Hard wired

The good news to come out of the pandemic was that Earth Overshoot Day, the day humanity has used up all the biological resources that our planet can generate in a year, arrived much later than usual in 2020; August 22nd, largely as a result of the pandemic’s limiting effect on human activity. Not since 2005 have we made it so far into the year before reaching the overshoot point. Unfortunately, as economies recover, despite governments’ talk of a green recovery, we are back to our old ways, this year’s Overshoot Day arrived only three days later than it did in 2019 on 29th July 2021. Our planet trashing ways seem to be hard wired into us.

We are just not taking climate change, biodiversity loss and not trashing the planet seriously. Two things this week illustrated this. A business contact alerted me to a change in petrol sold in this country; the standard (95 octane) petrol grade in Great Britain is moving from E5 to E10, she was concerned because her car, which was manufactured before 2011, cannot run on the new E10 petrol. E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, which, according to the Government website will help to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with petrol vehicles and tackle climate change. When I think of tackle I think about rugby and being hit by an 18st prop forward. 10% renewable ethanol in petrol isn’t tackling climate change it is akin to trying to stop the South African pack with a feather duster.

The other thing was as the result of booking an electric car to rent for a month in two weeks’ time from Onto. I’m looking forward to driving around in a shiny Renault Zoe ZE50 Iconic R135 Rapid Charge, so have been researching charging points. I discovered that Tesco have installed free charging points in their store car parks. I got off the bus a few stops early one day on the way home to check out the charging points; there were two in a car park that takes over one hundred cars. That is tickling climate change not tackling it.

Only two post to go until I take delivery of my electric zero emissions car.

The benefits of going car free

Number 6 – Having a drink

I had a lovely lunch in the garden of the Cornish Vegan cafe in Truro on Friday and had a lager or two without having to worry about the alcohol content; I was getting the bus home.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Be bee kind

No journeys this week; I have been ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and have been self-isolating. I am released at 23.59 on the 27th, I think I will set my alarm and pop out for a headtorch run at midnight.

Being stuck in meant I had plenty of time to read; however, it wasn’t until this morning that I read an article that had a Care Free Experience connection; The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’. What is the car connection? Well years ago, I remember on long trips the windscreen of the car would become covered with dead bugs, that no longer happens. It could be that better aerodynamics sweep them safely over the roof; I doubt that as there are no longer dead bugs sticking to the front of the car or in the radiator grill. The simple fact is that we have killed lots and lots of them with chemical sprays and by destroying their habitats. It is estimated that in 50 years we have got rid of 75% of them, which in turn means we are losing the animals that feed on them. In England, populations of the spotted flycatcher fell by 93% between 1967 and 2016.

Those insects that don’t meet a premature death on our windscreens or are wiped out by chemicals (a vastly bigger number) perform a useful function; approximately three-quarters of the crop types we grow require pollination by insects. Without pollinators it would be impossible to produce anywhere near the “five a day” fruit and veg we all need. By killing insects, we are in effect killing out future. There is hope, recent changes in how we manage verges, green spaces and farms mean that we may see a slow recovery in insect numbers. When I was visiting Kew Gardens last week, I was amazed at all the insects there. I was with a friend who was knowledgeable about wildlife and she pointed out all sorts of things including green-eyed flower bees and leaf-cutter bees. Bees I had never seen before, well I probably had but just thought they were bees. A bug-smeared windscreen will be a small price to pay to secure our “five-a-day”.

This day three years ago, when I was a car owner, was when my trusty Passat reached 350,000 miles. About 200,000 miles were driven with the engine warning light on, there was nothing wrong with the engine but all attempts to clear down the warning light failed. Despite it’s poor miles to the gallon figure that car probably had reasonable green credentials if you consider that I didn’t have to replace it with another vehicle; a lot of a vehicle’s greenhouse gas emission are from its manufacture.

