Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve

Fingers crossed for "something" tomorrow - today a walk around Baslow before picking up M-I-L from Belper and transporting her through the fog back to Mossley. A dinner party tonight with some other "over 50s" (!!) ... photos from today - you'll have to wait (much white stuff on plants and trees) - need to return to kitchen to check out the "Roast Veg a la Smiffy".. enjoy tonight all - and tomorrow morning collectively "breath out" towards your nearest football pitch (with a home game at 1500) in order to aid the thawing ...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"In-Between Times"

You eat good food, you drink good (and ropey) beer, you play with new toys (laptop, USB turntable - whoo hoo !!) - and we go out walking too !

The Huddersfield Canal - near Scout Green ...

Shadow Play - Me and Mrs Smiffy further up the canal near Roaches Lock ...

Looking South-West towards Mossley from up Grotton way (St John's Churchspire is dead centre) - hills everywhere - truly a great place to live if you love walking (you can click on this one for a bigger pic - I hope !) ...

Football on New Years Day - the weather forecast "oop here" is ... GRIM. I've already seen a msg from someone who lives overlooking Seel Park asking about films on NYD - now there's confidence (boo hoo). Up at Bower Fold, they've managed to "rally the troops" and get the entire pitch covered with frost covers in attempt to keep the NYD "return leg" against Hyde United in with a chance. Other than these two games ... you'll need to travel a bit as Droylsden are away at Vauxhall Motors, Ashton United are at Witton Albion and there are no games in the North-West Counties (sorry Vodkat) League.

So - subject to appeal - Droylsden are out of the FA Cup - this has led to much gloating, hilarity and general unnecessary "behaviour" in 'message board land'. I'd agree that DP certainly brings a lot of it upon himself (although being "outspoken" is hardly a crime ... is it eh Fergie, Arsene etc etc etc ?) - but it's a helluva kick in the teeth for the Droylsden faithful. There's been too much use of the word "cheating" from all sides (including Droylsden it has to be said) - as I see it - it gets foggy now and again - have you never seen fog on a football pitch before ? - have you ever woken up late because the electricity went off in the middle of the night and buggered your alarm clock ? The two controversial goals (Lester and Halford) cancelled each other out - that's three of the games "done and dusted" - which just leaves the monumental "off the pitch" blunder which led to the expulsion. I'm a touch disappointed in the FA decision to award ALL the prize money to Chesterfield - they've won "off the pitch" as it were ... maybe the appeal might get something here ... but even the most eternal optimist could never have imagined the FA NOT expelling the Bloods. In the (alleged) words of Mahatma Ghandi, "Sh*t happens ... life goes on".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Curzon Ashton v Mossley - later shot ...

Pix at

We won 1-0 !!

... always going to be a tight game - but was a touch of class from Kris Hirst that separated the teams - oh and a few "balls on woodwork"- at both ends mind. A really poor set of officials for what was always going to be a competitive game - upset both sides really - especially as the liners seemed to be on the "ins and outs" command - i.e. turn a blind eye to everything else ...

Not exactly revenge for the FA Cup game - but three points in the bag ... return game on Thursday (NYD as they say..)

Curzon Ashton v Mossley - early shot ...

... WE WON 1-0 !!!!!!

with this goal from Kris Hirst after 61 minutes .....

yeah ... it's crappy lo-res stuff - but the world needs to see it soonest - I'll do better later - in the meantime eat turkey, drink beer and glory in the win - I'm doing all three !!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas ....

... to all out there in reality land - may all your whatsits come true - I'm going for the day off tomorrow - no trains (!), no football, no blog - just cooking and telly (and the odd lemon squash).

Boxing Day - no public transport to get me to Curzon Ashton (given present performance it's quicker to bloody walk anyway !) - till then ... enjoy !!

Twas the night(mare) before Christmas ....

....and Northern Rail balls it up again !!!

Finished work at lunchtime - a quick beer in Cheadle Hulme to say farewell to some people who have "jumped" - and one who was "pushed" (yo ho ho indeed ...) before some last minute shopping in the big city.

At about 1600 I phoned our Michelle to find she was on her way to Stoke station - I caught the 1611 to Stalybridge (bravo First TP - it was on time ...) to arrive at Stalybridge at about 1628 .... to find that the 1642 to Mossley is cancelled ... and the 1712 to Mossley is cancelled ... next train to Mossley in 63 minutes ...

Buffet Bar shut for the 3-7 slot - so a trip to the "Q" for a beer before getting back to the station at about 1720 - to be told that the 1712 had been 'reinstated' and had left Stalybridge about 60 seconds before my return comes the 1726 to Huddersfield ... containing our Michelle, who'd managed to get from Stoke to Stalybridge in slightly less time than Northern Rail had kept me waiting at Stalybridge (good old Branson - and First TP !!) - the 1729 to Mossley was - naturally - on time.

Hopefully Santa will be dropping off a few copies of "The Idiot's Guide to Running a Railway" to senior managers in the Northern Rail profit centre ... this is the latest "spin" from them ... a jolly poster adorning many a station..

(at least it's not Richard Branson's fault this week...)

Don't you just love the use of words:

..."the majority" of services have run on time (this actually translates to "...the services outside peak time which are used by an insignificant minority of peeps") ...

... and then - what is a "significant minority" ??? (don't know about you but I reckon that this either translates to "all the peak-hour services that a significant majority of people use", or maybe just "a lot").

Up to now I see no evidence of "working hard" or "making progress" - no doubt Mr Lee Whatsiname will be "allegedly" receiving his OBE in the New Years Honours List for alleged services to (please fill in YOUR choice) running whelk stalls ... actually no ... I reckon they'd struggle there as well.

One last point - is that name at the bottom of the poster for real ????? Tell you why - it's actually an anagram of "Waged Senile" .... or "Dawn Gee Lies" ....

First Trans-Pennine Express - INCOMPETENT/USELESS/CRAP

- just see stuff below ..I may just put one-liner posts like this up every week just so the world who google "First Trans-Pennine" or "Northern Ballsup" can realise that this sort of crap is not a "one off" - we are screwed every day by these incompetent people.... if I performed like this - I'd be enjoying Christmas on the dole - t'would be interesting to meet senior management from both First Trans-Pennine (2nd class) and Northern Rail (3rd Class) ..... without the aid of spin ...

"You're so Crap it's UNBELIEVABLE ...."


Just see stuff below

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday - Good Stuff Bad Stuff

Start with the bad stuff - 0724 off Mossley .......... cancelled - Northern Rail really are a bunch of incompetent tw*ts/t*ssers/w*nkers - I seriously want to meet someone "in authority" at Northern Rail - and TWAT HIM/HER - on behalf of God knows how many people on the Hudds/Man Vic Line - at a total loss as what to do - pointless e-mailing then because you just get spin - THEY JUST DON'T SEEM TO GIVE A TOSS ... I was in Waterstones yesterday doing crimbly shopping - and was astonished that the Northern Rail Timetable was not situated in the "Number One for Fiction" slot - work it out - check out earlier posts in blog since the timetable "change"/complete f*ck up on the 14th December ... it's an absolute disgrace - I'm waiting on tomorrow's performance before I put it all together (last two weeks) - send it to Northern Rail - send it to James Purnell - our local MP ( who cocked up real style during the Congestion Charge debate - got onto an overcrowded First Trans-Pennine "overcrowded late cockup" from Stalybridge - little realising that they don't come under the auspices of GMPTE - nice try Jimmy - b*ll*ck your PPS etc etc for that one . !!!)

