# diamond geezer

### Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap day - 29 leap facts for February 29th

1) Leap years occur quadrennially, that's every four years. They're required because a solar year is almost exactly 365¼ days long, and over a four year period those four quarter-days add up to make one whole extra day.
2) Today is the 514th leap day to be observed since the first in 45BC.
3) The first thirteen leap years were 45BC, 42BC, 39BC, 36BC, 33BC, 30BC, 27BC, 24BC, 21BC, 18BC, 15BC, 12BC and 9BC. At this point Roman priests spotted they'd been adding leap years every three years, rather than every four as Caesar decreed, so all leap years were temporarily suspended. They restarted in 8AD, after which they continued every four years as intended.
4) There are only 24 leap years this century because 2100 won't be a leap year (ditto 2200, 2300, but not 2400).
5) Algorithmically, a year is a leap year if ((year modulo 4 is 0) and (year modulo 100 is not 0)) or (year modulo 400 is 0).
6) Leap year babies celebrate their birthday only once every four years. Raenell's one, and her website celebrates the joy of being special.
7) You have a 1 in 1461 chance of being born on February 29th. The odds are a lot higher if your parents have sex on May 29th the previous year.
8) Over a 400 year period, the odds of being born on February 29th lengthen to 1 in 1506.
9) About 44000 people in the UK, 220000 people in the USA and 5 million people worldwide are leap day babies.
10) The Queen sent no centenarian birthday telegrams on February 29th 2000, because there was no February 29th 1900.
11) Pope Paul III was born on February 29th 1468, the composer Rossini on February 29th 1792, actor Joss Ackland on February 29th 1928 and rapper Ja Rule on February 29th 1976. Traditionally, Superman's birthday is also February 29th. More leap day birthdays can be found here.
12) In a leap year you probably get paid the same for doing one day's extra work. Schoolchildren, on the other hand, get one day's extra holiday.
13) The Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance revolves around a February 29th birthday. Frederic is a pirate's apprentice, free to return to respectable society on his 21st birthday, except that at the age of 21 he realises he still has 63 years to go. A leap child's lot is not a happy one.
14) Today is the first February since 1988 to have five Mondays (and the next will be 2044).
15) If you have a leap year birthday, you have to decide whether to celebrate it on February 28th or March 1st in non-leap years. In legal situations, for example learning to drive, UK law dictates March 1st. By contrast, New Zealand presumes February 28th.
16) Ladies, today is traditionally the day to propose marriage to your man. Hurry up, if you wait another 4 years just think how old he'll be. Why not send a postcard?
17) In any 400 year period, there are 97 leap years, after which the calendar repeats. The most likely days of the week for February 29th to fall are Monday and Wednesday. The least likely are Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
18) When Julius Caesar introduced leap years the extra day wasn't February 29th, it was February 24th. The Romans repeated the sixth day before March 1st, or "dies bissextus", and leap years are still sometimes called bissextile years.
19) Living through a leap day means one day longer to wait for your birthday and one day longer to wait for Christmas.
20) Sir James Wilson, former Premier of Tasmania, was born on February 29th 1812 and (unbelievably) died on February 29th 1880 - his 17th birthday.
21) Leap Day number 1s of the past six decades would make a fascinating compilation CD: Anthony Newley (Why, 1960), Cilla Black (Anyone Who Had A Heart, 1964), Esther & Abi Ofarim (Cinderella Rockefella, 1968), Chicory Tip (Son Of My Father, 1972), Four Seasons (December '63 (Oh What A Night), 1976), Blondie (Atomic, 1980), Nena (99 Red Balloons, 1984), Kylie Minogue (I Should Be So Lucky, 1988), Shakespear's Sister (Stay, 1992), Oasis (Don't Look Back In Anger, 1996), All Saints (Pure Shores, 2000), Peter Andre (Mysterious Girl, 2004), Duffy (Mercy, 2008), Gotye (Somebody That I Used To Know, 2012) and Lukas Graham (7 Years, 2016). [If you have Spotify, there's a 54 minute playlist here!]
22) Leap day is also St Oswald's Day, named after a 10th century archbishop of York who died during a feet-washing ceremony on February 29th 992. His feast is celebrated on February 28th during non leap years.
23) The Academy Awards have twice been awarded on February 29th - in 1940 (best picture: Gone With The Wind) and 2004 (best picture: Lord of the Rings III).
24) Are you tempted by a Leap Day birthday poem, some Leap Day clothing or perhaps a Leap Day tattoo?
25) Leap year rules make the Gregorian calendar accurate to 1 day every 3236 years. But far better is the modern Iranian calendar (eight leap days inserted into a 33-year cycle) which is accurate to 1 day every 110,000 years.
26) In the Chinese calendar, a leap month is inserted if there are 13 moons from the start of the 11th month in one year to the start of the 11th month in the next year.
27) Leap year babies endured seven consecutive years with no birthdays from 1897 to 1903, and will again from 2097 to 2103.
28) There has, just once, been a February 30th. It happened in Sweden, and it happened in 1712. The Swedes needed to lose 11 days to come in line with the Gregorian calendar, but forgot to miss out February 29th in 1704 and 1708 so had to add an extra leap day in 1712 to get back in sync. Pity the Swedish babies born on February 30th 1712, because they never saw another birthday.
29) Brothers and sister Heidi, Olav and Leif-Martin Henriksen of Stavanger, Norway were all born on February 29th - in 1960, 1964 and 1968 respectively.

### Sunday, February 28, 2016

During February 2003 on diamond geezer I kept myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a none-too thrilling daily feature called The Count. My 28-day tally chart may have been deathly dull to the rest of you, but I've continued to count those categories again, every single February since, purely to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Thirteen years later, I can confirm it's changed quite a bit, and yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2016 (also available in graphical form via Daytum), accompanied by the previous statistics and some deep, meaningful pondering.
(Part one yesterday, part two today)

Count 5 (Nights out): That's another February with eight nights out, or twenty nights in, depending on how you look at it. And that's one of my better social performances, so well done me. Admittedly half of those were trips round to BestMate's sofa, where we watch telly and put the world to rights, and one was a trip to the cinema (Deadpool, thanks for asking, and merely so-so). But one was an actual genuine proper night out, with real people and beer, so that's good. And tonight I've got my brother over to stay, but that's a night in, so doesn't officially count.
The number of nights in February 2016 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 8
2003-2016 review: In February 2003 I was a social whirlwind, but BestMate emigrated three days later and a long term decline set in. You can see how things picked up a bit in 2008 when he returned, settling at a fairly consistent lower level of "once or twice a week". A special thanks to the rest of you who've dragged me out of my comfort zone and shared an evening (or ten) over the years. But nobody comes to this blog to read about London's sparkling nightlife, that's for sure.
(2003: 21) (2004: 7) (2005: 2) (2006: 2) (2007: 3) (2008: 7) (2009: 7) (2010: 4) (2011: 9) (2012: 6) (2013: 4) (2014: 6) (2015: 8)

