A Blog of Two Halves

Morning …

I got to the station this morning and found the platform packed with people – never a good sign. SouthWest Trains’ vaunted customer information service was letting it down; at first it sounded as though the problem was apologies on the line (‘The 7:41 SouthWest Trains service to Hounslow has been cancelled due to sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to your journey’), then they came clean and admitted it was due to a signal failure in the Barnes area. As the next three trains were swiftly cancelled, the ‘SouthWest Trains Customer Information Centre’ came on the tannoy to remind us that some of the train drivers were on strike, and was followed by the Vauxhall Customer Misinformation and Unintelligible Mumbling Centre to tell us something I couldn’t decipher but appeared to be about trains in the Stansted area. At that point I bailed out, along with half the passengers on the platform and took the tube which cost me and extra £1.50 and got me into work fifteen minutes late, but seems to have been a good move: there were unconfirmed reports at work (from someone who finally got in via bus and train to Richmond at 10:30) of a train pulling out of Clapham Junction station only to have to reverse back into it minutes later.

Evening …

I was expecting a quieter journey home (although I wasn’t 100% certain there would be a driver for the train). By 5pm there were only three of us left in the office and every single car stuck in the jam over Kew Bridge seemed to be tuned to Radio Five. The train was quieter than usual – by Vauxhall it was just me, a bunch of Poles, and one guy desperately ringing round his mates to get an update on the Rooney metatarsal – and the traffic was definitely quieter at Vauxhall Cross. As I cycled home it got quieter and quieter, apart from the roars from every pub window and I began to be aware that there was something strange about the quality of the quiet. It wasn’t just the helicopter with the ‘come on England’ flag hovering over the streets, or the reduced traffic noise, or total absence of any pedestrians. As I locked up my bike I finally put a finger on what it was that was missing from the background sound: sirens. There wasn’t a single one.

I expect that will change. In about five minutes time…


7 responses to “A Blog of Two Halves

  1. Hello! Had you realised that most of your recent blog titles are two’d, paired or twinned so to speak. They’re all good entries by the way. I always enjoy reading them.

  2. It’s just the two of them … of course

  3. You did know that LUL were passing (accepting) SWT tickets?

    “London Buses are accepting tickets between Richmond / Hounslow and Clapham Junction. London Underground are also accepting tickets on the District Line between Richmond and London. First Great Western Trains will accept South West Trains tickets between Reading/Windsor and London Paddington”

  4. hmm… I didn’t wait around for the announcement – and besides I have a zone 2&3 oyster, rather than a SWT ticket. The 1.50 was the pre-pay charge on oyster for going out of my zones (due to that being the only other available route). So I couldn’t see any way out of paying the extra …

  5. Well… did they start again???

    I went to my local supermarket and it was totally empty, bliss.

    I hate footie, and no I’m not gay.

  6. Just after England’s goal I heard the first one… (and no I wasn’t watching, just following along to the sound emanating up from downstairs). I love things like the World cup – when England is playing it’s lovely and quiet …

  7. Pingback: Unfevered « Town Mouse

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