Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Gosh, so much to tell.

First thing, Mr WithaY got off to Mexico safe and sound. But you know that because he's commented on the blog to tell me.

I can recommend the Sofitel hotel at Gatwick North. The room was more than adequate, the bed was large and comfy and the room service brought us pints of cider. Hurrah! We watched "Prince Caspian" on the in-house movie channel, and had a very pleasant evening.

The trip was enlivened by the lifts. The hotel is built with reception on the first floor, so when you walk in from the car park you have to go up a level. Once you check in they give you an electronic key card thingy so you can operate the main lifts to the bedroom floors and get into your room.

We checked in, were given the cards and headed off to the lifts, hauling all Mr WithaY's huge dive bags along with us. There were 2 lifts, both full of families with many huge bags, so we waited for them to get out and then send the lifts back down.

Lift number one went up and down several times, then finally came back to our floor, but another family with a ton of bags hopped in, so we waited for lift number two. It went to Floor 7, then Floor 4, then back to our floor. The doors opened and the same family were stood in there that we had watched get in several minutes earlier. We exchanged smiles in a "Tch, technology" way, and they vanished up to Floor 7 again. Then Floor 4, then back to us, and the doors opened and there they were again.

"Hello" we said to each other, still smiling. Off they went again. Level 7. Level 4. Back down to us. The doors opened. The little girl squealed with delight and jumped up and down when she saw us. The dad looked at us and muttered "Don't say a bloody word" as the doors closed.

We took the other lift, but not before I made some Americans laugh. They were waiting for the lift, and looking anxiously at the illuminated numbers as it went up.

"Does it come back down?" asked one?

"Oh yes, it goes both ways" I replied smart-arsedly. Heh.

Anyway, we had a very nice evening, and Mr WithaY was up in plenty of time for his 6am check-in. I drove home a little later and spent the rest of the day sorting stuff out for my scary new job.

Which I started on Monday.

It was ok, the journey is bloody long, and it takes me a whisker under 3 hours door to door, but it is do-able. Monday was fine. Tuesday, on the other hand...

I left the office at about 16:25 to get to Waterloo in time to catch the 16:50, which gets me home by about 7pm. I missed it literally by a minute, thanks to the dithering bastards on the Tube who were blocking doors and stairways, and then stopping dead the instant they got off the escalator. Fuckwits.

Not to worry, I thought. I can catch the next train at 17:20. But wait! What's this? The 17:20 to Exeter is CANCELLED.

Why? Fuck knows.

So. Me and about 300 other disgruntled West Country commuters mungoed about on the concourse, gawping hopefully up at the signs, as if that would magic the train up for us.

But then I spotted a crowd gathering on Platform 6. And, ahahahahaaaaaa, the helpful railway chap who I spoke to earlier had shown me the secret special timetable, which said that my train (the 17:50) would be coming to Platform 6. So, I joined the crowd and waited on Platform 6, hoping that was indeed where the train would show up.

Every now and again we caught the tail end of an announcement being made, one of which said our train was Delayed. Arse. The crowd was rapidly becoming a mob, but a British one, so there was a lot of harrumphing and sighing and rustling of newspapers, instead of pitchforks and broken windows and fire.

Eventually, 15 minutes late, the 17:50 rocked up and we stormed onto it, regardless of the poor rail staff trying to make us wait.

Two women had joined the crowd about 25 minutes after me, and were having a loud conversation about how funny it was to be so late. They were both of a certain age*, and were desperate for people to notice them. Desperate.

The fatter of the two started pushing her way to the front of the crowd, closer to the platform edge, making loud remarks about "I bet this is where the train doors will be when it gets here" while her quieter and thinner friend giggled stupidly.

The fat one then buttoned her cape-like coat up and stuck her chest out, making it look like she was heavily pregnant. "Now I'll get a seat" she smirked, making her witless companion laugh even harder.

I moved slightly so that she couldn't get any closer to the platform edge without shoving me, and the chap (about 6 foot 4, I reckon) I had been chatting to did the same, winking conspiratorially at me as he did so.

When the train arrived I took a great delight in standing on the witless one's feet as she tried to follow her fat unpleasant friend as she barged into the carriage in front of people who had been there a lot longer**. They were both very nasty and I hope they get boils. On their arses.

But apart from that, the job. Yes. Well, it is safe to say I am both a small fish in a big pond and a fish out of water. At the bottom of a steep learning curve. Without a paddle.

It will get better. Brrrrrr. Lawyers though. Brrrrrrrrr.

I am having to resist the urge to offer to draw schematic diagrams of the technical equipment procurement process, or explain how to steer a tank, just to try and contribute something.

And there are mice in the office. But apart from that, it's fine.

Other news: Went to see Father-in-Law WithaY in hospital this evening, which was good as he was a bit fed up. I left when the nurses were starting to get him ready for a session on the Walking Around Machine.

And I think the mole is definitely dead. Hurrah. Not that the bloody Mole-Away Techno-stick did any good. Money well spent there. Not.

*Probably slightly older than me, but not much.

**eg me


badgerdaddy said...

You're a braver woman than I, commuting to London and all that. Gah.

Jon said...

This kind of shit never happened in Harry Potter's world did it?


I hates 'em.

livesbythewoods said...

badgerdaddy, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Hmmm.

Jon. Wizards or not, South West Trains are a bunch of bastards.

justme said...

Arrrrgh! Commuting! Do you do this EVERY day? You have my sympathy. I too commute into London, but in my case it is about 1 and 1/2 hours door to door ( on a good day, that is!) which is quite long enough! And I don't do it every day.....
Hope the job is worth it!
Chocolate for the journey sounds essential. And possibly small bottles of gin. (for the return trip only, obviously!)

livesbythewoods said...

justme, hello. Yes, I am now a commuter, but only 3 days a week. I am spending the other 2 days recovering from commuting.

It'll be fine when I get used to it. I hope.