Trump destroys the world

President Trump has been at it again. In a speech to the UN, he said:

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.

This is pretty clear at first glance. Getting past the ‘Rocket man’ name calling, Trump seems to be saying that, if pushed, he will simply wipe out North Korea.

Does he mean this? Well, he has a knack of using vague and imprecise language. Commentators take him literally at his word. Like when he said about closing the Internet. He has no power to do that, in the first place, plus I suspect it would be at least very difficult. But he didn’t mean close it down, I think, he meant take tighter control of it, regulate everything and monitor what everyone is doing.

Would he really literally murder 25 million North Koreans, plus untold numbers of others? My fiends say no, of course not, wiser heads will prevail and it wouldn’t happen.

Me, I’d believe it easily could happen. In the end, Mr Trump can destroy the world…

Again

So, apparently it went a bit wrong, which is good news for us. What am I talking about? The latest terrorist attack on Londoners.

In case you didn’t see it, on early Friday morning something the police said was an ‘improvised explosive device’ detonated on a train in west London. There was a fire, people were burned, there was disruption and panic and a tweet or two from Mr Trump.

Fortunately, it happened at an outside station, so passengers were able to evacuate quickly. In a tunnel, if it had gone off as intended, loss of life could have been huge.

For those who don’t know, although it is called ‘the tube’, most of London’s Underground system runs above ground. There’s no reason to build an expensive tunnel if you don’t have to. Of course, like most cities, the really underground bits are in the centre. At that time in the morning, trains would be very busy with people off to work and children going to school.

So, we know it did not happen in the school holidays, it happened at a time when the trains would be packed, going to school time, so you have to think that children were definitely considered targets. People have been arrested. One is an 18 year old person who was caught in Dover (possibly fleeing the country?) 18 is barely older than the people who were victims of the attack.

The device seems to have been in a plastic bucket in a bag. People on tv have been asking, what can you do to prevent it? In terms of practical things, like screening everyone at every event, tube station etc, nothing.

But Mr Trump has an idea. Mr Trump the big tweeter. He has said, ‘cut off’ the Internet. Here are his exact words: “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner,” he wrote. “The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”

Mr Trump, who says he gathers all the facts before he speaks, really just should shut up.

 

Diana

It was twenty years ago that someone currently called ‘Princess Diana’ died in a car crash in Paris.

Diana Spencer was a commoner ie not royalty, until she married Prince Charles, twelve or more years her senior. Diana became royal. When Queen Elizabeth II dies, Charles will become king and Diana would have been queen.

People apparently loved her. To me she was a clothes horse, hanging around with beautiful people and with as much intelligence as, well, a clothes horse. You can read all the stories about her and Charles. Did they have affairs? Is Henry (Harry, her son) the son of another man? And so on, let’s not feed that too much.

They divorced, and, as a courtesy title, she was allowed to be Diana, Princess of Wales. I don’t think she was ever ‘Princess Diana’, but I haven’t checked.

When her car crashed and she was killed (plenty of conspiracy theories about that too), everyone in the nation, we were told, wept. Tony Blair rose to the occasion. Real news stopped for days. Florists made a fortune with people who had never met her, or seen her even in real life, people who only know the propaganda about her, apparently too distraught for words, buying literally tonnes of flowers to leave on the streets of London to decay.

And so on. If you were alive then you will remember.

Now, to, um, celebrate, the tv channels here and elsewhere have been showing pretty thin ‘documentaries’ about all these events. And drama. How Diana affected my life… William and Harry talk about their mother. Even a special Songs of Praise with Aled Jones…

I look at these with total disgust. Not cashing in at all, are they?

Airport time

If you are coming to London for a holiday, then you will probably either come by train from Europe, or by plane.

London has many airports, depending on how you define ‘London’. An airport sometimes, if rarely considered as a London airport is Southend. Let’s ignore that.

The two smaller airports outside London to the north/east are Luton and Stansted. These mostly cater for budget airlines. Nearer is Gatwick to the South and Heathrow to the west.

In addition, there is a smaller airport in the docklands area, called London City airport which caters to smaller planes and closer destinations.

Luton and Stansted have coach services to London, and regular train services. The Luton one is actually a bus ride (free) from the airport.

The main two, then, are Gatwick and Heathrow.

Gatwick has two terminals. If you are coming onto central London, there are coaches or trains. Yes, you can get a taxi but it will be very expensive.

There are regular trains going to Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras, or there is a premium express service to Victoria. From Victoria Station it is easy to get to most of central London, by tube, taxi or bus. Of course, a factor for you is also how many people you have in your party, your bags and so on.

Heathrow is one of the biggest airports in the world, and has five terminals. They are not all close together. Is it a good distance from Heathrow to London, perhaps 20 miles.

You have many options, coach (cheap but slow), taxi (door to door but expensive), tube (Piccadilly line takes you right through the centre and is not expensive, but is hard work after a long flight) and the Heathrow Express train to Paddington. This is relatively quick (15 minutes) but expensive.

In addition, you can hire cars with a driver (eg Adison Lee)  and minicabs which will quote you a flat rate. Do not think of hiring a self-drive car if you are staying in central London. You will have congestion charge to deal with, parking, traffic jams and more. None of this is any fun.

Above all, plan your journey before you leave home. Look for apps for most of these services, and do not buy tickets from random people on the streets. Find an official sales desk or ticket machine.

Our advice is that it is worth paying a bit extra for the better and faster services. It can be much easier, saves you time and gets you off to a good start on your holiday.