I said good stuff - Droylsden have beaten Chesterfield !!! I've been on the departmental "do" from work so I still need more info on this ....and I need bed so .... you're on your own ...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Football ? It's Christmas ....

... yep, thin on the ground this (early) week - naturally the next "biggie" is the next exciting episode in the new FA Cup "soap" called Chesterfield v Droylsden v Chesterfield v Droylsden v Chesterfield - of course it's the departmental "bash" from work tomorrow (far more enticing then the official "company bash" @ the Village in Cheadle last week - less likely to hit someone/call someone a plonker etc etc !).

For those in need - check out this place late tomorrow - the home of Droylsden's top snapper - aka"Carlf" ..

..for the best of the action to find out who will be travelling to Ipswich early next year ...(tell him "Mozzer" sent you !)

For me - and others - the next game is a trip down to the Tameside Stadium on Boxing Day to see Mossley take on Curzon Ashton. The last game twixt the two was a bit of a "downer" in many ways for me ...Dad not well - FA Cup - missing most of game - no camera - losing game

That Game (and other stuff !!)

With it being Boxing Day - all the shops will be open - but no trains/no buses etc .. never mind there's no Congestion Charge in Ashton .. need to check this out but I'm up for walking down - we've done it before (but Ashton United is a "touch" closer !!!) - must check this out with the rest of the "eco-crew" ...

Until then - good luck Droylsden - this episode needs closing off !!

Trains - today - hmmm - 0724 from Mossley - OK - 0734 from Stalybridge ....................38 minutes late - fortunately - ha !! - the 0744 was only 5 late, enabling me to miss the 0807 to Cheadle Hulme, enabling me to get the Greggs coffee and hang around until 0838 for the next one to Cheadle Hulme ... so ... leave home 0715 - arrive work 0900 - go figure - so today's "w*nker" award is returned to First Trans-Pennine - a morning not unlike the Monday of a couple of weeks ago as in

Incompentent Rail TOCs (Trans-Pennine edition)

..although - not to be outdone - the 1842 off Stalybridge tonight was - at 1841 - according to the costly Train Information System - "On Time" - but when 1842 arrived ... it slipped ... and slipped .. and slipped .. finally arriving at 1851 - so tonight was useless hardware and Northern Fail grabbing the "w*nker baton" from First Trans-Pillock...

Never mind - it's Richard Branson's fault - got an e-mail to prove it is too good for all of them ..

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ashton United v Ilkeston Town

Pictures in the usual "froggy bucket" viz ..

Ashton United v Ilkeston Town

Arrived at Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar to find just the two Ilkeston fans (excluding Nosmo !) - and rather more Alfreton fans (excluding Wozza !). I then managed a lift on the Ilkeston supporters' bus (Cox's of Belper no less !!!) up to Hurst Cross - an abortive trip over to the Lord Nelson - now a fizz-pub - followed a fairly evenly-matched game between two teams that wanted to play football on a bit of a damp day ... far better than Christmas shopping ...

(Wonder how I did in the Alfreton "Guess the Attendance" draw - certainly drew blanks on the Ilson prediction sheet (curse that Forest ... and that Sunderland .. and probably a couple of others !!).

A "bit of a do" down Longsight way in the evening (OK , "retired" @ 0245 this morning) - home - brisk walk round Dove Stone & Yeoman Hey ressies, a bit of a tidy - and eating chicken, leek and mushrooms in white wine and lemon juice very soon - the only downer is ... work in the morning - and the associated trains - only 2.5 days left mind !

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Northern Rail "Week of Shame"

Twas the new rail timetable - and I've been collecting "stuff" - a lot was trains etc I wanted to catch - or observed from a 'different platform' - others were stories told to me by other long-suffering commuters ...

Monday AM - 0738 Man Picc - Cheadle Hulme was 38 minutes late (I was actually trying to catch the 0807).

Monday PM - Trains leaving Staybridge between 5 and 15 minutes late.

Tuesday AM - nothing ...

Tuesday PM - 1812 Stalybridge - Mossley - CANCELLED ... 2300 ManVic - Mossley - 30 LATE

Wednesday AM - 0724 Mossley - Man Vic - CANCELLED - Phone Line - NOT WORKING - train info system on platforms - Not WORKING

Wednesday PM - 1855 Mossley - Stalybridge - 5 late (so I missed my bus connection to Glossop)

Thursday AM - nothing

Thursday PM - 1929 Mossley - Stalybridge - CANCELLED

Friday AM - nothing

Friday PM -Platform 2 at Manchester Piccadilly - dangereous, overcrowded, slippery surfaces - just the day for the clueless ones to suddenly become over-zealous ticket checkers - thus contriving to cause further chaos - people waiting over an hour for a train to Mossley (about 1600 hrs) - 1831 - Stalybridge - Manchester - 10 late even though this train now contrives NOT to stop at Greenfield or Mossley (yes the midweek 1829 is no more ...) - 1842 Stalybridge - Mossley 6 late...

And just for clarity - here's some words from the Customer Relations Department @ Northern Rail in response to an e-mail sent by "a friend" regarding the crappiness of the new timetables ....

I can understand your disappointment at the timetable which will be implemented from the 14th December 2008, and I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

This December’s timetable change is unusual in that it is a network wide radical change in service patterns. This has been brought about by the completion of the West Coast Route Modernisation in which the Government has invested £8 billion, and as a result a new main line timetable is introduced to and from London Euston with faster and more frequent trains operated by Virgin Trains. For example, Manchester will have three trains per hour throughout the day instead of two.

Additionally, new franchises that came into effect in November last year, such as Arriva Cross Country (who operate from Manchester to the West Country and South Coast) are also introducing new timetables that were specified by Government in their Franchise Agreements.
It is these long distance trains operated by Virgin and Arriva and other operators that are planned first in order to ensure that they can "fit" along the length of the West Coast Main Line and beyond. Only after their timings were settled could Northern plan services around them, and it was written into our Franchise Agreement with Government back in 2004, and into our Track Access Agreement with Network Rail, that in planning the December 2008 timetable, certain other services took priority.
Northern has put a lot of effort into studying ways of improving services. However, the railway is very heavily utilised, particularly in the peaks. This gives Northern little ability to alter timings because of the constraints caused by the close pathing of other services on lines and at junctions, and platform availability at stations.

Our Service Delivery Manager, Peter Warhurst, will continue to review the services for future timetables, but I regret that the options are limited at present

Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact Northern, and I hope that this information will explain why the timetable is changing as it is.

So there you go - it's all Richard Branson's fault - and if they really think the West Coast kerfuffle is finished ... they are very very very very deluded !! A welcome return to "Third Class Travel" ...

Mossley Crimbly Draw Tix Update

...that long walk (!) up the hill on Thursday night was well worth it - we are now the proud owners of an M&S Crimbly Hamper - as in prize wise - after the Friday night draw ! Not only that but delivered "to the door" by Nigel - ta muchly!

Despite a "crazy month" where there's been no home games for Mossley, three postponments and one abandonment (grrr!), Nigel told me that we've/they've managed to make about £600 profit on the draw - which can't be all bad, so many thanks to Nigel for his sterling efforts - and all youse what bought tickets ...