The benefits of going car free

Number 5 – Time saving

By not having a car I do not have to spend time cleaning it (whether there are bugs stuck to the windscreen or not). Mind you my friends will tell you I didn’t spend much time (if any) cleaning my car.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Serendipity

Today is the last day of my London trip. I have loved my time here, however I am now ready to get back to the Cornwall countryside. As Eliza Lynn Litton, who became the first woman salaried journalist in 1849, said, “In London you live; in the country you breathe…” That may be about to change with the expansion of Ultra Low Emission Zones in London and the construction of buildings like 8 Bishopsgate which is designed to achieve both low embodied carbon and be low-carbon in operation. London has such an abundance and variety of transport solutions; buses, tube, overground, cycle hire, river boats, taxis, Uber and even a cable car that you do not need a car. When I first travelled in London many years ago you had to rely on the ‘A to Z’ book and printed timetables. Now with Google maps and lots of travel apps it is easy to find out how to get somewhere.

I did have one travel hiccup, the Metropolitan Line was closed on the day I needed to use it due to the control room staff having to self-isolate after being pinged by the NHS app. You may have seen it reported in the news. The travel apps suggested alternatives that seemed to take a long time so I went on Google maps and found it was only a 40 minute walk to my destination, so I walked, which was serendipitous. On the way I saw an interesting display in a courtyard (photo below) and went to investigate. It was the courtyard to the Guildhall and I noticed a poster for the Guildhall Art Gallery – free entry. I made a note to come back if I had time after visiting the Museum of London. It was the best gallery I have been in on this trip, eclipsing the National Gallery (lots of very similar religious paintings) and the Tate Modern (lots of weird stuff). Walking has benefits over and above keeping you fit, I would have not seen the gallery had I not walked. The icing on the cake of the Guildhall Art Gallery visit was that when they excavated the site to start building work the remains of a roman amphitheatre were unearthed. These have been preserved in the basement.

Since freeing myself from the tyranny of the car I have had lots of wonderful experiences, which in a car I would not have been aware of. I have chatted to interesting people, seen sights that would otherwise have sped by and now discovered some wonderful art and the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. 

The benefits of going car free

Number 4 – An uninterrupted lunch

On Friday I was having lunch with a friend who had to get up halfway through the main course to move her car because she had parked in a street where there was a one hour limit. It was a leisurely lunch.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Trains and planes

I am holiday again this week, but this time in London so I have access to Wi-Fi, unlike when I was on Dartmoor, so I can post on the blog. I took the overnight National Express coach from Camborne to London Victoria on Friday. It is quite a journey as the coach zig zags across Cornwall before heading to Plymouth and Exeter where it joins the motorway. I find it easy to sleep on the coach so the journey passed quickly. My return ticket cost £46.40 which I thought was extremely reasonable.

I arrived at Victoria coach station at 6.45 am, found a cafe and had a coffee to fully wake me up. I was fascinated by the steady stream of airplanes flying above on their way to land at Heathrow, even with travel restrictions they were coming in about every minute. Revived I walked to Battersea Park, somewhere I had never visited before. It is a lovely park and on Saturday morning there were lots of people jogging, running, cycling, roller-skating or just out for a stroll. I then took the train from Victoria to Sutton where I was going to a friend’s 50th birthday party. I love that on London trains you do not have to buy a ticket, you just tap your debit or credit card at the ticket barrier and again when you arrive at your destination and by magic (clever programming) you are charged the correct fare. 

Squirrel in Battersea Park

On Sunday morning, with a slight hangover, I took the train to Kew Bridge, changing at Clapham Junction, the UK’s busiest train station in terms of number of trains passing through not passenger numbers; that accolade belongs to Waterloo. I sat beside the Thames and had lunch watching a more leisurely procession of planes making their way to Heathrow, one every two minutes. I’m having a quiet Sunday before a week of full on activity in London starting with a day exploring Kew Gardens on Monday. There are theatre outings, museum and art gallery visits, book shop browsing, shopping, restaurants and bars on the itinerary all accessed via the excellent, and cheap, public transport system in London.

View towards the city centre from Clapham Junction.

The London parks are a haven for wildlife, but so are the railways, they act as corridors of greenery bringing nature into London now that the use of spraying to control growth has been restricted. Nature is incredibly resilient and will take any opportunity available to flourish if we leave it alone. It is encouraging that councils are now letting plants grow rather than keep mowing grass verges. According to an article I was reading in the Guardian online a poppy seed can wait in the ground for 70 years for the chance to germinate. Give nature a break and it will recover; however if we keep going the way we are some species will be lost forever.

