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The start to another week, although the days are getting harder and harder to separate from each other as the routine is pretty much the same. There’s no “hooray, it’s Friday, let’s go to the pub”, or “It’s Saturday, let’s go out for a meal/to the cinema/see a show”. Now the choices are nearly all binary. Work/Don’t work, take your daily exercise indoors/outdoors, go buy food/stay in – and this is only the first week. All those choices we used to be able to make have been taken away from us in the hope isolation will slow the spread of Coronavirus. Will it? It’s too early to tell yet, although some people are making optimistic noises. We shall see…

Our day started at 06:00 as Dawn was up exercising and I was determined to get an early start on scanning another big batch of slides. The weather was cooler and cloudier again today so there was no real incentive to go out. Instead, the day was spent working. I’ve had several picture requests from a magazine, so I’ve been sorting through the archives to fulfil them. After that the slide scanning marathon began. It’s a long, slow, tedious process which is only made bearable by being able to have diversions – such as music to listen to or a film to (half) watch. But at least I’m doing something productive. I feel for those folk who’re cooped up with little to show for it, other than perhaps an expanding waistline!

It’s difficult enough getting exercise during the lockdown without the recent reports of overzealous police and Council officers who’re essentially just making up rules by checking people’s shopping and deciding that they’re making frivolous and unnecessary purchases and trips, or telling shops they shouldn’t be selling Easter eggs and they’re ‘non-essential’. These are dangerous precedents. Policing in the UK has always been by consent, and if the authorities start to ignore this age old rule to resort to heavy-handed authoritarian pettiness we are in danger of seeing a cooped up population become increasingly resentful and fractious.

To help understand these laws and rules I offer this from ‘BarristerBlogger’ Matthew Scott. It’s humorous but legally accurate look at how the rules vary across the UK, and offers advice on what’s reasonable, or not. It’s well worth a read and might even save you a few quid if you’re unlucky enough to encounter one of these petty coppers.

Now, on the bright side, I’ve been ploughing through more and more old railway slides. Right now I’ve got as far as the summer of 1991 when the railways looked very different to the way they do now. I’ve been adding hundreds of pictures to the BR gallery but I’ve also added this new gallery – which is a series of pictures taken at Bath Road locomotive depot in Bristol. It’s all history now, the depot was closed and the site cleared back in the 2000s, so they’re an interesting historical archive. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more, but at the time I was saving up to travel the world for a year so I was being miserly with my film. If only I’d known what the future was going to look like! Here’s a sample of the Bath Rd pictures. Dented or crash-damaged locomotives were much more common in BR days as safety standards weren’t a rigerous. There was no TPWS in 1991! Here’s 47202 which was badly damaged in a crash at Frome on the 24th March 1987. 47202 was hauling a freight train which collided head-on with a passenger train hauled by 33032 after the freight passed a signal at danger (SPAD). You can find the accident report here.

47202 was dumped at Bath Rd for several years, but when this was taken on the 29th June it wasn’t going to last much longer. It was cut up on site by Maize Metals Ltd in September 1991. 

02743. 47202. Crash damaged. Bristol Bath Rd depot open day. Bristol. 26.06.1991crop

It’s not just the depot that’s gone. See the Royal Mail building in the background? After being reduced to a bare concrete skeleton for many years that’s now been demolished too.