Wednesday, July 25, 2007

August Londoner

The latest edition of the 'award winning' Londoner is landing on doormats around town. Highlights include:

Bus fares to be cut by ten per cent (front page)

New powers will ease the cost of housing for all of the capital's families (pg2)

Nelson Mandela's statue to be unveiled later this month (pg3)

Cheaper bus fares for London (Mayor's column pg5)

Cleaners' victory against supporters of poverty pay (pg6)

Londoners on income support to get half price bus fares next month (Chavez deal pg7)

Londoners say keep the Freedom Pass (pg9)

This low bus fares edition was sponsored by full page advertising from TfL on pages 4,16 and 20. I don't recall seeing any articles in the Londoner when bus fares went up by more than inflation for three years in a row...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Another Black Day at Blackwall

TfL have just announced further changes to the operation of the Blackwall Tunnel, effective from Sunday 19th August. To summarise, between the hours of 0100 and 0800 on every Sunday morning one bore of the tunnel will be closed for maintenance. We can't have contraflow in the other tunnel any more because it is deemed to be 'dangerous' (although it is 'safe' all the time in the Rotherhithe Tunnel), so the following will apply (in their own words):

1. Northbound traffic will use the southbound tunnel.

2. Southbound traffic will be diverted via Central London and the Dartford Crossings.

3. The 108 bus will not be diverted but southbound services will be individually escorted through the tunnel while northbound traffic is held at a red signal.

There's not a lot of traffic about early on a Sunday, but those drivers who are around are likely to be more than a little confused and frustrated, particularly given the lack of wider consultation, yet again.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Capital Ring, Stoke Newington to Beckton

Completed another stretch today - some 8.5 miles, in very pleasant weather, defying the promise of heavy rain. The first section follows the Lea Navigation, one of East London's best kept secrets and well worth a look. The second half along the top of the Northern Outfall Sewer is a bit bleak but still interesting.

Only the last stretch to North Woolwich left now and at less than 4 miles I should be able to complete it before breakfast one day soon. Then I will be looking for another walking project.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Congratulations to Andrew

Good news from the reshuffle. My MP, Andrew Rosindell, has been made a shadow home office minister in the reshuffle. One of his responsibilities will be animal welfare, an issue which I know he cares about passionately. Animals may not have votes but now they have a genuine champion who will pursue their interests.

Together with James Brokenshire, MP for Hornchurch, Havering now has two shadow home office ministers. Perhaps this will help us get the police resources that we need (particularly on a Saturday night). Upminster MP, Angela Watkinson, is a whip for the opposition so all the borough's MPs are on the front bench.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Twenty Years - and Counting

This week, or thereabouts, marks an important anniversary in my calendar. It is twenty years since I arrived in London.

In early July 1987 I got off the train at King's Cross with a very heavy suitcase and a promise of a job at Post Office Headquarters, then located in Grosvenor Place. I made my way to the Montagu Hotel near Russell Square, where they were putting me up until I could find somewhere more permanent.

I intended to stay for a couple of years and then move back 'Up North', but I could never tear myself away. I lived in South Woodford (one year), Leytonstone (14 years) and Romford (for the last five).

And I did things I never expected I would - became a school governor, stood for the council, got called to The Bar, won a seat on the Assembly, nearly became a candidate for Mayor, had three girlfriends, learned the value of my own company.

It's been - on the whole - a fantastic experience which I wouldn't have missed. So here's to London, a place that changes people....