Count 6 (Alcohol intake): For the purposes of this long-term count, my definition of alcohol is a specific gassy bottle of German lager. I cling to Becks for familiarity and ease of ordering, plus it doesn't give me hiccups, but this month my consumption is a big fat zero. I've sunk several glasses of wine on BestMate's sofa, but those don't count towards The Count. I've downed one other bottle of lager because the pub I was in didn't serve Becks, but alas that doesn't count either. So my rock bottom February total is an inadequate reflection of my alcohol intake... but still fairly close, to be honest.
Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2016: 0
2003-2015 review: Again 2003 is the outlier, with a couple of further uptick years in 2008 and 2011. But overall my Becks consumption is falling because considerably fewer pubs are stocking the stuff. How my heart sinks when I scan the selection behind the bar and realise I'll have to order something else. Or perhaps I should rejoice at the broader selection of hip craft beers on offer across London these days, if not the premium price that bars charge for them.
(2003: 58) (2004: 17) (2005: 0) (2006: 7) (2007: 1) (2008: 28) (2009: 4) (2010: 3) (2011: 20) (2012: 14) (2013: 2) (2014:4) (2015:0)

Count 7 (Tea intake): Apart from one dodgy year when workplace kettle usage was banned, my tea consumption remains astonishingly consistent. Every February other than 2005 has fallen within a very narrow range of 127-137 teas, despite very different behaviour on weekdays and weekends. My office days are always brimming, brown-liquid-wise, whereas days off tend to find me rushing around without pausing for refreshment. But I am on average, it seems, a four-and-a-half cups a day man. Milk, no sugar, thanks.
Total number of cups of tea I drank in February 2016: 133
(2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136) (2011: 135) (2012: 133) (2013: 127) (2014: 129) (2015: 128)

Count 8 (Trains used): This count's normally remarkably consistent too... always just over a hundred a month. That's apart from the year when I had a "one train" commute rather than two, when the total dipped a bit, and apart from the year when I upped the total by blogging relentlessly about the Bakerloo line. I'm back in the zone again this year, averaging about four train journeys a day, because we Londoners do swan around in carriages a lot.
Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2016: 132
(2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83) (2011: 109) (2012: 118) (2013: 139) (2014: 101) (2015: 124)

Count 9 (Exercise taken): Rather than fork out good money to use a gym, I get my step action by walking up escalators, usually at tube stations. I always attempt to walk up every escalator I ascend, which usually works so long as there's not some tourist, suitcase or buggy blocking the left hand side. I'm not thrilled with my total this year, but my commute doesn't afford the multiple climbs it once did, so I could do better.
Total number of escalators I walked up in February 2016: 32
(2003: 73) (2004: 72) (2005: 38) (2006: 35) (2007: 31) (2008: 33) (2009: 28) (2010: 13) (2011: 32) (2012: 43) (2013: 40) (2014: 29) (2015: 37)

Count 9a (Steps walked): Here's a relatively recent innovation to The Count, introduced three years ago when I got myself a smartphone. By uploading the Moves app I've been able to keep track of my daily step count without the need for a pedometer attached to my waist. It's a brilliant app, if no longer free to new users, and a bit of a battery hog. It's also potentially stalky because it records everywhere I go (both when and where), plus how I travelled inbetween. I've learned that a typical working day requires me to walk only 4500 steps, whereas my weekends and days off are considerably more variable, but usually much higher. During February I've walked more than ten thousand steps in a day on ten separate occasions, but only once over twenty thousand, because the weather's reined in my usual hikes. So not quite my usual quarter of a million steps per February, but still 90 miles in a month, and a total that'll only increase as spring approaches.
Total number of steps I walked in February 2016: 238200
(2013: 273300) (2014: 254600) (2015: 282300)

Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. I'll confess I never expected the total to increase, despite the relatively high score on one of the counts above. But even if 2016 has throw up yet another big fat mystery zero, there's always a chance next year, surely?
Total number of times that the mystery event happened in February 2016: 0
(2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0) (2011: 0) (2012: 0) (2013: 0) (2014: 0) (2015: 0)

» The Count 2016

### Saturday, February 27, 2016

During February 2003 on diamond geezer I kept myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a none-too thrilling daily feature called The Count. My 28-day tally chart may have been deathly dull to the rest of you, but I've continued to count those categories again, every single February since, purely to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Thirteen years later, I can confirm it's changed quite a bit, and yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2016 (also available in graphical form via Daytum), accompanied by the previous statistics and some deep, meaningful pondering.
Yes, I know February's not over yet, so all the figures below are based on best estimates for the final 48 hours. But don't worry, I'll come back and update the 2016 data as the next couple of days play out, before settling on the finalised figures at the end of the 28th. And please note, The Count always lasts for precisely four weeks, so in leap years February 29th isn't included.

Count 1 (Blog visitors): It's been another good month for people turning up to read what I've written. Indeed it's been the busiest February ever, a proper record, topping sixty thousand visitors for the first time. I'm averaging just over two thousand visitors a day, which is as good as it's ever got, so I can't complain. It amazes me sometimes that anyone comes back when there's the risk of reading about sightseeing in King's Lynn or another essay on my local bus stop, which is hardly "must read" subject material for the average person in the street. I continue to wonder whether this blog is evolving into a travelogue about increasingly obscure parts of London and beyond, or is over-dependent on transport-related topics. But I try to provide you with a varied diet where possible, and this month somehow I've hit a rich seam of topics with broader appeal that's fed in folk from elsewhere. There's still demand out there for original subject matter, like a report from inside a mosque or a moan about plastic bags, rather than endless recycled press releases. But it's not all high octane stuff here, not by a long chalk, as several bus rides round the backwaters of outer London confirmed. As one of my regular two thousand, I assume you either keep coming back for the variety, or can put up with the personally-irrelevant stuff inbetween.
Total number of visits to this webpage in February 2016: 60609

2003-2016 review: Thirteen years ago, when this blog was mere months old, I attracted one double-decker busful of readers a day. That leapt up a bit in the following years, with atypical peaks in February 2006 and 2008 skewed by external linkage. Numbers have bobbed around a bit since, but almost always upwards, and this February's total is the equivalent of three crowded tube trains of readers daily. That's still wholly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and peanuts compared to what certain blogs get, but most gratifying all the same. Accurate visitor numbers remain incredibly difficult to ascertain, given the number of folk reading via RSS feeds or whatever. But it's quality of readership rather than quantity which most makes me smile, so thank you!
(2003: 2141) (2004: 6917) (2005: 9636) (2006: 42277) (2007: 23082) (2008: 32006) (2009: 26048) (2010: 30264) (2011: 37200) (2012:40018) (2013: 55369) (2014: 51727) (2015: 58380)

