Great British Railways
…well that was just plain strange. I get to Gatwick train station.
I know I read the scrolling LED sign correctly on the platform. “the last four carriages go to blah, blah, blah ARUNDEL and blah. please ensure you are in the correct part of the train”
An eight carriage train – it splits in two at some stage – front bit going to one destination / rear to another. Fair enough. Until i get on, I’ve entered the rear end (just stop that now! when I want a double entendre – i’ll give you one) , yet the dulcet tones of a recorded announcement dripping the calmness of a valium addict tell me to “ensure you are in the right part of the train…. this is carriage number 3 of 8” No it’s not – it’s carriage number 6 of 8!
I start to panic, knowing I’ve not lost my mind, but thinking it is possible that in some warped way they count backwards here. Eventually I ask someone. I know – not a feature of the male psyche – but I’m worried now. I am told that the scrolling sign was right – It’s this voiceover that has a problem. Phew! I later discover it has a serious problem as someone takes it to task and over the course of the journey tells me I’m in carriage 2 of 8, 3 of 8 and 4 of 8. Then we stop, front gets seperated from rear and it goes off again – this time the alleged train length varies from 3 to 8 carriages, yet I know it’s a total of 4 now.
The garden gnome colony.
Though i was born and raised there, I’ve lived so long in Ireland that England truly is a foreign country to me now. I look out the window and see a strange landscape. I could waffle on about farmland, industry and geographical terrain, but i’ll just mention one housing estate. Picture this;
A terrace of houses backing onto the rail track. One with a ground floor extension built on to the back of the house. On its flat roof is one small window. On the roof of the extension is a large dog kennel. No way did that yoke fit out the window. It’s way too big. But here’s the thing; could someone enlighten me as to why there appears to be colony of garden gnomes gathered around the dog kennel as if it’s their natural home?!
ANYhow, i got to Arundel, I got to the stunning pub / B+B where we’re staying for our last night in England. Thanks to Dennis’s niece and her Husband. It’s quintessentially English and so apt for a last night here. Good company, food and – oh, yes, ales. No, I was good and did not imbibe greatly, for I wanted to be fit for purpose the next day. The day we invade europe.