, though that is definitely gone. Funnily enough, there was a large boat moored where the ferry used to leave from today though. But further up the line…

The first time I saw this corner of the world, by road, was 1971. We were using an old road map (about 1968?), and it showed the road crossing to Stromeferry, by ferry. I was navigating just fine, until we approached the area, and the signpost said something totally different to my map. Thankfully, wisdom prevailed, I followed the signposts, not the map, as the ferry had been replaced by a new road the year before! In truth, today, nearly 50 years on, I couldnt make out either point where the road met the ferry, so to speak, on either side of the water. Passing of time, and all that!

Tomorrow, so to speak, we go back in time, on a steam train from Aviemore, to Boat of Garten, and back. Lunch booked on the train, ooh! No, I havent bought a flapper dress with me, though maybe I should have done? Thursday, we head back south. More on those 2 days at end of week, I’m sure.

Apologies, but no video tonight. We do have wi-fi at the hotel, but its not quick enough to play videos, from You Tube, for sure. Probably would have gone with the theme from Rainbow, for those who wish to find their own!

Edited to add the video. Yes, the full length version, a first for me