The fight to get home from Oggcamp 2019

I don’t do Public Transport!

West Midlands Trains

I’d heard that parking in Manchester was not only a nightmare and that you would have to sell your children into slavery to pay the parking fee for a few hours so with that in mind I decided to use the train. Now to get to Manchester by car from my house

takes around an hour and a half so long as you stick within the speed limit. My train was set to eat two and a half hours from my lifes timeline, but I felt it was a small price to pay given I was only going to do one day of a two-day event.

My journey to Oggcamp started at 6.55 am the train took me to Birmingham New Street, where I was due to change for the onward train to Manchester, on the way up to Birmingham, we stopped at Wolverhampton train station. My connection was on-time, and I made myself as comfortable as possible in my reserved seat. To my horror, a rather large gentleman poured himself into the seat next to me and mine if truth be told. We set off heading back the way we came and just for the fun of it and to wind me up a little our first stop was, yes, you guessed it, Wolverhampton train station. I could see the next two hours were going to be a bundle of joy as I tried to look at my phone while feeling that I was confined in an invisible straight jacket if only that were the extent of my problems. Mr Creosote decided that after consuming his breakfast which he had brought on board, it was now time to have a little sleep. “What’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Mr Creosote promptly started to snore like farmer Giles’s prized Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. Two hours later, frazzled we arrived in Manchester Mr Creosote had been kind enough to wake up in Macclesfield just enough time for my bladder to fill to bursting along with my fit to burst brain after all that snoring. Oh, and I forgot to mention the lad opposite who while sat underneath a sign saying “Please be considerate to those around you” played videos of South Park amongst other things at full volume on his phone. Never heard of headphones arsehole?

Oggcamp 2019I’m not going to do a review of my time at Oggcamp, suffice to say, I had a brilliant time, didn’t attend any talks just spent my time talking to as many of my friends from the FOSS community as possible.

My journey back was due to start at 18.35 now I already knew I had to catch four trains and that The Pond Gods had to be with me for there not to be any problems but looking at the time gaps between connections it didn’t look too dangerous. I was due to change at Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Rugeley Trent Valley. Oh, how wrong was I? My first train left Manchester on time, and we headed for my first change at Stoke-on-Trent; this was the 19.26 which I would change at Stafford. I got off and looked on the board: “Where’s my connection?” I thought, I finally found a Virgin Rail guy but get this, he was too busy to talk to me! What the actual F? Now there were police on the platform and guys in uniform with football badges on. “What’s the matter, mate?” said one of the black-clad guys hanging around with the rozzers. “I’m trying to find my connection to Stafford, but I can’t see it on the information board. “It has been delayed mate; it’ll be in after the Derby train.” What? That train isn’t due in for another 20 minutes! I’ll never make Stafford in time. “What’s the problem, what’s with all the police?” I said. “It’s the Stoke vs Fulham match.” bloody football! You’ve dropped me right in it you bunch of twats. Finally, my train arrived, and a totally fed-up female guard apologised to every passenger that boarded the train. Now while that was nice, it didn’t help me. I showed my eTicket, and she said that there was no way I would make my connection at Stafford. Given the train would stop at, wait for it, WOLVERHAMPTON. I told her that I intended to stay on the train and get off at Wolverhampton and try and catch a bus home to which she replied “It’s up to you.” shrugged her shoulders and scurried off to apologise to more passengers further down the carriage. My favourite part of that journey was the guy wandering up and down the aisle clutching his can of lager; I wasn’t a bit intimidated, was I?

I got off at Wolverhampton ready to have a slanging match with the ticket collector “Oi mate, your ticket isn’t for here.” Only to discover you could walk freely in and out of the station without anyone making any checks whatsoever. The bus station is just across a walkway. I was on home ground as such, so at least knew where I was going; however, it was now very dark and all the ‘night people’ were out. Making my way past the ten or eleven lads jostling each other and any other member of the public who got too close, I went to see if there was a bus to where I live. Damn, the next bus was in forty minutes and to be honest I wanted out of the bus station as quick as possible. My next option and a step closer to home would be to get myself to Walsall luckily there was the 529 in about five minutes.

