last updated June 20, 2011

Disposable Living and Greed

There was a guy that used to drink in our local pub when I was still a teenager who was a John Peel fanatic. I suppose we all were, but we didn't go after the really obscure sounding bands like he did. He liked to find out about bands before anyone else and so went after them all with vigour. I, rather childishly, used to make up groups to see if he'd heard of them and invariably he had. The point here, although I'm realising already that it is quite a diluted one, is that no one likes the person who preaches about the fact that they were doing something before everyone else. A sound test would be striking correctly in stocks and reaping the rewards. Unfortunately I only claim to have been a junkie and advocate of reuse and all that other green stuff. Even before the hippy's got into it.

The Disposable society we now live in upsets me.
Recently I've noticed a huge example which puzzles me - the new Scotrail rolling stock. The existing trains (burgandy and cream), especially those used in Ayrshire and the central belt, are, what I'd class as pretty new. They're in good nick - they appear to run well, they could perhaps be cleaned a little more often, get a new paint job and be reupholstered but that is superficial. Carrying out extensive mechanical testing and repairs wouldn't cost £430 million would it? Does everything have to be retail therapy - does it have to shine? Update the digital information displays could be on the cards if you want to get rid of some budget. What about the money put into buying more staff or upgrading rural waiting areas? How about telling disabled people and cyclists where on the platform you should stand for the carriage you need?

If the Scottish Government had aspirations for the rail network in Scotland then surely it should scrutinise the fact that Scotrail surcharges commuters on the main artery of Waverley to Queen Street and then squeezes them on to packed carriages. It's a great service - one I use frequently and that works very well, but cutting the carriage length immediately after rush hour looks greedy. It makes people suspicious of your motives. A typical return ticket is valid only for a day. Who makes that law and with what reason? Why issue a ticket valid for a week when you can profit from the same person having to pay the same price again? (Singles are pretty much invalid - a return is 10p more to Edinburgh from Glasgow).

More people would have less of an excuse to take the car if simple but inclusive options like lengthening trains until 10am and from 4pm (Jesus - working hours aren't in the 1950's any more) and maintaining a standard ticket fare were in place.

With the need for new Trams in Edinburgh and this new rolling stock for around the country - we've managed to spend £1billion. Not quite understanding how political parties' manifesto's balance themselves financially - quick sums like that help me know where I'd get money for hospitals.

Posted by stupot at 01:28 PM Monday 20 Jun

Flying's not so bad

It had been stressful week brought on by the fact that the surprise bank holiday on Monday combined with Friday off meant a lot had to be crammed in to a few days. Fortunately Tiree, as a destination, is the perfect remedy to anxiety, a full brain and too much time around a computer. As we flew low over the Inner Hebrides and Argyll with perfectly clear views down to inlets of white sand, cliffs and turquoise waters I leapt from one seat to another trying to gather as much of the views as possible. It was a bit like hanging over a huge, intricate, moving map. Jura, Mull then Flotta were highlights as we circled around and descended over Coll to our destination.

After the local bus (which had been briefed by our hosts) picked us up and dropped us off we had a cup of tea, inspected the front garden (the shore) and got the bikes ready for a trip over to the southerly bay around the peninsula. The sky was clear blue, the wind light, so we donned trunks and ran as fast as we could into the Atlantic - like Victorians trying to cure an ailment. in our case, possibly another long winter.

Tiree swim bay

Posted by stupot at 05:03 PM Tuesday 7 Jun