The travel disruption was confirmed when I waited at Leeds for 2 hours on a freezing platform. Bored, I put my hand in my pocket to get my phone. I pulled it out with my train ticket which flew directly into the face of a guy next to me, and after he batted it away like a fly from his face, it blew the fuck away up the platform. I wouldn’t mind but the phone that helped the ticket escape wouldn’t let me on the Internet so it was a pointless pocket reach.
Eventually the train pulled in and we were advised the 2hr 15min journey would be 4 -5 hours. We boarded the train and I took it upon myself to argue on behalf of the entire carriage with a rude French lady who kept telling everyone to move down. Always two camps on a delayed train. The ‘move down you tosser camp’ and the ‘there ain’t no room to move down you tosser’ camp. That said, get stuck on a train with a bunch of Northerners and it’s like a party train. Get stuck down South and no-one speaks to each other but all get their phones out loudly to complain to their mates to let their fellow passengers know just how pissed off they are without the need for direct communication.
I was fortunate, I got a seat. Immediately the guy next to me wanted the loo and I got up from my Isle seat to let him out with a look that said seriously now, right now, you can’t wait, ok, if you’re happy with that’. I probably over exaggerated the inconvenience of getting back out of my seat to let him up the crowded isle because he was ever so apologetic.
While fellow commuter was peeing and his rucksack and coat were on his seat, an able bodied guy boarded the train and spoke to me. I thought he said, ‘can I have your seat’?
Because I was sitting in the give this seat up if someone needs it more than you area. Well, I didn’t think he needed it more than me, he was only in his 50s (about 10 years older and clearly working as he was in a suit). But I didn’t want to just say ‘no’. I thought that was rude. Instead, I thought it better to just lie. So without even thinking I said ‘no, I’m sorry, I’d normally be the first to give up my seat but I can’t because I am pregnant’ (which I’m not). To which he responded, fairly annoyed, ‘I didn’t ask for your seat I’m asking if that seat next to you is taken’, pointing at the premature pee’rs temporarily empty seat. ‘No it’s taken’, I said rubbing my tummy in a motherly way although it was just swollen from gluten and constipation.
Eventually said pee’er came back and he sat back in his seat and everyone settled into the journey and realised there was actually enough room for everyone on the train so both camps stood down and the constant ‘can you move up’ with increasing anger in tone and …’no there’s no room’ equally increasing anger in tone, stopped.
There was a young guy standing next to me in the isle unbeknown to me watching me basically punching buttons on my phone still trying to get onto the Internet to no avail. If in doubt, go in settings, think wtf, and just change shit. I was prepared to do this for the whole 5 hours.
When Mr premature pee’er got off at the next stop the young guy wanted his seat so I budged over to the window seat. He asked if I minded moving along and I said no but I would want the loo in a bit. Clearly thinking it’s important to set out expectations early.
About 10 mins into young guy sitting next to me, he turned to me and said, ‘do you want the hotspot’? Yes please, I said lifting myself out of the seat thinking he was offering me exit to the loo. It turns out hotspot wasn’t some reference to the toilet but he was offering me to get onto the Internet via his phone having clearly watched me trying for some time.
Naturally use of his hotspot resulted in us talking the rest of the 5 hours about, well anything. It started with a quick chat about dementia and the likelihood of getting it, and quickly progressed to do aliens exist? To which, when I asked him this very question he said, ‘course they do otherwise it’s just a fucking big waste of space’. Eating a clementine I pissed myself.
From here we went to 911, favourite biscuits (his were pink wafers and I’m partial to the old Garibaldi) and how he recently found that the hedgehogs in his garden liked cooked sweet rice. So I got telling him about my friend who has a hedgehog hospital and how I was part of a local badger group promoting badgers but now I trap and neuter feral cats with the cat’s protection league.
We eventually limped into King’s Cross and he got out, shook my hand and told me his name. Then he said. ‘Right, well no doubt when I get dementia this will be the memory I keep telling my family about. I’ll randomly repeat about badger woman, her passion for hedgehogs and how she trapped cats’. Then he wished me good luck with ‘the little one’ and I thought, ‘oh yer, fuck’. I wanted to say, ‘it’s ok, that was just a lie so I didn’t have to give my seat up to that bloke’, but realised that was a very shit reason! We said goodbye and there was that awkward moment of, ‘do we change FB addresses, do I ask him over for Sunday lunch’ but he just fucked off. We parted and went our separate ways.
I headed to Liverpool Street and watched as my phone battery started dying from 32%. It was like watching the countdown clock. Fucking hate tech. Got to Liverpool Street, no trains and my battery now dead so I couldn’t update Tony. Eventually I got a train. Got to my station, went to get cash out, the cashpoint had been locked behind the station doors, clearly for fear it would blow away. I headed to the BP garage. I changed my position ready to bear the storm. I expected tumble weeds to go by, and birds at double speed but nothing. My hair didn’t even tousle. 9 hours to do a 4 hour journey by this point and for seemingly no reason! I wanted carnage. Oh and then BP cashpoint wasn’t working.
I got in a cab with Mr chatty. Was called darling about 15 times in the 5 minute journey before he dropped me off and I still tipped him. Got out, got in.
First thing I noticed was a hotchpotch of items around the fire place including Tony’s Ipad, which seemed to be stacked up making some sort of makeshift fireguard. The dog standing next to it was wagging his tail. My first words after seeing my husband Tony for 2 days was, ‘What the fuck’? ‘Yer, we’ve got another mouse’. I didn’t like the use of the word ‘another’. Trapped in a small space I said, ‘has it eaten’? ‘I don’t fucking know, it’s a mouse’. ‘Yer but it’s got no water or nothing’.
As I tried to peer in at our lodger, I knocked down all the shit holding it in. The dog launched himself towards the intruder. ‘For fuck sake, you’re back two minutes and you wreck everything. He’s been there 2 days and his been fine but you come in with your fat fingers and knock everything over’. ‘Honey, I was only checking on him’…actually I should have been arguing at the ‘fat finger comment’.
Tony, clearly annoyed said, ‘right, I’m off to bed’. ‘Honey, be nice to me, I have travelled all day and I am knackered’. ‘Er, you sat on your arse for 9 hours talking about aliens to a random stranger’.
Tony went to bed. I went and got my PJs on, and then came back downstairs to tend to the mouse. I went and got a spoon and an empty plastic quality street jar. I banged with the spoon on the fireplace and stood in a scrum like position with the jar thinking the sound might make him come out. Yer, it didn’t. I banged some more and gave up. Instead, I got the lid off of a bottle of water, filled it up and left it for him in his enclosure with a Jacobs’s cracker. I sat down to have a clementine and realised I’d left the remaining fuckers on the train!
Upsettingly, when I woke up in the morning, the dog was throwing the mouse (now dead), up in the air like a Frisbee and the cracker was gone.
The dog refused to go out with the mouse and wanted to bury it down the back of the sofa. So I had to poke him with the rubbish grabber until he dropped it and use it to grab the mouse. It was like trying to grab a cuddly toy with a claw hand at an arcade.