Thursday 31 January 2013

3-2-1 I’m back in the room.  I’m still not fully recovered from whatever ails me, I have to go back to the doctor’s next week but I’m a hell of a lot better than I was.  I finally saw Morrissey after enduring a nerve wracking road trip over the Allegheny Mountains in a snow storm, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh was a sumptuous venue, he was in good voice and my friend was utterly enchanted with her first live Mozzer gig.  Sadly for others he only managed one more night before succumbing to bleeding stomach ulcers; the poor lamb has no luck.

Anyway, onto things Tube related.  Yesterday our dark overlord, Mike Brown, gaily announced that as of 2015 we will be running an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays while at the same opening an hour later on Saturday mornings to facilitate engineering hours.  We’d heard nothing of this beforehand but then that’s nothing new, we’re used to discovering changes to our working lives from the Evening Standard rather than receiving prior warning from our employers.  This decision has been taken in the wake of the “success” of later running during the Olympics, “success” being a flexible term as when I was driving trains past 1:30am in the summer the platforms were virtually empty.

When later running was last mooted the biggest objector was Heathrow who pointed out that if the Tube opened an hour later on Saturdays the morning shift wouldn’t be able to get in on time.  This has been cleverly circumvented by excluding the Piccadilly from the plan, apparently they’ll still close at 1:30am while the rest carry on running.  The later service will be restricted to “core network” which I guess means we’ll get you out of Zone 1 and Zone 2 but after that there isn’t going to be much apart from night buses.

While we have two years to sort out the details as with the Olympics LUL will probably avoid negotiating with the Unions until the last possible moment, our current pay deal ends in 2015 so maybe they could roll the whole thing into one; two hopes of that and Bob’s dead.  Personally I've got nothing against later running, our lives are messed up already by shift work, another hour isn't going to make much difference.

Meanwhile over at Scotland Yard Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe called for all workers to be drug tested, naming transport workers as ones that should get special attention.  News flash, Bernie, we already have drug testing on the railways, get a clue, matey.

Saturday 12 January 2013

I told you I wasn’t well, yesterday my doctor told me that there seemed to be something in my left lung.  He asked if the mucus I’d been coughing up (proper “gold watches” as my Granddad would call them) contained blood (no) or if I’d suffered any weight loss (I wish!!!!).  He said he thought it was “only an infection”, perhaps the one time “only”, “infection” and “lung” can ever be used in the same sentence then proscribed me penicillin with a heavy duty cough syrup but told me that if those didn’t work after seven days he’d send me for a blood test and an x-ray.  Gulp.

Whenever we are on medication we have a legal requirement to declare it to whoever is passing us fit for duty, in our case the DTSM on the desk.  It was only when I was booking on that I discovered that the cough syrup I’d been glugging down contained codeine, a restricted medication, and that I could not l work on the railway while I was on it.  So I’m off work for the next seven days until I complete my course of medication.  So loads of time to blog!

Apart from that just as predicted ASLEF have called off their two extra strikes for “meaningful talks” which we all know won’t happen and we’ll be going on strike Boxing Day 2013.  Over on the Bakerloo Line the ASLEF TOps have voted to strike over the lack of station staff to assist with closing up when reversing after the incident with the kid back on 13th October last year.  As RMT are likely to benefit from more station staff I’m amazed that they’ve not joined ASLEF in a dual strike but then maybe this is an example of the rivalry between the unions.

Friday 11 January 2013

I’ve not written recently for a variety of reasons, there’s not been much going on at work, I’ve had lots to keep me busy outside of work, I’m still not entirely healthy and I’m off to the doctors later to see what’s what.  Most of all I just couldn’t be arsed, I was lacking inspiration, it was becoming a chore and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to. 

I’m only writing this because a dear, dear friend and a long time follower of my blog asked me to when I met her up in town yesterday for a drink and so this is for Treacle, as requested, you’d better like it or next time the olives and the first bottle of wine are on you.

The ten things, places or whatever I love most about London.

I’ll have to start with the Tube, I’ve loved it ever since my Grandfather first took me on it when I was about 5 or 6, the epic journey all the way from Dagenham Heathway to Becontree in an old R stock train, the sights, sounds and smells are buried deep in my memory.  As I grew older my journeys expanded, going to Barking to the big library, to Upton Park to watch West Ham, all the way to Aldgate East to buy my first DMs at Blackman’s.

Longer trips included going to Embankment though back then it was called Charing Cross while what is now Charing Cross was Strand and Trafalgar Square.  From there I’d scurry over the Hungerford Bridge to attend classical concerts at the Festival Hall on a cheap tickets for schools scheme.  There were trips all the way to South Kensington for one or other of the museums during the holidays, with Mum at first and then just me and my older brother.

Then when I started work and had money of my own I was able to travel all over London discovering the delights it had to offer and I’m still discovering in the early stages of my fifth decade.  London is always changing, things come and go, a constant flux, if you can’t accept the change then it’s time to move somewhere less fluid.  Embrace the chaos or die!

Now I work on the Tube, something I’d never considered before I applied to join over 15 years ago, something I certainly never imagined when old Fred Shepherd took me to Becontree to….well, I have no idea why we went to Becontree, I’ll have to ask Mum.

Nine more to go.