Where the hell have I been? Glad you asked…

Well hello there.

Yes, ’tis I.

It’s been over a month since I’ve written a post, but there is a pretty good reason for that.

Nothing has happened to me.

Seriously.

As most of you will know, I was made redundant at the end of February which, to be honest, wasn’t a big deal for me.  I knew it was coming and I had made peace with it.

I'm fine

But my inspiration to write and poke fun at life stems from actually being out there and interacting with the dribbling masses of the world; all the bastard commuters, the idiots I worked with (and for), and the shuffling zombies that made every day a living hell.

So it transpires that, without these pointless creatures of vacant thought and stupidity, I have no muse; no poo from which I can pick the peanuts of inspiration and laughter.

“So find another job you lazy twat!” I hear you cry.

It’s not as simple as that.

“Why not!?” I hear you ask, rapidly losing interest.

Well, that’s something I can’t share with you yet for reasons I can’t go into, but rest assured there will be a post in the not too distant future where my dam of diplomacy will burst and wash away the brown and lumpy scum that has been building up over the years.

eyebrow raise

So this has left me having to take a different approach to how – and what – I write.  A lot of my posts have been a re-telling of an event (or events) that I have either seen or experienced first hand; seeing the funny side of someone falling over, or losing their shit.

Occasionally I rant about stuff in life that generally annoys me, but my bread and butter is the sheer lunacy of daily life around me. Something I don’t have a lot of….for now.

In fact, my whole blog began as mere Facebook status updates detailing the weird and wonderful commuters I shared 3 hours a day with.  It was only through peer pressure that I decided to convert it to a blog.

You may have noticed that I’ve recently started writing about TV show addictions, visits to the supermarket and innuendo-laced lunch dates with friends which, when you consider how far I’ve come, has been incredibly hard and often difficult to swallow.

Well, now my focus is shifting.  I don’t have commuters to berate.  I don’t have work colleagues to face palm myself to, so instead I have to rely on what I see, hear and do as an unemployed bum.

Over the next year I anticipate some new muses (or is it musi?), so bear with me.  All in good time…

Until then, I’ll keep filling these pages with my utterly mindless wank.

Thanks for sticking with me….it’ll be worth it 😉

Ryan Reynolds grin

Aren’t you excited?

All for one…

This morning my train was delayed due to a “passenger being taken ill” on board.

My first clue that something wasn’t right was when a man entered from the adjoining carriage and woke me up by screaming “IS THERE A DOCTOR ON BOARD!??”

No reaction.

“PASS IT DOWN!”

No-one did.

He stood there for a few seconds, shot everyone a contemptuous look and headed back to his carriage.

Once I’d wiped away the drool from my mouth and the shoulder of the woman next to me, I looked out the window and saw we were just outside Clapham Junction, the busiest train station in the UK.  I then looked at my watch and saw that we were running 40 minutes later than usual.

What the fuck?

I soon discovered it was something to do with signalling problems/electrical issues/leaves on the track/frost.  [Delete as applicable…take your pick]

It was at this point, as the train slowly trundled into Clapham Junction (the busiest train station in the UK), that I noticed an unnatural silence in the carriage.  At first I thought it might be due to concern for our fallen comrade in the other carriage, but I soon concluded it was because everyone was thinking the exact same thing as me….

“Don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train…..”

‘Crackle’

Oh no.

‘Fizz’

Oh shit.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking…”

Please no.

“…it appears the alarm has been pulled in one of the carriages…”

Ah, dammit!

“…owing to someone being taken ill on board.”

Here we go…

Now, I’ve ranted about the delays caused by those ‘taken ill’ before, but that was about the afflicted being on the platform, whereas this time it was someone actually on the train.

After multiple “apologies for the delay” and “awaiting a first-aider” announcements, it occurred to me….

Just take them off the train.

I mean, how ‘ill’ was the person if all we were waiting for was a first-aider?  At no point did the announcements say we were awaiting a surgeon…or a mortician; so why not take them off the train and treat them in the cool, refreshing morning air?

Nope.  As a lot of us feared, the inevitable happened.

The speakers crackled and fizzed to life again and the conductor suggested it might be a good idea we all leave the train and board another one.  After all, there were plenty of trains heading into London as this was Clapham Junction; the busiest train station in the UK.

As you can imagine, this went down as well as a vegan’s fart in a broken elevator with the packed masses who were already very late for work.

Now, I’ve estimated a train carriage holds over 100 people and this was a 12 carriage beast packed tighter that Tom Jones’ trousers, so in effect we had over 1200 rats fleeing a sinking ship.  That’s 1200 moaning, tutting, multi-directional shuffling zombies joining the crowds at the busiest train station in the UK; all heading towards platform 14 to join other equally packed trains full of scowling, miserable sods all unwilling to ‘move down the carriage using all available space’.

Amongst the crowds and mayhem I found a gap on platform 14 and, whilst silently congratulating myself, smugly waited for the next London-bound sardine tin.  Soon enough it pulled up and I discovered why there had been a gap on the platform; I was stood equidistantly nowhere near the train doors.

