Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Kirsty Allsop

Those of us addicted to "house - type programmes" will be familiar with Kirsty and Phil. I am a big fan of them both - they have a no nonsense approach and are not too politically correct. Lovely.
You can imagine my excitement therefore when I heard a voice on the train the other morning that sounded unmistakably like our Kirsty. Except this one was called Geoff. I know this because she was talking, very nicely, into her "brand new, teething troubles" blackberry (you know my thoughts on those).

She had a charm and style in her conversation that I wished for and a grace that would carry through almost any situation. I had mentally assigned the jolly face of Kirsty G to this lady.

So understand my shock when I stood up at my station, glanced over at this lady to discover much more masculine vision that I had expected.

That'll teach me to make assumptions. How shallow I am.


Tuesday, 22 January 2008


So I was working from home today but I have heard that the train was on time today.... This presented on or 2 issues to the passengers at Charlbury who have been lulled into a false sense of security by the persistent lateness of the train.

I understand that the train left bang on time much to the horror of some regulars who are used to the train being late.

I can easily imagine how this happens. Every minute in bed in the morning is precious so you are bound to try and eek out as much time between the sheets as possible. Also a dangerous game to play when you have the likes of FGW providing transport.

So sorry to hear of your troubles Charlbury folk.


Friday, 18 January 2008

Things I have seen....

I will be commenting on the lamentable service I endured this morning (trainman, do not come back to this line, it will anger you towards an early grave).

But today I want to share with you some of the delightful footwear /clothing I have seen people wearing in recent days:

Had to mention this chap - wasn't sure what he was wearing but I've never seen anything like it - managed to snap it while pretending to be on the phone.... I really am quite a spy...

This one is another red sock wearer on the train. I love this and it makes me want to wear my colourful socks more often.

This boot looked much redder in real life and it is related to a sock...


Thursday, 17 January 2008

So there were these women on the train today when i got on - they clearly had been out together for the day in London and had decided to "kick back" on the train with bottle of sparking white and some fruit. Very nice idea if it's you that's doing it.

However, I would like you to imagine 4 middle aged ladies who have all had a few glasses of bubbly and are now conversing excitedly about "some chap they fancy" or "the fellow that my friend was going out with... he was really fit." Happy for these ladies to have the conversation but honestly.... the volume was so much I couldn't hear the announcements - not that I care I suppose.

There was a chap sitting behind me trying to talk to his office - very quietly and then, as the volume rose from the witches of eastwick, he in turn had to get louder. Not relaxing.
I suppose what I found a little difficult is the lack of appreciation from these ladies that they were speaking at a volume known as LOUDER THAN HELL.

I nearly did what the Royal Greenjacket did one day when dealing with a chap who was stressing out and being difficult to be near.. .I quote:

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you. I just wanted to check, are you going to be like this for the entire journey? If so, can you tell me now so that one of us can move - I don't mind who it is but I just need to know now".

Pure brilliance - polite, courteous, even eloquent.

I wish I was more like him.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The overly keen customer host....

On the train home tonight and the train slowed down for Didcot (where it doesn't stop much to our relief) and a very excited "customer host" came on the tannoy to announce we were arriving at Oxford.

A number of panicked looks flashed around the train as the uninitated began to hastily get their
things together. The initiated merely looked out of the window, saw the towering heights of didcot power station and went back to whatever it was we were doing:

e.g. reading,
voodoo doll of FGW staff or employer,
typing on laptop,
watching film on iphone,
staring into space with a sense of dread about the rest of the journey,
checking their reflection in the tinted windows...
the list goes on.

Anyway, back to the story. The Train Manager then came on the tannoy to announce to all and sundry (let us say 8 carriages at roughly 70 people per carriage - so 560 people) that "my customer host got it wrong and assumed that, as we were slowing down, this must be Oxford". Nothing like being dressed down in front of an audience eh...