Count 2 (Blog comments): There's nothing quite so unpredictable as comments. Some days this blog attracts hardly any, while other days the discussion catches fire and you add dozens. Interestingly this month there's been rather more of the latter than the former, resulting in an extra-chatty February. Only twice has a day gone by with comments in single figures, while we've topped 30 seven times and 50 once. I've even avoided deliberately seeking feedback, because that can distort the figures, not that it takes much to set some of you off. I only have to mention the word 'train' and some of you are straight in there with a pertinent query, a nostalgic nod, some schoolboy grandstanding or a bit of insider know-how. Altogether this February you've fired nearly 700 comments my way, which represents an average of 24 comments per day, which is a fantastic level of engagement. Most blogs have commenting zones resembling tumbleweed, but somehow you lot always seem to carry on talking. Often you're taking me to task or telling me something's wrong, usually politely, but that's good because I'd rather my posts were correct than riddled with errors. Sometimes you only join in when I discuss something generic (like TV or money), but even when I get ridiculously place-specific a number of you with local connections add depth by chipping in. Somehow a community has evolved here, where regular and occasional commenters co-exist, and that's not an easy thing to create. Thanks everyone, because it's you that helps to bring this page to life.
Total number of comments on this webpage in February 2016: 687

2003-2016 review: What continues to surprise me most about the last decade of diamond geezer comments is how similar the monthly totals are. They bob up and down a bit, and the first year was understandably low, but since then the average has been unexpectedly consistent - between 400 and 600 comments a month. I might have expected numbers to fall, because commenting's a very old-school blogging thing, peaking in the "Golden Age" of 2005-2008. People don't have time to comment on blogs any more, not now there's a wealth of online content to distract them. They do all their commenting on Twitter or Facebook, because that's instant, but any debate is usually transitory and rapidly ebbs away. To still have record numbers of readers commenting in 2016 is a bit of a triumph, and against all the odds. Alternatively I might have expected numbers to rise, because I have far more readers now and they ought to talk more than they do. A dozen years ago I received one comment per 20 readers, whereas now it's more like one comment per 100, and that's a far less impressive engagement rate. But at least what comment remains is smart, relevant, insightful and (mostly) non-stalky. I'm delighted, obviously.
(2003: 166) (2004: 332) (2005: 463) (2006: 648) (2007: 566) (2008: 504) (2009: 472) (2010: 396) (2011: 558) (2012: 440) (2013: 546) (2014: 477) (2015: 625)

Count 3 (Blog content): I continue to write too much. 2016 isn't quite my most prolific February yet, I'm half a dozen paragraphs short, but my blog output still averages over 1000 words a day. I always mean to keep things succinct, but rarely manage. There's usually something extra I want to add, another fact to flesh out, another sentence to squeeze in, and before I know where I am I've written another essay. One thousand words a day is not to be sniffed at - it's the equivalent of writing five novels a year, except I never end up with a book to show for it. And I write fairly slowly too, the words don't usually pour freely, not least because there are facts to check and links to add even after I'm done. I know you'd still read this blog if I wrote less, but something keeps driving me to write a bit more, and then a bit more again, and I haven't learnt my lesson yet. Tl;dr.
Total number of words in diamond geezer in February 2016: 31192

2003-2016 review: I kept my output pretty much in check until 2008, writing approximately 500-600 words each day. This was manageable, even allowed me a social life as necessary, and you probably didn't think any the worse of me. But then the slow climb began. A few more words each day, a lot more words each month, it all eventually added up. I've now doubled the number of words I write compared to a decade ago, which means you lot have to invest twice as long to read it. Compare for example my series about walking the Bakerloo line from 2006 (500-600 words) with a similar series (Crossrail) from 2016 (1000-1200 words). You might be loving the outcome, because you get more to read. But I'm spending more of my time writing, and less of my time "having a life", and that's not really how things should be. Don't worry, I still haven't broken yet.
(2003: 14392) (2004: 16214) (2005: 16016) (2006: 15817) (2007: 17102) (2008: 17606) (2009: 20602) (2010: 21595) (2011: 23120) (2012: 25698) (2013: 29410) (2014: 32283) (2015: 30362)

Count 4 (Sleep): Daytum provides a fascinating way to visualise my February as a purplish pie chart (reproduced here). Up until 2014 I depicted my work/life balance in four sectors, but last year I thought I'd simplify things and just count up how much I sleep. This is pertinent, because my bedtime is usually directly related to how late I stay up writing you stuff, and often this creeps past midnight, I won't say specifically how far, but if I'm going to be publishing something at 7am sharp it is of course crucial that I get to the end of my final paragraph before turning in for the night. So if you look at my pie chart you'll see I slept for only a quarter of my February. That's six hours a day, on average, which I suspect may be less than you survive on. What's more this average hides weeknights where I sleep for barely five hours, balanced out by weekends where I sometimes nod off for eight. And yet I can still bounce through a day at work after a four-and-a-bit-er sufficiently refreshed without needing coffee or having to gulp down a Red Bull to kickstart my morning. And this is brilliant because less sleep leaves me more time to do everything else in my life. Eighteen hours a day is plenty, even with work and travel taken out, to do the eating, blogging, socialising, visiting, tellying, slobbing, that sort of thing. If I needed to sleep more, you wouldn't get fresh bloggage in the morning on a regular basis, I can assure you of that.
Total number of hours spent sleeping in February 2016: 174 (25%)
(2011: 172) (2012: 167) (2013: 163) (2014: 165) (2015: 169)

Ongoing figures for February 2016

(to be continued tomorrow)

### Friday, February 26, 2016

 We notice that you're using an ad-blocker. How very dare you?

Leave all the other sites blocked, because they're virulent flashing sideshows of irrelevance, but we're really nice. We only cram a few adverts into the sidebar, and the odd impossible-to-avoid graphic panel halfway down the article you're trying to read. Go on, de-list us and allow us to squeeze some micropayments from our sponsors. It's the least we deserve.

Your petty disruptive behaviour is threatening to destroy the key relationship between advertisers and consumers. You thought the internet existed to entertain and inform but no, it exists essentially for other people to make a living. By blocking the ads that make the content worthwhile, you risk killing off the medium that fills your every waking hour. And then how bored would you be?

It's damned selfish of you, to be honest.

