Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mr Higgins Changes Trains

A trip to Letchworth Garden City. Should be a pleasant day out but the pin-pricks of annoyance are constantly there - will I ever achieve the sainted state of "chillax-dom"?

Kelly has left some medicines in my sister's house and I am off to retrieve them. It's difficult to work out which train actually goes to Letchworth. There are no signs, the monitors are all blank and there is nothing on any of the platforms. Actually that's not true: there is plenty happening on the platforms; the station is busier than at rush hour. The traditional staples of delayed trains are all in place: milling throngs of slightly disappointed people in hats, foreigners waving their hands and shouting, appearing to be far more annoyed than they actually are. There are home counties biddies with quivering pink chins and jabbing fingers and bemused back-packers prepared to sit it out. The untroubled rail-staff are as relaxed and content as a fat Southern Sheriffs, rousing themselves from hammocks, mint juleps in their fat soft hands.

But there are no delays; the train, my train, arrives unnannounced but apparently on time. I tuck myself into a seat next to the toilet and waft my Earl Grey under my nose to disguise the whiff. All I have to do is look out of the window at some of the finest rolling green golf-courses this country has to offer. Alas no. It's TOO sunny. That harsh white blinding sun that makes motorists flip their flip-down shades and make me, like fully a quarter of the population*, sneeze continually. I stop at Stevanage, which isn't worth sneezing at, but I'm off again all the way to Letchworth, alarming the posh woman opposite me, with her fur hat and Liz Tremaine novel, to the extent that she flashes me (a weak smile) and pisses off down the carriage. Hey ho.

When I arrive at Letchworth my sister isn't in.

*Q.I. trufact.


  1. On an unrelated note, the episode of The Professionals, "Discovered in a graveyard", has nothing to do with finding soiled porn mags behind the bushes, but does include lots of flashbacks over-scored with Lewis Collin's flat Scouse accent. Meanwhile, Martin Shaw is shot down and then lost in a netherworld, wearing too much make-up and agonising over whether to live or die. (SPOILER: He decides to stay alive.)