Richard Morrison always writes an interesting column in Times 2 on Fridays and today is no exception. He was asked the question "Who has done the most to shape modern Britain?" His answer was - after reflection - one I think I would agree with.
He cited Lord Reeth, creator of the BBC, Attlee, architect of the Welfare State, Churchill fighting fascism, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, Mrs Thatcher the scourge of the Unions and then choosing none of these, suggested it was Richard Beeching, who completely destroyed our railway system. He was responsible for the closure of 4000 miles of railways and 2000 stations.
Now that roads are completely clogged up and our road surfaces totally destroyed through overuse and bad weather; now that almost all our freight has to travel by road, so that motorways and even minor roads are often totally overwhelmed by the amount of huge juggernauts; now that most towns have out-of-town supermarkets and shopping malls, so that our small producers are going out of business; and carbon pollution is responsible for a huge rise in cases of asthma, don't we all long for those far off days when you could catch a train at the local station and tootle along from A - G through all the other letters of the alphabet and still arrive with ones nerves intact most of the time.
Apparently Morrison says journeys by rail have doubled in the past decade and are set to go higher as more and more people are put off cars by the high cost of fuel and car insurance and the roads getting more clogged.
But the most ominous thing of all - he points out - is how many more stupid, ill advised things are being done by governments in the name of progress? Things that only with hindsight will be proved to be wrong.
On a more cheery note - are you looking out for the comet? I have just been out into the farmyard to have a look (find the new moon, let your eye come half way down towards the horizon and then look to the right of that). I certainly thought I could see it faintly - but very faintly - and they did say that eyes over fifty years old would probably only see it through binoculars or a telescope - so I expect it was my imagination.