Robert Hampton

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31st December 2010

Twenty Ten – again. Again

July brought big changes to the newspaper industry, as The Times started charging for access to its web site. This was supposed to ensure a steady income stream for the newspaper, putting it on a secure financial footing for the future. However, it also resulted in the Times being completely removed from the online chatter of the blogosphere, as its news coverage and columnists were no longer accessible to the internet hoi-polloi. Still, I’m sure this decision made sense to someone somewhere.

The Supreme Court ruled that gay people facing persecution are entitled to claim asylum in the UK. I welcomed the decision, although my blog post is curiously vague about precisely why I welcomed it. Hmm…

In other gay-related news, I reviewed, with sadness, a booklet from the US Military discussing its anti-gay don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Elsewhere, health and safety went mad as one person suggested banning rugby scrums. I felt uncomfortable on a train full of Orange Lodge marchers and I defended the traditional sitcom from an onslaught of criticism from trendy TV reviewers.

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30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

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18th December 2010

Screwed by three inches

You know when there’s lots of snow and the authorities only advise you to travel if its absolutely necessary? I wish I’d heeded that advice last night.

It was our office Christmas party last night. Despite the heavy snow forecast, I headed into town. The weather was clear when I left home, but I emerged from Central station at 7.30pm to discover that the snow had started coming down heavily.

Most of the Christmas party was spent anxiously checking various transport operators’ web sites on my mobile phone. At 11pm, with the weather worsening and rumours spreading about serious disruption on the railways, I decided to head for the station and get home.

Central station was in a scene of chaos: the departure board listing a lot of obviously fictitious trains (one train shown as “Expected 22:36” despite it being 23:05 by now). The man on the ticket barrier, besieged by inebriated people, could only explain that there was nothing moving on the Northern Line at all.

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2nd December 2010

Brighton or Bust
Posted by at 11.15pm | Out and About, Trains | 1 response

I’m off to Brighton tomorrow, to see Mark again. My last visit was during the summer, and while the weather wasn’t brilliant, it didn’t preclude us getting around, seeing the sights and having a good time.

This time round, things are slightly different, with the country under 12 feet of snow (estimated) and all manner of chaos on the Brighton Main Line. Southern Trains have suspended all services today, and tomorrow an emergency timetable is in force.

In spite of all this, I have decided to go anyway! It should be an adventure, if nothing else. I will of course update you all fully when I get back on Monday evening. I may have had a great time, I may have had to sleep on the floor of a 377. Either way I’ll have some stories to tell.

25th November 2010

Winter Blunderland
Posted by at 7.56pm | Liverpool | 1 response

St Michaels In The Snow

Snow is falling in parts of the UK and more is forecast over the coming days, with Liverpool expected to receive its first dusting over the weekend. Last time this happened, back in January, much of the city ground to a halt, with buses sliding comically on untreated roads.

The January snowfall was particularly severe because Liverpool, like several other local authorities, ran out of grit. They assure us that this time they are more prepared. We shall see.

Photo: St Michaels in the Snow by adebâ“žnd on Flickr. Photo license: Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

10th January 2010

No Country for Cold Men

Great Britain in the snow

Everyone has their own story to tell about the cold weather the country has been experiencing recently, which saw parts of Scotland reach temperatures similar to those at the South Pole. People in work have been swapping stories about having to walk home on Tuesday afternoon after Liverpool’s bus companies withdrew services, allegedly due to the Council’s failure to grit the roads.

On a related topic, thanks to the amazing staff at Merseyrail, who pulled out all the stops to keep their trains running, even running empty trains through the night to keep the lines clear of ice. The end result was that, except for a few minor delays and cancellations, the trains have been running normally, even on Tuesday afternoon when there was a near-whiteout for a time. The Liverpool Echo, not known for its love of the railways, had to grudgingly recognise the achievement. Let me just add to the praise: you guys are AWESOME (Merseyrail, not the Liverpool Echo)!

As the trains were running I had no excuse not to be in work, but on Wednesday morning the pavements in the city centre were like glass. I was wearing the least practical shoes imaginable and had barely set foot outside Central station before I slipped and landed on my bum. It wasn’t even a dignified fall: there was much flailing of arms and feet before I eventually toppled over. Still, it seemed to amuse the man on the corner who was giving out Metros.

(satellite image taken on 7th January 2010, NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response)

31st December 2009

2009? More like Woo! Thousand and Nine!

Was this year an exciting way to say goodbye to the decade? Here’s a reminder of what happened on planet Hampo this year (part 2, hopefully, follows tomorrow):-

January started out with one of my favourite shows being revived. Despite being up against EastEnders and being hosted by Ben Shepherd, the Krypton Factor did well enough to be recommissioned for a second series. We found out Who would replace David Tennant, and a year later we still haven’t actually seen him in the role. ITV’s latest attempt to ape the success of Doctor Who was Demons which failed spectacularly; the only creative thing about it being the number of different excuses the writers found for Christian Cooke to remove clothing.

In the wider world, various eras were drawing to a close, as Woolworths closed its doors, Tony Hart kicked the bucket and Dubya left office. Meanwhile, yours truly had an enjoyable night in London Theatreland.

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23rd December 2009

2 Days? That’s Snow Time At All
Posted by at 10.34pm | It's My Life | No responses

I think tonight I’ve finally started feeling Christmassy. Today was my penultimate day in work and my last trip to the gym which closed today for the Christmas holiday (it re-opens on Bank Holiday Monday, and it will be comical to see me there attempting a workout following several days of binge-eating).

I spent most of the night helping to wrap presents for my nephews, which engrossed me so much I didn’t even notice it had been snowing. I only realised when I looked in our back garden and saw this untouched snow lying on the ground:-

I can’t wait for Christmas! 😀

2nd February 2009

Snow Patrol
Posted by at 8.11pm | Fun | No responses

Finally some proper snow! Hurrah!