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Despite getting up before 07:00 I still didn’t get everything done that I’d hoped and planned to. So much for all this time we’re meant to have on our hands due to lockdown! On the bright side, I did achieve a lot. Having left Dawn in bed with our moggie keeping guard over her I made some coffee before heading to the office. It’s not exactly an onerous commute from the kitchen, one flight of stairs and I’m there! The first assignment of the day was to get a the next batch of slides scanned and edited whilst setting up another batch ready to join the queue. Whilst they’re scanning I normally have time to peruse the web and catch up on the days world and financial news in between. The media isn’t making as depressing and perturbing reading as it did a few weeks ago due to the fact so many countries are slowly feeling their way out of lockdown and making plans for the future. Quite how long this process will last before normality returns is anyone’s guess as this would depend on countries having a vaccine against Covid-19.

With this in mind I’m prepared to be in complete lockdown for another week or two yet. I’ve plenty to keep me occupied, so the only real negative impact on me is financial. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I’ve been able to adapt to lockdown without too much mental stress, as has Dawn. I’m not saying it’s been all plain sailing, but at least we’re both going to come out of this still married!

Dawn was back at work today and straight into conference calls, catching up with her colleagues and what’s going on in the world of Community Rail – a sector that’s not had it easy as many of the volunteer groups rely on people who fit into various ‘at risk’ categories.

It was during one of Dawn’s conference calls that the Dell engineer arrived to take another look at my laptop. To maintain social distancing he worked in the kitchen like he did last time. The machine’s now running sweetly (I’m typing this on it new) and I’m hoping the glitches have finally been sorted out and I’ve a machine I can rely on. I’m keeping my old one up to date as a precaution¬† and basing everything in the Cloud so if anything does go wrong I can rapidly switch between machines. In fact it’s quite useful having both running at times as I can use one for slide scanning and picture editing and the other machine for emails and paperwork. Who says men can’t multi-task!

Once the Dell engineer had left I took a break from staring at screens to get my daily constitutional. The weather was ideal as it was sunny but not too hot so slogging up through the woods to the promenade didn’t leave me in a sweaty mess. After being in lockdown for so long and missing the levels of exercise I used to get I’m trying to ramp things up by increasing my target from the daily minimum of 12,500 steps to 17,000 which means I then surpass all my targets. Thankfully we live in an area where I can do this without putting anyone at risk I’d be buggered if I still lived in North London as 7 miles around a 30 foot garden would be stretching things a bit!

Sadly, with Dawn still working I had to walk solo. Once back at home I settled back down in front of the computers and managed to get 60 old pictures done today. You can find them on my Zenfolio website in this gallery.

I’m moving on through the years now and passed a significant (well, to me anyway) landmark. I’ve finished the years 1989 -1991. 1991 was important to me because in the October of that year I packed in my job as a Housing Officer in Tower Hamlets, paid a years rent on my shared flat and headed off to South-East Asia for a year. By the time I returned in October 1992 I’d visited India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia. I’d also travelled all the way overland through the Indonesian islands from Sumatra to West Timor and even got as far as Darwin in Australia before running out of time and money! One day I’ll write up my experiences of those days, when backpacking was very different to today…

The trip means that there’s a year-long gap in my UK rail archive, just at a time when the railways were going through another phase of replacing loco-hauled passenger services with yet more multiple units. This meant I was kept busy before I left documenting how things were before they changed forever. Of course, what I didn’t know at the time was that rail privatisation was looming. There wasn’t going to be a general election until 1992 and John Major’s Tories looked unlikely to win…

Here’s a sample picture that shows how much has changed.

03035. 87001. 13.12 to Liverpool Lime St. 87021. 09.10 from Liverpool Lime St. London St Pancras. 12.10.1991 crop

On the 12th October 1991 a pair of Class 87s stand at the buffers at St Pancras station London. No, this isn’t a mistake! Due to weekend engineering work Services from Liverpool were diverted away from Euston and into St Pancras. The trains were diesel hauled from Nuneaton across to the Midland Main Line and then down to Bedford where the Class 87s could run ‘under the wires’ to St Pancras. 87001 (on the left) waits to work the 13.12 to Liverpool Limes St whilst I’d arrived from Liverpool behind 87021 on the right which had worked the 09.10 from Lime St. I’d been back to Southport for the weekend to say my goodbye’s to my family. A few days later I flew out on a single ticket to Delhi, India, where the adventure began…