Thursday, 30 October 2008

To Late

I was going to post this in my AOL journal but find I am unable to do so!


Tomorrow 31st August will go down in
history as a sad day. It is the day that
Journals disappear. Over the years I have made
Many friends and I hope most will keep in contact
Through my new home at
For those who don’t join me you can e mail me any time at
Whatever happens may I wish you all the very best for the future

Friday, 24 October 2008

Living History

Today I visted the oldest working station in London at Deptford. It has been open since 1836 as part of the London and Greenwich Railway. At the time of opening the line was not ready as far as Greenwich and the terminal at London Bridge was not ready so trains used a temporary terminus at Spa Road. Incidentally the whole line between London and Greenwich was built on a viaduct because it took up less room than an embankment and cut down the cost of land needed. Seems like somethings never change although I wonder what the original promoters would make of things now. There are 16 running lines between London Bridge, Spa Road and Blue Anchor and service frequency is incredible.

Deptford may be the oldest station in London but the oldest railway in Kent is (or was) the Crab and Wrinkle line between Canterbury and Whitstable opened in 1830. The area I cover is roughly triangular in shape and covers from London to Ramsgate,along the coast to Hastings and back to London via Tunbridge Wells.

When I was at school I always found history to be one of the most boring subjects but recently I have become to take an interest. Deptford contains several churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the home of the Royal Naval Dockyards in Tudor times. Deptford Creek is now industrialised but it does not take a lot to cast your mind back and imagine all the sailing ships. Amongst other things that happened there was the knighting of Sir Francis Drake after defeating the the Spanish Amada and its also where Sir Walter Raliegh laid down his cloak for Queen Elisabeth 1 to walk across. Not all things were so joyous though Deptford is the place where Christopher Marlowe the playright was stabbed to death following an argument.

Deptford also has a wonderfull street market which sells all sorts of nice things to eat including many I have never heard of!

I really must remember to take my camera and get some pictures of these places.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The season of Mists and Mellow fruits

In some ways autumn is my favourite time of year. Everything is so mellow in the natural world, leaves are turning brown and falling. Day time temperatures are still reasonably pleasant and even though we know colder days are on there way everything seems so pleasant.

The fact that winter was on its way was rather dramatically brought home to me yesterday. Firstly I had better explain what I do for a living, I work as a finance auditor for London & South Eastern Railway (Southeastern) and my job involves visiting each and every one of our stations on a regular basis. Yesterday I went to Broadstairs on the North Kent coast and when I left Maidstone at 07.15 it was blue sky and bright sunshine so I decided on a light coat. As Southeastern is the worlds busiest railway I had a choice of routes, I could either go via Ashford and Canterbury or via Rochester and Faversham. I chose the latter and the further we got along the coast it got cloudier and distinctly chillier. In fact when I had finished the audit it was my intention to get some fish and chips for lunch but it was so flipping cold I decided not to bother to wander into the town but jumped on a train instead.

I decided to return home via Canterbury and Ashford as services on the Chatham main line were being disrupted by a signal failure at Herne Hill. A bad decision! All went well until we aproached Ashford when it was anounced that a tree had fallen on the line at Pluckley. This was added to by a failure of a freight train between West Malling and Borough Green. All in all it took me four and a half hours to get home and even than I had to write a report and e mail it off.

In a way this job is a bit like a well known TV comedy sketch, yesterday Bradstairs, today Sevenoaks and tommorow somewhere else.

Anyway today we have clear sky and sunshine so maybe its not so bad after all.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Mrs Tiggywinkle

Mrs Tiggywinkle
If like me you enjoyed reading Beatrix Potter as a child you will remember the character Mrs Tiggywinkle.
Last night I had a face to face meeting with a real Mrs Tiggywinkle.For those who dont know the area where I live it is a semi rural area on the outskirts of a village. Normally I can sleep through any thing and indeed I slept through the hurricane of 1987.
My garage is set back from the house, in fact its nearly in the back garden. The door is one of those metal up and over ones and as the garage is also behind double gates in the driveway I tend to leave the door open during the day. It was about midnight that I awoke to hear a strange metalic clanging kind of sound which I discovered was coming from behind the garage door. My first reaction was to think that as we have many foxes in the area one had become locked in the garage when I closed the door. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and out scuttled a hedgehog followed by two babys who promptly walked of down the lawn.
Bearing in mind that it is now mid October I hope the two little ones make it through the winter and dont fall fowl of the weather or a predator. I checked the garage out to see if they had been nesting there but there was no sign of it.
It is a sign of climate change that two baby hedgehogs were around in October but I suppose as we did not have a summer this year and its been warm but damp today we may have a mild winter.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Memory Triggers

