Friday, July 18, 2008

Apparently, I don't Hate FGW enough

When I started this blog, I was angry. Livid. To mention the words "First Great Western" to me were unwise, as they would spark a lengthy rant, full of expletives. I was highly pissed off.
I feel I should mention this at this juncture, because I have recently come under attack from someone who feels I am not angry enough, and am some kind of champagne-sipping toff who gets narky if commoners try to invade my space in the first class carriage.
It's true that I'm not as angry as I was, but to be honest, I don't think anyone could have that much energy, as being angry is pretty hard going, even for a few days, let alone for 18 months, and makes you liable to lose friends and alienate people. What I did instead was start a blog, in order that I could share my ranting with others with a similar hatred of FGW. And then, I moved house, in order to be nearer to my work. And then, I discovered the alternative service of South West Trains. And, all of these things have made me calmer, because I am opting out of the thing that makes me angry. I think this is called anger management. And, I suggest to Samuel Roberts, rather than simply being angry for its own sake, it's better to try and find out why something is making you angry, and to do something about it. It helps me to be sane, whereas you sound like someone I'd be very frightened to share a train carriage with.
But, I now have the honour of someone blogging about hating this blog, the imaginatively titled "I Hate I Hate First Great Western". Please visit it here:
In other news, my car has sold in a rather alarming three days, leaving me to mourn its absence, as I really am rather fond of driving. However, the bundle of cash I now have in its place enables me not only to pay the troublesome unexpected tax bill I mentioned in a previous post, but also to invest in a shiny new bicycle. I haven't been this excited since I was a child, and got a bright red shiny racer for Christmas. How I loved that bike. I hope I am able to be as fond of this one, as it will help me to get over the loss of my four-wheeled friend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Not very app-Ealing

Isn't Ealing Broadway station horrible? Specially late at night. No, actually, let me rephrase that. Aren't the drunk people at Ealing Broadway station horrible?
Last night, after a late shift, I arrived on the tube to get my train to Slough just as the one I was hoping to catch was pulling away, so had to wait half an hour for the next one. This gave me plenty of time to think about station improvements, most noticeably that the dark and grubby nature of the platform I was standing on seemed to give the drunk people the idea that it was okay to gob on the floor, or generally be unpleasant and intimidating. I would like to see a bit more lighting and a bit more seating, perhaps a few more benches further down the platform for those who don't want to sit amongst the beered-up people who always want to talk to you for some reason, no matter how close to your face you put your book.
There are times when I think I'd really like not to have to deal with people at all, especially drunk ones. The way they fill the train with litter and unmentionable stains must rile the poor cleaning staff who have to deal with it. It certainly riles me and I don't have to pick it up or wipe it up - eugh. Perhaps FGW should initiate a "night-status" carriage, which is entirely covered in the kind of plastic that sofas are wrapped in. Much easier to clean, and drunk people don't care where and what they sit on.
Me, I'll bring a cushion. And a larger book.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What do you think the train manager said?

I had a bit of a bad day on Monday. I had finished work early, and decided to walk from Camden lock to Paddington along Regent's Canal, as the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and everything was hunky dory. Then I got diverted off the canal path because of some work being done there, and found myself rather hot and bothered on the Edgware Road, not the pleasant stroll through Little Venice that I had been expecting. When I arrived at Paddington I glanced up at the board and saw the 1651 to Oxford was about to leave from Platform 10. I ran across the station, and jumped aboard, assuming that it was the same as the 1851 I normally take, which runs fast to Slough. Not, as it turns out. In fact, it doesn't stop at Slough at all, though it does go through it, at high speed, on its way to its first stop - Reading. D'oh.
I only realised my mistake when the train manager started to make his announcement about all the tickets that weren't valid on the service. He sounded quite strict and I was a bit concerned about what he would say when he found out that about halfway through the journey, my ticket would stop being valid on any service. Short of throwing myself off the train at Slough, I could see only two options - flash my ticket fast and hope that he didn't notice, or come clean. I'm not one of the world's best liars, in fact, I'm terrible at it, and have therefore come to the conclusion that honesty is the best policy. There was a glimmer of hope when he came into the carriage, as it seemed that everyone on the train had got the wrong ticket, so he spent quite a lot of time charging people extra. But this made me all the more nervous, as it seemed my mistake was going to be quite costly. When he came to me, I showed him my ticket and said "I made a mistake, I thought this train went to Slough". "No", he said flatly, "this train doesn't stop at Slough". Then, to my surprise, he helpfully looked up the next train, and its probable platform for me, and moved on to the next customer. He didn't even attempt to charge me.
On my way back to Slough on the next service ten minutes later, the train manager didn't get as far as my seat before I exited the train, so I didn't have a chance to test the theory twice.
But there you go, scary-sounding train manager being completely reasonable about a genuine mistake.
So, why did I have such a bad day you ask? Well, I got home to find a large and unexpected tax bill on the doormat. I hate the tax man.