Friday, 26 March 2021

Friday Variety (The Weekend's Coming)

 A Guest Blog From George

This is me. I live in Stourbridge with adequate staff to serve me in my house; but each afternoon I work a shift at Stourbridge Junction station. As you can see, I am available for making emergency announcements and supervising ticket issuing.
And here I am on one of my regular security patrols.
My subordinates do like a joke now and then ...
... but I don't mind as they keep my bed tidy for my frequent PNBs mid shift (sometimes for most of the shift!).
But I really don't mind as it keeps the customers happy and my subordinates do ensure that refreshment is always available after a busy shift (and, sometimes, during a busy shift!).
The most interesting part of my work is keeping an eye on the departures on my branch line down the hill to Stourbridge Town. Before my time they used to be noisy and frightening steam hauled trains of massive proportions ...
... followed, historically by equally horrid growling monsters.
Fortunately, everything now is quiet and electric on my branch ...
... so as not to impinge on my occasional and well deserved snoozes. Why, they have even repainted then in a livery which partly matches my uniform.
If you would like to know more about my essential work, you can go on-line and purchase my 2021 calendar ...
... although the picture on the front is a poor likeness and I was NOT consulted. Protest have been registered with my subordinates! Of course, going on-line is not for me - I prefer a dynamic paws-on approach ...
... as you can see.

By the way, my very best wishes to Mr Tubbles, no relation, who shares my good looks.

The Weirdness of SL2 - An Oxford PS
To the west of Oxford and just beyond the busy A34 is an area known as Wytham Woods.

Wytham Woods is an ancient semi-natural woodland, which has been owned and maintained by the University of Oxford since 1942. Its 1000 acres are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and are one of the most researched pieces of woodland in the world, exceptionally rich in flora and fauna, with over 500 species of plants, a wealth of woodland habitats, and 800 species of butterflies and moths.

The forested area is a simple three-way split between ancient semi-natural woodland, secondary woodland, and modern plantations. The fourth key habitat is the limestone grassland found at the top of the hill. Other smaller habitats include a valley-side mire and a series of ponds. The ancient woods date back to the last Ice Age, while the secondary woodland dates to the seventeenth century and the plantations to the 1950s and 1960s.

It takes its name and its historic ownership from the village of Wytham (clever eh?) or more correctly from Wytham Abbey ...
... which isn't an Abbey at all - it has no religious heritage. Current owners are the Bowes-Lyon family, cousins of the late Queen Mother.

But Wytham, utterly picturesque and utterly tiny ...
... located a few hundred yards from Inspector Morse's favourite watering hole, the Trout Inn ...
... has a bus route.
It is a branded shortie in smart "Connector" livery.
But, as you may have guessed, Wytham Village does not warrant a bus service and, probably, never had one. But the Field Studies Centre, apparently, does.
Follow the tractor ...
... and it will lead you up a long straight and well-rutted road ...
... to the aforementioned and signposted  Field Station.
Yep! Maybe that lot does deserve some sort of bus service ...
... which runs hourly Monday to Friday and the Thames Travel web site even has a map.
Mental note: when next staying near to No 1 son and family (that's in Wantage) obtain per from the authorities (domestic and filial) to nip to Oxford and have a ride. Looks juicy!

Things Don't Taste The Same ...
... thus oft quoth fbb's father. To which son and heir replied, "It's the fags!". Now non-smoker fbb has reached an age beyond that achieved by the older old man, her has to admit that it is not always the fags. Sometimes it is modern additive free recipes (all jellies are bland and near tasteless these days), sometimes it is "more economical" recipes but often it is simple a product of steady decay brought on by the inexorable effluxion of time.

But the good news is that the short-run production of real 1905 Iron Brew is to be made permanent ...
... complete, presumably, with all the healthy real stuff that the food police have deemed bad for you. And in a recyclable glass bottle as well.

Ideal, accompanied by a good healthy portion (portions) of pork pie to sustain elderly bus watchers as they explore obscure parts of rural Oxfordshire.

fbb can't wait!

Oo-er? Do they sell it in Tesco? Do they sell it anywhere in Seaton? Does the Sturgeon allow it out of her diktat? Could be a problem there.

Freeman's Fond First Final Farewell
Yesterday James Freeman, MD of First West of England signed of with his last edition of the staff newsletter. fbb only knows James by reputation, but that is good enough. He has been (and will no doubt continue to be) a first class bus manager combined (some would have said impossibly) with being a dyed-in-the-wool bus enthusiast.

His work in Bristol, Bath and the area has been stunningly successful, but, behind that lies hours and hours spent out "on the road" at community meetings and incarcerated with politicians. No one really knows how many hours he worked for the company, but fbb suspects it was a lot more than ghe was paid for.

There aren't many like him and the industry seems incapably of creating Freeman clones!

Here is his last "editorial".
fbb doesn't think it will be James Freeman's "last word" to the Industry - not al all.
Enjoy your "retirement", James -0 a wish offered in the certain knowledge that you are not the retiring type!

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 27th March 

Muttering About Miracles
Miracle are impossible. AGREE
Miracles are easily explained. AGREE
Miracles are unbelievable. AGREE
A few weeks before he was arrested, Jesus did not go to the big finale of the Feast of Tabernacles in the temple. It was the festival that celebrated God's miraculous provision of food, water, protection and guidance as the tribes travelled from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. The final day was a huge knees-up in the temple, a real Festival of Light.
But Jesus stayed away. Instead he took three of his gang up on to the Mount of Olives, and, as they saw and heard the celebrations in the temple below, something miraculous happened.
Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus,  and his clothes became shining white - whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here!"

Six days earlier, Peter had blurted out that he now knew that Jesus was the Messiah; the one sent by God to "save the world". Now Peter was privileged to see what that really meant.

Miracles should not be a problem. IF there is a God, a sentient being outside of our space and time (that's what it says on the tin), then he is not restricted to the physics of our Universe, the physics he designed. He can do what he wants.

If there isn't a God, cancel Christmas and a whole lot more!

Of course such a God can step into our world and make impossible things happen, unbelievable things happen. Miracles are easily explained. God does them!
That's Easter!

The Bible quote is from Mark Chapter 9.


  1. Did God create coronavirus then?

  2. Wytham has had various (albeit it minimal) bus services over the years, most recently trimmed when OCC withdrew all subsidy a few years ago.