travel postcards, practical advice, images and snippets of randomness

Probably quite a few things; at the time of writing I could have bought myself a return flight to just about anywhere in Europe. But I spent this £140 – as I quite often do – on a return ticket to London.

So, this must be quite posh then… £140 for a train trip…
Sadly no; the Virgin trains that provide this service are – in the main – absolutely filthy. The windowsills are deep in dust, apart from where swept by passengers’ elbows, the seat backs are scuffed, dirty and quite often specked with used chewing gum and what looks like smeared snot. The drop down table trays seem to present an unnecessary health hazard – and are best not used.
Agreed; they are faster than earlier trains, and they swing on the corners, woo hoo… So its a super fast shit hole really.

Instead of cleaning, the staff seem to spend most of their time making announcements. A trip to London is usually prefaced with a stream of information about the dire consequences that will befall anyone on the train not in possession of the correct ticket. As the variety of  ‘wrong tickets’ is almost without end, this warning can easily run to 3 minutes or more – depending on the loquacity of the speaker.
We get it all again as we set off; sometimes supplemented with a far from brief description about the features on board; the availability (or not) of the buffet counter and/ or traveling trolley, a warning about safety and the need to be on the look out for suspicious packages (to this day I have never seen a package acting suspiciously), and finally; a request to not use mobile phones in carriage A – The Quiet Zone.
A few minutes later we are on the approach to Birmingham International, where an announcement advises us of the fact. Departing passengers are exhorted to check that they have their bags, children, teeth, suspicious packages, whatever, in their possession prior to getting off – and of course to have a pleasant day.
We are then treated to another update about the bloody tickets – what will and won’t be deemed acceptable – plus all of the above guff AGAIN. And the whole lot AGAIN when we get to Coventry.

This goes on whilst I am in the ‘quiet carriage’ – about which there has been an announcement not to use your mobile phone etc…
Frankly; you could use a f***ing ghetto blaster – it would barely be audible above all the bloody announcements.

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