Archive for the ‘Michael Portillo’ Category

Bradshaws (and other guides)

The first thing I thought when seeing Great British Railway Journeys was “someone should publish copies of the guide he is using…”

Well, someone has been doing that since the first Bradshaw’s guide was rare (the only complete copy).  It seemed it would have made more sense to use the copy than walk around with a rare book, but that’s me.  Not to mention people at home wanted to follow along.

That is probably why my first post on the topic got so much attention: down to Michael giving the link to it!

Anyway, these guides are available in facsimile editions. Quite nice ones I have to say.  Part of me wants to do a tribute “with my Bradshaw’s guide” video.

Go for the “official guides” which look EXACTLY like the ones Michael uses since the reprint editions tend to be other versions (and not well defined as to WHICH version it is since there are lots of different versions of these guides).  Amazon carries them, which is good if you are in the States or otherwise outside the UK.  You might have to copy the title to your local Amazon site to find it, but they can be purchased for a reasonable price outside the UK.

NOTE: The guide used in the Great American Railway Journey’s is Appleton’s Railway Guide to the USA and Canada (link is to reprint edition: ISBN 978-1471159947).  Watch out for the other reprint editions since they are NOT the same.  Also, the quality of those isn’t that good.

It seems that the original guide was one of Amazon UK’s top sellers!  So, it WAS a good idea to reprint it in facsimile!

I should also give a plug to Robert Humm & Co, which is the specialist book store that sold Michael the original Bradshaw’s used in the series.  They are an independent bookseller specialising in railways, other transport and industrial history.  They bill themselves as “Britain’s largest railway bookshop”.

Michael Portillo’s Latest Guide.

I have to admit some serious surprise when I caught Michael’s latest series: Great American Railroad Journeys.  There has been a lot of action here, which usually indicates a new series from Michaelbook

His latest guide Appleton’s General Guide to United States and Canada is much easier to come by than the First Bradshaw Guide.

The Hathitrust page is:

They have two editions, part 2 of 1889 and 1892. Appleton’s guide was published yearly.

Google Books has a link to another Appleton’s Railroad Guide (   This is not the guide used in the show, it is Appletons’ Illustrated Railway and Steam Navigation Guide, Containing the Time-tables of the Railways of the United States and the Canadas: A totally different book.

The versions of the Guide on Google books are not the 1879 edition.

You can find copies of the version used by Michael in used book stores. There are also versions available in Print on Demand, but they are different years than the 1879 version used in this series (or don’t say WHICH edition they are).  There was an original copy available here for US$200 (approx UK£ 138), but is been sold.

I should note that the 1892 edition is actually the more interesting version since it has a guide to the Colombian Exposition.

This relates to his first week’s journey:

Michael Portillo meets the human brain

Portillo BrainMichael Portillo meets the human brain on his Great British Railway Journeys at the West London Mental Health Trust’s archive of human brains. I have to admit this was amusing to me for just the possibilities–Hamlet’s Soliloquy? Portillo goes Zombie? He was very well behaved.

Let’s turn this into a caption contest–I know that those with a dislike for Tories can come up with some fairly cruel ones. At least he said it was a first for holding a human brain–despite how some people feel about the Thatcher years.

I have to admit that Great British Railway Journeys is a really fantastic series.

Michael Portillo’s Latest Bradshaw

As you know, Michael Portillo has a “new” edition the Bradshaw’s guide in the latest series of his Great British Railway Journeys. According to John Lee at Conway publishing, the e-book available for Amazon Kindle is the same Bradshaw he is currently using.

I am still looking for a better copy, either as actual edition, download, or facsimile.

Stay tuned!

Series 4 of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys and New Bradshaw’s Guide.

Forgive me if I don’t have some hint as to where to get the latest Bradshaw’s Guide used by Michael Portillo in Series 4.  First off, I was caught unaware that the new series had started.  I thought they were repeats of earlier series until a message came up saying–“How do you like my latest series?”


