Bah, Humbug!

Well, Christmas is coming and has been since September! The shops are decked out with their decorations, the Chavs round where I work have the decorations on their Council houses and the TV adverts are nothing but Christmas and it isn't even Advent!
After spending 13 years working in retail, Christmas doesn't really start for me now until Christmas Eve!
Oh well only 35 days to go…………………..

Spam (as opposed to spam)

For the first time in years, I've had some Spam as opposed to spam . I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was on my butties. I will be getting more!
Must try Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce served in the Provençale manner with shallots and aubergines, garnished with truffle paté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam!

Altogether now Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam etc.

Etruria 3

Got a reply from my MP the other day. Enclosed was a letter from Tom Harris, Minister responsible for rail.

The work to upgrade the track in the vicinity of the now closed Etruria station, including removal of the platform, is currently planned by Network Rail to commence in late 2007. This is part of the work to upgrade the West Coast Main Line in time for further improvements to be made to services, with effect from December 2008.

Far from neglecting the provision of train services at Stoke-on-Trent and indeed the wider catchment area, there have been substantial improvements. There are two trains an hour towards Birmingham, a further half hourly service to and from London and four services an hour to and from Manchester. The area now receives an excellent range of inter-city and inter-regional services, providing the scope, for example, to attract further inward investment.

The proposed West Midlands franchise will also contain the provision of a new hourly semi fast service between London and Crewe, via Stoke-on-Trent. This will provide new journey opportunities and further enhance the quality of public transport for the area.

A considerable amount of investigatory work was carried out by the then Strategic Rail Authority and Rail Passengers Committee along with the local authorities, in connection with the closure of Etruria station.

All relevant issues concerning its potential value were considered and given the objective of making best use of the railway, there was no case to retain this lightly used facility.

 What rubbish! So I've written back.

With regards to the letter you received from Mr. Harris, and forwarded to me, it still appears that the DfT have no real interest in, or appreciation of, our area.
The removal of the remains of Etruria station and the realignment of the track will make no real gains to the people of North Staffordshire.
Trains will still have to slow down before they reach Stoke and the extra acceleration gained when travelling North will be negligible.
The proposed new semi fast service between Crewe and London via North Staffordshire is an interesting and exciting one. However, as I understand it, the service would not start until at least 2009 (a long time to wait for a train!). It is proposed that it would stop at Alsager, Kidsgrove and Stoke but not Longport (Longport, is of course, the nearest and most accessible station to a lot of people in the Borough). This is particularly relevant to the service level at Longport which with its present level of dilapidation and lack of promotion, not to mention Travellers camps, is rapidly going the way of Etruria!
As I wrote in my previous letter, it is very difficult to travel Northbound without going to all the extra inconvenience of going to Stoke first.
I hope the Minister can be made aware of these irregularities and that he will be in a position to make public rail services in our area improve.

My MP does seem supportive, so I'll just have to wait and see…………|-)


What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen 1893 – 1918 

Cub Camp

Well, I have to admit, I really enjoyed myself this weekend! That was the first camp I’ve been on for ages I’ve enjoyed.
I think it was because I wasn’t in charge and I wasn’t continually having to tell the kids what to do. The last few Scout camps I did were hell because the kids had to be constantly supervised as they hadn’t got a clue! They just didn’t have any idea how to do simple things like cooking beans, washing dishes etc.!

Also, although it was cold, I didn’t freeze to death!