Saturday, 10 April 2010

Let the train take the strain

Saturday April 10th 2010:
5.25AM and I'm passing Bawtry Town FC's J.T. Walker Memorial Sports Ground, it's the northernmost football ground in Nottinghamshire, literally a matter of feet away from the Yorkshire border ... and your intelligence quota just went up 1.45 points by virtue of discovering this really interesting information.
On arrival at the St James car park to the side of Doncaster train station, there are plenty of spaces available.
And for this time of the morning, quite a few chavtastic looking ne'er do well types hanging around too.
Hmm, to risk leaving the car here all day and night or not?
I s'pose I could leave the doors open and the keys in the ignition to avoid damage as they gain access to my vehicle, or I could adopt a plan B, put a full lock on the steering, scatter the little plebs in all directions and proceed to the more secure and more expensive car park attached to the station itself.
The extra few quid was probably worth it in the long run and I don't think I actually knocked any of them over.
Leastways there was no visible damage done to the front bumper of my car.
Next time maybe.
I recline in my reserved train seat, place my MP3 player, Harry Pearson book and chocolate chip muffin neatly on the table (OCD? Me!?) and smile to myself that the other three seats around the table are empty.
I love it when a plan comes together.
3 minutes before the train is scheduled to depart there is a commotion, a most untimely interruption because yours truly was just nodding off.
"Are these three seats taken mate?"
I shake my head, after all I am the only person actually sat in the whole of coach E at this point and the train doors are now closing.
"Oh great. Unreserved table seats. Is this train going to Edinburgh?"
Oh no!!!
They are golfers.
I am assuming this because they are carrying elongated golf bags and wearing those silly jumpers that look like the designs BBC2 used to show in the middle of the day between the schools broadcasts and evening 'high brow' discussion programmes.
The one stood nearest me had turned round three times and hit me in the face with the bag hung over his shoulder before I restrained his weapon and politely asked of him "Please keep your golf sticks out of my face"
He half heartedly apologised, stood on my foot to reach the shelf above my head, left his bag teetering precariously over the edge and took his seat.
A very uneasy peace ensued.
But he wasn't finished ... this is 2010, mobile telephones were invented approximately 302 years ago, but the novelty hadn't worn off with this irritating git "Hey guys, listen to these new ring tones"
Right that's it!
I stood up and relocated myself further down the carriage , uttering a string of obscenities as I went, that I wouldn't dare repeat at this juncture, because the blog police would order the66pow to be closed down under obscenity laws.
If you are three golfers who deliberately use your hideous little friend as a scam to get a table to yourselves on early morning trains, well done, mission accomplished.
If you're just ignorant in extremes and have no grasp whatsoever about social etiquette in confined spaces and piss poor manners, I hope the next person you annoy is bigger than me, angrier than me and carrying a loaded fully automatic sub machine gun.
By the way, I hope you bought loads of cash with you for the taxi fare and don't forget those Gadgies like a good tip ;-)
So I ended up in one of those cramped little seats with the flip down tables that aren't even big enough to play a game of travel solitaire on ... and sulked.
Agitated, tired, cranky and bloody well fed up, I was too unsettled to sleep ... so what I really needed now was a caffeine fix.
Along came the refreshments trolley and I purchased an overpriced coffee. Or at least a D.I.Y. kit to assemble one with.
Umph! Right, the people who sell these things know all about rough rides and train turbulence so the cup comes fitted with a tight fitting lid with a small hole in it to drink out of. Which is great if you take your coffee black with no sugar, however, I feckin' well don't!
So I had to wrestle the lid off and try to keep the cup upright while I poured in the milk and sugar.
Sugar, no problem.
Milk ... who on earth invented Dairy Stix!? Floppy tubes of milk that require two hands to open, which is a work of art when you're holding down a lively cup of hot liquid on a train that feels like it has square wheels. Some of the milk even made it into the cup, the rest goes all over my sleeves.
The 'trolley dolly' (a rotund 54 year old man from Ponte') explains to me that the Stix are a green initiative and cut down on waste packaging.
Bullshit, they're a cheaper alternative to cartons and if they really wanted to help the environment instead of bumping up their profit margins, they would simply give you the cup with the milk and sugar in it in the first place.
And, as a side issue I told the chunky Yorkshireman, if I had wanted to make such a mess of my clothes I wouldn't have ******* bothered with a drink I could have retired to the toilet cubicle with some pornography and managed that for free.
Thankfully nobody else sat near me all the way to Edinburgh and I had time to deal with my anger management issues.
For the record, Harry Pearson is a brilliant and very funny writer, but today I gave up with one of his books (it was the fourth time I had tried making any inroads into the tome) and left it on the train on purpose. I guess this one must've been pulped out to fill in the gap between some of his better titles.
As we pulled into Waverley, the golfers were clogging up the vestibule waiting to get off.
"Do you know if the Balmoral Hotel is close to Waverley station?" asked the smallest, most irritating one of them.
I advised him to stay on to Haymarket and the hotel was right across the road.
They offered me grateful thanks for saving them so much trouble and did indeed stay on the train. Suckers!
I walked up the Waverley Steps onto Princes Street, it was a lovely day ... The Balmoral looked especially resplendent in the morning sun.
I wonder how much the Haymarket taxi drivers would rip the three idiot golfers off for in return for a ride back to this exact spot in about ten minutes time?
Right, let's get this party started ...