Wednesday, 27 May 2009

And don't spare the horses!

This from the Thanet News...

"Confused taxi driver Donald James, 74, drove two terrified passengers along a railway line... because his satnav told him to."

You may choose to use the bus when next in Canterbury.

IEP exposed shocker

This just in, surprisingly, from the late Sir Arthur Sullivan...

After reading the ongoing expense scandals involving our MPs a connection has as last been been made !!

IEP obviously stands for the "Incidental Expense Provision" aka The MP's Gravy Train

Or to paraphrase what my colleague Mr Gilbert once wrote...

When in that House M.P.'s decide,
If they’ve a claim or an allowance, too,
They’ve got to make that claim, beside
The Fees Office did go and tell 'em to.
But then the prospect of a lot
Of rich M. P.’s in close proximity,
All claiming for themselves, is what
No man can face with equanimity.
Then let’s rejoice with loud Fal la – Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive – Fal lal la!
That every Hoon and every Hogg
That’s flipped a home or cleaned a moat
Is either someone we’d like to flog
Or else a person who’s lost our vote!
Fal lal la!

To the tune of 'When all night long', from Iolanthe

Syrup of figs shocker

Telegrammed by the Velopodist
Would that it were possible to find a shop like this at a British rail station.

Zweithaar wig shop, Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof

Just think how enjoyable it would be to play 'Syrup Cricket' on long train journeys...

Johnny Foreigner can't run trains either

Telegrammed by the Velopodist
I know anecdotal evidence is pointless. But I thought I might follow PJ's example by using my personal experience to make a wider point.

In my case, its about the reality of train travel on mainland Europe and how it compares with the imaginings of those like Lord Adonis who assume things are automatically better on The Continent.

Ive just come off a journey on a vastly expensive ICE3 train heading from Nuremberg to Leipzig, a distance of 322km, a shade longer than the 290km between London and Manchester.

The train left Nuremberg 10 minutes late, like, as far as I could see, huge numbers of trains this morning.

There was no explanation why but it gradually got later and arrived 16 minutes late.

Even before that, the journey was due to take three hours nine minutes an hour longer than the standard London-Manchester journey time, for a journey only 32 km longer.

As ever on an ICE3, it felt as if the air conditioning was broken while the annoying hum reminded one it was just a rubbish system.

I was able to tell the booking office the precise, off-peak trains I wanted to use today and Friday but that bought me no reduction in price. It cost €130, which included two National Express-style seat reservation fees of €4 each, which made it a particular pity they didn't post my reservation on the snazzy electronic reservation signs.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by the edibility of my baguette, given my previous grim experiences of DB catering.

So I'm wondering have the things-are-better-on-the-continent brigade ever seriously tried getting around European countries by train?