Anyway, I noticed he is using an 1880s version of the guide and am doing what I can to find another copy.  Amazon has something that looks like what Michael is using: “Bradshaw’s Railway Handbook 1866: Complete Edition Volumes I-IV”.   It’s only available as a kindle edition in the UK.

Anyway, I am on the trail since I know most of my traffic comes from people wanting copies of this book.

Trust me, I will pass on a source if I can find one since I know we all want copies.

Family Friend on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys

Family friend, Anne-Mary Paterson, author of Pioneers of the Highland Tracks, is going to be on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys this Wednesday.  If she isn’t on in person, she will have contributed in the Dufftown to Aviemore segment.

Michael Portillo’s Great Continental Railway Journeys!

Michael is back with another Bradshaw’s guide, this time the Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide from 1913. Hathitrust does not have a copy of this, but the people responsible for this show were clever this time!

It seems that Old House has discovered that there is a demand for these guides and they are available for purchase.

Actually, I did search and didn’t find a copy online (there was a similar RAC Title at Hathi). Still, part of the reason I posted the link to the first guide was that it wasn’t available anywhere else at the time. In fact, there were two copies I knew of, the one used by Michael and the one on Hathi. Robert Humm said that the one he sold Michael was the only one of two he had ever seen.

I wonder if an original of the Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide is available?

Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journey DVDs reduced in price!

Series 1 is now £12.39 and Series 2 is £16.67 at Amazon from being in the mid 20 quid range !

Naturally, any hesitation at buying series 2  disappeared with the reduction in price and I ponied up for a copy.

I should add that the BBC now provides for commercial availability of programmes from online suppliers.  Eventually, they will offer links to services which officially stream the material.

I have to add this vid for BBC America because it’s just silly.

The EuroMess

I’m not sure how to describe the Great Euro Mess, but I have to agree with Micheal Portillo’s comment that it will be a long time in sorting out. That said, I’ve finally watched The Great Euro Crash with Robert Peston and Michael Portillo’s Great Euro Crisis. Both of these have been uploaded to Youtube and are available on the “non-official” sources for BBC material (that is non-iPlayer downloads) if you are interested or outside the UK.

I won’t say too much about Robert Peston’s piece other than it was a well done overview of how the whole mess happened. There isn’t as much analysis as much as history. The main point that one should take from Robert’s piece is that the European Union was to bring peace and prospertity through the economic union of Europe. Which takes us to the Euroskeptic Michael Portillo looking into the topic.

I have to admit that having a Euroskeptic deal with the topic of the Euromess is truly intriguing. I was told that it was well done by others who are keener on the EU than Michael. Although, I wanted to say take a look in the mirror when Michael makes his statement about not knowing what a European is (or looks like). Michael, You and I are EuroBrits (as is the Queen with her German background) if ever there were ones.

That said, I have to admit that seeing a non-US “conservative” is always a breath of fresh air. Unlike US conservatives who want to shout down the opposition, Michael was very open minded—especially when no one was willing to take him up on his Euro-Drachma/Euro-Mark challenge. Unfortunately, the single currency is the future for Europe, which having lived in Europe makes me say “Thank god!”

My best story was that I was at an antique market in Brussels’ Place du Grand Sablon and trying to figure how how much 32,000 Francs was in “Real Money”. The vendor thought I didn’t understand his trente deux mille and repeated it in English. I was tempted to reply, I knew how much it was in Francs, but how much is that in Real Money such as Pounds or US Dollars?  I can add in the joke about the woman who hires an armoured car with security guards to bring in a load of notes which after being labouriously counted for most of the day turns out to be worth 62p.  The main point is that a good, solid single currency is good for European trade.  Which the Euro was for a while until other causes set in.

Michael sees the problem as being totally related to just the single currency, which Roberts programme pretty much had debunked.  Although Michael’s points about the EU are somewhat valid.  Unfortunately, Austerity is not totally due to the Euromess since non-Euro countries (and non-European countries) are also tightening their belts.  Michael’s comment about the Greeks selling government assets seems to pale when one realises that the US is also trying to privatise government functions, which is more a political decision than an economic one.  In fact, I find it odd that a Tory would be against the single currency given its benefits for trade, while this lefty is defending it–as do most people whatever their political stripes.

