Thursday, September 29, 2011

A turn-up for the book*

My old dad liked to describe any unlikely event that actually occurred as a turn-up for the book. We've certainly had one of those this week as the temperatures in London have soared to the mid 20s and seem set fair through the weekend. It felt as hot in the sun today as it had a couple of weeks ago when we were in Spain. And to crown it all, I am not going in to the office until next week and so can enjoy this last burst of the summer of 2011 without having to face the undoubted pressure-cooker of the tube. Oh joy.

*[This title has been used once before. In Feb 2009. Just to show you I am on the case: Ed]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow southbound? - forget it, squire

I usually take the 8:30 into town from Ruislip Manor. This morning a Met came in at 8:29 as I was still going down the street to the station and given the 45 odd steps up to the platform, this was one train that I was always going to miss. Naturally there was then a gap, filled by two Piccadillys, and the next Met arrived at 8:41. Our station announcer said that, apart from minor delays on the Victoria, there was a good service on all other lines. Ah. We left and our driver informed us that we were terminating at Harrow. So something amiss surely, Inspector? And on arrival at Harrow the announcer there told us, barely holding back tears of overflowing joy, that anyone stupid enough to want to go to Preston Road or Northwick Park (my words, not his, I hasten to add) had another 6 minutes to wait because the only alternative was a fast train (which I took) that stopped, unusually, at Wembley Park to take on some grateful commuters who must have scrambled hastily over the bridge from the normal southbound platform.

Never mind, all this clearly amounts to what the Met regard as a good service and no doubt there will be bonuses all round and much clinking of cocoa-mugs in the train-operator's canteen tonight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still here

Been a month since my last post. Part of that was spent on a most pleasant, if excessively hot, holiday in Spain, travelling all the way by train. Top marks to the Barcelona-Madrid high speed train where the service and efficiency rivals anything I have experienced before. A so-so to the Joan Miro hotel train that provided us with overnight transit between Paris and Barcelona - not happy about being told by the restaurant car staff to go away when we were turning up for our prepaid breakfast, and the carriages always felt cramped, whether the beds were folded away or made up. Possibly one of the most unpalatable ham and cheese sandwiches in French gastronomic history was served on the TGV on our otherwise enjoyable homeward journey. And for giving us a real flavour of the size and appearance of the Spanish, and particularly Basque country, landscape, the Salamanca-San Sebastian line was superb.

Well, this blog is not meant to be a travelogue. So how about a little moan instead. Delays on the Met this morning, attributed to a faulty train earlier at Harrow. And just for once the Bakerloo was worse, even longer delays as we got stuck in the tunnels due to a faulty signal at Lambeth. Result, thirty precious minutes of my life down the drain, although it did give me a chance to hammer the chess programme on my new Android phone. The "undo" button came in handy as well, 'nuff said.