Saturday - now - Ashton United hopefully - although there's been some fearful wet stuff during Friday afternoon/evening (only just finished drying out most stuff from a wet Wednesday in Glossop !!) - fingers crossed ...


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Glossop NE v Graham St Prims - UPDATED

(1115 - on break during training course) .... I'll do it tonight (Thursday) - honest !

20:35 - Update - witness a wet/windy night in Glossop - but 7 goals - mustn't grumble ... also the on-board flash is now opening again (it had stopped working after the Durham game - I blamed putting an external strobe on !) - amazing what a gallon of water on the camera/hot shoe can do - cracking bit of kit that EOS 20D ("rugged magnesium alloy body" !!) - just laughs at the weather and gets on with it - apparently, they (10D/20D/30D/40D/50D) all do it - just don't try it with a 350D / 400D / 450D folks ...

Glossop NE 6 Graham St Prims 1

Now - when beer glass next to computer is empty - a quick dash up to Mossley Social Club to drop off the CrimblyDraw Tix ...

Mossley - no game Saturday - fingers crossed (weather-wise) for Ashton United v Ilkeston Taaarn - meeting some of the Ilson boys (Nosmo, Sean etc) at Stalybridge Buffet Bar pre-match no doubt ..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I go to a Christmas Do .....

... I miss "stuff" ... and it all kicks off - the Droylsden v Chesterfield FA Cup tie is rapidly becoming the "footy soap" of the year - fog/dodgy goal/floodlight failure - all that's left now is a miltary coup / earthquake - most other reasons have now been used up !!!

Mossley win 2-1 @ Chorley ... Belper win 8-1 @ home to Parkhouse - tomorrow I go Glossop v Graham St Prims ...

Trains - you want trains ??? My "grumpy customer head" will tell you that the 1812 from Stalybridge to Mossley was tonight ... cancelled ...

... but my "anorak head" will say look at these - the 1641 from Stockport to Preston (OK it was late leaving Stockport and later arriving in Manc) - but a Class 180 ?? First time I've ever seen one in Manchester so here it is - 180106 - in Northern Rail livery as well ...

and another - we're on platform 14 here by the way ...

.. and finally - you saw "cone head" last night - here's what the cone is trying to make the bugger avoid rubbing/scratching etc etc ... I give you Tissy's "scar" ....

so tomorrow - Glossop .....

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Football Monday - 15 Dec 08

...includes a bit of a clear out of baby cam - starting with 0730 on 12th December 2008 - yes it finally opened for business ... Stalybridge Ticket Office ...

What the tossers at worker spend their time doing - I'd pretty much guarantee this is the work of the £30+ per hour "contract" tossers - of which we unfortunately have many ..

Is it any wonder that we balls up major contracts when this sort of crap appears to be far more important to some workers (in between running into link areas when their moby goes off - those magic words "an extra quid an hour" mean so much to so many - w*nkers )..

You'll never believe where this came from ... the toilet of a Northern Rail train - if anyone knows whose tag this is - I believe it's worthy of further publicity ...

and finally a sneak/blurry preview of the new Crimbly rum-induced "special" from Howard Town (Glossop) Brewery ...

New train timetable - yep - as predicted last night - they both jumped in to grab the "Useless Tosser" award. Trans-Pennine - late off Stalybridge this morning - Northern Rail completely clueless towards Cheadle Hulme (I was aiming for the 0807 - I caught the 0738 which was running 38 minutes late !). Tonight - both companies contrived to make sure most trains were between 5/15 minutes late ....utter crap - there are people working for those companies that earn more in a week than I earn in a month - I earn my salary - they are taking the p*ss. Watch this blog as the new timetable "beds in" - I may start naming names if the crap continues ... tell you what let's start with ... oops ... forgot the bloody cat - an operation today to remove abcess/tumour type thing - the word is that it's not cancerous - but he's stuck with the cornet round the neck for a few days ....and don't talk to me about vet's bills (lizard/cat/lizard etc etc etc)

(Tissy has spent a lot of this evening crashing into things - not unlike a 4x4 owner who doesn't know the width of their guzzler - however I feel sorry for the cat - the 4x4 owner can go and .........)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anyone see any football this weekend ?

..because I didn't ! The trip to Belper for the "family party" took a turn for the worse when - on arrival in the town - I spotted no board up on The Triangle outside the ground - two phone calls later and it was confirmed as "off" - the Belper faithful suggested I join them on their trip up to ........ Glossop v AFC Kirkham, Wesham,Fylde etc (Glossop - where I'd been not 90 minutes before !!). That option was vetoed - I rang Ilkeston - off ... "Sod it !" thought I .... got a txt at 1459 to inform me that the Mossley game at home to Wakefield was off (and by the looks of the crowds at Glossop - 200, and Curzon Ashton v Chorley - 170, it looks like a good few neutrals were eschewing the chance to go Christmas shopping, plunder Woolies, fix that "whatever" etc). Too late did I find out about the Eastwood v Buxton option (that was when I was driving down to Derby Station to pick up daughter - at 1625 !)... you get days like this....fortunately as rare as a ...

Next week - Mossley at Chorley on Tuesday night - but I've got a Christmas do (also knocks any chance of a bit of glory-hunting down Droylsden way out of the window )! It looks like I'll be turning up at Surrey Street on Wednesday night for the Glossop v Graham St Prims (Derbyshire Senior Cup tie - that thing Belper won last year !) ...

New railway timetable started today - I see Virgin are getting all the (good) publicity on the news tonight - let's see what Northern Rail/First Trans-Pennine can do tomorrow to return us all to SNAFU ....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Football on Saturday 13th December 2008

For no real reason, it's not been discussed this week has it - almost like a secret !!!

... until now ...

... tomorrow it's Belper Town vs Quorn ... weather permitting ... and I'm driving down ... :-)

Fun and games on Oxford Road - a triumph for the "NO " vote ..... (but I'm sure it's the fault of all those bloody buses..)

And the answer was .....

... a resounding NO ...

Apparently a triumph for democracy - a 53% turnout sees an 80/20 split in favour of the "status quo"... by all means do the maths, but it's the same sort of sh*t that puts certain people/parties in power both locally and nationally...

I just can't be arsed to say much else - there's a lot of happy people out there apparently - happy to gloat - so gloat - and when the price of petrol goes through the roof (like it did not so many weeks ago) - keep well away from MY train - it might be late/crowded/uncomfortable but it's MINE and I voted for it - not dissimilar to the part-timers we find frequenting Stalybridge Buffet Bar at this time of year - yes the gobby twonks who fail to realise that the Buffet Bar - like public transport - is for life, not just for Christmas.

Oh and the new Stalybridge Ticket office opened today ............

LOOK - another bloody NO voter ......

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Manchester "Congestion Charge" Referendum ..'s just after 2200 on Thursday 11th December - if you ain't voted now, you're too late and don't moan when the decision has been made ...!

Tis a shame that I can't stay up all night and watch Peter Snow with his Manky-o-Meter telling me that Bury has gone "yes" (because they've got trams already) - and Stockport's heading towards a "no" because they worship the car there (and 4x4 is the norm) - but then I exaggerate/generalise.

