On the wrong track

The rhythmic rattling and jolting draws nearer as the train lurches steadily towards the station. A surge of people, already pushing and shoving, rush for the doors of the not yet stationary transportation. A groan echoes up and down the platform as the doors open revealing a crush of people in the doorway, grimy windows revealing the absence of seats in a visibly overfull carriage. Never mind, people will be getting off here and making way for those waiting to board and the waiting passengers shift restlessly looking for the chance to break for the slightest sign of a space. One or two alight but not enough to make a difference and the milling crowd jostle to find room.

Standing occupants from previous stops frown in irritation as yet more travellers squeeze into the already claustrophobic space and reluctantly we go with them hoping to find there may be seating after all. Alas it seems the grubby vision was no mirage. Barely even standing room and we are forced to shuffle along the corridor in an uncomfortable crush with other passengers. Sandwiched between a less than pleasantly odoured male and two hysterically giggling teenagers, my personal space was undeniably invaded. The unappealing smell of the nearby toilet mingled with a pervading stink of wet dog from a nearby unidentifiable person making me resort to shallow breathing and covering my mouth with my perfume scented sweater.

                        

You have to expect these conditions in a third world country of course, only this is not a third world country this is Great Britain. In conditions many would regard as only fit for animals we travelled with First Great Western having actually paid to travel this way. As usual only three carriages on a route that frequently leaves passengers standing, yet the train operators themselves refuse to provide adequate seating despite a recent hefty hike in ticket pricing. Perhaps the uncertainty of recent franchise developments have left those thrifty penny pinchers considering their own benefits rather than those of their customers. On this occasion it would defintely seem to be so.

The train pulls in to yet another station and an argument ensues between a current passenger and someone forcibly attempting to join the already overfull doorway. There is nowhere to go and we are almost nose to nose yet the guy on the ground is as determined to board as the other gentleman is not to let him. The new passenger wins and heaves his bulk through the doorway, stepping on a nearby female passengers toes before wedging himself in next to the not very pleasant smelling gentleman.The journey was an interminable torture and the sight of our destination could not have been more welcome. To say it was a relief to disembark was somewhat of an understatement and the rush of fresh air was definitely a pleasant change. I could not help thinking that all it had needed was the presence of a few chickens and a goat and we could truly have been experiencing third world railway travel.

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Expecting the return journey to be less busy i was in for a rude awakening as yet another heaving train drew into the station and not wishing to repeat the experience we chose to wait the half an hour for the next. When the next proved to be equally as overladen we quite angrily decided to pass and wait for yet another. Watching in disbelief a short time later as the departures screen announced that this next train was also full and standing we quickly realised that another porcine style journey was upon the cards. Then a saviour rolled into the station heading our way. A lovely shiny clean South West Trains service with adequate seating and a pleasant atmosphere and the relief was palpable all round. Travelling home in comfort with coffee and bottoms perched upon comfortable seats where they had paid to be was luxury indeed. In future i for one shall be a lot more particular when selecting the operator i travel with. 

From this passenger and, i imagine, a good many more i give a huge thumbs down to those out of touch personages at First Great Western. To their fellow operator South West Trains, after yet another pleasant journey with them, i give a huge thumbs up and my custom wherever possible. After all if i wanted to travel in third world country style i would buy a goat and travel on a third world country train wouldn’t i? Or maybe i’d just jump on one belonging to First Great Western …..

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That just drives me crazy!!

I imagine i am far from alone in having those little pet peeves, those things that get up your nose and make you roll your eyes and mutter ‘oh for goodness sake!!’  I am not much given to profanity and have in my time invented a number of nonsensical words to use in such occasions although i am aware most people will have much more colourful ones than my own.

Yesterday was a day of pet peeves, yet i am for the most part a fairly tolerant and laid back person and it did set me thinking. I wonder whether many of us have the same irritants or whether i am alone in mine so i thought it would be rather amusing to confess to them.

Car Drivers

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Yes you’ve got it the plain old humble car drivers.

It never ceases to amaze me how the most mild mannered of people will transform from Jekyl to Hyde whilst behind the wheel of a car. I see them all hunched over the steering wheel with an intent fixed look and a ‘dont mess with me attitude’. As a plain humble pedestrian i find myself often caught in the rain and invariably am at the whim of the car driver when needing to get around. Car drivers i find have no empathy, tucked up warm and dry in their cars they care little for the poor rain drenched pedestrian and will coldly drive through puddles without slowing and ignore those poor bedraggled souls shivering by the side of the road hoping to cross.

Of course being such a compassionate little soul myself i fully understand the importance of those in vehicles getting to their destination that whole thirty seconds sooner and i sympathise deeply with their plight and of course i understand how traumatic it should be to lose focus and have to let some impudent person cross the road.Really i do. I would not wish to be the cause of such distress as it should cause someone to have to change speed and see anything but the bumper of the car in front and their intended destination.

Car drivers my thoughts are with you.


Enid and Ethel

I imagine i am far from alone in my abhorrence for supermarket shopping. Of course we all need to shop, after all we need to eat but unless you are one of those wealthy enough to have someone to do all of this for you then invariably at some point you will encounter ‘the supermarket’. Now i have to admit with the advent of online shopping i manage for the most part to avoid this but there are times when i need to brave and go shopping. 

