Robert Hampton

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8th April 2014

Amsterdam Miscellany
Posted by at 6.54pm | Out and About | 2 responses

I amsterdam city cardWe’ve come to the end of my Amsterdam blog pentalogy, as I round up some of the other highlights of my visit.

I amsterdam city card

This handy tourist card costs just €57 for 48 hours and gives free or discounted access to a whole host of attractions. It also has an OV-chipkaart built in to give unlimited rides on Amsterdam’s bus, tram and metro systems. It can be bought online, where you receive a voucher to print off and exchange for the card at a tourist information centre (there’s one opposite Centraal Station and another at Schipol Airport).

You also get a handy fold up map of the city to help you get around. Highly recommended.

Canal cruise

We had some time to kill on our last day, so went on a canal cruise. Holland International Canal Cruises leave from a terminal near the station and, as our I amsterdam cards included a free canal cruise, it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity.

Canal Cruise Robert on the canal

Read the rest of this post »

15th December 2011

Driving Home For Christmas (well, there’s no trains, after all)
Posted by at 9.43pm | In the News, Trains | 2 responses

Good old Metro, inviting its hard-pressed commuter audience to indulge in some collective gnashing of teeth:-

Britain faces a Christmas holiday railway shutdown with virtually no trains for almost 60 hours from 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Leaving aside the blatant lie (most services don’t start winding down until after 8pm on Christmas Eve), this isn’t really news, is it? The Christmas shutdown is a tradition going back many years, all the way back to the days of British Rail. And why is Metro making a big deal out of it now when the Christmas trains info has been published on National Rail’s web site for weeks?

There is a prober debate to be had about public transport provision over the Christmas period (the lack of Merseyrail on Boxing Day is often an inconvenience for me) but Metro – like its stable-mate the Daily Mail – is more interested in unconstructive whining.

Incidentally, the rail network doesn’t shut down entirely for two days: there will be teams of engineering staff out and about, taking advantage of two days without trains to do some serious work. For example, on 25th and 26th December 2004 the new footbridge over the West Coast Main Line at Liverpool South Parkway was craned into position, while this year Network Rail are replacing a bridge at Sandhills (although the work is too much for two days, so there are rail replacement buses a-plenty for Northern Line passengers on the 27th and 28th).

21st April 2009

Ass. Newspapers Ltd
Posted by at 9.51pm | In the News | No responses

metro I have a fairly high tolerance for tasteless humour, but even I have my limits. I would love to know who at Metro thought it was a good idea to put this cartoon on the front page of this morning’s edition. Bear in mind that at the time this went to print, all that was known was that Professor Hawking was seriously ill, although subsequently it was announced that he was expected to make a full recovery.

Maybe I’m expecting too much from Associated Newspapers (they are the publishers of the Daily Mail, after all) but I think this cartoon is an incredibly sad reflection of attitudes to the disabled which, I suspect, many in society still hold. Stephen Hawking is Cambridge University’s Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (a position once held by Isaac Newton). He has been honoured with an Albert Einstein Award and the Wolf Prize in Physics. He has made significant breakthroughs in numerous areas of science. He has written five bestselling books.

However to “Brook”, he is just a man in a wheelchair with a funny computer voice. Sigh.

10th December 2008

Round Up – Kills the Roots, Guaranteed!

I know, I haven’t blogged for over a week. I’M BAD AT THE INTERNET. But now I’m back, ready to post items which may be of interest. Or not.

  • One of the main roads into Liverpool City Centre has been closed after a sewer collapsed underneath it — normally this would be of no interest to me whatsover, but the same sewer passes directly under the railway line I use to travel to work on a daily basis. Despite the heroic efforts of United Utilities, St Michaels station floods every time there’s a light drizzle and yours truly has ended up on an Arriva bus in a traffic jam on two separate occasions.

  • John Barrowman apologises for exposing himself on a Radio 1 show, following a complaint by a person who clearly doesn’t understand the concept of radio.

  • Remember RISC OS, the computer operating system which was great when first released in 1988, but struggled to keep up with Windows and was eventually left in the dust? It’s now available to download for a fiver. Sadly in today’s market it’s still overpriced by about £4.50, but the nostalgic may relish the opportunity to have a legal copy to plug into an emulator.

  • Steve Coogan says his Liverpool show got bad reviews, not because it was a half-arsed performance, but (of COURSE!) because the Scouse audience hated Mancunians. The reaction locally was… predictable (although to be fair, for once Paddy Shennan has a point).

  • Many people have suspected as much for some time, but now it’s official: The Simpsons is over as an icon of subversive pop culture. How do I know? The Daily Mail has run an article praising the show.

  • Staying on the same subject, the Mail on Sunday has decided to launch its own music label, or as Paul McInnes puts it on the Guardian music blog: “As if belonging to one industry with a death wish wasn’t enough, now the Mail wants to get into another!”

    The new label will be called Mail On Sunday Sounds (MOSS) and launched with a free giveaway of a CD by a Gospel choir. Contrary to rumours, they won’t have any recordings featuring Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, because MOSS gathers no Rolling Stones.