Ihave told before of my visits to Yorkshire – the land of the early to bed. My first visit was about five/six years ago when I discovered that everyone in Rippon is in bed by 8pm. At least this time we were driving there – which took just over an hour and a half – instead of the nine hours that National Express takes. So everything being equal, it shouldn’t be that bad and today we are going to a place in Bradford rather than Rippon. So Razzi and I set off driving through Liverpool and, of course, everything is normal but the further we venture down the M62 and the closer we get to Bradford, the more it seems like we are driving onto the set of The League of Gentlemen.
As we approached Leeds the temperature took a nose dive – not that it had been that warm in Birkenhead – and I noticed that the car thermometer was saying it was three degrees outside. We passed a line of small cottages and there sitting outside the last cottage was a little old man in his coat, hat, scarf and winter gloves – drinking a cup of coffee. Wait for this… he was only sitting in a deckchair. Presumably he thought he was sunbathing!
Eventually we got to Bradford and it was like entering another country. I do not consider myself to be racist but I did get an idea of how some foreigners must feel entering Britain – I was the only white person there. Then, once I had dropped the car off, I ordered a taxi to take me to the train station. Getting into the taxi was like entering a mobile curry house – the smell was unbelievable – but I did enjoy the Bollywood music during the ride to the station.
Now by this time I was dying for one of my infamous emergency wee-wees. Razzi spotted the toilets first and we set off for them. When we got there, we nearly fell over – forty bloody pence to spend a penny. What the hell is going on there? I will add that at least they were clean, mainly because there was a toilet attendant, so I didn’t mind as much as I had on first discovery.
We then took out a second mortgage to purchase the train ticket for the return journey and this is where the real fun started.
I will be the first to admit that I drive everywhere and it is a long time since I have been on a train. However, why do you need a degree in computer science to work out how to get your ticket in the automated barrier to get through? The guy in front of me had placed a pass on top of the glass and the scanner read his pass and opened the barrier to let him through. Me, armed with my ticket, thought I would follow suit and placed my ticket on the scanner – nothing happened. A British Rail lady walked up to me, snatched my ticket off me and placed it in a slot which did the trick. The look on her face was a picture – Oh God, we have another “old duffer” who can’t use the barrier.
Sorry to be so annoying, BR lady.
Razzi and I eventually boarded our train and the journey home began.
I noticed a young lady on the seats in front of us who had her eyes closed and hadn’t moved since we boarded the train. I was wondering if she was going to sleep passed her station when I suddenly remembered seeing an episode of Vera last week where someone was dead on a train.
I started coughing loudly to try to wake her up, to no avail.
Eventually, I plucked up the courage and woke her with a proclamation of; “Excuse me, you haven’t missed your station or anything have you?” She opened her eyes, pulled her Hijab out of her eyes, smiled and thanked me for my consideration. It was the only time today that someone I had met was pleasant.
The young lady went back to sleep and Razzi and I settled back for the journey home. That was until Razzi pointed out that there was a rather gay looking guy sitting the other side of the aisle on his laptop – he was only watching gay porn! I guess it takes all sorts to make the world go round but come-on dude, save it for home.
We then had some time to enjoy the pleasures of Trans-Pennine Trains. The guard who makes the announcements thought she was an air hostess. She came over the tannoy system asking us to, “Please take a second to familiarise yourself with the emergency exits”. Come on love, we’re on a bloody train not cruising at 32,000 feet. She then informed us that someone would be coming round with the drinks trolley if we wanted to purchase any drinks or snacks to enjoy during the journey. Unfortunately, she made no mention of duty frees.
Now I am not one to complain, but the girl with the trolley could easily have beaten Mo Farah to any one of his records or medals. I put my hand in my pocket to retrieve some change to purchase a drink but I was too slow – she was already in the next carriage. So much for my light refreshments.
I looked around the train and noticed a man of a similar age to myself who took out his packed lunch. I thought to myself, now there is a seasoned traveller, he knows the score. Trying to get anything to eat on this train was obviously a difficult proposition. However the guy caught my eye looking at him and smirking to myself and so he gave me a funny look as if to say, “look at this weirdo with a bear, laughing to himself.”
I laughed even louder when he took out a child’s pink, plastic beaker and a bottle of wine and proceeded to pour himself out a glass of wine to go with his butties – knob!
Finally came the funniest announcement of the day over the tannoy from the air hostess. “For the people who have just boarded at Manchester Piccadilly, please note this is the Trans-Pennine Trains service to Lime Street, calling at Lime Street.”
Get away, where else would the Lime Street train call?
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