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I’ve had another productive day at home catching up on various jobs, emails, seminars and picture editing – and still found enough time to get a couple of walks under my belt to clock up my minimum number (12.5k) daily step total, so I really can’t complain. The weather’s played ball too being mostly bright and sunny even if it’s not exactly been cracking the flags.

Whilst I was ‘type swiping’ this morning at lunchtime I joined the latest ‘munch and learn’ seminar from the Rail Innovation Group. I enjoy these sessions and log-on when I can. Today’s was a presentation by Johan Berhin, Designer & Founder of Green Furniture Concept, a company based in Sweden who’ve recently produced new green seating for some of Network Rail’s major stations in London that have replaced some of the sturdy (but uncomfortable and not very attractive) metal seats. I’ll be producing a blog about this next week as it was a great session with a lots of interesting facts and facets about how seating doesn’t just improve passenger satisfaction it also generates extra business for retail outlets on stations. Expect these seats to appear at Leeds soon…

Apart from this I’ve also been busy getting my next RAIL article on HS2 together, although It’s taking slightly longer than I’d thought as there’s an interesting environmental aspect to the Calvert site I need to talk to someone ‘in the know’ about. Even so, it’s already been fun to write.

Plus, as a filler for the day I did manage to get a few more old slides from the archive scanned, which has provided the latest picture of the day. My old slide folder currently contains pictures from 1993 – 2003, but there was one small group that stood alone as they’re from the UK rather than India, Bali, Holland or Denmark – although there is an Asian connection to today’s picture of the day as it’s of the Maharajah’s well at Stoke Row in Oxfordshire, which I took on the 21st July 2003.

Lynn and I had taken a weekend break from London by taking the bikes on the train from Paddington to Cholsey in order to stay with a friend in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. The next day we worked off our hangovers with a long cycle ride through the rolling countryside and happened upon this rather unusual feature. Inscribed around the lip of the onion done is the inscription ” Given by his Highness The Maharajah of Benares 1864″. What on earth is a well donated by an Indian Maharajah doing in Oxfordshire you may well ask? After all, this is the first known established Charity in Great Britain of an Indian nobleman? The answer lies in the fact that a story of a little boy was being beaten by his mother for drinking the last of the water in their house during a drought was was narrated by Edward Anderdon Reade, acting governor general of the United Provinces, to the Maharajah of Benares (now Varanasi) at the latter’s palace over dinner. Moved by the story the Maharajah agreed to fund the sinking of a well in the village. It was the first of several in the region. All were funded by royals and other benefactors from India, inspired by the Maharajah of Benares’s example. The well itself is 368 feet deep and cost £353. In contrast, the caretaker’s cottage (seen in the background) cost £74 14s 6d.

Amazing what crosses your path by chance when you’re out cycling, isn’t it?

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