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Photo-a-day 87: Heathrow Terminal 5

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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?

This 1,581st post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 86: The many restaurants of Fenwick

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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.

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This 1,580th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , , , , .

Photo-a-day 85: The Pennine Tower

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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.

There’s some great history of the Pennine Tower on this fan site, including some brilliant “then and now” comparisons of the top of the tower in it’s heyday and in 2008.

This 1,579th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 84: My watch

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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: it’s 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.

This 1,578th post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .


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