I couldn’t have positioned myself better if I’d tried.

The doors opened and people started piling off the train.  The rest of us glared at them as we watched the ever increasing space form behind them like a tin of cookies at a Weight-watchers meeting.  I began sizing up my fellow commuters to see who I could take down if the need arose.  The small Chinese woman, the man in front of me with the rucksack, the woman checking her make-up in a portable mirror; I reckon I could take them all with a well placed elbow here and a careful headbutt there.

As it turned out we all got on board.

Lucky bastards.

Mind you, some dude had my arse in his face all the way into London.

Lucky bastard.

Anyway, we arrived into Victoria almost an hour later than usual and everyone made a beeline for the underground station which, for some reason, wasn’t busy at all.  It was actually a breeze getting through the barrier and I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why th……

Oh wait, it was 09:25am.   Of course it was quieter; most people were actually AT work!

Oh well, at least the tube would be a nice end to this nightmare journey.

‘Crackle’

Oh no.

‘Fizz’

Oh shit.

“We apologise that, due to a signalling failure at Brixton, the Victoria line is subject to major delays in both directions”.

Maybe someone should call a first-aider.

Quickly.

Faint

Miss taken identity

I’d been on the train about 20 minutes this morning when a guy got on and sat opposite me.  He was short, dumpy with glasses and was wearing a big anorak.  To be honest, he looked like Benny Hill.

I sat there for a while with my eyes closed in an attempt to get some sleep.  However, I could feel a bat in the cave and desperately needed to pick my nose.

The train stopped again at another station and I open my eyes briefly to see if any women had joined Benny and I before donning my mining helmet.

No women. Just Benny watching something on his tablet.

In went the finger.

Oh yeah, that’s it; that’s what I’m talking about.  Don’t run away.  Where are you going? Come to daddy.  Come on you little fucker….

I opened my eyes again for a second to see if there were any disgusted females around.

Nope, still just Benny.

On I went, like an 80’s ZX Spectrum classic prequel to Jet Set Willy.

(Nerd reference)

Once I was done I settled back in my seat to comfortably drift off to sleep.

After a few minutes I was woken by Benny and his rustling anorak, which was officially the loudest coat I’d ever heard.   As he stood up to remove the deafening apparel I got a face full of boobs.

Boobs?

Holy shit, Benny was a Jenny!

He…sorry, she then sat back down and went back to his…sorry, her tablet.  I decided it was probably best to close my eyes and continue to ‘sleep’.

In all fairness I could be forgiven for mistaking Jenny for a man.  She had short man-hair, a stocky man-like build, unflattering jeans with big man style boots and, when the guard announced that our train was being terminated due to technical difficulties, an ability to let out a massive “Farkin’ ‘ell, what the fark’s that all abaat?” for all to hear.

I suppose it had to be loud to be heard over her coat.

She didn’t care.

She had balls.

benny hill

Literally?

2014 is upon us and, so it seems, is some of the worst weather England has ever seen.

On this lovely Monday morning all the trains were either delayed or cancelled due to severe flooding from the deluge our fine country is relentlessly being twatted with.

There were buses being operated between certain parts of the route which meant the stations were getting very crowded, very quickly.

So, to hear a guy on the train tell some uninterested bastard on the phone that “there was literally a million people on the platform” left me to conclude that he was “literally an arse”.

Fat, hairy and spouting nothing but shit.

Happy new year everyone!

Fuck ‘n’ Awesome

Arrived at London Victoria station to see my train had been cancelled.

Fuck.

But I was earlier than usual so I could jump on a slightly earlier train and still make my connection near home.

Awesome.

The train was packed solid with commuters having the same idea as me.

Fuck.

And yet I found a seat!

Awesome.

But due to the train not taking the exact same route as my usual service, I forgot to get off at Three Bridges station which resulted in me having to go all the way to Haywards Heath.

Fuck!

Yet thankfully there was a train back to Three Bridges in about 6 minutes.

Awesome.

I jumped on and the train took us 98% of the way before stopping at a red signal just outside Three Bridges for about 12 minutes.

Fuck!!

When we finally pulled into the station I could see that a train going my way was on the other platform and was delayed. If I ran I could make it!

Awesome.

This run involved going down a slope, under the railway track and back up some stairs. I was wearing shoes that ‘clip clopped’ quite loudly to alert people that I was fast approaching. Most didn’t move aside; including a short fat butch dyke looking bitch who tutted me as I raced by.  Eat a dick.

I missed the train by about 3 seconds.

FUCK!

Its freezing cold, dark and I now have a 20 minute wait ahead of me.

Whine and complain?

Me?

Never!

Crapham’s junction box

The guard on the train has just announced that we will not be stopping at Clapham Junction because the station has had a power cut and the lights aren’t working.

It doesn’t affect me but it clearly affects half the carriage as they all let out a very angry and very audible sigh, in perfect unison.

To be honest, I’m now feeling a little faint from the sudden increase in carbon dioxide.

