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:

tickets
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.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
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)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
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)
KL - Peterborough
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:

ticketholder

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.

library

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…

DSCN5103machineoo

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:

plaque

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!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

Public Transport (and more Spring Photos)

More spring photographs following on my last post, likewise some appropriately themed music, some stuff about public transport, some autism related links and some other links.

INTRODUCTION

This is a follow up to my previous post, but after the photographs I will be sharing a number of links as well. Here is some appropriately themed music once again – Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Immediatelty I had put up the previous post I set off on another walk. Although I did not manage to capture any more butterflies I did get plenty of splendid pictures.

Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

HG

St Nicholas
St Nicholas Chapel
Cats
Cats on a pipe that crosses Bawsey Drain

DrakeMoorhen1sparrowsblackbirdDrake headMoorhen2

sunlight
sunlight on water and exposed mud flats
Waterfall
The upper Purfleet following much needed clean up work.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE DAFTNESS OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This too has some photographic content. I made passing mention of a daft situation involving public transport in Norfolk in my post “Network Autism”, and now I am following up on it.

bus
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this style of bus, going by way of Fakenham, Lenwade, Hellesdon, Taverham and Drayton costs £5.50…
X1
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this type of bus, going by way of The Hardwick Industrial Estate, Middleton, Narborough, Swaffham, Dereham and Easton costs £11 – twice as much as in the other style of bus.

Although the routes taken differ, the distance covered and the time taken to cover that distance are similar, and therefore so too is the fuel consumption of the bus. The First Eastern Counties X1 route is available almost the whole day, whereas the Stagecoach X29 route is more restricted timewise, with the first bus leaving King’s Lynn at 6:28AM and the last return bus leaving Norwich at 5:20PM (and the other way around the restriction is greater because the depot is in King’s Lynn. 

This is the sort of nonsensical situation that can arise when public transport is in the hands of greedy profiteers rather than being publicly run and publicly accountable. There is no rational justification for the same journey costing twice as much by one route as by another like this.

LINKS

For today this section divides into two subsections, starting with…

AUTISM RELATED STUFF

I start with a link to a post on Mamautistic, titled “Not an Excuse”. This post is liberally laced with links of its own that I recommend you to follow up. Click on the picture below to read it in full.

My remaining links in this section are to posts on thesilentwaveblog. First up is a post titled “Asperger’s / autism may not be a disability only (but we *do* need to treat it like one)”. Please click on the image below to read this post, which is detailed and well reasoned, in full.

Next comes a post with the title “When an “official” Asperger’s / autism diagnosis is just a formality”. This one is is super-detailed but very well worth the read. Once again, there is an image that I can use as the link.

Finally, to end this subsection, although I reblogged the magnificent ‘put the boot on the other foot’ type post “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” earlier today it is so good that I feel another plug is in order, so if you have not already read it please click on the image below to rectify the omission.

OTHER LINKS

I start this section with a horrifying story from The Canary about how some girls in Britain in 2017 are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. Click the image below to read this piece.

Girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. In Britain. In 2017.

My last two links go together – not only are both to pieces on Skwawkbox, both are to pieces about Tory election fraud:

  1. The first one is titled “#TORYELECTIONFRAUD JUSTICE REQUIRES FULL RECKONING, NOT #MCKINLAY AS SACRIFICIAL LAMB” – as usual I am using an image as the actual link.
    mckinlay
  2. The second piece deals with a ‘tactic’ that the Tories are using as a supposed form of defence, and is titled “TORY ‘NO INTENT’ #ELECTIONFRAUD CONFIDENCE IS A NON-STARTER. HERE’S WHY”. Click the image below to read the piece.
    newsnight intent.jpg

 

 

 

 

Network Autism

An important autism related meeting in Dereham plus a few shares and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece, which as promised yesterday, is about the meeting in Dereham organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands that I attended this morning. Karan and I were a little late arriving as she could not leave before the person who would be looking after her son had arrived and I had arranged a meet up point at The Gatehouse since while I was definitely up for the meeting I was not up for forking out the £11 it would have cost to me travel there and back under my own steam (at some point I will be putting up a post on public transport that will highlight why this particular shortish journey is so extortionate – for the moment suffice to say it has nothing to do with logic, reason, meeting passenger needs or anything else that has any place in the proper running of a public transport system). This meant that although we were able to introduce ourselves we missed most of the other people’s introductions. 