What you need to realise is that there are good ads and there are bad ads, and ad-blockers can't tell the difference. Some ads are so good that we think you really would like to see them, and if you block everything you completely destroy the value exchange and ecosystem that digital commerce brings. Unless you permit us to reveal the truth, how will you know if ours are good ads, bad ads, or those horrific freeze-your-browser ads you so detest? Take a risk, and let us show you.

Rest assured that this website does not use audio ads, popups, or other annoyances. Occasionally a video will start up unaided and blare across the office, and sometimes a flashing rectangle will chase you round the screen, but trust us, that's by no means the worst we could do.

We do of course recognise that ad-blocking improves the performance of your computer, but please try to ignore this. Instead, we beg of you, please whitelist our site and allow us to profit from your naivety. There's a setting on a submenu of that app in that browser you use, and all you have to do is enter our address in one of the lists or other, and then we can continue that special relationship we used to have. Somebody at our end writes something, we dump a lottery ad alongside it, you look at both, and hey presto our writers get paid.

We can't go on day after day providing quality journalism if you're not going to play the game.

All this content we generate doesn't just conjure itself up from nowhere, you know, it takes time and effort. And our time and effort deserve your total attention, via a selection of brightly coloured rectangles scattered across everything you'd like to be reading. The more rectangles the better, from our point of view, be they for holidays, Sky TV, diet pills or malware. We prefer to deliver you richly personalised advertising material, assuming you've been stupid enough to stick to the default privacy settings, but quite frankly anything will do so long as we get a few fractions of a penny as a result.

One banner ad for a West End show can feed a programmer for a week, because wages are low on the Indian subcontinent. One fifteen second pre-roll advert can pay our journalists for almost a complete sentence, whether you end up reloading the page in frustration or not. And one complete halo of virulent javascript you can't avoid tapping however hard you try can bring in almost tuppence, from the right provider.

You need to get away from the idea that the internet is somehow free. Our bit isn't, and quite frankly your freeloading presence on our site disgusts us. Things were so much better before you installed that extra bit of software, before you got wise to the idea that the internet didn't have to be choked with distracting irrelevance. We coped well enough while only a few people thought this way, but now the trickle of ad-blocking is becoming a torrent, and we stand to lose our livelihoods as a result.

Make no mistake, the rise of ad-blocking software is a curse upon the entire creative economy, and if left unchecked will cause the premature death of many a struggling online enterprise.

If we cannot support this site on advertising revenue, we will have to introduce a paywall, meaning fewer readers will have access to our incisive analysis, comprehensive coverage and amusing lists of stolen tweets.

Obviously this frightens us more than you, because you can find amusing lists of stolen tweets for free all over the internet, and there's no way you're going to pay for ours. This whole online paywall thing only works if everybody does it, as various newspapers have found to their cost when they slip behind the veil and too few follow. Suddenly nobody shares the paper's content any more, nobody likes their articles, indeed they might as well not have bothered publishing anything for all the attention they get.

So please cease your ad-blocking assault, the sooner the better, for the sake of all of us here at Diamond Geezer.

Because there's absolutely no way a quality website can function without advertising, it simply isn't possible, and the sooner we all come to terms with this reality the better.

Thank you!
(you mug)

### Thursday, February 25, 2016

The tube map may be facing a new threat south of the river. All the signs are there.

If you've been on an Overground train recently, you may have seen a new set of line diagrams in the carriages. The ghastly Overground spaghetti map is still there, above the doors, but that's now been joined by proper maps showing each individual line. These are plastered in the spaces above the windows, and look just like the line diagrams you'd normally see in an underground carriage. They first appeared last year on the newest bits of the Overground, out to Cheshunt, Enfield and Chingford, but only now are they being rolled out to the earlier lines.

Here, for example, is the line diagram for the East London line (you can click to zoom in). This runs from Highbury and Islington through the Thames Tunnel before branching to Croydon, Clapham and Crystal Palace. It clearly shows all the zones the train runs through, including the annoying dip into Zone 1 for Shoreditch High Street. It's hugely easier to understand and follow than the tangle above the doors. Indeed you might think it's amazing these diagrams haven't been available for passengers on trains before.

There is a catch. Overground rolling stock isn't always restricted to individual routes, it runs interchangeably on certain lines, in which case TfL can't predict which one. So each carriage contains not one nor two but three different line diagrams, a different one above each window, repeated in sequence down the train. You might be lucky enough to be sitting opposite the line you're on, for easy scrutiny of your journey, or you might not be able to see where you're going at all. It's a big improvement, but it's not ideal.

Plus of course the lines still have impractically long-winded names. One map is labelled the Watford Junction to Euston line. Another is the Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford line. And the third is the Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction line. They're not catchy names, nobody outside TfL's branding department calls them this, and the lengthy titles mean the font size has to be small so the maps aren't readily identifiable.

But none of this is the new threat I referred to earlier. Did you spot it on the map?

Someone's added Battersea Park to the Overground diagram.

And they're not kidding when they say 'limited service'. Battersea Park is the most insignificant station on the London Overground, even less important than that dormant halt between Romford and Upminster. Battersea Park sees no more than three Overground trains a day, two out and one in. They run at wildly impractical times, making it highly unlikely you'll ever catch one. And the weekend service is almost non-existent, comprising a single early morning train on Sunday and nothing else. I mean, look at this.

 From Battersea Park To Battersea Park Weekday 0618 to Dalston Junction 2309 to Clapham High Street 2221 from Dalston Junction Saturday Sunday 0722 to Highbury & Islington

These scheduled diversionary trains have been running for a few years, but only now has some stickler for the rules decided that Battersea Park must appear on the Overground map. It's hard to understand why. All the trains in the first column start at Battersea Park, then join the normal railway, so you'd only find the line diagram useful if you'd deliberately gone to Battersea Park, in which case you must already know what you're doing. It's only in the reverse direction where the diagram might actually help. If you turn up to board the 2221 from Dalston Junction somewhere along its route then you might wonder where the hell this mysterious destination of Battersea Park actually is, and the updated line diagram would tell you. But if you catch any of the other fourteen hundred southbound trains per week, then the updated line diagram is nothing but an irrelevant distraction.

And it's not just on the line diagrams on the trains. Battersea Park has also snuck onto the official Overground map, which you'll find in the middle of the printed timetable or on the TfL website. A dotted orange line now branches off after Wandsworth Road, seemingly close to Clapham Junction, but in reality nowhere near. Nobody needs to see this irrelevant spur on the map, nobody other than a Battersea commuter who leaves home before breakfast and gets home at midnight. But there it is, illuminating a minuscule fraction of Overground journeys while adding confusion to the rest.

