Avid readers will recall that the run-up to the official New Year opening of the blog was to be devoted to mastering the medium. As it turns out, there’s not much to it. Why don’t I just crack on?
I had an interesting evening tonight. Mrs H was involved in a school production (don’t be alarmed – she’s a teacher) and during the day, I found that I was to be unexpectedly available. As an aside, this seems to be happening quite a lot recently, but I don’t dare to contemplate what it could mean. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to make the trip out to West Lothian to watch the show, and chum her back in the car. It was to be an all-ticket do, but having met a couple of her colleagues at the weekend, I thought there was at least a chance I could schmooze my way in. Failing that, I would just wait in the car for her to finish.
So, I arrived at Waverley Station and purchased a one-way ticket, checked the platform number, made my way there, showed my ticket to the lady who waved me through, and I waited. After a while, I made some polite enquires, only to find that I was on the wrong platform. I was pointed to the other end of the station, only to see that the train was not scheduled to leave for another hour. I trotted over the the information stand, and was told by a young man (lying almost prostrate in an office chair – some feat) that he didn’t know what had happened to the 17.56 I was after. Realising that the trip was now doomed, I queued up at the ticket counters to see what the score was. The nice lady was unable to help, but referred me to the Scotrail ticket booth on platform 14. The man in the booth, attentive as he was to my plight, suggested I asked the Scotrail manager what had happened to the train. He gave me directions as to how to find this gentleman which, via an erroneous turn into the first class lounge, took me to a pokey little perspex bunker. I could see the mythical, Santa-like figure within, but he was on the phone, and I didn’t think he would share my sense of urgency. I waited for him to finish, then (as instructed) gave a ‘chap on the window’ (NB we call it knocking where I come from). He explained (rather jovially, considering) that the 17.56 had left, on time, from platform 13. I entered into a half-hearted dispute, which he concluded by saying that it was a busy train, and that I was the only person to have missed it. Subsequently, I wondered how he knew this (did all the passengers phone him to convey that they were safely on board and heading happily west as planned?) Anyway, I thought I’d still try for a refund, so queued up at the ticket counter once again. The same lady, whilst the very personification of sympathy, could not issue a refund because I was carrying a Scotrail ticket (she pointed to the pattern of the perforation, as if by way of explanation). Once again, I was sent to the chap on platform 14, but this time I could not get to him, since I’d already used the ticket to get to him before. At this point, I gave up the whole sorry enterprise and went home.
So, that’s an account of my evening so far. What started out as a little jaunt to lend some moral support evolved into an unforgettable odessey around Waverley station, coupled with a journey to the very brink of madness. I suspect it was my mistake too, so I can’t even enjoy the comfort of the moral high ground.