The benefits of going car free

Number 3 – Not paying to travel

If you are lucky like me and have a bus pass then a lot of travel is free, no need to pay for expensive petrol.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Not so sweet little lies

“Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies” – Fleetwood Mac

You may have noticed that I did not post last week; I took a six-day break and went wild-camping on Dartmoor, the only place in England where you can legally wild camp without the landowner’s permission. That meant no communications; no emails, no telephone calls, no social media – bliss.

It did mean some interesting public transport journeys. I took the train from Camborne to Ivybridge (change at Plymouth) on Thursday morning. It is only a short walk from Ivybridge station to get onto the moor. I then wander over the moor heading north in some very wet weather to get to Okehampton at the other end of the moor by Wednesday morning to catch the bus to Bude for a business meeting in the Falcon Hotel.

Getting back from Bude was interesting; the bus to Truro (a distance of 53 miles) took 3 hrs 15 mins because it goes on a circuitous route via many small villages and narrow back roads. And there is the problem with rural transport, by trying to serve many small villages it makes the journey unattractive to all but the most determined or desperate. I then had a 50-minute bus journey from Truro to Camborne.

I enjoyed my time on Dartmoor, despite the weather, and it reminded me that we do not need much. I had food and shelter (small tent, sleeping bag and mat, lentils, rice, spices and a stove), all carried on my back, and nature to enjoy. I was happy. Yes, there is more to life than that, but we do not need all the stuff that the marketers of big companies persuade us that we do. And we do not need to keep upgrading to the latest model just because it has a few more bells and whistles which we probably won’t use. My iPhone 6, which I bought second-hand in 2016 when it was two years old, is still going strong and has all the functionality I need and a lot I don’t. I have no interest in upgrading to the iPhone 12 with the fastest chip in a smart­phone (A14 Bionic) an edge-to-edge OLED display, ceramic shield with four times better drop performance and night mode on every camera (3 rear facing and 1 front facing). I suppose night mode is required because by the time you have worked out which camera to use and dropped the phone a few times in the process you have lost the light.

Consumption is driving climate change, the biggest producer of greenhouse gases is China, where most of the stuff we buy is manufactured. There was an interesting article in the Guardian about oil companies knowing about the effect fossil fuels had on climate change years ago but suppressed the information and deliberately produced confused messaging (Climate Crimes). It quotes heavily from the report Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications by Geoffrey Supran, PhD History of Science, Harvard University. I wonder what other companies are keeping secret or misinforming us about. I can imaging some guilty secrets in the food, plastics, pharmaceutical and mining industries.

The benefits of going car free

Number 2Not losing your licence

Because I am not driving a car I do not need to worry about losing my driving licence under the penalty points system. Occasionally, when I need it to prove my identity, not remembering which drawer I put it in is a problem.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Going the distance

On Monday I took a diesel train to St Austell then a diesel bus to the Eden Project to see an electric bus. There was a little more to it than that, it was the launch of the Zero Carbon Tour which will see the bus visiting many towns on the way to COP 26 in Glasgow. There was a small conference at the Eden project to mark the launch with a some people attending in person and others watching the live stream.

Social distancing

This was my first physical event since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a strange experience. With chairs placed 2 metres apart, there was no being squashed sitting between to big people or getting your toes stood on by a latecomer squeezing along the row to get to an empty seat.

Unfortunately, the tour did not get off to a great start. The Yutong electric coach had made the 263 mile journey from London on one recharge, however none of the five charging points in Cornwall suitable for the coach were in working order so getting back to London was going to be a problem. I think this illustrates very effectively that the infrastructure for electric vehicles is totally inadequate. We might be told that charging points are being installed, but what is the point if they do not work?