So to return to that threat I mentioned earlier, what if the tube map is next? If Battersea Park's been quietly rolled out on line diagrams and the Overground network map, what's to stop it appearing on the next iteration of the tube map proper? What if someone on some design committee has decreed that TfL's complete service should appear, and this means squeezing in a station with barely any TfL trains at all? What if Battersea Park is lined up for inclusion simply 'to comply with the rules', and not because it'd be in any way helpful?

There is precedent for this. The District line to Kensington (Olympia) is pretty much irrelevant on a weekday, but it still appears on the tube map. Admittedly it runs as normal at the weekend, and admittedly it used to be important until TfL deliberately ran the service down, but it is an existing example of a limited service appearing in full public view.

 From Kensington (Olympia) From High Street Kensington Weekday 0557, 0559, 0615, 0625, 0645 1958, 2038 1940, 2021 Saturday every 20 minutes every 20 minutes Sunday every 20 minutes every 20 minutes

But there's also precedent for diagrammatically ignoring limited services. For example, every day a tiny handful of Metropolitan line trains shuttle between Rickmansworth and Watford via the Croxley North Curve and the Underground's least used tunnel. These rare services are very similar in number and inconvenience to the Overground's Battersea Park service - but Croxley's curve never appears on any diagram or map.

 From Rickmansworth From Watford Weekday 0532, 0608 0049 Saturday 0532 Sunday 0658 0029

If Battersea Park is the future, then by rights Croxley should start appearing too, because what's the point in having a pedantic rule if you don't stick to it? And Battersea Park could well be the future, because by the end of the decade Battersea Power Station will be on the tube map, so maybe the plan is to showcase the Battersea area a few years early. But hopefully Battersea Park isn't the future, a pointless stump disfiguring a once comprehensible diagram. It may never happen. Let us never mention it again.

### Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Crossrail to become the Elizabeth line in honour of Her Majesty the Queen

23 February 2016

Her Majesty the Queen today visited the unfinished Crossrail station at Bond Street to boost the credentials of the Lord of Brexit, Boris Johnson MP.

She wore a special matching hat and coat in Crossrail purple, and he announced that the new railway will be described as the Elizabeth line in all of its brand collateral.

The Mayor was joined by a selection of hangers-on, keen to be pictured in a confined space with an 89-year old woman from Windsor. Fawning courtiers included the Secretary of State for Transport, the London Transport Commissioner and several important men in positions of corporate responsibility. They took it in turns to lead Her Majesty through some subways, pointing out where there will one day be lots of trains she will never ride.

In order to create a Facebook-friendly video opportunity, the Queen unveiled a plaque and was presented with a commemorative purple roundel. Imprinted across its centre were the words ELIZABETH LINE, even though no other Underground line is ever named on a roundel in the same style, because this was the optimal means to drive today's brand message home. Her Majesty also met a wide range of people involved in the construction of Crossrail, including apprentices, engineers and drivers-in-training, but mostly she spent her time with the suits.

The Queen loves trains, and has been on at least one this year. She has also ridden on an Underground train on precisely three occasions, which we will now list below to make it look like naming a tube line after a reigning monarch is the most natural thing in the world.

• In 1939 she rode incognito with her sister from St James's Park to Tottenham Court Road and back. [Londonist]
• In 1969 she rode from Green Park to Oxford Circus and back to open the Victoria line. [PathÃ© News]
• In 1977 she rode from Hatton Cross to Heathrow Central to open the Piccadilly line extension. [Movietonews]

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across the city, so long as you don't live to the north or south of the Capital, in which case your new line might be coming later, probably after you're dead. The Elizabeth line has cost billions of pounds, but will also boost the economy by billions of pounds, as well as supporting property developers in their quest to charge more for poky flats in West Drayton and Chadwell Heath.

The outgoing Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: `Crossrail is my greatest transport legacy to the capital, even though all I did was not mess up plans that were substantially in place when I took office. I think it's truly wonderful that Her Maj has found time in her busy unveiling schedule to appear beside me a few weeks before City Hall business ceases in the run-up to the Mayoral Election. I look forward to Elizabeth's tube opening up for all Londoners beneath our city, and may God bless all who ride in her.'

The Rt Hon Transport Minister MP said: 'Given Her Majesty the Queen's long association with UK transport, mostly at the champagne bottle stage, it is very fitting that this vital link across our capital will be named the Elizabeth Line in her honour. My spinmonkeys then wrote this second sentence for me, shoehorning in a wide variety of relevant buzz phrases about investment, transformation, growth, jobs, dynamism and success, in the hope that journalists will cut and paste the text directly into news stories and share our key messages with their customer base.'

The Queen said nothing, because it's her job to be told where to go and what to unveil, although she was secretly chuffed at yet another piece of national infrastructure being named after her, which let's be honest is more than her son's going to get.

Ends

Notes to Editors

• You will eventually get used to calling Crossrail the Elizabeth line, honest. We know it sounds stupid now, but come 2019 you'll be taking the Elizabeth line to the airport or boarding the Liz line rail replacement bus without a second thought, just like you ride the Victoria line today.

• We couldn't go on calling Crossrail Crossrail, because one day there's going to be a Crossrail 2 and then navigation would have got ambiguous.
• And yes, this means one day Crossrail 2 is going to need a new name, but by then we reckon the current TfL Chairman will have become the most successful Prime Minister of the 21st century, so obviously we'll name it after him.
• Think yourself lucky, if the Queen had turned us down we were going to go with the Santander line, or the McDonald's line, or the Whichever Mobile Network Paid Us The Most Money For The Naming Rights line.
• And it's still going to be Crossrail really, in the same way that the Piccadilly line is still part of the Underground, so stop fretting.

• TfL has a long history of renaming lines after the reigning monarch at the last minute on the whim of a Tory politician, for example when a pledge in the Conservatives' 1977 GLC election manifesto caused the Fleet line to be renamed the Jubilee line.
• By contrast the Victoria line wasn't named after Queen Victoria but after Victoria station, which it serves, and which wasn't named after Queen Victoria but after Victoria Street, which runs nearby, and which was named after Queen Victoria in 1851.

• You may have noticed that the Evening Standard claimed an exclusive on the renaming, despite the fact that by the time the newspaper hit the streets every electronic medium in London had already announced the news, shared the photos and repurposed a selection of amusing tweets reacting to the launch.
• You may also have noticed that the Evening Standard's exclusive ignored the fact that they published a story revealing that Boris Johnson wanted Crossrail to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Line three years ago.

• The Elizabeth Line will deliver a direct connection between all of London's main employment centres, linking Heathrow with Paddington, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, it says here, despite the fact these four locations clearly aren't all of London's main employment centres.
• We can't decide whether to call it the Elizabeth line or the Elizabeth Line, so have used the two styles interchangeably within this press release. We have also misspelt Crossail at one point, if you look more carefully than we did.

