Photo-a-day 90: Edinburgh Castle and Ross Fountain
It’s not the most original shot, but the Ross Fountain seemed appropriate given that it’s only a couple of days since I was in England’s capital: it came from London to Edinburgh following the 1862 World’s Fair in South Kensington. Unlike me, it took a decade to make the journey, and is originally French.
Interestingly, Edinburgh Museums claim it was bought at the Great Exhibition of 1862: a claim that’s repeated on many other websites. As a bit of a world’s fair buff, I think they’ve confused the famous Crystal Palace Great Exhibition of 1851 with the Great Exposition of 1862 – the latter was funded by the profits of the former – but then I’m no historian, and might be confused myself.
I don’t really have anything interesting to say about Edinburgh Castle, other than pointing out that the £15 admission price seems excessive to me: you can visit Alnwick Castle for a whole year for less if you really want to go to a castle…! Though, I guess, that advice isn’t a huge amount of good if you’re in Edinburgh!
Photo-a-day 89: Worswick Street bus station
Today’s photo shows the old bus station on Worswick Street in Newcastle. It’s been disused for almost 15 years, and is now something of an unofficial, and presumably rather inefficient, car park.
This whole area of the city centre has been ear-marked for regeneration for a long time, but nothing seems to have happened as yet…
Photo-a-day 88: Sustainability bag
Photo-a-day 87: Heathrow Terminal 5
Last time I was in this terminal, a couple of years ago or thereabouts, was not long after it opened. It’s far busier today than it was then, though the large number of seats means that it’s still easy to rest one’s feet.
I’m here today for a domestic flight, which probably makes me an environmental disaster. I did come down to London this morning by train, but the cost of a train journey back up to Newcastle today was almost twice the cost of the flight. Even though it isn’t me paying, I feel uncomfortable spending others’ money unnecessarily, so I made the cost-conscious choice.
Train travel’s both more convenient and more environmentally friendly, but the crazy train fare pricing structure priced it out of the market for me today. That’s something that should be rebalanced. Why not impose a rail levy on all domestic flights to support development of the more sustainable form of transport and reduce ticket prices on trains? There may be good reasons why that doesn’t happen, but perhaps it’s worthy of consideration?
Photo-a-day 86: The many restaurants of Fenwick
This is the “restaurant directory” outside the flagship store of the Fenwick chain on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street. Listed are the ten restaurants in the store: the Northside Diner; the Terrace Restaurant; Café 21; Johann’s Coffee Shop; the Majorca Café; Tivoli; Pret a Manger; Yo! Sushi; Caffé Nero; and the Patio Restaurant.
I reckon that ten restaurants within a single department store must be close to a record. I know that Harrods famously has 25 restaurants – not that I’ve counted and independently verified the claim – but I can’t think of any UK department store other than Harrods or Fenwick with anywhere near ten. Can anyone else think of any?
Local legend has it that this branch of Fenwick is the most profitable branch of any department store chain in the UK. The Sunday Times Rich List is often the cited source of this information, but I can’t see it under the Fenwick family’s entry in any of the Rich Lists in the Times’s archive, so I’m not absolutely convinced.
The flagship M&S virtually next door – which houses five restaurants of its own (an M&S Cafe, Kitchen, Restaurant, Deli and Food on the Go) – has a food hall which is frequently authoritatively cited as the chain’s most profitable, so the claim about Fenwick isn’t as outlandish as it might first appear.
Anyway, as interesting as all that is, I thought the picture was a bit rubbish. So here’s a bonus one of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge now that the ugly bollards have been removed.
Photo-a-day 85: The Pennine Tower
This is the hexagonal Pennine Tower at Lancaster Forton services. It was built in the 1960s, and I think echoes the excitement of the new motorway system back then.
The tower used to house a restaurant, so popular in its day that it’s said that even the Beatles visited. Unfortunately, it has been closed since the late 1980s due to the inadequacy of its fire escape. However, it’s unusual hexagon lifts remain in place, and transport visitors between the ground and first floor of the main service building.
Photo-a-day 84: My watch
I’m just about to put this watch forward an hour, as we move onto British Summer Time.
This is the watch I wear most days. I wear it on my right wrist, which I know is classically bad form. It’s very similar to the Casio F91Ws I used to wear as a child, and there’s something comforting in the familiarity of it.
I was slightly caught out by this watch on 29th February: its assertion that it was 1st March had me fooled for most of the morning! It slightly amuses me that my digital watch can’t cope with the leap year, but my dressier analogue watch recalls it almost perfectly – it works in four-year cycles, so can’t cope with the more detailed finesse of the leap-year system.
Working in IE8
Those of you unfortunate enough to use Internet Explorer 8 as your main browser may have noticed that the site’s homepage had fallen apart. As a non-user, I hadn’t noticed until I tried to access the site on my parents’ computer.
It turns out that a single misplaced meta tag made the whole homepage screw up. I’ve fixed it now. The site still doesn’t look great in IE8: there are no rounded corners thanks to incompatibility with that bit of CSS, for example. I’d recommend switching to something a little more up-to-date, like Chrome.
Photo-a-day 83: Ex-Borders
This is the old Borders on Deepdale Retail Park in Preston. I miss Borders: it was a great chain. Nearer home, in Wallsend, there’s an unholy co-branded HMV / Waterstones / Starbucks in the old Borders shed, which isn’t quite the same – not least as the different concessions are all differently decorated!