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Talk about life comes at you fast! There’s been no lazy Sunday here at Bigland Towers as the maelstrom of events in the real world have kept me occupied most of the day. Planning stuff at the moment is proving to be difficult due to what the late Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously replied to a question in an interview when asked about what would determine his governments course “Events, dear boy, events.”

I know exactly how he felt – although I’m not facing my own personal Suez crisis. Instead, I’m responding to the events of others. The death of the Queen is the one that’s having the biggest impact on my own life due to the way it’s affecting the rail industry. Outside of that I’m looking at worldwide events and the situation in the Ukraine where the Russian invaders are suffering a humiliating defeat right now. The Ukrainian offensive has recaptured 1000s of Kms of territory and inflicted a rout on the Russian army the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941 – but with one huge difference. Now the Russians are the aggressor. Twitter has proved to be invaluable when it comes to accurate and up to date information and accounts like ‘Ukraine Weapons Tracker’ @UAWeapons which documents losses on both sides is well worth following. My hope it that the Ukrainians continue to be supported by the West (including the UK) and that the Russian people begin to wake up from the fantasy they’ve been fed by their leader before more people on all sides have to die.

What I find fascinating about how the internet age and the way various social media platforms are disseminating (often real-time) experiences from the frontline is how it’s made control of the media impossible. In the Vietnam war the Americans learned how a free media was damaging their ability to control the narrative. The public swung against the war because of the scenes they were seeing played out on their TVs most nights. Both the British and the American governments learned from that in future conflicts by ’embedding’ journalists into military units as a way of controlling (and therefore censoring) their outputs. The internet age has destroyed that level of control. Now you can see cameraphone footage as it happens. Troops record and broadcast their experiences (even sometimes their last experiences). The genie is out of the bottle once more and the war in Ukraine is playing out in real-time in a way no other war has. Add in the drone footage of actual strikes and it’s a million miles away from grainy gun camera footage from world war 2 fighter planes.

Meanwhile, remember Covid? It’s still here – even if it’s no longer considered newsworthy. Thankfully, it’s on the decline worldwide, so I’m looking forward to being able resume my international travels soon. But before that I’ve an awful lot of pictures to edit and words to write – and events to attend if I possibly can.

Apropos of that, here’s today’s picture, which is another delve into my travel archives. Here’s a country I’m really looking forward to returning to – Thailand. It’s no paradise (where is?) as it has a military government, but the people are amazing, and the railway system is changing so much. This picture was taken at Hua Lamphong station in central Bangkok 10 years ago. Soon the station will be made redundant by a newer, vaster and more modern multi-level interchange at Bang Sue. It will be fit for the 21st century – but it won’t be the same…

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