As I write this, or at least start to write this, I am three and half hours in to a five hour journey. The FGW service to Penzance leaves London at a brisk pace but, as is always the case, slows down as it crosses the Tamar in to Cornwall. This give me perfect opportunity to dive in to my brain and construct another one of my useless blog posts.
I thought for a while about what to write, as me droning on about nothing would probably bore you all to tears, but I finally happened across the HORRORS of travelling on a train to the outer edges of England’s wang (I say horrors as if there were ghosts, ghoulies, screaming babies and bits falling off the train as we sped though Somerset. This, of course, is not the truth).
The journey started in Paddington, the 2nd most popular building site in London next to Tottenham Court Road’s Crossrail project. Boarding the train was not a bother. Plenty of luggage space, chairs unpredictable vacant and plug sockets next to our seats. And then horror number one reared her head. The bag full of food was open before we had even departed the station. Anyone who is an avid follower of my rants over on twitter will no doubt be aware of how much I HATE food wrappers of any kind, most of all crisp packets. And yes, of course this woman had crisps, swiftly followed by a lovely packet of mango which she gleefully stuffed her hand into at various points throughout her journey. I refrained from blocking her off entirely by stuffing earphones in my lugholes as I was not travelling alone. Always be aware of others eating food on a train, especially if they’re anything like me and have the eating habits of a five year old. I’m REALLY messy. Keep gadgets well clear.
Next up on my irritating-but-not-quite-life-threatening things about train travel list is the plug sockets. It’s nice that some train companies offer this service, given how dependent we are on our gadgets these days, but some companies get it right and others, such as FGW, get it very wrong indeed. Unless you have a standard 3-pin plug, the kind you wire yourself at home, you’ll be hard pressed to fit any other type in to the gap they’ve given you. Moulded plugs are a nightmare as the amount of plastic used gets in the way, and if you have a laptop plug that’s slightly more “boxy” than a standard plug, you’re stuffed. So, FGW, if you’re listening, MOVE YOUR SOCKETS UP A BIT.
Horror #3 is the inevitable drunk guy that insists on making a point on how lovely the table he’s sat at is, completely neglecting the fact that you have earphones in, can’t hear him, are writing manically and, quite frankly, are avoiding any sort of contact with other members of the human race. Seriously, not fifteen minutes ago, a guy who looked wobbly at best said, just before he alighted, “This is a good table, innit?” and then made a grumbly protest at how we were clearly ignoring him. Sorry, dude, I just don’t think the tables are that nice. They’re no Parker Knoll and even Ikea has nicer furniture.
Lastly on my list, I think, is the speed of trains this far out. We can send a train up to Glasgow or Edinburgh on an express service, so I’m not quite sure why we can’t manage a train to Penzance that doesn’t stop everywhere and that doesn’t slow down to the speed of a horse-drawn cart as soon as we cross the border in to Cornwall. There’s probably a very good engineering-based reason for this, but I don’t care for your excuses. I want to arrive in ONE HOUR by the end of the decade OR ELSE.
Right. I’ve got one more hour to survive and then my holiday officially begins. The weather isn’t going to be great, and it’s not a bona fide holiday, but at least I’m not at work dealing with a huge pile of paperwork. I’ve got my other half to keep me entertained (he won’t, he’s watching something on his tablet) and there’s a packet of Veggie Colin the Caterpillars to get through. Wish me luck.
Just as I finished up, a VERY loud woman just got on the train. AAARRRGGGHHHHHH.