Tonight’s joy of strangers harrassing me.

I get on train plenty of time. Walk all way to front to avoid people.

Put headphones on and was in middle of registering for smartcard when saw man gesturing.

He was drunk and had Burger King bags and his girlfriend. Clearly wanted the 4 facing seats where I was.

A minute later he’s sat on the 5 flip-up seats nearby with her. I notice him looking at me for some reason.

I get my stuff together and walk to front of train. Stand in the vestibule.

They take the seats.

I don’t know why I attract grief and people like that. I wasn’t doing harm to anyone. I’m tired after working and had a bag of food shopping. It was nice for a few minutes to be comfortable.

Generally I find that people have to harass me. I don’t understand it. I don’t look for it. I don’t look at people commmunicate with people if possible.

Icing on cake was a twitter follower thinking it was fucking funny. Unfollowed and blocked. I take enough shit from people.

I’m admittedly not in good spirits, not feeling very good. 

My elderly father is in hospital and I’ve had a hell of a time getting up and back to visit him. A Paisley bound bus deliberately didn’t display correct destination and left me and others standing best part of an hour last night. Very much could have done without that.

So, I was tired this morning, tired tonight and just wanting peace and left alone.

Sometimes I do despair. 

Sometimes I want to beat people’s heads in until they are bloody. 

That’s why I walked to the front of the train. I considered walking back to the man and woman a number of times as I was angry and frustrated at being hounded.

Sense holds me and stops me from that as I can’t lose my job, my kids, my life over people that are ignorant lie life scum.

As usual between Glasgow and Paisley, no conductor visible, no one to say I was harassed out the seat.

I have no idea what pleasure people get from that. I can only hope that they die an unpleasant long slow death one day. Hopefully soon.

Anyway back on with the living stuff.

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Rambled musings

Days and hours flow, moments change into others

Time passes, minutes fly, hours drag.

Things get done, sometimes by being avoided.

The time works onward. Light comes in and it fades again.

Being and doing, sensing it all.

Focus and out of focus, it all come in.

Wind, movement, noise, speech, brightness 

All to process and adjust for.

Sometimes rightly sometimes wrongly.

Does it make sense? Did it have to?
I see myself, in mirrors, I look and look at myself

Is that me? Aged and fatter and grey.

It doesn’t match inside my head

My vision of me, not him.

The lines on the face, the eyes, the hair

Details and a life all shown there.

But mine? 

Not the thoughts that sore, not the crush of feeling and memory. 

Not the heartbreaks and disasters, not the little wins.

Doesn’t show the goodness and the hope and the..

But it’s there and it’s rounded and broken up by that nose

It’s shows no energy, no vitality.

The smile is offset and squeezed and doesn’t look right.

It doesn’t carry the lightness and deftness of thought.

Of the inside speed of thought and slowness of tongue.

It’s the face I see, the one I have, it looks at me.

I raise an eyebrow, puff up the cheeks.

Always end up at the eyes and the colour and the shine.

It lifts the rest of the face, but shows it’s own story

I rub my face, hands in hair. I look at the screen.

Sometimes the reflection, othertimes just that light.

What can I say here, what can I type? 

How do I be clever or funny?

What do I say? How I feel?

What words mean empty?

How do you express the pit of the stomach.

The sighs that aren’t sighs, the air that’s blown outwards?

The dreams, the hopes and wishes.

The desire to be friendly, to get to know.

Wanting to understand and see and get the point 

Wanting to hear and experience.

She’s had many forms, a girl, a women.

Many ages and hair colours and figures and shapes.

Dresses and trousers and colours of tops or blouses.

Hair blonde or brown or black or red

Eyes blue or green or brown.

Arms long or short and hands and fingers.

She doesn’t exist, or maybe she does and is and has been 

I imagine the touch gentle, the words soft and knowing.

Perfect and right and just so.

Knowing me and giving me hope and courage.

The mistakes to come, the time forgotten, the minutes passed.

Holding me, wanting nothing, understanding.

I drift off to see her, a dream, a memory.

A sunny day with just a breeze.

Not thing wrong in the world and no distractions.

I wake and I don’t remember. I don’t see the face.

I don’t know the detail or the where and how or anything said.

It’s just there. It’s unconscious thought and dreams

HLOS SoFA and a bi-mode future?

