Steam engines in Shrewsbury during the 1960s

“In this video we take a look at movements around Shrewsbury Station in the mid 1960s as steam was coming to an end. All credits for this video must go to Michael Clemens of B&R Videos who once again kindly gave me permission to use these clips that were filmed by his late father Jim Clemens, who did such a superb job recording these scenes which were taken from the DVD Steaming Through Shropshire Pt 1. Enjoy.”

Video can be found in youtube under “1960’s trains at Shrewsbury”.
Now given my Dad drove these engines, you can bet I spent the whole 12 minutes 42 seconds looking for him, but the focus here is the engines and the only thing you can make out about the drivers are the pale blue denim jackets.
Other surprises is that the black engines and the maroon carriages don’t always sparkle and it was a bit dirtier than I’d been led to believe. (And check out the recent visit of a steam engine to Salop.)
They also seemed very comfortable reversing – in this video seemingly more than going forward.
You sense that diesels were smoother as well as cleaner (look out for the cab videos), although I sometimes wondered if they’d kept steam for Wales, whether it might have sustained an interest for tourists. Sometimes.


Michael Sheen meets Women for Women’s Sake

Thanks to @michaelsheen
for meeting Women for Women’s Sake who were launching a new campaign to help women in financial difficulties in #Aspley #Nottingham, with Cllr Carole McCulloch.

Actor who played Brian Clough was in Nottingham to meet Women for Women’s Sake, a group of women tackling poverty, and starting a new initiative today.
Michael has founded the End High Cost Credit Alliance.
To be featured in The Mirror newspaper.
Full res. photos available on Facebook.

BR steam engine 34052 at Shrewsbury railway station

Arriving at Salop, as I was waiting for a train to Brum, this BR steam engine arrived, pulling a Pullman collection of carriages.  
A tad emotional cos my Dad was a locomotive engineer, though starting with the LMS part of BR, and serving from Salop, I think it is unlikely he would have driven this engine. (Advice welcome.). 

From wikipedia – 
“Steam locomotives that comprised the Bulleid light pacifics, the West Country and Battle of Britain classes of locomotives that ran on the British Southern Railway network …”

Fuller res photos available.

Climate Emergency

When Extinction Rebellion took off recently, I was a tad sceptical. Blocking traffic can be used for good and bad, and potential victims can include the very innocent. But the Nottingham version was for 6 minute versions only, so the risk was low. Also a sense of the protestors being from outside of the Nottingham municipality.
Then the debate it was triggering seemed so banal – that the protests increased greenhouse emissions.
Meanwhile, the Greta Thunberg campaign – that a 16 year old can tell the truth and others can’t – I wasn’t keen on either.

Yet, look what happened. A government unable to vote against declaring a climate emergency.
An opportunity to get gov’t to re-appraise what it’s doing.

Nottingham does have reason to be proud on climate change action.
Bus lanes, then zone and collar.
Energy from waste instead of burying it.
Free bus passes for the older and less mobile.
A Green Charter.
The Nottingham declaration on Climate Change.
Embracing agglomeration.
Clear Zone, the tram, and increasing bus patronage.
Workplace Parking Levy – finding a way to ask the commuter to pay rather than the resident.
Notable examples of solar panels and external home insulation.

But perhaps not so brave in recent decisions.
So a lot to be proud of, but a lot more to do.

Meanwhile, how limited is the discussion of climate change.
In America, you have to have rehearsed what you’d do about a gunman in the classroom, rather than reducing the chances of a gunman being in the classroom.
Here, people are clear that road humps cause you to waste energy and thus increase emissions, and that protests do the same, but people are much less clear on what to do to remove the need for protests.

Extinction Rebellion have given us a new opportunity, that we last saw when “An Inconvenient Truth” was first shown.
[Text written on 12 May.]


