The invasion of the 3ft white men!

February 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm (General chat, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

AS the song rightly says, ‘since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’. There is nothing nicer than waking up confronted by a blanket of pure snow. Problem is, such joy soon turns to misery when you remember, it’s Monday morning and you do have places to be; namely work!

However, getting to work is not simple when the skies are white! Ultimately, London’s transport network, you know the one responsible for carrying thousands of people around the city, is completely destroyed by the pretty little snow flakes. When faced with cancelled buses, severely delayed trains and a suspended tube system it becomes near impossible for stranded commuters to get to the office.

Of course, there is always the option of walking. Not as straightforward as it sounds. Firstly and most obviously, London is no small place. It’s cold and wet and a million disgusting things are lying in wait of your foot under the deceiving cotton wool like substance. If you’re lucky enough to live close to work then by all means a short walk, although still treacherous, is unlikely to kill you, unless of course you come into contact with a swerving black cab who’s driver is convince he is driving the bat-mobile.  

For those of us who’s habitats are a little further afield, such an option is unfeasible. An hour walk in arctic conditions on a continuous ice-rink is hard enough. Concentrating on not falling on your derriere whilst trying to dodge mud ridden balls charmingly thrown from young fingers that have been given the day off to terrorise the adult population, is a definite no no.

So, let’s have a snow day! A good idea in theory and the only option for many, however, when you are stranded in your house with no way of going anywhere, the novelty soon wears off. There are only so many snowmen you can make from a balcony full of snow before you run out of building material or your fingers fall off.

Apparently, the incoming snow has been expected for a while, yet London was still not prepared. How can a capital city in a 1st world capitalist country get it so wrong? Such an error is a blow for businesses everywhere and a hindrance to workers, especially those not credited with absence pay.

The only saviour in all this is the local around the corner. If all else fails, go to the pub. Not only is it a good place to while away a few hours but if the blizzard continues what better place is there to get snowed in? It’s warm, full of alcohol, food and plasma screen televisions. So until the storm passes, bottoms up.  

Sarah Butt ©

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Trains cannot travel through puddles!

December 15, 2008 at 10:59 pm (General chat) (, , , , , )

WAKING up with a hangover wishing you hadn’t thought 4am was a good time to leave central London is painful enough. Waking up in this state and knowing you have to get on a train is heart breaking. However, when on this morning the journey that should take 2 hours takes 6 because trains in England do not have flotation devices; now that really hurts.

Imagine this, its 8am Saturday morning and Newton Faulkner rudely awakes your three hour slumber by singing out of your phone. After hitting snooze a record 5 times you reluctantly drag yourself out of your warm bed and go about preparing for your journey to Devon. After 30 minutes in a taxi and lightening your wallet by £20 you are confronted by herds of people looking very un-satisfied. Looking up at the departure board you soon realise why:

11.00 – Plymouth – Cancelled

11.30 – Exeter St David’s – Cancelled

12.00 – Penzance – Cancelled

Etc

Every train heading towards the South-West of England is cancelled. So your head banging and your stomach churning over that third bottle of wine you should not have drank, you join a queue longer than the wall of China at customer services. You wait for 40 minutes to see a man who’s only answer to your query is to wait a few hours or travel for 25mins to Waterloo and get a train which you could probably beat walking. Great!! So having departed with another £6 for a travel card, pushed your way onto a packed tube, finally embarked on a delayed train, made two unnecessary changes and not even had a seat to park your tired and toxin ridden body on whilst all the time concentrating on not letting your head explode, you arrive at your destination 6 hours later than planned. A fabulous way to spend a Saturday I’m sure you’ll agree.

The reason for this inconvenience? Water on the tracks! Apparently England cannot run an effective train service when the drizzle turns to real rain drops. Those large sodden drops of liquid that keep the world ticking over were the culprits keeping Londoners prisoner in the capital this weekend. England’s answer to this issue, send the drivers home and point wannabe passengers towards Waterloo to get the two existing morning trains travelling south. I’ll let you in on a secret Mr ‘your best bet is to go to Waterloo’, one thousand people cannot fit on two trains!

Of course it is understandable that when lakes engulf train tracks, Thomas, Henry and friends cannot travel. However, it baffles me that in a country where the umbrella is its trade mark there are not more measures in place to prevent such occurrences.

What’s worse, it appears that its not only the rain that our vulnerable trains cannot cope with. It seems that come rain or shine Englands railways experience delays and cancellations. The wind in the Autumn causes leaves to block the tracks, the sun causes the railway lines to expand and the snow…well that’s just a no go.

It does make you wonder if countries who experience extreme climates have the same problems. Do trains run in California during their heat wave months? And if so are the tracks made out of a different material? Do the Canadians become house bound in the Winter? The mind boggles.

On the bright side, the train companies were understanding and refunds were given. Just remember travellers, next time it rains, book a ferry!

 

Sarah Butt ©

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