I absolutely love it when that big yellow thing in the sky appears. You can’t beat the feeling when you step outside and you don’t need your coat! Even at 5 am! For me though, it is also bittersweet!
Take this week. Whilst I am cheering on one hand that the weather has finally improved. That we can use our braai every night for dinner, sit outside until late at night drinking a nice cold glass of wine, or even just be able to keep the patio doors open so the dogs can run in and out. On the other hand, it means the inevitable chaos that is our public transportsystem.
If you read my blogs regularly, you will know that I commute 3 hours a day for work. Most of that is by train. It is never a dull moment on the trains here in the UK. It is either too hot, too cold, too wet, too many leaves, not enough drivers, not enough carriages, the list goes on!
Twice this week I have had the journey from hell. I’m going to save the best until last!
So yesterday saw the second highest temperatures recorded in the UK. Our weather station at home recorded a maximum high of 36.3 degrees, so it was a hot one! The BBC news in the morning warned of the potential for chaos on the railways so we were prepared. Apparently as the track heats up it expands, which can cause the track to buckle! Now I get that, but what I don’t get is how countries with hot climates cope! Surely, we should have built our railways to cope with all types of weather. Apparently not!
From around lunchtime, we are all checking our phones to see what is happening with our trains. When I come back from lunch, a colleague warns me to check my line. It is cancellations after cancellations. He has taken the wise decision to take some leave and go early. I decide to hold out!
As the afternoon continues it becomes evident that we are not going to be going home on our usual route tonight. After a quick check, I notice a train is due to leave another station going in the direction of my parents. It means leaving work 30 minutes earlier, but I feel we have no choice.
Hubby and I quickly walk to the other station. It is uphill and the heat is intense. We arrive with seconds to spare! We are so grateful for the staff who hand us both a bottle of water as we get to the station. The train should be 4 carriages but today only 2. We are like sardines. The heat is intense, and I can feel beads of sweat pouring down my face. I’d be embarrassed if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone else on the train is looking just like me! Obviously, I’m standing which makes it worse!
Thankfully the train journey isn’t too long, only 35 minutes. I am so happy to finally get off and get some fresh if not hot air! My dad is waiting for us. Thank heaven for dads! He is going to drive us home so we can collect hubby car, then drive back to our station to get my car! It is all very long winded, but when I look at my phone, I am relieved we took that decision. It’s 8 pm and so far, no train have left to go to our station.
It may have taken 3 hours to get home, but we are home!
Now, let me take you back a few days earlier to the worst day ever in my commuting history!
Tuesday was another hot day. Not the hottest but still hot! I left work in preparation to get my train. There was no indication that there were any problems.
As I arrive at the station, I check the boards. My train is due in on Platform 4, so I head down to it. I am then told by a member of staff that it is now coming into Platform 7. I grumble and head off to platform 7. The train is already late, I’m hot and I just want to get home!
When I arrive at 7, I am told that the platform change was a mistake and it is still coming in on 4. I turn around and head back to 4. I’m then told it is coming in on platform 1! So,another trip up to 1. When I get to 1 I’m told no, I need to go to 3. By this time, I am not very happy to say the least. I get to 3 and am told its back on 1. Off I go again, to be told it is on 5. Oh, no, we think it’s 6. I arrive at 6 again to be told it is definitely coming in on platform 2a! I get to 2a as the announcer says platform 4, but thankfully says she is sorry that was a mistake it is coming in on 2a.
We are all waiting on 2a. It’s very crowded and hot. It is now almost an hour since I arrived for my train!
They then announce the train is actually waiting on platform 2b! We all have to quickly try and get through the crowds to get to the other side of the platform. This is really testing me now!
As I get on, I grab the first available seat. I’m so grateful for it. The train fills up and I now have a man’s crotch in my face. Lovely! The train then sits there for half an hour whilethey try to find a driver! It is so hot, and I am extremely dehydrated by this point.
Finally, the train moves, and I head home. What should have been 1.5 hour journey home is now 3 hours! I’m hot, sweaty and tired. I have the most amazing hubby ever though. As I finally walked through the door, he handed me a lovely glass of Slimline Wine. Just what I needed. He had also prepared the food for the braai, so all I had to do was shower, sit in the garden with my wine and relax!
Now they say, ‘let the train take the strain’, but in my experience it is the train that courses the strain!
I’m definitely not a fan of public transport. I appreciate we need to try and use it to save the planet, but when you have days like this, you really have to question if it is worth it!
Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, and I do not intend to go near a train for the rest of the week! Have a good weekend!