Things started off a little fraught. Most of the packing for the event was done. But as is often the way, a few essentials hid themselves. I was waiting for a pair of trousers to arrive, but the postman this time did not comply with my needs. I will have to arrange for his deletion. A new pair of trousers was aquired along with a new laptop rucksack, unfortunately not bigger on the inside. So away we go to the Doctor Who Celebration in London.
It is 12.15am Friday 22nd November and I am sitting in a cold waiting area watching the departure board for my train to London, which forms the second part of the journey. Travelling from Telford to Birmingham is relatively uneventful. A local commuter train that stops at most of the stations along it's route, The train from Telford passes RAF Cosford. On its pad sits the air ambulance awaiting the call to action. My connection to London departs Birmingham New Street at 13.10. After a small panic, as a number of trains have been cancelled due to signalling problems. I fought my way to a place on the train. And again, we're off. As I look past the person sat next to me out of the window I see much of Birmingham, that I travel around most of the day. Old and new, derelict and redeveloped. The world is changing, am I starting to get left behind. I am slightly older than the Doctor who series. I was born in the year Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. I have witnessed the development of personal computers, I saw the birth of the internet. I have watched the rise of the mobile phone from a huge brick, to the small unit carried and forgotten in a pocket. The whole world of information at the flick of a fingertip. For all this wealth of information, I sometimes wonder, what has been sacrificed, and was it worth it. The tablet I am typing this on, relays a constant stream of data about where I am and what I am doing. Information about my preferences is used to tailor beguiling adverts, designed to entice me to purchase another un-needed thing. Where will it stop. Will the future see adverts beamed directly into my brain. Programming my desires and wants. I hope not.
The train rumbles on. My next destination is Euston station, London, where I will alight and embark on the third stage of this journey. The Underground. Coventry is now in the past. The gentleman seated next to me has departed, As he donned his motorcycle gear I wished him a good journey, and he was gone. Another small thread woven into the tapestry of our lives. We are now traversing the english countryside at 100 miles per hour, it is sunny, clouds dance across the blue. Fields of green and brown divided into parcels of land, by hedgrows turned golden by the onset of winter. The turn of another year approaches. In our haste to cross the country, a canal is spied, on it a canal boat blithly navigates, in it's own time. A quickly spotted parish church in a hollow, surrounded by the graves of a hundred memories, and as swiftly as a heartbeat it is gone. We are approaching Watford gap. It is an interesting point that the Guns of HMS Belfast, moored at Tower bridge are trained in my general direction.
There was a recent diary about fusion technology.
It made me think for a moment about the technology. I visited the website of ITER, an experimental fusion reactor being built in France.
ITER's predecessor, JET, the Joint European Torus, has been operating for several years, and holds several records for maintaining a atable plasma and power production. The power to start it up, is provided not from the grid, or a seperate power station, but rather from huge 200+ tonne flywheels spinning at hundreds of rpm. Hundreds of Megawatts of energy stored, to be released in a torrent to start a small star on earth.
After a brief sojourn on the Underground from Euston Square to Tower Hill. It is onto the Docklands Light Railway for the last leg of the journey. Walking out of the station and up a small rise you are presented with a view of The Tower of London. The castle was founded shortly after William the Conqueror or William the Bastard depending upon your point of view took the crown of England. It has served as a prison, place of execution and the home of the crown jewels of England for many centuries. It's most recent notable, unwilling resident was Rudolf Hess. Hess flew to England in the Second World War in the folorn hope to negotiate a peace between England and Germany. The Docklands Light Railway weaves its way through the East End of London. Sitting facing the rear of the train, the Shard and the Abominable Gerkin, thrust themselves into the sky. Symbols of a culture that has moved away from caring about others to one only caring about money.
And finally I arrived. My hotel is quite pleasant, situated just short of the runway at London City Airport the Dockland Light railway runs just outside my window. Just like those seedy hotels you would see in 1940s american movies set in New York, but with double glazing!
If you have made it this far through this diary then bravo. It started as a journal documenting my travels, but has veered often into odd areas. I wondered as I was writing this, who I was writing for. In the end I suppose, it can only be for me. I have written a few diaries, they rarely do well and sometimes this has bothered me. Almost certainly it will again. If you liked this diary, then I am happy to have entertained you. If not then thank you anyway for joining me on this journey.