I love a good documentary on almost any
subject but my current favourite, Series 2 of
Great British Railway Journeys may be the
best yet. I loved the first series
and this one is just as good.

Travelling around Great Britain by train,
Michael Portillo uses a copy
of Victorian cartographer
George Bradshaw's
Railway Companion to compare modern
Britain to the time of around 1840.

Along the way he discovers some of the more
obscure sights as well as the most
popular tourist spots.

Portillo is an excellent host. With the help of
local experts everywhere he goes, interviews
with the residents, a sense of humour and
enthusiasm for the days gone by
he discovers interesting titbits
about life now and then.

Arm chair travel
at it's best!



"It is also foolish to climb a tree as black
bears are adroit climbers and you will
simply end up fighting the bear in a tree."

It is not very often I read a book twice but
due to lack of anything super interesting in
the "books to read" pile I decided to return
to an old favourite,
Bill Bryson's
Walk In The Woods.

I'm a huge fan of Bill and have all of his
but the Walk is in the top three.

Once again the wanderlust strikes and
at the age of 44 he decides to tackle
the American wilderness.

Accompanied only by his old college friend
Stephen Katz, Bryson starts out one March
morning in north Georgia, intending to
walk the entire 2,200 miles of

The Appalachian Trail to the
end at the top of Maine's
Mount Katahdin.

The laugh out loud journey includes matters
relating to the trail's history, the surrounding
sociology, ecology, trees, plants, animals
and people as well so not only is it very
funny, it's also educational.

Top job, as usual.



I sent an e-mail to the Evening Standard letters
page last night (in response to a letter in
yesterday's paper) and they published
it in today's paper:

I rambled on a bit so they've edited it.
Here's the full version:

I live in Colliers Wood SW19, we get our post from
the Wimbledon sorting office. Ever since they got rid
of our regular postman about 2 years ago the service
has gone from bad to worse to ridiculous.

All of our post is at least a week late, some of it even
older. Got a Xmas card posted in Brighton 20.12 today
(11.1) The casuals they employ (we have a different
person every day!) just can't be bothered to carry
anything. When they do it's usually junkmail
but nothing important like bills! Occasionally
you get someone who takes pride in their work
and brings week's worth of post in one go.

The mess seems to be nationwide: I posted 5 parcels
First Class to my ebay customers all over the
country from Scotland to Kent on Tuesday
the 4th of January and none of them had
been delivered by today,
6 working days.

I used to subscribe to 4 different magazines but
cancelled all of them last year because so many
issues went missing or arrived weeks late.
Now I buy them at the newsagents. More
expensive but that's the only choice.

(Like Mr O'Sullivan said) there is no point in trying
to phone the Post Office to complain - nobody
ever answers. I'm just about to write a letter to
them but won't post it. I'll hand deliver it to the
Wimbledon sorting office and will insist on
giving it to a manager as I'm sure the front
of house staff will probably just bin it.

PS: Before the staff at the sorting office loose
their minds, yes, some of you do actually do
the work and carry post but mostly we see the
casuals wandering up and down our street
with a lost look on their faces. The result:
we get maybe couple of bills a week
and some junk mail.

WHY can't we have regular postman anymore?
Who knows his route, who knows the
people and who does the job? WHY?




Sad news. The bass player Mick Karn
of one of my favourite bands
ever, Japan, has passed
away aged 52.

Japan was one my first music loves and
I've since followed all of their solo
careers with interest as well.

"In time, I hate to say it, gentlemen
There'll be nothing wonderful here
There'll be nothing left to fear"