• We are quite excited about the merchandising opportunities that will be possible in the London Transport Museum shop once the Elizabeth line opens, particularly the possibility of circumventing the usual royal protocols and flogging mugs and tea towels with the Queen's name on.
• But most of all we're excited by the fact this brings our knighthoods closer. Mwah, your Majesty, and we hope you're still around to come back and open your line properly when it's finally complete.

### Tuesday, February 23, 2016

On a small planet around an insignificant star, the dominant population gathers on the land. In one significant cluster, where a water channel bends, the creatures mass in enormous numbers during the daytime period. Then as the planet turns, and the star's light dims, they cease their travail and spawn to the homelands. The land surface is filled with swarming hordes, tracing the sinuous pathways and concealing themselves inside twisting mechanical snakes. Slowly the natural visibility fades, and the final starlight glows beneath the cloudbase, as speckles of sodium orange cover the valley floor. This atmospheric phenomenon spreads to the horizon, beneath increasingly inky skies, until darkness covers the entire conurbation. And still the lifeforms interact and thrive, in their dwellings and habitations, their tiny lives continuing unabated.

From the top of the highest tower, on the uppermost platform, the full scale of the eventide ballet is clearly viewed. A forest of artificial illumination emerges, from pinpoints of moving light to floodlit rectangles stacked in heaps. In every individual enclosure an ongoing history, in every office a continuing tale, as petty travails and jealousies play out in every space. The creatures fret over what one said to another, they worry about situation and response, and they concern themselves with trifling perceived indignities. In the high-stacked towers they generate and process pecuniary interaction, and some have not enough to live, while others have too much to know what to do with. The transfer of financial recompense makes some content, and some busy, and others neither, as all travail to avoid falling into unrewarded leisure.

Atop this single spire of light the mundane matters of the planet matter not. Every argument lies distant, every inadequacy can be overlooked, and no destiny is as yet confirmed. This lofty perch provides both distance and perspective, both belonging and disconnect, above the irrelevance of the everyday. Cast aside the minutiae and embrace the unimportance of the seething throng - they care not about you, so mind not about them. However uncertain the future, the planet will still turn and the dance of life continue, whether we choose to be swept along or not.

The Shard at sunset: eleven photos

### Monday, February 22, 2016

RANDOM BUS (part 2)
Route 493: Tooting - Richmond
Length of journey: 13 miles, 95 minutes [map]

Let's wrap up my latest random London bus route by completing the second half of the journey (from Wimbledon to North Sheen). [part 1]

Wimbledon Tennis Club and Museum: Officially it's the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, but the bus stop outside dumbs down that title somewhat because the whole thing wouldn't fit. The 493 is the only bus to serve this premier sporting location, unless the tournament is on in which case it's diverted elsewhere for fear of getting stuck in the crowds. For the rest of the year there's a museum to visit, and a cafe, and a shop where various purple and green accoutrements are yours for a price. Or you can go on a tour, which the bunch of mostly foreign tourists I could see through the gate seemed to have been enjoying despite the rain. I left them to it, and decided to go for a walk round the site, which soon proved considerably larger than I'd been expecting. The walls break occasionally at gates allowing sight of tightly-packed outside courts and refreshment/toilet facilities for the throng, and the occasional midwinter employee scuttling between blocks. One of the best views is at the southern tip of the site where the contours rear up, while a few residents on Somerset Road have installed extra large roof-level balconies to provide an overview of summertime action.

Round the back of the club the road rises gently to pass hospitality and media facilities, and lonely-looking security guards, and a large separate block of indoor courts for when the weather's like this. And the road keeps climbing - no shortcut possible when the car park's closed - leading further and further up into residential nirvana. Some extremely desirable properties lurk up here on the hillside below the common, along almost-private roads on leafy plots with acres behind. The occasional 4×4 justifies its expense by powering up a single track hill, to pull in onto the gravel beside some gabled hideaway. The eventual descent emerges beside the AELTC's immaculate croquet lawns, several of them, perhaps a little muddier than usual at this time of year. To return to the bus stop requires a further trek past the practice courts, and the emerald spaceship of Court No 1, a full mile and a half complete. Best don't consider following in my footsteps, there's a reason Fortress Wimbledon looks better on the telly.
A long gap between 493s means a lot of people on board, although I do manage to grab a seat near the front where the bright young things have left space for the elderly. This proves fortuitous, because the windows have almost completely steamed up and the only available porthole is through the windscreen at the front. Trust me, there is nothing worse on a bloggable bus journey than not being able to see out of the window, and a blinkered view is at least better than none at all. We reach Southfields station, where a sharp left has the old lady in front of me grabbing hold of a pole for stability, before turning again to tour the Southmead estate. Blimey, how London's residential nature can change in a street or two, from highly desirable to towers of flats. "Do you stop at the shops?" the old lady asks the driver, and yes in this direction we do, so off she steps a minute later. A brief spell on the busy A3 ends at Tibbet's Corner, a once-rural glade despoiled by a split-level roundabout, and then we tour the top edge of Putney Heath. I'm aware that there's much more to explore here, from the bus village at the Green Man to the duelling grounds in the woods, but very little is visible through the smears. I resolve to alight immediately ahead, to switch to a vehicle less wreathed in condensation.

Danebury Avenue: I have three minutes before the next bus arrives, which is just long enough to check out one of my favourite corners of Roehampton. The Alton Estate is a landscaped concrete masterpiece, or a failing community, depending on which viewpoint you believe. Wandsworth Council have a masterplan in place to regenerate the unlisted area round the shops, details of which can be seen on consultation boards stored against the window of the library. But this means the library's likely demolition, along with slab block Allbrook House which looms above, and the adjacent Alton Activity Centre. A poster taped up in the bus shelter alerts residents to campaign group Alton Regeneration Watch who are concerned that local democracy is being overruled and that current residents might well be losing out. It's an increasingly familiar story across London, and I worry that next time I visit Danebury Avenue the library, the laundrette and The Right Plaice might be on their way to being replaced by something incomers would prefer.
The next bus is bunched up so close to the previous service that it has barely half a dozen on board, and so my 360 degree panorama is restored. Progress through Roehampton is horrifically slow, thanks to a set of temporary traffic lights installed courtesy of TfL's Road Modernisation Plan. An ambulance is parked up at a bus stop near Queen Mary's Hospital, alongside a 493 going nowhere in the opposite direction. On closer look I spy a stretcher on the pavement, and paramedics aboard the bus escorting a passenger to the door, on a journey that unexpectedly stalled, and hopefully turned out OK. Coming up next is Rosslyn Park RFC, one of the many rugby clubs that have relocated to southwest London over the years, its pitch busy with action but surrounded by sheds.

