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What with everything that’s been going on a events of the past couple of days last night wasn’t a vintage one for sleep. In fact, I ended up getting out of bed at 4am and retreating to the office – wide-awake – so as to make the most of the day and not disturb Dawn, or ‘Jet’, our moggie, who was curled up on the bed with us.

I crept around to make some coffee then settled down to a long bout of slide-scanning. I’ve neglected that project of late but I’m determined to get the railway pictures finished before our bout of ‘splendid’ isolation’ as at least then I can venture out during the plain vanilla lockdown that follows.

With a couple more bouts of insomnia I reckon I can have the job done within a couple of weeks tops – which will feel like an achievement after all this time! Of course that doesn’t mean the project’s finished – just what facet. I’ve still got thousands of travel pictures to scan. Mind you, looking at the Governments handling of the pandemic that may be done bad thing. At least it’ll give me something to do during any lockdown Mk3!

Right now it’s after eight o’ clock and they day’s started catching up with me. I’m not going to stay up and watch the US Presidential elections. I’d rather go to bed fearing the worst whilst hoping for the best with the possibility of waking up in the morning and finding that the populist political bubble’s finally burst. One can but hope…

Sadly, I can imagine things getting ugly and rancorous if it looks like Trump could lose, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the result’s contested if it’s close. Trump’s supported have already been framing that narrative and some of us will remember when the word ‘chad’ (either hanging or swinging) entered the political lexicon. I dearly hope I’m wrong and that Americans have had enough of the Tango’d Tw*t, but with the weapons-grade levels of social and other media manipulation I really don’t know.

Meanwhile, here’s the picture of the day, which is from the batch of slides I’ve spent the day scanning. This scene is unrecognisable today. I took this picture at Reading station on the 9th February 2001. All you see in the picture’s disappeared. In the past decade Reading station has had a £1bn rebuild and upgrade, whilst some (but not all) of the routes have been electrified. The old HST’s like this have disappeared although this particular power car has found a new lease of life working for Scotrail North of the border.

You can almost hear the power car scream as this old Valenta engined HST accelerates away from a stop at Reading on its way to London. The low sun backlight the trains ‘flying fag packet’ livery as this particular version of the company colours were known as.

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