I voted "YES" - I use public transport six days a week - basically it's crap - you may have read my rants earlier this week - this morning - more of the same - arrive at Stalybridge to find the 0735 is 17 minutes late - hence all connections to Cheadle Hulme suitably missed - and Greggs on Piccadilly Approach sell an extra coffee for the second time this week.

They tell me that the best part of three billion will be spent on public transport improvements - I've talked of my reservations here - about how much will be wasted on consultants/spin and all that sh*t (for the car worshippers - look at the Hollingworth by-pass - 20+ years in the making - £15m spent - and all you've got is ... nothing - will public transport improvements be any different ? The cynic/sceptic in me says "NO")

But I voted "YES" - we've got to give them a chance - maybe they will f**k up - who knows - I bet we will see little/no difference on the roads ... they tax beer, they tax alcohol, they tax petrol (big style) - it makes no difference (binge drinking , binge smoking, binge driving (Clarkson etc !) - so when the car worshippers moan of a congestion charge they know (and I know) that it won't stop that many of them using their beloved internal combustion engines - similarly, having seen the new railway timetables (which come into force next Sunday), I've seen changes which I can only see as reductions/worsening of services (unless you're going on a Virgin to London !!). The cynic in me tells me that these reductions (mostly on the local commuter services - i.e the "Greater Manchester" services !!) WILL continue for 12/18 months or so - and if we DO get a "YES" vote, the money (or some of it - ha !) will be spent getting the public transport system "back to where it was" in September 2008 - and that will be seen as a success (hurrah !!!) - as the profit centres - sorry train companies/bus companies/tram companies (yep all privatised profit centres) will have saved a few bob for a few years before getting a nice "hand out" back from Mr Greater Manchester...

Just for the hell of it - the new Stalybridge Station Ticket Office - due to open in July 2008 , moved back and back - then to be 8th December, then to be 11th December (viz today) ..... still not open - possibly the shape of things to come after a "YES" vote .. but then again your roads will still be clogged up as well - so we'll still all pay - but still ALL LOSE OUT.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Power Quest @ Satan's Hollow

Pix are here ...


did a few of support band Aceldama as well:


Promise to check out the NeonFly pix tonight !!!

UPDATE @ 2230 - here's the NeonFly offerings:


all in all a damned fine gig with three jolly good beat combos - and the first foray into the world of DSLR rock photography wasn't all bad considering - tiny venue ("Rock in the Round" if you like) and lights slightly dimmer than Glossop North End's (!!) - certainly a couple of good'uns in the Power Quest collection (Bill Hudson and 'Cesco Tresca) - my thanks to various people for tips and advice (including
Sarah Thompson)

."The Longest Photoshoot starts with a Single Click" - with apologies to Mao !

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tue09Dec08Evening - 1 - Buffet Bar Conservatory Update

Now open for business - the conservatory that is - was available last night for the quiz - the (new) pictures were taken last night on the way home before the return to Manc for Power Quest - pictures from which will be coming up next !! Until then - try ..

Buffet Bar Conservatory as @ 08 Dec 08

The Other bunch of Chocolate Teapots (Railway Division)

Following on from First "bloody" Trans-Pennine yesterday - this morning it was Northern "bloody" Rail's turn to make a mockery out of the phrase "Train Company" - 0724 was 25 minutes late - so bus to Stalybridge (which due to transport integration enables you to "just miss" the 0735 - ha !) - today at work for 0850.

More when I get home including the pix from last night.... and the Buffet Bar Conservatory is now "open for business", so some pix to add in there as well !!!

Last Night's "To Do" - ruined by TPW&nkers

First TransPennine are a bunch of tossers - allegedly official - they cannot disprove it - their crap train info system on Stalybridge Station is CRAP - their new booking office/waiting room is FIVE MONTHS BEHIND SCHEDULE - they can't even get something built let alone run a bloody train service - and whatever happened to "Keolis" ??

As you've gathered by now number 1 on the "To Do List" failed - left Mossley at 0724 - left Stalybridge at 0817 - due to complete and utter crap from a company called First Trans-Pennine - face it guys - you couldn't allegedly organise a p*ss up in a brewery - your electronic/computerised train info thing on the platform is crap - it lies - it might as well say "YOU CHOOSE" - cus it can't get the train times right - plus I believe you have your staff on Stalybridge Station - maybe give them a lesson or two in "communiciation to customers" - rather than teaching them to press buttons to ring out the recorded "who gives a sh*t" stuff - still it's nice to know that the recorded cr*p will say "sorry" (0-10 late), "very sorry (10 - 30 late) and "extremely sorry" (30+ late) - heard ALL OF THOSE this morning - you total ********* - read my post last night - my daughter had to be in Stoke for 0930 - she wasn't - YOUR FAULT - took me best part of two hours to get to work as well - YOUR FAULT ...

And what made it worse - I get to work - go on to find out WHY - and there's nothing there - which possibly proves you're a ********* as you had NO VALID EXCUSE FOR YOUR TOTAL INCOMPETENCE ON MONDAY 8th December 2008.

You should be totally ashamed of yourselves - it's pointless me writing to you as you will have Mr Spin who will write a "well spun" reply containing as much feeling/emotion as "Mrs Loudspeaker".. been there - wrote it - read it - you don't give a sh*t ..

Work got done - no time for paying cheque in or running off invites (arriving at work so late) - got to gig tonight mind .. more on that tomorrow - cus I won't be doing Chorley v Mossley ...

(600 pix tonight - eek !)

First Trans-Pennine - complete ****** apparently - sue me - and FAIL !!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tomorrow - 8th December 2008 - "To Do List"

1 - Get up - go to work - ensure daughter on same train (she has recording session at 0930 .. in Stoke !).
2 - Do some work.
3 - Post sister's birthday card.
4 - Photocopy some invitations.
5 - Put cheque in bank.
6 - Eat lunch.
7 - Do some more work.
8 - Come home ... DRINK NO BEER ... because ..

9 - Drive back to Manchester (you all know how cr*p the last trains are) to see PowerQuest @ Santa's Hollow (think it's actually Satan's but ...) - I can't see this one getting called off at half-time !

An added bonus tomorrow night is that I've got the OK from PowerQuest management to take the "big bugger" with me - now it's a case of choosing which other lens to take as well as the 50mm f1.8 - don't know the venue, possible crowd size, anything - yep "shooting in the dark" as they say !!

10 - Come home - drink beer (oh yes must remember to buy some !) - check out my first attempt at gig photography "sans Fuji compact" .. fingers crossed, I don't make a total plonker of myself :-)

Going back to Football - and "Football Clubs in Trouble" - it looks like the team of my childhood/teens/and later - Stafford Rangers - have some 'problems' - the story only really surfaced yesterday after the Vauxhall game - so I do need to find out more - but I don't like what I'm hearing at the moment ..

Durham City 0 Mossley 4 (abandoned - 43 minutes)

Who'd be a ref ?????? Paul Brown shortly after "calling a halt to proceedings" ...

Words are still failing me on this "game" - so all you get for now is two lots of pictures and a "rantette" ...

The Match

Before and After

In short - we should NEVER have left Mossley - if anything the match ref was originally let down by whoever did the 0900 inspection - obviously a local boy with no knowledge of artifical surfaces - they urgently need to talk to someone at Woodley regarding 3G Fieldturf maintenance - and we stuffed 'em - that old cliche "The same for both sides" - and Mossley adapted ...