Granted it’s almost 7pm and its starting to get dark, but as we passed through Clapham Junction it was sumptuously lit up by surrounding houses and street lamps.

Apparently the closure is for health and safety reasons.

I’ve just seen the guard lock himself away for the exact same reasons.

image

The last leg

Its bad enough that I have to change trains ONE stop before my stop, but its even worse when the connecting train is delayed.

But they don’t just tell us it’s 30 minutes late.

Oh no.

They say its 10 minutes late, and then when the 10 minutes is nearly up they add on another 5 minutes and then another 10 minutes etc…until the train finally fucking arrives.

Annoyingly I need to pick up some provisions from ASDA tonight which is practically a stone’s throw from the station I’m stood at.

If I’d known I was going to be stuck here for 30 minutes I would’ve walked to ASDA and got my shit to carry on the train for the ONE stop to my car.

But no…now I have to drive all the way BACK here.

Thanks Friday….you just had to get the boot in before the weekend.

iSplat

I’m stuck on a packed train just outside East Croydon with a 3G signal going up and down like a local girl’s knickers.

Luckily I’ve been here about 45mins because apparently someone got hit by a train earlier today.

I’ve got another hour of this at least. Joy joy joy!! (claps hands excitedly until blood is drawn)

I can understand getting hit by a car or a boat because they could come from any direction, but a train is pretty much on rails if I’m not mistaken, and therefore it’s easy to predict where they might be coming from; left, or right.

I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead or the seriously injured, but….

Twat.

In addition to all this, the woman next to me is talking VERY LOUDLY TO HER CHILDREN ON THE PHONE AND SAYING THAT “MUMMY WILL BE HOME SOON” AND THEY NEED TO “STOP BEING SAD”. She’s actually said this about 37 times.

She’s just asked her child where her monkey is, and if they’ve warmed it up.

Strange…when I do that it’s frowned upon.

Now she’s trying to connect to them via facetime on her iPad. That will be amazing; to hear her whiny kids first hand. I mean, she’s talking to them on the phone… so why do it on the iPad for all of us to experience?

Oh, 38 times.

She’s also just told her fucking offspring that she’s going to the dentist to get her gold tooth replaced.

Classy.

The woman opposite me is reading her book, resting her head on her very, very clenched fist.

Oh look, facetime has connected.

Now she’s talking to them on her phone AND waving at them on her iPad.  What is the purpose of that?

39 times.  Right that’s it.

Today there will be more than one train fatality.

iSplat

I Queue Test

This morning I woke up at 06:52am.  This is a problem when you need to be out of the house at 07:15am and I still needed to have a shower, shave, brush my teeth, style my hair, get dressed and make myself some lunch.  It’s also a little concerning as my alarm clocks (yes, clocks; plural) go off around 6am.  Oops.

If the house had been on fire and I was under attack from ninjas I still wouldn’t have moved as fast as I did when I realised the time.  I was quick.  Very quick.  At one point I passed a Coyote in a slingshot holding an anvil.

I made it out of the house at 07:18am.  Not bad.

Meep meep!

I then drove at breakneck speed to the station.  Well, it was at a speed that made me want to break the neck of the bell-end driving the car in front of me at 21 miles per hour.

I finally made it to the station with about 3 minutes to spare and I was faced with a decision; buy my weekly ticket now, or at London Victoria.  Hmm….

There was a dithering twat of a woman at the ticket office, laughing that she “simply can’t find my purse in here! Ha ha ha!”

Ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA!!!!  Hilarious.  No really, please continue.  Take your time.  I can’t get enough of your cripplingly funny shit. 

So I thought, fuck it; I’ll buy my ticket at Victoria. 

The train pulled in, I got on, sat down and revelled in watching the dithering twat almost miss the train.  She made it.  Shame.

The journey was the usual social scene; complete silence whilst staring at a small screens and desperately trying to ignore the annoying fucker talking on her phone.  In fact, it was this annoying fucker…..http://headinablender.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/blooble-fabwa-sibbladoo/

I really have to pick a different carriage….or just punch her in the face.

We finally pulled into London Victoria and I made my way to the ‘customers needing to pay additional fares’ desk.  It should be called ‘customers who tried to pull a fast one, realised there were automated gates and now have to reluctantly pay for a ticket which they will say was from the station just before Victoria’.

I shamefully joined the queue of people like we were waiting outside the headmaster’s office, feeling the judging eyes of all the other commuters as they passed by.  The people in front of me were taking forever to buy their tickets which I thought was odd.  It then dawned on me pretty fucking quickly that they weren’t simply buying excess fares.  No, they were haggling for the cheapest way of paying for the journey they’ve just done. 

No rush folks, I don’t have a job to get to.

The woman commuter at the desk had a ticket for off peak travel and hadn’t realised it wouldn’t let her through the barriers at 08:30am in the morning, in central London, on a Monday.  I could see her confusion.  This is the sort of woman who needs to ensure her Vagisil and Colgate are kept in separate rooms.

“I didn’t realise I couldn’t use this ticket”.  Yes you did, now fuck off.

