Some more e-scooter photos

If obliged to select just one of the many photos I have photoed during Lockdown and before Lockdown was over and done with (i.e. now and for the foreseeable future until all this nonsense ends and we can get back to whatever the new normal turns out to be), I think I might well choose this one:

The big point about the photo above, photoed earlier this week, is the state of the road that the e-scooter is travelling on. No other traffic. London is still in a state of semi-Lockdown, of a semi-voluntary sort. Roads like the one you see above are often empty, and into this emptiness several dozens of e-scooters have raced joyously, as shown above. But if and when anything resembling normality returns to this road, it will fill up with regular traffic, and it will then change from the total safety you see above to a state more like “you almost certainly won’t die today”. For an e-scooter, it will be like being in Bomber Command during the war. Your chances of surviving the next trip will be quite good. Surviving a tour of two dozen operations, not so much. Commute every day for ever and you’re doomed to severe injury or worse.

A few dozen minutes later, in Parliament Square, I saw something with much more of a future, namely a fully functioning bicycle road, both ways, with a white line in the middle, just like a regular car road. And all this in a spot which has been a shambles for about half of the last decade, on the Parliament approach to Westminster Bridge, with Big Ben up on the right as we look:

And then, on this same cycle road, an e-scooter:

That arrangement has a future, because this is a glimpse of the new normal. E-scooting and bicycles seem to coexist very happily safely. This is especially so if the e-scooters make a point of going at the same speed as the cyclists, whenever overtaking would be any problem. The point being that e-scooters can go much faster than bicycles, but often shouldn’t.

I was going to show a couple more e-scooter photos, but a blogging rule I constantly forget but have remembered now is: if you can separate out your points into separate postings, it’s probably best to do that.

So, I’ll end on this point. Bicycles and heavy motorised traffic don’t go together well. But bicycles and e-scooters, with the heavy traffic removed, that works very well.

Just as bikes flattened the roads to make way, literally, for the first cars, so too now, bikes are now narrowing their roads, to exclude those same cars and to make way for e-scooters. I believe “History” to be in the category list for this posting with good reason.

Good vapour trail – evil vapour trail – hybrid vapour trail

This posting began several evenings ago as a quota photo post, with this pretty little scene being the beginning and the end of it:

But then I again got thinking about how significant it is that, typically, vapour trails look at they do above, but do not look like this, below:

That evil vapour trail (there’s another dimmer one further away) is made dark and evil by a line of cloud in the distance, in the evening, allowing the sun to continue lighting up the sky, but throwing a huge shadow over the vapour trail itself. This combination of circumstances, with everything all lined up just so, is rather rare.

Finally, here’s a fun photo, where the shadow from the evening cloud doesn’t engulf all of the vapour trail, merely some of it:

I know I keep banging on about how air travel wouldn’t be so popular if vapour trails typically didn’t look so pretty, but I really think this is true.

Equally significant is that the nastiest internal combustion engine pollution is now invisible. Just about all the actual smoke, certainly in London (where all of the above photos were photoed), has been done away with. If you do see smoke in London, chances are something’s on fire, in an undeliberate way.

Food and drink on wheels

Along the South Bank late yesterday afternoon. I photoed, among other things, food and drink emporia, mostly of the motorised or at least transportable sort:

My favourite by some distance is the one selling CLIMATE POSITIVE BURGERS.

Capitalism, eh? It gives you whatever you want.

We won!

Quota photo time. Need to get out and enjoy what could be the last day of summer.

So, a posh car:

I definitely wouldn’t want the bother and expense of owning a posh car, but I do like to photo them.

That bit of heraldry you can just about make out on the roof of this roller tells us that actually, this is a Westminster City Council car, with “WE” standing for Westminster.

But at first I thought that “WE1” meant something much more boastful and private sectorish. (See the title above.) This number plate is rather wasted on the Council, I think. Or then again, maybe the boss of Westminster City Council does like reminding people that him and his team won.

That was photoed just after Christmas 2015. More to come this evening, I hope. With maybe a photo or two actually photoed today. I hope.

Taxi-with-advert photoed in 2005

Indeed. There I was, in 2005, out and about in London, photoing things like this:

… which even by 2005 was fairly routine for me. But then, later the same day, in Battersea, walking beside the River with a friend, I photoed this:

That was with my old Canon A70. But I didn’t get properly interested in taxis with adverts until a decade later. Why not? Don’t know. Ancient cars like that Austin A30 (I think), I was already obsessed with photoing.

The advert in the above taxi-with-advert photo was for a West End Show, which The Guardian approved of. I probably wouldn’t have, because that’s the stand-up and stomp-about-all-over-the-stage-like-a-lunatic comedian Lee Evans there, on the taxi. I found his comedy performances frenetic, in a bad way. He would sweat appallingly when performing. So, it was the comedy of embarrassment, and I was just embarrassed. I didn’t even smile, so I stopped watching him. Is he still doing this?

Perhaps he was better than that in The Producers, having been told to calm it down a bit.

Urban picturesque with Shard

Same formula as the previous post. Ooh that’s nice:

But puzzle. What is it? We see the Shard there, but where are we? What direction are we looking at the Shard from?

