Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

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Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

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Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
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Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
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My outbound journey.
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The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
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Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

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Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

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Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

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I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

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Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

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Musical Keys

A personal account of yesterday’s Musical Keys at the scout hut on Beulah Street and a walk on either side of the session.

INTRODUCTION

Musical Keys sessions happened at the scout hut on Beulah Street yesterday. I was there both as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and someone who enjoys the session. With it staying light later in the evening and yesterday being pretty benign for an early March day in England I got two good walks in on either side of my session.

GETTING THERE

I made a quick visit to King’s Lynn library before heading for the scout hut by way of the Broad Walk and the Sandringham Railway Path. I had sufficient spare time to take some photographs en route…

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This town centre cafe is the venue for an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning on Wednesday
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Here are some of the trees from which it takes its name, on the bank of the highly sculpted stretch of the Gaywood river that passes through The Walks.
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The library, fresh from recent repair works.
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The first of four flower pictures – all featuring crocuses.

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AT THE SCOUT HUT

I arrived with the youngsters session still in progress – here are some pictures I took before my session started.

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Before getting into details of what I did, I have a short subsection about…

A SPEAKER SYSTEM FROM Q BRANCH

This is best shown in a series of photographs…

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The speaker system in use
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Partially closed up – machine and bag of cables in the centre, the two speakers forming the sides of the case.
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And fully closed – a stout black plastic suitcase.

MY SESSION

I was on the computer, using Scratch 2. Once again I consider a series of photographs to do a better job than words…

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A modest but sufficient set up – I have eight notes on my chosen instrument (Cello) set to be played by pressing a, s, d, f, h, j, k, and l respectively, and various extras, including getting the cat avatar to move and draw, with the pen size increasing each time I pressed one particular key.

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THE JOURNEY HOME

Once the session finished, and the clearing up and locking up was done it was time for the walk back. I journeyed back by a different route, heading for Bawsey Drain, the Tuesday Market Place and King Street. Here are some photographs from this walk.

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A Couple of Winter Pics

Some winter pictures – enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

On Sunday Anna put up a post showing some winter pictures from Sweden. Now I am putting up a couple of winter pictures from here in Norfolk.

PICTURES

Here are the pictures…

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A spider web highlighted by droplets of water.
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Moss growing on the wall the bounds my outside area.
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Detail from King’s Lynn library.
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Not bad for £4 plus commission! These last two pictures are of my most recent railway themed acquisition.

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Autism Awareness Cup Facebook Page

Introducing the Autsium Awareness Cup Facebook Page.

INTRODUCTION

First up, apologies to those among my readers who do not use facebook, although I do have some unrelated photos by way of compensation. Secondly, I will take this opportunity to congratulate Norfolk Country Council on being one of the local/ regional authorities to have given the disgraced legal firm Baker Small their marching orders. Some of you may recall that a few days I ago a put up a post about the inaugural Autism Awareness Cup, and this post is a brief follow-up.

THE AUTISM AWARENESS CUP PAGE

This is a fully public facebook page for which I provide a full URL: https://www.facebook.com/AutismAwarenessCup/ and a screen dump showing the page header:

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So far five teams have entered, using European Championship/ World Cup themed names. I am happy report given current circumstances that no one has been tasteless enough to opt for Russia.

PHOTOGRAPHS

More Buildings of King’s Lynn

A follow up to my post “Buildings of Lynn”, highlighting some of the architecture that results from nine hundred years of history.

INTRODUCTION

Just over a week ago I put up a post called “Buildings of King’s Lynn” in response to a very nice comment that Faraday’s Candle had posted on my “About Aspiblog” page. That post was very well received, so I now have this follow-up. 

NINE CENTURIES OF HISTORY

These buildings span most of the history of this town. The first two buildings you will see are visible from right outside my door.

CLIFTON HOUSE TOWER

More or less due west of my own “compact” flat, this tower is instantly recognizable.

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THE GRANARIES

Located on the Purfleet side of Baker Lane car park, and one of the tallest buildings in the town.