She continued to argue this for a good two or three minutes, as if somehow it would change the circumstances.  At this rate we were going to hit off peak travel times.  This could’ve been incredibly frustrating if you were someone worried about being late for work.  Not me though, I had aaaaaaaaall the time in world.

The guy that followed her wasn’t any better.

“I’ve come from Gatwick, but I’m here to see my brother, so I need to get to Kensington, but my ticket from Gatwick was a staff ticket, so I need the cheapest ticket to see him and then I’ll be coming back, but that will be today, but tomorrow I’m with my brother at his flat, so do I need an oyster card?  I basically need to get back, but the ticket I’ve got isn’t valid on the times I need to be out of my brother’s place”.

I’m sorry, what?

The massive Nigerian train guard behind the glass looked right through this little man with a stare that sat somewhere between utter contempt and not giving a shit.  It was a beautifully crafted look and one I plan to master myself.  He clearly gets this kind of idiocy all the time.

Where’s that dithering twat from earlier?  I’m feeling a bit punchy.

People Waiting In Line

Down wid da kidz

Picture the scene…

The train out of London Victoria was going to be departing late this evening.  It was sat in the platform, but wasn’t going to be moving for at least another 15 minutes.  My friend Barney and I were sat at a table talking bollocks and watching the train fill up with an overabundance of commuters who took advantage of the delay to get an earlier train than they usually catch.

Stood next to us was a couple, although I suspect they weren’t romantically linked; merely colleagues.  He was dressed in a full length business coat over his business suit, carrying a business briefcase and sporting business hair.  I think he may have been a businessman, but I may have been wrong; maybe a plumber?  She was dressed similarly business-like with pearl earrings, starched skirt, Margaret Thatcher hair and perfume that could strip paint.

They were poshly discussing that the train should’ve left four minutes ago.  He said it was unlikely we’d have to wait a further 11 minutes until we departed.  She agreed that it would be ridiculous for the train to wait until the delayed time displayed on the boards if a space in the ‘traffic’ opened up.

This went on for a good 2 minutes, which may not sound like a long time…but it really is.

The train’s doors then closed and it began to pull out of the station.

It was at this point that Mr and Mrs Business stopped talking, smiled at each other and…without saying a word or indicating any premeditation…they high fived each other.

Full on.

Up high.

It was so out of place that it stopped Barney and I mid-bollocks.

I can imagine it would be like hearing your mum say “Booyah!” or having your dad get down to Dubstep.

There’s nothing wrong with it, except everything.

st_howto_f

Signalling a failure

This morning my train terminated after two stops due to some signalling failure further down the line.  

I wasn’t annoyed at all, considering I was running late this morning and had run around like a headless chicken trying to get to the station on time.  

Still, there was nothing I could do. My train was terminating and soon I was going to have to get off my warm, virtually empty train with the comfy seat, and stand out on a frosty platform to await a packed sardine tin of a train that everyone else was going to be getting on.  

But, as expected, the two people over the aisle, who clearly didn’t know each other, decided to bond by mutually moaning and whining.  

I could go into detail around the guy complaining about the price of tickets and the fact that he only needed to go one more stop blah blah blah…but it was what she said that made me smirk.  

“What I don’t understand is why they don’t just go back to manual signals. All these computerised electronic signals; all they do is break down”.  

A fair point, I thought to myself.  

It’s not like there are literally thousands upon thousands of varying types of signals up and down the country is it? That would suggest that, somehow, railway capacities, schedules and speeds have increased over the years…which is nonsense.

His reply was brilliant, if not a little understated,  “They just don’t have the staff”.  

Really? They don’t have, like, a billion staff members to man these signals day and night? That’s ridiculous… I’m writing to my MP.  

Surely there’s an opportunity here to tackle our unemployment issue in Britain. I’m sure there are loads of people out there who’d love nothing more than to stand out in the cold, right next to a live rail, risking being hit by high speed trains, for hours on end, for minimum wage.    

And will it be a set salary for this job? Surely it should be graded somehow based on geography? The signals at Clapham Junction are far busier than, say, Coombe in Cornwall.  

And what if someone falls asleep on the job, or is close to a high score on Angry Birds? Surely then it could be said that we have a signal failure…only this time with no advance warning sent ‘electronically’.  

Manual signals indeed. What next?

Should I wash my clothes on a mangle to avoid the inconvenience of a washing machine breakdown, or go to a library if my ISP let’s me down and I need to look up one of britains quietest stations to contrast Clapham Junction?  

Sorry love, you’re talking bollocks.

Fire at the end of the tunnel

This morning’s train journey into work has been a cavalcade of events.

The first annoyance was some tracksuited rudeboy who looked a lot like Akon boarded the train and sat there with headphones on talking into his phone like it was a walkie talkie.

I hate when people do that (see http://headinablender.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/hello-is-anyone-actually-there/)

His voice was a combination of Jamaica and African with a hint of stoner and a large splash of penis. He spoke incredibly loudly and nobody seemed to want to sit near him for some reason.

