Lo-commotion

spoiled-brat

Being a regular train passenger means i definitely do get to meet my fair share of characters. Christmas eve therefore was defintely likely to be one of those events that i was likely to encounter those fellow travellers designed to stay in memory. The terrible storms of the previous few days did nothing to help the travelling conditions and as cancellation after cancellation flashed up on the deparature board even laid back little old me began to become a little worried. 

”I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when i’ll be back agaaaaaiin” i yowled tunelessly.

I know i cannot sing and although i was not infact actually going on a plane at all, nevertheless i was looking forward to my destination and happily crucified a much liked song. My singing has been likened in the past to a strangled cat, a fact i announce quite proudly for i happily admit i am tone deaf and could not carry a tune in a bucket. Stil since i am never likely to be dragged kicking and screaming onto X Factor and nobody but my cats have to hear, i quite happily launch into my very best rendition a la Armageddon style.

”Leaving on a jet plaaane” i screeched merrily, whilst keeping one eye on the train updates for further news. What can i say it was Christmas eve and i was excited! That is my excuse anyway and i shall be firmly sticking to it. 

Checking the train timetables yet again i squawked in horror as my planned train flashed up on screen saying ‘CANCELLED’ followed by a message from the train operators advising passengers to travel earlier than planned and by any route necessary. 

PANIC!!!

Okay, maybe not quite panic for i am far more practical than that and having travelled to London so often these last two years i know every route like the back of my hand. Several swift minutes of  searching left one available route flashing merrily on screen.

‘ON TIME. ON TIME’

The problem was this train left in 40 minutes instead of the two and a half hours i had originally planned on. Standing there in my oversized pyjamas with my hair stuck on end i really was not exactly travel worthy nor fit to be seen in decent society. Now when i say my pyjamas are oversized i MEAN oversized. So after a quick call to the local taxi firm i hurtled for the stairs with great swathes of fabric bunched in one hand, tripped drunkenly over the over long trouser legs and narrowly avoided using my staircase as a prayer mat. I trip over these trousers so often you would think i would throw them into the trash but i cannot bear to part with the tent like comfort of them. With a speed worthy of Wonder Woman i effected a rather miraculous transformation only stopping to lecture myself on the demerits of carrying luggage down a flight of stairs in high heels. 

”Put the shoes on DOWNSTAIRS next time  you dummy” I chided myself ruefully as i clung like a limpit to the bannister with my one free hand. 

Giving myself a mental shake i don an air of sophisticated composure that belies the hurried rush of the previous few minutes. Surverying the mountain of luggage as i slicked on red lipstick i had a momentary doubt as to how i was going to manage the less than small pile sitting waiting to accompany me. A load worthy of Scott of the Antarctic, the amusing thing was that this did not include clothing which was already at its destination. A tooting horn from outside left me frantically gathering up baggage, pausing momentarily to  swiftly swap from arm to arm until i had a balance i could safely totter along with. It all seems such a good idea at the time until you have to actually carry it although i consoled myself with the hoped for reception to the gifts inside. What can i say, i love to give and can easily be accused of going overboard when it comes to gifts but i do not care. Giving is fun. The taxi driver knows me and as we drive along buffeted by the storm force winds he enquires ”London again?”

I nod happily and once at the station gather up the giant luggage bags and stagger towards an elevator. THEN comes the spanner in the works….they cancelled my train!!! 

”Noooooooooooooo” i wail in horror, frantically wishing at this point that i had data left on my phone. A passing platform attendant hears me and enquires where i was trying to get to and helps a very relieved me onto a waiting coach outside for the first leg of my journey. I can already feel myself turning green for i do not travel well on buses at all and have a mental image of vomiting into the lap of the gentleman beside me which makes me stifle a hysterical giggle. Oh well it’s only for half an hour i console myself as a rather large gentleman and his equally large partner squeeze themselves along the narrow gangway, bumping everyone as they go. 

A frazzled looking woman dashes for the seat behind me tapping my shoulder as they sit down. 

”Are there toilets on here” She whispers loudly ” i’m dying for a wee and i didnt have time to go in the station”

I shake my head and tell her no and at her wail of dismay enquire where she is going. I feel a pang of sympathy as she tells me her destination is over two hours away and tactfully suggest she plead with the driver to tarry a minute at the next station to allow her to alight and find a bathroom. Thankfully the driver is in a most Christmas like obliging mood and allows the desperate woman to rush from the coach in search of relief. 

Once on the move the conversations of my fellow passengers swirl around my head and i am confessedly nosey enough to listen half interestedly to what they are saying. There is a man rushing to get the last flight to the channel islands behind me sitting next to the now relieved ‘i need a bathroom’ girl. I listen as his rather cultured tones describe his desperate need for the coach to arrive on time for he will be stranded with no way to his destination if it does not. To my right a twenty something lad telephones his obviously clucking mother to reassure her that he is on his way whilst my heart feels for the man and his daughter infront who are trying desperately to get to the nearby city hospital. So many people all in the same boat, almost all trying to get somewhere for christmas. As i listen i hear some complain, some are resigned and some like me do not care too much about delays just as long as we get to where we are headed. 

