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Archive for the ‘transport’ Category


In history, transport on August 9, 2012 at 04:09

Hubby is amazed that there is a special Russian Railways channel on sattelite TV here in Russia where we are on a short holiday. Yesterday at the movies a Russian Railways ad was better made than a Coke one… Maybe they are planning to take over the country? Better them than the Church. 😉 Anyway I wish there would be an “international history & legends movies” chanel. I understand the movies like that are not always historically correct, they often have a hidden agenda yet it would be so interesting to see how at least some Peruvians, Hungarians or anybody else saw themselves through the time.

Back in Britain

In about me, books, summer, transport, travel on September 3, 2010 at 12:43

We’ve just returned from 1.5 month holidays near Moscow, Russia. It was incredibly hot most of the time (+37 C) and very smoky because of distant peat fires. So we had to hide indoors. I’ve only managed to do a few sketches outside in the mornings but have been happy reading (Van Gogh, M. Bulgakov, V. Livanov, Dostoevsky) in cool underground sauna…

We also had few very strong storms, hazelnut-size hale and my favourite fir tree I admired from my childhood falling down (but not in our garden). The August meteor shower was quite spectacular this year.

On the way back, flight from Frankfurt to Birmingham (Lufthansa), we had to land very fast (which was a bit scary) in Brussels because the air pressure have been falling in the cabin. We’ve been told we were 30 sec from oxygen masks dropping down. It took four hours to fix and test the plane, then we resumed our journey home. Neither me nor my husband flying most of our lives ever experienced something like this. Kids and lots of other passengers had bad earaches.

Now kids are back to school, me I’m cooking, going to my exercise group and thinking about painting… Back to business!

Royal Air Force Cosford Air Show

In car-free living, transport, travel on June 19, 2009 at 09:53

Thats were we’ve been last Sunday. More photos in my photo album. We were surprised to see such a sea of cars. I think some people with tickets haven’t been allowed to drive in because there already were too many cars. Plus traffic jams on the way.

Although I felt some envy to the car people with big umbrellas, chairs, blankets, tents, comfortable seats on top of their motocaravans, big baskets with lunches – which we obviously couldn’t had – I was saying to myself that unlike them we won’t have problem leaving the show in the evening. Hm… We haven’t been even allowed to the platform at the time when our train was leaving – because of the crowd of passengers. So we ended up coming home very late… You just can’t win! At least the weather was fine – if you don’t mind heat and sunshine (I do mind:).

Floods, Romans & Celebrations

In summer, transport on June 10, 2009 at 15:58

Life was busy by local standards in Newtown during last two days. Yesterday there was a celebration at the train station with lively accordion music, mayor coming, children waving flags, Welsh cakes for everybody, etc. Lots of useful information on traveling by trains. I wish they were also running on Sunday mornings!
A week or two ago all the station windows were broken by vandals – twice. Fortunately, I’ve heard, they’ve got caught by security cameras.

Today I’ve seen the first proper thunderstorm in Britain (after more than 5 years living here). Real loud thunder and many bright flashes. There also was pea-sized hail turning everything white for a short while and flash flooding . Lots of fire engines all over the town and people walking trough the water. Brave people at the post office were still open when water reached their doors.

Oh, yes, and Tesco started building their supermarket and apparently they found a Roman road!

Up our street

In car-free living, kids, transport on February 26, 2009 at 10:24

Its a pretty small cul-de-sac. When we just moved in I thought “great, kids can learn to ride they new bikes here”. Naive me. There was a car passing every five minutes or so. I watched in great surprise how (in the middle of the day) people were constantly driving in and out going somewhere. And that’s in a town where EVERYTHING is in walking distance…

If its cool or rainy we have to wait long time before crossing every street on the way to school because all other kids are driven by their parents. Once we had a lift on the way back and it took us longer than walking because of traffic jams.

Also on the way to school we have to walk under a railway bridge. Its a VERY narrow path between protruding stones of the wall and a busy road, plus a crowd of kids walking in both directions, some of them even trying to ride their bikes. I actually seen TWICE kids falling down on the road in front of cars (fortunately the drivers managed to stop in time). When a big bus or lorry is on the road you really feel like being sandwiched.

Countryside is beautiful. But I (being brought up free range in Russia) feel SO trapped, like never before. There is nowhere you can walk. OK, two designated footpaths. The rest is forbidden. I wish I could climb every hill with my easel but… “keep out, private property”. There is an ancient moat, the rest of a hill fort, we tried to visit last weekend. Its all (a national heritage?) completely blocked by its “owners”. If you want to see something in the Mid Wales you just have to drive.

Even trains don’t stop (as they used to) in the mountains on the way to the seaside. All old stations are turned into houses. There is no local buses on Sunday and trains start running after lunchtime on that day. Once, desperately trying to get to my church, I checked National Express website, found that there is a bus suitable for me and went to the bus station. Guess what the driver said to me. “Sorry, I’m not allowed to take local passengers. Use your local buses”…

I hope this will change. I also think that (sadly) people won’t change the way of their life willingly.