As the train decided to crawl at fuck all miles per hour, constantly being stopped at red signals and awaiting platforms at various stations, the monotony of the journey was broken by two guards who were checking tickets in tandem.  At first I thought they were doing half a carriage each to save time, but no…we had to provide evidence we’d paid for this embarrassment of public transport a second time.

What I did revel in slightly was the fact that Akon didn’t have a valid ticket. I think he was hoping that the guard, being a black guy, would somehow cut him some slack as a fellow ‘brother’. I’m not being racist; he leaned towards the guard and said “come on brother”.  That was my first clue.

It wasn’t working.

This was evident the second time the guard pointed out that his train pass was in fact a staff pass for London transport and not vaild on trains outside London. Akon feigned ignorance saying he didn’t know and that no one at his company told him.  He was fooling no one and got charged his penalty fare.

It was at this point I decided to have a snooze. After all, the speed this train was going I had at least 6 hours until we reached London.

The train started to get busier and busier. Every time I opened my eyes I was was surrounded by more and more people, all of whom were coveting my seat like a hyena to a feasting pride of lions.

At one point I was woken by a guy loudly offering his seat to a pregnant woman.  The tone of his voice suggested he was pissed off no one else had done it.  The reason I sensed this was because he said “it’s ok fellahs, I’ll make sure she gets a seat”.  I’m sure the woman didn’t feel guilty at all after that.

Soon enough we stopped about 3 stations outside London. The guard’s voice blared over the tannoy in his best broken English to announce that although we had stopped in a station they were not opening the doors as it wasn’t a scheduled stop.  This was despite the fact that the train was crammed solid and there were people collecting outside the doors like children around an ice cream van.

We sat there. We sat there some more. We sat there a bit longer and other passengers I noticed were starting to get restless. The huffing had begun.

The guard’s voice came over the speaker system again to point out that there had been someone taken ill on another train at the next station and we couldn’t move until the ambulance had sorted them out. My fellow commuters had that ‘i’ll give them a reason for an ambulance’ look on their faces and the huffing had evolved into sly comments and moans; desperate for someone to acknowledge them so they could enter into a mutual bitch about the rail service and how late they were going to be for work. The guy opposite me tried, but I was having none of it.

I texted my partner in crime and fellow manager at work, Sarah, to tell her I was running late. She then promptly rang me.

It’s at this stage that I feel it important to point out that the carriage was deathly silent, despite being wall to wall with people.  All that could be heard aside from the huffing and puffing was the click of phones and keyboards, no doubt moaning digitally to the world about the inconvenience they were having to endure on the nice, warm, comfy train.

Sarah told me she had made it into London, but Victoria underground station was closed due to a fire. When I replied “Victoria is closed?” you can only imagine the reaction of my sardined brethren. I took this opportunity to smile and reply with, “I think you’ve just made me the most unpopular person on this train!” .  This earned me a couple of grins but mostly a mass ‘for fuck’s sake’ groan rose from everyone.  They were all staring at me like I’d just laid my manhood across the table and asked anyone if they wanted to plug in my dongle.

Sarah told me she’d decided to attempt getting a bus to work and we ended our call so I could begin fielding questions from my new ‘friends’. They were so happy to hear that the stress was going to continue when they reached London.

The guard came over the tannoy a couple more times to tell us we weren’t moving, which we’d figured out considering the scenery had stopped going past the window.

The guy opposite me stopped huffing and puffing long enough to jokingly ask the pregnant woman if she was planning to go into labour.  Personally I thought she should start looking at good schools because we may be here a very, very long time.

Eventually we started to move and there was an inaudible, but definite, sigh of relief.

Three minutes into our breakneck journey of 1mph the guard then announced there was a fire at Victoria and the underground was closed.

Cue a massive groan.

Everyone looked at me and half smiled. I held my hands up, smiled back and gave my best ‘see I told you…don’t shoot the messenger’ face. Suddenly I felt cool and current with my finger on the pulse of shit going down. Mostly I was just thankful that I was no longer the misguided focus of their blame.

So after 3.5hrs commuting into work and subsequently turning up late, there was nothing I loved more than “so glad you could join us” and “good afternoon” quips from my lovely colleagues.

I need a coffee.  Now.

Breakfast At Tiffanys

The new year has come and gone, and for most of us all we have to show for it is a perpetual hangover and a distinct sense of fatigue that simply wont bugger off.  

Not me.  

Having shared in excess of 12 bottles of proseccco between four of us I should’ve been, by rights, a fucking mess. Instead I woke up as bright as a button and felt great; much to the chagrin of one half of the couple we’d celebrated with.

He was simply struggling to function properly.

In fact he spent a majority of the morning concentrating on difficult tasks like walking, talking and breathing (very gently).  

It was on his recommendation that we find somewhere that does breakfasts, or a “dirty fry up”as he called it. Works for me; I was frigging starving!  

We were in the middle of Brighton so we knew there would be plenty of places to eat. Although having said that, it was mostly bloody fish and chip shops. Our slowly dying friend pointed out there was a great cafe that he’d eaten at before called Tiffany’s. This was met with a snort of laughter from me as it was either a bad pun or a happy accident.  