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THE GUILDHALL

The second most iconic building in King’s Lynn. The checkerboard frontage is unique, although a couple of other buildings in the town have small bits of the same in their walls and there is one church in Norwich that is not entirely dissimilar.

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GREYFRIARS TOWER

The last remnant of the Franciscan Friary, where at one time Nicholas of Lynn, who certainly sailed as far as Iceland and may have reached the American Coast over a century before Columbus, was resident. 

BANK LANE ARCHES

Another remnant, in between Greyfriars and the Library.

THE LIBRARY

An amazing and important building. This construction in brick and carr provides a vital service to the residents of our town.

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HAYES AND STORR

A solicitor’s office in a very handsome building that happens to be almost directly opposite the library.

THE METHODIST CHAPEL

Right next door to Hayes and Storr.

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THE REMAINS OF ST JAMES’ CHAPEL

One wall section is all that now remains of this chapel, which was also a workhouse in the Victorian age.

THE RED MOUNT CHAPEL

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THE CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST

This church sits right at the town end of St John’s Walk.

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KING’S LYNN TRAIN STATION

This station, which opened in the 1850s, has recently been restored. It is very close to the centre of the town, and there is the option of a scenic route – follow the footpath down past the church of St John the Evangelist, then diagonally across The Walks to the library, down Millfleet to the river front, along the river front as far as the Purfleet and approach the Tuesday Market Place by way of King Street, thereby circumventing the Vancouver Quarter entirely.

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A SECTION OF OLD TOWN WALL

Very little of King’s Lynn’s old town wall survives, but close to Morrisons and the Primary School this section can be seen.

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HIGHGATE METHODIST CHAPEL

Much smaller than the main Methodist chapel on London Road, this building is located just off Littleport Street, still very close to the town centre.

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AN OLD BUNKER?

I cannot think what else this building which sits next to a small river, just off Littleport Street, could be.

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THE LYNN MUSEUM

Admission to this museum, which adjoins the bus station, is free. 

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THE NEW BUS STATION BUILDING

Following extensive redevelopment work (visit this post for more pictures) the new bus station opened in June of last year. This is the building that accompanied the external developments.

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THE MAJESTIC CINEMA

There have been plans to extend this cinema for some time, but for the moment it remains the same as ever.

THE LYNN RESTAURANT

While both the quality and the prices at this restaurant are very acceptable, it is the restoration work that has been done to the building above it that chiefly interests me.

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ST NICHOLAS CHAPEL

This chapel has recently been repaired and restored, and the results of all this work are spectacular.

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There has been a chapel on this site since 1146

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Timeline
This image shows all four large cushions that comprise the timeline – it is followed by eight individual images that show close ups of parts of the cushions.

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The organ – dates from 1899

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THREE BUILDINGS FROM THE TUESDAY MARKET PLACE

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This building houses the West Nordolk Disability Service among others.
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Not to be confused with the establishment in Norwich where James and Sons hold some of their auctions, this is The Maids Head, King’s Lynn
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The Dukes Head, where the Positive Autism Awareness Conference will be taking place on April 15th. This photo was constrained by the presence of the Mart. After a fortnight in Lynn, the Mart splits in to two to go to various other places around the country – but it is only in Lynn that you get to see everything.

CODA: KING’S LYNN’S NEWEST CONSTRUCTION

A new wind turbine has just been built near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It was built very rapidly – there was no sign of anything there on Tuesday, by Thursday morning the tower was in place, and by Friday morning it was complete (my bus travels this way on work mornings). Here are a couple of pictures, taken through the window of the bus on Friday…

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Buildings of King’s Lynn

Some of King’s Lynn’s most prominent buildings.

INTRODUCTION

This post was inspired by a comment posted on my ‘about aspiblog’ page by faradayscandle. I will be returning to this theme in future posts.

