Friday 8 January 2010

Just like the forest of Compiègne

15st 3lb, 1.5 units. At 9.30 this morning I was to be seen doing a little jig of glee rather like the one Hitler famously performed outside that railway carriage in the forest at Compiègne, after receiving the French surrender in 1940. My reasons for gaiety were perhaps rather less compelling than his, though certainly more socially acceptable: I had just discovered that my train to London had been cancelled.

Now, you may be thinking that I am, by nature, more the sort of Bloke who would receive this news by having a tantrum on the platform, bursting into tears, verbally assaulting any members of railway staff in the vicinity and then sitting down to compose a vicious attack on the Bearded Git or other train operator concerned in my blog. And you would be right.

But on this occasion, as it happened, I did not receive the news on a freezing station, after spending an hour or more battling my way there through snow, ice and idiotic fellow motorists, but in the peace and comfort of my study. Because I had already concluded last night that the chances of my booked train getting me to London in time for my eagerly awaited large lunch in St James’s with a couple of old-fashioned City chaps were as close to nil as made no difference. And I had progressed from this conclusion to convincing Mrs H that it would be only prudent to cancel the whole of our planned weekend in London on account of the severe weather and dire forecasts.

This was, of course, merely an excuse to cover my own extreme indolence and dislike of journeys that may not go as smoothly as the proverbial clockwork. I may also have been influenced just a touch by the fact that the potential for enjoying lunch in the traditional way had been somewhat reduced by the scheduling of a conference call in the early afternoon. Once upon a time I had the chutzpah to join these dreaded exchanges while completely pissed, but I fear those days are long gone, mainly because I have got out of the habit.

So why the jig of glee? Oh, because I had bought one of those cut price (but still bloody expensive) advance purchase tickets on which no refunds are obtainable – unless the one and only train on which they are valid fails to run. So when the “Live Departures” screen on my laptop advised that it had been cancelled, I felt that the only appropriate reaction was to punch the air and shout “Result!” At least once I had made absolutely sure that there was no-one within earshot to observe me behaving in such a frightfully common fashion.

No comments: