Thursday, 1 August 2019

Let The Train Take The Strain?

Do you remember the lyrics from 'Red Dwarf' ?That crazy  space comedy which began 30 years ago, and still has a cult following. Even the AA has taken it up as the basis for their current TV ad.

…Let me fly far away from here
Fun, Fun, Fun, in the Sun, Sun, Sun
I want to lie shipwrecked and comatose
Drinking fresh mango juice
Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes
Fun, Fun, Fun in the Sun, Sun, Sun
I am so looking forward to my holiday next week, and hoping there will be a chance to lie comatose in the sun [not shipwrecked, but in a sunlounger at Cornerstones]
This week has been unbelievably crazy and we are both in real need of a proper break.
On Monday I returned from my trip to London. There were some lovely, and some less happy moments. I will put up some pictures later when I have sorted them. 
I got a slow 'stopping train' - mainly because the ticket was half the price of the faster one. Liz had lent me a book [review to follow] which was brilliant laugh-out-loud stuff [suppressed, in consideration of my fellow travellers] and I figured it was the right length to occupy the whole journey. 
The South Western Railway staff were affable and helpful. There was a lady at the front end of my carriage who had a walking frame and a folded wheelchair. As we left Waterloo, she checked with the guard [or whatever title he had] that when she reached her destination, someone would lift the chair onto the platform, and help her out of the train. He reassured her that this service had been pre-booked, and someone would be there for her, not to worry. On his return later to check tickets, she asked again. Yes, it will be OK he said again. Then at Southampton, he left the train and we got a new chap. The same conversation ensued. Twice. I decided that either she'd been let down on her journey up to London, or maybe she'd read recent stories about disabled people stranded on planes. As I say, the staff could not have been kinder.
Those of us further down the compartment - who could not avoid hearing her, smiled at each other, and we all hoped that she would 'de-train' happily.
Then things took a distinct Monty-Pythonesque turn. There were less than a dozen of us left in the carriage, and one guy got up to use the loo [directly opposite her seat] He went inside- and shut the door- which swung open again. He shut it, it opened. "Turn the switch!" she yelled. He shut it, it opened. "No the switch on the other side!" she yelled. This process went on for about 4 minutes. Open-shut-open-shut-open...and she got crosser and crosser - I cannot bring myself to type the language she used. "You stupid idiot, the other side!" was one of the milder insults. The poor man- I felt really sorry for him - the rest of us looked on bemused. He finally managed to secure the door in the closed position, and presumably did what he needed to do. But she went on shouting at the door "People like you are so *****stupid, you should not be allowed on trains! Can't you ***** read? *****Idiot"
Now I should say, this gentleman had not spoken a word in the whole encounter- I do not know if he even spoke/read English. After about 5 minutes the passenger opposite me whispered "he's not come out yet" I said "He's probably scared". 
He did eventually emerge, and scuttled back to his seat, head down, clearly embarrassed by the whole debacle. I decided I'd wait till I got home for the loo - and did not drink the remainder of my coffee. I got into a fun conversation with the couple opposite me.
Then we got to Brockenhurst. The train was due to stop there for an extended period [to allow faster trains to shoot past on the other line] Bournemouth passengers were invited to go to the opposite platform if they wanted a non-stop connection. "We should do that!" said the chap opposite. He and his companion gathered up their stuff, offered me their Waitrose magazine [thankyou] and left. As they got off the train, he turned left. "No the other way!" yelled Mrs Busybody. He turned to look back, then ignored her "The other way you silly fool!" she yelled. He grinned broadly, and continued in the way he had been going [the same direction as the other passengers] Eventually she gave up yelling. I do hope they did take her and her wheelchair off the train at her destination - I'd hate to think of the other travellers enduring her foul-mouthed harangues all the way to Weymouth!
Bob collected me from Christchurch station and we came home. I spent a couple of hours in last minute Kids Club Prep at the church [a clutch of 'late-bookers' meant I needed to prepare some more craft sets] I was in bed by 9.30. 
Tuesday's Club went well and after a sandwich lunch at the Flying Teapot, I came home and slept for 2 hours. I am learning to rest when I can. Kids Club is important, and I am glad to be involved, but this year I'm finding it much more tiring than ever before. 
But next, fun,fun, in the sun, sun sun....


  1. Travelling on the trains when youre disabled can be a whole ton of fun. Worst one we had was arriving at Nottingham to find none of the lifts were working and we couldnt get out of the station . The staff were brilliant and we escaped in the end

  2. Have a really good rest on your holiday.

  3. So pleased to read that you found the Nottingham staff helpful. So much depends on attitude, doesn't it? If both parties accept there is a problem and work to solve it together, things usually get sorted. If one side is 'difficult' it makes it much harder to resolve things. I do hope my fellow traveller didn't lose her rag and swear at the station staff when she arrived!

  4. Sounds like you're more than ready for that holiday! It's been years since I last rode on a train and I had been telling my daughter I should go on another train ride, somewhere; now, after reading your post, I'm not sure if I want to! LOL.

  5. Have a great holiday. We're also off to visit friends

  6. Oh my, that sounds very awkward and traumatic. I've actually been in a similar situation where there has been someone with a disability who is anxious but then they've been really unpleasant or very racist about people. So difficult and unpleasant - I wasn't sure what to say or do!


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!