That is the big problem with using public transport, the gulf between theory and practice is huge.  At St Austell train station there is a big sign proclaiming it to be the “Gateway to the Eden Project”. You try finding any information about which bus goes from the station to the Eden Project and when, it is non- existent. Ironically there were only two of us that travelled to the ‘Green’ conference at the Eden Project by public transport; the others arrived in cars. I met my fellow traveller while he was looking for the stand for the bus to Eden, I’m glad I was able to help. I was full of admiration; he had travelled from the Lizard. Not easy on public transport. He had to leave the conference early to stand any chance of getting home that day; I was lucky I had the option of leaving early or waiting ninety minutes after the conference ended for the next, and last, bus. The Eden Project has a good record on sustainability, but they do not think about timing events so that they match with public transport schedules. Sometimes I have not been able to attend events due to the timing and on other occasions I have had to stay overnight in the onsite eco hotel run by the YHA because the event finished after the last bus had gone. Just like with electric charging we need joined up thinking.

There were two sustainability news items that attracted my attention this week. The first was proper Cornish, being about pasties. A tool’s been developed to measure the carbon footprint of a Cornish pasty. Apparently, a pasty produces around 1.5-2kg of carbon and Cornwall makes about 120 million of them a year contributing about £300 million to the Cornish economy. The bits I found interesting were… “the carbon footprint can be halved if the traditional beef filling is replaced with a vegan or vegetarian alternative” (feeling smug – had three vegan pasties this week). And they found that travelling 500km increased the carbon footprint of a pasty by only 1 per cent, and a long-haul journey of 2,000km saw carbon emissions rise just 5-6 per cent. I have never been a fan of ‘shop local’ and demonising food miles. Shopping local means keeping poverty local; Cornwall needs to export things like pasties and cauliflowers to keep our economy going and it is a similar situation for other areas and countries. It is more about what food is being exported, and how it is produced, rather than the miles it has travelled.  It’s a shame that some Cornish cauliflowers are put on lorries to crawl along the A30 then zip up the M5 to distribution centres only to be loaded onto another lorry to be taken back to Cornwall and supermarket shelves.

The second news item was in the Guardian reporting on a plan to establish an independent Climate Crisis Advisory Group. It will be made up of experts from around the world with the aim of providing the global public with regular analysis about efforts to tackle the global heating and biodiversity crises. That should enable us to hold governments and companies to account and cut through empty promises and greenwashing. Former UK chief scientific adviser Sir David King, who will head the new group, told the Observer, “What we do in the next five years will determine the future of humanity for the next millennium.” I’m starting to feel optimistic.

The benefits of going car free

Number 1 – not having to find a safe space to park your car.

Number 2 next week.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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A lot of hot air

The only times I have been out of the house this week are for my early morning runs and to put the rubbish out for collection, I’m pleased to say that I do this only about every five to six weeks and it is a small bag. The morning runs in the beautiful countryside are a lovely peaceful way to start the day. Unfortunately, towards the end of this week they were disturbed by the clatter of helicopters as they ferried people from Newquay Airport to Carbis Bay for the G7 meeting.

That got me thinking about how big the G7 carbon footprint is with all those helicopters ferrying people about, the big transporter plane bringing in Mr Biden’s helicopters and cars, the heads of government flying in, the big cavalcades, the thousands of police brought in from out of county, the travel of the media circus and lots more. I imagine it has a carbon footprint bigger than many African counties. Is it all worth it? Judging by how countries have delivered on previous promises for me it’s a resounding NO!

If you think back to December 2105 that was when world leaders, about 200 of them met in Paris and made a legally binding agreement to keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C. As you can see from the graph the promises were not enough and even those have not been kept. Since then, we have seen a lot more promises and extraordinarily little action. I think there is only one country that is 1.5C compatible and that is Morocco according to the Climate Action Tracker

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, or, as Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” The Governments sitting around the G7 table are the ones that caused the problem and some of the big greenhouse gas emitters, including the biggest, China, are not at the table. Expecting movement on climate change from the G7 is folly unless we (that is you and I) act. We need to not let governments make promises and not deliver on them. We must hold politicians to account and not be placated by their lies.

