My little day trip.

Yesterday I had a meeting with some people at Millbank Tower in London so I decided to make a day trip of it. I mentioned it to my mother and she decided to come too. My meeting was at 11.45am so, for the price of a small family car we book tickets for the stupid o'clock train from Manchester to London and away we go.

The trip there was uneventful, the tube journey to Pimlico was uneventful. The walk to Millbank Tower once we established that the direction I thought it was in was in fact the opposite one to where the place actually was was pretty ordinary too although it was nice to walk along by the river in the sunshine. And so in I go to my meeting.

This went ok up until the point when I realised that the pass I'd been given by reception was not in my bag. It could be in the toilet, it could be in the ombudsman's HR department or it could be in the nice waiting room with the broken water cooler and the splendid view of the city. The upshot of it was that I couldn't get out of the building and had to be escorted out by the nice chap who conducted the meeting, who sneaked me out by sending someone to distract the reception girl while he whizzed me to the door and opened it so that they didn't give me a bollocking for losing the pass. Way to make a good impression? I should think so.

After a coffee in the nearby Tate Britain art gallery and a bizarre conversation with two old ladies we set off to the House of Commons to go and have lunch with my brother.  The security to get into the House of Commons is most impressive, you have to be scanned and all your belongings x rayed then you have to have your photo taken and be issued with a photo pass. We had to wait for my brother to come down and pick us up from reception so we stood around int he lobby for a bit and it was here that I noticed the policeman patrolling the security area. He was armed with a machine gun, 2 little guns (I don't know enough about firearms to say what they were), a taser, a canister of that spray stuff that makes people go blind and a truncheon. Impressive. He kept his finger on the trigger at all times and I sincerely hoped that he didn't have a cold because one tiny little little sneeze with his finger there could wipe out the entire lobby.

Eventually Mike comes down and lets us in. Well I say lets us in, you have to go through a revolving glass door which only works if someone who holds a security pass keeps their pass on the scanner. He let mum go through then decided to take the pass off the scanner as I was partway through, meaning I was stuck in the revolving door. Along with the unfortunate man behind behind me who had also got caught up in my brother's dodgy sense of humour.

We went for some lunch in the restaurant which cost about £4 each for  a full meal including dessert and a drink. It's subsidised by taxpayers y' see. We might not have enough money to get decent cleaners into hospitals but we do have enough to make sure that MPs don't have to pay full price for lunch.

After an hour or so my brother had to go back to work and so off we go. Where I promptly get stuck in another fucking revolving door because I didn't realise that pushing the stupid button once on the main door out will only let one person through. My how the well liveried doorman laughed. It's always nice to make someone else's afternoon more entertaining by making yourself look like an utter twat.

We then went off to the London Eye, the National Gallery (which appears to be full of pictures of either miserable looking people or naked fat birds) before heading off to the train to go home. And it was here that I found my new pet hate: People yelling into their mobiles on trains.



We got to our seats and sat down. In front of us was a German girl who seemed to belive that despite the phone clamped to her ear, she had to talk at the sort of volume that meant she could be heard on Berlin without the thing. Do you know how much I wanted to know all about Greta's new marketing deal and the meeting she'd just had with Graham? That's right, not at all but I wasn't given a choice as the dozy bint piffled on about precisely fuck all for 20 minutes until the signal cut out a little way from Euston. Just as I thought we were now in for some peace and quiet the pillock behind me decided that now would be a perfect time to ring everyone in his address book to talk about bugger all. And he was even louder than the German girl.


All this is uttered at a loud bellow. He's a large bloke with that kind of booming cockney voice that you usually see on town cryers during parades or sergeants on an army parade ground. After 40 minutes of contant phone calls I'm so annoyed that my teeth are beginning to itch. Mercifully at this point he decides to have a break from calling people to have a kip. The relief is short lived as it turns out he snores. Very very loudly, it sounds like an elephant with a head cold and it's grating along every single nerve I have. I put my iPod on to distract myself. No good, no matter how loud I put it on you can still hear him. Something has to be done. I'm British so I can't just poke him the chest and inform him that that the entire carriage is on the edge of their seat waiting for the next nasal eruption, that would be rude, the only thing I can do is to wake him up by some other means and the best way is, of course, a really loud fake sneeze. I let rip with a champion one, truly impressive and happy days, it works. He sits bolt upright and looks around, but what is this? His eyes are barely open and he's reaching for the fucking mobile phone again! For the love of god, nooooooo…….

