Monday 25 December 2017

#353 Heading north

10:15am. Christmas Eve. Coach U of a Virgin Pendolino Train. I tried to read one of the five blue and white signs that were whizzing past the window. Bermoblablagph… Bermusmphmrph… Berblmlml… it was no use.  The view inside the carriage was little better. Around the sides of the seats, I could see the edges of what looked like several nice Christmas jumpers and some heads of freshly brushed hair but the rest remained blocked from sight.

Ahead of me stretched a sea of plastic seat backs and a row of ceiling lights, narrated by a soulless voice, diligently reminding us all that we could purchase a drink and a snack for three pounds. The sort of message that was as annoying as Christmas music but fortunately ten times shorter.

The railway line ran alongside a canal. I thought how pleasant it would have been to cycle along the towpaths at Christmas. I’d almost wager that some water-dwellers would be barbecuing turkey meat, sitting atop the fake-grass-covered roof of their vessel complete with mounted patio heater and miniature tipple fridge. They’d hand me a Heineken and a chipolata and I would carry on cycling, sausage in mouth, one hand on the handlebars and the other clinging on to my beercan.

I tried connecting to the Wi-Fi but encountered a payment screen. Parasites. I was already a Virgin mobile customer and a Virgin rail customer. Why were they charging me for Wi-Fi? Tethering wasn’t working. I went ahead and started writing offline. I’d got about two paragraphs down before the announcement for the station came. At least the journey was short. I shut the laptop, picked up my stuff and prepared to spend two days in Milton Keynes.

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