Ahead lies Barnes Common, where we turn left onto the Upper Richmond Road, which we'll be following all the way. Other than the bridge over the Beverley Brook, this is wholly unfamiliar territory, and I'm grateful to the 493 for bringing me somewhere unexpectedly new. Specifically that's East Sheen, a well-to-do Victorian neighbourhood, one step back from Mortlake and the river. Sheen is the original name for Richmond, and slips easily into various shop names including Sheen Sports, Sheen Tyres, The Sheen Cobbler and (my personal favourite) Sheen Beauty. We have a new passenger, a retired gentleman reading the FT, who has one of the loudest most theatrical coughs I've ever endured. I'm hoping his behaviour is merely an affectation, until he whips out a paisley hanky and fills it, before returning to the business news and coughing on.

Here's an oddity, a bus stop labelled with the terminus point for the route a full ten stops before we actually get there. North Sheen station is barely 200m up a sideroad, whereas we'll be nearly quarter of an hour in getting there via the jammed centre of Richmond. Regular passengers know to get off the bus on Sheen Road and walk to the shops from there, whereas those who stay on get to tour the one-way system, much longer in this direction than the other. This brings us to Richmond Bus Station, more an afterthought than a facility, where umpteen services flood in to a single bus stop before queueing to rejoin the melee on the main circuit.

The Museum of Richmond: It suddenly strikes me that I've never visited this borough museum, which is remiss, although perhaps understandable. It's hidden two floors up in the Old Town Hall, accessed via a door down a passageway by the toilets, hence it's a pleasant surprise to discover a lengthy gallery round the final corner. Richmond, it's soon clear, has a vast amount of proper history as opposed to, say, the nothing much of Barking and Dagenham. Richard II lived in a manor by the river, before Henry VII built a magnificent royal palace and named it Richmond after his ancestral Yorkshire castle. He died here in 1509, as did Elizabeth I a century later, before Cromwell's men demolished almost everything, indeed a lot of what's catalogued in the museum has been swept away. The borough also has claims to fame in the worlds of theatre and petrochemicals - rayon was first synthesised in Kew - while North Sheen was the site of London's first council housing, way back when this was properly Surrey. The displays have a dated feel, but the information shines through, and even the latest WW2 exhibition manages to personalise the topic above the parochial. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
And finally, time to head back east on the 493 to North Sheen. My final vehicle is mostly empty but evidently recently packed, hence the curse of the steamed up windows has returned. That's OK, I've seen Richmond's high street before, on the slow chug up to the station and beyond. There are almost as many buses as cars, a status which only gradually declines along the dual carriageway from Richmond Circus. Our final destination is Manor Circus, another roundabout, or more precisely the huge Sainsburys to the other side, or more precisely still a bleak bus stand nearer to Homebase. Silhouettes of aeroplanes roar overhead, this spot lies precisely on the approach to Heathrow's southern runway. And sheesh that was an epic journey, quite possibly the most I've ever written about a bus route - only a handful of London buses travel further.

Random buses (so far): 194, 31, 398, 493

### Sunday, February 21, 2016

RANDOM BUS
Route 493: Tooting - Richmond
Length of journey: 13 miles, 95 minutes [map]

My next random London bus route is relatively new, hence the very high number. Its single deckers started threading across southwest London as recently as 2002, during which time the 493 has been run by as many as five different companies. The route is long and indirect, in places tortuous, and there is no logical reason why anyone other than the driver would ever want to ride the entire length. So to avoid looking a bit weird I decided to get off a lot, and take a look around before boarding a later service with a different driver. That is still pretty weird, isn't it?

St George's Hospital: The 493 launches inside the grounds of Tooting's biggest hospital, between the breast clinic and the oxygen silos. It's not an uplifting spot, the interiors of the buildings perform that function, and it's best the NHS's money isn't spent on architectural flourish. High above, a new helipad serves the London Air Ambulance; down below, a girl emerges from the wards in a wheelchair so her mum can have a smoke. A Spaniard called Guillermo has taped his phone number to the pay and display machine beside the bus stand, hoping to hook up with anyone who'd like to improve their language skills. A few nurses walk by, a few vans go past, the daffodils are doing their best.
The driver seems a little surprised to see me, because anybody boarding here hasn't thought things through. The bus is about to orbit the hospital once, then orbit it again, so I'd be much better off walking a short distance down the road and catching the bus ahead. He has a danish pastry stashed away in a plastic bag on the ledge behind the steering wheel, and is revving the engine for the off. We follow the narrow service road around the medical fortress, sealed off on more sides than seems strictly necessary, (not) stopping at four further stops on the circuit. The visitors' car park is rammed full, but seemingly nobody takes the bus. Escape comes a few steps away from where I got on, emerging into streets of Tooting terraces where a traffic warden is busy eyeing up potential offenders. Our first passenger flags us down by Doris Florist, Mothers' Day a speciality, on her brief trip to the shops on Tooting Broadway. At Sainsbury's the bus suddenly gets busy, and stays that way, as we drive on down the Cycle Superhighway (which is of the original useless "totally blockable by a bus" design). Turning right yet one more time our outer circuit of the hospital is almost complete, indeed we passed within 30 metres of the next bus stop over ten minutes ago. My word Lambeth Cemetery is long, we shadow it all the way to Summerstown before actually turning left for once, where we become the only bus along Plough Lane.

Wimbledon Stadium: The 20th century lingers on, for now, in this light industrial corner of Merton. This is the last greyhound stadium in anything vaguely resembling inner London, still running the hare every Thursday and Saturday night, and hosting regular stock car and speedway racing to boot. Its exterior looks less appealing in the middle of the day, rising behind a car dealership, the main entrance concealed off-road up a tarmac expanse. The stadium's car park is vast, recalling long-gone days when size was important. The top end is now used for a Saturday car boot sale, nigh all packed away by the time I arrive, not that the gentleman with the collecting box was ever going to let me in for nothing. Expect all of this to be swept away soon. The stadium is part-owned by a housing developer, and they have plans for 600 homes to be crammed onto the site as well as a complete revamp of the stadium to allow AFC Wimbledon to move in. It'd be a true amateur triumph to bring the Dons home, but only at the expense of three sports London looks likely to see the back of.
This is the driver changeover point for route 493, a manoeuvre swiftly completed allowing a new contingent of passengers to board. One has three large bags, which is slightly optimistic in the circumstances, and makes a not exactly hilarious comment about Tooting being the other way when he hears a car horn outside. Immediately across the River Wandle we pass the site of Wimbledon FC's original stadium, now very much flats, although the six constituent blocks are at least named after former players, managers and a chairman. On the back seat of the bus a father is busy indoctrinating his five year-old son into The Football, drilling into him "the last time we were in the 4th round" and "that time we beat Cardiff". Crossing the District line we pass a long thin Waitrose (and a long thin car park) hemmed in beside the railway, because 21st century building land round here was evidently scarce. Which brings us to Wimbledon proper, and a minor tour of the one-way system whilst almost entirely avoiding the main shops.