He's off. And to add to the delight of this journey the German girl in front is back on hers as well. I'm beginning to have an inkling of what trench warfare did to the nerves as the two of them battle for supremacy in the volume stakes and I sit slumped down in my seat between the two of them, trying fruitlessly to combat the effects of auditory bombardment by reading the paper. Could things get any worse? Of course they could. In a brief lull between calls the train manager comes over the intercom to announce that there has been signalling failure in the Trent valley so we are being rerouted via Birmingham and will be running an hour behind schedule. Yep, that would be a whole extra hour of listening to Helga's tedious accounts of her life and Cockney Chap's excrutiating descriptions of work projects all delivered at a volume that would shake buildings. Fuckity fuck fuck.

By the time I got back to Manchester I was tired, hungry and my ears hurt. I am now going to write to Virgin trains and inform them that rather than having a quiet carriage where those who don't want to listen to people on the phone can go, they should have mobiles banned through the entire train apart from two 'noisy' carriages where all those inconsiderate twats that want to spend 3 hours bellowing pointless shite into phones can sit and yell over each other without annoying the rest of us. Now I remember why i don't do public transport – it's expensive, unreliable and I ALWAYS end up sat in front of, behind or next to a twat.  

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18 Responses

  1. The pic of Big Ben brings back happy memories. I always thoroughly enjoy my time in London. I reckon I could spend six months looking around there, and never get bored. And if I ever did, I could just take a train ride, couldn't I?

  2. You can learn oh so much during a train ride. For example, I now know that Janet's mother in law has to go to a funeral on Wednesday week and wants the dishwasher door fixing before then. Great eh? I like London as well, I don't think I could live there but as a place to visit it's great, there's so many things to see and places to go! It's even better now that I can crash at my brother's house because I don't have to pay for a hotel so can go more often!

  3. Being in London itself sounds fab – the getting back bit sounds a nightmare. My bro lived in HK for years and he found it so uncivilised that we're not able to use mobiles on the tube. I for one am sooooooooo grateful that we're not.

  4. The Imperial War Museum is worth a look, as is a River Thames trip to Greenwich.

  5. I know it must have been awful for you, but your description of your day led me into my morning with laughter. Please forgive me for taking advantage.

  6. Happy to be of service! I am getting quite adept at making other people laugh with my ridiculous misfortunes!

  7. [esto es genial]

  8. Jammy sod. I wish someone subsidised my lunch, then I could eat more exciting food for the whole month rather than just for the 2 weeks after payday. I'm going to give the acronym some serious thought…..
    Inconsiderate Dickheads Insisting On Talking or Shouting.

  9. [esto es genial]

  10. I don't understand why people think it's ok to bellow into the damned things. If you're going to use it on the train you should at least pretend to give a toss about about the other people in the carriage by not yelling.

  11. It does make me want to take their damned phones and stab them in the eye with them! I don't think that's too strong a reaction, is it?

  12. Not even slightly! I too was ready to put the man on the train's mobile somewhere that it would take a skilled team of surgeons to remove.

  13. This was a really fun read until the mobile phone interrupted…. I find it so annoying when people do that. I don't know what makes people think that we are all interested in their trivial lives. I would be embarrassed to share my life with a carriage of strangers.

  14. So would. Especially if my life was as eye wateringly tedious as theirs appeared to be. As Oscar Wilde said, "It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt".

  15. Oscar Wilde was so right!

  16. We might not have enough money to get decent cleaners into hospitals
    but we do have enough to make sure that MPs don't have to pay full
    price for lunch.hysterical and sad have found a solution to obnoxiously loud cellphone people – sound reduction earbuds – i usually ride the tram/train/bus with my mp3 player, or make sure i have something loaded onto my cell phone – i always have a book – double distraction from the imbeciles screaming into their phones – it all helps – because, i don't think this particular problem is going to go away any time soonwell, it's either that or carry poison in one of those finger needle things – and, you know, make stealth use of it

  17. I came here accidentally via a link in a website concerning the Congestion Charge, but I am so glad I did. I have only read three of your blogs, but I am hooked. Your train mobile story touched a chord. I was returning from Birmingham to Redditch two days ago and had the misfortune to sit next to some vacuous tart who was loudly counselling her half-soaked friend, via mobile, about her break-up with whichever worthless piece of shit she had been getting her leg over. I only had this for 35 minutes, so it pales into insignificance beside your ordeal. That the silly, ignorant cow still lives, is testament to my forbearance; that and the lethargy induced by five pints and three Scotches, overcoming my righteous desire to perform an impromptu tracheotomy with her bloody mobile. I look forward to exploring more of your world as time permits. Priceless! My day just got better.

  18. Very kind of you to say so! I'm most flattered and please do keep visiting.They drive you daft don't they? Why in the hell they think that the entire carriage wants to hear about the utter waste of time, space, energy and resources that is their life is anyone's business but for some reason they do. Perhaps we need to all start reacting more, maybe emptying cans of lager over the offender, or perhaps tipping them out of the train window. Something needs to be done!

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