Of course, reasonable people can disagree and somewhat see the other person’s point of view.  I have to bring the United States back into this discussion since Michael remains very civil throughout his programme. which US politics is not.  Michael and other Euroskeptics worry about the problems of Union in the United States of Europe, which given the two civil wars and lack of civility in US politics is a point which needs to be taken seriously whether you agree with it or not.  Of course, one needs to see the benefit of a union to realise that there are some sacrifices which need to be made.  Europe with its history of war realises that Union is necessary for peace and that union requires some compromise.

Now, why didn’t he say this in his programme?

Shooglenifty – A Fistful of Euro

I’m listening to the news where they are talking about people withdrawing millions of Euros–This came to mind–

On the back burner is Michael Portillo’s Great Euro Crisis from This World. The people who’ve seen it say it’s pretty interesting watching Eurosceptic Portillo’s opinion of the crisis.

Then again, I still have two series (2 & 3) of Great Railway Journeys to plow through!

I know which side of the bread is buttered!

OK, I do have to admit that I do what I can after all my comments about wanting to support the BBC. Since I get the most traffic from Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys, I want to show that I am trying to give back here.

I hope Mrs. Thatcher would approve!

BTW, since most of the traffic here is due to the links to the download for Bradshaw’s Guide, I want to repeat that this copy is the same as that used by Michael Portillo on the show per Robert Humm, the bookseller who sold Mr. Portillo the original book. Also, this is the difference between the facsimiles per Mr. Humm:

So much for originals. Now for the good news : not one but two reprints of the Portillo set have been produced and both are on offer in our New Books section. You can use the Search Box to find them quickly by entering the reference codes.

Reference : A2855 . Title : Bradshaw’s Guide. Hand Book 1. 2. 3. 4. A complete year set of the four regional parts for 1866. Paperback, with an enlarged page size for easier reading. £24.95

Reference : A2893 . Cover title : Bradshaw’s Hand Book 1. 2. 3. 4. (from title page : Bradshaw’s Descriptive Railway Hand-Book Of Great Britain And Ireland.) A reprint of the actual volume used on the TV programmes. £9.99

Thank you, BBC and Michael Portillo.

Although, I do have to admit that I am thoroughly envious of all the places that Michael goes on his journeys.

Bradshaw’s Handbook – A Facsimile of the Famous Guide

OK, this post is a bit against my interest seeing that the bulk of my traffic comes from fans of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys who come here for where to download a PDF of the guidebook used by Mr. Portillo (Michael?).

Anyway, I was looking at the Series DVD and debating whether to spring for Series 2 at 27 quid (ouch!). While my first thought is to spring for it given that I get loads of traffic from fans of the show. That price is still a bit of a bite with the state of the economy–maybe when I feel much more flush. I will admit to putting it into my basket.

Anyway, it turns out that my other question:

Why doesn’t someone come out with a good facsimile of the Guide used in the show?

After all, the guide is next to impossible to find.

In fact, I have been tempted to say that I completely trust Michael Portillo given that he is walking around with an incredibly rare book. In fact, the rarity of the book makes me think that Michael Portillo has the bravery of an SAS (SBS?) trooper since I’d hate to think what length a crazed anorak would go to for a copy of that guide!

Seriously, walking around with something which is rarer than a first folio Shakespeare takes serious bottle.

But, Bradshaw and railway fans rejoice, for there is a really good facsimile out there for you to own. The nice bit is that the price is only £5 at Amazon!

I can see these going like hotcakes

Actually, there are a couple of copies of this out there. The one I mention and another which sells for £21.94. Since I’ve downloaded the PDF version, the more expensive one seems out of my league.

And I’m not going to debate the merits of both versions since there are enough reviews on Amazon which get into that.

Actually, I won’t, but Robert Humm, the bookseller who sold Mr. Portillo the original book did make a comment about the facsimiles:

So much for originals. Now for the good news : not one but two reprints of the Portillo set have been produced and both are on offer in our New Books section. You can use the Search Box to find them quickly by entering the reference codes.