Must have been the Customer Host's first day as anyone else would know very well that it doesn't need a station for the train to slow down.. Any excuse will do - a bend in the track, bright sunlight, dark night etc. He'll learn. Oh yes, he will learn.
He went on to make an announcement about there being a "Happy Hour" at the buffet and was offering free drinks with all food that has to be sold at 1/2 price as the train is on it's last run of the day. Forgive my cycnicism but I struggle to find anything happy about the food in the buffet (unless there is a travelling chef on board).

As an aside, I had a very nice chat with a 1st class customer host this morning about various things - he recognised the Soul Survivor lanyard that I hang my security pass on. Nice wee chat and very nice fellow.

You see. I can be nice.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Strike again FGW

You can imagine my excitement when I heard this week that our dear friends at FGW are going to have a lovely cuddly little strike on 20th and 21st January.

I am planning my work for the affected weekday. I think I shall be working from home (Train man, this is my solution...)

I am somewhat intruiged that the RMT and their members are getting so cross about managers doing some operational work. Surely it makes sense for managers to have an idea of what their staff are doing (along the lines of back to the floor).

What a nonsense it is and doesn't really move towards a world class train service... I do want to be sympathetic but if I tried striking from my job I'd not have a job to go back to.

On another note, here is a picture of some wonderful socks a chap was wearing the other day - fantastic:

Susie of Charlbury, my name is not Lee!

Thanks for the invite to the open meeting. I shall give this some serious thought - it has to be said, David Cameron should be good entertainment and I look forward to the time when he leads this country forward out of the Labour doldrums....... Ooops showing political bias....


Thursday, 10 January 2008

General comments

There have been a number of things I've wanted to comment on in recent days:

- the fact that the trains haven't been too bad - apart from being consistently late.
- a man with fantastic red socks - much like my own.
- a chap wearing a pin stripe suit and a checked shirt - apparantly this is a social faux pas - I did this once and was reprimanded. However, this chap was much worse. Every 2 mins or so, he snorted in the way of someone emptying their sinuses - really quite unpleasant.

But the thing that has prevented me from writing was a comment that was left on one of my previous posts by someone I can only assume is an FGW employee. In this post (which I have now deleted) I mentioned a number of FGW staff - one of whom was a "Train Manager" with an Australian accent.
Whoever this commenter was, he/she took great exception to my comments about this Train Manager even though I was only really commenting on my own intolerances, not on her.

This FGW person (commenting anonymously of course) described me really quite rudely and with no small amount of swearing. I probably should develop a thicker skin but I was genuinely disappointed by the fact that this person didn't even read the story properly but just unleashed his / her abuse anyway....

Such is the world in which we commute.... Such fun.


Saturday, 5 January 2008

FGW strike again

In the last 2 days of commuting I have noticed numerous things that require comment from me. However, the most important one is this:

I caught the 16.23 home last night. It was a bit late due some rolling stock failure - given that this sort of thing normally brings the entire network to a grinding halt, they hadn't done too badly - it was onlyu 9 mins late.

However, there was a platform alteration - we all traipsed off to platform 8 and waited patiently. The ticker signs on the platform then changed and told us that there would be a Bristol train in front of ours. No problem, these things happen.. As the "Bristol" train arrived, it suddenly became apparant to the more observant of us that this was indeed the Worcester train and we should get on it.

Unfortunately for FGW their tannoy system on platform 8 was not working properly and many people for Bristol had an unexpected journey north rather than west. Poor things...

If it had been me, I'd have been livid....


Wednesday, 2 January 2008

New Year's Resolution

I'm going to try and be nice about people a bit more this year rather than the ranting incoherent git that I have become in recent months.

I can't guarantee it'll last long but we'll give it a go.

I return to my commute tomorrow morning. I am filled with a due sense of dread and misery about my journey. The weather forecast tells me snow is on the way - a great excuse for the train not making it up Norton Bank or whatever they call it.

I also have to leave slightly earlier tomorrow to ensure I have time to approach Leon (the ticket office chap) for a car parking ticket.

More will follow I am sure. In the mean time, safe travelling and may FGW not foul it up too much for you.

Good luck.