Alighting at my station i am relieved to find that one solitary train is due to head for my London destination and i clutch a much needed cup of coffee and wait with those straggling few who had dared to take a chance on getting a train. A smilingly apologetic platform attendant flits from person to person enquiring on destination and offering solace to those waiting to depart. As yet another train is cancelled and replaced by a bus, a man at a nearby table explodes in anger and thumps his fist onto the table infront of him. He does not want to get on a bus he shouts although i gently point out that i have just come from that way and the journey was fine. He is not to be mollified, he wants a train and not a bus though i cannot understand why since does it really matter HOW you get there just so long as you do?

Relieved i gather up my baggage as the train to London is announced, abandoning my much wanted coffee when i discover i do not infact have a free hand to carry it. Tottering along like a japanese geisha i am startled by a twenty something guy clutching a coffee who offers to carry one of my bags for me since it seems obvious i am rather overloaded. There is plenty of time to board and i am not too far from the train so i smile and thank him and assure him i can manage. Eyeing his coffee i cannot help but wish i could have managed to carry my own for i am very much in need of it and i have a long way yet to go. Thankfully the carriage is not infact the crush i had expected, instead being almost empty and as i reach for my tablet to read a book i am relieved at the thought of a nice peaceful journey. 

Did i say peaceful?

”I dont WANT to sit in the middle” Hollers a scowling little darling, blonde pigtails bouncing furiously as she mutinously shakes her head. She climbs determinedly into the seat across the aisle from me defiantly folding her arms infront of her. My heart sinks and i mentally wave goodby to my peaceful trip. A woman i can only assume is her mother rushes back from the middle of the train and pleads with the child to move offering colouring books as a proverbial carrot to persuade her. Miss pigtails is having none of the womans wheedling and announces even more loudly that she is NOT moving and intends to occupy her current seat for the entire journey. 

Oh great! 

”Please darling, come and sit with mummy and we can look at a book together” the woman desperately pleads.

As the child still resists she admits defeat and wanders back to the side of her male companion whilst Miss pigtails stands up in her seat and bellows to her father that she wishes them to move and sit where she has chosen. His refusal brings forth loud wailing which he ignores until catching the expressions of the other passengers upon which he leaps from his seat and barks at the child to move. Surprisingly she does and i heave a sigh of relief before an older woman throws herself into the seat opposite.  i smile politely and continue reading my book but it seems she clearly is something of a chatterbox and does not care if i wish to read in peace. 

Ten minutes pass as i politely answer her questions and engage reluctantly in the conversation she seems to seek before trying to get back to my much enjoyed book. She however has other ideas and continues to talk incessantly and i abandon all hope of my quiet trip and i had hoped. Flicking through a magazine reading my stars i am startled when the woman pulls my magazine down with one finger and announces ”oh im a virgo are you looking at your stars??”

My mouth drops open in surprise and i mumble that yes i am just having a quick glance although i only partly believe in them. Still she tries to peer at my magazine until i at last offer it to her hoping she will read it and leave me in peace. 

”Oh MY” She exclaims loudly, leaning across the table and waving the magazine at me. ”How could anyone actually DO that to someone?”

I mumble something non commital and return to my book but it seems she is not finished for she again exclaims loudly and wafts the pages in my direction. Inwardly i am muttering with a diatribe worthy of the cartooned Mutley although i refrain from grinding my teeth since this might be rather audible. 

SHUT UP!!!! PLEASE!!! 

I am not so rude as to say it though. Generally i am very sociable and will politely talk to anyone but right at this time i just wanted to quietly read and get the journey over. As time passed and the refreshments arrived she eventually subsided into her tea and magazine and i quickly produced another incase she should read faster than i hoped. 

Peace at last. 

I journey a lot and never fail to meet a character or two on my way and most make me smile although some i should like to never meet again. But as my train slowed for its final stop and a smile crept on to my face, a beaming elderly man wished me a merry christmas and gave me a wave. I grinned back at wished him the same then happily departed from my Lo-commotion journey. 

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A Man just like Grandpa

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When i was young i was never a daddys girl nor yet a mummys girl like most children, right from the off i only had eyes for my paternal grandfather. To me he was grandad although to the world i know he was something else, which makes me sad for i would love to know the man he was and the life he lived. 

But to me he was just grandad.