Elys: Wimbledon's independent department store landed on St George's Road in 1876, and hasn't stumbled yet. Elys could still be 1996 inside, in a good way, if you'd ever feared that the traditional department store experience had disappeared. In prime position on the ground floor are the smellies, and the immaculate ladies who'd like to tempt you to buy a bottle, along with seasonal reductions on unfashionable hats and a selection of Spanx power panties. Those interested in children's footwear should make a beeline for the Tots To Teens Shoe Lounge, while the facially substandard may have need of the Eye Candy Brow and Lash Bar. Valentine's giftware is at half price or less on the second floor (in most cases you can see why), alongside the Pots & Pans department whose finest wares hang from the ceiling in a metallic cloud. Watch out too for the full-size Lego R2D2 at the top of the escalator, and perfectly folded piles of on-brand knitwear, and the helpful staff in smart jackets - you don't get anything like the Elys experience sat shopping online.
Back on the 493 the retail crowds are gathering, with Wimbledon Hill Road enough of an ascent that many take the bus rather than climb it on foot. One boy boards carrying a racket, because this is SW19, except it's for badminton so doesn't properly count. As the bus fills up one semi-elderly gentleman hogs his double seat by facing away from the aisle and defiantly holding the Daily Mail magazine he's reading above the vacant space. At the top of the climb is bijou Wimbledon Village, because the upmarket often live uphill, their local shopping parade packed with antiques, boutiques and everything chic. Even The Ivy is on its way, their new cafe outpost due to open near the clocktower in June, all perfectly timed for the tennis. And that's where we're heading next, veering off into the adjacent residential avenues and speeding down to the epicentre of game, set and match.
Wimbledon Tennis Club: Alighting outside the main entrance, I reckon I should have time to walk round the club before the next bus arrives. I reckon wrong, an entire circuit on foot takes half an hour, perfectly long enough to miss the next two buses and face a miserably wet wait for the third. A tale I'll save until tomorrow, because there's still well over half of the 493's journey to go, if you can bear the wait.

» route 493 - route map
» route 493 - timetable
» route 493 - live bus map
» route 493 - route history
» route 493 - route history
» route 493 - The Ladies Who Bus

### Saturday, February 20, 2016

In possibly coincidental timing, the last barrier blocking the new bus stop bypass at Bus Stop M has finally been removed...

...just in time for the cycle lane to be closed by roadworks further down the road.

What to do this weekend? I've used my complimentary copy of Time Out magazine to try to find out. Let's see...

Cover, p2, p7, p87, p88: advert for film
p3: cover
p5: not many introductory words in small type
p6: not many introductory words in large type
p9: event in March; food pop-up; restaurant opening; Surrey Docks Farm
p10: 'news' that London-based websites published last week
p12: weekly caricatures; something only Paris has
p14: someone's job; everyday gossip
p16,17: yet another advert for that film
p18: columnist writes generally about eels
p20: Things to do in Hackney: eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, drink, drink, eat/drink, music, theatre, cinema, shop
p22-28: eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat
p31,32: eat×100
p34: events to book in March, in July, in April, in April, in March, next week
p37-39: fashion interview; London Fashion Week; fashion shopping
p40-42: architecture exhibition
p44: property; art deco properties to rent
p48: how to be a buy-to-let landlord
p50: homeware shopping
p52,53: go on a hobby-based course (Â£85, Â£35, Â£50, Â£60, Â£590, Â£10, Â£125, Â£60)
p55: beer festival (finished last night); royal pollination exhibition; comic convention
p56,57: why not fly to Holland instead?
p59: go on a walking tour (Â£28, Â£9.50, Â£20 sold out, Â£10 sold out)
p61: there's a skull cup at the Natural History Museum
p62: Jewish Book Week; kids' literature festival; themed dinner Â£45; NY-style pop-up, drinks festival Â£50; supper club Â£35; three half-term activities for children
p63: film interview
p64: four star review of the film on the cover
p65-67: several film reviews; current film festivals; book ahead for Easter
p68: two music interviews (for midweek gigs)
p70-71: festival to book for July
p72: ten gigs to book for this week
p75: music to book ahead for July, for May, for July, for August; four club nights
p76,77: plays to book ahead; theatre reviews
p78: plays/musicals/fringe (new and long-running)
p79: comedy nights (nine this week, five booking ahead)
p80,81: three new art shows reviewed, plus one long-running, plus four newly-opening
p83-85: three restaurant reviews
p86: brief over-excitable tweet-length dim sum reviews

I might go back to King's Lynn.

### Friday, February 19, 2016

Bow Road has, I fear, reached peak Cycle Superhighway.

The CS2 upgrade has now been running for twelve months, with just two months to go, and the road is beset by a crescendo of roadworks lest the final deadline be missed. There are dug up bits of pavement and dug up bits of street everywhere, there are innumerable plastic barriers blocking off cycle lanes and roadway, there are closed bus stops and closed pedestrian crossings, there are temporary traffic lights causing lengthy jams, and there are workmen scattered along the street attempting to bring certain sections to a conclusion. If you're a driver the queues are unpredictably miserable. If you're a bus passenger it's grim - it took me 30 minutes to travel three bus stops down the road in the rush hour yesterday. If you're a pedestrian it's an ever changing obstacle course, with blocked off access and temporary diversions. And if you're a cyclist it's bloody dangerous, as unfinished upgrade sections force you out of the safe lanes into busy traffic. In short, I wouldn't wish this hell on anyone. [8 photos]

It'll all be worth it eventually, we're assured, creating world-class segregated lanes and a step change in cycling provision. But when TfL do finally get round to trumpeting the successful completion of this flagship project, you need to know how miserable living through the Cycle Superhighway's upgrade has been.

So below is a record of CS2 roadworks on Bow Road as they stand in the middle of February 2016. The table runs from just past Mile End (at the top) to the Bow Roundabout (at the bottom). Cycle Superhighway 2 follows the two blue columns to either side, while road traffic runs down the middle. Black text shows normality, while red text shows roadworks. If you'd like to experience how difficult things are for cyclists, try following the last column downwards, or the first column upwards. And for your own safety don't try the journey in real life, not for a couple of months yet.

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my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
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diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
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