Ho Bloody Ho

I’m beginning to think Santa has it easy. Sure, delivering christmas presents to every child in the world in the course of one night is physically impossible, but at least he’s not attempting to do it on public transport. All I have to do today is deliver two or three sets of presents to various godchildren, nieces and nephews over the course of this weekend, but I’m finding it a tad difficult. It’s not that I want flying reindeers (think of the carbon footprint), but some trains would be nice. Instead, I get engineering works.

Remember when weekends were about gadding around, seeing friends, going for country walks or long Sunday lunches or late night boozy Saturday meals? Now they’re about anxious consultations of the relevant train companies’ websites, frantic text messages to arrange pickups and replacement bus services. So far one drop off (to the babe) has been affected by (and I swear I am not making this up) my father’s train being delayed by a balloon on the line. This evening our trip to Chalfont and Latimer is going to be interesting because the only part of the Metropolitan line that isn’t under planned engineering works has suffered signal failure. And to put the tin lid on it, the line to Kew Bridge, ominously, is closed for work this weekend suggesting a repeat of last fortnight’s travel chaos might be in the offing. I know, I know, years of under-investment, vital upgrading, improved services in the long run, yadda yadda yadda. But for once, just once, I’d like to be able to go where I’m going and arrive when I planned to on a weekend without being forced to resort to Rudolph and his pals.

If you don’t hear from me again, I’ll be on the platform at some station in the middle of nowhere, cobwebs growing slowly over my recumbent form, waiting for a train …


9 responses to “Ho Bloody Ho

  1. Well here’s hoping that you don’t spend all weekend travelling, or waiting, and get to enjoy what’s left of it.

  2. thanks. Made it back well after midnight last night though …

  3. Bit late, I know, but next year you might want to leave it to Santa. According to the Guardian, his reliance on reindeer instead of carbon-based fuel puts him in the top 100 environmentalists of all time.

  4. Ah, but think of the methane – they’re ruminants, aren’t they? And Rudolph must definitely be nuclear powered …

  5. Heh. I happen to go out with a reindeer expert, who says that, yes, they are ruminants, but he’s never heard one break wind (!) The red glowing nose does suggest a strange energy source, but here’s the scientific viewpoint: “Odd Halvorsen of the University of Oslo suggested some years ago in the journal Parasitology Today that the “celebrated discoloration” of Rudolph’s nose is probably due to a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. Even today, he is awed by the response that followed this revelation. “This paper brought me more fame than anything else I have published,” he admits.”

  6. why not just oeder everthing you need on Amazon, and get them to deliver it, via the good old Postman. Bonus, you don’t have to go to the shops and take public transport.

    Bah – Humbug!

    that is unless you enkoy waiting in the cold and damp for late runnning trains, that take for ever to get annywhere, because of engineering works, or for the replacement bus that takes hours?

  7. What kind of balloon was on the line?

    The only type I can see delaying a full-blooded train is some gargantuan steampunk Jules Verne monstrocity of a balloon, running on coal and bristling with flintlocks.

    Maybe some kind of pirate attack. Yes.


  8. Albert – well bang goes my jet-powered flying reindeer theory. You’d think someone called Odd was used to media attention (or maybe that’s just how Norwegian academics refer to each other)

    Tubedude – I can live without all the waiting around on platforms part, but going to see the kids concerned (and their parents) and partaking of the odd glass of wine and mince pie is the part I enjoy …

    Mike – nice try. It was a helium balloon. As in the kind they give to kids. Caught in the overhead wires, apparently.

  9. Albert – ps – Reindeer expert? How cool is that? How come these careers never got mentioned by the careers advisor at school?

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