Today’s Dollop is dedicated to Fi, who commented recently to say how much she enjoys my train stories. Well Fi, I have another train story for you today. I can’t promise that it’ll be particularly entertaining or amusing, but I am annoyed, and need to rant and I also need to quickly write this Dollop before I get to my friend Aisha’s house. So I am going to kill two birds with one stone and do a ranting Dollop. Obviously I am being figurative about the bird killing. I thought I better point that out just in case you’d misunderstood and thought that I was so annoyed that I planned on taking my aggression out on a couple of birds. Those days are well behind me.
I arrived at the train platform just as the 1810 train to Manchester was pulling away. I quickly checked the National rail app and discovered that there was another train at 1814. I tried to find someone to give me directions to the platform, but no one was proving helpful. They were all too busy frantically trying to catch their trains, frenziedly running around like headless chickens. That’s now another reference to injured birdlife. I promised you one of my legendary train stories, Fi, but so far the major theme seems to be bird maiming. No more references to dismembered animals, promise.
I made it to the platform just in time … for the 1814 train to Manchester to pull away. If I’d have only aimed for the 1814 originally, I’d be on the bloody thing now. Then again, if that happened then you wouldn’t be reading this particular blog with all its hilarious tangents about bird death, so as far as you’re concerned, you’re immensely glad I missed those two trains.
I checked the App again. If the next train was at 1818, and the one after that was 1820, I would not try and make the 1818. I know you are enjoying the crazy adrenaline-fuelled roller-coaster ride of a story, but I can’t bass all my decisions on what will make for a more exciting Dollop; I had somewhere to be. The next train wasn’t until 1840. I’d be half an hour late, but at least I’d definitely make this train.
Immediately I found someone helpful who took me to platform seven, and so I was at the platform by 1817. So I would have made the 1818 after all. I cursed my decision. And then I remembered that the 1818 was a hypothetical train that I had merely made up so as to inform a decision about not racing for trains at the risk of missing two trains. With all the confusion I’d started conflating my hypothetical constructions with reality; it happens to the best of us. I had a twenty-two minute wait for the train. It didn’t take long for the announcer on the station’s PA to disavow me of that notion.
“The 1840 service to Manchester Airport is delayed by thirteen minutes.”
I was now running forty-five minutes late. At 1840 another announcement came, telling us that the next train to arrive at platform seven is the 1840 service to Manchester Airport. I began to hope that maybe this meant the train was now no longer delayed, and would be arriving on time, however the announcement must have been merely telling us that this was the next train on that platform, rather than it being the train that was now arriving, because at 1853, the train pulled onto the platform, thirteen minutes late.
It took another five minutes before the train eventually pulled away. It must have been stuck in the station behind another train. I was now running fifty minutes late. But at least the train had now started moving and I was finally on my way. I settled myself into my seat and got my laptop out, ready to type up today’s Dollop. I did not intend to write about the train delay, after all, it’s not much of a story. We’ve all been delayed for fifty minutes before, it’s not really anything to write home about; certainly nothing to write to a few hundred people online about. OK, obviously I’ve managed to use my amazing story telling skills to weave it into an incredibly epic dramatic thrilling hell-raiser of a tale, but if that had been the end of my travelling woes, then I wouldn’t have bothered telling you about my journey. I intended to write a blog about something that happened at Sainsbury’s today. Yes, I know, a Sainsbury’s story; even more popular than my train stories. But as I opened my laptop and began to type, an announcement came over the PA.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard the 1858 service to Plymouth.”
What?! How the hell had this happened? At that moment the ticket inspector approached my seat. I explained to him the situation. Apparently I had been on platform six. The person who took me to the platform must have taken me to the wrong one. To add insult to injury, the ticket man then informed me that the 1840 had actually left on time, as the delay had been cleared. So the announcement I heard saying that the next train to arrive at platform seven was the 1840 service to Manchester Airport, actually did mean that the train was arriving, while I just sat there on the wrong platform. So I’d now missed three trains to Manchester, and was heading for Plymouth.
Fortunately it wasn’t a direct train to Plymouth. I would have to get off at Chesterfield, then get the next train to Manchester. At least the ticket inspector didn’t charge me for the ticket to Chesterfield, otherwise this Dollop might have seen yet another casualty to add to the stoned and decapitated figurative birds.
Fifteen minutes later I was at Chesterfield station. I asked a member of staff when the next train to Manchester was. He informed me that I’d literally just missed one. I would have a half an hour wait. Providing there were no more issues, I was going to be two hours late.
I wrote that last sentence on the train. The train then pulled into Manchester, so I closed my laptop and alighted. The final bit of my journey was a tram ride. I arrived at the tram stop just as my tram was pulling away. Fortunately, after a ten minute wait, I am now on the tram, and so I better end this Dollop here and upload it, given that I’ve already kept my friend waiting for over two hours. I think it might push her over the edge if I then arrived at her house and spent the first twenty minutes ignoring her whilst uploading the Dollop. And I don’t want to be pushing anyone over edges, otherwise that might be another casualty to add to the list.