I'll probably think of loads more - and stick it on later tonight - but for now ... grrrr...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday the Fifth - A Welcome "Day Off"

.. for several reasons other than "work ---- arrrrgh ---- begone !" - a meeting up at school - followed by a doctor's appointment - I may be virtually smoke free in the smoking zone these days but the drugs are still required (when doing 25/30 fags a day I was getting through a blue(salbutamol) inhaler in 19-21 days - these days they last me the best part of 55+ days - interesting eh what ??).

Doctor's over ... what next ?? I went up to Greenfield to see the new "nearly finished" station - it's 90% there - but the contractors have gone bust !! Checked out the "Railway" as well - Copper Dragon "Golden Pippin" - and Nettie behind the bar said, "How's Michelle doing ??" - our Mich used to work behind the bar there - and it's lovely to know that she's still remembered ...

Back to trains - and down to Stalybridge to get a look at the Conservatory during daylight hours - and a couple of extra pix put onto the "Conservatory Rebuild JAlbum" - see;

My "Day Off" Buffet Conservatory Update

.. then off to Ashton to look at shops and stuff.... I went into Woolworths - my God the vultures were out in some style - I bought a photo frame and a couple of other things, paid up at the counter - and wished the young lady the very best of luck for the future - I felt it was appreciated - and as I walked out of the shop I felt .... awful. These peeps are pretty much "out on their feet" at the moment, knowing they've got till Christmas - at least (at most ?) - yet I got really nice polite service - this was followed by a trip to Ashton HMV - got one of their "cheap books", went to the counter - and the difference in service was noticeable - if the guy had been wearing a name badge it would have said "I Don't Give a F**k" rather than "Jeff" - if anyone from 'HMVLand' is listening/watching - there's some possible recruits from Woolies who could replace the slapdash "staff" you have at your Ashton branch - no please - no thank you - carry on a conversation with someone else while serving me - sorry that's p*ss poor. I do use the Manchester HMV quite often - and they're AOK ( there's even a Dave Grohl lookalike working there - and I'm sure he lives in Stalybridge or near ...) - the Ashton staff have much to learn.

Ranty bit over - I then nipped down to the Topaz cafe as I knew there was a photo exhibition on - only to find it shut at 1500 (twas 1520) - I peeped through the window - only to see Tony (?) who did the "Rock Club" @ Stalybridge Buffet bar - then Glossop - now upstairs @ Stamford in 'Bridge - so after a bit of "jumping about" outside, attention was attracted and I got a quick "sneak in" - some good stuff there as well - and there's more to Topaz than just pix and cafe - check out ..

On the next train to Stalybridge - for a couple of pints of Millstone "Grain Storm" - not been seen for a while - I was told (by the brewer - God I know really important peeps !) that there'd been a shortage of the particular hops required ( I'm sure he said New Zealand) - but it's back and it's lovely and it's probably gone off by now (2130 !!) - back to Mossley - a pint in the Brit and then home.....

.. and yes I've checked the works e-mails - once this morning after the dox appointment - and once tonight - they just don't deserve me do they ???!!??!

And ever the saddo ... here's the pix from today - I'll get me coat ...

Never a day off with a camera in y'pocket !!

Tomorrow - it's the 'booze bus' to Durham to watch Durham City smack Mossley big style - I firmly believe that Durham will win the Unibond 1 North this season - and having said what I've just said (not dissimilar to when Mossley were going to 2nd Placed Bamber Bridge - where they won 2-0 !) - I pray that the Lilywhites will "come up with the goods" once again - I've no intention of doing Roger Whittaker impersonations at 1645 tomorrow (if too young to know what the hell I'm taking about - Google/Wiki it !)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thursday the Fourth .....

Begone foul work - yes, day off tomorrow to do skool meeting and - hopefully - doctor's appointment - but being the sad barsteward I are, I may need to check stuff at work - may have to do the afternoon - because they're worth it ...

Never mind that - at the Buffet Bar tonight - who should walk in but the "driving force" behind it all .. viz Lord Tom Pendry ... Sylvia not in but keys were found to allow him into the "almost there" conservatory - I'm afraid he saw most of the stuff before the lights were turned on (!!) - but once on, I "went for it" again - check out the updated "Buffet Bar Conservatory" pixpage at this place:

co-starring Lord Tom Pendry - and Harold !

.. and yes - it was "Communication Breakdown" by Led Zep @ the City game last night - confirmed by Graham at work .. who was there !!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday the 3th of Dec 2008

Ramblings - with a couple of low res snaps to boot - whilst sitting here awaiting "Armageddon" according to the Michael Fish WeatherPerson Club - even so our street still has the remnants of Tuesday morning all over the road (no gritting here) and the pavements of course (gritting pavements - Tameside Council - ha - good job our Council Tax is "reasonable" - cus we get next to nowt for it ..).

The other "Armageddon" was Manchester tonight - allegedly - what with both City and United at home - saw nowt on my way home .... watched most of the City game on the telly - a disjointed first half indeed - and as ITV4 went to adverts at half-time ...
I'M SURE I heard the strains of Led Zep's "Communication Breakdown" blaring over the speakers at COMStad - strangely ironic eh what - I'm sure that actual attendees (SJNR ??) can confirm/deny what I heard/dreamt ???? As you probably know(once getting round the Man U "headlines"), the final score was ...

(Caption competition revolves around "We were crap weren't we ?" - "Ja ! Bloody lucky at the end there Steve !")

So ... we fed the lizard (sorry, Wyatt the blue-tongued skink) instead least he went for it - and gave his all, his 100% effort - when faced by ... mince !

So - I peep through the curtains - but the world has not ended as yet (2245) - one minor worry is that we're all going to Durham this weekend to see Mossley cause a major upset. Durham have a similar "carpet" to Woodley Sports (the 3G FieldTurf stuff) so should be "no problem (Woodley played last night when many didn't) - so why - oh why - was the Durham City home game against Newcastle Blue Star in the Presidents Cup called off on Tuesday night due to a frozen pitch - AND ... Mr Conspiracy is now asking WHY this postponment has tonight completely "disappeared" off the Unibond League website ... almost as if the game was never due to be played - all extremely fishy I feel .... the match now appears as a "tba" on the Unibond web site - who's hiding what eh what ????

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tuesday the 2th of Dec 2008

Simply "snowy" pictures today ....

Our "back yard" @ 0700 this morning ....

On the way to the station @ 0715 - all trains AOK this morning for me anyway ...

Mossley Station tonight @ 1830 - not much gritting etc done during the day I notice ...

Same as ...

The bridge across from platform 2 - looks lethal - was certainly slippery - so "black marks" to Graham for today ...

Woodley v FCUM tonight ?? Sod that - I'm Woodley's albatross at the moment - and of course it's another one of them games where the "hangers on" outnumber ... etc etc etc . I'm off to watch "Survivors" !

LATE UPDATE @ 2245 - looks like Skelmersdale was the place to be tonight - a 10(ten)-0 win over Bamber Bridge - there must be an excuse - same as with FCUM's 0-3 reverse @ Woodley Sports ("FCUM Evening News" reckoned they were trying out some young 'uns ..)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday 1st December 2008

Spotted in Belper on Saturday - reliably informed - it's been there a while (I'd obviously ate my shoots and left) !!!