You may think lies is a strong word but consider this press release from the Cabinet Office on behalf of Boris Johnston. ‘PM announces new funding for Cornwall to create a G7 legacy for the region’. It went on to say, “New Town Deals for Penzance, St Ives and Camborne will level up these areas, create jobs and drive growth in the long term.” Town deals were announced in 2019 and towns throughout the country were invited to submit bids with detailed plans. Some 90 towns were successful including Penzance, St Ives and Camborne; it has nothing to do with a G7. Unfortunately, this propaganda was widely reported in the press, I like to think they were just being lazy, cutting and pasting from the press release, rather than being actively complicit in spreading government misinformation.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Top deck of the bus and top thoughts

Federation of Small Businesses Cornwall area team meeting

I only had one public transport journey this week and that was a short bus trip to Heartlands for a meeting, my first physical meeting since before Christmas. I still get a thrill from being able to get the front seat on the top deck of the bus. That is something that has lasted from my school days, so for at least 55 years. You get a great view and feel isolated (above) everything around you, a feeling you don’t get on the lower deck or driving a car.

This week was also when Google sent me information about where I had been in May, sadly only Camborne (where I live), Truro and Bude. I had a little play around and created maps for pre-Covid and over the last year.  The pictures tell the story, or as I originally typed yell the story.

Thinking about my carbon footprint, reminded me of a report I had read produced by OXFAM at the end of 2020 about other people’s carbon footprint, CONFRONTING CARBON INEQUALITY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION – Why the European Green Deal must tackle inequality while cutting emissions. The highlights (or should that be low points) are as follows:

• The EU is collectively responsible for 15% of global cumulative consumption emissions – while being home to just 7% of the world’s population.

• The richest 10% of EU citizens were responsible for over a quarter (27%) of these EU emissions, the same amount as the poorest half of the EU population combined.

• The total annual consumption emissions of the poorest 50% of EU citizens fell by 24%, while the emissions of the richest 10% grew by 3%, and of the richest 1% by 5%.

• Today, the richest 10% of EU citizens have a per capita footprint over 10 times higher than the level needed by 2030 for a 1.5C-consistent emissions pathway, while the footprint of the richest 1% is 30 times higher.

The G7 meeting in Cornwall is only a few days away and the COP26 in Scotland a few months away and you may be hopeful that they will reach some good agreements regarding Climate Change. Think again, who do you think has the most influence over the attendees at those meetings? It is the richest 10% particularly the top 1%. Money doesn’t talk, it whispers seductively in the ears of those with the power.

If we want to tackle climate change it is up to people like you and me to work very hard, shout a lot and drown those whispers out.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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Another tale of two bus trips

Bude canal at sunset

On Thursday I was looking forward to my first physical networking event since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was taking place outside at the Jubilee Sea Pool in Penzance, the weather was bright and sunny and the first bus out of Camborne would get me to Penzance with time to walk to the sea pool and be there in time for the 8.00 am start. Ideal. Unfortunately, when the driver started the bus to get it out of the garage a hose came off and coolant spewed everywhere, and I was going nowhere; the next Penzance bound bus would be the one returning from Truro and would get me there after the meeting finished.  I walked home in the sunshine dejected.

My next trip was on Saturday to see my daughter in Bude, first time since September. Bude is a bit of a mission to get to from Camborne by public transport, it takes about five and a half hours if all goes well. To make life easier I took the bus to Truro (no loss of coolant) and collected a car club car I had booked a few weeks ago with Co Cars. I love driving so it was great to be back in a car (self-charging hybrid); the last time was just over 8 months ago. Getting onto the A30 from Truro was a pain due to all the holiday traffic; however, once I was passed the pinch point at Carland Cross it was a case of summertime and the driving was easy. I cannot even begin to describe what a joy it was to hug my daughter once I arrived in Bude.

We sat on her new patio in the sun chatting then went for a walk along the Bude canal before having supper in the Olive Tree restaurant. Simple pleasures denied to us for a long time. I stayed overnight, again something we haven’t be able to do for some time, then drove back to Truro. I noticed lots of temporary signs on the A30 saying “for Truro and West Cornwall stay on the A30, ignore SatNav, local roads unsuitable for holiday traffic”. That’s true, to use the back roads you need to know the size of your car very well, be able to reverse and expect to see a tractor around the corner or cows and sheep and drive accordingly. It did worry me that before the turning for the major road to Truro there were no signs saying ‘you can trust your SatNav now‘. I have vision of thousands of motorists stuck right down in West Cornwall having ignored their SatNav saying, “at the roundabout take the second exit” and later “turn around when possible”.