THE MEETING

The meeting had been arranged to discuss amendments to an autism strategy document which as it stood was laughably incomplete. Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands were effectively doing the kind of outreach stuff that Norfolk County Council should have been doing but weren’t. The County Council’s own meetings about such matters are invariably in Norwich, generally with a requirement that one arrive by 9:30. Before moving on to NAS West Norfolk’s role in the events of this meeting I will mention two things from the preliminary talk that caused hackles to raise. First, Norfolk County Council’s person responsible for co-ordinating matters relating to autism appears to have his fingers in a suspiciously large number of pies, and extending from this seems to be overly averse to scrutiny (as a West Norfolk resident who has the incinerator debacle seared on his memory I am naturally inclined to be mistrustful where Norfolk County Council are concerned – although we eventually won that one and the thing did not get built). Secondly there is the role of Norfolk Steps, who seem to have a monopoly on training provision for parents and carers and to be very reluctant to see that change – one person at the meeting had tried to use their materials to provide training and was told to desist. Another strike against Norfolk Steps from our point of view is that their training is not autism specific.

The key pages of the inadequate document that we were trying to improve were pages 16-19, and there was little we could do about what was on page 16, so as we seated around three tables each table was assigned a page to look at and make additions to. Ours was page 18:

P18

I have already covered a lot of the problems with Norfolk Steps, but there is one extra point – they have recently had their funding reduced, and no longer offer “steps plus” to parents. 

There were a few additions to point 5, which started our page. Point 6 was the single most inadequately expressed point in the whole sorry document. For this point to be worth the ink and paper it has to contain chapter and verse – the specific Act of Parliament and the specific clauses contained therein that are of most relevance. 

Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia will be passing all the points raised at this meeting on to the council, and if the final version of this document is not massively changed and enlarged there will be trouble.

This was a very useful and productive meeting, and I hope it will play a role in dragging Norfolk’s approach to autism and autistic people out of the dark ages wherein it seems to have been stuck for some time.

A SEGUE LINK

The first part of this post has been about autism, and so I introduce the remainder of it by way of a link to an interesting piece by The Inked Autist. My views are rather different to those expressed in this post, but I recommend that you read it here.

A BUSY WEEK FOR DPAC

That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPAC website and two embedded videos. 

The post, which gives this section of this post its title, can be accessed by clicking the DPAC logo below. Then you can find the two videos, which are both about a protest outside Parliament. The first video was created by Let Me Look TV, the second by Steve Topple of The Canary.

DPAC

PHOTOGRAPHS

I had planned to include more stuff in this post, but a malfunction has prevented that – I have just lost a large amount of stuff that was in here and have no way of getting back, so here are the photographs.

blackbird2WLC

magpie
A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning

MNR3MNR2

MNR1
Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
Ecocity
One of the “Ecocity” towers near Swaffham – even in this picture, and still more so in the further edited version the observation room near the centre of the propeller is clearly visible. The original shot from which this picture and the next were both obtained was taken through the window of a moving car.

Ecocity - Editedblackbird4blackbird3propelleaf

 

Super Sharing Saturday – The Last Post

The last of my series of “Super sharing Saturday” posts, includes some of the lighter moments of the last few days.

INTRODUCTION

I finish this day of sharing with my last few bits. These are in the main fairly light-hearted pieces, although more than one touches on serious issues.

GIANT PHARAOH STATUE
DISCOVERED IN MUD PIT

For more about this statue, possibly of Ramesses II, please click on the image below to read the article posted on livescience.com

EMMA WATSON CLASSIC RESPONSE
TO DONALD TRUMP’S ELECTION

This comes in video from courtesy of mashable and is great fun to watch. http://mashable.com/videos/embed?video=NCDKG0LW&player=offsiteWEIT SPOT A FUNNY SPELLING ERROR

Somebody failed to proofread a church bulletin, resulting it being much funnier than intended. The image is below, and links to the piece on whyevolutionistrue where I first saw it. 

Screenshot 2017-03-11 at 5.20.39 PM - Edited

A SLICE OF (JONATHAN) PIE

This one was also brought to my attention by WEIT and is a classic example of the fictional (and very foul-mouthed – you have been warned) newscaster at his best. Here he is getting seriously aerated by the fact that there is ban on public swearing in Salford (where the BBC are based these days):

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my pictures to end this post:

DSCN4521
Close up of Norfolk cost tea towel.
DSCN4514
This tea towel is in the window of the coffee shop.