Please be the latter.
Please be the latter.  

It was the former.  

Bum.  

Oh well, not to worry. We entered and ‘bagsied’ a table like a stereotypical German with a towel before approaching the checkout to place our orders.  

“There’s a 25 minute wait for food” we were told.   We didnt care, just take our order, bring us buckets of orange juice and tea and we’ll be happy.  

It took 35 minutes for our drinks to arrive which meant that we were so dehydrated we resembled a table of tortoise scrotums. It then took a further 20 minutes for our food to get to us. By this time we’d started gnawing the table and licking other customers as they came in.  

The food was good though; truth be told. I had sausage, egg, bacon, beans and chips. I did wonder if it still counts as breakfast if it had chips with it, but figured it must do as it was on the breakfast half of the massive chalkboard menu behind the counter.  

Whilst we waited forever for our sustenance my brother called me to wish me happy new year.  

“What are you up to?” he asked.

“Having breakfast in a greasy cafe in Brighton” I replied.  

“Good man! What are you having?”  

I told him.

He then said the exact same thing about the chips.  

Seriously, why do chips turn a breakfast into lunch?  

Anyway, we finally left about 2 hours after we’d arrived.

When it said ‘All Day Breakfast’ we didn’t realise that meant the time taken to serve it.

Another delayed journey…

This morning I had the joy of a lift to the train station as my girlfriend isn’t working today.
 
Result.
 
The downside with mentally allocating yourself more time in the morning is that you then tend to over-allocate which today resulted in us leaving much MUCH later than we should have. In fact, I was urging her to take most corners on two wheels.
 
She obliged.
 
And now I need a change of trousers.
 
Anyway, we screeched up outside the station and I jumped out of the car with true action movie prowess; running towards the platform at breakneck speed (or what my legs were capable of at 7:30am this morning) as my train was already there. 
 
Whilst I traversed the bridge over the train I thought to myself that I might even possibly maybe consider the theoretical likelihood that, if the train were to begin pulling away, I would jump off the bridge and onto its roof.  That way I could not only get into work on time, but also defy the laws of inertia by chasing and fighting some Bond-esque villain complete with limp, eye-patch and a briefcase with classified documents, microfilm and ballistic missile launch codes inside.
 
As it happens the train didn’t pull out, so I got on it with seconds to spare.  It seems those top secret codes will get into the enemy hands after all.
 
Ah, what did I care; I got a seat.
 
But hang on, something’s not right.  The train’s departure time had come and gone and we were still sat there.  It was at this point I was filled with dread as the voice of the driver came crackling over the speaker system; “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to our service this morning, but we’re being held at a red signal.”. 
 
No shit?  Really?  I hadn’t considered that.
 
He continued; “Due to a trackside fire at Preston Park there is now a backlog of trains and we’re awaiting platform space at Three Bridges station before we can continue”.
 
Ooh, now that’s a little more exciting.
 
We continued to sit there.
 
At this point I thought I heard uneven footsteps above me, but shrugged it off and decided to text work and let them know I was going to be late due to issues with the trains.  I must admit it was mostly so they knew I was actually awake and hadn’t overslept.
 
We then sat there for a further 20 minutes.
 
During this time I was within earshot of a conversation between two women who were talking at the volume intended to encourage other people to listen.  One of them was complaining that the driver should just use the ‘bypass track’ to miss out the offending station and get us on our way, whereas the other woman was saying that she’s sure they’re doing everything they can to get us on our way.
 
This pointless interaction went on for a while and reminded me of football pundits discussing a game they weren’t involved in, had no control of and ultimately speculating on what the players were actually thinking when in reality they should just shut the fuck up.
 
Soon enough the guard walked through the carriage and was stopped by Mrs Bypass-Track.  She asked why we couldn’t just ‘go around’ the other trains.  The guard tried to explain, through a forced smile that resembled a clown taking a shit, that all the platforms were in use and there were no tracks for us to use.  She still continued to ask why we couldn’t just bypass them, as if the concept of trains and tracks had eluded her.  The guard said they were doing everything they could to get us on our way which resulted in the smuggest look from the other woman who had said the exact same thing not 5 minutes earlier.
 
I knew there was nothing I could do so I sat back, relaxed and closed my eyes for an extended morning train snooze. 
 
I was woken briefly by what sounded like a faint shriek followed by a dull thud and a clatter resembling a briefcase hitting train tracks. 
 
I think the lights flickering slightly too, but then the train started moving so I shrugged it off, closed my eyes again and drifted off.

Cuba stard! Pt. 3

This is a follow on from the last two entries.

It just gets better and better.

We land in Nassau 25 minutes late and taxi to the gate. So far so good(ish); I can probably still make my flight.

Then, stop.

There’s an issue with getting the walkway up to the plane door, so we stand there and we wait for another 15 minutes. I’m getting worried now; my connecting flight leaves in 45 minutes!

We finally get off the plane and I power walk towards the baggage claim area like a man possessed, through the newly built wing of the airport.

Then, stop.

