The wonderful world of ‘blocks’?

Stumbling blocks more like…

Or perhaps word blocks…

And certainly not wonderful yet, for me. Gutenburg, the latest WordPress development, has left me completely bamboozled and in a blog panic. I gather I’m not the only one, which is a tiny comfort, but it’s not much help when I am just longing to get going on my marionfsblog again.

And, I must just warn you, that there may be some more delays ahead, as I have decided to move my blog to a more local host than the current USA one in the hopes that I will feel a little more supported and – eventually – in control. So this post is a general and very apologetic apology.

Meanwhile, a very quick catch up since my last post, written as one huge Gutenburg induced paragraph just after a very happy family Christmas in London.

In February John and I went down to Devon where I was delighted to have been asked to talk to the Ringmore Historical Society about my parents’ house, Barnford. I quickly got over the sobering thought that my knowledge of the house and village goes back almost exactly 60 years. I feel young but it turns out I am History.

We have more recently been down to London where we had a truly memorable time, seeing family, friends, Don Quixote at the Opera House and enjoying a Mothering Sunday afternoon tea cruise on the Thames. We also enjoyed a very special reunion which I shall tell you about next time.

And yes, I do have already have another post up my sleeve, but I am going to send this first, a tentative experiment, by way of an explanation, if not a warning…

And if anyone can point me the way to some very simple WordPress tutorials about blocks for the simple-hearted, please do so.

Train Dramas: Your Adventure Starts Here

Your Adventure Starts HereI now have a new travel worry.

I have often feared that my very ordinary black suitcase – even with its red ribbon – might be taken by mistake, leaving me as once did happen with someone else’s entirely unsuitable clothes.

Now Matthew Parris has provided me with another anxiety. He wrote recently in an article in the Times that his suitcase – apparently bright yellow to avoid such situations – was not actually stolen as such. It was however opened by some children on the Matlock to Derby train. Woefully unsupervised by their over-relaxed parents they had opened his case and gleefully rifled through his clothes tossing everything out into the carriage.

He discovered his underpants festooned on the luggage racks. Matthew makes light of it but to my mind that could be the ultimate humiliation.

Our latest railway drama was nothing like that, fortunately.

Derby Station is being entirely revamped, with new platforms, new tracks, and new signalling. Progress comes at a price, and East Midland Trains have been meticulous in warning everyone about all the inconveniences such as lines being closed, bus replacements etc.

But however efficient, they couldn’t warn us about the latest blip we experienced one very sunny day recently. John and I were going down to London to see our growing family down there.

The Matlock to Derby TrainWithin ten or so minutes of boarding our lovely Matlock-Derby train, we stopped at Ambergate for an unnaturally long time. Peering out of the window we saw our driver standing by a little cupboard type box on the platform, talking animatedly on his mobile phone.

Eventually the conductress came round to explain that there had been an incident on the line out of Derby, where an engine had caught fire. Emergency services were helping passengers to disembark onto the tracks and as a result no trains were running for the foreseeable future.

What to do? Passengers in a hurry rushed off to try to find a bus (unlikely) or hitch a lift (possibly even less likely) and soon there was only John and me left. We sat on the platform in the sun and waited. And waited…Fortunately we didn’t have any deadlines so were quite relaxed.

Our lovely crewThe lovely train crew rallied round in a most heartwarming fashion. The driver found us a bottle of water from his cab, and the conductress offered to share her lunch. Eventually John overheard her pleading with the powers that be that they had an ‘extremely elderly couple’ who were in urgent need of a taxi to Derby.

A taxi did eventually arrive and we were very efficiently transported to Derby where we were hustled into the 1st Class waiting room and when trains started running we were escorted onto a 1st Class carriage. The rest of the journey passed without hitch, and in some comfort.

And I end with an amusing but absolutely true incident. A couple of weeks ago we had been down to Kent. As we boarded the train taking us to London Victoria John spotted a notice warning that there were no accessible toilets on the train. I reassured him that that must mean no ‘accessible’ loos. The train was crowded, it couldn’t possibly mean simply no loos.

Not so. We soon were informed by public announcement that indeed there were no lavatories at all on the train. If anybody was in serious need, the train would stop at the next station, and would wait while an attendant on the station was found to accompany this poor passenger to the station facilities. We did stop, and we did wait a while but as far as we could tell, no one had had the courage to take up the suggestion.

So, three bits of advice I have taken on board: keep an eye on your luggage at all times, pack with care assuming your case contents might be exposed to one and all, go to the loo before boarding a train…

Never mind worrying that the train might not move at all.

‘What a Way to Run a Railroad!’

We went to London last weekend.

I was intending to write a joyous post, telling of Swan Lake, baby granddaughters and other real delights. But our journey (“It’s Your Journey. Love it!”) home almost blotted out all our happy memories, so please forgive me this miserable National Rail rant while I get it off my chest… Continue reading ‘What a Way to Run a Railroad!’

Happy 2018 to Us All!

Our favourite robin
Our Crown Cottage Christmas Robin

Happy 2018!

It feels as if 2017 has been and gone in a flash. That is probably just as well as no one wants to linger long on all the dismal events facing us in the news daily, not to mention Brexit, Trump, terrorist and physical disasters. As far as the wider world goes, let’s hope 2018 goes by in a happier flash. Continue reading Happy 2018 to Us All!