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Memories of cuddles, cheek pressed against the scratchy wool of the waffle knit cardigans he wore as i sat cuddled up on his lap toying with the wood effect buttons that held it together. Never from Grandad came the scold not to pull at them because i would pull them off. No, never from him. Strange after all these years i remember his car so well, a bright yellow Hillman Hunter rapidly filled by my brother, sister and i as we piled into the back for another adventure with Grandad. ”come on then girls sing me a song” he would say and my sister and i would so happily oblige, squawking out our own rendition of Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs’ in the way that only children can. Grandad never cared if we were off key, i bet if you’d asked him back then he would confess he never noticed

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Yes we loved to sing for Grandad but just as much we loved him to sing to us for he was funny in a way that tickled us immensely and always wise to when a little girl needed to smile. We would beg him to sing as he drove around the hills speeding up over them so that our tummies flew up into our mouths as we descended the other side and we would shriek with glee and beg for more. All things bright and beautiful, this was grandads song although i doubt the vicar ever heard it sung so in church. Every time he came to the word ALL it would be sung in a really high pitched voice totally out of character with the rest of the song and guaranteed to have us in fits of giggles and i confess to this day i cannot hear that song without hearing his rendition in my head.

Oh if there were ever a hero of any little girls childhood then my Grandad was mine, my refuge, my rock and the best man i have ever known. Never did i need to explain for he always knew and hindsight makes me wish i had told him so whilst he was alive. But something tells me that if he did not know it then he most definitely does now. Sadly my Grandad died when i was in my early teens and somehow i knew long before my parents told me that he was gone. I remember well the startled look on my parents faces as i blurted out ”Grandads dead isnt he” before they had even said a word. They consoled themselves that i had overheard but i hadn’t, some things you just know. I have but one photograph of my grandad and it hangs on my living room wall where he smiles his gentle smile down upon me. And i know he is there, smiling as my hand reaches for the Radox bath salts that i buy just because he did and i feel him nod his approval as he always did.

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Yes my Grandad was the best of men and maybe someday i will find out his story and if i ever meet another someone i hope with all my heart that he is a man just like Grandpa. 

Just Singing in the Rain

I’ve always had a saying, one i invented myself but pretty much sums up the way i see the world…

‘LIFE HAS A FUNNY WAY OF WORKING OUT EXACTLY HOW ITS MEANT TO NO MATTER WHAT WE TRY AND DO ABOUT IT’

Do i believe it? Yes of course i do. Call me optimistic, unrealistic, whatever you choose for i shall not mind at all. Yes i have been told i have a Pollyanna attitude to life but i have always had a steadfast refusal to be anything less than positive and so far this has served me pretty well. 

I remember a year ago, one very grey stormy day when the rain fell in sheets and raindrops bounced upon the pavement looking for all the world like they were trying to get back where they came from. I waited and waited hoping that it would ease and i could make a mad dash on an unavoidable errand but it didn’t stop. It rained and rained and rained. It pretty much summed it all up when i peered out of my window and saw a small duck sheltering under the tree at the bottom of my garden.

Regardless of this i had no choice but to leave the warm dry comfort of my home and battle the weather but then i stopped and thought that hey, i had no choice so i could either smile and make the best of it or be miserable and make the whole thing ten times worse. 

Half an hour later with most colourful umbrella twirling around over my head i was skipping through the puddles humming ‘Singing in the Rain’  watching all the unsmiling faces huddled into coats, head down against the rain and i had to smile and shake my head for i actually wasn’t minding it so much at that point. Yes my socks were wet and yes a stray raindrop was trickling down my nose but it made me laugh and i shook my wet head crazily much in the manner of a very soggy puppy. 

Humming my way through the puddles i was slightly startled out of my skip and sing routine, which amazingly for me was rather in tune, by a hand on my arm and i splashed to a stop . An elderly gentleman clutched my sleeve,rain running down his cap and disappearing into his collar, and smiled at me. ”Do you know” he said to me ”yours is the only smiling face i have seen today and you’ve made my day”. Of course i beamed at him and explained my philosophy and he chuckled and thanked me.

As he shuffled off i stood and listened for as he walked i could faintly hear him humming…Singing in the Rain.

I often remember that elderly gentleman and i feel glad that i made him smile for had i given in to instinct i could so easily have been yet another gloomy face in an already gloomy sky. 

I may be a Pollyanna, but strangely i do not find this an insult but instead much of a compliment. And whenever lifes skies are grey i shall twirl my colourful umbrella, hum my little tune and smile at those that pass me by. For i have found that often that little ray of sunshine is just enough to lighten someones rainstorm and who knows you may just, if you’re lucky, make someones day. 

                                                 I’m singing in the rain
                                                Just singing in the rain
                                                 What a glorious feelin’
                                                     I’m happy again
                                               I’m laughing at clouds
                                                So dark up above
                                              The sun’s in my heart
                                              And I’m ready for love
                                         Let the stormy clouds chase
                                            Everyone from the place
                                             Come on with the rain
                                            I’ve a smile on my face
                                              I walk down the lane
                                              With a happy refrain
                                                   Just singin’,
                                              Singin’ in the rain

 

Lyrics courtesy of Arthur Freed