The security doors are locked and neither of the security staff can open them with their electronic flashy beepy key card passes. Shit! We stand there for another 10 minutes while someone goes and gets what’s called a ‘key’, and hey presto, the door opens! Magical!

With only 35 minutes until my flight, I hit a full sprint…which is great considering we were at the furthest gate from ANYWHERE!

The good news is that my bag is already there waiting for me at baggage claim, with an “oh there you are!” look on its face. Hooray! I grab it and run, with my case hopping from left wheel to right wheel in a manner threatening to capsize at any moment!

Then, stop.

A queue for customs. I bite the bullet and, whilst panting heavily and sweating like a whore in church, I ask the line of people if I can jump in front of them as I have a flight in 10 minutes. The woman at the front made it clear she was not happy by looking me up and down and scowling, but the customs lady heard me and beckoned me to go next. Ha! In your face scowling woman! The customs lady asked if I had any alcohol or cigarettes and then sent me on my way. I picked up the sprint where I left off and bolted through arrivals and out into the Bahamian air.

Whew! That is HOT!

No time to stop and catch some rays; I run into departures and straight up to the BahamasAir check-in desk, panting and wheezing like a priest on a whore.

Then, stop.

The flight is now closed.

Aaaaaaarrrrrgh!!!!!!

I pull out the big guns; giving the ultimate puppydog eyes, pleading and (which is what I think swung it for me), pointing out that it was THEIR flight that caused me to be late.

It worked and I got my boarding pass! She smiled and said, “now go to gate C51” like they do in the movies when they say “now go get her and tell her you love her!”. I ran my fastest run, knowing my beloved was waiting with wings open wide.

Interestingly, US customs and immigration was a breeze….and unexpected as I thought I would get it at the other end, not in Nassau. Oh well, less hassle in Florida I guess.

I then continued to run; my lungs bursting with the fast pumping of oxygen passing through them.

I can see the Departures board. It’s just up ahead! I’m nearly there! It’s gonna happen! This journey from Satan is almost at an end!

Flight delayed for 45 minutes.

I stood there, looking up at the screen, dripping with sweat, panting so hard that nearby kids were passing out from oxygen deficiency, and I could only do one thing.

I laughed.

I mean I really laughed out loud.

The family next to me were shielding their children from the strange laughing man, but I didn’t care. I just stood there and let out a big hearty laugh.

Brilliant. I couldn’t have ended this story any better. Irony had handed me the perfect conclusion to this episode of my journey.

Looking around me I suddenly realised I was technically in the States; there was a Wendy’s, a Quiznos, a Dunkin’ Donuts and more. But best of all, I was just happy that everything was clean, shiny and air-conditioned. I ventured into the toilet and there weren’t shit spattered bowls, piss covered floors and water-free taps.

Heaven.

I can wait 45 minutes. After all, I’ve got to get my breath back.

The weight of waiting.

Standing on the platform waiting for the platform number to be announced for the train we’re all waiting for, despite the fact that we all know its the train in front of us on platform 19. So here we all stand, adamant we have the right train, but unmoving until its made official in bright orange letters on the black backed information board.

And we wait.

And wait.

And we start shuffling around, checking the boards for other platforms in case we might’ve been wrong, even though we know its the one sitting at platform 19. It’s always platform 19.

It’s approaching 5 minutes late now and we’re all getting fidgety, especially as the train at platform 19 has just been vacated by a sea of people with expressions ranging from beaming smiles, to smacked arse.

And we continue to wait.

People are now starting to call friends and family to loudly announce how late they’re going to be, and to dramatically describe the inconvenience it’s causing them.

One guy in particular gets my attention, mostly because he’s stood right in front of me, but also due to the nature of the conversation I can hear at this end. He clearly has a suspicious and untrusting partner on the end of the line.

“Hi it’s me”
“Yeah I’m still here waiting for the 18:02 but its not here yet”
“Yeah I’m stood right in front of it, and it’s not here so I’m going to be late”
“Well I don’t know”
“How can I if there’s no train?”
“I’m telling you, I’m AT the station and there’s no train announced yet”
“Honestly, there really isn’t!”
“I don’t know (sighs), when I get there. I’ll text you when I leave”
“I will!”
“No idea, they haven’t told us anything”
“There’s no-one around to ask”
“I don’t know”
“I said I have no idea; we’re all waiting for the boards to say which platform”
“I AM on the platform, but we’re waiting for it to come up”
“Ok”
“Ok”
“I’m sorry”
“I said I’m sorry”
“Bye”

Jesus!

He’s got a great Friday night to look forward to.

The train is finally announced.

Platform 17.

Guilty guard

The guard on the train this fine Monday morning made an announcement explaining why we’d stopped short of Three Bridges station. He started with: “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m sorry about the delay in arriving at the station but we’re waiting for a platform to become available…”

All good so far. Something I hear quite regularly, although I admit I’m a bit pissed off as I’m likely to be late for work now.

He then pauses for what seems an eternity. All we can hear is the background of whichever carriage he’s nested in today, and his breathing. Yes, we’re all sat here listening to a stranger’s breath over the tannoy.