Below you find the shambles that is the Stalybridge Station "revamp" - finish date was July (this year) - but there was a "pregnant pause" for about four weeks (a planning permission problem allegedly - but never proved/confirmed). Not to worry though - the big tower with the word "Stalybridge" is up there - still mostly building site below - good to know that the project has been correctly prioritised - y'know it could well be a Simon Carves Planning Department effort if I didn't know any better (with help from Excel bloody spreadsheets no doubt !!) ... I guarantee that the Buffet Bar Conservatory - pix here - will deffo be finished first !

... talking of priorities - I know a company who - for the first time in over 40 years - will not be holding a "Kids' Christmas Party" - obviously supplying Blackberrys to management and organising a company Christmas bash at a place which is awkward to get to for most of the staff - hence opening up the offer to the "well-paid" (!) agency staff to get the bums on the seats has caused this "loss of perk to staff" - never mind - we've lost our staff canteen, our company pension scheme - not much left really...

And many thanks for the birthday wishes from those who have ...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Belper Town vs Kidsgrove Athletic

.. so Saturday dawned - foggy as hell and not looking too conducive for the round ball game. Climbing out of Mossley over Hartshead Pike way (heading for Ashton and haircut !), we rose above the fog into bright sunlight - before going down the other side back into a thinnish "pea soup". Once the ears had been suitably lowered, we motored over to Belper and a quick glance whilst at the A6 traffic lights showed me that ChristChurch Meadow was certainly playable.

The game - a sluggish start for Belper who went behind on the quarter-hour to a penalty (it was about this time I got the call that the Mossley v Woodley game had been called off - frozen pitch apparently - but the fog was thick'n'all - which was what did for the Stalybridge v Farsley game). The penalty acted as the "wake up call" and the equaliser came just before half-time.

Second half - only going to be one winner, and it should really have been more than three at the end. Three points however, which leave Belper handily placed with several games in hand. The pictures are at:

This Place !

A bit of a drink last night - watched the FA Cup higlights - well done/hard luck to all the usual suspects (and some pretty crummy draws in the 3rd Round for some as well !!!). A walk over the Chevin after brekkie ... and back home ... what will next week bring - apart from a birthday on Monday (I'm 52 - eek !), a training course on Tuesday/Wednesday, and poss an appointment as the doctors on Friday. Football ??? Haven't a clue - and I'm sure the weather will have something to say about it as well ...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Friday

... so there ! The "State of the Nation" speech at work wasn't as bad as many of us expected - the Christmas bonus was announced (viz "You'll still have a Job in Jan" - ho ho !) - so just bought the normal two lotto tix for Saturday. Tonight was a late finish at work, enabling a meet with Mrs Smiffy in "big city" - a wander round the German Market in St Annes Square (eschewed the "bratwurst" and "gluwein" for a "German Ham Buttie") - and headed full pelt (uuh ?) into the Royal Exchange for "A Taste of Honey" - kids cocking up in the 60s - not much different to certain areas of Manchester 45 years on .... !!

A couple of pix ... first one showing some of the "steelwork" in the Royal Exchange (a pic inspired by having seen the "photography shop" on the markets 15 minutes before - Amy Gibbins ?? - although I went for the "straight at.." look rather than the angles/Dutch tilt-type stuff that featured heavily with her stuff) - even done this one "big" if you want to click on it ...

... and the usual "scenery pic before it starts" pic ..

One point of note - who was the "noisy snorer" up on the second gallery in the second half ???

Tomorrow - OK today - sees haircuts/trip to Belper (I get to see the Nailers v Kidsgrove) - Mossley are looking for a quick-fire "double" having beaten Woodley Sports 4-1 away last saturday - 'tis also FA Cup day so naturally thoughts will be with the "Two Tame Sides" still hanging in there - Curzon Ashton go to Kidderminster, and Droylsden head for Chesterfield. Wouldn't it be amazing if they both go through to the Third Round ... and drew each other !!!

(naturally the last four words were typed with tongue firmly in cheek !)

...edit 0145 - try this ....Ms Gibbins' pix were all b&w so ... I counter ....


Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Thursday - 2

Enough of this work sh*t - at Stalybridge Buffet Bar tonight, I had the good luck to be told "The padlock is off - due to painting of doors" - so I sneaked in - and binged out !!!!!

Check out ... with added piccies ...

PS - remember all of these pix are from BabyCam

PPS - Don't tell Sylvia .....she'll probably bar me ................

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Thursday - 1

OK I lied a bit - saw some of the Schalke v City game tonight - but only Benjani's goal (yet to see Stephen Ireland's effort)

But the big news tonight is .... the comedy sketch late on at work tonight - try this .....

Person 1 : " Visitor needs a copy of the database to take back with him today - can you do it ?"

Me (tapping away on pc) : "The database is rather large - 32 Gb in fact "

Person 1 : "And....?"

Me: "We can RAR it to a couple of gig" (for those who dont know - RAR is a "WinZIP equivalent)

Person 1: "Can he have it now then"

Me: "A RAR will take a few hours - we can then put it onto the FTP site for him to pick up - and uploading will also take a while"

Person 1 : "Oh ...."

(Person 1 and Person 2 then go to see my boss - Boss into office to see me)

Boss: " Well ?"

Me: repeat the above ...

Boss: "OK - will tell them exactly what you have told me - and what you told them before" (and because it now comes from the boss - they slink away ....)

This is the sort of comedy hour that is becoming sooooooo prevalent at work these days - when confronted with honesty / fact people then go "one level up" believing this will work - I tell you now there are a number of people working at our place who have COMPLETELY lost my respect for this kind of primary school/playground behaviour - not only that, it insults MY professionalism - I'm not being awkward - I tell it like it is (I've only been working in computers since 1985 - what do I know !!!) - and when people "whine upwards" - they go onto my "total w*nker list" - so that's two more today ........
tomorrow sees our "State of the Nation" speech from Mr Big ..... might be interesting / illuminating / helping towards the decision to buy 1/2/350 lotto tix on Friday....

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Wednesday - Part 2

...sorry couldn't be bovvered with a part 2 - therefore thuswise so - the Part 1 suffix on the previous post was merely a ruse to tempt you all back ...ha !

... although Stalybridge Celtic have gone to Whitby and won 3-0 thus earning a trip to Stourbridge in the next round - and FCUM have lost to Boston United (yet the big story here is the Boston United supporters club coach windows being bricked - the FCUM fans are distancing themselves from this attack, blaming (depending what you read) local Bury "lads"/Radcliffe "chaps") ....

Don't forget - PowerQuest - 8th Dec - Manchester..

Oh yeah - it's going even further to ratsh*t @ work ........ starting to get scary - really - we've been through many a "redundancy exercise" over the past 10 years or so (and I've missed 'em all) ... my worry is we now have "ruthless" in charge rather than "bumbling/incompetent" - they may well catch up with me !!!

Feeling at work at the moment is summed up by ............. ta Munchy !


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Wednesday - Part 1

... and what does the midweek bring ??? I'll tell ya - after all my "pro-wobblings" last night about the Congestion Charge Referendum ......