July 20 was the deadline date for the UK and Scottish Governments publishing their HLOS  (High Level Output Specification) and SoFA (Statement of Funds Availible) for the next railway control period (CP6) between 2019 and 2024.

Neither government produced what was expected. 

The outputs specified by the Scottish Ministers were generic but highlighted failures by Network Rail in project delivery, project management and overview and the ability to deliver as promised and on time. 

The Scottish Ministers also took NR to task on asset knowledge and gauging of lines for different types of trains. The gist being that there’s nowhere near enough knowledge and resource on the Scottish network. 

Scottish HLOS
It’s on Transport Scotland website under ‘publications’.

At the time of publication of this HLOS, the UK Government has advised the Scottish Ministers of its intention to change the basis of funding for Network Rail in CP6, but the first formal proposals about how these new funding arrangements will work in Scotland were not received from the UK Government until the evening before the publication deadline of 20 July 2017. This has not left time for prudent consideration and the necessary negotiations to confirm satisfactory arrangements. Therefore, it is not possible for the Scottish Ministers to publish a Statement of Funds Available at the same time as this HLOS.

The final paragraphs indicates a fundamental change is coming to the way Railway Projects are funded and that there is a further reform or announcement to come.

The DfT published a screed of information together with the HLOS for England and Wales. 

Documents on Bi-mode trains, the East Midlands Franchise renewals and new instructions for the ORR as regulator. 

The ORR instructions were detailed requests for a new way to oversee the maintenance of the railway and to place measures of activity and measures to oversee issue flagged by passenger focus as the consumer or travellers champion. It takes the railways of England and Wales closer to the Scottish SQUIRE regime.

The trumpeting of bi-mode effectively curtails further electrification of the network in England and Wales after existing projects are concluded. 

This is the result of delays increased costs and other issues in electrifying the Great Western Route. Further extension from Cardiff to Swansea is  ruled out. The Midland Mainline to Sheffield will see bi-mode trains and revised Service patterns 

We are unlikely to see the transpennine routes electrified further and It means further electrification of freight routes are unlikely.

Overall it means that once the SoFA for England and Wales is produced in October that Scotland’s SoFA will be proportionately affected.

The EGIP project was a matter I was going to blog about and particularly in terms of appearances by the Network Rail chief at a recent Scottish Parliament meeting. 

The feeling that I had was that EGIP has spiralled away in timescale and cost despite items being removed. 

A significant factor is the SDA project for the Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa section of Electrification being a different team to the ‘main job’. 

We were told of a limited service initially over EGIP but it looks more likely that October 2017 will see a bigger introduction of the class 385 units.

The potential for cascading diesel units in Scotland can then be realised.

The other Scotrail Big Bang of the HST’s from Glasgow and Edinburgh northwards now seems wise. Refurbishing the carriages has been done effectively elsewhere and the engines have already been renewed, although further modernisation will be welcome.

Bi-mode will come soon, the Hitatchi produced Class 800 units are regularly under test, production is progressing. It’s easy to say it’s unproven but they have run on Diesel and under the wires regularly. 

It’s not likely that squadron service will see any failure. England and Wales will see the trains improve the offer on mainline routes.

The Midland Mainline is likely to follow with new bi-mode trainsets and for services into the Lake District, refurbished class 319 sets are most likely to operate.

Dirty Diesel remains the issue in terms of Bi-mode. It’s an environmental issue, it’s an efficiency issue as the Diesel tanks and engines are carried under the wires. 

In fairness, the Diesel capacity means units aren’t stranded if there’s a failure and it adds options to routes that are partially electrified.

Long term, bi-modes could use stored electricity batteries or hydrogen power cells as greener and cleaner power off the wires. That technology is progressing and longer term it could deliver a solution.

Politically, it removes cost of wiring up routes, perhaps transferring costs to the rail franchises and the rolling stock ownership companies. 

It maybe takes out investment from the infrastructure and whilst the DfT talk of improving signalling and the physical routes for linespeeds, Electrification ensures that it happens. 

The monitoring and oversight of improvements by Government and Network Rail will need a continual oversight and whilst the ORR and Commons Transport Committees can do so, the travelling public has a role in questioning progress.

Successive Westminster administrations have dodged investment in electrification and a move to bi-mode could be another one.

Whether Scotland follows Westminster and the DfT is questionable, the HLOS is clear in its ambition of further electrication and further reopenings through the investment pipeline. 