Bit weird and awkward.

A couple of commuters exchange glances that say ‘hmm, this is not only weird, but a little bit awkward too’.

Im glad I’m not the only one thinking it.

He then says ‘erm’ a few times before continuing: “this is, erm, (pause), erm, because of delays caused by, erm, a broken down train between, er, Three Bridges and East Croydon, erm, (long pause), erm….(another long pause…I think he’s going to cry) erm, I, erm, would like to apologise for the ,er, delay and for, erm, any inconvenience caused”. His voice is starting to sound shaky and trails off.

‘Odd’ I think to myself.

And as we’re sat there in silence with only the sound of the train heaters for company I swear, somewhere in the distance, I can hear gentle sobbing.

It’s going to be one of those weeks.

Fate? Or futile?

This morning my journey into work started with a delayed bus that got me to the station later than I’d hoped. I still managed to catch my intended train, but I had to run…which in work attire first thing in the morning, when my limbs are creaky and cold, tends to resemble a newborn deer; gangly and awkward.

Having made my train and rewarding myself with a mental high five I settled down into an empty seat and looked forward to my nap. This morning’s nap would be exceptionally enjoyable as I was on an earlier train today and I knew I didn’t have a mentally insane power walk the other end.

Half way into the journey the driver announced, whilst sat at a station, that there was a technical difficulty with the doors and we wouldn’t be going anywhere for at least 20 minutes.

Great.

So I settled into a nice deep sleep, which resulted in snorting myself awake when the driver’s voice came over the tannoy again (see previous blog entry: ‘Wakey Wakey’)

I finally made it into London, 2 minutes before I need to be at work; 20 minutes away.

Time to be Bambi again.

And the delays didn’t stop there.

I got stopped by two people whose Oyster cards wouldn’t let them through the barrier, a woman who kept stopping with her suitcase without warning, a train that was held in the station for 3 minutes (which equates to 3hrs overground) due to a stop signal, a guy on the escalator who was more preoccupied with his kindle than walking up the escalator (he got a sharp jab in the ribs for his efforts), and an elevator that finally moved after the doors opened and closed 6 times.

What is it with doors today??

So all in all, quite a prolonged commute into work. Perfect for a Monday.

I can only hope that fate had a plan and, by delaying me, ensured I avoided being hit by a car, mugged, shot, blown up or (worst of all) being stopped by charity people with dreadlocks and clipboards.

Wakey wakey

I just loudly snored myself awake on a delayed, and therefore packed, train.

I tried styling it out by following up instantly with sniffing loudly, clearing my throat and then looking at my watch as if somehow it would come across as an elaborate and annoyed clearing of my throat intended to show my annoyance and disgust at being late for work on a Monday.

It didn’t.

All I achieved was scaring the shit out of the couple sat opposite me.

Posh nosh

Picture the guy opposite me on the train. In his late 40’s, got the whole jeans and sensible jumper/shirt combo going on. Imagine a slimmer Richard Curtis and you’re pretty much there. He’s reading his iPad so I haven’t heard his voice, but I suspect there’s a private school tone to his voice. The sort of guy who has children called Tarquin and Felicity, and whose wife is probably shagging the gardener as I write this.

A posh twat basically.

So why am I telling you about him? No particular reason; he’s just grating on me a little bit by what he’s doing.

Firstly, he’s covered in biscuit crumbs, like a gibbon with a packet of digestives. I understand that they can be crumbly, but for god’s sake man, brush them off. But no, instead he continues to wear them whilst opting to frequently slurp his coffee like a child with a bowl of soup. I have nothing against slurping hot coffee as it’s hot and therefore a full on sip will burn the lips, but this guy’s been at it for ages. The coffee is cold…like his wife.

This is not helped by the fact the train has stopped due to a signalling failure and we’re all plunged in that uncomfortable, awkward silence usually reserved for full elevators. A whole carriage full to the brim with people and all you can hear is ‘cough’, ‘sniff’, ‘rustle rustle’ (newspapers)….oh, and ‘slurp’.

Tensions are high. I might flick his nose.

Speaking of which, here’s the other thing he’s doing that I’m not keen on. He’s picking his nose. Thats right, picking his nose!!

This isn’t simply scratching it, no; he’s really digging in and mining for the green stuff…all with his little finger. Mmm, nice.

He then starts to roll his findings between his little finger and his thumb. Mmm, nice.

Once he’s finished excavating, he begins to slowly, but purposefully, flick it. Failing at first (due to stickiness no doubt), but persevering nonetheless. It’s at this point he reverts to wiping it off, either on the seat or himself.

Hang on, are they actually biscuit crumbs?

Also, as I starting writing this he reached into his satchel (yes, satchel!) and produced a banana. He then proceeded to eat it which ordinarily wouldn’t be worthy of mention, but remember this; we’re on a deathly silent train that isn’t moving.

He begins to munch the banana (insert private school joke here), and as he chews he does it with his mouth open so he sounds like stirring stodgy porridge.

I may beat him to death with the skin.