Places I Have Lived

August 2, 2010

The Wells, Epsom (bottom of hill)

The Wells, Epsom (top of hill)

So my entire childhood was spent living on The Wells a housing estate near Epsom surrounded by open countryside. Very nice.

Norfolk Terrace, UEA, Norwich

Mannington Hall, Saxthorpe, Norfolk (16th century cottage)

Central Norwich

Three years in Norfolk while I was at UEA. Norwich is a wonderful place to live and the middle year out in the sticks was unique – our front door had no lock and my bedroom window looked onto Mannington Hall.

Willesden Green, London

Ladywell, London

Swiss Cottage, London

Kingsbury, London

My flat rent years, moving on every 6 months. Some of those places were dull, dull dull! Swiss Cottage was good, though.

Great Holm, Milton keynes

Great Holm, Milton Keynes

I lived in two houses in MK, a city I love and enjoyed living in so watch what you say! While owning my first home there I also lived overseas for a couple of years as follows.

Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok

Lardphrao, Bankok

Lardphrao was 13km away from my office, which took 1-3 hours by car! Bagkok is my second home and I love the place.

Reigate, Surrey

Nice big house. Moved there for work and then changed job!

The Wells, Epsom

Back with my parents post divorce. Its a long story . . .

Station Approach, Epsom

Brand new shared ownership flat. Nice, but noisy and no parking.

Commonwealth Drive, Crawley

Unusually I rented my (brand new) house for 6 months and then bought it at a knock down price. I’m very happy here, so hope to stay a long time.

Summary: I’m a a suburban person at heart. I don’t see that as a negative. I love London and big cities, but I need to get out into the countryside regularly. Another feature is that three of my homes have been brand new and one was only five years old. I’m not a DIY enthusiast.  I think you should be able to move into a house and live in it – not spend all your life doing it up and then moving on!

Regrets: apart from Norwich I have never lived within walking distance of a decent pub!


What Am I?

February 27, 2010

I have a real problem answering questions such as what do you do, or what are you?

I have a degree in Environmental Sciences. From UEA. I always considered myself to be a scientist by nature, interest, and inheritance.

I joined British Rail in 1981 as a Management Trainee and continued to work for BR until 1994. Much of my work is still concerned with the railway. I am happy to consider myself to be a railwayman – even if that is a sexist term. Maybe a railway manager.

I was a marketing trainee. BR gave me a lot of training in marketing, including external courses. I got the Diploma of the Institute of Marketing by doing evening classes. I spent all of my years with BR in marketing / business development. I was a salesman for three years, and received masses of sales training. I was freight marketing advisor to the State Railway of Thailand for two years. I still do a lot of marketing, and with my boss win nearly all of my own work. I think I can say I’m a marketeer.

I spent all of my railway career in rail freight. We were always taught to consider ourselves to be logisticians – freight people first and foremost.  I joined the Institute of Logistics in about 1985 and have been a member ever since. Much of my work now is concerned with logistics in its widest since, from waste collection, through construction logistics and retail supply chains to national freight policy. I am certainly a logistician.

Since I became a consultant I have worked closely with economists, demand forecasters, transport modellers, and transport planners on a variety of projects that involve moving people rather than goods. Nearly always these are rail or tram projects, and my role is to understand the way the business works – how money flows through the railway, what makes things viable or not. This involves understanding transport policy and planning policy as well as transport economics and railway operations. Now I don’t really know what that makes me. Probably a transport economist or a transport planner.

And, of course, for 17 years I have been a consultant. An advisor. This is really two jobs: finding and winning work; and providing advice that clients are happy to pay for. Three if you count managing a team and making money. So I am certainly a consultant.

When people ask, I normally say I’m a transport consultant. That generally shuts them up and they move politely away . . . .


February 14, 2010

The Guardian has produced some detailed analysis of the “climategate scandal”. It has taken the unusual step of publishing the entire investigation document and inviting readers and experts to analyse and comment. I would strongly advise anyone who thinks there is a cover up or someone is trying to hide the truth to read the lot, or at least the commentary.

Just focussing on one thing: the “trick” email. As Fred Pearce points out, if the newspapers and lobbyists had simply published a few more lines it would be obvious that there is nothing dodgy happening at all.  My understanding is this, and I will put it so simply that even Sarah Palin could understand this:

Phil Jones of UEA has spent many years looking at historic records of global temperatures. We all know that tree rings are a good way of doing this. 2,000 years ago, nobody had a thermometer but the width of tree rings faithfully records the climate in each year. We know it works because when you start to get into the period when people did have thermometers there is a good correlation between what the thermometers say and what the tree rings say.

But there is a problem. In recent years the thermometers have been telling us something different to the tree rings – the correlation has broken down. Nobody knows why.  Back in 1999 Phil Jones found this caused problems because when he brought the tree ring data right up to the modern day, it showed different results to what thermometers were telling him across the world. Which to believe? The tree rings or thousands of temperature detectors? The only answer is the temperature detectors.  So, as I understand it,  he used a technique to show global temperatures over hundreds of years, but the last few years he used real data instead of tree rings. This was not his idea – he was using someone  else’s technique.

Another word for technique is trick. “There’s a bit of a trick to getting my car started in the mornings.”.

So this is what his email said:

“”I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith [Briffa]’s, to hide the decline.”

So not only was this not a cover up, it was a sensible solution to dealing with two data sets, one of which is known to be correct and the other considered to be inaccurate.

Unlike the lobbyists who are trying to knock climate change scientists, I will declare an interest here: I am a graduate in Environmental Sciences from UEA. In 1978 we were learning about peak oil, sustainability, and the role of big business in blocking measures to reduce environmental impact while Sarah Palin was just another kid shooting bears.

Thanks to my old friend Mike Stonard for pointing me in direction of the Guardian articles.

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