Cue the ‘wonky’ trolley. Smile fixed firmly in place you try to appear nonchalant as your errant trolley rattles and squeaks its way across the shop, hauling you firmly sideways as one rebellious wheel refuses to conform and roll with its peers . Mental cursing ‘move dammit’ you stoutly weave you way across the shop narrowly avoiding the requisite stack of wine bottles that is inevitably in your path. 

Ignoring stomach growls as you lurch your way past the selection of delectable concoctions in the bakery you slalom around other shoppers gathering goods as you go until you encounter…Enid and Ethel.

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Now it matters not where you live, whether it be town or city you will without fail meet with an Enid and Ethel. They are usually best discovered infront of the one thing you really need the most and are easily recognisable by the pair of side by side trolleys blocking the aisle. More often you will hear Enid and Ethel long before you reach them as they have a most distinctive sound consisting of loud overly enthusiastic cries of ‘oh i haven’t seen you for ages how ARE you?’  Most amusing when approaching this pair for you cannot help but overhear and discover that infact they have actually last met only two days prior. 

So trolleys blocking aisle and effusive conversation in full flow, Enid and Ethel are totally oblivious to their whereabouts and also the inconvenience they cause to others as a procession of other shoppers build up behind you. Cue defensive mode and indignant squeaks of ‘it’s not me’ as more vocal of shoppers express their displeasure and yet Enid and Ethel remain totally unaware of the havoc they are causing. 

Now if you’re anything like me you become most apologetic and whisper ‘excuse me’ at the gossiping pair only to be met with a look of irritation from the recipients for how dare i interrupt their conversation! I have never yet figured out why i feel the need to apologise for i am not the one holding a coffee morning in the middle of my local convenience store. 

And so eventually having managed to squeeze by as, leaning guiltily over to snatch an item from off the shelf behind the pair, you hurry lopsidedly around the rest of the shop and dash for the one open checkout only to encounter……..yes you guessed it…….Enid and Ethel!

Spelling and the Queen’s English

Spending so much time online in this world of technology i, as do most of us, encounter many people in all forms of communication and i find the one thing that drives me to distraction is spelling and the use of our language. Now of course there has developed over time a use of slang and this is pretty much the norm in any language and culture. 

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BUT and this is a big but, the one thing guaranteed to drive me to distraction is the misspelling of the most basic of words, those we should as very small children learn as the norm and certainly we as adults should know and be able to use correctly. Granted the invention of Mobile Phones did little to help the situation with the ongoing creation of ‘text talk’  which i confess drives me insane and on receiving such messages i do text back and say ”could i have that in english please”! 

And yes i do have a most hated word…WAT. This riles me whenever i see it and i am always so temped to correct it..the word is WHAT not WAT. A WAT is a buddhist temple although i do not expect you to know that and neither do i think this was your meaning when writing that word. WHAT WHAT WHAT!! 

Okay so calm, i acknowledge that such a pet peeve has made me so much more aware of my own spelling and use of language and i do try my best to use it appropriately although i expect at times i too get it wrong. But how tragic is it that in this day and age even those words so basic cannot be spelt correctly. 

Most calamitous then for the future of our language, are we to become a nation of text talkers, totally unable to string together a comprehensible  sentence? I Truly hope not! 

Mime Artists and Morris dancers

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Yes you have it i cannot abide neither mine artists nor morris dancers and i expect in this i may be alone. I have not the faintest idea as to why but both arouse in me an intense irritation which to my knowledge has no foundation. I am not aware of any prior encounter with either that could have produced such an adverse feeling but there you have it i cannot tolerate either.

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It is not very often i go into the city but on the rare occasion i do it is inevitable i will encounter some form of street performer as is often the case in the arty parts of any big city. And always it is my misfortune to encounter a mime artist and whether they can sense my dislike or not they always seem to make a beeline for yours truly. 

I remember my last encounter vividly as hurrying head down to my destination and trying desperately to avoid eye contact i was followed up the street by a mime artist feigning the proffering of flowers. Now of course i am female and should some handsome man pursue me down the street with some floral tribute i should be most happy but not when some clown like figure pursues me with invisible blooms causing all and sundry to point in my direction.

I confess to feeling somewhat guilty as this ridiculous figure pantomimed tears at my refusal to acknowledge him but i cannot help the feelings these figures arouse in me and hurried off.

And morris dancers, really?? Need i say more??

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Pet Peeves

We all have our likes and dislikes, those little irritants that really get up our nose and each of us is very different as to what they may be. Like anyone i have my own some of which people find amusing like my dislike of morris dancers and mime artists, totally illogical and without foundation but there you have it, for some reason i have no tolerance for either. Then there are the dislikes of stronger things like those who cheat or in my own particular case my ultimate abhorrence those who lie. I freely admit be it in all naivety i cannot fathom the reasoning nor the gain from untruths and subterfuge yet so often it happens and still the perpetrators blithely imagine naught will come of it and that the truth will never out. Sometimes this is the case and some poor unsuspecting fool will be ultimately deceived by someone they could never imagine would utter untruths and long since past i have myself been the victim of this but i learned from my mistakes and in turn became very perceptive and being in possession of an excellent memory quickly learned what the  prevaricator failed to….to lie you need to have excellent recall which most do not. It is very easy after that to piece together clues, wait for small slips in the relating of occurrences and wait until eventually the entire tale becomes a contradiction of itself which invariably happens. So now i find it amusing when people believe they are deceiving me successfully because truth be told infact i am just watching and waiting and just when you think you have taken me in, i have all the rope i need to hang you Image

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