The simple pleasures….

July 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm Leave a comment


I am writing this offline in my comfortable first class seat on board a Virgin Pendolino from Crewe to London Euston. And, I’m bored. The free wi-fi is down and so the various multi-media and technical devices currently available to me have all been rendered useless.

While it was a two sausage toastie day (and therefore a good day) for me, I am slightly miffed to have had only one mug of tea offered. You would have expected a little more in return for the £379 ticket – maybe a dancing girl or three. Or a working wi-fi at least…

So, I am sat watching my iPod’s battery drain and listening to the fat guy across the aisle from me snoring gently as he sleeps, his brown sauce spotted napkin still tucked into his shirt after his three course breakfast of granola and juice, full grill, and toast and croissants with butter and marmalade. He may only have got one cup of coffee but managed to compensate in other areas.

I have read the newspaper, completed the killer Sudoku and concise crossword and so, in the absence of email, I am forced to people watch. As it is not busy – it is the start of the school holidays – even the people watching is not great.

The guy opposite me is completely bald and slightly geeky looking with a look which is quite reminiscent of Lex Luthor (the baddy in Superman). He has made a bad choice in tie for that striped shirt. In fact I notice that I am the only guy in this rather sparsely populated carriage not wearing a tie. It appears that the tie must be making a comeback. It also appears that my male companions are probably not married or gay – C would never have let me leave the house sporting one of these monstrosities….

Lex and I have not hit it off. He chose to sit opposite me because he had a seat reservation (as did I but I sat down first) despite the many options to spread out available to him. And he has been playing footsie with me enough that I now have my legs tucked tight up to my chair. Anyway, this personal space encroacher is doodling very minutely on his paper place mat. It looks like a quite intricate technical design or a schema for a new machine. Things aren’t looking good for Clark Kent’s future right now. Lex is plotting something. And, that could be kryptonite on his tie….

There really aren’t that many people of interest here today.

There is a fresh-faced graduate working on some spreadsheet, wearing an impossibly narrow designer suit (blue) and designer stubble. And pointy brown shoes. I still don’t get the brown shoes with blue suits – and he didn’t look or sound the least bit foreign.

There is one relatively attractive lady in her early fifties who has made several trips to the loo and caused the few male heads to turn because of her ridiculously tight dress, ridiculously high heels, and, ridiculously short skirt. Nice legs.

There are two men on their phones. One is loud and brash; the other is quiet and almost apologetic to be speaking in such a public space. I prefer the latter. But both their conversations seem to be broken, both beginning with “I’m on a train” and ending in “Hello? Hello? Can you still hear me? Are you still there”. Virgin really does need to up its ante in the wi-fi and mobile phone connectivity stakes!

virginThe train staff are similarly uninteresting – one jovial camp steward taking breakfast orders and trying not to scream at his clients’ choice of ties, and a couple of more subdued ladies who served the one beverage while looking slightly unhappy, presumably a result of having being squeezed into uniforms a size or two too small for them. While that might be a good look for your average Virgin flight attendant, for these two not so much….

And now they are preparing the train for their next departure. Why do they insist on clearing up so early? We are still twenty-five minutes out from Euston and they have cleared our one-use-only mug and other breakfast detritus and replaced it with nice, shiny new stuff which is rattling all around us. They have even changed Lex’s place mat. So, unless he has got a very good memory the Man of Steel may just have earned a reprieve.

It is annoying though. It reminds me of those teenage years at home when I was constantly being asked to lift my feet so that my mom could vacuum around me, while my dad plumped the sofa cushions.

I need only the simple pleasures of life – a cup of tea and working wi-fi and a personal space which is not encroached upon….


Entry filed under: business travel, flight attendant, poor service, travel. Tags: , , , , .

The Great British Summer One hundred years…..

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