A SELECTION OF BUILDINGS

We will start with the most iconic building in King’s Lynn…

THE CUSTOM HOUSE

For more about the inside of the building visit this post. Here are two outside pictures both taken recently (the second of them today)…

KING’S LYNN MINSTER

This 12th century church, formlery known as St Margarets, has its own website where you can find out lots of information about it. Here a couple of pictures…

THE OLD GAOL HOUSE

Still on the Saturday Market Place, this handsome building possesses one very interesting external feature. The building is currently closed, but will reopen as Stories of Lynn around Easter time. Meantime, here are two external pictures…

THE GUILDHALL

This remarkable building, right next door to the Old Gaol House, is chiefly known for its checkerboard frontage, but as this post shows, the inside is not too shabby either! Here are some pictures of the outside…

The remainder of the buildings will feature only single pictures. Having finished with the Saturday Market Place, we head towards the Tuesday Market Place, by way of King Street where we feature the Arts Centre…

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Frequently when featuring the Tuesday Market Place the Corn Exchange dominates, but I am featuring just one building, The Dukes Head Hotel, home to Philanthropic Lodge 107. Of greater significance at the moment, this building will be hosting a Positive Autism Awareness Conference, organised by NAS West Norfolk. Here is the outside of the building…

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ST ANN’S STREET

I am saving St Nicholas’ Chapel for another post, so I offer you St Ann’s House and the upstairs of the barber shop…

Our next brief port of call is…

THE RED MOUNT CHAPEL

This chapel, which is entirely surrounded by beautiful parkland always repays attention. here is a recent picture…

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From here we head down the Broad Walk to…

THE LIBRARY

This is the only building in this part of the post of which I am posting more than one image, and both were taken recently. This is one of three libraries that I use on a regular basis, the others being Fakenham and The Millennium Library, Norwich.

HILLINGTON SQUARE

On our way down to the river, where we will finish, we pass Hillington Square, where improvement work has stopped since the £10 million that was allowed for this project has all been spent. Here is a glimpse of one of the new blocks…

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SOMERFELD AND THOMAS

A disused warehouse, in need of renovation. The building is still fundamentally very attractive, and could be turned into something very good.

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Before heading towards Lower Purfleet and the end of this post, a little look upriver to…

PALM PAPER

The direction in which the smoke is travelling in this picture (straight towards town) provides one reason as to why we objected to the building of an incinerator there. What we knew of the company who would have built it had we not put a stop to the idea was all bad (no contracts for anything in their native land since 1995, banned outright from operating in 29 of the 5o states of that native land). Also, incinerators are not a good idea anyway (I, and I suspect a majority of the 65,000 of us who said no, did not think it should be built anywhere). The fact that we prevented this should provide encouragement to others faced with greedy politicians trying to force hare-brained schemes on them (see here for a classic example).

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MARRIOTT’S WAREHOUSE

A warehouse that has been given the necessary attention. As well as good cafe and restaurant this building houses a small exhibition of models of King’s Lynn buildings. From the outside this is what you see…

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THE BANK HOUSE

This hotel his some interesting stuff inside it, and from the outside looks like this:

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THE LOWER PURFLEET

We finish the post with a glimpse across the Lower Purfleet from The Bank House, where these buildings can be seen (a stone’s throw away is the Custom House where we started).

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CUSTOMISED CHRISTMAS GIFTS

INTRODUCTION

This post was inspired by Anna of Anna’s Art who put up this post about painting rocks to turn them into Christmas presents.

THE CALENDARS

While I would be very unlikely to produce anything worthwhile by painting rocks as I have no talent for that sort of things many people have noted that I possess a talent for photography, and at mother’s suggestion I used this to design calendars for use as Christmas presents. Here are some photos of the completed calendars, made to my specifications by Vistaprint:

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Save for the front cover which does feature a composite image all the photos used were single pictures, and with no exceptions all were of things seen within walking distance of my flat in central King’s Lynn. Those of you who follow me on twitter will recognize the August photo, because that forms the basis of my current thank you message.

Maybe you have a talent that you can use to produce presents that only you could provide.