DSCN4520

KLFP
Three prints side by side – from L to R as you look these are of Greyfriars tower, the Custom House and the almshouses on Queen Street.
NASbranchesUK
NAS branches map
NASbranchesLondon
London has its own branches map on the reverse.

Autism, Blogging and Categories

Setting the stall out for today and some stuff about autism. Read, enjoy and please share.

INTRODUCTION

This is my first of what will be a number of posts today. I have come across a variety of interesting and important stuff over the last couple of days, and have decided that I have too much to share in one post, so I am attempting to group my links into categories. Thus a title the three main words of which begin with A, B and C – this is the first of a series of posts I shall be producing through the day, and as it is the first I shall start near the beginning of the alphabet, with some autism related stuff.

THE AUTISM AWARENESS CUP 2017

I am starting with a reminder that following its successful launch last year the second Autism Awareness Cup football tournament will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. There are three links relating to this, accessible by clicking the images below: the first image will take to you to the Autism Awareness Cup homepage, the second to the Autism Awareness Cup facebook page, and the third to NAS West Norfolk Sports Co-ordinator Grant Cotton’s own facebook page:

Image may contain: stripes

STOP THE BAD BEHAVIOUR

This relates to a petition created by an autistic parent and aimed at Brighton & Hove Council. As well as the petition itself, which I urge you to sign and share by clicking on the screenshot that ends this section, there are two other links that go with it:

B&H

STOP KEEPING PEOPLE #UNDERLOCKANDKEY

Although this petition is not about autism specifically I am including it in this post because autistic people are disproportionately likely to be among those confined to institutions. As with the other petition I urge you to sign and share it.

LK

A COFFEE MORNING

This Wednesday just gone there was an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning at the Willow Tree cafe in central King’s Lynn. I was able to get there, and enjoyed it. Here are some pictures from that morning:

NASpot
Making sure that everyone knew who we were.
Display
For the record the tea towels are priced £4.95 each

KLteatowelsKLKLFP

AN UPCOMING EVENT

On Tuesday I will be in Dereham for an event organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands under the catchline “Help to shape Norfolk for autism”. I booked the day off work for this some time ago, because I considered that as someone is both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic it was an absolute necessity that I be in attendance. 

 

Fundraising for a Public Bench Featuring Margery Kempe Launched on #InternationalWomensDay

A post for International Womens Day announcing the launch of a Just Giving page raising funds for a public bench featuring King’s Lynn’s most famous daughter, Margery Kempe, to be placed in the Saturday Market. Whether or not you donate please share widely.

INTRODUCTION

This is very appropriate for International Women’s Day, and very useful for the town of King’s Lynn if we manage to raise the money.

THE PLAN

The plan is for the bench to be located in the Saturday Market Place, in the area of town where Margery Kempe, King’s Lynn’s most famous daughter, lived. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you are able you can donate on the Just Giving page created by my Aunt with some minor assistance on my part that has gone live this very afternoon by clicking on the image that ends this little post. Whether you do so or not you can help by sharing this as widely as possible.

MK.jpg
This carving of Margery Kempe, used to illustrate the Just Giving page, can be seen in King’s Lynn Minster.

Toxic Earth

A warning note courtesy of http://www.indy100.org, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about science, a link to a satirical pamphlet and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The title of this piece comes from an article on www.indy100.com although I am sharing many other things besides that, including some of my local photographs. However before I get into the main meat of my post there is one other matter to attend to:

ERRATUM

In a recent post I identified a bed of yellow flowers as daffodils. It has since been brought to my attention that they were in fact yellow crocuses. I apologise for the mistake, and please note that I am not resorting to the equivalent of putting the apology in six point type somewhere in the middle of of page 27!

TOXIC EARTH

Reading this article put me in mind of Anna’s recent post “No 17 drawing in my goals for 2017” where the drawing is about a group of people stranded in space looking for another planet to replace the one that they had to leave behind because they messed it up too badly. Click on the image below to read this important and sobering article.

chemicals.jpg

A COUPLE OF LONDON
TRANSPORT RELATED BITS

I usually reserve stuff about London transport for my London transport themed website http://www.londontu.be, where indeed I shared the second piece in this section yesterday, but I felt these two bits should also be shared here.

LAURIE PENNY ON UBER

Laurie Penny has turned her fire on private cab hire firm Uber, and the result is a devastating article in the Guardian, which I hope will succeed in weaning a few people off this vile organisation. Please read the article in full please click on the image below.

