I name this ship ... The Environment Agency

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Unthinkable, I know, so why did some committee or other think it a good idea to name one of First Great Western's increasingly aged low speed trains 'The Environment Agency'.  I spotted this walking down one of Paddington's rejuvenated platforms the other day.  Such poverty of the imagination.  Time was when the original and only Great Western (it had no need to claim it was "first", everyone knew that) named its locomotives after Welsh Princes, Kings, Castles, Manors, Halls and Granges — and Warships.  It was the place, as Elvis Costello said, where "legends and history collide".  Not any more. I do believe there's even a train named after the University of Exeter.  Such depths ....

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  • I recall attending an environmental education conference in Manchester some years ago. One of the the delights for me, as a lover of fine buildings, included a visit to Manchester Town Hall, designed by the Victorian Gothic Revivalist, Alfred Waterhouse. He also designed the Natural History Museum and Reading Town Hall, and so was responsible for the settings for many environmental education conferences I had a hand in...but I digress. On leaving the building and crossing the road I was nearly run over by a tram (my fault, doubtless, still dreaming of Gothic Revival). But this was not just any old tram. It proudly bore the aluminium name-plate of 'Graham Ashworth', the much-loathed head of ENCAMS (a marriage of his convenience between The Tidy Britain Group and Going for Green). Despite this scare, it failed to shake my belief that the tram played a more useful role in society than its name-sake.