We don’t yet fully know what the pipeline is. I assume the idea remains of electrifying north of Dunblane, initially to Perth, if not Dundee through progressive electrification. 

It’s a guess that East Kilbride would benefit from improved infrastructure, electrification and more services. 

The North Commuter line might benefit as an infill scheme and offers operational advantages in removing stock from Queen Street.

In conclusion, it’s a switch in investment priorities in England and Wales. It’s uncertainty for Scotland. It’s a post brexit effect, questions on questions until October and the final knowledge of what will happen to Network Rail 

Having a bubble.

I’m having a tear in my eyes. I’m bubbling. I did what I needed to do today and now I’m indulging myself with a cry.

I don’t often indulge myself, as the years have went on I’ve realised my dreams in my youth and twenties wouldn’t be realised. I wouldn’t have the perfect true relationship, I wouldn’t have the life I wanted.

So, things change to here and now, little need for regret or wishes.

Practicality. What next. What’s to do? I keep going. There’s not much philosophy behind it. It’s a steady will not to give in, not to be beaten. 

I used to say ‘broken’ but, that’s sort of wrong. I’m can take a lot of emotional punishment, but I still hurt. 

The ‘bulletproof vest’ might have dents and marks but it still works. I don’t take it off, slow to engage, slow to trust, hard to get past the outside.

I do care, maybe I never show it. I do feel and hurt the same as others. 

I’ve taken a real emotional going over with the last year. I’ve had so much to contend with. I’ve plowed on.

Alone. No one with me, no one there for me as friend or family.

My family are my kids. They are my world and my everything.

I enjoyed being with them today. Had a good day, but at days end, it’s me and a screen. 

I take comfort from ‘online friends’, I know they are real/not real, I know it’s a link to the world I wouldn’t have otherwise, i know it’s not the same as a phone call or a text or a chat. 

I bubble and cry from feelings and mood and loneliness. 

I miss touch and feel and contact and nearness. At same time I can be awful at that, cold to those near me that need it.

I try very hard with the kids and to be at their level. I’m maybe different as ‘dad’ to ‘me’, I don’t have the skill set to do that as a friend or more.

I don’t think there’s a fairytale female figure who’s like me and understands and is my age and the right fit. The person that could pick me up, fix my dents, make me happy.

I don’t want meaningless contact with people, I don’t want to push myself into looking for someone or someone that doesn’t probably exist.

Deep under it all, I’m a soppy romantic and I think of soulmates and that sort of instinctive love. It may well be s product of fictional movies and merely just a writer ‘s creation. I guess I’d rather believe in it than not.

So, a soft core with a hard outer shell, older, weathered, grounded and real. Bubbling for could have been different and I wish I could.

Tomorrow, I rise again. Do what I need to do. Be ‘dad’, be me. 

I advise myself that time heals, hurt is temporary. Nothing is always forever and things change and move on. I know my cod psychology and my motivators and stressors and my impacts and to tread lightly as everyone has something going on.

It’s not unfair. It’s not just me. It’s not my fault, it’s not all for me to ‘own’ or be responsible for.

But right now, I’m not the self actualised Warror or Wizard figure. I’m the Orphan just needing to have that time to be hurt and to process it. 

I’ll be fine, always am. Right now just isn’t that moment though.

Being Frightened of a word.

I’m 44, I nudge 6’0″, I don’t drink much alcohol and I stopped smoking last year. 

My issue is that I’ve gotten fat.

The word I’m avoiding is Jacamo, it sells clothes for men in bigger sizes. They’re good at what they do and if I must, I will.

I’m at size 40 waist for trousers and some shops do that, most supermarkets do, but not always.  I wore the arses out of several pairs of jeans this year. That ought to have been a warning.

So I’m trying to reign myself in. Less sugary soft drinks and less biscuity treats for breakfast. 

I’m cutting down, trying to be more sensible and trying just to stop a bit of the rot.

I’ve been juggling things in terms of stress with a lot going on and whilst I can cope a bit more now, I need to look at what I’m eating and just to give myself enough of a break from what I was doing. 

If there’s an aim it’s just to not get worse and to get just to be size 38. 

So, is it sensible, can I do it? Probably. Not eating what I like is boring. I’ll need to try and keep myself motivated. 

To work, it’s weeks and months, I can’t be silly and think temporary fixes but knowing that it’s time just to be a little more sensible a day at a time.