Astonishing to hear complaints about distractions from the important issues.
True – given the poverty both visible and hidden, and the attention it deserves, February was striking for
– its extreme weather (record lows in the USA, record highs in Britain),
– an extreme US President (racist, conman and cheat), 
– ongoing delays to make meaningful votes on Brexit in Parliament, oh and
– anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

We have lost Luciana Berger MP to the Labour party and seven others (who have been described as “no loss” cos they are protesting against anti-Semitism rather than being direct victims of it – go figure). 
How is anti-Semitism still hanging around?  Because too many people who are critical of Israeli gov’t policy can’t avoid describing the issue as pertaining to Jews in general (generous description) or believe in conspiracy theories that means they see others doing harm to Jeremy Corbyn (and making it worse in the meantime) or they are anti-Semitic and have shared tropes in the past (e.g. the Rothschilds) indicating as much (least generous); some even go on David Icke shows to make their point. 

And people point out that Labour is the most progressive UK political party and we have done the most on racial equality (years of legislation and councils making a difference).
And it’s right how in the eighties, people like Ken Livingstone would be celebrated on how far we pushed the boat out.
We raised the standards. And that why people should work to maintain high standards rather than saying it’s an attack on Jeremy Corbyn. Cos how does that even work? That Jeremy needs us to tolerate anti-Semitism. He does not.

So stop saying it’s a distraction.
Stop the what-about-ery.
Stop saying criticism of Israeli government actions is not allowed.
Stop hunting in packs against those who are protesting about anti-Semitism.
Stop being anti-Semitic.

And if you want to avoid distractions, be very tight, accurate and focussed on what you want to protest about.

Previous posts – Unreasonable social behaviour, HMD 2018, Are we the baddies?, Denial, Heather Heyer.

21st century Urban Farming

Whilst Hydroponics is probably 1,400 years old, the latest versions using LED strip lights and the latest mixes of colour in the lighting so as to allow crops to be grown on racks in caves or in shipping containers, or up the sides of buildings are perhaps 4 years or so old.
Part of the latest new wave of green technology – urban farming, ground-source heat pumping and cross laminated timber construction.
New projects are underway such as in the mines of South Wales or a cave beneath the Galleries of Justice where mushrooms are set to be grown using coffee grounds as the soil.
Are we on the verge of a new kind of urban farming, were lettuces are grown within 25 days at low cost, using workers who tour the small locations in caves or containers? Can this kind of farming be delivered commercially outside of there testing grounds of state controlled experiments in China?
Perhaps time to find out.

The mess that politics is in

Oh, I am “tired of the mess that politics is in, and” am “impatient for change”.  
I am dismayed at the undercounting of the unemployed and the ignorance of the poverty.
I am heartily sick of the inability of what used to be called the politically correct being unable to avoid being anti-Semitic and being unable to condemn those who condone it.  

But as for being stuck in the past, I wonder if some aren’t stuck in 2007? Not a bad place to be you can argue, if you think of 4 million extra jobs, massive extra investment and spend in schools and hospitals and a whole lot of other achievements. A time of big ambition.  

But it was also a time of the cult of the new Leader. A refusal to listen when proposing to cut the 10% tax band. National re-organisations of social services because of one incident.  
It was a tad joyless – colleagues delivering change being hectored rather than celebrated.  
And it was also a model of politics broken by the massive fraud by financial services companies.  

At the moment, I rather like the scale of ambition we now have. Cos the country needs it.  
We need people doing proper jobs, through a burst of public investment and expenditure, which in time will pay for itself cos of the growth it will bring and the reductions of the cost to the public purse that poverty brings. Kinda like post 1997, but faster.  

Yes. Can do without the cult of the Leader. Can do without the personal insults in exchanges that substitute for debate. Can do without loyalty pledges. Can do without casework substituting for analysis.  
Can do without Lexit. Can do without debates on Winston Churchill with 39 days and 10 hours and 41 minutes to go.  
Can do without Lexit. Can do without the cowardice for northern seats that ignore the majority of Labour voters within those seats who voted Remain.  
Can do without Lexit. Can do without Lexit. Can do without Lexit.  

But a 21 century politics needs a real assessment of what’s wrong in the 21st century and big policies to deliver the changes needed to tackle what’s wrong.