Sure enough, the bus pulled up at the bay, and we all got on. We soon set off, and as we drove off down the road, nobody had bothered to shut the windows on this motorised ice-box, and people were sat right underneath them! What is the matter with people? Were they scared to close them? I pulled my hoodie over my head now fitting in well with the bus clientele when a guy got on clutching a kebab and staggering toward the empty seat next to me. Oh, fooking great! I’m having the journey from hell, and now you show up. Great, that’s just fantastic. Mr Pisshead promptly started eating and spilling his kebab in pretty much equal measures, I have to admit, it was quite mesmerising watching a length of kebab meat slide down the side of his thigh leaving a beautiful trail of chilli sauce that to all intents and purposes made it look like someone had knifed him in the leg. Fortunately, he got off, and I lept out of my seat slamming the open windows shut with as loud a bang as possible to dissuade anyone from saying “Why you shut them then?” After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived in Walsall.

It was now well after 9 pm, and I went to queue up for the bus that would take me home. The 31 came after about a ten-minute wait, and off we set homeward bound. I bet you are thinking “Phew.” aren’t you? Even though I literally had a ten-minute journey, there was still enough time for Loki to have one last trick up his sleeve. Three stops down and what appeared to be an 80-year-old cloth capped drunken Fred Astaire danced onto the bus. Not content with tripping the light fantastic past several passengers he then sat next to a poor girl in front of me and proceeded to break into Club Style singing stopping every now and then to say “You don’t mind do you? I don’t know any young peoples songs.” you don’t know any old peoples songs I thought. Finally, I arrived at my stop and breathed a sigh of relief as the doors closed behind me.

Every time I use public transport, it reinforces my view that the privacy of one’s own car can never be replaced by peasant transport.

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Policy Manifesto

Given we’re likely to have a General Election soon I’m considering forming my own party and so with that in mind I’ve roughed out some bare bones of a manifesto. Obviously, I need a catchy name but I can’t think of one for the minute.

[Some rousing preface]
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

#Country Name
The titles United Kingdom and UK are to be abolished. This country is united and therefore does not need to reaffirm that statement in how it refers to itself and to the rest of the world or how the rest of the world refers to this country. From now on Great Britain, GB or The British Isles will be the correct form of address both internally and externally.

#Seat of Government
Given that there has long been animosity throughout Great Britain as to the government being based in the south, namely London, it is proposed we move the House of Commons to Calderstones near Whalley, Lancashire grid reference SD7232136671 this being listed as the centre of the British Isles excluding all islands other than Great Britain itself. This should irradicate the centuries-old complaints of the North/South divide. It should also be noted that a good proportion of the population of Great Britain was/is willing to cede authority to the European Union or more specifically the EU Parliament based in Brussels and so with that in mind there should be no complaints or resistance from those who profess to hold no value in sovereignty.

#The Royal Family
We would keep the institution of The Royal Family. However, we would investigate the option to scale back those members entitled to royal privileges and the privy purse. Titles will be limited to King, Queen, Prince and Princess. (See Titles) We would also investigate the options of Kings and Queens being voted into position rather than hereditary transfer of title. The head of state has an important part to play not only in Great Britain but also the world at Large (See Commonwealth) it is proposed to re-instate a Yacht, Train and Flight. These tools are of great value to this country not only in projecting an image but also in terms of providing our country with a physical place of work when dealing with other nations around the world. To ensure ‘value for money’ on these assets, the Yacht, Train and Plane will be made available to the Prime Minister, Foreign and Trade offices along with selected members of the Royal Family.