Reference : A2855 . Title : Bradshaw’s Guide. Hand Book 1. 2. 3. 4. A complete year set of the four regional parts for 1866. Paperback, with an enlarged page size for easier reading. £24.95

Reference : A2893 . Cover title : Bradshaw’s Hand Book 1. 2. 3. 4. (from title page : Bradshaw’s Descriptive Railway Hand-Book Of Great Britain And Ireland.) A reprint of the actual volume used on the TV programmes. £9.99

So, there are two choices for where to get a facsimile of this book. Or you can download a copy for free from the hathi trust site I mention in my post.

Give Mr. Humm the business since you can say you bought your Bradshaw’s Guide from the same source who sold it to Michael Portillo.

No one need know that you have a facsimile!

The Psycho Carnival Award For Originality!

Considering that I am someone who could care less if anyone read this blog, I have just found out that it has won The Psycho Carnival Award For Originality. Normally, I don’t look at my stats since they never make sense to me anyway. With some exceptions, the posts that get the most views are ones that aren’t what REALLY interests me. Remember I write this for myself. If it’s useful to other people, all well and good (see Michael Portillo, Bradshaw’s Guide, and Great British Railway Journeys which nets me loads of hits from people who want a copy of the book).

But this is for originality! Well, I am nothing if not original. Here’s the write up:

Next we take a trip to the United Kingdom and give the award to Laci the dog’s Blog. Laci is a Powderpuff Chinese Crested Canine and is smarter than most honour students. Laci’s owner is a lawyer and he is the one who should be on a leash. Intelligent analysis and observation, eclectic music and insights into Scottish Humor and I’ve learned much more than I need to know about Haggis!

I’m sort of disappointed that he neglected using black puddings for self-defence, but so it goes. I should add that Graeme Garden of the Goodies is a fellow Scot: although I consider myself British more than Scottish.

I want to give thanks to Michael Portillo, who has family in Kirkcaldy and was MP for Kensington and Chelsea for his Great British Railway Journey’s TV show that keeps my stats in the stratosphere.

The BBC is always deserving of thanks in shaping who I am with programmes such as the Goodies and strange adverts for its weather page.

And for those of you who may not have figured that SCOTLAND may have had the Second Largest City in the English Speaking world at the Time of the War for American Independence. As different as it is from the English most everyone else speaks, the Scots Leid is still “English” although not of the Sassenach variety!

Sae, I curse thair heid and all the haris of thair heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise thair toung, thair teith, thair crag, thair schulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thair leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of thair heid to the soill of thair feit, befoir and behind, within and without.

And I thank the rest of you.

See also:
The Scots Wikipedia
Scots Leid Online
Leids o Scotland

Michael Portillo’s great Great British Railway Journeys is out on DVD!

OK, I made a plug for this DVD in my last post, but it isn’t really commercial.

First off, I’m not making any money for this. It’s partially in gratitude for Michael linking to my site–seriously racking up my stats.

It’s also because I have been moaning that the BBC has taken its dear sweet time in releasing this (and other) material on DVD. I’m not sure how much money has haemorraged from the sales because most of the first series is available as download. I have read that Britain had a fairly bad problem with video piracy with half the population admitting to it.

The problem is that piracy is a two edged sword in that it may actually stimulate commercial purchase–the free window may be a useful marketing ploy. People may sample a programme and decide to buy the DVD. Also, it can increase the audience size: e.g., programme comes out such as Great British Railway Journeys and it is seen by hobbyists outside the UK via download.

I think the issue of piracy is a lot more complicated than just simple downloading. I also think there needs to be better methods of addressing the demand for the content than is out there.

Still More Reasons to Love Michael Portillo!

Maybe it’s because I’m so Brilliant.

And he WAS my MP (from 25 November 1999 – 5 May 2005).

But His site links to Mine! Click where it says link to Bradshaw’s Guide in Digitised Form!

Thank you for the traffic! And the Great British Railway Journeys Show!

More reason to love the man!

And Series One is coming out on DVD And there is the Book of the series.

He may make me respectable yet!