I’m going out, I may be a while…

I’ve been to Sheffield, and chose to buy my railway ticket on-line to make it extra efficient.Then 4 days or so before the trip an email tells me that there will be a strike on the day I am traveling: the Sunday. So I go online again to find out exactly what is ‘closed’ and what is not. Journeys further north than England into Scotland looked to be shut. Perhaps the Scots had closed off the border. However, the line from Cheltenham to Sheffield was green for go. There was no mention of money back and my ticket specified that I had to catch a particular train.

Arriving at the station on time it was no surprise to me that the station was busy. It had been a Race Day at the Cheltenham Race Course, so I was expecting ‘stragglers’. There were a  considerable number of Network Rail blokes and Ladies in high viz, and I was advised that “as there is a strike on the train will terminate in Birmingham”,  and I’d have to get another there. They told me it ‘would be fine’, but just in case gave me a form to get my money back if it arrived late.

Arriving at Birmingham I scanned the electronic boards looking for anything that looked like ‘Sheffield’. Nothing. So wandering along I found another phalanx of network rail people, including a small besuited young woman who had the legend ‘Manager’ on her badge. I asked how was I supposed to get to Sheffield as I had been advised by website and station people at Cheltenham that it would be ‘fine’. For the umpteenth time I was advised  that there was a strike on. I lost it. Regaining my composure only when the small manager lady said to one of the very large network railmen to escort me to the bus going to Sheffield.From now on she should be termed Miss Redeemer. Eric the Ready walked with me to make sure I got on the bus. Three more straggling passengers and a small baby boarded and then we set off. Everyone else got off at Derby, whereupon there was just me and the driver on a 55 seater coach all the way to Sheffield, passing through a deserted Chesterfield Station on the way. We had a pleasant chat about the joys of toolmaking, which is what he’s done before becoming a coachdriver. We arrived at Sheffield at midnight. He turned around and drove his empty bus back the Brum. He estimated it would have cost in the region of £700-00 to hire the coach.

I spent some very pleasant time in Sheffield, lovely place. I also took another train trip whilst there to see my old friend Ros, who’s a brilliant printmaker.Rosalind the printmaker We met at David Mellor’s factory in Hathersage which is 15 minutes on the train from Sheffield. David Mellor is well known for cutlery, but did you know that he also designed our modern traffic lights as well as bus shelters? Well, he did and there’s a sample traffic light standing in the restaurant! At first, I just thought they were busy.

They also have a very fancy shop of cutlery and kitchen stuff, and I could not help but take a picture of this. It’s a toastrack and in solid silver. Made for the British Embassies in the 1960’s when the country was near broke. Look at the price today! For almost the same price you could get a 55 seater coach from Birmingham to Sheffield, to yourself.


I’m back home now.
I have sent the form off to claim my fare refund. Out today in the sunshine I could not resist taking this of Edward Wilson, favourite son of Cheltenham, who died on the attempt to reach the pole with Scott. Puts my travel story in the shade a little, but I did study wildlife and the indigenous population of Birmingham New Street Station on the way.





My Little Red Book: Glossary

You can get copies of my latest oeuvre from The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop in Cheltenham.

The Suffolk Anthology’s Website

Here’s what the place looks like:

The Suffolk Anthology

and here’s what the book looks like:


It’s not a massive tome, and it’s not a massive price £4-50 to you, from the shop. Go in there, you can browse a load of lovely books and have coffee. Here’s where to find it in deeply respectable Cheltenham.



Suffolk AnthologyI hope you find it!

And to find out what it’s all about then please take a look right here:

Glossary : A Collection of Gloucestershire Place Names





Supermarket stare, it’s that time of year again. Are you going to let it happen again? Probably.


Worth re-blogging this from the last build-up to the X word. You’ll be seeing a few of these around from about this weekend on. Have pity.

It only take one trip to a Supermarket for the viewer to notice: ‘Man who’s been let loose in a supermarket with a list’.

‘Don’t come home without those items on the list that we never buy at any other time of the year’ is the order ringing around the head. Sending them on days like these is a cruelty beyond reason. They are not used to supermarkets at the best of times rarely getting involved in the shopping during the rest of the year and getting it wrong on the odd occasions mid year when they are asked to get something, so sending them out at this vital time is just wicked.

Look out for the look. It’s eyes wide open, a gait that is a little stumbling then a determination to reach for anything that closely resembles the list. Same words but not necessarily in the right order. In various moments of madness they will go completely ‘off-piste’ buying stuff in funny shaped bottles containing liquids that will never be tasted and will be thrown away in early December next year when found at the back of a kitchen cupboard. Or they will buy ordinary items that have had ‘the Christmas treatment’, butter with brandy added, cream with booze added, marmalade that has whisky in it ( or so the label says ), all which taste quite disgusting or of nothing at all, in particular the marmalade.

They will spend like a person possessed racking up charges on the credit card like never at any other time of year, which also explains the panic stricken look…they know they will have to pay for this madness in January.

Knitting hair


Those of you not familiar with footballers and their needs, might not be familiar with the icon that is Wayne Rooney. A man with a footballer’s brain and not much else. He started to lose his hair when quite young and then when riches beyond reason fell at his twinkling feet. He spent a very small proportion of his new found wealth having his hair re-built and knitted back in place. He now has a reasonable rug of his own hair atop the footballer’s brain. Hence the name of this style of haircut.

If you’d like a mug of this mug, then go ahead and buy one from Red Bubble safe in the knowledge that I will put all the profits to having my own rug re-knitted when the cash rolls in.

All those haircuts!