Friday, 6 January 2012

...And then there were high winds.

So we've heard about the leaves on the line, and 'wetness' making it impossible for electric trains to function, signal failures, missing carriages, trains stuck at platforms, and single lines making it impassable for trains on particular routes.
But those delightful people at South West trains had a new one today...

...A fallen tree was blocking the line.

Yes my friends, those mighty winds have wreaked havoc in Scotland and the North, but apparently us little southern fairies have not escaped the wrath of Atlantic winds.
This tree on the line (which our train later 'ran over') caused a ridiculous delay and a number of train changes.
Did you know that diesel (cross country virgin trains) can run over trees but little standard (aka. pitiful) electric ones do not possess these super powers? I say, let's convert all trains to diesel if it means they will surpass all changes posed by leaves, wetness, snow etc.

This tree meant that my usual once a month, hour and forty minute commute took me three hours to complete. In actual fact it was long than that since I left home at just before 6.30am and did not arrive in the London office until after 10am. Ridiculous.

Luckily for me I had a certain Miss Hendo to keep me company. How we chatted and laughed once the caffeine had kicked in and we realised the true hilarity of being delayed by a tree. Ah the simple things in life. It's okay commuters, see the funny side, have a coffee and sit back and enjoy the ride... Or stationery viewing carriage (as is perhaps more correct).

However, I came to notice (as I have on many a train journey) .... there are rather a lot Kindle's around. (or Kibble's as I once heard them call. Much to my delight.)
Now I understand the ease, and the lightweight, portable, super slim, amazing aesthetics. But is there really any need to carry around 50,000 books in your bag?
I read a lot. And read multiple books at a a time. ( Not simultaneous page turning, just multiple plots/authors/genres/ etc) But I'm talking... three. Four at the most. Not the contents of the National Library.
And are we really so lazy as to elimate the need to turn a page.
No wonder our obesity statistics are continually increasing. If we can't even lift our thumb and first finger, there's no hope for new Olympic athlete's born of the British commuting public.

I shall not be purchasing one.
They've (the generic 'they') have even invented a spray on substance which makes your 'Kibble' waterproof so you can read in the bath.
Personally I quite like the thick, rippled pages that a book gets when accidently dropped into a hot bubbly bath. Where's the fun in electrocuting yourself in the name of  R and R?
(that's 'Rest and Relaxation' for all you workaholics with your noses stuck in electronic libraries.)
Anyway. Enough of that. We all know how I feel about books.

So, whilst stuck on a train between stations, Miss Hendo and I had ample time to read (not just skim through) the Metro, only to find out some very bad news pertaining to a particular coffee chain, who's logo is green and relates to the Cosmos and Money (guessed it yet? Well seeing as it's practically Friday and brains are slowing down, it rhymes with  "Bar! Duck!")

Unfortunatley this popular coffee house have just changed their loyalty scheme. I'm a huge fan of loyalty schemes and this was the best. Just pre-load a 'gift card' with cash (thereby tying your coffee 'allowance' to them) you get additional free shots of espresso in any drink and also free syrups. As well as fantastic offers and occasionally a free muffin.
Now they've introduced some crazy green star thing. You collect these green stars (the advert, or the webpage it directed you to didn't tell you how you earnt these though. Error!) and then when you have 25,000* you qualify for a free tall beverage and at 50,000* you get free espresso shots/ syrups.
So unless there are 1,000 stars to every penny, perhaps a correct ratio when considering the cosmos, then I am not impressed by this change.
Change is not always good.

* These numbers are random. Plucked from thin air. Please do not quote anyone. And a message for the coffee house this relates too - please do not take me to court. I like caffeine. And I like your coffee chain. Very much. You also produce an exceptionally good skinny blueberry muffin. And thank you for putting a coffee house atthe A3 Guildford Services. It makes me a happy driver. That is all.

And speaking of change (or at least we were) - that is exactly what I had to do.
For the first time ever, I caught the wrong train home at Waterloo. I was totally convinced that it was platform 7 but apparently confusing plaforms, numbers and locations is what happens when you're trying to navigate round commuters, read timetables and write notes for a very important blog.
I realised this at Woking.

Which is the first stop. Luckily. But it took me ten people to leave the carriage, another load to get on, the doors beeping to clarify they were shutting and the announcer voice telling me "...the next station is Guildford..." for me to realise that "Oh Poo! I do believe I'm on the wrong train."
I jumped up out of my chair , collected my belongings (because they cannot be left unattended) and lept through the doors as they were closng for imminent departure, only to land in a crumpled heap on platform 5.
It wasn't quite this theatrical of course. But I did have to move pretty fast, and I was wearing a maroon wide-brimmed hat and camel-coloured cape, so I feel that a little theatricality is never a bad thing.
I was however, very aware of the many pairs of curious eyes who had seen me exit the train at the last minute only to stand there bewildered for a few minutes before working out what to do.
Being a temporary visitor at an unknown station is quite disconcerting. No familiairity. Signs not where they should be. And you actually have to locate the correct platform rather than walking there by default.
What an effort.

Oh and the other change, which is actually like a future action for change, is 'me'. An eagerly awaited package from Zara arrived today. I love that shop, and I thought best to brave the sales by shopping online. Excellent. Coffee in hand. No queues. No pushing. No getting hot and sweaty. But also - no trying on prospective purchases in the changing room to save money and time but not buying and everything is a bit of a risk.
It arrived (after an argument with the courier company, but that's a whole other story and will create another increasingly absurd tangent), but unfortunatley my post christmas podge has arrived (a little late, and badly timed. I even went to Pilates yesterday) so these items that definitely should fit, don't.

My plan is to see if the 'podge' is water retention after a weary day travelling and very little hydration in which case I will return to normal size next week, or whether this is actually my new costume for the imminent future....
Only time will tell.

Tune in next week to see if I did return the jeans.

Bet you are an excited bunch of fans/readers/fellow bloggers/ bored internet browsers.

I'm sorry that my life can be no more exciting than the prospect of a potentially shrinking abdomen.
But I have taken action this evening. I even made a poster (how school girl chic) for my wall to remind me to do sit ups every night... I actually do want to keep these jeans. And the shoes. Unfortunately I can't shrink my feet and the store ran out of the size that I secretly knew were guaranteed to fit.

But fear not. I will resolve my problems. And you need not worry because it's now Friday (it wasn't when I started) and the weekend is almost upon us.

(I won't mention that statisticaly this is the worst weekend in the year, because it's the first 2-day weekend after Christmas and New Year. There are no parties. It's January. And we all blew this month's pay cheque on paying off the festive season. I won't mention it because it will just make you sad.)

Happy Friday.