Memory triggers
It must be a sign of old age but recently I have noticed that reading or seeing things brings back memories from the past.
Working for the railway I see lots of graffiti, some witty, some artistic and others just downright silly. I am not certain quite what category I would put the following in though!
Sex is not the answer
Sex is the question
Yes is the answer
At first I thought it was quite amusing when I saw it written on a station wall but then my memory started kicking in and went back to the sixties 'make love not war' era. What wonderful ideals we had in those days, everything was going to be peace and love. John and Yoko had there sleep in for peace, people had flowers in there hair and all was going to be well in the world. Talking of hair at this time I had shoulder length hair.
What went wrong.
I look at the world now, there is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places, the worlds financial system is in tatters, what price our dreams now. I geninuely feel concerned for the future, what kind of society are our children going to inherit?
May be we should have another sleep in for peace and maybe that unknown graffiti artist has a point.
I have tried posting these entries on Bebo, and as well as blogger but apart from blogger I have had no response so me thinks I will stick with that when A O Hell finally pulls the rug from under us. There is also a rumour doing the rounds that aol itself is going in January. Think i will resort to sending messages to you by carrier pigeon!
Love and Peace

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sussex by the sea and acroos the marsh

Was at St Leonards Warrior Square today doing an audit today. Well when you are in the area how can you resist popping along to Hastings and having fish and chips for lunch, if you have not had fish and chips at Hastings you have not lived! Found a nice spot in a shelter on the front and thoroughly enjoyed my lunc. Even the sun shone on me, what a contrast to yesterday.
One of the pleasures or otherwise of my job is the amount of travelling involved but I find it quite interesting watching the way the countryside has changed throughout the year. Returning from Hastings to Maidstone there are several options but my favourite is using the Marshlink service to Ashford travelling across Romney Marsh. I have always had a liking for the marsh ever since I read the Dr Syn books as a child. The famous but fictional smuggling parson from Dymchurch was also a favourite of my fathers. One of the joys of travelling by train is that it crosses areas of the marsh you would not normally see by road. There are umpteen very isolated houses and in your mind you can see them being used by smugglers and you can almost hear the winter storms ravaging on the windows.
One thing that has brought the marsh up to date is the building of a wind farm. From a distance it looks impressive with tall pillars supporting graceful sails. In fact you can almost imagine a 21st centuary eqvivalent of Don Quixote charging at them! Sadly as you get nearer you see all the trappings that go with them, the pylons and the overhead cables. I suppose even Romney Marsh has to move with the times! Quite what Dr Syn and his gang would of made of it all is another matter entirely.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

saving your aol journal

Saving your AOL journal
Thanks to Kirsty for discovering a site that enables you to copy your whole journal into word format in one go. Download BackStreet Browser 3.1, it works very well. I have been writing this journal since August 2005 and it took two minutes to copy the lot!
Thanks Kirsty

Friday, 3 October 2008

Now I wonder...........
Those who know me know that I have a great liking for jazz and especially female vocalists. If I listen to Clare Martin, Clare Teale, Karrin Allyson I am a happy man indeed.
If you read all the small print in my profile you will discover that its my birthday on November 29th, yes I will admit it I will be 57 this year. You can imagine my delight at discovering tonight that the fabulous Gwyneth Herbert is live at Pizza Express in Maidstone on November 22nd. OK its a week early but its my birthday after all! Trouble is tickets are like goldust and I am just hoping I manage to get one.
If you have never heard Gwyneth Herbert by the way check her out-you wont be disapointed!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Wedding Pictures 1947

These are the pictures that did not come out in my first post about my Mother and Fathers wedding.
Just in case you wondered what I look like. Picture taken in 2006 near Lake Garda.