Context:

We are at the Dome end of the Dangleway, looking across the Greenwich Peninsular towards the towers of Docklands, with central London beyond. The City cluster is not visible, but the Shard is.

I still don’t know what that blob in the middle of the sky is. Mercifully, it isn’t to be seen on any of the other photos I photoed at this time.

The tall pole with sticking out bits in the original photos is for hanging banners, saying things like: “London Olympics 2012”, 2012 being when all these photos were photoed. Now, there are Machines-For-Living-In Things in the foreground, next to and just south of the Dome, and a great many more bigger Things in the Docklands Tower Cluster.

The photo on the right, featuriing the Dome, was photoed as I began a Dangleway journey across the River to Victoria Dock.

I love that part of London. An essential part of that being because it keeps on changing.

Mirror and white

As I said, I didn’t do much photoing when I met up recently with GodDaughter2. But I did do some. Of this dazzling object, for instance, in a shop window:

This is why I love digital photography. I would hate to live with that Thing on a permanent basis. But photoing it was great fun, not least because I had no idea how it would turn out, what with all those reflections.

I called the photos “Silver+White”. But … silver? Is “mirror” a colour? It is, see above, now.

I made me think of Jeff Koons, whose work is of this same sort of tastefulness and restraint, is it not? Has Koons ever done a car like this? I googled “jeff koons silver car”, and got the answer. No, he has never done a car like this. But, he has done a car like this. A BMW as it happens. Again, glad someone photoed it, even if not me. But, definitely wouldn’t want to own it.

Beatrice and Titania

Badly needing to get out and exercise, so quota photo, of the above mentioned ladies:

Photoed with my old Canon A70, way back in 2003. Behind the two yellow ladies, you can just make out the Wheel.

I do miss them, and their various Shakespearian sisters. They were driven out of business by the Big Sewer.

This photo already had a name in my archives, so I wondered if I’d shown it here (or here) before. But all I found was mention of a Beatrice (Rana) who plays classical piano, one of many.

See also this recent posting, for my take on why you don’t often see boats with wheels, even though this is technologically very easy to contrive.

New robot ship

My thanks to Facebook and Actual Friend Tim Evans for alerting me to this:

It’s Britain’s First Robot Ship. The coolness of that fake-photo is a big reason for this posting, but not the only reason. I am actually interested in robotised transport.

For some bizarre reason I found I was able to read the article linked to above, but then I wasn’t, and so far I’ve only skimmed it.

So what follows is speculation that could well be answered in the very article I’m linking to. But here goes anyway.

I sense a certain confusion about what a robot ship actually is. Is it a ship that is told where to go and from then on makes all its own decisions? Or is it a ship which is just as much commanded by a human commander, but is merely commanded by a commander who is using a radio link rather than being on the bridge of the ship? My guess is that there is quite a lot of the latter sort of human commanding going on. On the other hand, warships don’t like revealing to the enemy things like their location by sending or receiving radio signals, so maybe the ship really can command itself. But whichever it is, I’m impressed.

Ships now have expensive crews. You don’t need an onboard toilet in a car, or beds for everyone, or an elaborate food supply system. But on ships, you need all that and more for that crew. So, not having people on board is a big deal. Especially if you are sending the ship into battle.

But there are bigger issues than toilets and beds and canteens. The more I ponder the contribution of “robots” to transport, in the form of robot cars especially, the more I am sure that everything depends on a predictable and controlled environment, with the necessary infrastructural back-up. The DLR, with its centrally controlled “robot” vehicles, works a treat, because people, at any rate in Britain, are already well schooled in not wandering onto train tracks, and if they do and get themselves killed, nobody blames the trains. But cars in city centres trying to avoid disaster are a different story altogether, as the delay with robot cars is now proving.

And the sea, rather oddly, is a more controlled environment than a city centre. Although sea dramas can be very dramatic, they are mostly dramatic in a predictable way. Other ships are much more tightly policed than are all the things that can happen on the roads in cities. So robot ships, for war and for transport, make a lot of sense. They are yet another fun thing to be keeping an eye open for, during the next few years.

E-scooters on a train

Today, GodDaughter2 and I finally met up with each other. The timing changed again, from yesterday afternoon to this afternoon, but the location was as previously rearranged, Acton Central railway station.

Once in Acton and wandering around therein, I did little photoing. Surprising though it may appear to many regular readers of this blog, I focussed almost all of my attention on GD2 herself. We did take a few photos of each other, but I did little in the way of photoing the many attractions of Acton.

However, once I got into the train back home from distant Acton, normality reasserted itself, and in the train I sneaked a few photos of something I’ve not seen before, namely a guy with an e-scooter, on a train:

I’m surprised I’ve not seen this sooner. I thought I had spotted one a week ago, but the guy said it was a mere scooter.

But this e-scooter was the real thing, and it wasn’t the only e-scooter I observed, as GD2 and I wandered around seeking an eatery, and then a drinkery. I reckon there were about half a dozen, all told, although I wasn’t counting at the time. Including another e-scooter mate of the guy in the picture who turned up just after I took the above photos. But we were all then getting off at the same stop, and I wasn’t able to photo the two of the together.

As a modified version of Lockdown persists, e-scooters are multiplying in London. But will they survive the return of traffic normality?