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After a reflective weekend I’m back into the fray with a vengeance. I’ve been playing catch-up with editing last weeks rail and travel pictures to get them up on my Zenfolio website, which happened this morning. If you follow this link, you can see which galleries have been updated with new images. Here’s a couple of samples to whet your appetites. Anyone passing through the Calder Valley by train will probably have looked up at the hills above Todmorden and noticed Stoodley Pike plus the monument atop it. This was completed in 1856 and replaced an earlier one that was constructed to commemorate the end of the Napoleonic wars. 121 feet tall, it has an observation deck 41ft above ground that’s reached by internal stairs. It looks impressive from a distance, but it’s even more so close up. I can’t imagine what it must have been like as one of the people trying to build such a structure in such a windswept and desolate place with the tools available at the time.

Seen from the balcony of Stoodley Pike, a new Northern Class 195 makes its way across Lobb Mill viaduct outside Todmorden as it heads from Huddersfield to Blackpool North.

That done, I’ve been busy sorting out other pictures for a couple of clients as well as trying to prepare for the week ahead. It’s a busy week as I’ve got a lot of travelling to do, catching up with the ever-changing rail scene as the introduction of new fleets ramps up and the withdrawal of old trains escalates as a consequence. There’s some major changes happening out there at the moment and that’s going to continue for some time. I’ve also a blog on the Trans-Pennine route upgrade to update after attending a Network Rail consultation over the weekend as I’ve a lot of new information to add.

As if that wasn’t enough I’ve got to dust off my ‘penguin suit’ ready for Thursday’s National Rail Awards in London.

After working as the event photographer between 2003 and 2017 I’ve been honoured to be a VIP guest for the past few years along with my wife, Dawn. Now I can relax and spend time with friends and enjoy the awards rather than be on duty, wondering just how many people will turn up on stage to collect each trophy. Don’t get me wrong, I loved working there, but it wasn’t without it’s stresses when you knew you had to deliver great pictures of such a prestigious event. It’s good to see Huw Edwards returning as presenter this year, he’s been one of the best. That said, we’ve had some great ones over the years and it’s always been a challenge to get pictures of them as they pace the stage.

As you can see, there’s going to be plenty to blog about over the next few days – and that’s without the long-running farce that is British politics and the Brexitshambles. The latest tragi-comedy has taken place in Luxembourg where Johnson’s utterly stupid remarks comparing himself to the cartoon character the ‘hulk’ have backfired in spectacular fashion. Here’s a headline from Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Wapping Liar’ – sorry – the ‘Sun’

The reality? Johnson went from ‘Hulk’ to sulk and ran away from a joint press event with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel! Christ on a bike, how stupid we look to the world right now, and it’s all our fault, despite the blame game the Brexiters are desperately playing. This is the political equivalent of “a big boy did it and ran away” – and the rest of the world knows it. In fact, everyone does but the Brexiters. Start stockpiling those foodstuffs folks. This has no happy ending – unless you’re a millionaire hedge fund manager…