Showing posts from September, 2008

Why FGW could learn a lot from 'Spoons

Part Three of JP's Great Journey Home also comes to you from the comfort of the Wetherspoon's in Swindon, whilst I digest my rather good Gourmet Burger (with Side Salad) and generally Reflect on Things.The food, it has to be said, was excellent. My expectations were admittedly quite low, but that just makes it even more impressive and I am certainly feeling suitably replete.The background music is also helping with those Feel Good Vibes, and my frustration with the complete jester of a Revenue Inspector is slowly melting away.What has really impressed me with this particular joint though is the attitude of the staff. Both the barmaid and the guy serving the food have been extremely friendly and extremely helpful. I get the impression that if they'd had to inconvenience my afternoon they'd have done so in the nicest possible way, with a sympathetic smile. They would probably even have apologised.Take note, First Great Western.

Greetings from Swindon

If you've read my last post, and the title for this one you will hopefully have put two and two together and not made five. Jobsworth Revenue Inspector got his way, and the Train Manager was unable to allow me to stay on the train with my current ticket. I think I'm as annoyed by his unnecessarily aggressive manner as I am by his decision, and wonder how people like that sleep at night.Anyway, it's not so bad. Swindon has a Wetherspoons and I'm sat with a beer whilst I wait for my Gourmet Burger. Bonus. One might say that I am using the time more productively than I would be if I was sat in the Sensory Garden in the rain. Unless of course you happen to possess binoculars and a Train Spotter's Notebook.Despite my surprisingly bouyant mood* if you do know any First Great Western Revenue Inspectors and have an opportunity to ruin their day please seize it gladly with wide open arms. It will make the rest of my pint taste even sweeter.
>>*If you are thinking…

When I'm annoyed, I blog

In case you were hoping that this post title referred to an exciting new single or album I might be planning to release I'm afraid that I'm going to have to disappoint you. The subject is nothing clever and there is no double meaning. Basically, I'm annoyed and I'm going to blog about it. Cheer up, though, I've not had a good train related rant in a while.Had you asked me an hour ago what I thought of First Great Western I could not have been more positive. I have travelled with them a reasonable amount recently and my experiences bear no resemblence to the poor reputation they seem to have gained. I have found the trains to be consistently clean and comfortable, and the staff to be consistently friendly and helpful. That's certainly more than could be said for a lot of train operators.But it's so often true that one bad experience can destroy a whole raft of positive ones and that's how I'm feeling now.The journey I booked online has two ticke…

Just talk to her, Dave!

Regular readers (if I still have any) might not be surprised to learn that I've come to the conclusion that it is probably impossible to pull on public transport just by smiling at someone.I could, if I wanted tell plenty of non-stories at this point. Last Thursday, for example, I was on a train when I exchanged smiles with an attracive young lady. Then I alighted*. The End.Yesterday, therefore, I seized an opportunity to take the plunge and ascend to the next level by attempting to initiate a conversation. I was waiting at a bus stop in West Wales when I was joined by an attractive blonde, who could possibly be described as sort of Joanna Page - esque. "Morning," I said."Hello," she said in response.So far, so good, you might think. But now we descend back down to the depths of the 'non-story' for the conversation didn't exactly flow beyond that. We both suddenly developed the need to send a text message or otherwise seek solace in a mobile …

finding the answer to one of life's important questions

Quite some time back now, I wrote about the time I had my hair cut by someone who'd covered their own hair with a hat.

Fast forward to last Friday, and I found myself in another branch of the same establishment desiring to have my luscious but manly curls chopped off. Inadvertently, I was now in a position to answer a question which might have been bugging some of you for a while.

Is it better to have your hair cut by someone who has covered their own hair up, or by someone who has no hair at all?

I'll save you the suspense and tell you that on this occasion I'm quite happy. My hair is neat, well cut and not really wonky in any way. More importantly, I don't look like a thug, although that was down to my choice of style and not the competence of the person wielding the clippers and the scissors. I don't think I was particularly unhappy last time, but the fact that I've not been back to the establishment since might speak for itself.

FIA Bias

After watching the nail-biting finsih to today's Belgian Grand Prix I was very disappointed to learn that Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his win after a Stewards Enquiry, especially in light of the fact that the Stewards decided against penalising Ferrari for the incident in the last race. This isn't the first time that the cynic in me has come to the conclusion that the FIA is biased in favour of Ferrari, and I'm inclined to agree with Jeremy Clarkson's comment in this month's issue of Top Gear when he noted [about the German Grand Prix] that as per usual the car prepared by the team with the most money won.

Kake, and the existence of Flo

Given that many people still seem to come to this Korner of the Blogosphere in search of cake, I thought that it was about time that I had a cake themed-post.

In light of the ongoing debate about the existence of God (see the previous two posts), I want you to imagine that you've popped round to visit me for tea and that I've served a cake. Let us also suppose that I say that I have a friend called Flo, whom you've never met, and that she made said cake.

The cake happens to be very nice and you ask me for the recipe, which I don't have. As would be perfectly reasonable, you might start to speculate about the cake's ingredients or how it was made. It would be a little bizarre, however, if you suddenly questioned whether or not I really did have a friend called Flo based on the discovery that apricot jam had been used to stick the icing on. Even the existence of self-raising flour doesn't invalidate the possibility of the cake being made by a friend called Flo.…

atheism is a matter of faith, not science: the debate continues

Following the letters page in last Wednesday's Metro and the follow-up comment on this post I’m pleased to see that the beginnings of a debate are brewing, and I intend to use this post to pick up the baton again.

Unsurprisingly, I’m going to start by responding to the aforementioned comment. I apologise if my tone was deemed to be a bit sharp, but I have no hesitation in defending the point I was trying to make.

According to, faith can be defined as “belief that is not based on proof.” As there is no proof that God does not exist, belief that God does not exist (i.e. atheism) must be faith.

Now, I take your point that “as human beings we are always revising and fine tuning what we hold to be true based on the evidence to hand, what we discover and our ability to determine what is probable or improbable.” To digress slightly, that is why switching on the Large Hadron Collider is going to be something of a milestone, as it could either serve to prove a theory or force a…