UK Pair Will Visit All 2563 Rail Stations in Britain This Summer

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iStock

A train-loving UK couple is on a mission this summer to visit as many of Great Britain’s railway stations as possible. Since May, Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe have been working to hit up all 2563 stations, shooting video and posting updates to social media along the way.

Both Marshall and Pipe are serious train buffs. Marshall, a video producer, previously created videos about each of the London Underground lines for Londonist, and Pipe works at the London Transport Museum (she’s taking a sabbatical for the trip).

All the Stations isn’t a race, so they’ll keep at it until they’ve covered the entire island, though their goal is to finish the journey in three months. They are documenting their travels as a way to explore the state of Britain’s rail infrastructure and visit little-known places along the routes. Their goals include posting four videos of four different days of travel per week, live streaming between video posts, and making a feature documentary about the project at the end of the summer.

The project was partially funded on Kickstarter, where they raised more than $50,600 in early 2017 for their trip—which helped pay for the more than $13,000 in train tickets.

The pair has set out parameters for what exactly counts as a stop. They have to arrive or leave on a scheduled train passing through each stop, but they don't have to get off at every one. They’re not counting abandoned stations, nor do subways or heritage railways count, and they are sticking to mainland Britain rather than venturing to Northern Ireland.

They’ve been averaging about 30 stations per day. As of July 26, they have made it to 2089 stations, putting them more than 80 percent of the way there. They’ve only got 474 left to go on the way to Thurso, the northernmost town on the British mainland, which they plan to hit in August.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]