Mood affects eating, I know that. Some comforts help, but it all adds up and I’ve went too far. What else can I do.

Doctor Who: Thirteenth Doctor


So, we have a new Doctor. A Time Lady.

Good luck to Jodie Whittaker.

I have no problem on it being a female doctor. We have had 12 white men in a row. 

We’ve crossed off gender as an issue, but colour will there in future and whilst we can bang on about equality and diversity, it’s important to remember that it’s still a human actor playing an Alien. 

The character is a 2000 odd year old Gallifreyan Time Lord that travels in a box craft in Time and Space, so where do you draw the line?

‘The line’ if there is one is subject to the society and times we lived in and Doctor Who has always reflected the age it is set in. It reflected the sixties, seventies and eighties in the original run. The NuWho so far has reflected our times too.

So, in 2017, a woman as the Doctor?

It’s about time, possibly overdue but,  Eccleston, Tennant, Smith and Capaldi all were excellent in the role and there’s no reason Whittaker won’t be too.

We have a new Doctor, yes she’s The Doctor. 

Importantly, we have a new showrunner and lead writer and the show will go under a different path under Chris Chibnall. 

We suppose on a slightly different format with a move away from ‘monster of the week’ to a more serialised nature with a longer arc and more depth. 

A ‘writer’s room’ format has been mentioned and that’s different from Moffat outlining the series and looking to commission scripts from outlines provided by writers.  

It’s a different method and format and if a linked twelve part story it suggests a different vision and way of production too. The filming blocks of previous series might change and the run of directors over two or three episodes will change too.

Chibnall’s Who will therefore be different from the Davies and Moffat eras. 

Moffat had delivered a fine series ten with Capaldi and Mackie delivering great performances over the series.

Series Eleven brings much to look forward to, but much in way of change too as a run or event television and in terms of establishing an Audience in the UK again. 

The quality of Moffat’s time can’t be faulted but for the BBC and others, viewing figures are key and the show has had difficulties in recent years against the ITV Saturday lineups. 

Iplayer adds significant numbers to viewers, but the figures need a boost, the Doctor needs re-established as something ‘must-see’ and have the ‘viral’ viewing in the way Broadchurch had. 

Binge Watching on the internet providers has changed television and we may see changed philosophy on how the show is marketed and distributed whether it’s next episode available after first had broadcast or  giving a partner see first rights.

So, much will change but, The Doctor is The Doctor and we have much to look forward to after The Twelfth Doctor regenerates.

So I get an email

I got my latest email from The National Autistic Society on social groups etc. It advised of a new volunteer and gave some information on them.

I had to email back saying thanks for information but can you take me off mailing list.

Probably seems petty, but I hadn’t been to any of the social groups in a while and the PIP stuff just made me want to give up on it all and I have. 

I also got annoyed at the venue change. An event by a local MP put paid to using a comfortable venue in a coffee shop. The shop were happy to have us, but not for us to have the exclusive use of the room. 

The new venue wasn’t as nice as it was where the wake for my mums funeral was and I found that difficult.

I also became more uncomfortable with people as they didn’t work and weren’t subject to the daily stress of work and my parenting commitments. 

It was good meeting autistic people and I learned a lot, but ultimately I guess I just wasn’t comfortable.

Timing wasn’t ideal as I had my daughter every second Friday and even when I could make it, I felt I had to help with the other kids and stuff.

The PIP decision means I’m not as ‘disabled’ as them, I don’t qualify for any of the discounts they get on things and I don’t really get the support they receive either.

NAS was initially introduced to me as ‘they’re gonna help’, but after two afternoons talking to and giving details to them, I  realised I couldn’t afford a fee for an organised social group (£60) that meet up and do things.

I wasn’t made aware in any way other than being told by other people about a ‘secret group’ of autistic people that work in Glasgow. When I tried to say hello one day, they were in a back room of a venue and I had no way of guessing that.

I haven’t had any meaningful help or support from NAS. I stopped following on twitter a long time back and I rarely support their campaigns now.

NAS may provide a service for kids, but as a late diagnosed adult, that also doesn’t qualify as Disabled, they really did nothing for me.

It’s another element to my estrangement with aspergers and autism. If I want social contact, I’ll need to learn again how to do so with people that I think I can trust. I’m a long way off doing that.

For now, I’ll swerve anything to do with NAS.