In about me, car-free living, moral issues, transport, travel on December 6, 2008 at 20:29

She is sitting here in front of me but I can’t see her eyes. I suspect they are triumphant. She’s got the window seat by the table and she put her handbag on the seat next to her. Dark glasses surrounded by unhealthy looking folds of skin, headphones on and knitting something green. Must be in her fifties. And pitiful me trying to find seats for a family of four with two kids so we can have our lunch on the train. No chance here, dear! The bag stays. I see her muttering to herself something. Yes, she is triumphant. How on Earth do I expected to love people? Her, or that rebellious youth, empty eyes, feet on the seat, horrible telephone music as loud as the device can play. I don’t know. Maybe if they told me about their life, they struggle, their hopes, I would.

I think I’m growing to be like that “bag” lady. She is like my mother, full of old scars. Hatred for old, hatred for young. Oh, dear… I really want to be better that this. But is it possible?

More about music on the train

In car-free living, kids, moral issues, music, traditions, transport, travel on November 1, 2008 at 15:21

I’m actually not opposed to mobile phones & talking everywhere – I believe its good when people communicate & can understand very well that there maybe important, urgent matters to discuss or somebody can just feel lonely. But force strangers to listen to your music on transport or on the street! Its just violation of personal freedom! I want to listen to what I want and when I want.

They say there is a “Mozart effect”, but I think there is also a “trash music effect” – lowering ones IQ & eliminating kindness & empathy. So beware what you put on when your child is around! Amazingly, some people have headphones which work just like loudspeakers… Makes you wander what they do to owners hearing & brains.

Also i don’t trust drivers putting their music very loud – they mute one of their senses & their concentration probably suffer. Some people say “well you’ve got noisy children so we’ll have music on.” We can’t switch them off! I remember my baby crying hard all the way through overnight flight once… I’ve got plenty of “looks” that nigh…

Musical trains

In car-free living, moral issues, music, traditions, transport, travel on November 1, 2008 at 14:24

Guess what – we met yet another example of horrible behavior on a train between Norwich & Peterborough an hour or two ago. Two gloomy teenage looking boys with a newborn baby (?!), dirty feet on the seats opposite, put their brain- & soul- damaging music so loud that whole carriage could hear them. I complained to the ticket collector and he told them to put their headphones on. And they replied “we won’t”. And that’s it. He’s not allowed to do anything else, passengers are scared or don’t care… Something has to do be done!

Cross Contry (very cross indeed ;-)

In car-free living, eco-friendly, kids, moral issues, Nottingham, transport, travel on October 30, 2008 at 06:30

Yesterday we crossed our little island in its widest part yet another time. By train, of course, as we haven’t got a car. It takes about seven – eight hours & 4 trains. You can look out of the window from Newtown to Shrewsbury and from March to North Walsham, but not in between – unless you like graffiti & warehouses. Kids always go mad at same point. I wish they had sort of mini-playgrounds on trains (and in airports). In one of the trains we couldn’t get easily to our seats as there was a lady with 3 babies (probably 0-1-2) layered in one small pushchair and two more small children with suitcases. She was standing next to a toilet, and older kids had to go inside to let us pass along the train. And no more adults around to help her. She did look SO tired. I just couldn’t stop wondering: how on earth she end up like this?

Anyway, seat reservations is a real problem in Britain. Train companies just don’t put reservation tickets and you and your kids can’t claim your pre-booked sits and have to stand all the way somewhere near a smelly toilet…

Another problem for me, who was born in Russia, is relationship between people of different ages. Once we travelled at Christmas time with my mother-in-law. We did booked the seats but our train got cancelled. So we ended up in a very crowded carriage. There were many students, but for hours NO ONE have been offering his or her seat neither to a very tired lady in her seventies or to small children pushed around in the ail. Finally a Chinese girl did… This situation is almost impossible to imagine in Russia (and probably in China?). On the other hand I remember boarding a train in Newtown with my husband and two kids and a respectfully looking elderly gentlemen literally rushed in and occupied the last free table/4 seat compartment. And there were many single seats available!

Yet another problem is behavior on trains. Loud music, drinking & swearing to be precise. We used to go from Nottingham to east cost (Skegness) to take kids to the beach. That train was normally very slow, hot and full of strange public who never heard of using headphones… At some point I remember starting singing myself to protect children from this mayhem. Conductors do nothing. Other passengers are too scared. I even remember being in the carriage with very badly behaving football supporters and there were policemen on the train but they were just popping their heads in the door for a second (checking if somebody got killed???)and then disappearing!

Well that’s what we eco-friendly lot have to put up with! I should say that despite British Government destroying lots of railways there still probably much more trains running across British countryside than in rural Russia.

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