Cornwall’s poor transport infrastructure might explain why the G7 summit is being held in Carbis Bay; that and perhaps that the Carbis Hotel owner is a mate of someone. It’s going to be exceedingly difficult for protesters to get there, the government leaders and their entourages are okay, they are flying into Newquay airport and then being taken to Carbis Bay by helicopter.

You can tell world leaders that you want a better world, without heading to Cornwall and waving a placard or gluing yourself to something, by joining the Wave of Hope campaign being organised by the Crack the Crisis.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport is expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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A tale of two bus trips

Yippee I have some public transport journeys to talk about. On Friday I decided to escape my home office and spend the morning working in a café, so I took the bus to the Red River Café which is on the Heartlands mining heritage site. Walking to Camborne bus station it was good to see more people out shopping. Given that it was raining and cold the amount of people was probably back at pre-Covid levels and the number of passengers on the bus was more than I expected. They have now removed the social distancing tape from all the seats except for ones that face each other. Capacity has been increased from 50% to 80%. It was lovely being back working on my laptop in a different environment. I know the manager of the conference centre on the site and when she came into the café she came over and sat with me for a chat. I was good to have a catch-up. The only fly in the ointment (or chardonnay if you are an Alanis Morissette fan) was that, like a lot of of places in Cornwall, the Red River Café is struggling to find a chef, which meant I could not have my usual vegan breakfast.

On Saturday I took the first bus to Penzance to help with the Classic Quarter race, a run from Lizard Point (the most southerly point in mainland UK) and Land’s End (the most westerly point) hence the name – one quarter of the compass. It was raining when I left Camborne, I waited across the road sheltering until the bus was due then crossed to the bus stop. That bus is always late, with very light traffic it makes good time and has to wait at various points on the way yo Penzance not to be early so the driver takes the opportunity to have an extra cup of tea at the bus station which is a few stops before where I wait when going west. Just occasionally the bus is on time (presumably the driver on those days doesn’t like tea) so you have to be at the bus stop on time. That meant standing in the rain for 5 minutes on Saturday.

That gave me time to think about bus shelters. The one I waited in on Friday, for the bus back from the café, was as effective as a chocolate fireguard. It faces into the prevailing wind and the open design means there is no protection, so you get wet and cold in bad weather. I would like to think that this is just lack of thought; however, I think the shelters are paid for, at least in part, by adverting companies and the ads are perfectly displayed to be seen by passing motorists.

When I arrived in Penzance the rain had stopped, and as I was early, I had a wander around. There were a lot of people with luggage walking towards the harbour, or being dropped off there by taxi, for a trip on the Scillonian Ferry and the start of their holidays on the Isles of Scilly. The wind was still blustery; it wasn’t going to be a pleasant crossing.

When I left Penzance at four in the afternoon the sun had been out for a long time and I was a little sunburnt.

St Michael’s Mount

The big transport news this week was the policy paper presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Transport by Command of Her Majesty ‘Great British Railways: Williams-Shapps plan for rail’. Having read through the 100 main pages of the report and reached the photo on page 111 of the railways disappearing into the sunset (the image description describes it is a sunrise) I cannot help thinking it is rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.  The report says fares need to be simplified then mentions plans to introduce new tickets for commuters who only travel into work 2 or 3 days a week, apparently it will not help those working only one day a week at home.  “A greater range of book-ahead tickets will be offered. These will help to end the sudden cliffs in prices that passengers can encounter at different times of day”.

Here is a novel idea why not just have one price that offers value for money. When you go into a supermarket to buy Cornflakes you don’t pay a different price if you buy them every week rather than only every few months. And there is not a graded reduction in prices depending on how much advance notice you give the petrol station that you are going to visit.

Rather than use price to manage demand, manage it in other ways, increased train capacity, creating more local jobs, promoting flexible working times to spread peak hours and working from home.

A little ask

Writing and report reading is thirsty work, as is environmental campaigning and using public transport expensive. If you would like to buy me a beer or a coffee, you can via this link – buy me a coffee.

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