... I leave house at 0715 - the 0724 train is 4 minutes late .... it's bloody full when we leave Mossley - so full in fact that when we arrive at Stalybridge the guard opens "half a door" to let us "changelings" out before deciding how many to let on ...

... the 0735 to Man Picc is 7 minutes late - we then crawl down to ManPicc arriving at about 0803 - i.e. time for me to miss my 0758 or 0803 trains to Cheadle Hulme ...

... no worries - there's one at 0832 - so I wander off to Greggs for a (cheap) coffee ..

... I return to see 0832 train is ..... CANCELLED ............... next one to Cheadle Hulme is 0851 !

Arrive work about 0910 - nearly two hours after leaving Mossley....

Instant Karma / Bites y'Bum - I should say so .... even the 1812 off Stalybridge tonight back to Mossley was 11 minutes late !!

I may return with further wobblings later ....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Tuesday

... mmm ... well ... sunset over Cheadle Hulme station this evening anyone ??? (remember - tis only BabyCam)

... and look what came in the post today - here's mine ...and yes I DID sign it before splitting it and putting into envelopes A and B !!!

... and all ready to post in the morning .....

Tell you one thing - what with this and the apparent "resignation" of Tameside supremo Janet Callender, I headed for the Tameside Eye blog - however it seems pointless linking to it as it is now an "invited blog" only, and I don't appear to be on the list - so what's the point of that then - all sounds as suspicious as the goings-on in that big building in Ashton-under-Lyne - yes I've got rumours/hints about Ms Callender - but they're for "invited people" only as well - so nerrr to you too !!

Football tonight - best gloss over Hyde's result at Hednesford in the FA Trophy replay - I see Scott Partridge got a hat-trick for Sheffield FC in their 5-2 win over North Ferriby - to read about his earlier career, I'd recommend reading "Left Foot in the Grave" by Garry Nelson (his time as Torquay "manager") - the follow-up book to "Left Foot Forward" (Nelson's swansong as a Charlton player) - two very very good books - as a non-league chappie I enjoyed the Torquay experience a touch more - there was less money floating around ... my one possible crazy option for a game tonight (which would have involved NO beer and a drive) was thankfully called off - Buxton v Matlock Town appeared to be suffering from a frozen pitch (!) - no doubt there was "Eurotrash" tonight - I ate food, watched "Survivors" - then "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" then this ....

Don't forget - Vote YES - think about people other than yourself - about your children for example (if you've got any !) - think about the bigger picture - I guarantee we WON'T get £3 billion of improvements - extraneous sh*t will gobble up at least 40% of that - but think about Greater Manchester - don't get parochial - because that's when the "six finger" insults start to fly around .... it's a question of "What's in it for ALL OF US" not "What's in it for ME" - and if you're thinking the latter way - the "Thatcher disease" is obviously still alive and kicking after all these years ....

(Please note that the views of are the views of Smiffy and Smiffy only - you do what you bloody well want - but please ensure that you can spell the word "consequences" and the phrase "long-term" - and if you don't live in Greater Manchester - tough !!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's a "No-Midweek Football Week"- Monday

... what with the vagaries of the weather @ Whitby (i.e. Stalybridge NOT getting a draw up there and replaying tomorrow) and Bury (i.e. FCUM v Boston called off, so FCUM not @ Woodley on Tuesday) - and County Cups (Leigh Genesis in't' Co-op Cup so not playing Ashton United tonight) - I find myself stuck for footy this week - other options include crazy train connections that might just .... fail (i.e. Guiseley v BPA tomorrow) ....

... so what to offer the masses this week ?? If I mention the word Todd Rundgren, it tends to get millions of hits (I'll be honest, during yesterday's "mass tidy" I DID find the ticket stub from the 2004 gig at the Bridgewater Hall - might "snap" that one day !) - but today's ticket stub/s (unused as yet) is/are ..... Power Quest !

(suitably de-coloured and blurred to avoid ..) - yep, after several false starts, I finally met "Sophsky" tonight and exchanged money for tickets - many thanx for that - it's always good to have a gig to look forward to (remember it's not just football !!!) ... and if anyone else is interested in tickets - Satan's Hollow - 8th December - contact via

for £7 tickets instead of £8 on the door - and mention my name - I like kudos !!

I then got the train to Stalybridge - and these days it's too dark at night to see what's going on with the Conservatory re-build (although having had words tonight, it may be in my interest to "do a dash between trains" at 0730 tomorrow morning - we'll see how we do !) - HOWEVER - there's been an upgrade in the main bar at the Buffet - witness ....

...a new floor !!! It does feel more comfy (and a "touch warmer" someone said tonight - he had his shoes on as well !) - there's even little felt pads on the bar stools/chairs so they "slide" rather than "drag" !!! I may stick this pic on the Conservatory rebuild site (as I'm reliably informed that the wood does go through the door into the conservatory - but not very far, as there are - apparently - quarry tiles waiting to be laid in there....)

Tomorrow is another day - or as George Harrison once put it, "Yesterday, today was tomorrow - and tomorrow, today will be yesterday" ........ go on .... name that tune !!!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Woodley Sports v Mossley

.. a comfortable win in the end against a team who I thought peformed much much better at Lancaster 7 days ago ... some pix at

My fingers got very very cold !

... can't say much else at the moment - we're on a "mass tidy" in house in preparation for ... you'e guessed it ... Christmas - well it did snow last night !

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quality Street Peddle Filth ....

... I bought this in Somerfield Cheadle Hulme today - now if I was someone who would take offence at inferences in an earlier blog post about trains in Second World War Germany, I feel it only fair to offer this filth up to the intolerant masses - who should really be watching "I'm a Railway Executive - Get Me Out of Here (in a car)"

I give you .... MY PURPLE ONE (oooh err) - and all the double entendres that go with it - disgraceful ...

TGIF - what a (transport) week ........

Where do you start - don't worry this is going to be a fully justified attack on public transport - libellous even....let's go for it ... Network Rail - incompetent; Northern Rail - complete crap; First Trans-Pennine - useless- feel free to mix'n'match - that's a start anyway - I wouldn't trust any of those three "profit centres" to organise my Christmas party - they couldn't organise a p*ss up in a brewery !!!

Go back to Monday when the first train is over ten minutes late - this naturally has the "knock on" effect leaving me arriving at work over 30 minutes late - and therefore playing "catch-up" on my hours before I've even got to work - and what makes it worse is that I know this before I've even left Stalybridge !!!

