Archive | January, 2016

Trainspotters meaning

I am reading a book – Platform Souls ‘Trainspotter as 20th Century Hero” by Nicholas Whittaker

Whittaker was a train-spotter when growing up in the 1960s. He tells of his fascination in watching steam trains and also how the decline of the railways and steam, completely changed the view of train-spotters, from a young hip hobby – to be the butt of jokes, eventually immortalised in a film about heroin addicts.

A train-spotter is defined as:
“A person who collects train numbers as a hobby.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, train-spotting was a very popular hobby for British boys who would stand on platform edges to catch the huge range of steam engines that were working the British railway system.
Train-spotting was very much the ‘FIFA football’ (or ‘Call of Duty’) of the 1950s. It was cool, and thousands of young children would spend much of their spare time hoping to get glimpses of the steam trains, passing through. It was also a little risky, with the eager train-spotter, sometimes ‘bunking’ railway sheds to catch the numbers of engines in their sheds. Train-spotters were tolerated, if not encouraged by the train authorities.
However by the early 1970s steam trains had disappeared from British railways, to be replaced by more modern, less charismatic, air-conditioned, safety-conscious mass produced trains. The decline of the romance of the railways also changed the view of train-spotters. Trainspotter jokes soon became a staple of society. This once popular hobby, has come to mean something very different. In fact ‘train-spotter’, now almost universally creates a derogatory image of a lone, anoraked, socially deficient loser, who hasn’t anything better to do.

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Magdalen college photos

It is a cold and wet January, but sometimes when the sun comes out, you can get some good photos.


I was cycling back home at around 4.00pm and a few rays of a late winter sun, hit the light stonework of Magdalen College and Magdalen Tower. Continue Reading →


A belated New Year resolution

I didn’t make any New Year resolutions. Very bad.

So I will make a belated resolution. To spend less time reading rubbish on the internet. I wrote an article here: managing life with internet.

As an economist, I often read articles on economics at papers like the Guardian and Independent. In one sense they are free, but the cost is that your eyes often get drawn to reading the useless comments at the bottom of the articles. In the old days, these comments were more carefully thought about, selected and the best published as letters to the editor. – And I rarely read letters to the editor, because they weren’t very good anyway.  So why have I spent time reading things that only give a mild sense of frustration?

I like this page – don’t read the comments. Three of my favourites.

“The problem with internet comments is that you can never really know who’s saying them.”

— Winston Churchill

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Clip from British Time Trial Championship 2015

In 2015, I entered the British Time Trial Championship. It was really expensive and awkward to enter.

Usually I do time trials governed by Cycling Time Trials, a UK body. But, this race came under UCI rules – the International cycling body have strict rules about size and shape of bike parts.

I had to spend £400 on a UCI fork and UCI compliant aerobars, to make my bike “UCI legal” Continue Reading →


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