Why do railway companies talk like this?

There are lots of great things about the railway, but the industry’s use of language is not one of them. I have often been amazed by the linguistic tangles conductors often find themselves in when they try to “talk posh” during announcements. Clearly they are not trained about the importance of plain English. This problem […]

Steam — the Museum of the Great Western Railway

The second leg of my trip took me away from nature. I decided to go out of my way to visit Steam — the Museum of the Great Western Railway. I am not an extreme railway enthusiast, although I do find railways quite interesting. I only knew that Steam existed when I happened to pass […]

Becoming a car owner

A little milestone was passed this week when I bought my first car. I learnt to drive five years ago. I wasn’t the sort of person that started lessons as soon as I turned 17. I saw no need, and waited until I was 20. After passing my test, I don’t think I drove for […]

What the Foulkes?

As a fairly heavy user of trains, I was interested to hear on the radio this morning that Scotland’s trains are all going to be re-painted in a standardised Scotland-wide livery. It sounds reasonably sensible to me. I never got why trains from the west used that old-fashioned maroon and beige colour scheme, particularly when […]

More on the National Rail gadget

A few days back I wrote about a neat Windows Gadget that tells you how the trains are running. I was quite enthusiastic about it then, but it turns out I didn’t know the half of it! Here are some of the neat features that I have discovered since I wrote that post. Colour coding: […]

At last — a useful Windows Sidebar Gadget

If you are a user of Windows Vista, you will no doubt be aware of Windows Gadgets. For the uninitiated, they are basically tiny little applications that run on your desktop (you might also know them as widgets or, in the world of Facebook, applications). You will also be aware that none of the sidebar […]

Jinx!

It seemed to be going so well too. In 2006, Scotland’s rail service was pretty good from my perspective. The route I take — Fife to Edinburgh — is meant to be one of the worst in the country, but I think it is fine. Granted, I no longer have to go at peak time […]

Shouldering the blame

I reckon I must be getting softer as I get older or something. Over the past couple of weeks First ScotRail have been bending over backwards to apologise for the sub-standard service commuters from Fife to Edinburgh have apparently been experiencing. Apparently this is due to weather damage and suchlike, coupled with the ongoing revamp […]

Queer-like spelling

Tonight is Burns Night — a fact that my dangerously nationalist self keeps on forgetting. I had forgotten once again until James Higham left this in a comment: Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the Puddin-race! Aboon them a’ ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of […]

Beware the friendly stranger

My mother and I often have a debate about whether it is polite to say “hello” to people who are almost strangers. I — and most normal people — think it is stark raving bonkers. My mother thinks that I only think this because I was brought up in the east. I think that’s just […]