Trains in the evening have been dutifully "late" - one thing that p*sses me off at Stockport is that you cannot board a Virgin Train heading towards Manchester - it's set-down only - and NO-ONE has ever given me a valid reason for this - whether it's Branson's arrogance/power trip (he should NEVER be allowed to forget that if it wasn't for Mike Oldfield and "Tubular Bells", he'd still be a "one bit" record shop owner in Notting Hill Gate) - but as such he's become a powerful w*nker who similarly appears to care little for his customers - "New Virgin" if you like - something like "New Labour" - nice people who suddenly get the power trip and become greedy bar stewards - remember Jack Straw and Harriet Harman (just two examples - there are many many more) who were once quite radical - look at them now ...... xenophobic fascists by any other name )

Meanwhile back on the platform ... so I'm down on hours even before arriving at work on Monday ... and Branson's Pendolinos (phew the speed ....) slow me down coming home - cus they get in the way of the trains that I AM allowed to catch (sorry this is me who spends over a grand a year on season tickets)... and then we get the absolute cr*p that is platform 13 on Manchester Piccadilly and the trains to Stalybridge - mostly the 1712 - an interesting time that is NEVER MET - EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK - EXCUSE MY SHOUTING BUT THIS TRAIN IS LATE EVERY DAY .. aah that's better - in fact today it was SO late I wandered off to catch the 1725 - because that left earlier .... late last week there was something in the papers about First Trans-Pennine having a 12% rise in passengers - it's just a crying shame that the size of their trains remain the same - they were overcrowded before this rise - now they're little more than cattle trucks in peak hours - our local paper this week shows our local MP - James "Photoshop" Purnell - suffering on a peak-hour train and saying "It's unacceptable" - sorry little Jimmy it's been unacceptable for many many years - 1995 ??? - John Major ??? - don't take this the wrong way, but I often think that the passengers on the 0735 to Auschwitz had a better ride (and it was probably on time) - and before the pc/moral high ground people start to whine - I'm talking about the train ride - not "what happened next" (I put this rider in because there are so many people out in "real world" today who are looking for something to hang their self-publicising hat on (think the Russell Brand/Jonny Woss/Jeremy Paxman type thingies - you get my drift) - so trains to Man Picc vs trains to Auschwitz is probably a handy hanger for these same sad people ....just get back to your John Sargeant petitions or something equally vital to the state of the nation ....)

To return to trains - the beauty of some of these late late trains is the "automated robowoman" - the guard can press "Button A" and we get the monotone/really emotional (ha !) announcement that "First Trans-Pennine apologise for the delay and the inconvenience caused" - that ALWAYS makes me feel better/comforted that they really really care ... my arse .... 'tis much the same on the platforms with these new "multi-million pound" high-tech passenger information systems - that say that the 1712 train is "on time" - despite the clock saying 1715 - and then - all of a sudden - the train becomes due at 1721 - I particularly like the one at Stalybridge where trains can "change places" regarding what comes in next ... I look at these things and think ... money well spent - a bit like the improvements to Stalybridge Booking Office - due for completion in July 2008 - still nowhere near finished - or the revamp of Greenfield Station that's ground to a halt because the contractor has allegedly "gone bust" - which naturally brings me on to the ... CONGESTION CHARGE ......!!!!

For those outside Greater Manchester ... the idea is to bring in a Congestion Charge - a little like Ken Livvies Greater London thingy (OK I guess it's Boris's Baby now) - but in Manc it's "Vote YES for the Congestion Charge - and we'll spend £3 billion on improving public transport". Now I - as a public transport user/sufferer - feel that the Congestion Charge is an absolute disgrace - because it's far too low.... I know many people who are opposed to it -they are the people who worship at the altar of the internal combustion engine - they are the people who make Mrs Smiffy's parking of our one car next to impossible when you live on a terraced street where two people - one house - two cars is the norm - on a street where I often think 70% of the people only ever leave the street on four wheels - they never walk !!!

However my support for the £3 billion public transport "sweetener" is tempered by the "view of the cynic" - how much of that £3 billion will actually go into public transport improvements - how much will be wasted on "consulatative exercises", "consultants fees", "meetings", "publicity exercises" and other such crap - my cynical guess is a good chunk - we will not get £3 billion of improvements - they talk of extra carriages on trains - that means that some of the £3 billion will go into private "profit making" companies - and the people who own the rolling stock are as much "profit centres" as Northern Rail/First Trans-Pennine etc - naturally the same goes for the deregulated (i.e. private profit based) bus companies - Stagecoach/First Bus etc etc.

So really a great idea will end up improving the lot of private companies - no doubt the people who run the congestion charge hardware/software will be some subbed-out profiteers on behalf of Greater Manchester Council - emphasis on the "on behalf" - they'll be in it for profit - and bollocks to the customers.

So yes the public transport users will get screwed for profit - as will the car owners/congestion charge payers - there'll be many many people making a few bob out of this on both sides

Oh and before I forget - talking about useless tossers who don't give a monkeys about the customers - check out the new Northern Rail timetable (starts 14th December) - at present trains leave Mossley at 0654, 0724 and 0757 for Manchester - the new timetable shows me 0654, 0724 and then 0807 !! Yep - if you miss the 0724 - you've a 43 minute wait - at peak time !! My guess therefore is that more people will go for the already overcrowded 0724 - and God help those who get on at Ashton (two stops down) - it's already full at Mossley ! No doubt there will be copious apologies for the overcrowding - but never mind, Northern Rail will be able to post a good percentage increase on passenger traffic next year - with actually giving a toss !!! Magic isn't it ....

Just in case you've forgotten - the idea was to point out - Network Rail - incompetent; Northern Rail - complete crap; First Trans-Pennine - useless. I guess tomorrow I will be using the trains in my leisure time - no doubt they will be similarly p*ss poor (that is of course assuming they've not been replaced by buses - it is the weekend after all and no-one travels by train on Saturdays/Sundays do they ???)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Buffet Bar Update - 18 Nov 08

in the usual place - you'll see paint - no plants - and a yellow ladder

now with a roofy painty bit - and this link now works !!

Tuesday 18 Nov 08

It's 2147 (don't care what it says after the "publish"...) - here's last night's pix from Curzon Ashton vs Garforth in the Unibond Challenge Cup ...

Another wet night game !!

Curzon play second-placed Bamber Bridge on Saturday - and at 2145 I was reliably informed that Mossley have gone to second-placed BB tonight and whupped 'em 2-0 - now that's a shock after the Lilywhites' abject surrender against bottom club Salford on Saturday ....funny old game and all that b*ll*x. Wonder how everything else is doing tonight (Droylsden, Alty etc) - we'll find out later ....

Monday Night Football ....

....but it's too late to do justice to pics - yes "Curzon Ashton 0 Garforth Town 1"was the match of choice - twas a bit of "smash and grab" that won it for Garforth rather than "Brazilian samba" - blimey that whole Brazilian thing is one load of toss - I reckon the only link is Simon Clifford and Socrates - the link being "smokers" ... anyways you'll get some pics tomorrow evening - I won't be doing owt else this week - after tonight the kit is drying out (hence the delay on the pics..)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lancaster City v Woodley Sports ...

.... straight to pix at ..

Lancaster City vs Woodley Sports pics

Woodley started the better side - and thoroughly deserved the 1-0 lead ... however the equaliser has to be put down to keeper error, and I felt heads seemed to drop after that - Lancaster's second (from what I could see at the wrong end) was another defensive error - and the third goal was a sublime free kick - no messing - the second for Woodley came too late really...

Evening - stayed over in Lancaster - to see boy and lady friend - went to the "Latinos" tapas bar (buena comida !!) followed by some Harviestoun "Bitter & Twisted" in the "Merchants" (actually I'd had a pint in there pre-game - oh yes and one in the "John of Gaunt" (Black Sheep Bitter !!).

Today - a walk around Slaidburn and Easington Fell on the way home - pics from that ... here goes a couple ... the cairn on Standridge Hill

Sunset over the River Hodder - near Dunnow Hall

Football this week - no idea - certainly will not make Bamber Bridge v Mossley on Tuesday night - or Droylsden v Darlo FA Cup replay ... let's wait and see for now ...