Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Trains, Adam Ant and Sick Cat (Nice!)

Train journeys. I've never had a dull, boring and uneventful one. Something always happens, I always attract a wrongun of some description (I'm a proper nutter magnet, me) or I see something that I've never seen before. This weekend's train journey to and from Cambridge was no exception. I think I'm going to start taking notes on trains. I reckon I could write a book about my random train journeys.

My trip to (and from) Cambridge involves catching four trains - two normal ones and two underground ones. Things were pretty quiet on the way to Waterloo this time (apart from the man in the seat behind me snoring very loudly - thank goodness for my MP3 player) but things changed when I got underground. As I walked through from one tube platform to the next there was a huge crowd of people on the platform and a packed stationary train just sat there. There was some kind of kerfuffle occurring on the platform and there were police and underground staff frantically walkie-talking one another. After about ten minutes the train doors shut and the things started moving. The backlog of passengers meant another ten minute wait on a very hot and stuffy platform before I got on a very hot and stuffy tube train. There is air on the underground but it's not your average everyday air. It's warm, thick, recycled, dirty air.

When I was on the train I broke the number one tube rule - I spoke to someone. A lady was stood in front of me and by the looks of it she'd put her eyeliner away in her bag but accidentally scrawled a huge line of it across her arm as she did so. I know that if I was stood there with eyeliner on my arm I'd want someone to tell me. Plus she was all tarted up and dressed to the nines so she was obviously off somewhere important. I tapped her on the shoulder and she swung round and glared at me and said 'What?!' in a we're-on-the-tube-so-how-dare-you-make-verbal-contact kind of way but when I pointed out that she'd drawn on herself she seemed pretty grateful. Then my attention was drawn to an ant on the wall of the carriage.

This got me thinking. How did the ant get on the train? When I told Chris about the ant on the train he said that it had probably got there by hitching a ride on a passenger which is almost definitely the case but his sensible explanation sort of ruined the whole ant-on-the-tube story that I'd made up in my mind. I'd decided that Adam (I HAD to name him) was on an amazing journey and that he'd spent days trekking from one side of London to the other. I wanted him to be like a Disney character ant (a bit like Flik from 'A Bug's Life') who was on an adventurey mission to save something or someone. I'd even worked out that Adam had crawled down the edge of the platform on to the rail and then waited for a train. He then scuttled up the outside of the train and clung on in a James Bond manner while the train whizzed along to the next stop where he waited for the doors to open so he could run inside. Yes - I may be crazy but I like my idea better than Chris' sensible theory.

On the journey home when I was on the train from Cambridge to Kings Cross my nutter magnet was on full pull and a man wearing a full length leather trench coat (on a lovely warm sunny day) sat next to me. He stunk - and I mean totally reeked - of TCP. He must have bathed in it that morning. Then he plugged himself into his iPod and proceeded to listen to the most bizarre music on full blast. By bizarre I mean that I couldn't make out what genre of music it was. Do you know what I mean? When you hear someone else's 'personal' stereo you can make out if it's hip-hop, pop or opera or whatever. But this was truly odd. It was just a strange squeaking noise against a beat. It sounded exactly like someone had taken Sweep's voice (remember Sweep from 'The Sooty Show'?) and put it into a synthesizer and then played out a tune in different Sweep-notes. Odd.

When I arrived at Kings Cross the train came in at Platform 10. This means a long walk to the actual inside of the station. It also means you have to walk past 'Platform 9 3/4' of Harry Potter fame. Bearing in mind it's the summer holidays there were many excited children having their photo taken underneath the Platform 9 3/4 sign and I heard a very snooty and posh pair of ladies behind me chatting about said platform. One said to the other in a haughty voice "Platform nine and three quarters? What the hell is that all about? How can there be a platform nine and three quarters? Do they think we're idiots?" Her friend replied "Oh, it's from that film. The one with the wardrobe. Narnia. That's it. The children in the film catch a train from a fantastical platform. They filmed it here and the staff were sick to the back teeth of people asking where platform nine and three quarters was so they put up a sign. Pathetic if you ask me." I wanted to turn round and tell them it was Harry Potter, not Narnia and to stop being such a whinging pair of trouts!

When I got home I grabbed some lunch, sorted out washing, checked emails and then decided to give my sister a call. I picked up the phone and flumped into my armchair for a gossip. As I was waiting for Sally to answer the phone I got a waft of a horrendous smell. I turned to my left and gingerly lifted the cushion on the armchair. To my horror, underneath the cushion was a pile of dried cat sick. At that moment Sally answered the phone and I backed away from the armchair at high speed. I hate cleaning up cat sick at the best of times, but this was dried on and totally manky. When I got off the phone to Sal I set about cleaning up. I fashioned myself a yashmak out of a towel and a clothes peg and put a wodge of five Tesco carrier bags on my hand and removed the offending material. I then dragged the armchair seat cushion out into the garden and hosed it off with the hose set to jet. (Thank the SetteeGod that our furniture is leather.) Then I had to wash the cushion cover. The whole time my clean-up operation was happening Buster was laid in the conservatory sunbathing. I couldn't believe it. I actually had a conversation with Chris at the weekend where I championed cats. I was trying to convince my cat-hating boyfriend that cats are truly lovely animals. I guess Chris was right again . . . . . .

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