TUNNEL ARCHAEOLOGY AT THE MUSEUM OF LONDON

The central section of the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) cuts through London on an east-west axis, and there being no space on the surface it also cuts vertically through millennia of history. It is this latter that has led to the creation of a new exhibition at the Museum of London showing the best finds unearthed during the building of the line. Accompanying this exhibition is a short video, embedded below. After the video are links to more about this and about the Museum of London.

Extra links:

PAYING MORE BUT GETTING LESS

This is a petition put together by Going to Work which calls not only for affordable affairs on our railways but also for a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable rail network. To view, sign and share the petition please click on the screenshot below:

action-for-rail

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

Here are some pictures from in and around King’s Lynn:

dscn4141
Planning information posted near Lynnsport.

dscn4147dscn4144dscn4150

dscn4148
The good and the bad of Bawsey drain in one photo – it is home to many species but in spite of continued efforts to clear it is still used by uncaring human residents as a dumping ground.

dscn4145dscn4152dscn4143dscn4142

dscn4154
This bridge crosses a stretch of the Gaywood, carrying Littleport Street across said river.

dscn4153

dscn4323
The inaugural NAS West Norfolk curry night took place on Thursday, delayed by a week due to bad weather. Although some of those who had originally booked did not make it, those who did enjoyed it.
dscn4324
My choice – Lamb Rogan Josh. The accompaniments are boiled rice, two small poppadoms and a garlic naan. The curry was a little spicier than I would have liked but other than that splendid. The accompanying drink, included in the £6.49 price tag, is a pint of Doom Bar ale (and yes for the record I drank only the one)
dscn4325
One of many fine pictures to adorn the wall of The Globe, and the only one I got a clear shot at.

ATHEISTS ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR

Here is a truly international link – a Brit sharing a post written by a New Zealander about the USA. Heather Hastie has carried out a typically thorough comparison between the Pew Research Centre’s findings of three years ago and of just recently. Please read Heather’s post in full by clicking here.

A TRIO OF SCIENCE PIECES

The first two pieces in this section were initially posted on whyevolutionistrue starting with a piece drawing on the work of Pliny the in Between, who runs a website called The Far Corner Cafe, and of a doctor who posts under the name of Orac on scienceblogs, whose piece can be read here, to demonstrate that Chiropractic is not merely nonsense, but dangerous (indeed potentially fatal) nonsense at that. Jerry Coyne, creator of whyevolutionistrue (it takes its name from his landmark book of that title published in 2009), has received many hostile comments in response to previous pieces he has written that are critical of Chiropractic. To read this piece in full please click on the image below, the first in a series of five drawings from Pliny the in Between that were used to illustrate the post.

stroke-001

Second of the trio, again courtesy of WEIT, is a piece linking to a paper published in the journal Nature that mentions the discovery of potential traces of life in sediments that range in age between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years (the earlier end of the scale being about as early given what is known about our planet’s turbulent beginnings as life of any sort could have taken hold). To read the post in full and possibly move from there to reading the paper in Nature please click on the image below:

nature21377-f1

The third in my science trio comes from the Smithsonian and has the self explanatory title “NASA Wants the Public to Log In to Help Find Plant 9”. To read the piece in full please click on the image below.

Planet 9

A SATIRICAL PAMPHLET
FROM UNLOCK DEMOCRACY

To read this pamphlet from Unlock Democracy  in full please click the screenshot of the cover below:

ud

SOME FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

This set of pictures are of items that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons’ March auction, a full catalogue listing for which can be viewed here. 

127
Lot 127
128
Lot 128
140
Lot 140
141
Lot 141
142
Lot 142
143
Lot 143
149
Lot 149 (three separate images joined together)
149-a
149-a
149-b
149-b. In the past, before the American way of reckoning up large numbers took over, a 1 with nine zeros after it was not designate one billion, but either one thousand million or one milliard, and one of the banknotes here shows that the Germans with a small difference in spelling used the same word when necessary.
149-c
149-c
150
150
151
152
153
153
155
154
154
155
164
164
170
170
171
171
172
172
172-a
172-a
172-b
172-b
393
393
393-a
393-a
393-b
393-b
393-c
393-c. When putting these together I decided to make this image the centre of the picture, thereby splitting the two sets of booklets.
407
407 – a four piece composite image
407-a
407-a
407-b
407-b
407-c
407-c
407-d
407-d
407-e
407-e – I could not resist extracting this close-up.