#Titles
It is proposed we abolish titles: While this nation is steeped in history and tradition stretching back over two thousand years it is becoming increasingly obvious ‘Titles’ are an archaeon institution that no longer benefits the nation. Therefore we will abolish everything from Knighthoods (Sir) through to Dukes, including the titles of Lady and Dame. As stated before, there will only be the title of King, Queen, Prince and Princess.

#Medals & Awards
All references to the former British Empire will be either abolished or renamed, therefore, for example, OBE (Order of the British Empire) and MBE (Member of the British Empire)  will either be abolished or renamed to something like OBC (Order of the British Commonwealth) MBC (Member of the British Commonwealth)

#The Britsh Commonwealth
We will expand our involvement and commitment to the Commonwealth it will be raised to the level of a full partner in relation to the British isles. Commonwealth members will have favourable trade, passport and residential status with and within Great Britain. The Queen or King will remain The Head of the Commonwealth and will continue to encourage mutual assistance in all members growth and prosperity along with promoting membership around the world by entertaining and meeting foreign leaders aboard the various transportation tools provided by this country.

#Former United Kingdom
We will investigate the possibility of holding a LAST & FINAL referendum on the independence of Scotland and Wales. This nation as a whole is tired of the constant threat of self-determination raised by a small element of those areas of Britain’s politicians which we believe does not represent the wishes of all the inhabitants of Scotland and Wales. While we feel the titles of Scotland & Wales should remain as indicators of areas of this nation, we also believe there should be a level of self-governance. We feel that as a nation there is only one way forward and that is as a whole and therefore, should a referendum be held and should that decision be to remain part of Great Britain we would seek to implement legislation that would make any future proposal to implement ‘self-determination’ not only illegal but treasonable too!

#Northern Ireland
Ideally, we would be happy to see a united Ireland; however there is no evidence that the safety of Protestant or English residents of Northern Ireland will be assured in perpetuity. We have no desire to keep troops and security forces stationed in Northern Ireland; it is not about holding on to that territory with a military force it is a fact we have little to no choice but to protect those who would most surely come to harm if we withdrew that protection.

#Judicery
It has become obvious the whole legal system in this country needs overhauling from the Judges down to the Police officer. We will investigate where efficiencies can be improved, waste and poor service irradicated or corrected. We will also look at how appointments are made and also debate:”Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Who guards the guards. Does the government run the country or the courts?

#Armed forces
After years of cut backs, we feel that a strong navy to protect our seaborne trade is essential. We will also require additional vessels to meet our commitments with our Commonwealth partners and disaster relief aid around the world. Our Airforce will also require enhancement due to the increased need to protect our borders and transportation of military personal to locations around the world requiring our assistance. Finally, we will look at our ground forces levels to ensure we meet our current commitments and any potential operations that may arise.

#NHS
We will look to break up the NHS. The core features such as Consultants, Doctors, nurses, porters and ancillary staff will remain National Health service as well as hospitals, theatres and surgeons however where possible services such as Xray, Ambulance, Catering, Physio, for example, will be privatised these services will be purchased by the NHS but under strict penalty contracts in the event of failure to meet agreed levels of service and staffing. We will mount an aggressive campaign to recruit more GP’s and build dedicated health centres with their own contingent of practice nurses and out patient services in an effort to relieve the pressure on hospitals. Waiting times to see family doctors is totally unacceptable. Any GP practice that does not provide reserved slots pre 9 am and after 5 pm for ‘working’ patients will be fined. No patient is to wait longer than two days to see a GP. We will also look at Dental patient services to see where improvements can be made for the patient.

#Welfare Services
Successive governments have tinkered with the British welfare system over the years; we propose to make definitive and long term changes to how help is awarded, implemented, managed and maintained or withdrawn. We will reintroduce ‘means testing’ which while that title has a stigma and abhorrence attached to it we will ensure that it is implemented in a humane and understanding manner and will be so designed as to ensure only those with no other recourse are accepted.

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