Robert Hampton

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October 2006

2nd October 2006

Rover and Out
Posted by at 11.59pm | Trains | No responses

Remember the exhaustive detail I promised? Well, it’s here, with more to come as I continue travelling over the next few days.

11th October 2006

Blog me happy!
Posted by at 1.22pm | It's My Life, Trains | 1 response

The creative writing course I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is not happening for me now, for reasons far too complex and dull to go into here. Ironically, I seem to be bursting with creativey-writey-type ideas at the moment (although, as you’ve just seen, I’m having less luck with finding appropriate descriptive adjectives).

Work is still crap. Fortunately I wasn’t there all last week, which brings me on to the part I’m sure you’re all most interested in (yes you are): my Rail Roving exploits. My week-long exploration of the North West rail network was insanely enjoyable, despite a few hitches along the way, which was to be expected. Lessons learned for future reference include:

  • Planning a 5-minute connection onto a train that runs less than once an hour is a bad move. More so when missing said connection dumps you in Barrow-in-Furness for almost an hour.
  • Don’t ride on lines through the Pennines or the Lake District in October and expect to see anything other than rain streaming down the windows and vague hill-shaped objects looming out of the mist.
  • Northern Rail need a new footnote in their timetable: “X – this train will be full of chav teenagers and will only be one coach so you can’t escape from them.”
  • Virgin’s Voyager trains smell like… well, they smell.

On the other hand, I got to ride lots of lines I’d never used before, including the West Coast Main Line north of Lancaster, the Kirkby to Wigan shuttle, the minimally-served Ellesmere Port to Helsby line and the downright ludicrous Stockport to Stalybridge line, with its one train a week in one direction only. Full report is on the aforementioned Rail Rover page (not finished, but will be in the next day or so).

My travels took me past Leeds on Thursday evening, which proved an ideal opportunity to catch up with renowned former pig-wrangler Rob Baldwin. We talked, we laughed, and it was generally a fun time had by all, despite an awkward moment where I admitted to liking Sandi Thom. I remember Rob as one of the few people at school who wasn’t a complete twat, and I’m pleased to report that, six-and-a-half years later, he is still 100% untwattish. Let’s everyone pester him to update his blog!

18th October 2006

Here is the news on Friday the 27th of Geldof

Paul Rose has an excellent post on the Live 8 concerts last year (topical!).

I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s an interesting read, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one who quickly grew tired of Bob Geldof’s incessant ranting.

19th October 2006

Where do you want to go today?

So, have you downloaded Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 7 yet? I have, and I’m using it right now to write this post. RHMeUK, naturally, looks wonderful in it.

I’m not generally a Microsoft fan, but impressions so far are quite favourable. The new user interface is going to take a bit of getting used to, and I’m not sure it was necessary to move all the toolbars, menus and buttons around. I don’t think it’s going to be enough to switch my allegiance from Firefox, but it’s certainly a big improvement on what’s gone before.

Now that IE7 supports it, you have no excuse to ignore my RSS feed. Have you subscribed yet? Of course you have!

22nd October 2006

I may not know art, but I know what I hate… and I don’t hate this
Posted by at 7.53pm | Out and About | 1 response

Another Place BirdYours truly spent the princely sum of £1.15 (that’s ONE POUND FIFTEEN) on a train ticket to Blundellsands & Crosby station to see the Another Place statues, seeing as how Sefton Council, in one of the most shortsighted decisions ever, have just given them their marching orders.

Sefton Council’s claim that the statues are scaring off wild birds seems a little bit dubious. Seb was right about the unicorns, though — I didn’t see a single one!

Read the rest of this post »

25th October 2006

BBC articles I read whilst bored at work
Posted by at 10.45pm | In the News | No responses
  • Families and tourists in a London park were left shocked when a pelican picked up and swallowed a pigeon. [link]
  • A man has been defecating in trains across south-east England, causing damage costing £60,000 to repair. [link]
  • Doctors, nurses and health visitors in Lancashire could be banned from wearing novelty socks to work. [link]
  • Plans to allow sponsorship of entire TV and radio channels have been approved by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. [link]

28th October 2006


I upgraded to Firefox 2.0 recently. Short review: Internet Explorer 7 had almost caught up, but with 2.0, Firefox is now back in the lead again.

I spent the afternoon tinkering with MadMaze, to try and overcome my main niggle with it; namely that, in this day and age, no piece of software, no matter how dreadful, should be running in Mode 9. (320×256 graphics resolution! 16 colours!)

Messing around in BBC BASIC is still, after all these years, quite good fun. I’d like to get back into hobbyist programming, even though RISC OS, the platform on which I cut my teeth (requiring many hours of expensive dental surgery), seems to be in decline. Ho-hum.

Anyway, WordPress 2.0.5 has just been released, so I need to go and install it, hopefully without breaking anything in the process.

31st October 2006

Posted by at 1.15pm | Trains | No responses

Just came across this on uk.railway: a brilliantly detailed explanation of how arrivals and departures boards at railway stations get their information.

Well, I think it’s interesting.