Pain on the Train

On the train: “If there was a general election tomorrow I would vote Labour, but that goes against my views on Brexit, because Labour are against Brexit”. Huh. Remainers do not agree with you. He thinks Corbyn is being sat on, waiting for it all to blow over, and say what you like about Thatcher she always shouted what she thought.

He had been on the Trump demo, his first for years. His mate is going to do a sketch on stage as TweedleTrump, with- whatsisname, Rocketman-

– Kim Jong Il?

and some protesters.

-yeah, that would work.

At the bus stop the woman had stayed at Westminster Abbey. Her brother’s partner is a canon, who has a house there with a front door ten yards from the tourist barriers and access to a large garden. It is a pain when you have had a bad day, having to smile for the tourists.

At Sheffield, the railway system appears to collapse. I should have got to Edinburgh at 3.30 and writing now I am on a train at 7, hoping to get there by 8. No Rembrandt exhibition for me today. I got a train to Doncaster, then a bus to York, then a bus to Newcastle where the first train to Edinburgh was packed with people standing.

A woman who does HR for Hilton hotels had set out for York, only to be stranded just outside the station for five hours. She had done no work and got the bus back. She tells me there’s a power cut at the Hilton in York, over an hour so far, and I speculate about cyber attacks. It’s race weekend, and the hotel is full, charging top rates. Fortunately most guests were at the races.

I also met S, a PhD student working on maths and statistics, considering how to gather data for drug trials- when to take samples to see the drug levels in the body. This takes huge amounts of computing power, say twenty cores running for two hours. A colleague uses drones to film the movement of flocks of sheep, with the farmer playing the role of predator, before modelling it. We wonder if we are living in a computer simulation. She is atheist, but believes religion can be useful to build community and help people behave morally. She talks of seeing a car accident and her desire to give worthwhile help- getting someone out of a smoking car before seeing they were just waiting for services, and driving on.

That’s over eleven hours of travelling.

Going back, I see a sign saying, “We want everyone to have a great journey, so please consider others around you”. I love passive-aggressive “please don’t be a dick” signs, and this is a choice sample. I am at rest, as I write two days later, hoping I will be half an hour later than expected so I can claim another refund. The train in front on this electrified line was not connecting to the overhead wires.

I felt sad to leave Edinburgh and am glad of it, feeling it shows both a better relationship with my family and greater sensitivity to my own feelings, accepting my sadness.

A woman who has just graduated in psychology wants more experience before deciding whether to take up forensic psychology or child psychology. From this she could just be interested in how people tick, but I imagine she wants to feel she is doing something useful.

Actually I was 1½ hours later, and it was wretched.

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